2018 Cycle North Carolina Coastal Ride

2018 Cycle North Carolina Coastal Ride

Our adventure started on Thursday in Washington, NC, a small town on the Inner Banks about one hour East of Raleigh. There are about 10,000 people who live in this quaint town. There was 3 days of riding scheduled (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The participants were divided between campers in the local park and people who stayed on hotels.

Note: If you are planning on doing this next year and want to stay in a hotel then you should book next years town very, very early. Like 2017 early.

The rides were great. Most of the rides had less than 500 feet of elevation in the whole ride. There was 3-4 rides a day ranging from 5 miles to 60-100. There was some washboard1 roads but probably less than 5 miles of the entire weekend. Though we only did 100 miles total so your mileage may vary. The rides are what you make of them. They can very challenging if you are looking to rack up a buttload of miles. One guy did 260 in the three days. We were looking to get some miles in but also relax. It has been a pretty hectic year so we were looking for some chill time.

Food stops were well stocked with plenty of cold water/Gatorade. The towns had interesting other foods like baked goods, etc.

We camped (I had mistakenly waited until January to book a hotel…) in the park.

They had laid out a grid so tents were not cramped together. They had regular facilities and porta potties and a decent but not great shower truck. They had great coffee served every morning and one pretty good food truck.

The restaurants were typical for a small town. One was dreadful (Ribeyes) but the Bank Bistro was by far the best.

We would highly recommend the coastal ride. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

  1. Washboard is a term for asphalt roads that a tractor has put ridges into and they stayed. With skinny tires, it is brutal on your hands.

Getting Back in the Spring of Things

Some intrepid bicyclists continue riding through the entire winter no matter what the weather brings. Me? Some years yes, but not this year. Being self-employed and working at home most days now, biking is a thing I do purely for fun, renewal of the spirit and fitness. It was a long and brutal winter and getting on my bike didn’t strike me as fun, spiritually renewing or a great way to exercise. That’s over for now – finally – and we’ve had some terrific spring weather.

Providing further motivation, we’re signed up for the Tour de Cure on May 2, starting from Cookesville MD. (donate here to support my ride in this fundraiser for diabetes research). The terrain for that ride is very hilly so it’s time to get serious about getting in shape. We’ve been out there and enjoying the spring that’s finally here. Today was a little tough, we took a great leap forward and did our longest ride so far of 2015. Yes, I’m  a little sore. Well, maybe a lot sore. But that’s biking. Sometimes it’s fun and carefree, sometimes it’s a struggle that leaves you stronger once you recover. Today’s ride was both.

So it’s spring and it’s beautiful.  I’ll stop complaining about achey legs. Or maybe I’ll complain some,  but keep it in perspective.  Yesterday as we neared home we met a guy who had been a cyclist for 50 years, and had to quit due to vertigo that has never gone away. He’s got it tough. I’m so very lucky to be healthy and strong enough to keep doing what I love so much.

Back to Blogging

It’s been a while since I’ve posted because

1. Work projects involving lots of writing; just didn’t feel like writing more
2. Getting ready for a wedding – mine and John’s!

I’m down to one writing project now and have some time and brainpower for writing about biking.

The wedding took place on September 14th and what a wonderful day it was! We’re honeymooning, with bikes, in Vermont and upstate New York. Our first stop is the lovely Three Mountain Inn, in Jamaica VT.

Yesterday’s ride was just short of 50 miles. The route was beautiful, with 3700 challenging feet of climbing, starting with the first 2 miles out of town. Just under 20 miles were on dirt roads. These were packed firmly enough to ride on but a little bit scary with little potholes and some loose gravel. I should have brought the ANT! My Soma was a little nervous on the rougher terrain, though it’s tires were fine.

The route took us through Londonderry, Grafton, and Townshend. It was one of the toughest – and one of the loveliest- rides I’ve ever done. None of the climbs were particularly steep. Instead, they were long and there were a lot of them. Let’s just say, when John realized we were just .4 miles short of 50, my reaction was “That’s close enough!”

Beforehand we agreed either of us could call a photo-op stop at any time, that we’d stop for lunch and walk around a little. Good decisions. We worked hard on the ride and had a great time. Leaves are just starting to turn, the weather is sunny and cool – perfect for cycling.

