Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cycling and Swimming

Jayjay and I rode an 80-mile portion of the RUSA Kerr Lake Loop permanent in North Carolina and Virginia today. The full permanent route is shaped like a lollipop, with the loop portion going around the lake, and the stem heading down toward Raleigh. We only rode the actual loop portion today, both for fun and to learn the route. Unofficial rendering on gmap-pedometer: map

The fun part was knowing what awaited us at the end of the ride. Earlier this morning, we had driven to the Satterwhite Point Recreation Area on the lake, which is conveniently located adjacent to the bike route. We paid the day-use fee and parked the car near the beach. When we returned after a long hot bike ride, diving into the lake was wonderful.

In between, we enjoyed a full day of bike riding in the heat. The weatherman had predicted cloudy skies for the day, but no such luck. The day was absolutely beautiful, sunny, and hot, which about wore me out. Oh, and the clouds finally arrived late in the afternoon.

Mid-morning, when the weather started getting steamy, we filled some tube socks with ice and tied them our necks. I'm not sure if it was wishful thinking or reality, but they seemed to make us more comfortable. Plus, carrying a supply of ice and drinks in an insulated cooler on my back rack helped me have faster descents going down hills.

This ride was Jayjay's and my first ride across a state line, going from North Carolina to Virginia and back. Neither one of us showed any interest in sprinting at any time during the day today, nevermind at some sign on the side of the road.

The dogs were out in force this morning. I was amazed how many 'dog families' raced out to greet us, each having one big grizzly dog along with two or three other little yappy dogs racing alongside. Luckily, their energy dropped off as the day got hot.

We were looking forward to stopping at some yard sales today, since we were not doing an official timed RUSA event, but we were out of luck. Surprisingly, we didn't pass one yard sale today.

Jayjay was our photographer today. She definitely takes nicer photos than I do: photos

The designer of this route did a marvelous job. The scenery is wonderful, most roads have light traffic, the hills are challenging for us, and there are abundant convenience stores along the way. I look forward to riding the whole route some day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Research Trailer Park

I had the day off work today and went for a nice bike ride. I discovered this elusive RTP sign (see for additional references).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Welcome Back Youth

I was ready to drink the Kool-Aid when I first saw this sign. My bicycling partner Jayjay and I were finishing a hot and humid 120 mile bike ride, the RUSA Tar Heel 200, and I could have used a jolt of youthful energy. Luckily I realized the true meaning before I went inside and embarrassed myself.

Overall, today was a perfect summer day for riding in North Carolina. The first third of the trip, from Benson to Stedman, was cool and overcast. It started getting warm on the next third, from Stedman to Tar Heel and back, but remained partly cloudy. It only got uncomfortable on the final third, where scattered rain showers left the roads foggy and steamy. Luckily, we missed the rain itself.

We ate, drank, and stretched well throughout the ride, the bikes worked well, no flat tires, and traffic was extremely cordial. It was a delightful day. Random photos are here: photos

Unfortunately, our spirits were dampened later tonight to learn that one of our local safe-bicycling advocates, Bruce Rosar, had been killed today in a bicycle-car accident. His influence was everywhere, teaching classes, interpreting laws, and lobbying for change. He will be missed.