Old Flying Farts Bicycling Club
Last night as I finished my blog the battery died and I lost what I was trying to write.  I'll give it another try tonight.
Yesterday we left Lexington, Virginia to ride 18 miles to the town of Vesuvius.  At Vesuvius we planned to begin the three mile, last serious climb of the trip.  32 years ago I approached this climb with a fully loaded bike.  I did the steep climb standing on the pedals the whole way.
This time I came to the climb with no load and a light weight bike.  Pat and I started up together but he quickly pulled away.  Almost immediately the climb went to13%.  We have a readout on our bike computers that shows the grade.  When it hit 16% I took a break.  I started up again but finally had to admit that I needed to get off and push the bike.
On a relatively flat area, I remounted and made it about a quarter mile before getting off and pushing.  The van was waiting for me.  I pushed the bike to the van and told them that I was going to the top under my own power.
I got back and silently vowed to go a half mile before getting off again.  In about 3/10 of mile the grade hit 19% for a short spell.  Fortunately, two younger bikers came up past me.  I couldn't get off with them there so I kept pedaling.  I made the half mile and was able to keep going.  The grade dropped to 10% and I was relieved(funny because Pat and I feel an 8% grade is tough).  I forced my self to stay on as long as possible and was surprised when I turned a bend and discovered that I was on top.  Pat was there with Sal and Rod.
We had ridden up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we rode for another 20 miles.  The parkway had many spectacular views and a few more climbs but nothing like the ride up from Vesuvius.
Pat kindly said in his blog that we had ridden up without much problem.  I know I struggled but I wouldn't have missed that climb for anything.  Along the Parkway, I thanked America for giving me this challenge.
We rode down from the Parkway and into Charlottesville for a motel, a shower and a trip to Jefferson's home at Monticello.
Since it was Rod's birthday we treated him to the Monticello visit and dinner at The Outback Steakhouse.
This morning we drove a short distance to Palmyra for brunch with Pat's cousin.  We started our ride from there.  With a late start we still made 76 miles to Ashland.  Pat and I rode separately the whole day.  Afterward, we agreed that the ride had been just a job.  We didn't notice much of the scenery.  Tomorrow we ride about 80 miles to Williamsburg.  That will set us up for a short ride Tuesday morning to Yorktown and the end of our journey.

8/2/2010 12:54:52 am

Don and Team,


Thank you,

Bonbon Damnit
8/3/2010 12:29:48 am

WOW you are almost there! There will be no smart remarks from me, I assure you. I would be the last person to question your motives or your sanity at this point. Instead, I will tell you that it was a fun read that took us along on the ride. It was a remarkable feat, and you are the only person that I know who would even contemplate such an adventure again. Congratulation on talking three others into going along and for completing it. Have fun with Roy--he is excited about seeing you.
Love to Sal.

Bonbon Darnit
8/3/2010 12:34:57 am

The pictures from week six are beautiful. I loved the savage dog!

8/3/2010 08:31:53 am

Well I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your successful cross-country trek but wanted to make sure you weren't eaten by a shark when you put your bike in the ocean. Last night's news had one coming right up onto the shore and seeing how the dogs took such a liking to you...well, anything's possible ya know!
CONGRATS and way to go, Don. Hope you are all celebrating and we can't wait to see you and Sal on saturday.

11/10/2010 02:17:09 pm

Silkworm, People will try your death silk to QiYi also endlessly. While there is life there is hope must try hard, For youth good category.


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    Don Ballingall

    I am a retired elementary school teacher.  Married with a daughter and two wonderful grandchildren.
    I have ridden across the United states at  ages 38, 50 and 60.
    So why not try it again at 70.


    August 2010
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