36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 326 miles (525 km)
The theme of today was leisurely riding. Perhaps a little too leisurely. I woke up around 4:30 with my body telling me it was time to start rolling. Unfortunately, the B&B didn’t serve the &B until 8:30. Rather than toss and turn, I pulled me up a rocking chair on the deck, grabbed a good book (kindle) and waited for the sun to rise. Getting restless, I ambled around to snap the obligatory ‘blurred waterfall’ picture that is a staple of any photographer’s repertoire.

The deck at the Sugar Tree Inn is a good place to watch the rising sun.

The deck at the Sugar Tree Inn is a good place to watch the rising sun.

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot.

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot.

Breakfast was well worth waiting for, and with some tiny regrets for not lingering an additional day, I said goodbye to the Sugar Tree Inn. After getting up the ridiculous driveway I began my roll down to the valley below. With the brakes at 50% the whole way I still hit 30 MPH. At the bottom of the hill, I could feel the heat off the rotor from about 18 inches away. *Sigh* So much human energy form the previous day’s climb futilely converted to heat.

After the town of Vesuvius proper I enjoyed 15 miles of the sweetest gentle downhill a cyclist could ask for. Just a tiny grade that made 15MPH with just the slightest pedaling. I passed about a dozen fly fisherfolk. If they took any exception to my Taylor Swift, Kesha, Carly Rae Jepson soundtrack they certainly did not make their disapproval known to me. Sadly, all good downhills come to an end. For consolation, as I climbed out of the river valley I was greeted with some of the most beautiful rolling hills of farmland I’ve seen yet. I was getting sluggish on the moderate uphills, which surprised me given my crazy climbs of the previous day.

Farmland just shy of Lexington, VA

Farmland just shy of Lexington, VA 

Entering Lexington, I coasted past the Virginia Military Institute. In keeping with my chilled out theme for the day I decided to roll around the grounds and explore. Some half hearted signage suggested a museum of sorts. I failed to find the theoretical point of interest; It may be a conspiracy of cartographers. Judging from the appearance of the campus, I’m pretty sure they teach art, beauty, culture, and love for one’s fellow man at VMI.

Virginia Military Institute grounds

Virginia Military Institute grounds

Virginia Military Institute church

Virginia Military Institute church 

In Lexington I serendipitously met with Reudi, Heida, and John from my days back in Mineral when I was just a young cycling pup, still wet behind the ears. We sat around for about an hour and a half. John was struggling with fatigue and lethargy, and I agreed with him that it has hit me pretty hard too. I think it may have to do with riding through the hotter part of the day, so I’m going to get an early start tomorrow. Failing that remedy, I think I need to take a full day off here pretty soon.

Leaving Lexington behind, I found myself enjoying some very rural roads on way to my campsite. I had a buoyant spirit as there were signs everywhere of happy people. Literally, there were signs: “Birthday party this way” and “Greetings” (Seen Below). A little later down the road I came across a very energetic young horse pawing at the ground and generally frolicking about.

Greetings! by Ethan

Greetings! by Ethan

This little guy sure was excited!

This little guy sure was excited!