Day 5: Hindman to Buckhorn - The Husky Hero

Happy Memorial Day to all you readers. Today’s hero is a Husky that did something that all the Kentuckian dogs could learn from…

Note for TA cyclists: please put the Buckhorn Presbyterian Church on your map. This is beyond an excellent place to stay and splits up the ride nicely. In July, a working group is coming in from Oregon to install a shower too.

Buckhorn Presbyterian Church is actually a cathedral and a welcome home to cyclists. Taylor for scale and she is standing far away.

Buckhorn Presbyterian Church is actually a cathedral and a welcome home to cyclists. Taylor for scale and she is standing far away.

Daily Summary
Miles: 50
Date Written: 5/29/2017

The morning begins by walking our bikes down the challenge hill of David’s. We fill our water at the gas station on Main St. before setting out.

Doug starts the day taking a guess at how many grocery stops Annalisa, T, and I will stop at. He does not understand the importance of always having a full GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) bag.

Some cute Beagles waiting to KILL cyclists (joking, sort of.)

Some cute Beagles waiting to KILL cyclists (joking, sort of.)

We heard that the town of Hazard is where Kentucky changes. After riding past all the raging dogs and abandoned homes, this warning is most likely from cyclists who are east bound. Kentucky is getting nicer as we ride west.

In the town of Combs is a fruit stand with France’s Diner next door. T and I are on a coffee bender each day and lean Dark Roast (my bike) next to the main entrance and order two cups – black.

A man in a salmon pink shirt and shorts walks over from the back corner to our table and introduces himself as James. He is a big fan of Fox News and tells us about trips to New York City to see friends:

“You all are staying in the Presbyterian Church in Buckhorn, right?” He continues telling us how the church has been hosting cyclists for years.

The strange part is that the church is not marked on the Adventure Cyclist maps. Buckhorn offers an excellent place to stop for what would be a 70+ mile day. On the other hand, some cut up the long day and stop in Hazard, which we already reached by noon time.

Annalisa catches up to us in the diner while T leaves a voicemail for the pastor to inform him of our visit.

Scavenger, an Appalachian Trail name, is easy to spot along the road or in town

Scavenger, an Appalachian Trail name, is easy to spot along the road or in town

Scavenger, who guys by his Appalachian Trail name, is a soloist on the TransAm and has been sticking around with us. Sitting on a bridge, he has his Jesus like hair swept back and consumes some mid-day calories.

We catch up and tell him about our plans for the church. Nope, this man is determined to ride the 70 mile day.

Our Strategy for Dealing with Kentuckian Dogs

Each individual tends to brace themselves for the dogs that sprint into the road to chase after us.

1) I tend to assume that all dogs are ready to play. Tales wagging = see how fast I can pedal and see if they can keep up

2) Taylor is generally close behind or right in front of me and swings her vulnerable leg over the bike. She then gracefully pedals with one leg or hops of the bike to walk past the dog.

3) Scavenger rings a bell up the hill to rile up all dogs in the neighborhood so none of them sneak up on him. This is like leaving out a carcass in a zombie movie to lure them all in.

4) Annalisa is the quick draw pepper sprayer. Dogs beware.

The Hero Husky of Memorial Day

So Scavenger is ringing his bell up the hill calling out all dogs to begin howling and making their way up the mountain.

The strategy seems to be going well since him and I are able to identify all dogs in advance.

A group of three dogs bolts out of the driveway. Scavenger has quads of an AT hiker and leaves me behind pedaling as hard as possible. A one-on-one dog encounter is not scary because you know what to expect. A group of three can surround you and cause chaos.

As things are looking bad, a husky and small Beagle slide under the guard rail and all hope seems lost. They have us from the front and back on a huge uphill climb.

The Husky than casually walks past me and begins howling at the pack of dogs chasing me. Whaaaaaat.

With his cute pointed ears and white snout, the Husky then escorts me up the hill to safety. He is my Memorial Day Hero.

Discovering the hidden gear

T, or Taylor, has been hearing me complain up every mountain for the last four days that she has an extra front gear. My bike only has two front gears causing a slower, harder cadence that makes hills more difficult.

Scavenger, Taylor, and I are bombing down this huge hill after the Husky Hero save and my chain pops off. Or so I thought.

Yup, on day 5 I discover that Dark Roast does have three front gears. The last one being the “granny” gear used to summit hills.

Add the Buckhorn Presbyterian Church to Your Map

If I did not say it enough, add this church as a place to stay. This is actually a cathedral built in the late 19th century in the plateau of Kentucky. The log cabin style cathedra features Chestnut log beams and is built for a congregation of 800 people; the loss of jobs in the area has dwindled this number down to 63.

Cyclists have the opportunity to give churches a new congregation and purpose in the community.

Pastor Tom Burns gives us his famous nickel tour of the cathedral and brings the place alive. He comes from western Pennsylvania and feels at home in Eastern Kentucky for the last 10 years. His wife Gail also mentions that a work group is installing a shower this summer.

Tom Burns gives any cyclist or nomad his famous "nickel tour" of the Buckhorn Presbyterian Church

Tom Burns gives any cyclist or nomad his famous "nickel tour" of the Buckhorn Presbyterian Church

Blood Sugar Review

This is going to be brief:

1) Hills bring my blood sugar down FAST. Therefore, I now eat more GORP while riding (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)
2) Playing around with the overnight basal rate. If you have been following alone, nighttime has been my biggest issue. There was a reduced basal rate of 30% and I ended up going low. This may have also been caused by Insulin On Board (IOB) from late night snacking.

To say the least, I overcorrected the midnight low.

Starting off high in the morning only causes the breakfast spike to go that much higher.