Day 7: Going Up!

53.57 miles (Total: 295.12) Average Speed: 9.8mph Max Speed: 34mph

The sofa in the bike house was so comfy I slept soundly, then got up around 8am and fixed breakfast. June had said to go round anytime after 8:30am. She was up and ready with the door open waiting, she shouted to come right in. she seemed really happy and soon asked about the bike house, because she hadn’t been down to it for a while. I gave her a big hug and just before setting on my way she pointed me towards the table next to the door where she had piled a few things for me. Some chocolate bars, postcards of Virginia and another copy of her address so I could mail her. She then asked if I would come visit again before she headed up to her balcony to wave me off.

Me in the bike house.
This is what I have in store today!

The climb continues straight after Junes house and she stood out to wave, as I climbed round the first few bends I looked back down to Afton and could still see her standing there, we waived one last time and I was off. Today was going to be the killer, for the past few days I had glanced over at the huge elevation profile forcast. I would be going up and over the blue ridge mountains of Virginia. Many previous TransAm cyclists I’ve read of have said these are as hard as the rockies despite the fact they are much smaller because of the gradients.

There are (look away mum) black bears on the mountain but apparently they are very rarely seen up here, so I didn’t see any. The climbing was really tough crawling up at 4mph, I was going no faster than walking. I stopped at the visitor centre for a rest stop and saw and adventure cycling coach pull in. The driver was leading one of the official van supported groups you can pay thousands to go along with. That option never interested me before the trip, he informed me the group is just behind me and will be staying in the small settlement of Love tonight halfway up the mountain. Thats exactly why I wasn’t with them, I want to have freedom of doing and going wherever I like. I planned on finishing the Blue Ridge in a day so sucked up some more gatorade and cranked out.

Further up I continued to stop at the spectacular lookout points and met another bunch of cyclists going the other way, they instantly offered to fill up my water an gave me a sandwich before telling me whats ahead, lucky for them it was all downhill now the other way. This is where things got really hard as I began to tire but the road just kept bending up. Eventually I made it to the top with the sweating literally pouring of my arms and dripping of the tip of my nose. Now for the fun part, I flew down the other side of the mountain to Vesuvius and what had taken about 3 hours to get up must have took no longer than three minutes to get down.

Best riding of the trip so far.

These grades never seem to look steep in pictures 🙁

I knew I could camp at a place called Gerties in Vesuvius but went right through town without seeing it. I was only 10 miles from another campite so decided my exhausted limbs could make it. I arrive at the nicely named Mallard Duck Campground to find what seems like half trailer park/half rubbish dump with nobody in site or a store. Lexington is about another 10 miles away, can I go anymore? I ration my last half bottle of water out and set off again its only around 3pm. The weather and wind is now the hottest and warmest yet an can feel it burn right through the sun cream.

Face shade

There was another big climb up to Lexington and cars flying past, its a fairly big town with more colleges and its graduation weekend. I walk my bike through town dripping with sweat and slightly sunburnt, everyone walks past and looks at me like an alien. Finally I get down to south main street and find the Red Carpet Inn (nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds). One final calamity, I somehow manage to drop my bike and fall with it cutting some of my fingers, so stroll up to the desk sweaty, sunburnt and blood dripping from my hand. But I’ve just turned a really tough 30 mile day into a 50+ mile day.

Nobody said it would be easy.

I shower, rub antiseptic into my fingers then order a large “The Meats” pizza and 2 litre bottle of sprite from Papa Johns for only $10! Whilst watching My Name Is Earl on TV, Heaven.







10 responses to “Day 7: Going Up!”

  1. Chris Douglass Avatar
    Chris Douglass

    Nice reward for a hard day that like!! Had a gatorade today and thought of you so as soon as I came home I checked your blog and buzzed off 2 new entries I hadn’t read (and didn’t expect as you’d said you’d have no wifi for a few days!). Me and Nathan are going to your old flat today to pay our deposit and first month rent! Wish all 3 of us were living there! Keep riding safe bud!

  2. Benjamin Avatar

    Yet another good post, bet you feel much better getting them extra 20+ miles in! The meat feast sounds nice too, especially for the price. Looking forward to more posts ASAP!!!!

  3. Jack Stoddart Avatar
    Jack Stoddart

    Its unbelieavable how much you are making me, and probably most of the people following these blogs, want to do this. Sigh

  4. Scott Avatar

    Reading Kerouac and your posts are making me wish I was doing this.

  5. Greenman Avatar

    Now ryan, following your blog daily.Looks like your having fum. Even got my dad to log on and take a read. Keep cranking hard mate. Ps took a look at my bike today. Maybe tommorrow i may take it for a spin.

  6. ryan Avatar

    Thanks guys, no riding today unfortunately. The weather was forecast flash floods and I had to do washing and clean and tune my bike. Plus I was a little tired so everything led to a zero miles day.

    @Greenman, going through my tube of savlon FAST, creaming over every cut and graze.

    @Stoddart & Scott, you got plenty of time and its never too late.

  7. Nate Dogg Avatar
    Nate Dogg

    I am a fan of “the meats” on a late shift at work, tasty grease right there. Fancy some of that downhill on the old longboard 😛 maybe not the uphills though, unless you had a tow-rope!

  8. Craig Campbell (Cuz) Avatar
    Craig Campbell (Cuz)

    Hi Ryan… looks like you have had a good day today, keep plugging in there. If the weather here is anything to go by your in for a wet ride, been raining constant now for 2 days, but I’ve been told summer will be here again on Tuesday, something I have learnt is they are pretty spot on with the report’s both side’s of the border. Working off your Schedule do you have a rough ETA of when you might be arrive in Montana, I know its a long way off yet but just give’s me a heads up. I’m going to speak to my boss on Mon to see if I can get away for a couple of days and I’ll see you there lol. Might even be able to finish the ride with you if you fancy the company…. food for thought.

    Stay safe and I hope you have a good day 8.


  9. Helen and kids Avatar
    Helen and kids

    Hi Ryan,
    Loving the posts and can’t believe how friendly and helpful everyone is…. The Cookie Lady sounds adorable – you’ll have to include her address in your blog so us readers can drop her a postcard and donation. Take care and so very proud of you. xxx

  10. Mike Anderson Avatar
    Mike Anderson

    Oh, didn’t I tell you about the climbs in western Virginia ?
    save a little for “West Virginia”. Really enjoying this Ryan, take care.

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