Friday, May 28, 2010

Ride on the New River Trail

Look how good I’m getting at updating this blog!  What a change of pace!  Maybe next I’ll start waking up before noon.  I joke, but I seriously will have to start waking up before noon on when I’m on my bike trip and it is very disconcerting.  My body will be shocked at all of these changes. 

Anyhow, yesterday I went on a 45 mile ride of the New River Trail.  This is another rails-to-trails project.  The actual trail spans several counties and pretty much follows the New River.  The great part about any rails to trails path is that they are all generally flat because trains cannot (or could not?) handle any steep grades.  This is WONDERFUL news to me and my legs who despise any grade above –1.  The actual trail itself is isn’t paved but it’s the sort of packed down dirt that is really hard so it’s almost like pavement.  There are some gravel and dirt and rocks on the trail… remember this detail, it will become important later.  My friend Sarah Smith let me borrow her bike rack to drive down to Pulaski.


Guess which is worth more, the car or the bike?  Hint: I have faith that the bike can go 3,800 miles.  I was hesitant to drive the car 20 miles to Pulaski.

So the trail was pretty ho-hum.  Riding on a flat grade is a lot weirder than I thought.  I figured it would  be great, I could burn miles and go really fast and just zone out.  But flat is sort of boring.  I will stop short of saying that I like hills but boy, there’s nothing better than bombing down a hill in the drops.  It was really beautiful country.  Don’t believe me?   Here’s some pics.


I have an affinity t0wards old buildings, houses, barns, etc.  Maybe it’s a suburban child thing.  You’ll probably start to notice that most of my pictures are of old buildings or cemeteries.



This is “downtown” Allisonia. I’m at the point where I’m always thrilled to see a store so I know I can refill my water bottles if needed.  Looking back, I wish I would have gone in the general store and looked around. 



Posed bike pic.  They incorporated the old railroad trestle bridges into the path.


Bridges like this are obviously pretty cool to ride across.  I feel like I’m a train.  Choo chooooo!



The river here was so calm and flat it looked like a lake.  There were some big houses with awesome boats all along the banks.  I then decided that one day I was going to be rich and own one of these houses.  


I have a sort of morbid love of cemeteries.  I blame this on my grandma (thanks Mimi!) I really do love them and I always slow down and try to read the inscriptions on tombstones and therefore usually end up making up far-fetched stories about who the deceased was and how he lived and died, etc.  This one was really worn down so I couldn’t speculate much.


BUT I was able to make up a story about this building.  It was right across from what looked like used to be a train platform, so I decided it used to be an inn for travelers to stay in for the night.  You could still see old furniture and fireplaces.

Ok, I think this is the time for some sort of disclaimer.  Imagine that you are riding your bike for 4, 5, or 6 hours at a time.  You have no one to talk to, no music, no internet, nothing.  You’re totally alone with your thoughts.  This is me, everyday, for the past month.  I have made up so many stories and scenarios in my head about buildings, fields, cows, whatever, that I must sound like a crazy person.  I really don’t think I am, so please bear with me whenever I post things that may seem a little strange.


I took my bike to a park near the river and took this picture.  I got back on the path around the 22 mile mark.  It was near 5pm, so it was sunny but also shady and I was having a hard time telling blots of sunlight between branches from sticks and stones that I need to avoid on my road tires.  So I took off my sunglasses so I could better survey the terrain.  Rookie mistake.  A rock or something flew up and hit me in the eye, immediately causing me annoying pain.  I had to stop and go into someone’s yard to look in their cars side mirrors to try to see if I could get whatever it was out of my eye.  I couldn’t, so I turned around and spent the next 22 miles in a very annoying, painful condition.  My eye was swelling shut while crying involuntarily.  So here I was, pedaling at breakneck speed with tears streaming down one side of my face.  It hurt but I was more annoyed because I had only brought 4 water bottles and my eye was releasing valuable water that my body needed to stay hydrated.  I ended up tying one of my leg warmers around my head to keep my eye shut, sort of a homemade eyepatch.  THAT DEFINATELY looked REALLY cool.  After a horrible drive home, my boyfriend took me to the emergency room (for the first time in my life) where the doctor pulled some tiny grains of rocks out of my eye and gave me some medicine for a scratched cornea.  Long story short, the eye heals itself super fast and I’m fine now.  If that’s the worst injury I get during this whole trip than I’m happy as a clam.023

See that spot on my other eye lid?  That’s a bruise.  I knew that rubbing my hurt eye would just scratch the grit in more, so the whole time I was riding and driving I would rub my other eye as some sort of psychological release.  Apparently I rubbed it so much it bruised.  Oops.  Seriously though, I’m 100% recovered 24 hours later.  And hopefully my accident insurance will cover the ER visit. 

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