Cycle North Carolina Intro and Day 0

Two days ago I broke out a short sprint to pull even with my wife’s car as she climbed the high rise bridge over the intercoastal waterway separating Ocean Isle Beach, NC from the mainland. I hadn’t seen her for a week, not since she dropped me off at a bike shop outside of Raleigh to catch a bus to the Biltmore Estate near Asheville. From there I pedaled along with more than 1000 other cyclists across the state, through the heaviest rain in years, some sun, one incredibly (tail-) windy day as part of the 12th annual Cycle North Carolina.

There are a lot of ways to break the ride into chunks: eight days, 467 miles, 260,700 pedal strokes. Nothing really works for me. I saw so much, had so much fun, met so many people that even as it happened it began to blur.

So here are some highlights:

Day 0 – I took a charter bus from Cary to Asheville with other riders. Our bikes followed in a Ryder truck, the handlebars turned and the pedals removed. After getting my bags at the Biltmore camp site, I found some friends from last year, set up my tent near them and set out on a low key bike ride around the massive grounds of America’s largest residence. I didn’t even wear cycling shoes, just some WalMart sandals.

You can pedal all over the estate, the house is several miles from the entrance. I mean, the place is over 6,000 acres. The roads are well maintained. Because two rivers dissect the property, it isn’t exceptionally hilly but there are a few steep pitches to remind you where you are.

I went to sleep early and listened to it rain throughout the night. I didn’t get too down. I’d been following the weather reports all week. I got out my rain jacket and felt happy that I’d put all my stuff in waterproof bags – if such a thing really exists.

Next: Day 1, Asheville to Marion – The Ambulances Start Rolling

  • rapunzel

    What a great place to start a ride! I haven’t been to Asheville since ’91 when we went to Biltmore Estate. It’s so beautiful! We need to go, again. Can’t wait to hear more of your trip!

  • chicobrian

    Let me see if I got this: A Spanish rider for a Kazakhstan team ate some Chinese beef in French hotel and got the Aztec two step. I ate something contaminated last month and it didn’t exactly improve my cycling performance.
    I’m starting to think that drugs are not the problem in cycling, it’s the testing! It’s always so inconclusive and does nothing but muddy the waters. At this point, they should stop testing and simply ask the riders if they are taking banned substances…but first, fill them with sodium-pentothol, hook them to a lie-detector, and water board if they say anything about bad beef.