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First Ride of 2014

A beautiful New Year’s Day, sunny and in the high 30’s. My riding routine has slowed down a lot the past few months. While I haven’t stopped entirely a combination of early wintry weather, a series of colds and just plain  laziness has reduced my mileage a lot. Today we got out for a 15.5 mile ride. It was good! Too bad I have no photos. My phone may be smart but sometimes I’m not. Should have recharged it earlier in the day.

Did you get a ride in today?

Let’s Talk Seagull Century

Years before I began cycling seriously, I’d see posters for the Seagull Century and think how great it would be to do that ride someday. This past weekend it came to be!  John and I rode in the Seagull Century, and yes, I completed it. Yay!

First Rest Stop

First Rest Stop

It was my first century and probably John’s zillionth. I got pretty nervous as October 5th approached. Things hadn’t worked out as I’d planned  in the weeks leading up to the ride. Between a heavy  workload, a cold, and business travel I rode very little in mid-late September. The weekend before the ride we went out for a hilly 50 miler. I figured if I could do that at a decent pace, I could somehow complete a flat century.

So how did it go? I  maintained an average of 13.9 mph for 101 miles. I started out with 15 mph for the first 43 or so miles, slowing down as fatigue set in and pain started increasing.  And how did I feel? Quite good for the first half, but  the second half was tougher.  The rest stops helped a lot.  There were four of them, about 20 miles apart. By the time we got to the third one (which marked the furthest I’d ever ridden in one day before) I was starting to really feel it, but the brief break and refreshment helped.  I felt pretty good for 10 miles or so. And then all I had to do was keep going for 10 more until the next one.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island

Somewhere around the 80-85  mile mark, a man rode by  with a cheery smile and asked, “How are you feeling?”  “Great,” I said. “My left earlobe doesn’t hurt!” The young woman riding next to me deadpanned, “It will soon, though.”

The  sit-bones hurt the most. That was a long time to be in the saddle and my butt was letting me know it. There were some muscle aches but really no worse than other rides I’ve done. I paid attention to taking in enough water, Nuun and food (small amounts of each, frequently) and I think that helped.

Now that I’ve done one century, would I do another? Well, yes. I think I would.

We made a long weekend of it. This was our least favorite of the restaurants we tried, but it had the best view.

We made a long weekend of it. This was our least favorite of the restaurants we tried, but it had the best view.

Howard Chapel Cemetary

During a recent weekend ride, John and I stopped at Howard Chapel Cemetery. Curious about the African American community the sign referred to, I looked up Howard Chapel on the interwebs this a.m. The property is now a part of Patuxent State Park and there’s a detailed written and photographic record of it’s history [here](http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/stagsere/se1/se5/017000/017300/017335/pdf/msa_se5_17335.pdf). George Enoch Howard, a former slave who bought his freedom in 1857, purchased the 289.5 acre property for himself and his family. He purchased it from the heirs of his former master. I am trying to imagine this. First he bought his freedom. Then he bought the property from his former owner.

He later built a church and a school on it for the community. Burials began in the cemetery in 1901. Now all that remains is the cemetery.

Up, Down and All Around

Yesterday’s 38-mile loop through Montgomery and Howard counties started out at the Laytonsville Shopping Center.   Just Riding a Bike , an area bike store, is located right next door.

It developed into a hot and humid day. The route  was beautiful (not counting the first mile on Route 108 – traffic-y and not much shoulder). Pretty much the entire route is hills and by the second half I for one was feeling it. We were not surprised that John’s Garmin recorded 2000′ of elevation.

Along the way

Along the way

Burial Ground - Ancestors of Original African-American Community of Howard Chapel

Burial Ground – Ancestors of Original African American Community of Howard Chapel

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Some of the gravestones were very simple rectangular pillars with just an initial engraved.

Soma taking a break

Soma  – taking a break

On the way home we made an unplanned stop at the famous Olney Ale House.  Perfect finish to a good workout!

Enjoying the deck at Olney Ale House. (One of the beers was mine!).

Enjoying the deck at Olney Ale House. (One of the beers was mine!).