Charles City, VA to Mineral, VA - 98 Miles (139 total)
So much for taking it easy. We left Charles City and headed West past a number of beautiful plantations and rolling wheat covered hills. At times the fields of corn and the red barns and silos reminded me a great deal of Indiana. There were no restaurants in Charles City so we couldn’t get breakfast so we stopped at a convenience store a few miles up the road. We grabbed about $10 worth of trail mix and Gatorade. I then explained that we were riding for a cause (Bike for Compassion) and inquired as to whether he could give us a discount. “Just take it,” he told us, so we thanked him profusely and made off with our stash.
We stopped 35 miles down the road in Mechanicsville which is just north of Richmond at Panera Bread for an extended lunch which included free interneting. After 2 hours we were back on the road. We passed civil war battlefields with Union canons pointed towards the oncoming Confederate lines.
We biked and biked and biked. The hills started coming at around mile 60 and they kept coming for most of the rest of our trip today. I stopped along our route when I saw a sign that just said “honey”. I know from my running that honey is wonderful fuel for extended workouts, so I went for a squeeze bottle. A frail little old woman answered the door and took me to her garage which had wood working supplies and bottles for filling honey. “It’s not real formal around here,” she told me as she went to fetch the honey from what looked like a humongous coffee pot with a nozzle near the bottom. She filled up a bear-like squeeze bottle for me and then wouldn’t take any money from me for it. I thanked her and then noticed the her address on the label of the bottle. I’ll have to send her a post card.
We then began looking for a place to stop to refresh ourselves with a Gatorade and some snacks. The map showed a convenience store just up the raod, but when whe reached it it appeared to have been abandoned yaears ago. We continued on. A few houses lined the street, but no towns, no villages, no sign of organized civilization. The map again showed a convenience store, but again no. A third time and still nothing. We had water but in the muggy heat of the Virginia sun we were in need of more than water. Finally, over the crest of a hill, in the middle of nowhereseville, VA was a small store that said “Route 76 Mart”, meaning that it was along our bike trail. Parched, we parked our bike only to have a hefty man walking out with two sticks of pop-ice for us! How amazing! He invited us in and told us we could camp there for the night if we wished. We thanked him and ate our free snacks and guzzled some sports drinks while sitting in some cushy chairs provided with our feet on the throw rug. It was some oasis, I have to tell you.
Lastly, we circled up near Lake Anna as we closed in on our cycling day. The water looked so tempting that we had to take a short swim. The water was so warm that it felt more like bath water than a nice, refreshing lake.
Finally we arrived in Mineral to find a Firehouse that hosts cyclists with a kitchenette, TV, DVD player, laundry facilities, Air Conditioning, etc free to cyclists. It was a really nice place to stumble upon.
We’ll see how our bodies feel tomorrow after cycling 100 miles today!