Monday, June 23, 2008
Winchester to DC
This was looking ahead at the final large moutain I'd have to climb on my trip. Part of the Blueridge Mountains, the Appalachian trail passes along the summit.
To be quite honest, I didn't want to do this anymore. I was sick of riding on Route 7, the only way over the hill. The shoulder was terrible and the motorists weren't too friendly. I'd find another way if I could do it again. I ended up walking up most of the mountain because the gravel shoulder was terrible for riding and my legs were worn out. I was just looking forward to getting to Purcellville, where the W&OD rail trail started that would take me the rest of the way to Falls Church, VA where I'd be catching the metro.
Top of the hill, only a few more miles to Purcellville...
What a great start to riding on the trail! Less than half a mile into a trail I ran into this lemonade stand. These kids are brilliant, they're probably making a killing. Organic lemonade no doubt! This kids are sophisticated. I bought a cup of lemonade and cup of granola for 75 cents. Best deal in town.
Now I was on the nice bike trail, it was nice not having to deal with cars. There were so many road bicyclists on the trail, it was culture shock for me. When coming back from another country it usually takes a few days to adjust, same with bike riding in the middle of nowhere. After several days and several hundred miles, I hadn't seen a single bicycle. Now all of a sudden I was surrounded by bicyclists. It was nice to see other people, but I had come to expect not seeing anyone most of the trip.
I met Teresa, in the middle, at a rest stop along the trail. She was along with her bike club on a Saturday ride on the trail. They were headed to lunch about 10 miles away and encouraged me to come along. Riding with them pushed me to keep going, we were doing between 15 and 20, much faster than the meandering pace of 11mph that I was going before. After 60 miles of riding and all my gear, I really didn't want to go very fast. I was glad that I had to though, otherwise it would have had the energy to keep going on.
We stopped at a brewpub tucked away in an office complex off of the trail. I still had 20 more miles to go, it was good to get a nice meal for the final stretch.
Ugh! The final stretch was wearing on me. It was along power lines and there was no shade. Today was definitely the hottest day of the trip and I was getting tired of being baked as I rode along. My ankles only hurt more and more, I just wanted to be done. Finally, after a boring and hot final leg, I made it to the Falls Church Metro! It was wild seeing it, I couldn't believe I actually did it. Did I really just ride this far? Am I sure I just didn't get dropped off here via a car? Was this all a dream? The throbbing pain of my ankles assured me that yes, I really did just do this.