Six: That’s Dr. Q, To You (Troutville to Blacksburg)

by davidharries

Miles: 48
Total: 410

I can’t get away from trains. Last night a Norfolk-Southern line regularly roared just outside the park, its horn an eerily just-out-of-phase organ bellow. With a big day behind me, a short day ahead and very pleasant surroundings, I dallied around, talking to a volunteer, who warned of Kentucky dogs. Geez, at this rate they’ll be Winterfell Direwolfs when I arrive later this week.

I left around 10 a.m., and that was too late — it was hot. Today was full of rolling hills and road previously traveled. Turning off 311 onto Blacksburg Road I linked up with a route I’d frequent on my road bike when I lived here about three years ago. Knowing what lies ahead is a double-edged sword: it’s nice revisit old stomping grounds and see the oft-contested county line signs, but knowing what’s ahead isn’t great, especially when it’s a climb up Draper Road on an 80-pound touring bike, not an 18-pound racer. Somehow I got spit out at the top and rolled into Blacksburg. I haven’t been in town since 2011, and it’s interesting to see the university and community continue evolving.

I spent an hour or so at Blacksburg’s library before meeting my host for the night, Kwabena (Q). He’s enrolled in med school at VCOM, but we worked together as Vawter Hall resident advisors for the 2010-11 school year. He tells me the dorm’s now co-ed. A shame: there’s something special forged in the cauldron of an all-male (or female) residence among late nights, sexual frustration, fledgling independence, and so on that leads to tremendous growth and lasting friendships.

I met his girlfriend, Michelle, who’s working on a Ph.D. in the area of traumatic brain injury, and a few of Q’s med school classmates for wings. After dinner, they went off to continue studying, and I met a college newspaper friend at the Cellar, a favored watering hole for the tail end of Hammertime (Monday – Thursday between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. all pitchers are $7.50 — up from $6 when I graduated. Inflation’s taken its toll). We caught up over Two Hearted. It’s really nice to be back in my other ‘Burg, even if only for the evening. Bed tonight is Q’s futon. Hands-down, the most sumptuous sleep thus far.