Damascus, Bristol, Lebanon

14/04/2010

Only in America could you start the day in Damascus and pass both Bristol and Lebanon before the end of the day! I got up at 05.30 this morning as I knew that I had a long day, with some pretty bad climbs, and wanted to get going before the day really heated up: it’s been near record temperatures for this time of year.

It was still dark when I set off, but it was fantastic to see the sunrise over the mountains. By the time I stopped for breakfast in Meadowview I had already cycled 20 miles. When I told some guys in the diner where I was going they warned me about the impending climb up form Hayter’s Gap – it proved to be as nasty as promised. I climbed more than 1500 feet over 4 miles – but the view at the top and the decent on the other side made it worthwhile.

I then had miles of rolling countryside before I had the second big climb of the day up ‘Big A Mountain’ which was nowhere near as long and as steep as the climb up from Hayter’s Gap. Best of all from there I had a nice steady downhill for around 20 miles to Haysi – a small town with more redneck flags than people – I really am in ‘Hill-Billy’ country now. In fact some of the trucks going past had ‘Hill-Billy’ bumper stickers. Despite the steady downhill slope of this strech of road the heat made it tough going.

From Haysi I had three steep climbs of about 500 feet each to reach Breaks Interstate Park, where I am staying tonight. It is a beautiful park with a fantastic gorge. At the last viewpoint of the day I saw my first eagle, and as I was watching it several others showed up, which was awsome. The owner of the motel I’m staying at tonight told me that a couple from London, following my route, came through here two weeks ago, so hopefully I’ll catch up with them at some point.

Although I only covered 80 miles today, it was easily one of the toughest days so far, due to the numerous steep climbs. I have just about finished the Virginia section of the route now – having covered 572 miles. Tomorrow: Kentucky!

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4 thoughts on “Damascus, Bristol, Lebanon

  1. Hey Ed,

    Congratulations on your progress so far. Sounds like you’re making decent headway. You’ll be a cycling machine before long.

    Enjoying reading your blog, i’m into revision season so it’s making me very jealous – make the most of it!

    Good luck with the next State,

    Will

  2. I was almost holding my breath while I read your post today…what an amazing cycle, and how superb to see eagles! Can’t believe you are in Kentucky tomorrow…well done. Hope you are taking lots of photos we haven’t had any on the blog for the last couple of days. Love you mum xxx

  3. Ed, Brilliant! what a ride. Are you getting mail OK.
    We can hardly wait for each new instalment.Love always G Ma G Pa

  4. Hi Ed.
    great to see eagles. the ups and downs sound exhausting. i hope you are finding places to stay easier, annoying that all campsites are closed.
    enjoy kentucky.
    love aunty julie xxx

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