Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taste of Carolina 1200K

continuing with the 'checklist' driven summer I managed to knock off two more perms I hadn't ridden before: the Yanceyville Ramble. cool route! Wes called this one as a final NC trainer before moving abroad and riding PBP. it's not really hilly, but does have a nice triple hump near the end that is for real. give it a shot. nice perk: breakfast at the cracker barrel where the meet up takes place :o) #2 is Dr.A's ham and yam: raleigh to smithfield and back for 100K. Lynn, Mike D, and Dr.A joined me on this one. other than traffic on lake wheeler road, it's a quick easy spin out and back. all ya need sometimes..

after these rides my august was a whirlwind with travel to new york for the duchess county fair. hurricane Irene ruined the end and sent us scrambling. after a side trip to syracuse, i finally got on a plane in albany and made it home..48 hrs later it's time to ride a 1200K, soo, without further ado....Taste. of. Carolina. chapter one.

I actually enjoyed my first 1200K back in may, why not do another? I prepped for texas, I just showed up for this one. packing was different:3 bags instead of 1. did it all the night before. not enough sleep and already tired. traffic was bad. Bryan and I got to greensboro about 7. a few peeps hanging around. checked in. ate a little. went inside and Tony let us nap in the common room. got up around 230 for a 4am launch. 21 riders on the 1200, 2 on 1000k  and 7 or so on a 200k to send us off. good friends too: mike, jerry, john fresh off PBP and maria and glenn. we hit a drive-thru for a sandwich and coffee before the ride.

bike-thru b'fast

time to roll, about half of us from NC, the rest from far and wide, this day was a grand loop into the mountains. having ridden it in july, I knew what to expect. I came up with this nearly universal truth:the more scenic the ride, the more challenging the route. the start was nice and smooth. we made the controle 1 by day break. Tony was there to sign cards and short stopping was on: riders were gone in no time. I scrambled out on my own, and before catching the front came upon Mary in the foothills. no wearer of the Adrian Hands' spirit award leaves a gal alone in the hills, so I pulled the big climb up hwy 89 to sparta. at controle 2 in twin oaks we had a snack and found the others' finishing up. 2 were also icing their knees after the early climbing. the next set was cool, with lots of christmas trees and small farms with friendly curious animals..

hillside goats
I had my one and only flat, and Mary and I made controle 3 where we filled bottles and sat a minute out of the heat. we were joined by Joel Lawrence here. riding well after breaking bones in a crash this summer! off we go to laurel springs. I ride just a little ahead, and they meet me as i'm leaving. Mary says "go ahead, Joel is right behind me." the climb from here is brutal at this point of the day, and I flirt with cramps, ugh..150miles in, 50 to next controle, 50 more after that.. after a terrific descent to low gap, it's back to sparta, and on to salem fork to retour to greensboro. i grab a V8 in sparta and work out the hamstring. John Morris is signing cards in salem fork and it's good to see a familiar face. the 'trio' (mary, joel, and curt) show up soon after me, and into the dark we ride. i zoom off, wanting a better time than july, and max sleep time. I make it in about 1:50, and sleep from 3-6. the leaders left about 3:30...

I goof a bit in the morning and head out about 7:30 by myself. it's still hilly after getting out of town, but very pretty too. the trio catches me at a store, and at the 2nd one Bryan shows up. we ride together to Ellerbe and have lunch at a funky sub shop. it's the taste of carolina 1200. onward, it's hot out. the trees are diminishing, as is the road quality. the wind is increasing. rockingham motor speedway. we have made the legs feel good and I hit the gas all the way to laurinburg. Tony is here, and I throw my feet up before changing to a thin sock. Bryan goes the other way and pulls on wool. the trio, and Micah show up. he's jamming a single speed bike. after leaving together, Micah and I ramp it up a  bit, we roll into Rowland, funkytown! out of here we ride very steady to fairbluff, where Henk and Chuck are caught. Henk is suffering a bit and we give them a wheel. we roll on to Tabor City-Funkytown! after a quick stop it's 37 endless miles to Ocean Isle. i'm up front and delerious. 19hrs of bike, 21 overall, 'interface' issues, ready to get there! i see a light ahead, it's Don on the retour! allez! I'm fantasizing about a park bench when a swing and adirondak chairs are spotted in front of a warehouse. we pull in and take 5. yes. now I can make it. refreshed enough to finish, we roll on to the beach via a very windy causeway. jerry and beth are at the cottage with lots of food. I eat one of every thing :) 3 riders ahead of us are there too, planning to leave about 3. It's nice to see Lynn for a few minutes, I give her some encouragement, and see them off. the trio shows up along with bryan, and we all go up to sleep a few..after about 2.5 hrs sleep I get up. I said if I rode back to back 400's to the beach, i was going to see it! I walked out to the ocean alone right at sunrise-so tranquil and soul stirring. it made the pain melt away..

