Races/Tours I am following:
It was hot – muggy hot. Almost, but not quite, New Orleans sultry hot. Not Oklahoma City “slam your butt back in the car” hot… I can’t go that far. How hot was it? It was SOOO hot I broke a sweat putting my hat on to walk to lunch. It was so humid I thought I saw a 20” Rainbow Trout swimming up Main Street. If Tennessee Williams were here yesterday, I’m confident he would have written a new award winning novel on the spot that featured heat and humidity. I had visions of William Hurt and Kathleen Turner comingling in Body Heat as I made my way up to the cafe. You get the picture.
When it’s that hot and humid in our mountains, you just know it’s gonna rain and it did… The skies turned a deep dark black in a pitchfork pattern just as we were hoping for new riders to appear for our first BicycleHaywoodNC sponsored New Riders Group ride. It was a tricky rain pattern.The pitchfork “look” meant that it was raining to our north and east, sunshine to our west holding out promise of a short rain event, and rain to our south. Our riders were beginning to gather and questioning “are we going to get to ride?” “What should we do?” “How long is this rain going to fall?”
Our start time came and went as we watched the rain fall. We were prepped for our pre-ride bike checks, waivers of liability, and a short safety chat as we got the initial ride of this 6 week effort under way. Articles were in the newspaper leading up to the ride and we were on other printed news calendars. We built it but they did not come. The rain let up and the 5 of us – all experienced riders did what cyclists do… we rode!
Given the lack of beginning riders, we decided to ride the route I had suggested for first timers. I should say that we did have a New rider. In the image above, she is on the far right and her last name is- wait for it – New! Still, she is an experienced rider.
The chosen route was about 9.4 miles and as flat as is possible here in the mountains. Other than a short climb out of the LBS parking lot, we were pretty much running river grade from North Main Street in Waynesville all the way to Wal-Mart on the other end of town. The loop utilized our partially completed greenway, went by the town’s recreation department, took in different business sections of Waynesville, and went by schools. It traversed the Village of Hazelwood, a small former town now completely encircled by Waynesville. We rode through some nice residential areas and even enjoyed some newly paved road on Brown Avenue.
As I expressed to our riders, this route is hopefully easy enough for those riders beginning to get back in shape, showcases some of our town’s prettiest spots, and begins to plant the seed “Hey, maybe I could ride to the store instead of driving.” We want to attack that “last mile” that transportation engineers are always talking about. Another goal of our group rides is to get more cyclists on the roads to increase our visibility. The more auto/truck drivers see cyclists on the roads, the more awareness they will develop of cyclists making the roads safer.
One key part of our education effort is to make sure that new riders develop good riding skills. So, yesterday with 3 future ride leaders and our “Newbie”, we practiced good ridership. We stopped at stop signs, we used hand signals, we communicated from back to front and vice versa. All good practice for when our new group rides develop some new group riders!
Was yesterday’s ride a success? Well, I’d have to say yes. We weren’t overrun with exuberant new riders but we did accomplish some goals of increased visibility, gaining additional support/ideas for a recommended “backbone” of a bike route through Waynesville, and got our future ride leaders all on the same page. So, we’ll keep publicizing and be ready for next Thursday evening’s New Riders Group!
Some Tour/Race updates:
After his big day on Wednesday, Jim Artis rode a shorter run yesterday to Sturbridge, MA. In fact, he did some unexpected multi-modal transiting yesterday. He has added yet another interesting tale to this adventure with Fargo. Check it out at Cycling Experiences. If he had been in K-Mart, he might have called it a “blue light special.” ‘nuff said…
Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson was headed into the Great Divide Basin yesterday after having stocked up on critical supplies, i.e., Snicker bars, Slim Jim, and Chocolate Chip cookies. Anyone who has followed KentsBikeBlog for awhile knows that Kent quite frequently denies being a “nutritional role model”. Christine, Kent’s “better half” and “Keeper of the Blog” during his Divide Ride, reported that he has some lingering soreness from his encounter with the cattle guard and barbed wire fence but other wise remains in good spirit and is having a great time!
Sadly, Tour Divide rider David Blumenthal has died from injuries he received when he collided with a truck on a narrow mountain road in Colorado.
As best I could tell from following SPOT tracks yesterday, Raphael Giraldo was remaining in the greater Boston area for the day. If I recall correctly, he had some Tour commitments that would keep him in the city. Giraldo has a number of short videos that he posts daily on the TOD: Ride for the Republic. They are available, along with lots of still imagery, on his website.
In its just released issue, Outside magazine has an article on the upcoming Tour De France – well, really it is more about the rivalry between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. I didn’t see the image of Armstrong that prompted his tweat about Outside having photoshopped some text on a blank T-shirt worn by Armstrong. To get a better understanding of the dust up over the image, check out Fatty’s in-depth explanation of the situation. In true Fatty style, Eldon gets to the crux of the matter and clearly shows why he too joins Lance in being angry with Outside magazine!
There is still plenty of time to register for the inaugural Blue Ridge Breakaway! This ride will include Century, Metric Century, and shorter rides on August 21st. Initial response has been good according to event organizers. Why don’t you come join us and climb in our mountains!