59.21 miles (Total: 401.23) Average Speed: 10.8mph Max Speed: 30.5mph
I was up and waiting for the motel breakfast to begin as I was keen to get an early start towards Radford. Last night I rang Dr Lee, whose card I had picked up from the bike house. He did the TransAm back in 1998 and now he lets cyclists stay at his home. I devoured waffles, cereal and eggs then drank a 5 hour energy shot which I had picked up the previous day.
I’m often sceptical of these energy drinks but this thing was immense. I knew the first 20 miles were going to be mostly uphill towards Catawba but I powered through them staying in a pretty high gear the whole time just sprinting over the hills. It was Sunday and really early so the roads were quiet and the weather was perfect. I found a turtle in the road and moved him off to save him from certain death, they crawl out to sun themselves which is pretty stupid.
After climbing over the crest of one hill I suddenly spot another cyclist up ahead, hes not local, he has pannier bags like me, he must be on the TransAm! So I stand on my pedals again and sprint, remember I was on fire today. He soon heard me charging up behind and glanced back to see me. It was 26 year old Cooper from Minnesota and he IS on the TransAm, I asked where he was heading today and he says the Lee’s house in Radford, me too! They had told him an English guy was also staying, that guy being me. We talked bikes, bags and equipment whilst forgetting about the ride, the next 20 miles flew by. We both agreed a week after starting it was great to have company, it also turns out he stayed at the motel I was at in Lexington the same night.
Cooper needed to take a leak at the side of the road so we stopped, seconds later a truck pulled down the driveway right where he went, uh oh. But the they just smiled and waved oblivious to what had just went down. We stopped at the small town of Ellet to refuel on some gatorade and bananas and talked about the cookie lady. He had slept in the bike house alone too which is a VERY scary place in the dark with all that old stuff hanging around and the old furnishings.
We had another 20 miles until Radford, the next 7 were going to be a killer uphill towards Christiansburg. It was tough but seemed to finish alot early than either of us had anticipated. From there on it was an amazing downhill coast all the way to Radford. We stopped in at Arby’s to get some grub before finding the Lee’s house. We were welcomed in with glasses of iced water and then told we could shower, do laundry before flipping for the bed/sofa for the night. AMAZING.
We also finished our first map today the new one finishes off Virginia then takes us midway through Kentucky. We later worked out by mileage we had completed 10% of the trip.