Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 4

Monday, 7/11

We got our earliest start yet this morning - 8:30. We were feeling pretty good considering the hilly ride yesterday and the demoralizing falls. This new and improved attitude may have been due the the fact that we knew that we were riding 40 miles to Charlottesville, the biggest city we've been to and we would be staying at a hotel, courtesy of my father!

Even though it would be a short ride, we knew it would be best to stay here because Ben had to get his bike fixed and we needed a day to rest our sore muscles, and why not stay in a fun town on our day off? On the ride here we starting seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance and it was hard not to think about our future rides over them.

We got to the hotel around 1:30 and it felt like heaven to get the hot sun off our already sunburnt backs (despite 50 spf sunscreen). We used the William Shatner Priceline Negotiator app(!) to get a great deal on this hotel so we are staying for two nights. We were starving by the time we got here so we made PB & J bagels with microwaved corn from a farm stand. I found this hilarious so I had to take a picture:

After our snack we walked Ben's bike down the street to get his wheel all fixed up and bought a few things we needed at the bike shop. Then we made a delicious hotel room dinner of salad and a pasta side. I found this hilarious as well, probably because nobody ever makes food in a hotel room, but we are on a budget after all! Here is Ben enjoying the salad (mid-chew).

We are doing laundry at the hotel right now, so I am using an actual computer to write this post, which is way it is much longer and more detailed than usual.

We plan to sleep in late tomorrow and let our muscles recover from the past few days. We are also buying a new tent. (By the way, I did test the other tent to see if it was waterproof but I guess I didn't test it rigorously enough.) Our only requirement is that the new one is waterproof! We will resume riding on Wednesday, when we get into the mountains. When we asked the man at the bike shop how the mountains were he replied, "Oh, you'll see." We didn't want to hear any more than that.

Sunday, 7/10

Well, it appears that our eyes were bigger than our leg muscles. We had a slow start in the morning and by the time we got on the road it was already at least 90 degrees. A few miles into the ride I fell while stopping at an intersection and landed directly on my left elbow, which I fell on the day before too. This created an even bigger welt and I had to ice it immediately to keep the swelling down- and the pain! Luckily, there was a gas station right across the street to get ice. About 15 miles later, a man driving by stopped to talk to us. He was a biker and lived in the area so he warned us that we were approaching the "Three Sisters"- 3 consecutive hills. I beat Ben up the first sister, which was surprising but I was just happy to be at the top and taking a rest. Then I saw him walking his bike up the hill - never a good sign. He had fallen and cut up his elbow and leg pretty badly and messed up his bike a bit. He went to the house at the top of the hill to wash off the wounds and bandage them up and we were on our way again. Then Ben realized his breaks were rubbing on the back tire and his wheel was out of true (not perfectly straight) and we didn't have a spoke wrench to fix it. So he had to disengage the back breaks for the rest of the ride. By the time all of that happened, we were both exhausted, very hot and rather annoyed at the day's events. When we passed by the marker for Patrick Henry's home, we decided it was a good place to stop for lunch.

Neither of us actually knew who Patrick Henry was, which the employees there were not at all happy to hear. One woman asked if I had attended 4th grade and then proceeded to recite his famous speech ("Give me liberty or give me death...") which did jog our memory of those Revolutionary War lessons in 4th grade. We hung out there for a while in the shade and decided that we wouldn't be able to make it all the way to Palmyra like we had planned. We saw that we could stay at a fire station for free in Mineral, which would be a 50 mile day instead of 70. After our lunch the roads starting getting hillier and I almost cried tears of joy when we pulled up to that fire station. We went across the street for a pizza (too hot to cook) and to enjoy the air conditioning. After dinner and our showers we wanted a little snack around 9:15 but nothing was open past 9 in this little town.

At the campground in Ashland, we met a couple from the Netherlands who is biking on our route for 4 weeks. They also stayed at the fire station, so we will probably be bumping into them from time to time.


1 comment:

  1. You guys deserve a day off! And those gourmet meals will revitalize you in no time (pb & j with microwaved corn on the cob?). Have fun in Charlottesville drinking iced coffee and eating Ben and Jerry's. I know I'm not an experienced touring biker, but I will go out on a limb and offer the following advice: try to fall less often.
    P.S. I enjoyed the long posting.