Monday, July 1, 2013

Hellish hills

July 1, 2013
State College, PA to Johnstown, PA

Holy cow, how is it already July?! Anyway, this morning I set off from State College and said goodbye to my parents until I see them again in Santa Barbara in two months. The day started off foggy again but much more hilly than the previous day. We all agreed to go a slightly slower pace than normal since we had done so much the day before. Maybe it was the rain last night, but for some reason the farms we passed this morning were especially stinky. 

The hills we did this morning were a lot longer than most of the ones we were used to and my knee started to act up early on in the ride. By the time lunch came it was almost too much, but I really wanted to finish off the day. Right out of lunch we were met with even more hills that seemed to go on forever! On one of the downhills though, we passed a Sarah Street sign that I clearly had to get a picture with. 

Almost right after we took this picture, the two other riders I was with, Ellie and Daniel, missed our turn. I stopped at the intersection and waited for them to come back, but unfortunately Ellie got a flat tire! I was sitting on the corner for a while and a van drove by that was interested in what we were doing. He had seen a bunch of us biking around so he pulled over and we chatted about Bike & Build for a while. At the end of it, he gave me a $20 donation! The generosity of people across the country so far has been incredible. At this point, Ellie and Daniel were back and we started the rest of our ride. And a hell of a ride it was. We spent the next few hours climbing long and steep hills. Going up a really long one, I told Ellie she was killing these hills and an old man on his porch goes "Hills?? Just wait a few miles, then you'll see some real hills." It was really encouraging... But he was right, we shortly started climbing to the second highest point in PA. On our way up, we stopped at a natural cold water spring and cooled off before we finished the climb to the top. 

It was such a satisfying feeling to reach the top, and we did some yoga stretching as a break! Unfortunately, the worst of the hills wasn't over yet. As we started descending from the second highest point in PA, it started torrentially downpouring! Things got really slick so we were all extra careful. The last part of the trip was the worst though--a never ending steep incline followed by a 14% downgrade. I was clutching my brakes the entire way and by the end of it my hands were killing me. I thought it was kind of fitting that we rolled into Johnstown in a torrential rain because the flood that happened there is the reason for PA's 10% alcohol tax. Thankfully we only have one more day until we reach Pittsburgh and our first day off!!

No comments:

Post a Comment