Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lexington 200K / Barbecue Heaven



Yesterday I joined Tony G, Tony F and Joel, the son of High Point RBA Richard Lawrence, for a shake-out ride of the Lexington 200K. A good time was had by all. A personal thanks to Tony G and Joel for pulling me along all day.

The ride started and finished at a Wal-Mart parking lot just off exit 91 on I-85. Richard Lawrence showed up a few minutes before the start to see us off.



I brought my Silk Hope for the second 200K this month and was delighted to show it to him. He is the proud owner of this magnificent 25-inch Silk Hope.



For those heading up for the Jan. 1 brevet, here’s the route according to my GPS.



If you look closely you’ll see where we rolled into several controls along the way.

The elevation gain is about 5,700 feet over the 126-mile course, or 450 feet per 10 miles. That’s pretty typical of the rolling hills in the western Piedmont.



I looked at the other 200Ks I’ve recorded. This has as much gain as Bethany Davison’s Caesars Head course. However, there’s nothing too steep and nothing too long. I’d say it’s easier than that ride or the Siler City Express permanent. But it's still plenty challenging.

Most of the Lexington route is on extremely quiet back roads, which allowed for lots of side-by-side socializing. Here are the two Tonys rolling up to a stop sign.



One highlight of the course: Bringle Ferry Road below the High Rock Lake dam (where that first photo was taken). Here's a shot of Tony, Joel and Tony with the dam in the background.



Another highlight: The quiet run into the former boomtown of Gold Hill. Here's a shot of Joel rolling up to the historic marker.



There were a few busy stretches, including a four-mile stretch on Highway 64. Apparently there’s not a good way to avoid that because there are only so many bridges across the Yadkin River. However, there was a pretty good shoulder along that section. It also got a little busy as we headed back into Lexington.

Lights and reflective gear were a necessity. We rode the last half-hour in the dark.

Here is the crew riding into one of the controls.

video

For those who like western N.C. style barbecue, this ride will be heaven. I’d say we passed four roadside restaurants with pigs on the signs. By the time we rolled back into Lexington, I’d built up a powerful hunger. Joel arranged a dinner at – where else? – the Lexington Barbecue Restaurant, also known as Honey Monk’s after the owner’s nickname.

Richard and his wife joined us for a post-ride chowdown. Talk about local knowledge: Joel ordered what was essentially a plate of chopped pork edges. I followed suit. Delicious!

Postscript: Joel filled me in on the local history after seeing my barbecue commentary.

Discussing BBQ can get you in hot water very quickly. The topic borders on politics and religion. (Okay, around here it is a religion.) The type of BBQ you had on Saturday night was “Lexington style”. To me “western style” conjures up the image of a ½ ton spit of beef being cranked beside a Conestoga wagon.

I’m not sure where you heard the local name “Honey Monk’s”. (You were pretty much dead on.) I have never seen it printed anywhere. Growing-up, we always referred to the place as “The Monk” or “Lexinton BBQ #1”. Every once in a while, I would hear an old timer refer to it as “The Honey Monk”. Several years back, I asked Wayne Monk, the founder, the origin of the name. He told me that originally a guy named Honeycutt was going to be his business partner. About the only thing the guy contributed was part of his name. “Lexington BBQ #2” was located at the other end of town and was run by Wayne’s brother, Tommy. It closed a number of years ago. Although Wayne’s son, Ricky, runs the place now, Wayne is still there helping out. He was the older gentleman behind the counter on Saturday.


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For those who can't get enough of all these maps I've been posting, here is the route in mapmyrides and bikely.com.





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