Distance Today – 69 miles
Total Distance – 490
Whew. This was the hardest day of hills of the whole trip, hands down. The Strava track isn’t exactly right as I paused it then rode for a while without restarting it… you can see this section by the straight line if you zoom in on the map.
This morning started off great. Jen camped with me overnight and got to experience tent sleeping and freeze dried chili mac! It took a bit longer to get on the road this morning as my routine was a bit off because of the extra stuff to do. Jen didn’t have to work until late so she decided to tag along and play sag wagon/scout vehicle for a few hours. Before hitting the road, we checked out the Meriwether-Lewis monument.
The single hardest climb of the whole trip for me was at about 8 miles into this mornings ride. Compared to any other hills I’ve ridden – ever – it’s very steep and pretty long. I was legitimately in my lowest granny gear, going along at 4.5 mph and still had to stop twice to let the lactic acid burn subside.
Using a combination of my guide book and Jen in the car, we were able to find a little market/deli store for lunch. I ate a cheeseburger, bbq sandwich, a piece of pizza and a chocolate pastry thing. As we sat there and ate our lunch, every person that came into the store either had Nascar or realtree attire if that tells you anything about our location. After lunch, Jen had to book it home because of work. Booo. It was super nice having a sag wagon and scout car!
I had a weird few hours after lunch, emotionally. I was trying to click my brain into the zone to log the miles but the damned hills kept getting in the way. Plus, I was just kind of ready to be home already so my brain was trying to click over into home mode but I still had 30, hard miles to ride a fully loaded touring bike.
My friend Kelly volunteered to come ride the last section of the trace back to Nashville with me. She’s ridden this section a lot so knows it really well. It was pretty nice having somebody who knew the lay of the land and prep me for the big climbs. A bit later, a friend of hers came out to ride with us… I felt like a fat Lance Armstrong, riding a loaded touring bike; I had my own little team of riders!
It really helped a lot to take my mind off each dang mile post. We talked a lot about pee and laughed a lot and before we knew it, the last official mile marker was here.
Rest of photos here.