Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blackbeard's Permanent

I own several RUSA permanents. For those unfamiliar with those rides, a permanent is like a brevet, our official scheduled events, but you can ride it any time, not just on one specific date. One of my routes, Blackbeard's Permanent, doesn't get ridden all that often, probably because it's a one-way route that runs from Raleigh to Swan Quarter, on the North Carolina coast.

I try to get out there on it at least once a year, to kick the tires, as it were, see what has changed and what needs adjusting.

This year, there were three trouble spots. First, there's a new bypass that turned one road into a dead end. That was an easy adjustment -- just pick up 264 for an extra mile.

The next fix was not so easy. A bridge was out on Hwy 32, on the far side of "the Original" Washington (so says the sign). That put me out on 264 on a busy section for several miles. Finally, as I raced up to the final section, just three miles from the Swan Quarter ferry with only 30 minutes to spare, I saw the dreaded "Detour: Road Closed" sign. This was potentially a show stopper. The next ferry was not until the following morning. As luck would have it, a local woman sitting outside with two pugs and three energetic Jack Russells advised me about a dirt road workaround for the Swan Quarter detour. Disaster averted.

If the route needed a few repairs, so did the driver. A fierce bout of cramps set in around mile 100 and continued on and off for the next 80 miles. There was lots of stopping and walking, and lots of soft pedaling, my favorite kind.

I had a simple goal on this ride. Break 12 hours. Missed it by two minutes. As I was racing up the final stretch to the ferry, leg cramps humbled me once again.

I was on such a tight schedule, I didn't stop for many pix. Here's early morning fog on Antioch Church Road. Music courtesy of Google...

I took this one on the ferry. What is it, an idea horn?

Arrgh.... Pirates!

Ferry sunset.

No comments: