Sunday, January 7, 2007

Lake Loop -- First Ride of the Year

Ah, the Lake Loop: a 208K lollipop route with an out-and-back from north Raleigh to Oxford, and an 80-mile loop around Kerr Lake, known as Buggs Island Lake in Virginia. The local crowd is starting to wear out the pavement -- we've done the circuit five times in as many months.

The photo shows Kerr Dam. We cross it at about 50 miles.

A hardy crew gathered as usual at Stony Hill Fire Station on New Light Rd. No huddling from the cold in the pre-dawn gray: temperatures were in the high 50s at the start and climbed into the 70s by 2 p.m.

Five made the start -- Me, JoeRay, Danno, Jerry and John from Charlotte, the birthday boy who was honored with a high dollar lunch at the Clarksville Burger King. As for the two no-shows, one lost his nerve at the thought of a 130-miler so early in the riding season. The other apparently lost his alarm clock.

We hit out around 5 after the hour. A bank of clouds that dumped a river the night before retreated to the east as the sun hit the horizon. The roads stayed wet until the early afternoon, and most were coated with a coarse grit. It was like riding behind a sand truck. The entire crew, fenderless, was filthy by the time we reached the halfway point.

For the first 65 miles, or the halfway point in Boydton, the wind was like a good friend. The kind of guy who shows with ribeye steaks and beer, compliments the wife, pets the dog and tells amusing stories and funny jokes.

In the second 65 miles that same friend turns ugly, burns a hole in your favorite leather chair, throws up on your living room rug. Says your dog has bad breath and fleas. Insults the wife.

And so it goes on a ride where you head northeast on a day with a strong southeast flow, then turn and pay the piper on the way home.

We managed 19.9 for the first 60 miles, with a few stretches of 25 mph. Total ride time was 17.7. You do the math. I'm still a little tired.

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