Kentucky here we come.
The climbs were just as hard as Virginia. There were 5 climbs of note. The hardest one was on State Highway 611. We should have known what was ahead since the climb began at the town of “LOOKOUT”. Right outside of town the climb began. The road was very narrow and rough, steep doesn’t really explain how hard it was. When I was about to the top I had to stop to get a drink. I couldn’t drink and ride at the same time due the steepness. At that point I started to just walk so I just walked the final 200 to 300 yards (maybe more) to the summit.
Then the downhill. Not only was the downhill just as steep as the uphill, the road was rougher and had patches of gravel. So needless to say, we had to be careful. At the bottom we came to our first rest stop and it was a welcoming site.
That was also Charlie and my first and only rest stop for today since we were out in front of the rest of the riders and the rest stop van couldn’t move until all the riders had made it to the first rest stop.
When we got to the top of our fourth climb Charlie and I were concerned because we were running low on water when our guardian angel Kye came to our rescue with water. At this point we still at about 23 miles to go and one more climb.
Today was our first really hot day. It reached 93 degrees so we are happy to be sleep inside at the Hindman First Baptist Church. Great air conditioning and a warm shower. What could be better? How about a Pizza place right across the street.
This is a shorter day and we are not complaining. We didn’t leave until 8:00 a.m.
Kye and one of the staff members, Matt, had to back track this morning to Damascus to return a wheel that they bought for one of rider’s bike. Rion was able to fix the old wheel so they needed our car to take the wheel back. This was a 69 mile trip.
This helped so the other support vehicles could setup our rest stop and the new campsite.
The ride today made up for the short distance with more climbing. The largest climb came after Honaker and we thought it would be the hardest. It was the highest climb but we overlooked three climbs in succession just before Breaks Interstate Park Campground. Just as you finished one with a quick downhill the climbing began again. All were steep and rough but we made it all the same.
Tomorrow we leave Virginia. We are about 1 ½ miles from the state line. Virginia lived up to all its billing and we are happy to say we met all of the state’s challenges. We will probably be talking about this state for most of the rest of the ride.
Today we had three hard climbs. The first one after Sugar Grove got our attention, then the one after Troutdale took us to the highest elevation of the day which was around 3600 feet but the one after Hayters Gap was the steepest and was extremely taxing. Every turn we made we hoped we would see the summit but NO is kept on going. I never rode so long in the lowest gear before. At least my bike cooperated today thanks to Rion.
We spent the night at the Elk Garden United Methodist Church. Most of us slept inside the church in any and all corners and pews. The showers were cold water only again but it really help us recover.
It is good to get back on the bike again. We hit the Huckleberry Bike Path in basically downtown Blacksburg. We thought it would be pretty easy to follow it all the way to Christiansburg but little did we know there would be road construction along the trail and that we would miss a turn. With the help of a couple of Virginia Tech students we would get turn around and headed the right way. The trail was nice other than the construction areas.
Today’s ride consisted of rolling hills. Nothing to high but there were still enough steep climbs for us to work up a sweat on a cool day. My bike fought me today in that when making a steep climb my bike want to change gears on its own. When I got in Rion, our bike mechanic, made some adjustments.
We had lunch at the Blue Door in the Draper Mercantile which has chef “Chef T” that was on “Health’s Kitchen” TV show before moving to Draper. She came to Draper as a celebrity chef and just stayed in Draper because she liked what they are trying to build in the way of bike rider support and tourist attraction. She came out for a photo opt with us.
One of the local fathers said they had just bought a historical church in the town and they are going to turn it into a place that bike riders can spent the night.
This town also had a fairly well equipped bike shop so we felt right at home.