Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Allegheny Mountains Loop ITT Day 2

The shelter was a great place to spend the night. I was able to get some good sleep and finally crawled out of the sack around 6:00 am. I was still stiff and sore which seemed a bit strange as I usually recover quickly when off the bike. We slowly packed up our gear, took in some calories, took some pictures of the river flowing just behind the shelter and then we were rolling once again.

The last ten miles of the Greenbriar Rail Trail was a great way to start the morning and the perfect warm up for the day ahead. Once the rail trail came to an end, we spent a fair amount of time on pavement. The roads were rolling and primarily single lane. It was great to get in some out of the saddle climbing and the rollers were welcomed. While Chris pulled off some layers, I continued on looking for photo subjects. I stopped when I saw these guys in the middle of a pasture. It took a little coaxing but they slowly made their way over to me.

It wasn't long before we came upon the second section of rail trail included on the route. The West Fork Rail Trail also had a slight uphill grade which again meant plenty of saddle time. This rail trail was a little overgrown but the tread was in great shape. Once again we found ourselves following the contours of a river that provided plenty of beautiful views.

Lots of chamois cream was applied during this ride.

After completing the rail trail we spit out in Glady, WV. I had been feeling like some real food and had been looking forward to making it to Glady. When we arrived in town, I was surprised to see a game check station and a church.. nothing else. We continued our ride into the Laurel Fork Wilderness which consisted of primarily gravel and a fair bit of climbing. With the climbing came a sharp pain in my left foot which progressively got worse. The pain was playing a game with my mind and it was winning. I dropped back off of Chris' pace and started riding in granny. This 2-3 hours ended up being the low part of the ride. I kept mumbling to myself about not wanting to ride my bike anymore and was scrambling to find a way to bail. The good part about being in the middle of nowhere is that it's not so easy to bail. Chris was nice enough to wait for me (for who knows how long) at a point where we decided to ride a few miles off route for some gas station grill food. I polished off a couple of cheeseburgers, fries, coke, and some Advil. We restocked our food and water supply and set out for what would be one of the biggest climbs of the route.

I was a little skeptical if things would turn around for me or not, but not ten minutes into the climb I had my answer. The climb lasted around 45 minutes and I was able to stand for just about all of it. Somehow the pain in my foot subsided and I was feeling great. Once at the top I took some time to eat, stretch and massage my feet. 25 minutes later Chris came rolling up and we were on our way to the last monster climb of the day.

The last climb of the day was again around 45 minutes to an hour. It felt great to be climbing and I was now having a blast. We made it to the ridge top just as the sun decided to set. We took a few minutes to capture mental images of our surroundings. After putting on some warmer layers, we began the long descent toward our final destination for the day.

Peaches make you climb faster..

Riding down off of this ridge line was one of the best descents on this route. The speed was fast, the lights burned bright and the bear whistle was screaming. We made our way into a tiny town that consisted of a small gas station, firehouse and not much more. We found shelter behind the firehouse and set up on picnic tables for the night. Once again, we were beat down and our bodies were sore. The stars were magnificent and the temperature was perfect for a good night's sleep. The time was 10:00 and we had covered 130 miles.

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