Wild Weekend! T-Minus 15!

Wild Weekend! T-Minus 15!

What a wild weekend!

Saturday was a big day for me, filled with all kinds of fun things! Started out by loading my panniers with all kinds of books for ballast weight. I wanted to get up to the weight I’d be carrying when cycling the long sections, plus a few extra pounds. Ended up with about 35 pounds of books in the bags with another 3 liters of water strapped into the bike, so just over 40lbs total. It was without a doubt a very back heavy load, but it didn’t really impact my ride that much. It still felt awkward on the long uphill climb when I got stood up out of the saddle to pedal, but it wasn’t unmanageable.

It was a good ride – I did 51.7 miles in some pretty good heat – 88 degrees with full sun and humidity just over 90%. Caught a lot of bugs on my forehead (all those little black specks in the picture) but overall my legs felt great! On my way home I decided to stop at Castleburg Brewery for a beer (I absolutely love their Red Ale) and to snag some food, because more than anything I wanted a cheesesteak.

I literally had set my helmet and beer down on a table when two gentlemen at the table next to me gave me a very nice “Hey Cyclist!” greeting and asked how my ride had been and how far I’d gone. I told them I’d done just over 50 with the bike loaded down in prep for my Trans America trip and their eyes lit up with questions. Turns out this trip like has always been a dream and I was peppered with questions about this adventure and the AT. Gear choice, bike choice, logistics and even things as simple as where I’m sleeping were discussed over a good half hour. They both happen to live in Norfolk, and playful ribbed me about the fact that I get to touch the Pacific Ocean when I start, but the “official” trail ends in Yorktown, VA which is on the Chesapeake.

Well they do have a point. It almost seems anti-climactic to end at the Chesapeake Bay when the Atlantic Ocean is just a few miles more down the road. So I can say without a doubt that they convinced me (it was very easy to do) to pedal the extra few miles and touch the Atlantic to finish. It only seems fair right?

After bidding adieu so that they could continue on their brewery tour I decided to stop in at Richmond Bicycle Studio to talk wheels. The wheel-set I had on my bike was a low spoke count meant for racing – only 24 spokes total. That doesn’t lend itself well to high weight usage, and if there’s one thing I know right now, it’s that I weigh a little more than I want to. Rather than worrying about breaking spokes or going way out of true, I had made it a point to be on the lookout for a higher spoke count wheel for at least my back wheel. A friend had snagged me a 36 spoke wheel made for single-speed bikes, so I brought that along to see if maybe we could finagle that onto my bike. Lo and behold, the Studio did one better. They had a wheel-set for me that was much more applicable to touring and even gave me some credit for the single-speed wheel – a good trade in my book. So I now have a wonderful 34 spoke wheel-set on my bike, alleviating my worries of my being heavy!

New Wheels!


Of course, Sunday devolved into wonderful fun as well. Almost 3 hours of straight beach volleyball to be exact! Our group of 6 managed to arrive at the same time as a meetup group had scheduled to play, and they had 6 as well! A very competitive 6 on 6 matchup occurred, with our side eventually taking 4 games out of 7. Without a doubt though, it was some of the toughest volleyball I’ve played in the last two months! We stuck around and played a little more 2 on 2  before eventually heading home and collapsing on couches with heaping bowls of spaghetti and meat sauce while watching Moana (so good if you haven’t seen it!).

Bump! Set! Spike!

Overall a very good weekend! I did learn a very important fact though – I definitely need to add sunscreen to my packing list. My arms have that perfect ruler line of sunburn from my bike jersey, any my legs have the same sort of line from my shorts. So I will be applying sunscreen until I get a good base tan and stop burning.

Of course, that means I’m going to have the best farmer’s tan ever by September!


Also a special note! There happens to be one more person from Richmond who is biking the TransAm this summer! I ended up meeting Bobby a few weeks ago when I bought his extra front bag. He’s leaving from the Atlantic this week and hopefully we’ll meet somewhere in the middle! Check him out at https://bobbybikes.wordpress.com/


One Reply to “Wild Weekend! T-Minus 15!”

  1. Mike – Jim and I enjoyed meeting you at Castleburg Brewery. We enjoyed the conversation and all the information you provided on your preparations and gear. We’ll be tracking your adventure and look forward to buying you a beer when you dip your wheel in the Atlantic!

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