Saturday, April 14, 2012


April 14, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Lecture on Mosquito control. We are starting taking medicine tomorrow. Dark nites now good for invasion. Beautiful days too.”

Our first intermediate level ride of the year was held this morning. The Navigator and I enjoyed our first cups of morning coffee as the sun made its way over Mount Pisgah displaying clear skies. The morning temperatures reflected our current warming trend as they hovered in the upper 40’s. It looked to be a great morning for a ride!


Ride Leaders Alan and Zeke

(What is missing from this photo? Answer below…)

We’ve added these longer distance rides in hopes of providing some group experiences for more seasoned riders. Our plans are to alternate times between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for the start of the rides in order to have as many options as possible.

Today’s ride was advertised as “Slog the Rabbit” inferring that it would be a slow 25 mile ride across the Rabbit route of the Blue Ridge Breakaway. As I’ve got minimal miles in my legs this spring, I was pretty confident I would not maintain much speed over the route.

After loading up my Salsa Fargo and some water and ice for after the ride, I made a stop by the local Burger King for my own ride fuel and headed to our starting point at the Glance Street Park in Clyde. As I was enjoying my sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, I noted the time crawling closer to the appointed start time of 10:00 a.m. The skies were still beautiful, temps had risen to the mid 50’s, and I was… all alone! Yep, had the whole parking lot to myself. Not another cyclist in sight.

Just as I was beginning to reformulate my plans for the day given the lack of riders that were showing up, a lone vehicle arrived and my co-ride leader/co-sweep appeared! Ah! A ride is on! – maybe not THE ride I expected but a ride nevertheless. I was just on the cusp of hanging up and going and mowing one of the yards I’m so far behind on when Alan appeared and gave me the push to stick to my plan to ride!

After a brief consultation on the route, we decided to abandon the Rabbit route and check out the eastern end of the Haywood Hub, which is the backbone of our suggested route through Haywood County when travelling east/west or vice versa. I wanted to get a good measure of the distance from Glance Street Park to the new Park ‘N Ride recently opened up by N.C. DOT at exit 33 on I-40.  For his part, Alan was glad to ride some roads he had not been on before.

So, the two of us struck out on the first intermediate ride of the year. On flat ground and some descents, I was leader and on climbs and other river grade elevations Alan was leader. Yep, we were a grand finely honed group of two swapping around leader and sweep roles. We nailed precision riding if I must say so myself!

Our eastern leg of the ride was along Thickety Road, which plays tag with the Pigeon River into Canton. We were greeted by numerous dogs along the way. We were quite thankful they were all properly restrained on their property. Only one little “hot dog” mix came out of its yard as we passed. The distance to the Park ‘N Ride was 9.25 miles and included two climbs of moderate intensity.

After a brief respite at the Navigator’s family home, we reversed direction and followed more closely the Haywood Hub route through Canton and on Old Clyde Road back to our vehicles. This leg was easier for me as the two climbs in this direction were fairly short and not all that steep. Somewhere along the line, my bike computer tells me we hit a 16.7% grade. Still, I was pleased to see that the Haywood Hub is well within the capabilities of most commuters. We’re hopeful that NC DOT will eventually widen the road with 4’ to 6’ shoulders and mark them as bike lanes.

So, back to the image at the top of this post… What did you determine was missing. The facts are as follows:

1) We had a ride under beautiful skies

2) We had a ride leader

3) We had a sweep.

Post your guess as to what was missing in the comments at the end of this entry. I’ll buy a cold libation of your choice for the first BICYCLEHAYWOODNC member who correctly identifies what is missing.

(The determination of what is missing is mine and mine alone to accept. All entries are final. The total purchase price of the chosen libation may not exceed $10.00 USD. No taxes are required to be paid on this regardless of your income level. There is no war on women within this post. God save the Queen!)

Now, I have to go mow grass… Darn that ride could have lasted longer…

Until later,


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