Great day. I woke up at 6:30 and got ready. I was feeling tired and sluggish but I did my best to get moving. I got a pretty uninspired continental breakfast at the hotel, but there were two older people there who I chatted with about the ride and their adventures. I got on the road to heavy fog. I had a big climb to get back to the road from my hotel and halfway up I heard the ping of a spoke snapping. I tightened up the adjacent spokes and it was true enough to get me to a bike shop. Unfortunately it’s Sunday so everything is closed. I’ll have to go Monday morning. I got back to riding through the fog.
I reached the interestingly named town of Max Meadows and stopped at a convenience store that was closed. The owner (or clerk I don’t know) pulled up in a pickup and opened up early for me and another customer. He was super interesting and seemed to really like bikers. He told me about all the interesting people he’s met and asked me about my ride. He told me about his hobby, which is trash collecting. He says he goes and digs up places where people to trash to try and find valuables. To each their own.
I said goodbye and left the store and hit a longish climb. Didn’t I say on yesterday’s post that the climbs were done? Yes, but unfortunately there are still rolling hills and they’re no joke, they can sneak up on you. I was still feeling weak and ‘flat’ so I was going pretty slow. I joined a frontage road that paralleled the interstate for 10 miles or so, passing by this sign. It’s always nice to see support for cyclists from the government.
I turned onto an overpass over the interstate and waved at traffic. A semi honked enthusiastically back which made me quite happy for some reason. I climbed a steep hill them got a beautiful but short descent
I kept moving and rode through the hilly farm and forest land until I reached the charming town of Draper. It’s a tourist town and I stopped at an old general store that had been converted to a large restaurant. I sat outside and had a smoothie and an excellent breakfast sandwich. The host was super friendly and knew all about the transam and wished me well on the trip. As I was leaving a support car with badging for Cross the US for MS. I wanted to ask someone what the ride was about but I didn’t see anyone. I left and rode along a road somewhat busy with church traffic but soon turned off it. I saw a cool abandoned convenience store
I had a scary experience where a minivan passed very close and very fast. Near towns it seems like people are more aggressive with their passing but I don’t know. I rode past this antique weaponry collection
A few miles later I caught sight of a recreational rider ahead of me. I pushed a bit harder to catch him and eventually I did. He told me the Ride Across the US for MS is normally a cross country ride but this year for covid it’s just a 300 mile ride around Virginia for veterans of previous years. I said cool and wanted to ask him about his ride but a car pulled behind us and cut the conversation short. A short distance ahead was another rider and I briefly said hello then passed him too. Something in me got very competitive (it felt like I was on one of my road rides) and I pushed really hard through this section. It was beautiful with excellent climbs and descents. The road was narrow but not too trafficy and traffic was respectful. Eventually I turned to parallel the beautiful and wide New River
I crossed it a short while later, pulling into the town of Radford. I stopped for a slushee at convenience store and the clerk gave me a free bottle of water so that I wouldn’t get heat stroke. She also let me use the employee bathroom. Thanks anonymous kind person!
I got back to riding and turned onto a very steep hilly connector road. The hills were short though and it soon ended, giving way to another road that was also hilly but with a more mellow gradient. I passed a woman who had a bunch of stuff with her in bags. I asked if she was alright and she said not really, her daughter had just abandoned her on the side of the road. She looked like she was on drugs. I asked if she wanted me to call someone for her and she said she had no one to call. I said that if I could I would give her a ride and she said thanks anyway. I made sure she had water then left, feeling a bit bummed out. My mood soon recovered as a passed through beautiful trees and along bike friendly roads
A group of recreational cyclists caught me and asked all about my ride. One of them was an insanely buff dude with a heavy southern accent. He told me he’d toured from Denver back to his home right along the route last year. The other rides broke off but he and I kept going. He told me about his tour and asked me about mine. I didn’t really notice the miles passing as I rode through the endpoint of map 11 (of 12) in Christiansburg and then followed him on a bike path up to Blacksburg.
He said goodbye after giving me some recommendations in the area. During our ride he’d pulled out a knife that he said he’d use to gut the dogs in Kentucky, if needed, told me about his powerlifting hobby, and told me all about the area. Quite a character. I got his name but have forgotten it.
I booked the cheapest hotel I could (red carpet inn) find then rode through the very hilly but bike friendly town to get there. I got checked in then headed out to get pizza that a VT alumni friend had recommended. It was something
Unfortunately it started to pour and there was no sign that it would let up, so I left in the pouring rain. It was 2 miles back to the hotel and I was soaked. Near the hotel there’s Mexican food so I decided last minute to go for a second dinner there. It was pretty good. I left during a lull in the rain and got back to my room. It soon began to pour even harder, and thunder.
Im now sitting in my room enjoying the sound of rain. I’m planning out tomorrow, given that I need to stick around Blacksburg until the bike shop opens to fix my spoke. It may be a shorter day, we’ll see. Night!
- Honey bun
- Chocolate milk
- Breakfast sandwich
- Ice cream
- 2 massive slices of pizza
- Steak a la mexicana