Friday, April 13, 2012


April 13, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “We got 3 new planes in for repair. One shot up completely. Bill and I develop 7 rolls of films but no printing paper .”

The week has been busy since our return from the Low Country of S.C. On the cycling front, I participated in the Haywood Community College Spring Fling on the 11th. Along with fellow Council member, Claire Carleton, we attempted to survey HCC students on their interest in having the multi-modal connector developed between campus and the Town of Clyde.

HCC Students completing survey!

(HCC students complete survey regarding multi-modal path.)

Dogwood Winter was in full force on the very clear, very cool day…

as the annual Spring Fling event got underway. With the temps hovering in the low 40’s and upper 30’s, many students bypassed the outdoor tables and headed in doors to the food court. Claire and I were stationed at a great location near the main door and just downwind of the grill where the burgers and hot dogs were being cooked. It was a satisfying olfactory experience!

We did garner a number of completed surveys and the verbal expressions of the students were very supportive of the concept of having the multi-modal path connecting campus and the Town of Clyde. Much work is yet to be done, including a meeting with the local home owners association over which the school’s Right of Way crosses.

On Thursday evening, we had our first group ride of the season for “new and newly returning” riders. The beautiful weather of the week has continued with temps moderating nicely. As we gathered at 5:30 p.m., the temperatures were quite pleasant and riding conditions, after a brief period of warm-up, were great!

Twelve cyclists joined us for this first ride of the season including equal numbers of current BicycleHaywoodNC members and non-members. The range of bikes covered everything from road bikes to mountain bikes to my Salsa Fargo and to the hand built bikes of fellow Council member Paul Casper.

After a brief “safety chat” covering the rules of the road, we headed out along a paved portion of the Haywood Greenway taking in the Waynesville Recreation Park and riding along Richland Creek. It was gratifying to hear some of the new riders remark that they “didn’t know this existed” and that “I didn’t know we could ride here!”.  Our beginners’ route takes us along mostly river grade roads to West Waynesville and provides us the opportunity for some education to the new riders on crossing grates and railroad tracks.

Once in West Waynesville, the route turned to a somewhat more hardy endeavor with a short but steep climb up Camp Branch thrown into the mix. For a brand new rider, this would have been a test but all of our group negotiated it nicely on this day. The route then took us through the Waynesville Country Club and back to South Main Street.

We ended up being amongst heavy post-work traffic on a two lane road without shoulders so we exited right into a local neighborhood and then climbed through the Greenhill Cemetery in order to return to Main Street proper. The cemetery climb had zero traffic but a steep grade that was a significant challenge for some of us. Still, everyone made their way back to the group and we reassembled for the traditional ride down Main Street.

This section of the ride gives us the opportunity to talk about “taking the lane” and avoiding the “door zone.” I noted that some of our group was riding much too close to the cars parked along Main Street and would have been crunched had someone thrown open a door. So, a learning moment was provided for all.

Upon our return to Rolls Rite Bicycle Shop, our LBS, I congratulated the new riders on having completed what was clearly our toughest “beginners’ ride” of the season. Next week, we’ll be modifying the route somewhat depending upon the fitness level of that week’s riders.

The Intermediate rides provided by BicycleHaywoodNC begin tomorrow as I lead  a ride over the Rabbit route of the Blue Ridge Breakaway. The Rabbit is the shortest of the 4 BRB routes but is not a beginner’s ride. It is approximately 25 miles in length and has 2 significant climbs. Coleman Mountain provides the first climb and the backside of Hyder Mountain provides a second opportunity to work on climbing skills. Having very few miles in my own legs this year, I may start out as the ride leader and end up as the sweep! I’ve publicized the ride as “Slog the Rabbit” indicating that this isn’t going to be a speed ride!

So, riding season is clearly upon us! Let’s get out there and do it!

Until later,

- Zeke

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