BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 10; Troutdale to Elk Garden Methodist Church

Day Ten Thane’s Blog: “Imagine”

Friday May 10, 2013, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 547 miles (880 km)

We got an early start today. Two things factored into this decision. Number one, little room we had spent the night in truly smelled like a combination of road kill raccoon and the diaper bag that grandma forgot to take out of the back of the car last summer. And number two, we knew that the day was filled with mountain climbs.

Shortly into our day the first of the mountains graced us with her presence. When we hit the summit Bobby told me he figured we had been climbing over 6 miles. I can tell you this in all honesty. On the 3 mile decent I once again shed a tear. The sound of the raging rivers coming off that mountain were like beautiful white noise. For the entire climb up which lasted well over an hour I could hear it. On the left and on the right. Occasionally the birds would join in and I thought, I wonder if this is what heaven might be like. It was odd, for reasons I simply cannot explain the feelings of “suffering” I had experienced a week ago in the climbs of Afton Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway were replaced with something I will never forget. Instead of having my head down and concentrating on the spot hoping thoughts of my family would help pull me up today’s mountain I felt something completely different. Today I could feel my family pushing me! All running behind me and laughing and smiling and cheering. And it was absolutely unbelievable. Our second major climb of the day came near the end of our 60 miles. It was the climb between Hayters Gap and Rosedale. I had been told this climb was the steepest major climb of this entire route. Truly, it lived up to its reputation.

For some reason my Garmin stops registering climb grades after the hit 10% and many, many times the Garmin buzzed at me to indicate that the grade was over 10. This went on for miles! Around every switchback it just pitched higher and often steeper but today, on this glorious day in May none of the suffering was anything but glorious. I was actually singing an old John Lennon song titled “Imagine” as the last couple switchbacks fell behind me. I truly don’t profess to be anything but a grampy on a bicycle riding across this country. But today, I climbed an incredible mountain and I felt like it was a gift. A gift given to me and my bicycle to enjoy and for some odd freaking reason we did just that. I am not sure if the feeling of euphoria I experienced once I settle into that climb was a once in life time event or not but I do know this. Today I climbed and climbed and sang as I did it. It was marvelous. Tomorrow we plan on staying about five miles east of Kentucky if all goes according to plan. But I am quickly learning that plans are never set in stone on an adventure of this magnitude.

a miles stone for me

a miles stone for me

early morning

early morning

while traveling through damascus this stop is a must. love these people and love their food

while traveling through damascus this stop is a must. love these people and love their food

Bobby making the summit near Hayters Gap

Bobby making the summit near Hayters Gap

standing on the summit

standing on the summit

our home for the night Elk Garden United Methodist Church a traveling cyclist paridise.

our home for the night Elk Garden United Methodist Church a traveling cyclist paridise.

Day Ten Bobby’s Blog: Real early start. (can you guess why?)

Friday May 10, 2013, 60 miles (97 km) – Total so far: 547 miles (880 km)

Man never thought I would be so happy to leave a hostel as I did that one. It was our first time to leave in the predawn with lights on. I thought it was kinda nice. Checked the map and saw that we would be on the Road to Damascus. Sounded kind of spiritual to me.

It was another day for epic climbing and by te way you were right Fred the legs are starting to condition. At least I can squat down now with groaning.

We made it into Damascus the weekend before Trail Day. When the population will swell from 900 to 20,000. Yup you got it. 19,000 AT hikers in one area. Sorry I’m gonna miss that. We ended up at the Bllue Blaze Cafe and had a wonderful breakfast. I asked the waitress if they all wore gas masks or had the fire department hose them down at the edge of town. She said she was new there and there was no way they could prepare you for this encounter. Amen and Amen

The rest of the day was a lot of climbing again but no rain.

Notice the slump to the shoulders.

Notice the slump to the shoulders.

Had to clamp the brakes for that one. There was a huge fire just a couple blocks away.

Had to clamp the brakes for that one. There was a huge fire just a couple blocks away.

I never pass up a chance to chat with a dog.

I never pass up a chance to chat with a dog.

Love these roadside chats.

Love these roadside chats.

IMG_3647-1

This is one of my favs. Just out side of the Hostel.

This is one of my favs. Just out side of the Hostel.