Sunday morning started out well. We left Charlottesville and headed on down the road to White Hall, Va. It was a magnificently beautiful ride. We stopped to attend service at Mt. Moriah United Methodist Church. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. There sermon series was titled “We can!” We stayed for some refreshments after service and then headed on our way.
Shortly after leaving the Church we came upon a nice country store called “Wyants Store.” Many of the stops along the TransAm bicycle route have a book that touring cyclists sign when they visit. We signed the book. Phil got a coca-cola, we looked around, and then we left. As you will learn when you keep reading, not getting some real food was a serious oversight with very bad consequences.
Across the street was the White Hall Community building that allows cyclists to camp behind it.
We headed down the road to Greenwood. The terrain was hilly with a continuous uphill trend with more climbing than descending. Phil was beginning to feel weak and tired as we continued to ride. We came upon Chiles Peach Orchard and Farm Market just outside of Greenwood. Upon arrival, Phil was dizzy, tired, weak, and felt like he was going to faint. Phil ate some ice cream right away and rested on a table. We stayed there for almost 3 hours as Phil attempted to refuel and regain energy.
We were 7 miles away from our destination in Afton: the world famous “Bike house” which was owned by the “Cookie Lady” until she passed a few years ago. Thankfully, someone else continues to offer the service to cyclists to this day.
We tried to start out again and Phil’s clip on his shoe came lose, so his shoe was stuck on his pedal. After a little struggle, we pulled the shoe off the pedal, only to realize we had lost one of the bolts to the shoe. Linda asked the store clerk if they had seen a bolt on the floor when they were sweeping. A man who was a customer noticed our need and offered us a bolt from his cycling shoes that he happened to have in his car. As we were exchanging bolts, the store clerk emerged with the missing bolt. We then gave the man a bolt back and thanked him again for his generosity. He had actually mentioned that he would want someone to do the same for him.
Now we were ready to go. We tried to continued our ascent into Afton. However, Phil was beginning to feel worse and came to a point where he couldn’t ride or even walk another inch. Phil laid down on someones lawn next to their driveway.
Very soon after we heard a person rolling what sounded like a trashcan on the driveway next door. Whe saw through the trees between the two driveways that it was a woman. When she came to the end of the driveway near the road, Linda asked her for help and if someone nearby had a pickup truck. She did not have a pickup truck but she said that her neighbor next door (whose yard it was that Phil was laying down in) did. Thelma walked back to her house and called her neighbor Scott.
After Thelma called her neighbor Scott she came back out to check on Phil. As it turns out, Thelma is a nurse! She took Phil’s pulse and it was low. Phil continued to drink water and eat a little.***
Scott came down the driveway with his pickup truck and then Linda and Scott loaded our stuff in the back. Ironically, Scott had actually passed us a few minutes earlier as we were walking up a hill less than a mile away from his house. He told us that he had contemplated stopping to see if we were o.k. when he passed us (which we knew because we had seen his brake lights come on).
He drove us to “The Bike House” which had been owned by June Curry, the world famous “Cookie Lady”. She passed away back in July 2012. She had been part of the TransAmerica trail since it’s inception in 1976. Someone else now owns the Bike house and keeps it open for Cyclists. The “Bike House” is actually the entire first floor of the two story structure and it has four large rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is stocked with food for the cyclists (which we took advantage of) and a bathroom. They have an outdoor shower which had not yet been hooked up since it was too early in the season.
Cyclists have been leaving behind and/or sending cards and knicknacks as a thank you. Every room is covered in them. It was incredible reading everything on the walls at the Cookie Lady’s house.
What had happened to Phil is referred to using the term “bonk.” Phil bonked and bonked hard. If you do not know what “bonking” is then Google it. The long story short is that Phil did not eat enough throughout the day and depleted his glycogen stores. Once this happens, recovery can not happen immediately just by eating a candy bar. True bonking will take at least couple days to recover from.
***In addition, we had both been drinking water when we should have been drinking a sports drink with electrolytes! Linda does not like sports drinks but does like candy which is why we were only drinking water. This was a big factor with regards to Phil bonking. Either way, it is a best practice to drink a lot of sports drink at full strength throughout the day when bike touring!!!