A few days ago Ale and I climbed up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and thought we had conquered our last mountain after reaching the top. wrong. The first hill was definitely the hardest, and I barely made it up, but we continued to climb hills for the next 30 miles, up down, up down, up up up up up up up, and eventually down. (side note, my back break pad had worn down completely so I relied solely on my front brake, very exciting).
The first climb was 3 miles at 10% grade. It was insane. I could literally see the sweat beading out of every pore on my body. My arms and legs were shaking so bad that I thought it would be harder to stop (the thought of unclipping and starting up again was too much), so I just snail paced along until I started seeing the light. Reaching the top of the climb was one of the best feelings in the world. I had cars honking and giving me the thumbs up (so I felt like I had fans and had just conquered an important feat) and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous; it was all overwhelming. On top of all the endorphins and sense of accomplishment, the colors and view from the top was just incredible and brought tears to my eyes (the sweat and bugs in my eyes also encouraged the tears). I literally took pictures and stared for 20minutes without moving. I now understand when east coasters talk about a “real fall season,” the foliage has it going on big time.
The rest of the ride continued to amaze me with absolutely stunning views and historical landmarks. I road in silence for hours without realizing how many miles had passed. It was a very awesome experience to ride along the cliffs and look out at everything (it also helped that there were hardly any cars and I felt like I had the whole parkway to myself).
Eventually the intense downhill started. I swerved back and forth along the sketchy road trying to avoid the biggest pot holes as I accumulated a record high amount of bugs on my neck, chest and face. The lack of brake situation also made everything a bit more exciting, and I was definitely ready to be done for the day by the time I got to the cookie lady’s house.
The house we stayed at was basically an old house that was transformed into a museum of cyclist paraphernalia that had accumulated over the last 40 years. The cookie lady that owned the house recently died, but the neighbors still let cyclists stay and enjoy all the glory the house has to offer. The walls are completely covered with postcards and photos of touring cyclists who stayed in touch with the cookie lady. It was just incredible to look at all the lives this woman had so greatly enhanced.
Hugh happened to be at the house as well, so I made us all a pasta dinner and we all ate happily as we watched a movie on my ipad. We learned later that it was Hugh’s 20th birthday, so we were very grateful we were able to have such an amazing night with him.