Day 8 – 108 miles to Chilhowie, VA

Good morning!

Today is a big day. First, it’s our teams first century, riding over 100 miles to Chilhowie, Virginia. Also, it’s my first day driving the water van, partnered with Casey!

The day started out a little bumpy for us, needing to get gas and temporarily losing the team credit card. We also ran into some gravel on a back road so we had to reroute. And on our way back to the main road, two teams caught up to us. Ah, no!

Thankfully (and unfortunately for the team) we were able to gain some distance on everyone via large hills and mountains.

At the first water stop, we met Craig, a pastor at the church we stopped outside at. He have us some cool history of the area while waiting or riders. Everyone down south is super nice. And when we left the water stop, a man chased us down in his truck to show us what was next to us at the water stop. He said, “Y’all gotta be careful out here.” And then he presented us with a still-living rattlesnake 46 inches long…
Cool. Great. I’m not scared at all.

We got to lunch, when it started pouring rain. And we had to pick up a hurt rider. And the host van had to drive an injured rider to the hospital. And we had a huge mountain ahead of us.

As we raced on to catch up to the first group, we picked up Sarah, and then climbed the mountain. We chalked to the end of the climb with inspirational messages to keep the team motivated. The top of the mountain was called “Big Walker Lookout” with gorgeous views, a country store, and a bluegrass band (I kid you not, it was pretty cool). But before we could enjoy the top, we had to pick a couple more people up. So we had four passengers, their bikes, and could barely fit. All while trying to make sure all teams had water and waiting for the host van to he back from the hospital. All with no service. Sooo, you can imagine how hard communication was.

We got in around 8 pm, later than expected, and everyone was exhausted. We met Robin, who represented Chilhowie Christian Church, and Mark, who connected us to Robin. Casey and I emptied the van and with the help of others, brought everyone’s bags upstairs to our rooms. We then cleaned the water van (after 7 days, it was bad) and reorganized all of our food.

It was an exhausting day for the riders (now with a century under their belt), but also for the drivers. With no service, the host van at the hospital, injured/dehydrated riders, and a huge mountain, we had a lot to juggle. But we successfully got all riders to the host with high spirits and smiles.

Now to sleep.

Michael

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