atlantic daybreak
800k down, and time in the bank now. this ride was front loaded like texas. relax..
Henk was ready and left. Micah and I left in search of coffee: a bagel place was found and we stopped. terrific pumpernickel and lox! yum. so-so coffee :(  I was looking out the window and Vance roll by-happy to see him make it to the beach! also here a young couple said they knew a gal who rode RAAM. so do I, and she's on this ride. they knew Mary! small world indeed. we enjoyed clouds, and light rain back to tabor city. still funky, we sat a minute and got ready for a long 100k back to laurinburg. 

we took 2 little breaks on this part which included lying on the river in fairbluffs under the spanish moss, and that wacky town of rowland. after 30 miles of highway rushing with myrtle beach folks, we needed to de-stress. as usual the others showed up right behind us. when we all got to laurinburg, the talk turned to weather. it just wouldn't be a taste of carolina without a hurricane. tropical storm Lee rose from the gulf and was hanging over the greensboro area, and  a hurricane was approching in the atlantic. Yay! after a break and a shower I donned a 2nd pair of shorts, and a wool base layer. somehow a flask had oozed gel all over my front bag, the vols quickly helped me clean up and away we went in groups. the trio and bryan were ahead, we were about 10 min behind. the plan, with 90 miles to go at 630 or so, was make it to the hope mills controle at mile 45, and look at the weather, continue if safe. all seemed fine, so after a snack we rolled. the roads were mellow, but starting to roll. getting sleepy. need an energy drink and a minute off the bike. about halfway in arabia, we came upon this store, a good one, with hand dipped ice cream and hand blown pipes and bongs. really..

B says"good energy"

we get back to pedaling and somehow stay awake as we climb to Aberdeen and on into southern pines. after getting cards signed and talking jibberish we get 2 rooms down the street. I let Tim L know where we are and invite him and anyone else he sees to come by. we sleep from 4-7 while a big storm blows thru. perfect. chuck and joan are in the lobby sleeping when we wake up. Tim is on the road. 

Bryan gets the jump and Micha and I, well, we want coffee. turns out starbucks is less than a mile off course. we sit down and quaff a latte. I called Lynn and find out they finished at 1am. Bravo! we go about 9, as we pass by the controle, we see bill olson asleep outside. the rando life. today is going to be hilly and very scenic. and stormy too. only 85 miles tho. Tim rings and says he found a subway, I hit the gas and we meet for an early lunch. off we go into some goood rollers, Tim zooms by on the bumper of sandford and sons' truck! hilarious! we chase and enjoy the views. after a short storm, we make the penultimate controle. 33 to go, and according to facebook, Bryan is 40 minutes ahead. Micah and I dig the fast city descents out of asheboro, and fly thru the countryside before seeing tony outside greensboro. 3-6 inches of rain expected in the area. the sky is black over town and we get nailed with about 5 miles to go. I fire up every light I have and ride behind Micah to cover us. we pedal hard to the end and finish around 3:30. biker Bob greets us at the door. 83.5 hrs. a fitting, crazy finale to a pretty good ride!

singin' in the rain
we had time to clean up and wait for the rest to arrive about 1.5 hrs later. the trio were joined by tim, chuck, joan, and the olson bros.. great job by all to finish with time to spare..we all headed across the street later for a nice sit down recovery/victory dinner.

thanks to Tony and the volunteers who made this ride possible. it was scenic, challenging, and fun, as it was run in true low-key, minimalist brevet style..let's do it again.

there were 5(!) domestic 1200's this year. AND of course, it was a PBP year. it was cool to bookend the grand randonees' with Texas in may and this ride over labor day with fellow NC rando buddy Tim Lucas. we became the first NC randos to get the ARC award- the American Randonneuer Challenge- riding 2 U.S. 1200's in the same year. chappeau Timbo!