This morning I am enjoying my last downhill ride before the FINAL & LETHAL mount of the TransAm. Today’s plan is to get to Vesuvius – a town at the bottom of the hill – in order to be able to climb the monster early in the morning.
During a break at the library, I send an email to a mailing group I have been added to. A couple of moments later I get a reply from Justin – a fellow TransAm biker who has been following me ever since he saw my yellow card in Cooky’s Café back in Golden City in Missouri. He says that he’s been telling people about my trip (thank you Justin!), especially women who are curious about bike touring but nervous about the cost or going solo. And that they inevitably find what I’m doing inspiring. He’s been also hoping that we would meet.
Turns out, we are only 25 miles apart: he has just passed me, probably this morning, but we missed each other because he’s been taking alternative routes. He stayed the day before with the WS folks whose house I passed yesterday: they saw me take a picture of their WarmShowers sign and they loved the card I left them in return.
Justin tells me about an alternative to the huge lethal climb that’s ahead of us which was recommended to him by his hosts. Apparently, if I go through Buena Vista instead of Vesuvius I will NOT need therapy upon completing the climb and getting onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. After spending some time assessing my options and studying their elevation profiles, I do go for the proposed alternative.
All throughout my trip, I have been faithfully following the TransAm. Basically, to the letter. Well… except when those letters are H-I-L-L-S. If there’s an alternative that doesn’t involve them: I’ll take it. It’s because I’m a lazy cyclist, first of all, and it’s energy preservation that I REALLY excel at.