1. Leaving the Allegheny Mountains. Following a murderous trek up— I had to walk it because attempting to make it up on wheels set off an asthma attack — came a treacherous dive down. Having just begun our ride it was still early morning, and the fog was so thick that I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me. Which also meant that drivers behind me would have a hard time spotting a cyclist on the shoulder. As we began to glide down, I gripped both of my brakes as hard as I could and was horrified to discover that the speed of my bike was completely out of my control. I’d have been able to get a better grip on the handles if I switched positions, but at that velocity I didn’t dare trying anything that might upset my balance. I have no idea how long this lasted; it could have been on the order of seconds but it felt like an eternity. After some period of time, my hands and arms began to burn viciously, and I tried releasing them for just a moment to relax my muscles a bit. Big mistake. When I moved to get a handle on the brakes again I realized that my hands were simply not taking orders from my brain; they were completely locked and it was a few moments before I was able to clench them back around the brakes. By this time the fog had begun to clear and I got my first view of where I was barreling toward at what Strava tells me was 28.6 miles an hour. A quiet road lining a soft field full of cows would have been great. Or perhaps a marshmallow factory, or maybe a dumping ground for defective mattresses. Instead, it was a multi-way intersection full of debris and populated with massive trucks. With my own screeches mingling with the screaming of my brakes, I took a turn off course to avoid them. At this point I had wrenched my foot free of the pedal clips and begun dragging it along the ground as I aimed for the grass on the shoulder, having figured that a good landing was simply not going to happen. The only thing stopping me from bailing was the knowledge that if I fell and skidded at this speed, my best case scenario was a nasty road rash. I don’t know what happened next. Somehow I came to a stop, still in my saddle. Suffice to say, we walked most of the short remaining distance to the next meeting point.