Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nags Head 200km Brevet -- April 7, 2012

What a great weekend to have been a kiteboarder! We actually saw one as we were struggling into a mini-gale heading north to Nags Head about 40 miles into the 200 km brevet last weekend. He was on the north side of a temporary bridge left over from last summer’s storms and I would have gladly traded places with him. At least he was using the wind to his advantage; we were not. The first 30 miles of the ride was a fast downwind run. Joel Lawrence and I let some other riders go on ahead as we talked our way to Salvo at 22 mph with no effort at all. We knew we’d be paying the price soon enough and decided to conserve our energy. We soon saw a few confused riders returning; the store we were supposed to use for a control was closed so we all ducked into a coffee shop that had just reopened the day before having been shut down by an angry lady named Irene. Ironic that Irene in ancient Greek means Peace.
Iron-Man Randos—18 hours after a fleche
Joel got seven or eight of us organized as we left the control and we rode in a nice tight paceline at a whopping 12 mph each taking two minutes pulls. I settled in knowing that the next 64 miles to the northern terminus of Highway 12 in Corolla would likely take a while so I just thought about it as a 5-hour ride. I didn’t worry about our speed; just ride 5 hours and then life would be good again. At least the temperature was pretty nice and the wind had died considerably since the day before. Three fleche teams had already told tales of almost getting blown over the guard rails of the bridges to the island. The wind was whipping sand off the tops of the dunes and when I looked up too long, I’d get a stinging face-full. The Oregon Inlet Bridge disrupted our little group as we all did our own thing getting over it and dealing with the traffic. We failed to regroup on the north side; Ian was rocketing up the road on his new Moulton while Joel, John Olmstedt, David Sips and I settled into another rhythmic rotation. We pulled into Nags Head again for a quick snack.
Bodie Island Light
A tip of the cap, or helmet, to Joel and Ian who on Friday afternoon completed a tough fleche that combined rain and head winds. Without any hesitation they committed on Friday to ride the 200km brevet the next day. They are both in great early season form. Our foursome wasn’t aware that we had somehow gotten in front of Ian and an Ohio rider named David (There were four Davids out of a total of 11 starters and a couple of other Ohioans too—another David and Eve). North of Nags Head our speed picked up a couple of mph. I thought maybe we were angling to the west slightly or maybe we just had a little protection, but now I’m pretty sure the wind was dying. There was quite a bit of traffic through Duck and all the way to the turnaround. After watching someone get their 4-wheel drive stuck in the sand at the end of the pavement, we turned for home but stopped near the Currituck Light to kill a large pizza—it never had a chance. And pretty soon a group of six of us headed back to Nags Head with Ian taking massive pulls at 20+ mph. It was reminiscent of riding behind Jimmy Williams once when he was pulling a fast train and all I could think of was I rather be pulling that trying to hang onto his wheel. The wind was definitely not as strong as before, but we made quick work of the trip back with only a few close buzzes by angry holiday motorists in a big hurry to get to the nearest bar. All-in-all, another great day on the bikes. Any ride where you get to see two lighthouses has to be fun.
Currituck Light


dean furbish said...

Thanks for the report, Jerry! I was wondering what the 200km was like. Maybe we can arm twist either Tony or Joel into making the 200km route a Permanent. It would provide some of us an excuse for heading down to Nags Head off-season for a great cycling weekend!

I like your take-it-in-stride adventuresome spirit. A true randonneur. Did I read that Joel and Ian also did the fleche the day before? My heroes!

Thanks for picking up our fleche team's cards.

Let's ride!


Jerry Phelps said...


You are right, It would make a great permanent, but an improvement might be to have two populaires in opposite directions. With a willing friend to pick us up at the end, we could have a really easy and fast ride no matter which way the wind is blowing!

Joel and Ian were indeed impressive to ride the brevet less than a day after they finished their fleche. They were out front all day setting a fast pace.

I'm off to the DC fleche this weekend, so I'll see you at the 300. Thanks in advance for pre-riding and volunteering.