Journey of Hope - Beckley, WV to Blacksburg, VA

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This Saturday last year I was completing one of my toughest days on a bike ever, if not the toughest day for me. I was 63 days into a cross country trip to raise awareness and fund for people with disabilities. Over 3000 miles into the ride, the team was entering my college town and and Home of the Hokies, Blacksburg, Virginia.

The schedule 105 mile ride took us just over 6 hours on the bike with 7000+ ft. of elevation gain for the day, it was brutal. Running on adrenaline we charged up the last climb of the day, a climb I had done quite often in training regime leading up the my journey. This Saturday I'll be reliving that pain and hopefully charging up that last hill, or at least make it up that last hill as I ride along with the 2010 Trans-America Journey of Hope team.

Don't believe me? Here's the numbers with the Garmin elevation correction enabled.

I wrote a blog while biking cross country, that inspired me to continue to ride about my cycling adventures. Here's entry from that day:

BLACKSBURG, man oh man did it feel good to be in a familiar place. Today was a homecoming for me and it was tough, exhausting, and it felt amazing!

We had been told that today could be the toughest day on bike and with over 100 miles to go and a really hard day yesterday I was a little apprehensive about how the day would go. I was excited to get the day on the road and with a wonderful cooked breakfast we were ready to tackle the difficult day that we had ahead. Fitting for the day our crew chief played "Enter Sandman" by Metallica as we prepared to hit the road. The topography for the day looked like a heartbeat, up and down all day with what appeared to be a lot of climbing hitting the high point at 16 miles into the ride.

My legs hurt, physically drained and as if there was nothing left in them; the worrying feeling that I had gone too hard the day before into Beckley was proving to be true. At mile 16 I was cooked and right as I pulled my paceline including the other two tech boys over the summit I felt as if I was going to have to rack into my home town and wouldn't be able to complete one of the most important days on the trip.

Today the teammate aspect of the trip really showed through as my teammates pulled me through 40 of the toughest miles of the trip. As we began to draw closer to Virginia and I began seeing roads I recognized and see mileages for towns I found my second wind and finally was ready to ride hard and fast to Blacksburg. The hills continued all day and we topped our total ascent in a day for the trip by over 1800 feet!

The roads today were awesome including huge descents and gorgeous winding roads under tree cover that formed a canopy shading us from the sun. Not only was the day 103 miles to begin with but the crew missing a turn and letting us go 3 miles before they recognized we were missing added 6 miles to our day and a trip back up a very steep hill after blowing past the Virginia state line sign on the way down we added another 2 miles making the day 111 miles.

We went back up a hill to take this photo

We were so excited as we rode into campus that we almost left the last two members of our paceline but waited to finish the day as a team the way we started.

Today was also special for me because my girlfriend Michelle drove to see us, it was the first familiar face I've seen all trip and really made my day. We showered quickly and headed to Steppin' Out, the downtown Blacksburg street fair that happens the first weekend of August every summer. The town mayor came and recognized us and declared today as Push America day in Blacksburg.

Our welcoming party at stepping out and some of my chapter brothers

We had dinner together and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying the festivities Blacksburg had to offer.


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