Last we spoke I had climbed to the top of Afton Mountain. As it turns out, that wasn’t the half of it. The next day of riding was more and more of the same. Endless climb after endless climb. The temperature ranged from 39 degrees to 52 degrees. The rain poured and poured.
I got a ride to the spot I had left the route by a very gracious man named John. He picked us up bright and early, took me to the start, and took Kristen to the bottom of the mountains at Vesuvius. John, like many of the people we met along this route was a fantastic human, and I hope to see his big bike adventure when he gets that opportunity.
The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous day. As mentally and physically challenging as this portion was, I don’t know what I would have done had I been constantly buzzed by cars again.
And it was quiet. So quiet. There were times during the climbs where all I could hear was my mug creaking as it swung back and forth on the back of my pannier. It took me to another place. My legs hurt, I was soaked to the bone, I was nearly freezing, and every time I turned a corner I just saw more highway jutting upwards to the sky. But, I was in my element. For the first time on this adventure I felt like I was feeling what I was supposed to feel. I was pushing myself. Testing my mettle. I had to prove to myself that I could make it to the top.
So I pushed. I can only imagine how beautiful the views over the ridge would have been. But, as you can see, there was nothing but grey. It really felt like nothing I had experienced before. So solemn. So quiet. So Painful. So beautiful. So freeing.
Eventually I reached the top. I looked at my GPS and saw that the next few miles were downhill. And steep. This is probably my only complaint with that ride. I love going downhill. The speed and thrill is amazing. But with the pouring rain and the tight switchbacks I had to ride my brakes nearly the entire time. Even so, I reached over 35 mph. Red silt and loose gravel scattered the corners as it ran off the sheer cliffs.
When I reached Vesuvius, Kristen was waiting. We then took a leisurely ride down the river valley to a camp ground where we stayed the night.
The next day the terrain was different. Instead of long rolling hills we got shorter, steeper hills. After around 40 miles, Kristen was done. These are hard hills. Almost the entire time you ride up or down. No flat. So we stayed with another Warmshower host named Wendy. Her and her family were so incredibly accommodating. They showed us our space. Offered a pool or hot tube. Let us shower and clean up. Then we sat and had a meal with the family. They even brought out a pie for desert.
Today was another hard day. Only up and down. This is what it looks like for the whole of Kentucky. It will be interesting to see if we can get our mileage up through this. The climbs are very hard on the legs.
I hope you all enjoy following my journey. More to come, I’m Sure.
It’s Just Pepper Baby!