BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 8: Christianburg to Wyhtheville: Riding in the rain. (still)

Tuesday May 7, 2013

Our planned rest day included a 10 mile cycle adventure in the pouring rain which ended at a little slice of bicycling heaven called Hokie Spokes Bicycle Shop in Blacksburg.

The owner is an incredible bike mechanic/friend to all traveling cyclist/hell of a nice guy. Not only did he give Boo and Chester an awesome tune up but the price was more than reasonable. As he toiled away we all swapped stories of cycling and stories of life.

Day Eight; Thane’s Blog: cracks in the road

Wednesday May 8, 2013, 50 miles (80 km) – Total so far: 451 miles (726 km)

Today I do not want to talk about the pelting rain. Nor do I wish to discuss getting turned around this morning by some funky directions when we went off route to find a Verizon store so Bobby could try to replace his phone that went amok yesterday. Nor will I discuss ending up on a major 4 lane highway going the wrong direction.

I will not bring up the little incident boo had in the town of Radford when both her front and back brakes decided to fall asleep on a very steep descent near a major intersection.

No, my friends, those stories may be told to my grandkids someday, but today I must tell you all the story of Thomas Hash

I met Tom today for the first time in my life and he has touched my soul. Tom is a cyclist who is absolutely built for climbing. With his boyish face and lean body I suspect he needs to beat the women away with a stick. Or in his case, maybe a wheel spoke. I am quite sure he is half our age and twice our speed on a bicycle.

After the events of our day in the rain cycling vertical instead of horizontal both Bobby and I had nearly cracked. We had agreed a couple days ago that we would never mentally crack together! It was ok if I cracked at some point in a day. And it was ok if he cracked at some point in a day like today. But never, ever, would we crack together. Duh, if humpty and dumpty both cracked at once, who would put humpty and dumpty back together again?

Don’t care what anybody says. After this many days in the pouring rain it starts to soak through your helmet liner and seeps into your grey matter. How the hell it gets through the skull is a mystery to me. My wife has a hard time getting most things through my skull. But then again I guess she has never tried to get water though my skull. Um……… interesting point!

Where the hell was I, oh yea, back to the story of Tom. So, as soon as Bobby and I saw this place on our left named The Draper Mercantile we assumed it was an oasis in the middle of the storm and immediately went inside. We sat down and ate an incredible meal. And I mean freaking awesome food.

Then we were told that the dude that owned the little bike/outdoor shop/totally fix anything wrong with your bike place called the” Junction “ just around the corner had traversed the trans am last year and was totally stoke to chat us up.

That’s how we came to meet our new friend/kindred spirit, Thomas Hash. The stories he shared with two men that were at least twice his age lifted us when we truly needed a major lift. With his stories of the road he repaired two men that were absolutely cracked. For that gift I will be forever in debt to Tomas Hash.

To each and every one of you that are following along on this blog and are cycling the trans am either now or in the future I offer this advice. Make damn sure your brake cables are functioning when you attempt to pull them at the bottom of the steep descent just coming out of Draper Virginia. Make sure if you have cycled in the rains of the monsoon season that hits Virginia about once every hundred years you have more than one rain cover attached to your helmet.

And by all means, make sure you stop and eat at the Draper Mercantile store and go swap stories of the road with someone who has been there and has a deep seated love of this crazy ass way of seeing this country

singing in the rain

singing in the rain

um........ the medication is totally legal right

um…….. the medication is totally legal right

Thomas Hash (he fixed humpty and dumpty and sent them on their way)

Thomas Hash (he fixed humpty and dumpty and sent them on their way)

mid noon at the oasis

mid noon at the oasis

Day Eight; Bobby’s Blog “COMMIN IN HOT”

Wednesday May 8, 2013, 50 miles (80 km) – Total so far: 451 miles (726 km)

Wow what a day in the mountains today. The rain just keeps pounding us and hills just keep on coming.

Yesterday on our rest day my phone decided it had just had enough of this ride and refused to charge anymore. Thus began the hunt for the Verizon Wireless store. In an absolute down pour, and not knowing where we were going made it real interesting. I’m pretty sure we put an extra 15 miles on the day by the time we got back on route. So much for our plan of cutting back on mileage while in this state.

Got a new phone shipped to Meadowview and had planned to pick it up tomorrow but when we looked at terrain for tomorrow’s ride that is not going to happen.

Had to dig deep today and hit the wall a couple of times but we were able to come up with some good laughs which is my favorite medicine. One of the good ones was when I tapped on this little ole lady’s car window and asked her if she could direct me to the phone store and she promptly said sure I’m going that way myself just follow me and sped straight up a 15% grade and was out of sight in less than 5 seconds.

Our morning was just a comedy of errors but finally as even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while we found ourselves back on route. I’ve fallen in love with those 76 Bike Route signs (they’re like comfort food) but this is the only state that has them. I seriously think we are going to pay more attention to the narratives on the map.

As we were approaching Radford we soon discovered that the detail map for the city did not even match the 76 Route signs but a quick stop at a store and a chat with the most knowledgable person in town THE MAIL LADY we were directed, yes up the hill and down the other side to Main Street where we were to take a left and cross the river.

Ok fine, I took the lead and shot up the hill at a brisk 4.7 mph and just as I began the descent my partner flys by me shouting something like I have no brakes and the intersection is full of cars. I shouted for him to grab the cable that runs along the top tube to the back brakes and pull up but he was too busy looking for a runaway truck ramp.

He spotted his ramp (a parking lot on the right) and went hard over. I thought man this aint good but he rode her to a stop. When the shock wore off we started to laugh and couldn’t stop. I pulled out the ole trusty tool kit and Boo got her brakes adjusted.

The rest of the day was pretty much pounding rain and pounding hills till we found an oasis at the DraperMerchantile in the form of a wonderful meal and a visit downstairs to a trail angel’s lair a fellow named Thomas Hash. Tom has a TransAm under his belt so he completely understood the emotional and physical limits to which the conditions can push you to.

I am now setting here pleasantly fatigued and thinking shorter miles tomorrow?

Quick check of the map before heading out in the rain.Getting caught in the rain doesn't seem as bad as starting out in the rain.

Quick check of the map before heading out in the rain.Getting caught in the rain doesn’t seem as bad as starting out in the rain.

Thane is so clever with that camera.

Thane is so clever with that camera.

The lady I asked for directions who then sped off.

The lady I asked for directions who then sped off.

Right after Thane and the runaway train. I actually think that by this time we were getting a little punchy,

Right after Thane and the runaway train. I actually think that by this time we were getting a little punchy,

Now that I think of it this is what kept my sanity intact today.

Now that I think of it this is what kept my sanity intact today.

Remember what we used to do with these when them city slickers used to come visit us on the farm Ricky?

Remember what we used to do with these when them city slickers used to come visit us on the farm Ricky?

Thomas our Trail Angel at Draper

Thomas our Trail Angel at Draper

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My brother is a fence guy. Thought he might like to see how these guys keep their wire tight.

My brother is a fence guy. Thought he might like to see how these guys keep their wire tight.