I am NOT a morning person, you guys. I understand how important it is to get up early so that we can make our mileage goals without riding or setting up camp in the dark, but still. Mornings are the worst part of the trip for me. I'm the last up and the last packed again but it's not that bad because I don't have to pack my tent. Breakfast is once again boiled eggs and pre-cooked bacon, which I supplement with a pack of skittles and a juicebox-sized almondmilk.
Anna Faye injured herself yesterday at some point to where she can't sit on her saddle due to bad bruises, so what we do is call the elder that let us into this church (we find his number in the phone book) to ask if someone could possibly give her a ride to our next destination? That way she'll have an extra rest day and time to heal up and hopefully be ready to go tomorrow. He sends us two members of his congregation with a pickup truck and they arrive between 9:30 and 10 a.m. to pick her up. They're really sweet people and they load Anna Faye in their cab and Christopher Robin in the bed and then they're off to Haysi (pronounced hay-sigh), VA. We've got all day to catch up to them, but it's over 50 miles so it's time to get going now.
There's some downhill and rolling hills until we cross a river and pass thru Hayter's Gap, then it's a long curving uphill that seems like it'll never end. I slog up it at 3 mph with frequent breaks and of course am farthest behind. At least we are passing thru shady forest and the road is quiet. Pretty, even. When I reach the top, the others are waiting for me and Dan lifts his arms up and shouts, you made it!! We're over 3000 ft high, I know that much.
We stop for elevensies at this point and then it's time for a steep, bendy downhill. I turn on my helmet camera and go for it, passing Jenn right away. There is apparently a sign that says "loose gravel" at some point but I miss it and when I have to get over to the right for a string of cars going up the other way I hit the gravel at 25 mph and lose control of BK and go sliding on my left knee, elbow, and hip, shouting obscenities all the while. Jenn stops to help me gather my wits and inspect my injures: road rash on one knee, half of my forearm, and both hips for some reason. Small holes in the hips of my shorts and dirt everywhere but otherwise no more damage. I ride the brakes the rest of the way down the hill and we have to pedal 6 more miles thru rolling terrain before we catch up to the others and I can get some first aid. (While I do carry a personal first aid kit, my injuries covered more surface area than I carry gauze for, unfortunately--I'll stock up when next I can.) I strip down to bra and shorts by a busy road so that we can reach my hips and tape everything up. While we're taking care of me, the sweet couple that gave Anna Faye a ride comes back our way and pulls over to chat and tell us that she's fine and has even found us a police- and mayor-approved indoor place to stay, too. We just have to reach it is all.
So, yeah. Our first wipeout. I think I caught it on camera, too...
We reach Rosedale shortly and stop in a valero gas station for lunch. I eat turkey spam straight from the tin, mesquite BBQ potato chips, and two lemonatas while the others eat hot dogs and drink fountain sodas. Ben tells us that it wasn't 'till this trip that he realized what "hillbillies" means--now that we're rolling thru all these hills where people live tucked up in the nooks and crannies, sheltered from civilization at large. It's a lot more literal than he realized before.
There's one more climb after Rosedale, this one on a busier road and with hardly any shade. Big A Mountain. It's not as tall or as steep as the last one and has flat bits for respite but I think this one is worse because of the baking sun and lack of shade or breezes. I'm dripping with sweat and run out of water by the time we reach the top. But we reach it, and I don't crash coming down the other side, either. From there we ride at a good clip to Haysi, me falling behind on a few small rises but staying above 11 mph pretty much the whole way.
We find Anna Faye waiting for us on main street and she tells us about what a good day she had. There was a festival and a mile-long yard sale and ponies and kittens and peeping little chicks. She talked to the sheriff and was put up in a newly renovated theater--it's empty and echoey but it has a roof and bathrooms so we're happy. They want to encourage cyclists to stop in Haysi so they're going to put a hostel for cyclists on the upper floor, but it's still under construction. We're the first cyclists to stay there and they take our picture to put in the local paper and everything.
After this we're invited to the local truck and tractor pull and the gentleman who set us up in the theater gives us a driving tour of Haysi (Dan, Travis, and I sit in the bed of the pickup) and then drives us up to the tractor pull and gets us in for free. The others get food at a booth there but I can't eat anything so I just get a Dr. Pepper. Then the tractor pull starts and it's actually a lot of fun to watch when they get that weight moving really fast--I like watching the modified diesel trucks go at it. There's a super souped-up truck called Nuthin Fancy that pulls with its huge back wheels with its front wheels off the ground and fire shooting out of its engine. That one is our favorite. It's hard to explain what a tractor pull is so you might wanna google it if you're not familiar--Jenn had to do that on her phone as it was going on so she could explain it all to us. This is definitely redneck country, yeehaw.
The tractor pull lasted well past midnight but we are beat so we hitchhike back down into town rather than wait for a ride back from another guy who was staying till it ended. An older gentleman with a pickup lets us all climb in the back and I climb into the cab and talk with him about the weather and the tornadoes in Oklahoma and then we're back in the theater and setting up our bedding. It's a late night, which means a late start tomorrow, and I haven't managed to eat anything tonight and now I'm too tired to so I have a feeling tomorrow will be harder than today. But, onward into Kentucky it is.
...OMG WHO IS THAT SNORING THAT IS REALLY LOUD YO
distance: 55 miles
riding time: 5 hrs 26 min
avg speed: 10.1 mph
max speed: 43 mph
odo: 740 mi
[pictured below is me, in pink sports bra and cycle shorts, all bloodied up with the wounds described above]