July 5th thru 7th: 242 miles: DC to Troutville, Virginia

8 07 2011

It’s Friday, July 8th and we are currently in a library on Route 11 in Virginia waiting for a storm to pass. On Tuesday, July 5th we put in some fast mileage on Richmond Highway 1; it was not the most safe journey but we made some ground on the pressing mileage we have to cover by September 1st (the day of our flight home from San Diego). We realized that the total mileage of the Adventure Cycling Association maps surpassed what we had originally roughly calculated to be the correct distance. Although it is about 3,000 miles to drive to San Diego, we will likely be cycling over 4,000, more than 500 miles than we had orginally planned. We calculated that we will have to cover about 70 miles a day to cover this ground. It is going to be a challenge. One strategy we are utilizing is “shooting gaps”- we use the maps as a “base” and use a gps navigation system attached to the bike to take more direct routes when safe enough to do so. Thanks to the Mineral Fire Department for allowing us to shower in their facilities and camp on their ground that Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 6th was brutal; we made our way through the Blue Ridge Parkway and spent a good deal of the day climbing the longest hill of our lives in the Appalachians. Prior to the climbing we had to replace a spoke in my back wheel that had broken off.  It was 13 miles of climbing and it was so steep at points you had to keep cycling with burning quads to avoid falling sideways.  There is a 15 degree drop in temperature once up in these mountains. Checking the speedometer every few minutes, it always seemed to stay on the same mile. All in all, we covered 74 miles and climbed to over 3,000 feet in elevation. The scenery was breathtaking and we experienced a profound, peaceful silence up in the clouds. We later found out that the Appalachians are considered to have more harsh climbs than the Rockies, which made us feel a bit better about how exhausted we were. We pitched a tent in the woods behind a chapel in a small town called Love where mosquitoes destroyed our souls.

On Thursday, July 7th, a couple in a cabin by our tent gave us some much needed water to start off the day. They led us in a circle of prayer which helped start the day off with a sense of tranquility. Thanks Gerry and Silvia! We continued climbing some harsh Appalachians hills and made a frightening, sharp 2 mile descent that forced us to grab the breaks the entire time- while still maintaining between 15-20 mph. At one point I had to stop because my fingers started hurting. My back tire then blew out due to resting on the hot pavement for too long. James also got a flat this day.  All the mechanical mishaps and hills were redeemed when, unaware to us, we began cycling with an olympian cyclist. A man with a carbon-fiber bicycle joined alongside us later in the day and “pulled us” for about 20 miles. To be “pulled” means to ride closely behind someone’s tire to become more wind resistant- this greatly reduces the input of power necessary to go forward. The cyclist helped us reach between 25-30 mph for certain portions of our ride with him. After keeping up for about an hour, I had “bonked”- my body had nothing left to offer due to hunger. The cyclist revealed that he was Kent Bostick, winner of the 1996 Olympic Track Cyling Trials. We got our pictures taken with him and we were humbled and honored for the kindness he extended to us. Thanks for the pull Kent! We then found an all you can eater diner and decided to upgrade to a nearby motel…with beds! Beds and showers are all of a sudden gifts not taken for granted when we get them! Big shout out to beds and showers! Also, food you know I love you more than ever- I enjoy the time we spend together. CHICKEN FETTUCCINE ALFREDO FOREVER. We covered 76 miles this day. Check out Kent in the clip below:

 Much love from the road, Joe & James


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6 responses

8 07 2011
Marcos Fazzino

Hope you getting along safe i am going down to maryland on sunday i wish i could see you guys along your trip good luck and i will check back every once in a while 🙂

8 07 2011
John U

JoJo don’t need no Stinking GPS! lol

8 07 2011
Renata

Joe~
Are you seriously eating chicken alfredo while you are biking? I am totally living vicariously through you 🙂 Keep up the good work!
~Renata

9 07 2011
Renee

What an exciting adventure guys! My thoughts and prayers are with you and I’m sending boatloads of good energy to you as well. I’m glad to see you enjoying the journey, as opposed to being focused on a destination. That’s very wise! Any good vegan eats on the bike tour? 😉

10 07 2011
mary

I’m getting exhausted reading about your trip – your forcing me to double up my mileage when I want to be reducing it! I’m feeling guilty having Sunday breakfast!!! Make sure ye keep yourselves in good shape for the finish because ye are well into it now. If you have to trim to make the flight – trim early and ye will enjoy it later!! Cheers for now to both of ye from Peadar, Mary and the losers.

22 07 2011
wendy blank

What a fantastic journey so far!
Safe travels & enjoy!
Wendy

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