Friday, 10 June 2011

Day 8: Looking forward to rest day!

Day 8
Daleville to Christiansburg 47miles
Another earlyish start today. Had some breakfast in the motel, and then set off around 8.45ish.
Today the plan was to get to Christiansburg, which marks a bit of a mile stone. Its the end point for the first map on the TransAm trail. Officially, the distance to Christiansburg is 367miles, so progress is being made slowly!

Today was another up and down type day. The overall gradient was an upward one for first 25miles, but the roads were very undulating, with some short steep climbs. The views today were definitely nicer than yesterday. My understanding (might be wrong!) is that the route at the moment is going between the two ranges of mountains that make up the Appalachians. So to the sides of the road, we get some nice views of the mountains as we ride alongside them.

The problem of course is that at some point in the next week, I'll have to go over the other range! Many people say that the Appalachians are the hardest part of the TransAm route. Whilst the Rockies reach much higher elevations (11,500ft at the highest point of the trail) the climbs are much less severe, and less undulating. Whereas the Appalachians are up and down, with much steeper climbs. Definitely got a feel for that today!

Stopped off at Catawba after about 18miles for a gatorade (what else?) and a ham sandwich. Soon after we encountered a couple of hikers, Bob and Bryce, who were walking a section of the Appalachian trail. They had met after a couple of days on the trail, and were now 3 weeks in. They were planning on taking around 10 weeks to do their walks. Bob, who was older, is trying to complete the complete trail (over 2,000) miles in sections. When I was waiting for my bike to be fixed in Charlottesville, I remember reading that the record for walking the entire trail was something like 45days – must be a hell of a pace!

Wasnt as hot today, and the miles slowly ticked over. At around 40miles we reached a gas station. Went in for a drink, to be told that cyclists wearing a helmet can get a free bottle of water – excellent.

The last few miles into Christiansburg were pretty tough, with very steep climbs. It seems that every town I finish the day in is on the top of a massive hill. I reckon it must be a strategic thing. With the strategy being to try and convince cyclists that they really should get a car!

Spending the night in yet another motel. I know, I know...
But tomorrow I am planning a rest day. After 8 days on the road, my legs are in need of a rest and I also need to do some mundane stuff like laundry and bike cleaning. Dave is carrying on tomorrow, so we will part company after today. Although I guess I could catch him up in the future, is schedule is a bit tighter than mine though, so he will probably get ahead of me.

So overall, not a bad start to the trip. At the moment im still a little behind what my average daily mileage needs to be, but I am doing the hardest part of the ride. Once the flatlands of Kansas hove into view, I reckon 70-80 miles a day should be doable. My next ride on Sunday should be around 65miles, so that will be a record for a day so far if it comes off – and it wont even be a motel Im staying in either!

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