It’s All Downhill From Here

1 Oct

DAY 68 — Troutville, VA (Food pantry floor, Troutville Baptist Church) to Intersection of SR 56 and Blue Ridge Parkway, VA (Road median).

Total mileage: 62.6
Total cycling time: 5:40
Average speed: 11.0
Maximum speed: 35.3

The last uphill battle of the trip is over. And we won.

First, though, we had to contend with two setbacks. The morning downpour kept us indoors until noon, and less than two hours later, Elliot’s rear treads were worn all the way through the kevlar lining. Luckily, an Australian cyclist stopped to give us a dollar bill to patch the tire until we procured a replacement at the next bike shop.

As we finally started to make progress, even though darkness was quickly setting in, we chose to ascend the notorious Mt. Vesuvius. As if our arrival secretly triggered a change in weather, the evening mist immediately intensified into a heavy rain. Due to Elliot’s damaged derailleur, he was only able to bike one-third of the way before grinding his pedals to a halt. In solidarity, I walked the remaining two-thirds of the winding road with him in total darkness and 100% humidity.

Just as we thought the worst was behind us, we couldn’t find a sheltered campsite area at the summit. So, we braved the cold, wet mess and set up our tents on a road median.

This was our worst campsite to date. The setting was miserable. Water had soaked its way through the lining as we were setting up the tents. Wind had blown the walls of our tents like delicate tissue paper. Dinner was the only part of the evening that wasn’t absolute hell: we each changed our clothing and did our best to stay dry, while gnawing on half of a poultry carcass and hunched over two chocolate chip muffins.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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One Response to “It’s All Downhill From Here”

  1. Mikhail October 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I was wondering when you are going to get wet in these gossamwer tents ::)) Bad thing to look forward – great story to remember and to talk about! Stay focused. Love, dad

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