Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hilton Head Island 2012–Recharge Days 1 and 2

The Navigator and I , along with the Woodman and Sherry Shazam, are well into Day two of our 2012 rest and recharge week on beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC. HHI is a 2012 recipient of the League of American Bicyclists Silver Award winning community…

Our 2012 journey was pleasantly devoid of…

life threatening moments as we made our way down interstates 26 and 95. For the first time in several trips off the mountain, we weren’t nearly forced off the road, rear ended, or generally scared to death from high speed, highly distracted drivers. In fact, the trip down to the Low Country was pretty pleasant even though it seem to take longer this year.

Day one was all about travel and recovery. We managed to finish unpacking just as the evening showers arrived. The Woodman graciously did some shopping and we dined in on pizza and listened to my beloved App State Mountaineers take on the Montana Grizzlies in yet another exciting game between these two powerhouse FCS division teams. You have to love a game that comes down to the last 30 seconds and the game is tied! Fortunately, this time my Mountaineers gained the victory with a last second interception on the goal line.

Day two started out overcast but turned beautiful by 1:00 p.m. With the Navigator and Sherry Shazam safely ensconced on the beach, Woodman and I hit the bike paths of HHI for some leg loosening spins.

The Woodman leads the way...

(The Woodman on the tree lined roads of Palmetto Dunes)

We started out from our rental on Mooring Buoy Dr. and enjoyed an easy pedal down to William Hilton Parkway where we began to share the separated bike paths with quite a few users. You can pretty much get anywhere on HHI on the bike paths and I could easily see going car-free or, at worst, car-lite in this community. The Woodman and I guesstimated that the paths are 8’ wide, which gets a little close for two way traffic of pedestrians and cyclists. Still, the ease with which you can get anywhere on bike is wonderful.

Separated bike path on HHI

(The one chance to pick up the pace – bike path along Hilton Parkway)

The downside of being able to get anywhere is that the paths are slow with many stop signs to allow traffic access to businesses. I noted that few of the tourists on 2 wheels bothered to look in either direction as they came to the intersection of neighborhood roads and the bike paths.  Two couples on tandems passed us going in the opposite direction and didn’t even slow down when they crossed over the entrance to one of the plantations. The locals must be used to it because on several occasions, they would stop well back of bike path intersection and wave the Woodman and I through.

Share the Path!

(Share the path! Oncoming cyclists along the separated bike path…)

We made a loop around the eastern end of HHI and back to our temporary abode. It was a nice 15 mile leg loosening cruise. We managed one solitary strip of the bike path on the way back where we could “air it out.”  This was the only time I noted my respiration and heart rates being elevated, which surprised me since I haven’t been on my bike in a month. (I brought the Salsa Fargo down for this trip.) For those so interested, here are the metrics of the ride:

http://www.sportstracklive.com/track/detail/gr8smokieszeke/Cycling/Hilton-Head-Island/766171

A nice soak in the hot tub polished off the late afternoon and I’m now sitting on the deck overlooking the waterway watching fish jump as I type. We were treated to a short aerial display of some Red Tailed Hawks working the thermals just above our house earlier in the afternoon. Thus far, I haven’t seen the two bald eagles that peered down at us last year.

Day three may involve a trip to nearby Bluffton, SC for some riding in that community. We enjoyed our rides there last year and are looking forward to getting back.

On another topic…

In my most recent post, admittedly an overall tongue-in-cheek endeavor, I made reference to USADA having $9.8 million federal dollars as part of their annual budget and I connected this use of taxpayer money to their ongoing investigation of Lance Armstrong. Part of that post appeared as the text of my bi-weekly cycling column for our local newspaper. Following the publication of the column, I received an email from a friend and former co-worker/cyclist, who pointed out that USADA was a non-profit organization and not a governmental agency. He also asked for my sources on the $9.8 million dollars in federal grants.

I agree with him (and don’t believe I inferred otherwise) that USADA is not a governmental agency. I was confident in my statement that they received $9.8 million dollars in federal grants. Still, I wanted to double check the accuracy of my remarks and found an audit of USADA that shows they do in fact receive the $9.8 million dollars in 2010 and that amount was down from $10 million in 2009. I think my phrasing in the article led my friend to deduce that I was taking a stand on whether or not Lance Armstrong doped during his career. For clarities sake, I did not take a stand either way whether L.A. doped or didn’t dope. I have an opinion but I recognize that it means nothing so I see no need to share it. It is what it is…

I do have concerns that USADA and the NCAA, for that matter, can and do operate essentially as a law enforcement agency and yet aren’t subject to the same rules of procedure as an actual law enforcement agency. Perhaps I misread what they do and don’t do but, after having read many, many articles, that seems to me to be the case. One of the better articles I’ve read recently is by columnist Bill Strickland in Bicycling magazineThe Truth Hurts. Personally, I’m tired of conversations about whether L.A. doped or didn’t dope. I know that in my home county, there are many, many children that go hungry from Friday to Monday because they don’t have sufficient food until they return to school on Monday. I think what $9.8 million could do to alleviate that problem. I’m just sayin’…

But, HEY, I’m resting and recharging!

“nuff of this serious stuff… I’ve got a great sunset to watch!

Until later,

-Zeke

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