Into the Teeth of the Virginia Highlands

The past two days of riding have brought home the fact that all rides are not created equal.

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Felkerino and I plotted our 70-mile days, climbing away from Clifton Forge, over Dolly Mountain to Covington, and across Hay’s Gap to overnight in Paint Bank.

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This morning we awoke to an immediate climb out of Paint Bank via Potts Mountain.

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After a stretch of rollers, we crawled over Johns Creek Mountain (a climb that is part of the Mountains of Misery course) to get closer to Blacksburg.

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Finally we routed our way through several roads with the word “Mount” in them, eventually arriving at our overnight stop in Blacksburg. Take deep breath here.

The tandem is working well, with the exception of its occasional reticence to drop into the little ring.

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Yesterday we chain sucked at the foot of Dolly Mountain, and Felkerino had to break the chain to free it and get us going again. Nicely done, Felkerino. Fingers crossed that our shifting remains solid.

The climbing has been strenuous, often switchbacked and steep, and has required many stretches out of the saddle. We’re almost always rewarded with spectacular views of vivid green Virginia hillsides.

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Trips like this remind me of what a little blip I am on this earth. It’s oddly comforting.

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