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Day 22 - Buckhannon, West Virginia to Harrisonburg, Virginia.
133 miles,
10830' climbing

Back to serious climbing. We were now crossing the Appalachians. It was just like Wisconsin, up and down and up and down, except we gained 1000 feet each time instead of 50. The morning started out very foggy, and I started out very early. I was glad to have my taillights and bright clothing as I rounded blind corners in the fog. The coolness of the morning was welcome, but heat would come soon enough. We had experienced amazingly good, cool weather throughout the trip, but that was about to end.

At least the scenery was getting better. At the second snack stop, a photographer from Bicycling got a shot of me trying to eat a melted Payday with mountains in the background. He asked if the scenery had been this good throughout the trip. "Not for the last week," I told him, but the first week was breathtaking, and it was getting to be nice again. I was really getting tired of seeing nothing but corn and the word Blackburn on the back of seat pack of the rider I was drafting.

Richard and I began riding together for a while, stopping occasionally to take pictures of the again scenic mountains. Both of us were feeling a little more energetic because our surroundings were familiar and we were close to home, but this was a long day, so we just tried to take it easy.

With all the climbing, I spent a lot of time riding alone, although I was usually close to other riders. Climbing is just something I have to do by myself. I can set my own pace and not hurt myself. Of course it also means if I run out of water there is no one to borrow any from. And that's what happened. I kept my eyes open for a store, but saw none. Just as I was about to go knock on a door, the sag vehicle went by. I flagged them down and got some water. It must have been hot for me to go through a whole Camelbak in 30 miles!

I stopped at the next town for a frozen yogurt and soda before the final climb of the day to the Virginia border. I know that dairy products are hard to digest while riding, but I also knew it would cool me off a lot. I then began the long slow climb to Virginia.

About half way up, I saw Ann and Dan taking a break and leaning on a guard rail just before a really wicked looking switch back. It looked like a great plan to me, so I joined them for a bit. The break was great and starting back up again wasn't that difficult. A couple more miles of switch backs and I saw Mike and Karen at the snack stop next to the Virginia State line, and it was a beautiful site. This was our last major climb of the day, and a fast screaming descent would follow.

I said last major descent because we still had a few more little climbs, including the final steep climb to the hotel, which put my altimeter exactly at the advertised climbing.

The U-Haul, just as it had on our trip over the Big Horns, had trouble climbing the hills we did, and finally died. I was fortunate enough to be on the massage table, when the new truck arrived and help was being solicited to unload the old, and load the new. Phil made my massage last just long enough for them to get everything out of the old truck!

I noticed a Waffle House just below the hotel and got my heart, or rather stomach, set on waffles for dinner. I used to go to these places all the time when I lived in the south, and love them. The pecan waffles are great as is the entertainment from the waitresses. There aren't any in the northeast, and I really, really wanted a Waffle House waffle. My dinner companions wanted to go for Mexican, so I had Fajitas as appetizers, then waffles, then frozen yogurt. I think if I'd suggested another place, John would have kept on eating, but we decided we had indulged plenty. Hey, almost 11,000 feet of climbing. I can indulge!