Today’s mileage: 70.9
Total mileage: 186.7
Today was hard. I kept thinking back to this picture I took a while ago when I received some jewelry from Plunder. I loved the quote on the box.
Today, we got a pretty early start. We’re in the foothills of the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains. The foothills are short, but very steep. All of our 70 miles today was up and down…up and down.
We finally rolled into Mineral, VA. It “welcomed” us with a short, steep hill. What a terrible place to welcome bikers to town…the person who placed the sign definitely wasn’t a biker. 😂
When we got to town, we stopped at a gas station for lunch. Nothing like eating gas station food outside on the sidewalk with your bike loaded up with gear and your map sprawled out on the pavement.
Craig had been following my live feed from my gps and saw that we were doing some climbing. His encouragement helped us keep on pushing on. 😊
After we left Mineral, we started seeing a ton of logging trucks and just heavy trucks hauling machinery. Thankfully they all gave us plenty of room, but it is nerve racking when such huge vehicles pass you; the wind pushes you around, especially with panniers on the sides of your bike, which sometimes act like sails.
So, as we kept on pushing on today, I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. When you’re riding 12 hours a day, you have a ton of time to think, and you have to be careful about the thoughts you allow into your head.
So, as we were climbing up all of the short, steep hills, I forced myself to think positively. “This is horrible” turned into “I’ve got this”. “I’m tired of climbing” turned into “I’ll get a break on the next decent”. “My quads are about to cramp up” turned into “Who knew that when you cough your quads kind of flex?” (There were several times I had to cough and I about got double quad cramps). 😂
In my head, I recited the quote from the movie I Feel Pretty: “I am brave. I am blonde. I’ve got this!” …but then I remembered I’m currently not blonde. 💁🏼♀️
That was when I remembered the quote from the Plunder box: “Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.”
Now. I’m not sure about the beautiful part, as I haven’t showered in two days, I haven’t wore makeup in 3 days, I’ve got mosquito bites all over me and possibly a small spider bite on my leg. I’ve got bloody scratches on my shins where my 70 lb bike rolled against my legs while I was trying to hold it still. I’ve got bruises all over my legs and a rash from the sun, and I’ve got a mark on my forehead where my helmet has been all day.
BUT, I can do hard things.
Just as negative thoughts were trying to creep into my head, I looked up and saw this sign:
Shortly after this was taken, I saw this little guy and moved him off the road:
Towards the end of our ride, two little girls who were playing in their yard pointed to us and said, “Hey, there are some bikers!”
That little comment made me feel like we were officially part of the “club”. The hundreds of bikers that travel this route every single year. I wondered if those little girls might grow up to be bikers themselves, possibly biking the TransAm one day. Living on the TransAm route must have some type of influence on their lives.
Little things like that kept me going today. Sweet and encouraging text messages, signs with my name on them, the little girls excited to see us, and Samson the turtle. They all showed up when I needed them.
Tonight, we are staying a few miles outside of Charlottesville. We didn’t want to get caught in the dark, so we decided to play it safe and camp out behind a church.
Time to rest, as we’ve got more climbing tomorrow. It’s going to get a lot harder before it gets easier.
We’ve got this. 💪🏻