The route began with a ride through mostly rolling terrain in eastern-central Pennsylvania. The temperature was much cooler than previous days, a welcome change. We were flanked on both sides of the road by fields of green corn and golden wheat, and the hillsides in the distance were covered with a blanket of deep green trees.
Near the end of the day, the main event began: a long, steep climb up an Appalachain mountainside. I had stopped in the valley to take pictures of Nate and David Mollitor, and had to chase to attempt to catch up. Nate, in a previous day’s accident, had bent his derailleur hanger, and was stuck with his easiest gear being an 39×21 (instead of his still steep 39×23). But he had a commanding lead, and I had to make an all-out effort (200-250W, 185-190 b/min HR) to try to keep him in sight. I have to say the Rotor Q ring and 27t cassette did a great deal to help me chase him up to the summit, which was capped with a breathtaking view … and a biker bar that was exactly as you would imagine it. We must have been quite a sight for the grizzled motorcyclists inside in our sleek jerseys and spandex shorts-as much as the bearded bartender and leather chaps-clad waitress were a sight for us to behold.
The church in Knobsville was a bit more conservative than the others we have stayed in–our introduction to the Burned Over District–and featured a wall-sized mural of waters crashing around a grey-haired man. The pasta dinner really filled us up, and they provided a wonderful pancake and egg breakfast for the next day’s adventures.