Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 9: Mt Walker

Day #9) June 21, 2011. Peairsburg, Va to Hungary Mother State Park, Va– 75 miles in 5:32 hrs.

Ok, so after yesterday’s ride my legs definitely felt whipped this morning. First time in this trip that the snap was totally gone prior to the next day’s ride. But, that’s cross-country riding – at least half of the time the legs are just unresponsive. But after doing this enough you just know that you’ll be able to through and make a day of it.

So we left the “Dew Drop Inn” around 8:15am for a somewhat busy road which was needed to get us to a county route about an hour down the road. Neither Judy nor Bill wanted to ride on Route 100 South, so I was solo for a bit, and actually with it being so early in the morning the road was no big deal – except when it went from dbl lane to single lane lined by rock walls and no berm. Then it was a bit dicey feeling. But I got through ok. Judy joined me for the first leg of the day, down this west trending county road (not gravel) that was tucked in a stream valley. We had been told by a local that this was a flat in not somewhat descending stretch of road, buy let me tell you that was NOT the case. It was rolling with small climbs all the way for about 24 miles.

Judy was surprised that the road was not flat. But hey, I’d told her, this is bloody Virginia not Kansas. For Virginia that stretch of road could easily be considered flat compared to the mts that surround it. And compared to yesterday it WAS flat! My legs were in such a state of cement leg that I even let Judy pull for some stretches. And she did a great job helping this broken old biker get his legs back for the rest of the day. Now this particular road, 42, was a nice stretch of country road – not the stellar stuff from yesterday, but very nice nonetheless.

Got to Bland, Va by about 2:30 hrs into the ride and snagged a ice cold coke from Bill. I was beginning to feel somewhat better leg-wise, so going for our intended 6 hours seemed to be a lot more palatable. But looming at the end of the day, if I was to make it to Hungary Mother State Park for the day, was a pretty big mt climb up Walker Mountain. Judy continued on with me for another 15 miles on 42. Stopped for another ice cold coke and then Bill took over at about 3.5 hrs into the ride. Let me tell you, I never drink pop – except when it’s like 80+ degrees and I’m on a bike for 4+ hours. That’s when I live on ice cold coke! Instant blood sugar rush! I even had a couple pieces of pastry to add to the sugar buzz.

Bill and I were treated to really flat compared to the section that Jude had done with me. It was all big ring stuff that made my life much nicer in prep for the Walker Mt climb. So made a turn onto another county road and headed south towards Walker Mt and the climb. Problem was that we descended like crazy, loosing a ton of elevation on the way to the base of the climb. After the descending the inevitable arrive, and we began to climb.

The first mile or so was somewhat gradual that I did in the big ring, but by then, about 1pm, the sun was just blazing at about 86-88-degrees. And with no trees on this grazed foothills, it felt like a bloody oven. I was sweating so profusely that I had to take my sunglasses off and use my little sweat rag constantly as the sweat just ran down into my eye sockets like a small stream into a pond. Judy came by and insisted that I stop and take in some salt and more water but I just wanted to get that climb over and have a good end to the day. So I motioned her up the mt and just kept plugging away. Finally we got to the forested part of the road with the grazeland far below, where there were stretches of nice shape to ride under. I mean it made a huge difference riding in the shade as opposed to riding in the scorching sun. So that helped a ton.

And then the switchbacks started, nearly every 200 yrds was a steeper pitch into a switchback and then back to straights or a curve. By then it was middle cookie time, using the top three gears to the left. I’d go OTS on the switchback and then seated when the grade settled back. This went on for about 30 min. Speed was about 4.5-7 mph depending on the grade of the road. But it was damned slow that’s for sure. Saw Judy again about half way up the mt again, with her kind of raving at me to stop and get food and drink. But all I wanted to do was to finish off that climb with warm legs. I’d gorge on water and food at the summit. So I kept pushing.

After a full 40 min of climbing I hit the summit. Bill arrived about 3 min later. That’s when I splurged on water, ice-cold coke, cookies and fig newtons. We sat at the summit for about 20 min before beginning the descent, which, on new pavement was just superb. You could take like 25-30 mph into the sharp turns and not even have the wheel swish a bit. No gravel or cinder was in the turns to force you to really back off the speed. So we stayed ahead of Judy the whole way to Hungary Woman State Park.

The park is pretty impressive – very neat and clean, modern and big. Ended up getting an electrical site for my electronic junk. Went straight to the lake’s beach area and dipped – me with all my gear still on such that I could kill two birds with one stone. Bill and Judy did the swim suit thing. After riding up that mountain drenched in sweat that water felt just fabulous. I air dried on the beach and then we were off to the town of Marion to get some beer and check on a Chinese buffet. Pulled in a Wall-Mart mini mall area and low and behold there was the China Gate – with that beauteous “All you can eat” buffet sign in the window. Bill and I jumped on it like rabid dogs, while Judy decided that she wanted to eat back at the park at a restaurant inside the confines. Cool with me, I’d do the buffet and then go to the restaurant with here. So in we went while judy waited in the car.

Came out and Judy had decided to do a Subway, so that was next on the hit list. Back at the park right now working and doing the blog. I’ll attempt to use my air card to upload the blog, but I’ll tell you that getting a good signal in WVa and Va is the hardest of the three trips yet. I mean I was getting great cell signals way the hell out in the middle of Saskatchewan for God’s sake, but it’s like pulling teeth in the hills and hollows of WVa and Va. That’s why I have not been able to upload pictures on some days. I can do the blog but to get a 1.5 meg pic to upload, it’s just impossible with 1 bar. So some of the day without a wifi signal from a hotel/motel I’m barely even able to send and receive anything. So if no pics from today’s blog – you’ll know why. Although the park office is said to have wifi, so I could always drive up there with all my gear and give it a try.

Well, from Hungary Woman State Park……all the best……Pete

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