Belhaven, N.C. to Chapel Hill, N.C.
Hello again! I am just finishing the first week of Bike & Build and I have had some fun in the last couple days! Since last blog we traveled from Belhaven to Greenville (54 miles) then to Wake Forest (my first 100 mile ride!!) and then to Chapel Hill (a 40 mile ride). Along the way I have had the pleasure of almost bonking (essentially “hitting the wall” in biking terminology), siding an entire house, and concreting a great relationship with all of my fellow bikers. To be succinct, it has been an incredible week. Here are some highlights:
1. Southern Barbecue: If you want to have a lengthy conversation with any genteel southerner all you have to do is ask about their barbecue. The North Carolina barbecue is unique because it is vinegar-based (rather than the tomato or mustard varieties in other parts of the South). Because of its uniqueness, North Caroliners are extremely proud (and picky) about their sauces. It’s true hometown pride!
2. Century Ride: On Wednesday I thought it a good idea to ride a 90-mile ride pretty fast. Because I was clipping along at 17+ mphs for the duration of the ride I had to track and mark the course so the other riders would not get lost – which meant that we got lost a lot. Due to these diversions from our course I ended up finishing a 100-mile ride at Arby’s. The ride was satisfying because I had never been physically pushed as hard as that and was on the point of exhaustion. I am pretty sure the only thing that kept me going was the promise of Arby’s at the end. And damn was it good.
3. Chapel Hill: is just flat out gorgeous. We got to check out some of the local food joints and bars and had a great time in this diverse college town. Probably one of the more amazing things about Chapel Hill is how much intelligence, beauty, and southern hospitality that it contains. We ate like kings, walked through Tolkien-like arboretums, and chatted with published scholars. It was pretty awesome.
4. The first time we all went out: was hilarious. Because all the bikers have been waking up between five and six in the AM we have been pretty tame. Well that changed on Thursday night because we had a build day (meaning we got to sleep in until 7 AM) the next day…so we all went out. We drank on top of a building on the infamous Franklin Street and took over a bar called “Goodfellows.” There was a lot of imbibing and dancing. Although it was a lot of fun, it hurt real badly the next day on the build site.
5. Building: I worked on a house in Chapel Hill for two days exclusively siding with some vinyl. It was informative and a lot of fun. It reminded me of shingling at the water plant during my high school summers working with village. I also got to meet some very interesting and dedicated people who work with Habitat for Humanity and actually was able to take part in a housing dedication ceremony to a Burmese family living in America. All very cool things.
Well, the group’s laundry is finally done so I am heading to bed to get ready for a 90-mile ride to Winston-Salem tomorrow. Hurray for 5 AM wake up calls! To end on a positive note, I bought a compression sack today and my bin finally fits everything adequately. No more sitting on the lid of my bin while I wrench it closed with a ratchet strap. Hip, hip, Huzzah!
Live, Love, Bike.