I went to the outhouses to change into my wet riding clothes. It was a cold and damp night with high humidity and my clothes didn't dry like the previous night, but it turns out it didn't really matter. As soon as I hit the climb right outside of the campground, the rain started. And it didn't let up for another 8 hrs or so....
I made it up and over the bridge to Glady and had to remind myself to stop beating myself up over the logistical mistake from the day before. Things happen and I made solid decisions that kept me safe. Sure enough the picnic shelter next to the church was there and would have been a great place to sleep. Next time.
Onto the West Fork Trail, I started the slog south. The next 80 miles would be rail to trail conversion and I was hoping to get it all complete by the end of the day. It was raining, but I seemed to be making good time. I was holding a steady 15-16 mph, through some sloggy damp, chipped gravel double track. Apparently this section of the trail is less traveled so it did sap some energy.
At one point, I came across the only people I would speak to in the next 25 miles. A tent set up in the middle of the trail. Two bikes outside the tent and a wine bottle laying beside the tent. It looked like fun times. I greeted the tent and rang my bell. A nerdy sounding voice inside the tent greeted me. The excited voice told me that they were just out for a little trip to view the wildflowers, which were abundant, and they had stopped there because the hummingbirds were numerous. I told the voice what I was doing and bid farewell.
We chatted about life for a moment and they asked what I would do if it kept raining. This whole time, with rain pouring down, they were outside getting soaked, working on the truck. I said" I'll keep on keepin' on.... kind of like you guys". They chuckled and we shared a mutual respect. I rode on.
After 15 miles of pavement, I came to the little town of Cass, complete with train station, general store and grill. I settled in and ordered a BLT with mayo on the side. It came with a side of chips and I also ordered a hot chocolate. I ate the whole thing. I wanted to order another sammy, but knew that it would get soaked. Before leaving, I stopped by the pay phone to call Rhonda and make plans for pick up at the end of the ride. I wasn't sure where or when I would be tomorrow, but wen needed to make plans.
I took my time eating and getting ready to roll out, hoping the rain would let up, but it didn't. So I did what I had to do and kept heading south.
I borrowed the phone and called Rhonda again to leave a message. I hung out and chatted, still hoping the rain would let up. It turns out, one of the lady's relatives live in the Asheville area.
After a long discussion with myself in my head, I decided to pull the plug. I could not go on in this weather, and everyone in town was telling me that the rain would continue through Sunday. But the problem was that if I stopped here for the night, Rhonda would have to drive 1.5 hours north to pick me up, then the trip home would be close to 5 hrs. I was bummed, but did not want to end up in a hypothermia heap somewhere down the trail. I found the Old Clark Inn and spent some time there still trying to decide if I should stay the night or head on down the trail. They had internet access so I got on to check the weather for myself. I also called Rhonda and finally got in touch with her. I found that the rain was moving northeast and should be clearing up soon. I made the decision to continue pedaling. The awesome staff was instrumental in helping me through this low time of the day and I am forever grateful for their understanding. If I ever head that way again, I will plan on making use of the inn!! Thanks Andrea! ( and they used to live in Asheville)
At this point, bored with the monotony and hoping for an extra kick of motivation, I did something that I have only done once before in my life. I pulled out my iPod and put earphones in my ears. The trick is that the screen shows only the white screen of death, but if I only tap the screen once, the music plays. Somehow it got set on shuffle, which worked out well. I started pedaling again and enjoyed the distraction.
10 Miles later I came to Jack Horner's Corner, a cafe, souvenir shop. I stopped for a Coke, hot dog with slaw and mustard, a Rice Krispy Treat and a pack of crackers. I didn't stay long and ate the dog while I was riding. I had 50 miles to go and it was getting late. I was making good time but was dreaming of a hotel room where I could take a hot shower, eat some good food and mostly dry out. If I could make it to Lewisburg, I hoped to get that.
55Nine Performance had taught me when I got the WN Precision bike fit. I had taken the Siren- John Henry down to get fit just a couple of weeks ago, and now, body fatigued but still maintaining the same pace as 6 hours ago, I could tell a huge difference, and it is worth it.
|Coke, my fav travel treat. I save it for the last 10 miles.|
|When alone in a hotel room I can spread out and no one can say anything!|