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Different day than what I’m used to, but not bad. After I wrote last night’s post I passed out at 9 and woke up at 7. I think I was exhausted. I needed to go to the bike shop to get a broken spoke fixed, and the earliest one opened at 10. I got packed then headed to a bagel place for breakfast. The bagel was flaccid but it was calories. I headed to a Starbucks and got a chai tea, where the employee told me she gets to work at 3 am and leaves at 11. I headed over to the bike shop and got there right as the owner did. He told me he could help me out, but it would be a little while. I didn’t understand what he meant until he unlocked the door and the shop was packed to the brim with bikes, as in, bikes were completely filling every inch of the store space. The owner, whose name was Dave, started pulling them out. I volunteered to help so I grabbed bikes from their crammed in locations (some where upside down, some were wedged into their neighbors, chaos) and handed them to him, and he set them up for display outside. He talked while we worked about his 40 years in the bike industry and a million other things. I liked talking to him. We cleared just enough bikes to get to the tools then he helped me pop off the cassette and found a replacement spoke and nipple. I got it in then he took the wheel to the back of the shop, stepping around and on bikes, forks, wheels, tools, and other miscellaneous equipment and he started to true the wheel. He found that the wheel has some loose bearings and that he had the tools to fix it, but he didn’t know where they were. I told him to leave it as long as I can make it to the coast. He said fine and tried the wheel. I got the tire back on. He charged me $5 for all that. We talked for a while more and by the time I left it was 11:30. One of my latest starts. I got an immediate steep descent from Blacksburg and soon rejoined the route. The road I was on wound me through valleys for most of the day. There was some climbing and steep short hills, but nothing I haven’t seen before. The traffic was light. The weather was hot and humid, owing to the late start. It reaffirmed my belief that early wakeups are the way to go. I’m just going to dump my photos because there isn’t too much to say about them

I was going down a long straight road when I saw what I though was a dog on the side of the road. Turned out it was a baby cow.

I petted it and it was very sweet. I tried to give it some water but it wouldn’t drink. When I squirted the water it got scared and moved out into the road. It looked unsteady. I didn’t want to just leave it but wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t see anyone else around so I just rode off. I hope it’s alright. 
As I climbed I started to feel movement in the pedals. Uh oh. I pulled off and it felt like the bottom bracket: the cranks moved side to side as I pulled them. Unlucky. The day before the guy I’d rode with for an hour told me about a shop outside Roanoke called Just the Right gear. It was pretty close to the route so I decided to go there. I pulled into the town of Catawba and took a right on 311 towards the shop instead of a left on 779. This was a busy road but there was a shoulder. I had a big descent followed by a bigger climb to get over the Catawba mountain. On the side of the road were the most fragrant flowers of the entire trip. I don’t know what they were but they smelled amazing.

This was a treat because  I got covid a few months ago and my smell is still pretty bad, so strong smells are amazing. At the summit (right where the Appalachian trail crossed) I turned off the main road and rode a steep winding side road down the far side of the mountains. Here’s the first switchback

The views were great

At the bottom I stopped at a convenience store and got a soda and ice cream. A guy walked in with no shirt on and tattoos saying gangsta across his stomach. I didn’t talk to him.
I got back on the road and made it the few miles further to the shop. The people in there were super friendly and diagnosed the problem as a worn piece that goes around the crank arm shaft. Replacing it seemed to fix the play, and they got it done quickly. The owner told me a safe way to get through town, and gave me a sticker to advertise on the front of my bag. I thanked them and got a move on. The road into town (Roanoke) was busy and with a narrow shoulder, but I soon left it and got on a quieter road paralleling interstate 81. I followed the bike shop guys directions until I turned onto highway 11. This is a super busy 4 lane road and I did not like it. I pulled into a subway to rest and catch my breath. I got a footlong and looked at sleeping options for the night. I felt good, and could keep going, bit it was 4 and I don’t like riding past 5 or so. I got a room at a super 8 10 miles further down the road. Unfortunately it was 10 miles on 11, during rush hour. I went slowly and waited for breaks in traffic to proceed. It was not fun riding. I finally got to the end of this segment, which meant that I needed to turn onto another four lane highway to reach my hotel. This section was also a freeway onramp, with traffic merging and exiting and entering, and none of it looking for bikes. I sat for probably 10 minutes trying to figure out the traffic pattern and the best time to go, before deciding that here was no good time to go. There was constantly heavy traffic. I waited for a lull then just said fuck it and got into the center lane (the right lane was a high speed freeway onramp) and rode as fast as I could. A light must have turned green behind me because out of nowhere cars started blasting past me to my left and right. At least they were passing me, not hitting me. I got past the onramp and a shoulder appeared, and my hotel was only 50 feet further. I breathed a sigh of relief. That didn’t last long until I noticed more play in the cranks, the play that I thought had been fixed earlier today. Damn, but I’ll deal with it tomorrow. I got checked in, took a shower (managing to flood the bathroom in the process) and started some laundry. I’m going to go get some food at a Mexican restaurant soon.
I’m gonna leave early and may do a huge day up the Blue Ridge Parkway. More likely I’ll leave early and stop in Springfield, 40 miles away. There’s the remnants of Hurricane Ida coming through Virginia and there’s a flood watch in effect, so rain will be heavy. I want to be somewhere cool for my potential forced rest day as the rain passes. For now, food. Night!

Distance: 40


  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • Bacon egg and cheese bagel
  • Matcha tea
  • Chai tea
  • Soda
  • Ice cream
  • Footling turkey sandwich
  • Cookies
  • Soda
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