Beautiful, productive, but shorter day today. I got up at 5:30 because I really didn’t want to deal with traffic on the road to my hotel like I’d done yesterday. I got ready and was out the door by 6:30 after a quick convenience store breakfast (pro tip: buy it the night before to speed up mornings). The road wasn’t totally traffic free but it was much better than it had been the day before and I got back to the route without much trouble. It was a pretty, cool, clear morning, giving no indication of the rain from Hurricane Ida that was supposed to hit later in the day.
The goal for the day was to make it to Lexington, VA. There I’d get a hotel and ride out the remains of the hurricane tomorrow, and go to a bike shop to fix my still wobbling crank arms.
For the entire day I would either be on highway 11 or on a road paralleling it. I soon turned onto one of those roads and enjoyed a beautiful bit of riding. The road crossed a railroad several times, and went under it at one point
I rode parallel to the interstate for a time before coming to a convenience store and a decision: the route continued down a fork to my left, while to my right was Natural Bridges State Park, a park containing a massive stone archway. I decided that there’s no point doing this ride if I’m not going to see new things so I headed to the park. It was something
I walked the main trail through the park and learned that it had once been owned by Thomas Jefferson. There was a creek that runs hidden through the mountain underground that had been blasted open years ago, waterfalls, and the typical heavy woods of Virginia. It was nice to sightsee by foot instead of by bike but it was quite a bit slower than I’m used to.
The highway that I rode in on actually goes right overtop of the arch. It made me a little sad, and impressed that a natural monument like that had been turned into a stretch of highway but it was cool to ride over it. After my detour I headed back to the route which involved a short but steep climb.
I turned onto a one lane road and knew that I was in for a low traffic pleasant ride for the 15 remaining miles to Lexington. It didn’t disappoint. I rode through flowering fields, handsome historical plantation houses, and decaying infrastructure for 10+ miles and saw very few cars.
There was a bit of a climb at the start but that gave way to, for once, a road running downhill with a stream. Eventually I turned away from the stream and had to climb but that was close to Lexington and I knew I was almost done. I pulled into the attractive little town and decided that I was glad that I’d chosen to stay here for the forced rest day from the storm
I headed first to the bike shop, the wobbling cranks had gotten worse and I wanted them to take a look. The shop was called Red Newt Bikes and the owner, Dave, and the mechanic, Asa, were both amazing. They spent several hours working on what turned out to be a complicated issue. At first we thought that the issue was the bottom bracket but it seemed fine. Then, Dave and Asa realized that there’s a plastic insert that is coming out of the bracket which allows the cranks to wobble. They discussed options with me including replacing the cranks but supplies are hard to come by right now. Instead, they ended up fabricating a spacer out of a bit of cut seatpost tube. This spacer will hold the plastic insert in place. None of us knew where exactly the old spacer had gone, or indeed if there was one. It’s a mystery how the cranks got into this situation. Regardless, they charged me for only an hour of time when they spent more than that, so I really appreciate it.
While they worked I went and got gelato and tea at a coffee shop and went to visit the grave of Stonewall Jackson, a confederate general.
It’s just a Hampton Inn but they’ve done a good job. The house the lobby is in was built in 1850. I got checked in then took a shower and rested for a bit. The rain started around this time, relatively light at first but getting more intense as the day closed. I got some pizza and some groceries for tomorrow. If I don’t have to leave the room that would be fine with me. I’m gonna watch a movie then head to bed. Night!
- Naked juice
- 3x coffee cake bites
- Peace tea
- Chai tea
- Cinnamon bun
- Cheese sticks
- Milk duds