It’s 10pm, and we have taken a room at the Econo Lodge here in Charlottesville, Va. It has indeed been a day of extremes for us. Here they are in a nutshell:
We awoke in the tiny hamlet of Vesuvius, population 400, and now find ourselves in the crazy, noisy, crowded, “trafficky” city of Charlottesville, the biggest place we’ve seen since leaving Louisville. It is extremely busy here.
We successfully ascended the most extreme climb of the entire TransAm – the 2400′, ridiculously steep, four and a half mile mountain that is the Blue Ridge of Virginia. The climb was very challenging physically, like running a series of wind-sprints for an hour non-stop. In truth, I stopped three or four times for a minute or so to catch my breath. Devon rode the entire thing without stopping. Neither of us walked any of it. At one point another rider, a woman, spun past us. She was very fit, but wasn’t pulling a 40 lb trailer.
We met a westbound rider named Jeff, who was towing a bike trailer behind him that did not have gear in it, but had his 70 pound friend Bailey, a pit bull-lab mix!
Ten miles out of Charlottesville, I had the extreme misfortune of breaking a shifter cable, and had to limp the last miles into town with only three gears.
On the other hand, I had the extreme good fortune of finding Blue Ridge Cyclery, who have taken the time out of their day to help me out and make the repair. Thank you Blue Ridge!
So, we have had a very eventful day, and now find ourselves poised to complete this coast to coast adventure in four more days time. The mountains are all behind us, and before us lay only gentle hills and flat plains. It is strange to contemplate that this ride which has spanned five summers is close to completion. They say the Atlantic Ocean is far warmer than the waters of the Pacific coast. We shall find out soon!
PS. I figured out why they call the place Vesuvius; it’s because the mountain next to it could kill you!