Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
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I loved the format of that ride. There were about 100 miles that I thought should be on better roads. I'm told we hit them when there was a shift change at a large chicken packing plant, which made the traffic pretty miserable.
The first day was pretty nice, started out with a large pack riding up to the mountains. I've been climbing a lot, but I still can't climb worth a hoot. I had been doing some construction before the ride and got something in my eyes which made climbing even more of a chore. Anything over about 500 feet, I had to stop and let my eyes clear or I couldn't see. Not the best way to approach a day with so many climbs. The cue sheet has this note: "next 37 miles has a lot of climbing." This is after you have made the 5 mile climb up the Eastern Continental divide. Actually, there is about a 100 mile stretch where you are either climbing or descending. I had trouble keeping my legs in the game, and the last little bit in Virginia were a bit of a whine-fest for me. Fortunately, nobody was around to hear it. The descent down the Eastern Continental Divide was a hoot. There is an uphill in the middle for some reason -- someone put an uphill in my downhill.
Fortunately, some people caught me and navigated me in to the hotel, I was having trouble seeing. Managed to get back at 1am, got 3 hours of sleep and some quiet time before I got up and rode to Laurinburg. Before I left I managed to get whatever it was out of my eyes, so that was a relief. It was pretty hot after the fog burned off. Some really nice roads, but some the commuting traffic was unkind. In general, North Carolina drivers gave more than enough consideration to us. Us northerners aren't used to that. The only thing is they don't stop for stop signs. What's up with that?
Was not really expecting the hills further east, those are some big hills. Apparently they used to be huge. Noticed that Laurinburg closed at 8, didn't know what time it was so I hit the afterburners. Didn't really need to worry, I got there before 5. This is the halfway point on the ride. Ate some dinner and got going again to the beach. I had some traffic again going into Tabor City, probably the most obnoxious drivers on the whole ride. I guess it was ******* football fans, because the ride goes right by the field after the controle. Kinda disappointed since I was riding hard, I saw a sign that said I had only gone 5 miles and it felt like a lot more than that. I am not sure what happened, but I got to the controle pretty quickly after that.
After the controle, I headed out of town. Seemed like it took forever, probably because the highway department decided to save money on route signs. I was a little stressed by that. Most places on the route they had put route signs all over the place, on this 20 mile stretch there was only one. Got down to the beach and saw a bank sign with the time. It was not even midnight, so I was happy about that. Sat around and ate for a while with the lovely volunteers. Talked about the Penn State scandal. Took a shower, went to bed and got another 3+ hours sleep. Volunteers on this ride were great, I simply can't image sitting in Laurinburg for 3 days eating pizza, but they were always in good spirits.
Got back to Laurinburg and got 4 1/2 hours of sleep. Only 200k left. It was an absolutely awesome ride. A bit of climbing, but I was feeling good. Rode with some locals for a while but went a little crazy and rode hard for a while. This is my kind of climbing where you can power up a hill. Met up with some people at lunch and decided to tone it back and ride with them since there were so many turns. We got threatened by thunderstorms, but only got a few welcome drops. It was hot. I only managed to drop one of the group (kidding, what is wrong with me?) Got into Greensboro before 5 and got some beer and taco bell with the famous Olsen brothers and called it a day.
I have learned a lot about 1200k's since last year. The main thing for me is getting my eating dialed in. I didn't have any problems with that on this ride. The first day is worse than anything on PBP by a long shot, and I never got to the point of slowing because I hadn't eaten enough. Something new for me. Not sure how I would fix that on PBP, but I think they will let you bring perpetuum solids into the country, which is my food of choice right now. The other thing I learned is not to waste time sleeping in daylight and don't spend any more time at controles than you want to. I tend to sit around at controles, and this cuts into sleep time. I didn't have any issues with sleepiness on the bike this time around. Every once in a while I would get hit by a blast of hot air, and it would remind me that I was a little sleep deprived, but in general there were no major issues.
Last edited by unterhausen; 09-09-12 at 03:36 PM.