18 April 2008

Appalachians

Me!

I had a nice stopover in Charlottesville last night with a cheap and cheerful motel bed and wifi for the first time. It is a really pretty town and the biggest I have been through so far and is largely made up of students from the University of Virginia. The Uni was made infamous by last year's shooting of 32 students by a crazy Korean guy and the anniversary was on Wednesday.

Yesterday I decided to do some kit streamlining as looking at my load, I feared that I had too much 'luxury weight' to be able to take on the mountains ahead. I binned some cheap clothing and mailed some excess electricals back home. The bags are a lot lighter now but I hope I haven't overdone it and left myself short....will keep you posted on that front.

Trees
I set off at silly o'clock this morning as I wanted to make a good start on the Appalachian Mountains ahead of me and soon came to a beast called Aftin Mountain. This was painfully steep and so I was glad to be attacking it early before the afternoon sun kicked in!

About half way up I was tempted to stop off to visit 'The Cookie Lady' a famous woman among TransAm cyclists, who offers food and shelter to riders. I had received an email the previous day from the Adventure Cycling Association saying that she had recently had a stroke and so I
thought I would keep my good pace to the top of the hill instead.

About to Climb
Pouring with sweat like a catholic priest on a school bus I headed on to the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway and then finished my book in the shade for 3 hours to let the temperature drop before the scary downhill ride into the town of Vesuvius.
Entering the Parkway
The name was apt in terms of heat since this 3 mile descent went at such a speed that you have to stop to let your brake pads, rims and tires cool down for fear of them breaking. V.scary!


The rest of the day was relatively flat by rivers with a couple of short climbs before a very late arrival at a cheap hotel for a well earned bed. I think in hot weather it makes sense to split the day like this to avoid the afternoon heat.

View from Parkway

2 comments:

Lorna said...

UVI is not the same as Virginia Tech! However, glad all is going well. Charlottesville is a really pretty town. We know it very well!
Climb those mountains!
Lorna

Andy said...

Ah ok. Bloody polytechnics!