Monday, June 2, 2008

MWM 600 km -- Preride Report by Jerry Phelps

Alan’s on-line description of the 600 includes the following sentence: “This route is flat but head winds and heat can make this route challenging.” Consider yourselves forewarned! Branson Kimball and I pre-rode the NCBC 600 km brevet May 31st through June 1st in exactly those conditions and our goal time suffered for it along with us. We finished in 32 hours and change—new PRs for both of us, but only because we didn’t take a long break for sleep.

Rich and me heading into the wind—no drafting allowed. Picture by Branson.

We left Alan’s house at 5 AM to try to get a little jump on the expected heat and possible showers. Rich Bruner joined us in Angier and continued through Erwin where he peeled off to go scout out a new city park. There was some cloud cover on Saturday that helped to keep us cool, but that was all gone on Sunday. We worked all the way to Wilmington sometimes pushing hard to maintain 14 mph and arrived around 7:30 PM. After a quick meal and a brief rest we rolled out at about 8:30 PM. The wind was favorable for a short while on the return but pretty much died after sunset. Around midnight we took a nap at a store in Kelly and then moved on to White Lake arriving around 3 AM. Just before dawn, I needed a second nap at the church on Sweet Home Church Road. Branson decided to forgo the nap and try to take as much advantage of the cool temps as possible. I have to admit to doubting my sanity several times on the return, but I kept the cranks turning over until I got back to Alan’s house at 1:16 PM—32 hours and 16 minutes after the start. Branson finished a few minutes ahead of me.

We did some scouting of the local stores on the way down to provide information on opening and closing times. Some of it is below and Alan will have more at the start of the brevet on Saturday morning. Here’s to favorable conditions, clouds with no rain and tailwinds, for June 7-8. Dan Gatti, Beth and I will be hosting the turn-around in Wilmington.

Store and other info:

• Sunset Lake Road—some areas of new pavement which is good and bad. It’s very smooth – good. Bits of loose gravel and asphalt litter the bike lane climbing a big hill on the return trip – bad. Traffic is as bad as always on this road.

• Store on NC 82 in Erwin—good place for a biscuit—open 7 to 7.

• The “Subway” control at the BP in Wade is now called Lucky’s Subs. Hours are 8 AM-10 PM.

• Steadman BP—hours are 7 AM to 10 PM.

• The Blueberry Festival in Ammon is Saturday June 7th. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are close when you see the first sign. There will be food and drink vendors there.

• The air conditioner above the door at the Scotchman in White Lake still sounds like its being powered by two squirrels in a fist fight. Last year the store closed between 3-4 AM; not so this time. It seems to depend on who is working that shift.

• At Mile 137/237, there is an “Antique Store” at the corner of NC 210 and NC 11. It was closed last year, but has reopened. They will be expecting riders to stop on the way down and will have water and other cold drinks. The air conditioning is heavenly. Also, they were most kind to Branson and me and allowed us to “sleep” on some of their “antiques” out in front of the store around midnight. Please plan to stop here—it’s a treat.

• Mile 152/222—Parker’s Superette in Long Creek—Air Conditioning (noticing a theme yet?)—ice cream and cold drinks. Mrs. Parker is very nice—she would love to have your business. Hours are 7 to 7, but there are two outdoor drink machines that are accessible after closing.

• Mile 160/214--Hess/Wendy’s or Subway (the Subway is across 210 from the Hess near Food Lion)—cue sheet may mislead you into thinking it’s at Mile 154/205. The Subway is the cleanest we’ve ever seen—the young women working there gave me a free sandwich on the way back!!

• Sweet Home Church Road—The small church at Mile ~268 is a great place for a nap. The porch is carpeted—a rolled up vest and the threshold make a nice pillow (hopefully you won’t need this at Mile 106). Although it wasn’t his church, Branson’s granddad preached here on occasion.

• Mile 347--Atkins Road – the man eating pothole that flattened both my tires last year is still there.

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