Monday, September 11

'17 West and Also Other Virginia Mancation: Part Six

I published Part 5 last night because we really did nothing that day, and I'm trying to catch up and get 'er done.

Back to the story...

I have wheel(s) to replace the bad thing that happened. I will ride again on this trip.

The 29" rear wheel barely fits with the 34X20 gear, but it's not like we're gonna ride in mud... right?

I tell Bill Nye to load up our drive to Stokesville on his phone before we leave.  We have WiFi at the condo but then we head into the United States National Radio Quiet Zone.  I do the same.  We might need all the halp we can get.

I drive.  He sleeps.  My phone says "no bueno" somewhere in WV.  His goes on.

We end up at the gas station on the paved part of the Shenandoah 100 course.  I stop for last minute groceries and a case of PBR.

Bill Nye wakes up.  He thought we were gonna stop in Bridgewater for supplies... and that's where his phone was headed.  I explain to him we're coming in from the other side of the world.  He tries to re-navigate on his phone.  Nothing.  We're blind.

Somehow, we pull into camp anyways, there but for the grace of dog.  It's drizzling.

We decide to set up our hammocks before we try to ride.


"What's up?"

"I forgot the rain fly for my hammock."

Bill Nye fashions one out of the tent we brought just in case things were super ugly, and we suit up to go ride a decent loop in the area.  Our ride might have been on the ambitious side, considering the possible weather that might roll in at any moment.  In theory, we'd be repeating some of the route on the next day when we "bring the party" to Aid 5.  Toss the spare car key in the hide spot on my car... because that's what you do at the Shenandoah Mountain 100.

We leave and are headed along the blue highlighted line in a clockwise direction... until we hit the part in the red oval:

Freshly graded but yet to be graveled road that had been seeing some rain.  We sink down into the peanut butter over our rims at certain points.  I keep hoping that it will change over the next rise or around the corner.  I hike ahead, looking for hope.  There is none.  I turn around and get back to Bill Nye.

"It's not getting any better."


And I thought my reduced tire clearance would be a non-issue.

We head back down from whence we came.  At least there's a lake at the bottom.  Splash, splash.  Dip, dip.  Ride out back out of the lake access area...

and go past a building with a powerful outdoor spigot.


We go with a much less ambitious route now, backwards outta Aid 6, hike up a ways, bang a right on Grindstone(?).  Get back to camp at about the same time I thought we would with about a fifth of the miles. 



"My hammock is soaked.  I gotta set up the tent."

*sets up tent*



"I left my sleeping bag in Snowshoe."

Bill Nye grabs the shit blanket outta the back of my car and our two wet towels and tosses them in his tent so he can cover himself in moistness and chain grease tonight.

Clean up, make plans to go into town for Thai food (they just call it "food" in Thailand), and gather up Scott to go with us.  Yummy food, head back to camp, drop off Scott, think about heading back to the pavilion to drink beers...



"I left my GoreTex jacket at the restaurant."



"I left the spare car key in the hide spot when we drove off and it fell out... somewhere between here and Bridgewater."

Bill Nye goes out to get his jacket while I walk the entirety of our route inside the campground all the way out to the main road and back in the entrance as twilight fell hard into darkness.  Nothing.  I stop at registration to see if anyone found it, desperate to find the thing that's gonna make this trip cost hundreds more...

"Yeah, was it a Honda key?"


Bill Nye successfully retrieves his jacket, and I my key.  We grab a mess of beer and make our way to the shelter, where perhaps others can be put in charge of our safety.  By the end of the night, we are the six or so people making all the noise the night before the SM100.  It's nice to be on this side of the equation for a change.

And also, instead of riding out to Aid5 to "bring the party," we now have a plan to get in the Take Aim Cycling Sprinter with Harlan and not slog 20+ miles of gravel and pavement the next day.


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