Day 7 - Cross Country Velocipede Adventure - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2023

Day 7

Natural Bridge, VA to Catawba, VA

Great sleep once again. 8.5 hours and I feel very refreshed! I’m going to brave the windstorm today and see if I can make it to my destination. The KOA was great. I stayed in a cabin which is basically four walls, a roof and a bed with a thin mattress. You can pay to have bedding, but since I’ve got all my camping gear with me, no need to pay. It was great to have a real shower and laundry! I was overly happy with the way my clothes smelled after they were laundered which makes me wonder how bad they were before.

Ribbon Candy roads for today.
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Beautiful car-free roads.
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The wind was awful. An unrelenting headwind for the entirety of my journey. Sustained 20 mph with 45 mph gusts. My spirits were high, however, because of the incredible scenery on mostly traffic-free roads! Yes, there was a ton of climbing (almost 5000 ft) which is normal for the Appalachian Mountains, but it was so great to be out there with the roads all to myself. My knee, however, was beginning to make things difficult. It seemed with each passing mile, the pain would get worse. This is very worrying. I’m trying not to think about it and just not push too hard. I chose lower than normal gears for the hills in hopes of giving it a rest, but it doesn’t seem to help. I’ve messed around with my seat height, but I think I’ll need to keep trying different configurations. I’ve read that moving it rearward might alleviate patella pain. 

I met a cyclist along the way I’ll call “Chance.” Because that’s his name. Chance is a unique case because he’s an Appalachian Trail through-hiker, but he’s also bicycle touring for a part of his journey. We talked for awhile and he highly recommended Four Pines Hostel in Catawba, VA. I said I was reluctant to stay there because I’d heard it was a bit party-centric. He said not to worry as there is now a Canadian in charge named “Tank” and all is good. He said when I got there to ask for “Tank” and tell them Chance sent me. 

When I arrived, the woman who greeted me had neither heard of “Tank” nor "Chance." Awkward! This was just a sign of things to come. The woman told me to head up to the garage at the back of the property and get settled. When I arrived at the garage, I was met by two interesting guys. The first guy seemed friendly enough, let’s call him “face tattoo,”but didn’t have a lot to say. The second guy said nothing at all and just stared intently at my bike. I mean really intently. Mind you, I was still holding my bike and expected him to eventually ask me a question or have a comment or two. Neither of those things happened and he just turned and walked away. He looked over his shoulder one last time at the bike and that was the last I saw of him. Because of these encounters, I decided to just pitch my tent somewhere else on the property and let these people do their thing. This is primarily an Appalachian Trail hostel and even though they do host the occasional cyclist, the hikers are the primary clientele. I had some peanut butter spread on tortillas for dinner, Ibuprofen for desert and turned in early. Hoping to get an early start the next day and excited to get out of this uncomfortable situation.

Lunch stop at “Love Coffee Shop” in Troutville, VA
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Do you think they drive a Prius?
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These people are called “Trail Angels” for a reason. This came at the absolute perfect time today.
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My new friend at “Four Points Hostel”
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Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 353 miles (568 km)

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