Today's Miles = 61.1
Average Speed = 9.3 mph
Maximum Speed = 34.7 mph
Total Miles = 419.7
This was one of those days where it was a challenge to stay positive. My attempts at napping yesterday afternoon had been thwarted by the park groundskeeper riding his mower in loops around my tent. My evening sleep started late and ended early due to the freight trains that ran adjacent to the park, all of which took care to blow their whistles just in case I hadn't noticed them by the sounds of their wheels.
Since I hadn't seen a restaurant in town I had a quick breakfast made of things I had leftover from riding so far. This consisted of a bag of peanuts and a bottle of lemonade - thereby providing all the basic protein, fat, and sugar one could want.
Today's ride could be summed up in two words; hills and headwinds. The ride wasn't technically more challenging than what I have done so far, but I guess I just wasn't up to being positive today. I did my best to focus on the beautiful scenery that I was riding through, but this was interrupted by a couple of pops from my rear wheel that signaled two new broken spokes.
With my wheel once again out of round my rear brake was rubbing my rim. There wasn't a good place to sit and work on my wheel, and it felt too soon to stop riding, so I decided to continue on to the next town. By disconnecting my rear brake cable I was able to completely open my brake calipers, thereby ending the rubbing. This meant that that I had to ride for the next hour with only one brake, but since it was all uphill I figured that wasn't a problem.
I stopped in Catawba and tore apart my rear wheel and replaced the two broken spokes. While I was working on it I talked to a Michael and Rich, a couple of AT Through-Hikers who had also stopped in town to get supplies and make phone calls. The hikers shared their ice cream with me, and after I was done eating a quarter-gallon I said goodbye to them and their dog and started riding again. Notice that my diet for the day had consisted of peanuts, lemonade, and ice cream. Pretty much every six-year-old's dream, huh?
Somewhere along the way I was heading up a hill and downshifted only to have my front derailleur dump my chain completely off my front chainrings. This meant that suddenly, as I was climbing a hill, my pedals were going around but no power was getting to my wheel. My speed dropped almost immediately from 5 mph to zero, and I tipped over sideways into the ground only to lie there with my feet still clipped into my pedals for about 30 seconds laughing about how the day was going. Of course, all of this happened right in front of the farmer whose house I was riding past.
By the time I got to my destination I was completely wiped out. Fortunately I had lined up a great place to stay for the night. The Cookie Lady had given me the card of the Lee family of Radford, who welcome cyclists into their home to stay for the night. I had called them the night before to arrange a place to stay, and even though they were going to be out of town for the day they immediately offered to leave a door unlocked for me to stay in their home. Although I haven't actually met them yet, they are camping now further down the route I am on and perhaps I'll run into them on the road.
After I got to the Lee home I spent an hour doing miscellaneous repairs on my bike, got myself cleaned up, ate dinner, and sat down to reply to all my email and write this entry. It is going on midnight now, and I'm looking forward very much to the bed awaiting me upstairs.