I could hardly sleep last night. Maybe it was foresight of disaster? Or maybe it was the crappy Chinese food I had before falling asleep. In any case, I decided to not wait for the alarm and left the motel room around 5:15AM and put my lamps to good use. It was a nice ride out of Lexington (the morning is by far the best time to ride). There were gradual descents through a narrow valley, allowing for me to make good time before the midday heat started baring down. My morning was complete with a field of cows running alongside me and a quick stop for a breakfast biscuit at a Buchanan Ma & Pop Store which resembled a house, fully equipped with a stove top that she cooked on in the kitchen.
It was starting to be a nice day and then it happened... I was coming down Gravelly Ridge, right outside Daleville, and a blind turn appeared as I was traveling around 35mph through a bend. I tried to hit my brakes gradually to slow down, but I made the mistake of attempting to turn and my back tire began to fishtail. Next thing I knew, I was sliding across the cement towards the edge of the road (where there was a nasty drop off). Luckily, I stopped sliding after about 20 yards and tried to collect myself. I remember saying to myself: "Get up, man... you're alright. Get up!" I then began to survey the damage. I had some pretty harsh road rash on my left leg and arm, a broken shoe lace, and a ripped rear pannier. "Not bad," I thought and then I attempted to push my bike to the side of the road.
That's when I heard the squeal. My rear tire was jamming up against the brakes... something I thought could be fixed by just readjusting the quick release. I soon realized the tire was completely bent. Several of the spokes were completely loose and the tire was jammed against the frame of the bike. After some maneuvers, I was able to get the wheel loose and I began trying to "true" the rim as much as possible (this means to straighten the outer rim by adjusting the tension of the spokes). After about a half hour of work and little improvement, a sweet couple riding a tandem bicycle came across the scene of the accident. They were just starting a week tour and were quick to help me. After another 20 minutes of working the tire, we were able to make the wheel somewhat rideable. They took off and I attempted to fix the "bounce" of the tire... which, to my surprise, actually worked.
I then set off (awkwardly) towards an area with cell phone reception (there's many places without any service what-so-ever). The major problem with the rear wheel was the complete absence of rear brakes. Thus, I had to become more conservative with my momentum and made climbing hills all the more difficult. After another 30 miles, I was able to contact "East Coasters Bicycle Shop" in Blacksburg, VA. Had I known that Blacksburg was on a mountain ridge, I probably would have reconsidered varying off route. After more panting/sweating, I pulled in at around 4:30 and handed my bike over, expecting a full-recovery of the Bianchi.