The latest version of Team “Get ‘er Dunn” assembled Wednesday to do some serious training. And—to the rider—decided that what we needed to work on most was “eat.” We’d picked out a great spot in Erwin, NC, even stopped by to “warn” them on the way out that we’d be back later for the training table --- I mean, buffet. The waitress said she’d have our cold drinks ready.
There must have been a rumor going around a day or two earlier that someone was buying. How else can you explain a table-full of gaunt, ravenous “tour-types” showing up mid-week for a “serious” training ride?
As the de facto team captain, by simple fact of being route owner, my work was cut out. Not only would I have to try to keep up with this single-minded group bee lining for the chow line, but make sure that each team member didn’t slurp too loudly or forget to add the perfunctorily polite, “Excuse me,” after each belch so as not to offend other patrons.
We rolled from near Garner toward Angier on the outbound leg without incident until Bryan and Matt B missed the turn onto Chisenhall Rd. Luckily, Mike H chased them down, saving them, perhaps, from the dogs, literally. I’d just rerouted the course due to the fact that a huge, uncontrollable Rottweiler, that had broken his chain, chased a cyclist just a few days prior.
In fact, Sridhar and I met the cyclist the day of the incident on the very road where it occurred. Sridhar and I rolled up to a cyclist at the intersection of NC 210 and Plainview Church Rd to inquire about the status of a certain Rottweiler that looked like it could break its chain any day. Fortuitously, for us at least, Sridhar and I learned that the cyclist had just been chased by the dog in question. Luckily the cyclist was going downhill at a high rate of speed when the dog broke free, giving chase. The cyclist outran the dog without incident. Sridhar and I detoured.
Heading toward Erwin, we were in great spirits in spite of the fact that we’d missed the rapture a couple days prior but also the Rottweiler from Hades a few miles back. The day was still young, however. Pestilence would still rain down on us later, preventing us from reaching the turn-around control in Dunn.
Rows of young tobacco plants lined several of the fields we passed south of Coats. We came upon a small herd of deer at the edge of one field. They were camera shy, bounding off into the wooded edge of the field.
After stopping to make dining reservations at the Pizza House in Erwin for the Italian buffet and a few adjustments to Mike’s derailleur, it was on to Dunn and the turn-around control.
Before heading through the town’s upper crust, the Get ‘er Dunn populaire winds through the town’s southern edge, the “underbelly,” as Mike D aptly puts it, past the abattoir in full swing with sensuous smells and sounds that belie such a nice sounding French word.
It was just past the new hospital on Susan Tart Rd that we first saw a huge plume of smoke reaching up from the earth toward the heavens. Less than a quarter mile from the turn-around control, we entered the smoke cloud of unknown origin. It was then that I made the “executive” decision not to continue to the control, given the potential health hazard from exposure to unidentified particulate and gaseous inhalants. We immediately reversed course, heading north-west into a saving head wind that assured us smoke-free air to breathe.
We found a back-up control a few miles off course, adding several “bonus miles” for the day. But no one was complaining. We were rewarded for our efforts at the make-shift control by the week-day locals, who were understandably inquisitive about a “para-normal” group of cyclists dressed as Tour riders, who were not “not from around here.” After entertaining and being entertained, we were off again toward Erwin, where we had lunch reservations.
Matt’s third medal . . .
Mike at the end-control . . .
I never bothered to inquire whether anyone else on the team completed the trifecta of “Ride. Eat. Sleep.” I was home busily doing my part: napping.