Today started not so well. I woke up to Sheena rustling about and thought, “why is she up so early?” I checked my phone and realized that my alarm never went off. I got up in a panic and broke down camp quickly. My adrenaline was pumping so hard I didn’t need coffee! But after a delicious breakfast made by Woodchuck (the owner of the hostel we were staying at) we were off. We were nervous about today because of the elevation map and the dreaded Hayter’s gap, aptly named because we all hated it. It was 4 miles uphill at a grade of 8-10%. It was brutal on the legs! But although no one enjoyed it, we all agreed it wasn’t nearly as bad as we had envisioned. We all got up it in one piece.
Getting down, however, was another story. I was hoping that all the hard work I put into that uphill would reap the benefits of a nice downhill. Although it was a nice downhill, I did learn a valuable lesson: 30 MPH and gravel DO NOT mix. When taking a turn during the downhill, I noticed a patch of gravel I was headed right towards. I preemptively braked but could not avoid the patch. I swerved and got caught right in it. I wiped out completely, with my left knee taking the brunt of it. Luckily there was a guy sitting in his car on the exact curve and came out with a first aid kit ready to go. I bandaged my bleeding knee and limped off. Though I was embarrassed and hurt, I was more concerned about my bike. Seems to be running alright! And, ironically, not even a mile down the road I hit another patch of gravel and went right into a guardrail. Luckily for me, both times Meg was there to calm me down and make sure I was okay. Another lesson I learned was that a total wipeout (or two) may dampen your day, but it won’t destroy it. Also, I wasn’t the only victim of gravel. Ten wiped out three times. And, on another side note, Mary was a part of a bad accident. A car rear ended another car that was following her at a safe distance on a road without a shoulder. She was able to outpedal the almost devastating accident, but both cars did not fare well. One ended up in a ditch several feet off the road. All drivers are presumed to be okay. This caused a panic for me and Sheena, as a lady passed by Sheena in her car and told her that one of our girls was involved in a bad accident. We waited about half an hour for the unscathed Mary to make her miraculous appearance. Disaster averted!
We hit another bad hill getting into Council. It was shorter and less steep than Hayter’s, but it was all in the sun and we hit it during the hottest part of the day. It was a struggle, and apparently it was very obvious. A guy in a pick up truck offered me a ride into town, stating that the climb is steep and tough. I declined his offer, saying that I liked the challenge. He said he could relate, as he was ex-military. We got into camp shortly after and have been trying to stay out of the sun ever since. Tomorrow is a short, but hilly, ride. And our last day in Virginia!! Finally!
Total miles: 54.72
Time on bike: 4:56
Avg speed: 11.0 mph
Max speed: 36.2 mph