Day 8, Damascus, VA – Lookout, KY 97 miles (584 total)
Time on bike: 10:24:39
Avg: 9.3 mph
Daily Ascent: 7146 ft (74 ft/mile)
Max: 34.5 mph
I left Damascus early this morning. It was a cold morning. I don’t know how cold exactly but I had to dig for my cold weather gear which I was saving for Colorado. I arrived at Hayters, VA and took a break there at the church. (Can you imagine going to “Hayters Church” every Sunday??) After cycling some easy terrain for the first 15 miles I came to a steep wooded incline and began to climb. Let me just say that it’s a good thing that these ascents wind through the wooded mountains, because if they were just laid out straight ahead, I’d have given up this trip long ago. Once you start to climb, all you see ahead of you is a turn. In your mind you think, “OK. After that turn it goes back down.” But it doesn’t go back down. It just goes to another turn. So you climb that one, hoping that it’ll go down next. And again it doesn’t. So you repeat this 30 times or so traveling at 4 mph. I refuse to walk up a hill. I have to conquer the hill, the hill cannot conquer me. It’s a battle of man vs nature. It’s about the struggle and the fight. Who will give up first. As long as I am moving, albeit slow, I haven’t given up. So an hour later, after all that climbing and all those turns, and at 4 mph that would mean that I’ve climbed for 4 miles straight, I reach the summit and proceed to coast down hill which seems to take all of 30 seconds before I’m at the bottom ready to climb the next hill!! Yikes!
It was a tough day today. There was a lot of climbing and a lot of hills. It’s awe inspiring to be cycling through the hills with steep rocks hanging overhead. It’s humbling in many ways also. I passed through the towns of Meadowview, Hayters Gap, Rosedale, Council, Bee and Birchleaf. I went past Breaks Interstate Park but didn’t enter. It’s not on an interstate highway, by the way. It’s called Interstate park because it’s between the states of Kentucky and Virginia.
Speaking of Kentucky, I’m in Kentucky now! Yipee! It’s GREAT to be in a new state! Already I’ve seen a bunch of Ford pickup trucks, tacky lawn ornaments and a number of double wide trailers. I think I’m going to like this state! I’ve heard the dogs are bad here and I’ve already had a few chasing me. Virginia, I’m told, has leash laws, whereas Kentucky doesn’t. I’d better have my doggie pepper spray handy!