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It takes five hours to make it to Hillsboro, West Virginia and our cabin in Watoga State Park. We couldn’t feel deeper or any more tucked into the hills of rural Appalachia. The cabin is hewn and rough, and every surface, structure and contour is made of solid wood. Michael, tomorrow’s host, gets out of bed briefly to say hello.
Over breakfast at the Park Lodge, Michael tells us about today's ride, 'Cold Knob', a 109.5 mile loop. The first half is too stunning to properly explain or describe. For 50 miles we race across endless rolling hills and twisting ridges through a magnificent valley, charging and dipping like a bucolic roller coaster past fields, farms and stands of trees.
But there's a second half to this ride. Cold Knob is two-faced. After a quick stop at Lowell’s Bakery in Frankford for homemade cinnamon buns, pork sandwiches and freshly made slaw, we begin the unpaved ascent of Cold Knob, the ride’s namesake and centerpiece. Steep, rocky and relentless, the climb becomes more daunting and dramatic as the clouds roll in and the temperature plummets. Our spirits drop with the mercury. It’s as if we’ve left the sanctuary of a wonderful lush, green valley for a steep, endless pilgrimage to Mordor. After five miles of switchbacks, we pass wide swathes of deforested hills, bald and covered by piles of gravel, stumps and organic detritus. Gargantuan logging trucks pass with frequency. Dan flats four times. But on the far side of a very long ridge our sprits pick-up when the route drops down from Cold Knob. At the bottom the team and Michael mix it up with a succession of sprints and closings and counterattacks. Back on pavement, we surprise a group of locals and their hounds in the middle of a bear hunt. Apparently moments before, a big black bear bounded over the road, right across our path.
Back at the cabin, over pasta, wine, and stories, we work through the ride details, we rode for 7:18 today with an average of 15.1 mph.
- 2 be clear that was @johnherety decision to not let @AaronBuggle start. Tour of Korea and Irish National Champs will be his next rendezvous
- Happy to report @AaronBuggle is as good looking as ever after 13 stitches in his chin. Sorry to report not letting him start tomorrow though
- @flammecast @AaronBuggle His Shrone is fine !!!
- Big thanks to all marshals,coms and medical staff on the @anpostras today. Great work despite the numerous demands on their services today.
- Just to let all his girl fans know @AaronBuggle is ok. He's in hospital and will need some surgery on a cut to his chin. Will update later.
- We've just added 13 new rides since the weekend to our Rapha #womens100 Find a Ride list. → http://t.co/ux8c1JCuQc
- The team also racing the Ras in Ireland this week. Currently Aaron Buggle is the team's top placed rider in 15th overall.
- Tour Series resumes tonight in Stoke on Trent. RCJ line up is House, Clancy, McCallum, English and Mellor.
- Arboretum → http://t.co/cJXOyDWnK0 #raphasurvey #sanfrancisco #sf #cycling
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0