Day Four Elevation Profile

'Tour de Blue' Log:
Wednesday 10/6
Day 4 - The Passing of the Pig

OK, I know what's going on here. I know you are now all spending all your time at Hans' Rather Unorthodox Alternative BRP Web Site. That's OK, though I do feel low about being upstaged by a chicken. For that matter, I can't believe I spent half the day today drafting off a chicken.

We'll get to the biking stuff; but first we might as well get this out of the way - Ziggy Piggy has been reunited with Hans after 8 years! To understand the significance of this you must first understand my brother Hans. If you have not done so, you might as well visit Hans' Rather Unorthodox Alternative BRP Web Site. Second, if have not heard it, you should read the story of Ziggy Piggy.

It happened at high noon when Hans was struggling along a mild stretch of road. A voice from behind shouted, "on your left chicken!". There was a pink flash and Ziggy passed Hans like he was standing still. After a moment of silent disbelief Hans said, "hey!". For a long time he didn't seem to know how to respond, and was later heard to explain...

Quote of the day:
"I have to warm back up to him. You know how long distance relationships are." - Hans

Word is that Ziggy is miffed that Hans has taken up with a chicken, and thinks Hans will consort with any animal in the barnyard.

For those who don't know of Ziggy Piggy, it might help to know that Ziggy left Hans in 1991 to go run the London Marathon, and has only sent Hans an occasional picture since. Pictures from some of Ziggy's exploits are available at

Note: Hans has asked me to inform you all that he is spending the evening dead, for tax purposes, and will not be updating his page until tomorrow (Thursday). This is good for me. I keep trying to point out to him that things like that web page are why we are both in our 30's and can't get dates."

OK. Biking. Today's temperature started out at 38 degrees. That's when we were standing still. At 35 mph it had to be about 19 degrees in the shade. This is the South?? It was a four layer morning (clothing) and a three layer afternoon. But - there was a tradeoff. As we travelled the last miles in North Carolina and entered Virginia the terrain changed subtley from towering mountaintop vistas which speak of the impossible, to more gently billowing ridges which seem to want to put their arm around you and invite you over for dinner. The cold, foggy morning, cut through with sun gave us something to look out at, not down at. Granted we still spent the day at 2500-3500'. But here you see houses, barns, cabbage fields and hay rolls. And smell cattle. Mmmm.

The Blue Ridge Parkway cuts through many gaps between ridges and mountains. You descend to get into a gap and ascend to get out of it. On Sunday, back in the Smokies, we'd spend an hour getting into one and an hour getting back out. But today we started to have fun shooting the gaps. We built up some speed on long downhills into a gap, and shot through up the other side, trying to keep the cranks spinning in a high enough gear to get most of the way up the next little climb. Of course you don't usually make it; but it's a minor chore to get to the top of the next ridge where you start to shoot the next gap. This is called fun.

Peripheral vision plays a big part because in Virginia you zip from one side of a ridge to another, passing equally pleasing views on either side. If you look directly at all of them you go off the road. This is not good, for if you do Karyn will apply Hydrogen Peroxide. However, some views are so nice that you stop, get off the bike, bend down, kiss the soil and vow to turn all your assets over the the Nature Conservancy - including the bike (which after 200+ miles makes more sense than you might think).

The towering mountains we encountered on the first two days of the ride were beautiful, but isolated and monastic. As much as I liked them, here in Virginia I get the feeling of people, home and hearth (even if those people look at you funny when you come into their shop dressed in lycra tights). It will likely become more like this as we close in on Waynesboro. Mike, Hans and I are spending much more time talking and cutting up on the ride now. In fact today we found just about everything funny. Especially things like singing the theme from the Wizard of Oz's "Wicked Witch of the West" to Hans as he spun those ol' legs around with a chicken lashed to the back of his bike. It's good to be getting back to where people are.

The side trip of the day was to Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith's hometown which he patterened 'Mayberry RFD' after. It took us about a 2000' descent (via car) and 14 miles to reach Andy's boyhood home. The house was a monument to vinyl siding. Up until that point I was feeling as bad as I possibly could on this ride because of a raging cold. But when I saw that vinyl siding I laughed until I cried. Could you imagine Graceland with vinyl siding? OK. You had to be there. Later we went to "Floyd's Barber Shop" where we met the real Floyd; and Hans - what else? - juggled chickens.

Highlight of the day was meeting Polly Dyer and her friend Ethel ("noble" in Old English) Passow at Daughton Park. Polly Dyer is 79. She doesn't look a day over 65. In 1949, she and her friend Dixie Woodburn bought two 3-speed Schwinns in San Francisco and biked about 1400 miles of Alaska. They carried 60 pounds on their rear wheels. Dixie carried a fishing pole and a "thirty ought six" (they never had to use it).

Ethels daughter Laura rode across the US on a 3-speed Raleigh in 1962, and is now a PhD and professor of English at Lafayette College. Hans took pictures of Polly, both with and without the rubber chicken and quized her thoroughly. Polly, interested in our ride, asked how we were doing. "Sore," said Hans. Polly said, "Already?". Afterwards I asked Hans, "Man, where can we find women like that who are 45 years younger?". Then I remembered Hans' web page, sighed and walked away.

Injury Report:
I have had a knock-down cold the last two days, which means I have been channeling Barry White all day. Hans has fallen over on his bike twice the last two days. No reason. He just stops, doesn't take his shoes out of the clipless pedals and falls over. Karyn has applied Hydrogen Peroxide. Hans also cut the dickens out of his finger with a canned fruit lid. Karyn has applied Hydrogen Peroxide.

Miles Traveled So Far:

Miles To Go:

Overall Miles Ahead/Behind:

Tomorrow's Yellow Shorts Holder:
(to todays last place finisher)
yet again Hans (aka "The Farmer With the Dell")

Thought of the Day:
Thanks for all the email! Y'all are giving us reason to cling to our meager lives.

Bummer of the Day:
the bridge out at mile marker 183 and the 'Deliverance' guys that impressed upon us that "road closed" means ROAD CLOSED!

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Ziggy's back!