"That which does not kill me makes me stronger"
- some famous German guy
The NCBC's annual New Year's day ride proved to be more of a challenge than what many of the riders expected. The warm weather of the prior few days made the 42 degree temperature that morning seem unexpectedly cold. Nonetheless, some 40 (by my estimate) intrepid riders had gathered by the 10:00 am starting time, and we set out for what had been advertised as a friendly, social pace.
The peleton warmed up heading north out on Six Forks Road. I welcomed the hills, as the climbs provided a chance to build up some warmth. By the time we approached Youngsville we were maintaining a pace that probably not everyone considered "social." Nonetheless, most the riders had a chance to chat with one another along the way.
At about the 30 mile mark this conversation was heard:
Tom: (feeling moisture) I hope that's not rain I feel.
David: It's probably snot rockets being blown back in the wind.
Tom: Oh... (pause) I hope that's rain I feel...
Sure enough, rain it was. Just as we arrived at our rest stop in Rolesville the rain became steady and the roads became wet. Most everyone stopped anyway, with the naive hope that maybe it would get better. It didn't. Mike Wallace quickly established a shortcut home, but that still left us 18 miles out. We headed out from Rolesville togther, but it seemed most folks were riding as fast a pace as they could maintain, not wanting to be in the rain any longer than necessary.
As we crossed highway 1 a red pickup was finally able to pass. He pulled in front and then slowed to a crawl, presumably to inflict the same burden which the riders had imposed upon him. I in no way condone this behaviour, but it seems to me that as cyclists we should look to not impede traffic, and everyone on the road will benefit as a result.
Enough of my editorializing... the riders worked their way up Durant road and finally back to the starting point. I concluded that the ride really wasn't that bad; I usually pay a lot of money to ride in conditions like that (for example, the Assault on Mt. Mitchell in '90 and the Blue Ridge Brutal 100 in '95). And it was nowhere neas as bad as the NCBC Spring Century in '89, where I remember leaning into the driving rain just to keep my bike upright.
I learned afterwards that several riders stopped off at Allen Walker's house and solicited a ride back to the starting point. They perhaps were the wiser riders. I like to think, though, that those who completed the 50 mile loop became stronger, at least in spirit.
Page maintained by David L. Cole and last
revised on Thursday, January 9, 1997.
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