Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 6, The hills just keep on coming

Day 6, Troutville, VA – Newbern, VA 70 miles (395 total)

Time on bike: 7:36:13

Avg: 9.8 mph

Daily Ascent: 5645 ft (81 ft/mile)

Max: 34.5 mph

I left Troutville, VA and headed for Nanny’s for sausage gravy ‘n biscuits. I wasn’t sure I’d found the right place. It was a log-cabin looking structure with gas pumps outside and 3 men sitting out front talking farmin’. “I’m looking for ‘Nanny’s’.” “You found it,” I was told. Inside looked like a convenience store, but there was a back room with a few tables for dining and a 13” TV in the corner. “Single or double order?” Nanny asks me. “Better make it a double.” I scarf down my delicious breakfast and Nanny asks me to tell my friends about the place.

Today was a roller coaster of hills. Up one, down another. It was better than my climbing yesterday, but still slow going. I went through back roads of Virginia today to be sure. Old rustic barns and silos dotted the valleys with fields littered with rolls of hay. It was beautiful and difficult all in the same day.

I gave my bike a name today too. “Betsy”. Ol’ Betsy and I weren’t getting along too great today. She wouldn’t let me clip my cleats into the pedals when I’d get started and she also won’t drop down into the lowest gear on the front. I could adjust my derailer to make it work right, but then I wouldn’t have anything to yell at Betsy about. I also named my trailer, Steve. I don’t really talk much to Steve. He tags along behind and doesn’t bother me much, except for the hills. He’s rather steady and reliable.

Just before Christiansburg there’s a steep hill called “Danger Hill”. It winds its way up to the city. On one corner it was just too steep and I lost my balance and had to hop off the bike and push it the rest of the way up, which suited me just fine. I looked in my guide book just now and it notes an alternate route. Wish I would have found that sooner.

I got an email today from Nick the guy who helped Chancy and I back in Charlottesville. He told me, “Remember, it’s not about riding the bike. It’s about the people you meet along the way.” Tonight, rain was coming in and I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it to the campgrounds, so I asked a family if I could put up a tent in their yard. They said it’d be ok and then they offered me a huge plate of spaghetti for supper. Their two little boys, 3rd graders, I’d imagine, had all kinds of questions about my bike and my journey across the US. Kevin, the youngest, insisted on sitting out on the porch with me while I ate.

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