Rained hard last night, but no water issues in or around the tent. A few of the gum balls that nearly carpet the ground around here lie under our tent, but the ground pads were enough to keep us from being disturbed by them.
Arose at about 6:30, ate a marginal breakfast at Pocahontas State Park (part of what we’ve paid for, catered for this event by local caterers), and managed to get rolling down the road by 8. Last night’s rain had cooled things off and it stayed overcast for most of the day.
The first rest stop was held at a lovely horse farm called Blackwater — about 11 miles into the ride.
They also had chickens, ducks, and an absolutely killer tree house.
At about 9AM we left there with the forecast overheard during one of the many many conversations you’re privvy to, whether you want to be or not, that it would be raining by 10. They were right, but it was only dribbling a bit, and it ended by only making the humidity skyrocket.
Rest stop number two was totally killer. A combination of the fire department and the Boy Scouts really did a great job. One of the most amazing things was that we were able to get ICE! So we left with ice in our bottles of Gatorade and in my backpack full of water: cooling me twice; once through the backpack itself and once when I drank the water.
The second delight of the stop was make-it-ourselves tomato sandwiches, on which we could add a variety of accoutrements including a home made garlic and herb sauce that was really good. We made that stop our lunch and might have slightly overstayed our welcome.
That was at mile 29. No problem for me because I’d been able to ride that far in most of my training rides. Still, the goal for the day was twice that. But I was feeling good.
The next rest stop had a Hawaiian theme and so they were dressed in luau outfits and there were lighted, animated flamingo sculptures that were a hoot. I neglected to take photos because first, my cell phone was chewing up power running the cycling program we use to track our bicycle progress; and this was mile 43: farther than I’d ridden to date — since at least last September. I was beginning to feel the burn.
Ostensibly, there was supposed to be a rest stop that would be water only in another 11 miles, but that didn’t materialize. Not that we would have stopped anyway, but the next goal was 22 miles in our future, back at home base. Naturally, this is when it got really hot.
But anyone can ride 22 miles, right?
I was pretty okay until about 10 miles out. That was when 6 hours in the saddle began to hurt. The pressure points of my hands/wrists and the two point bones in my butt were letting me know they’d had plenty enough.
By 3:00 I was rolling into camp. Where some of the thin-tired, small-gear folks had bee reduced to walking up some of those steep hills we encountered in the final 20, I chugged them all. And I finished, but boy, am I tired! I don’t think there will be any trouble finding sleep tonight. Nor for anyone else in camp, I’d guess. Today was the century ride for some poor gees who chose the 100 mile route. So I don’t think we’ll have to wait for “quiet hours” for it to become quiet around Tent City.
Despite feeling like I rather caved over the final miles, it was a really great ride. Neat stuff along the way, lovely winding back roads, not too much traffic, and my first over-30 day of 2014.
While I was rolling down a beautiful, wood-lined, shady lane, I thought to myself, “This is what it’s all about. This is why we do this.” Only wish I could have captured a photo of it to share. But I was keeping my hands firmly on the handlebars, and such a pic would never be able to capture nor convey that feeling.
That’s what vacation is all about, no?
One final thought. I spent much of my time this afternoon charging devices, along with every other camper present it seems. This snarl of wires and chargers (below) is actually a good thing – I’ve never attended a BVA where a charging bar or service was provided.
This station is right beside one of the two shower trucks, and runs off the same generator they use to run the exhaust fans, lights and (presumably) heat the shower water. Another line to wait in, but you don’t really have to sit with your device to protect it. Everyone leaves yours alone, as they are far more interested in their own devices than in yours. Truly a sign of the times.