Day 10 - June 18, 2002

Damascus to Rosedale, VA (Elk Garden United Methodist Church hostel)

Ride length: 32.4 miles
Total to date: 528..63 miles
Moving time: 3 hr 7 min.
Average Speed: 10.4 mph
Total ascent: 2976 ft.
Minimum elevation: 1578 ft.
Maximum elevation: 2998 ft.
Ending elevation: 2222 ft.
Wind: calm.
Weather: 80° F all afternoon with some clouds

Ahh... Prednisone

This morning I went back to the clinic to see a doctor about my tendonitis. She has seen many trail injuries both from the TransAmerica bicycle trail and the Appalachian Trail (hiking) that pass through Damascus. She assured me that I have classic tendinitis of the Achilles tendon and that it will not cause permanent damage. The past eight days of riding have been really hard and I have just put too much stress on it.

She prescribed Prednisone which is a steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. I take 60mg for the first two days then 40mg for the next three days. I also got a large prescription of ibuprofen that should last me quite a while. It is in 800mg tablets that turned out to be much cheaper than if I were to buy it over the counter and pop tons of 200mg pills. The ibuprofen is also an anti-inflammatory medication that should keep any swelling and pain down after the good stuff runs out.

I popped my three Prednisone pills, said goodbye to Barry (who I met at "The Place") and hopped back on the bike about 1:00pm for the short ride to the Elk Garden Methodist Church Hostel where I stayed for the night. The doctor agreed that a short day would be alright. The tendon gave me little trouble - the medication worked very well and quickly.

The ride was stupid steep from Hayters Gap up to the top of Clinch Mountain. I had to push my bike up that 2.5 mile switchback road and then rode the brakes hard coming down. This mountain is notorious for bicycle wrecks due to its steep grade and tight corners. Donna Ikenberry wrote about a wreck that happened the same day she came down the mountain when she was researching for her guidebook. The cyclist log here at the hostel also gave account of a woman who wrecked pretty bad coming down just a little while ago. The first picture is looking back on Clinch Mountain; the second is of a farm at the bottom of the mountain. The fields have rocky outcroppings here—the first I've seen so far.

This area is home to the legendary Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys. They are bluegrass masters!

The hostel is nice. There's a kitchen that is well stocked with food from other cyclists, a refrigerator, a stove and a large common area. They insist that bikers sleep on the red padded carpet in the sacristy of the church which sounded weird to me until I read of other cyclists doing the same in the log book.

The log book also shows that I'm just a day or two behind about six other cyclists. I should be able to catch up with no problem in the next few days. [Postscript: I caught up with them in Kremmling, Colorado 26 days later!]

I have to make it to Berea, Kentucky for the mail drop by Saturday (6/22) at 12:30 when the post office closes or else I'll have to stay until Monday morning. It's going to be a crunch to get there and I'll have to spend at least one night "backwoodsing it" to make it happen. I may even push hard and try to do a century tomorrow—it is 101 miles to the Pippa Passes hostel.

I'm well behind the 62 mile day average I need to maintain to make Seattle by August 22. The injury, steep Virginia mountains and getting used to riding every day has taken its toll on my body. Things should go better and I'll try to catch up to the 62 mile daily average within the next week.

I decided to stop trying to keep track of my food and other expenses. It's just plain too hard to do and it really doesn't matter anyway.

Today I wrote a short essay on roadside garbage. Check it out.

Food: 2 blueberry pancakes (380 kcal), 1 sausage patty (100 kcal), 1 pt. chocolate milk (415 kcal), 1 pt. orange juice (224 kcal), 4 L water, 1/2 lb spaghetti (840 Cal), sauce (300 Cal), 3 slices of garlic bread (380 kcal), small package of cashews (450 Cal)

Total Energy: 3089 Cal.

Hostel donation: $5.00

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