Thursday, April 15, 2010

A NEW CHARACTER JOINS THE CYCLING CAST!

The summer-like weather continues here in Western North Carolina offering up some fine, fine riding opportunities. Tuesday was another of those warm, bordering on hot, days with nary a cloud in the sky. For my commute home, I’m not sure the weather could have been much better.

Apr13_LoveJoy01(Love Joy Road in the Pigeon Valley) 

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

I’m beginning to think that a whole new character must reside along the beginning portions of my evening commute along Business 23/NC 209. This area seems to be where I am most likely to get screamed at, insulted, gestured at, etc. this year. The new character, A$$hole Appleton, must hang with Headwind Harry and Congestion Charlie and have the ability to occupy the brains of random people, who may be nice at other times.

Tuesday’s encounter with A$$hole Appleton occurred at the traffic light on NC 209 and Old Clyde Road. I had passed through the two previous lights on the downhill run past the Lowe’s store and the nasty intersection of Hospital Drive and NC 209. I was actually maintaining the speed limit with zero vehicles behind me. I was cruising until I crossed under the railroad trestle and came upon the traffic light. Of course, it was red in my direction of travel so I had to stop.

As I was duly stopped behaving myself like a good law abiding cyclist should, obeying my responsibilities on the road as a legal form of transportation, a horn starts blowing right on my rear wheel. It seems a red small pickup truck driven by a white haired older man took offense that a) I was stopped at the traffic light or b) I was somehow impeding his ability to not go through the red light. I looked at him and he was doing some pretty good gesturing at me with an angry look on his face. I just raised my arms, somewhat pointing at the red light, but mostly out of frustration at this latest interaction. (No one fingered salute here as I stuck to my goal of not being nasty…)

The light changed and I moved on to the gutter and let the jerk go by. He didn’t bother with eye contact as he went by and he had his window rolled up so a blistering commentary from me wasn’t in the offing. Fortunately, the vast majority of vehicles passing me are driven by folks who either benignly ignore me or are out and out friendly.

Upon reaching Richland Creek Road and making my eastern turn so I could ride along the river, I was pleasantly greeted by at least two drivers as they passed me on the two lane road. This is the road where I recently found a knife and replaced it on the bridge railing. I was eager to see if it was still present. It was…

The remaining portions of the ride were pleasant as I made my way down to Clyde, over to US 23 north to Canton, and then up NC 110 to Bethel. I was still feeling pretty good and most of the negative energy from my earlier interlude was gone. What little negative energy remained was soon exorcised as I enjoyed the lovely evening ride along Love Joy Road.

Apr13_LoveJoy02 (A closer shot of the trees above along Love Joy Rd.)

I can only recall 3 vehicles passing me on this 5 mile stretch as I made my way home. I noted an increase in campers at a small commercial campground on Love Joy. There were a few fishermen plying the waters of the West Fork and I even threw my hand up in greeting to two cyclists as I was beginning my run along Love Joy.

After rejoining NC 215 and heading north, I decided one more climb was in order for the day and I split off on Edwards Cove Road. I determined that a good set of burning quads would finish off the day just right. Edwards Cove has two climbs to overcome and then returns to NC 276 very near the entrance to my home. All in all, a fine day commuting home. I think I even detected Slipstream Sallie accompanying me on Love Joy!

Until later,

Zeke

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