Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Day 19: Going off route

Day 19
Berea to Bardstown 74miles

Today was the day I lost any claim to be a TransAm purist. For those who strive to cover every mile of the route exactly as it is laid down in the maps I probably no longer exist. But I dont really care!

Today was the day I finally made it to Danville to get my wheel looked at. But to do that I had to go “off route”. So instead of following the TransAm route I took a different direction out of Berea on a couple of lovely quiet backroads, before joining a busier road for a few miles. The roads were so much flatter than previous days. Even the uphills I couldnt really call climbs, more like slopes. Quite a few of them could be taken with the middle ring on the front cog – quite a change from previous days! And the most amazing thing happened – someone asked me for directions and I was actually able to help them! They wanted to get to Berea , and having just come from there I felt confident in giving directions. In reality, the poor guy is probably still driving round now!

The flatter roads meant I could keep a much faster pace. And by 11am I was at the bike shop in Danville. The guys in the shop were very helpful. Most of them had done the TransAm so knew what it was like to need things fixed. The guy dealing with my bike managed to fix my wheel, and I also purchased a few spare spokes, a better pump than the one I currently had and some special riding cream for the 'downstairs' areas! Also met a few other riders who were in the shop having spoke trouble. They were doing the route 10days at a time over a number of years, which actually strikes me as a nice way to spend your summer holidays.

Went to grab a sandwich and was given a free cookie as it was my first visit to the shop! And anyone who knows me, knows I wont ever turn down a cookie!

Originally, my plan had been to just get to Danville and stay there the night. But I decided that if I am ever going to finish this ride, I need to start doing some long days. So I aimed to get all the way to Bardstown, which was originally my target destination for tomorrow.

However, the quickest way there meant doing more roads not on the route. So thats exactly what I did! I basically shadowed the main route, but was about 10miles or so south of it.

At one point though, I did think I'd taken a wrong turn!

Really felt good riding today, the extra miles were not too tiring and by the time I got to Bardstown I had done 74 miles – comfortably my highest day yet. And by not following the route I had actually made up a few extra miles – it would have been around 90miles had I followed the maps precisely.

Spending the night in “My old Kentucky home” state park. Feel like I got my accommodation the wrong way round this week. Last night was supposed to be rainy and thundery so I got a motel. Weather turned out to be lovely. Tonight Im camping and there are currently thunder storms raging as I type this!

The campsite has a golfcourse, and just now they had to call everyone off the course due to lightening. Which is a shame, as I think Wenlock fancies himself as the next Rory McIlroy!
Golf isnt yet an Olymic sport though!

Its currently chucking it down. It might be a pretty soggy night tonight! And when it rains here, boy does it rain! Once my tent was up, the rain came down for about 3hrs straight. Luckily by about 8.30 it had stopped enough for me to nip into town for some food.

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