Chapel Hill to Waynesville, NC
This week has been a busy one so I haven't been able to blog until today, but its been a lot of fun! Since my last blog I have ridden from UNC Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem (85+ miles), then to Taylorsville (70+ miles), then on to Newland (65 miles), and finall onto Asheville (80 miles) where we built for two days. This week has been significantly more difficult than the week before fora couple reasons: first, We rode many more miles in a shorter time period. Second, We hit the foothills and then the mountains of Western North Carolina. Third, the Blue Ridge Parkway is really tough to ride. At the same time I have seen some of the most beautiful views of my life and climbed to 5,700 feet above sea level - woo!! Also, the group is starting to get really comfortable with each other so we have become significantly closer and - as with any close knit group - friction has slowly started. But nothing bad yet. Probably the most difficult thing for everyone (myself included) is the lack of sleep. There are just too many thing to do! We all want to check out the different places and clean our bike, present to different communities, eat (all the time), and somehow get enough sleep so we can ride the next day. It has been a really big challenge for me.
Okay, some highlights:
1.Winston-Salem: After a long, hot grueling ride uphill into W-S we ended up on a hill overlooking the local minor league team, the Dash. We watched about three innings and really enjoyed cooling off in the breeze above the stadium.
2.Taylorsville: is basically Ravenna, except it is in North Carolina. It is the county seat, is kind of trashy but has some cool architecture and is surrounded by a bunch of trailer parks. Now, I am not saying that is the worst thing in the world… but it was not my favorite city. It was funny, however, that we stayed in a Christian Children’s Academy and got orange juice served in little plastic jugs. It brought me back to my days at JAG elementary.
3.Newland: the ride from Taylorsville to Newland was only 65+ miles but the elevation changed from 1200 ft up to 4500 ft and then back down to 3500 ft. Specifically there was a 10 mile climb that was straight up. It was also the first time most of us had ever ridden a mountain. We had about 10 people hitch hike or get picked up by the van. I made it, but just barely. At least the town of Newland was quaint and homey. It made up for the difficult climb.
4.The Blue Ridge Parkway: is the most amazing ride! We were on it for 70+ miles and climbed approximately 7000 ft while on it. I hit my new record of 45 mph in a descent and had the most grueling ride of my life. Probably the best part of the entire experience was looking back after 60 miles of climbing and seeing the ridge of mountains that we climbed through. Then we descending straight down (from 5700 ft to 2200 ft) for twenty miles. My average speed for those 20 miles was 37 mph. It was definitely in the top five things I have ever done in my life.
5.Asheville: This city is one of the most unique places I have ever visited. It is like Austin of North Carolina – super hippy and nothing like any other part of North Carolina. While there I got to lay a subfloor with a nonprofit called “Mountain Housing,” participated in a drum circle, and attended a bar that was wall to wall with old arcade games. It was a very unique experience!
Finally, I am in the process of uploading photos from the first two weeks, but I haven’t got good enough internet service yet. As soon as I do I will put them online. Well, that’s all for this blog. As always:
Live, Love, Ride.
P.s. I free wrote this, so I am sorry for any grammatical mistakes. Internet time was sparse.