The next day we made our way North towards Ashland. At this point the rolling hills were starting to turn into big climbs. We shacked up at a Motel 6 in Ashland using my discount from my Adventure Cycling Association membership. After a nice night of rest, we headed towards a town named Mineral. We found a host on Warmshowers for that night and it was about seven miles past Mineral, so we pushed on. At about forty five miles Kristen was starting to run out of juice. We pushed though and got to our destination. Where we ended up was a small commune. Right as we arrived, we were offered an outdoor shower and a warm meal. I was a little adventurous and tried some freegan fish. It was said to be “Delicious, nutritious, and a little suspicious.”
From the commune, we headed towards Charlottesville. It was a long ride with a ton of climbing. We got in just at dark and stayed with David, another host from Warmshowers. David and his wife JoAnne were wonderful hosts. They had a basement set up for cyclists doing this tour. They even had a bike repair stand! David gave us some of his wisdom on the upcoming mountains and places to stay. He also gave me a ride to the UPS customer center to get my laptop charger, which is why I can write this down now. I couldn’t thank David enough. We took a rest day and I fell in love with Charlottesville. It is a great little city with tons to do. Charlottesville is definitely a place I could see myself living.
As we left Charlottesville, we expected some rain. And we got it. It was so bad at one point that we took shelter at a gas station. Kristen’s bike did not like the rain and huge descents. She is riding with a trailer and caliper brakes. She was nearly in tears when we got to the gas station because of how little braking she had. She got a ride to our next stop from our next host, Francine. Every host we’ve had has been amazing, and Francine is no exception. I helped load her bike up and hit the road to Afton.
Afton is coined “The Top” by both cyclists and thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. The climb to the top is relentless. There aren’t even false flats, it just keeps going up. There where points where I was in my granny gear, out of the saddle, and just crawling. It would have probably been faster pushing the bike. At this point the rain was light and when the rain subsided the fog rolled in.
This part of the climb was terrifying. It was getting cold, the fog was insane, and I was back on a fifty five mile per hour highway. That is the shoulder I had to ride in the above picture. At the top I got off of the route and rolled down into Waynesboro, where I am currently writing this.
I left some things out because we’ve experienced so much in the last week and I am trying to recall from memory. I’ll update this more often now, and they will be shorter posts.
Thanks for reading! It’s Just Pepper Baby!