Monday, February 4, 2013

P4W2 Day 30 Decatur - Centre, AL 91 miles

Today was a lot tougher of a time biking than Day 29, even though the mileages were similar.  The trade off for taking the Natchez Trace was having the southern Appalachians eliminating flat passage east back to the Atlantic.  Out of Decatur by about 20 miles I hit the first thumping hill in like a week: 2 miles at 9 percent grade....25 minutes gone right there, then 5 minutes at the top of the hill to figure how whether it was real or a dream that I was getting up to 20 mph regularly just one day earlier.  Gravity never rests.  This kind of climbing continued all day long as I crossed several mountain spines of the southern Apps.  They are easy to spot when you fly west out of Atlanta on a clear day; row after row of mountains can be see for the first half hour or more of air time.  The hills were tougher with the traffic.  I never could lose some pretty heavy traffic even though I was on secondary roads for the majority of the day.

Despite a raw day with 40 degree temps and slate gray skies, there were glimpses of spring.  Many beds of daffodils had started blooming.  It was a weird site having these flowers in bloom but going past countless houses with wood smoke pouring out of their chimneys.   The damp cold of the eastern U.S. feels more bone chilling than that of the desert.  Many people today asked me if I was cold.  I told them that going uphill was fine but downhill was tough with the wind chill factor.

The Tennessee Valley Authority operates many dams in the U.S. Southeast.  The mighty Tennessee River is dammed for much of its course.  I crossed the massive Lake Guntersville Reservoir around midday.  It was amazing to see dozens of common loons in their winter plumage.  The lake was flat calm and they were fishing side-by-side bass anglers in seeming perfect harmony.

No comments:

Post a Comment