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  • Writer's pictureJess Xu

Day 10: Flat Tires and Hilly Roads

Wednesday, June 12th, 2024

Tazewell, VA -> Breaks Interstate Park

70.9 mi, 5851 ft elevation

Hey! Jess here! I finally get to talk about biking rather than visiting the Avis help desk! We started out pretty well with some flats and fun downhills through peaceful forest roads. But after our first big climb around a pasture of cows, we had our first flat. Cleo had noticed that the ride was bumpier towards the end of the climb, so we all stopped to try to fix her tire. Since her tires are tubeless, we made the hole bigger to fit a bacon strip tire plug. Unfortunately, none of us were carrying a pump (oops), so we had to call Varsha with the van for help. While the rest of us took off, Varsha and Cleo kept messing with the wheel. They discovered not one, not two, but three holes in the tire. Their repair attempts proved unsuccessful, presumably because (spoiler alert!) the tires were not actually tubeless. Bigger oops.

Attempting to repair Cleo's tire

The rest of us continued on the ride that had it all. We passed cows and were passed by motorbikes. We climbed hills with 13% grade sections and braked for dear life on hairpin downhills through the mountains. And we zoomed through miles of gentle descents. All the while, I took in the beautiful sights of Virginia’s rivers and mountains. One cool thing about biking compared to driving is that it brings you closer to the land and the people around you. One not-so-cool thing about biking is that it brings you closer to all the roadkill around you—smells and all.


After a few final climbs, we made it to Breaks Interstate Park! This would be my first night camping since Amulya and I slept near Dulles when the rest of the team camped in Shenandoah. 

Made it to Breaks Interstate Park on the border of Virginia and Kentucky!

Sophia, Rebecca, and Hank broke out the camp stove for the first time to make a delicious meal of agave-glazed tofu, spam, mashed potatoes, and corn salad. After dinner, JD set up a campfire for us to make s’mores. As the air became colder, we tucked in closer to the dancing flames, sharing stories from our college and high school experiences. While the riveting events of people’s pasts kept me awake as night fell, they could not overcome the exhaustion of 70+ miles and 5000+ ft… good thing tomorrow is a rest day.


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Jun 19

i love the photo of the cows -kelton


Jun 16

ah, the first flat is always an experience, but hopefully they'll get easier to fix as you go!

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