June 13, 2023
Tazewell, VA -> Breaks Interstate Park
74.5 miles 5,580 ft elevation gain
Let's just say after a week of biking, we need a break, which is coming up, aptly, at Breaks Interstate Park!
I woke up to a beautiful morning - to the sound of Andrew doing pushups. But it truly started out as a beautiful day. It was chilly, perfect biking weather, and after driving the day prior, I was antsy and wanted to go on autopilot on my bike, finish listening to the podcast Ultra (thank you for the recommendation, Heather, I'm also still soliciting for new podcast recommendations!), the new Binchtopia episode from last week, and bike straight to Breaks Interstate Park.
The first part of the ride was absolutely bucolic. We biked up and down rolling hills in the Virginia countryside, and every time we stopped to regroup, you could hear the sheep and the cows baa-ing and moo-ing in the background over my Daily Mix 1. As someone who grew up in large cities my entire life, it made me think, maybe I could see myself living in the countryside - until I lost service in the middle of the ride and had to bike in silence for 20 minutes.
For the majority of the biking so far, cars have been extremely respectful. Obviously, we aren't riding on interstate highways (it's illegal), but sometimes we do bike along the side of larger state highways but when we do, cars usually pass us with a lot of space, and take their time on windy roads, which there are a lot of. However, today was the worst day by far. Everyone got honked at, and the highway section we were on today had rumble strips on the side, so we had to ride in the road. Andrew would weave in and out, between the side of the road and the road itself. Personally, I preferred to risk it in the road than to bike over the rumble strips, especially since I wasn't wearing gloves for shock absorption. Every time I'd over the rumble strips, I felt like my joints would rattle loose. Furthermore, my thought is that if I'm getting hit, those 2 extra feet between me and the road won't be my saving grace.
Unfortunately, we did suffer a casualty on the highway. Duha flopped over into a ditch when a truck driver blew past us, and afterwards needed to rest and be shuttled to our final destination. As a reminder, Vin is still sick (currently feeling a 2.5/10), and Joy was driving. 3/7 are in the car, and it isn't even lunch.
After lunch, came more loss. Lunch itself was amazing and I took a nap, but we also took our lunch break in the middle of a hill climb. After that, three hills stood between us and Breaks Interstate Park. I enjoy climbs, which is an extremely unpopular opinion, but that's because I've always been a rather timid person. I hate falling, so going downhill sometimes scares me, especially when there are sharp turns. Going down the first of those last three hills, I went a little too fast and crossed the median into opposite traffic and traumatized myself. The rest of the day, I braked the entire time down hills.
Call me a scaredy cat, but thankfully, I made it up and down that hill relatively unharmed and in decent shape. Andrew zoomed down it, as usual. Lucy made it up and down too, but her knee has been hurting recently, so she needed to stop at the bottom and prevent it from getting worse, especially since there were two more hills. Audrey stayed back with her, since her right knee had also started to hurt. Tally: 5/7 are out.
It is just Andrew and me, so we bike up those last two hills to the campsite. I was the only one with service so I navigated back to collect Lucy and Audrey with the beautiful van, and when we are all at the campsite, we have a scrumptious dinner of gilled cheese and tomato soup (thanks Joy!), and fall asleep immediately in our tents (thanks Vin and Duha!).
Since today was all about casualties, and tomorrow shall be about rest, here is our first fall count.
Katherine: 0 (1 down the stairs)
Lucy: 1 (1 down the stairs)
If you are a parent reading this, don't worry, we're all fine. Falling is a natural part of biking, just not for me, yet.