Monday, 6 June 2011

Day 4: Shedding kit and fixing bikes

Photos to follow - blogspot was being funny when I tried to upload them earlier!

Day 4
Mineral to Charlottesville 55 miles

A few more riders turned up at the fire station during the afternoon. There was Nicolas, a french person I also met on the first night in Chickahominy, and then 3 who turned up at the same time. There was Dave and Paul, a father and son from NY state, and another Dave, from Connecticut.
The father and son seemed quite 'serious' and were planning on getting to California in 2 months. They had already done two 80 mile days! The other Dave had ridden with them, and was planning on going to Oregon.
Myself and the Younger Dave went for a pizza, before I turned in at about 10. I had planned to head off early as I wanted to get to Charlottesville and then post some kit home and also get the gears looked at on Whiskey.

I slept in a hall in the station, so didnt have to pack my tent away in the morning. So by 6.30 I was on the road. The first part of the route was a 30 mile ride to Palmyra. Soon after setting off I saw a road sign which made me think of a better cyclist than me! Nice bit of early morning inspiration!

The route to Palmyra was pretty undulating, with some quite tough climbs. My gearing problems werent helping, as the big cogs at the back kept slipping. I was also feeling an occasional 'clicking' on the pedals, which I thought was just the gears not engaging. Bit later I found it that wasnt the case...

Anyway, got to Palmyra just before 9am and saw the post office. I didnt expect it to be open till 10, but it opened at 9 so decided to send home some kit. Last night I had experimented with ditching a few things and getting rid of the front panniers, and instead utilise the space on the parcel shelf and in my small backpack.

The big decision I had to make was to get rid of the cooking gear. The other guys at the fire station all had no cooking gear, and I think that convinced me to lose it. I left my saucepans (already knocked out of shape) and the stove and tablets at the fire station. Then at the post office I packed up the folliwing
my running vest
1 of my base layers
1 pair of cycling shorts
Arm protectors
Woolly hat
plastic dining set
the front panniers

All told, I managed to shift about 5kgs of weight which hopefully will help in the mountains.

After the post office, I grabbed a sandwich and an OJ from the food store, and really started to notice the heat. It was 10am by now, and the temperature was rising fast. I'd been lucky in the previous days with the weather, but it wasnt going to be the case today! Also rang a bike shop in Charlottesville to check I could bring Whiskey in.

The second part of the ride was also tough. Up and down (always seems to be more up than down!) and the heat was really starting to get to me. Took quite a while to get to Charlottesville in the end, and really found the hills tough. Whats worrying is that they will seem like speed bumps compared to the upcoming Blue Ridge mountains!!!

Was dead on my feet by the time I got to the Budget Inn, my home for the night. It was like something out of a movie – exactly what I imagined a US motel to look like!
I keep expecting a police shootout to start at any time

Despite being pretty tired, I then rode another couple of miles back across town to the bike shop. The guy's customer service could do with some polish, but he knew his stuff. Sorted out my gears, and then I asked if I could borrow a pump. When pumping up my tires, I realised what was causing that clicking. One of my chain links had snapped on one side!

I guess its one of those lucky/unlucky things. Unlucky to have a knackered chain, but lucky to have noticed whilst in a bike shop! Got a new chain fitted (went for an extra strong one!) and then back to the hotel. One the way noticed this shop! Interesting name.

Went for some late lunch across from the hotel, and then had a bit of a rest. My legs are really sore today. Going to head out later when the temperature drops and have a look round the University of Virginia campus (my motel is right by it) and also wander down to a nice looking area with loads of restaurants – definitely wont be pizza tonight! Also, based on what Hollywood has told me, I expect to be invited to at least 13 frat parties with free flowing beer!

Tomorrow planning a shorter ride of around 28miles to Afron. There is free accommodation for cyclists there and it sits right at the foot of the climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Supposed to be stunning views from the top, but it does involve around 3000ft of steep climbing!

Definitely the toughest day yet, and the weather forecasts for the next few days is hot hot hot! At least I should get a good tan!

Everythign feels better after a beer!
Went for a walk round campus and to grab some dinner once it cooled off a bit.
The campus area is really nice and exactly what I picture historic American universities to look like.

The centre piece is the Rotunda, design by Thomas Jefferson, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. Most of the other major buildings (including ones I suspect are much newer) are also designed in the same style. The campus and surrounding areas in town are also noticeably much more bike and pedestrian friendly than pretty much any place I've been to in the US.
Not as impressive as the lecture theatre block at Surrey Uni though

Had a beer and a lasagne, and even managed to pick up some 'soothing' cream for my sensitive areas! They were getting a bit sore!

So a good end to a tough day. Hopefully have a bit of a lie in tomorrow, and then head over to Afton on a fully working Whiskey!

1 comment:

  1. Hi little brother, glad to see all is going well - apart from the "SORE AREAS". Take care, love the dukes of hazard car and the mincers shop - genius!