This morning I was up at 8 and after taking a little too long to get going, out the door at 9:30. After asking the girl at the front desk last night about traffic on my route, I was pretty worked up and worried.
My maps showed that I was to be on 80 for 7 miles then turn onto back roads from there. The front desk girl said if it was her, she would ride 80 the whole way to Elk Horn City (EHC) and that the back roads would be a good place to get killed by a coal truck.
So I set out on 80. It’s a 4 lane state highway with shoulders. The traffic was absolutely insane. 70 mph and nobody even trying to get over even when there was nobody in the left lane. I even had a coal truck come over onto the shoulder right by me. I think it might have been on purpose, but I’ll never know. I was so glad to get off that highway.
The back roads, although crooked, hilly and no shoulders, had very little traffic and what traffic they did have, got over and gave me room. Much better.
After having asked locals for their ideas on routes several times now, I’ve decided to not do that anymore. Trust the map. It’s made by cyclists for cyclists and has been tried and tested repeatedly for 35 years. Trust the map.
I wanted to stay moving today, as I was not real sure what the hills would be like and I wanted to have plenty of time to get to EHC. I really only took 3 breaks today, all at gas stations. Just quick food and back on the road.
Most of the first half of the day was quite easy actually. A couple hills, but mostly winding roads along creeks and rivers. Great riding!
The second half had many more hills and the hills continue to get bigger and steeper as I go east. I thought one hill late this afternoon was going to get me. Long and extremely steep. I wish I knew what the grade of that one was. It wasn’t too bad at the bottom, but it had to have been close to 20% for about a half mile toward the top.
About 3 miles outside EHC, I came around a corner and could see it pouring up ahead. I stopped to put on my rain gear, but it got to me before I could get suited up. Those last 3 miles were very cold and extremely wet. Downpour.
I checked into the only motel in EHC, the John Moore Motel. It’s old, but not buggy. Seems to be kinda clean. Most important thing is they have cable so I can watch the game!
I don’t feel like getting into it now, but in the near future I want to discuss a couple of issues I have with Eastern Kentucky. Stay tuned!