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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 7: Vesuvius KOA to Troutville - Brrrrrrr, it's COLD

Friday May 23, 1986, 66 miles (106 km) - Total so far: 356 miles (573 km)

I awoke this morning about 6:30 but stayed in the bag another 30 minutes because it was COLD. Gene was rustling around so I got up, got packed and left by 7:30am to get some breakfast. Leaving the campground it was cold, about 40 degrees. I descended Vesuvius Mountain with sweatpants, 2 t-shirts, a long sleeve t-shirt, socks over my hands and I still froze my butt off.

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View near Vesuvius

It was a very long day riding, lots of elevation gain (and loss), with a few good steep climbs. I think I'm getting in pretty good shape, and my legs are feeling less fatigued at night. The downhill sides of the climbs are big fun, I blast down as fast as the conditions will allow. Somehow I picked-up the nickname "Animal" from Gene, because I charge up the hills and race down the other side.

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Early morning in Appalachia

Gene and I rode most of today together, as he is the only one that can pretty much keep up. We stopped for a short break in Lexington to check out the city. Lexington is a pretty cool town, I wish I stay there last night. Continuing on to Natural Bridge we decided to get some lunch and contemplate the trip to the Natural Bridge. After careful consideration we decided to skip it, the traffic was pretty heavy going there and it already was going to be a tough day.

Gene and I have been playing a little game of "Catch-Up", when one guy pulls over for a side of the road relief break the other speeds off. We keep track of how much time it takes for the other person to catch up, take too long and you're buyin' lunch today! As you can imagine, there is some strategy involved here, take a leak when it's flat ahead and get a free lunch. Gene is pretty good at this game but I'm the climber, so I get lunch today.

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Where's the sun?

I've been detecting some discontent from a couple members of the Bikecentennial (BC) Group, and Gene and I discuss it a little. I guess the tough days are starting to take their toll on people. I told Gene I wasn't going to officially join the group, and he said it probably isn't an issue any longer anyway.

We cruised into Troutville today about 2pm and setup camp at the park. There was no running water, no showers, no bathrooms, what an experience. I went to the Grocery Store and load up and stuff for dinner and tomorrow. I stayed away from the BC group for dinner as they were working on some issues. As I cook dinner, Gene keeps swiping my food until I threaten to stab him with my flimsy plastic fork.

Fred asked me how the days ride went and I gave him the "thumbs up". More about Fred and our daily de-briefings tomorrow.

I slept outside on the picnic tables under the covered roof. It was pretty cold out in the open and during the night 2 trains went by. (the tracks were about 15 yards away) When the second train went by it woke me from a sound sleep and I jumped sky high off the table. ~


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