So far on our travels they cycling has been pretty flat – partly because we’ve followed as many old railway trails as possible and partly because the bits of Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania we’ve cycled through have been pretty flat. The only serious climbing we’ve done to date was in the tiny bit of West Virginia and the street Patrick, (our Warm Whowers host) lived on in Pittsburgh. This all changed yesterday on our route from Cumberland to Frederick. To avoid going on the windy and not sealed Chesapeake and Ohio canal towpath, the only way was through the Appalachian Mountains. We took on five serious climbs, but they were worth it. The views were fab and the descents were fast and (mostly) long. As I always like to say, hills are only a problem for cyclists 50% of the time – they’re a bonus when you come down them! In the Tour de France the winner of the mountain stages are rewarded with a red polka dot shirt, there wasn’t any one winner on our mountain stage, we all shared the pain pretty evenly taking turns to lead. However, it was hot and the heat (and sweat) under my helmet has brought out a nice polka dot rash on my forehead. I did win the prize for the least moaning (I just put my head down get on with the hills), but the two Mikes both moaned their way uphill – more like a moantain stage for them!