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7/12/15 The Appalachian Climb

Submitted by Jacob on Sun, 07/12/2015 - 23:42

One week from Ocean City! Only 5-6 days left of riding. Today was a little bit of a shock, but it shouldn’t have been. Over 6,000 feet of climbing in only 82 miles. I wanted to do a “mile per day remaining” and do 85, but I knew the average was only at 82 per day and once I saw the support van stopped, there was no way I was going to continue. I am really bad at the end of the day regarding the miles. If I need the extra miles it is a hard for me to call it quits if I don't see that van and and I have to call the driver asking him to drive back.

I don’t know how much longer these hills will be. I hope just two more days. Lancaster county is very hilly, but not like this. It seems like the hills are getting longer. I much prefer the long climbs and descents to the sharp and constantly steep work.

Getting across the Rockies is like 2.5 days. When riding from the west, you start in the high desert, at about 7,000-8,000 feet. Very minor foothills, leading to a long 15-20 mile climb to 10-11K feet, then a drop back down to 8,000. Half a day in a valley, then a whole day's worth of long climbs back up to 10-11K, and then a huge 40-60 mile drop down to 4-5K. You couldn’t pay me to ride across Colorado going East to West. I like starting in that high desert. But the Appalachia is something else. I did more climbing today than in one of my “big climb” days in Colorado.

The foothills are endless, and the passes aren’t long enough to make winding curves necessary, so a lot of roads just shoot right up the hillside. Even the older US highway system takes these hills pretty straight and steep. I constantly go biggest gear, smallest gear, over and over and over again. All I can do is assume that I’m in the heart of it, and that 6,022 feet of climbing in one day is the most I’ll have to do. This should begin to flatten out near the end of the day on Tuesday as I approach Harrisburg.

I have ended the day in Indiana PA.  A very cool town. I had coleslaw and fries and an egg on my sandwich tonight, a Steel City tradition.

I can’t wait to see my Grandma and Granddad in New Holland, PA. Can’t wait to get home. Can’t wait to work again.  I will be  quiet at work when I get back and just let myself get back into it naturally.

What I look forward to the most is seeing the children who get implanted from this Ride! This is always the best part.