Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Litchfield, Kentucky

The high from the weekend with my friends in Nashville was quickly subdued when I woke up with a nasty head cold this morning.  A sore throat, stuffy nose and a heavy head made for a rough start pulling out of the city, especially combined with temperatures in the 40’s and a light mist of rain.  You could see in the faces of the other riders the agony of the first 30 or so miles as we hit stop light after stop light on our way out of town on day that was scheduled for 99 miles to our final destination Mammoth Cave National Park.  I sat for a long time on the curb at the gas station of our first water stop questioning my motivation to continue on the ride for the day, knowing I still had 5-6 more hours on the bike in the cold and rain. Hopping back on my bike I told myself I would just make it to lunch and reevaluate there, sometimes thinking about the rides in smaller segments helps move the day along.  We never truly hit a rhythm in our pace lines because of the stop and go riding and at mile 44 we paid for this.  A quick cross of a wheel led to a pile up on the side of the road that resulted in one injured rider and one injured bike.  In automotive terms Roshan’s bike is totaled, as his carbon fiber frame was fractured in multiple places and Pete is dealing with a sprained wrist and some sore ribs from his fall. We ended up shivering and waiting an hour on the side of the for the support van to come up from behind us to pick the riders up who couldn’t continue.  By the time we got back on the road we were way behind schedule and losing 2 riders did nothing to boost the morale of the group.  We crossed into Kentucky around mile 50 and stopped for lunch at mile 60, which ended up being our final stop of the day as we all racked our bikes there because of lack of time and the weather.  There weren’t too many riders sad about this. 

We drove 40 minutes to Mammoth Cave National Park where we spent the afternoon taking a tour of just a small section of this truly mammoth hole in the ground.  The most extensive cave system on Earth and the second oldest national park in the country (Niagara Falls if you’re wondering) has over 365 miles of surveyed passageways and geologists think there could be 600 more that haven’t been discovered yet.  A sandstone cap prevents the formation of stalagmites and stalactites featured in Carlsbad Caverns which we toured earlier on this trip but the shear size made these caves much more impressive. The tour was also a little more hands on than Carlsbad as there were definitely points a long the way that not everyone I know could fit through or handle the terrain. It was the highlight of our day, and another National Park that I can now recommend to all of you as a definite place to stop if you’re in the area.

I’m currently typing this laying on a lawn chair in the middle of an unheated barn in Litchfield’s fairgrounds, our sleeping arrangements for the night, not exactly ideal after the day we all had. My standards for where I sleep have definitely gone down after being on this trip for 6 weeks now but with the way my body/head/sinuses feel I would give anything to be back in my hotel room in Nashville right now.  Hopefully if I take enough Sudafed the morning will come quickly, only 3 more nights until I’m in my own bed in Columbus.  No chain!

Huddling to stay warm while waiting for the vans.

Just another new state.

On the way into the cave.

Our guide.

This area of the cave is known as Fat Man's Misery. It was very tight.

My sleeping arrangements for the night.

No comments:

Post a Comment