Day 1: From Waynesville to Hendersonville
Well, we finally hit the road today. The Cyclists were sky high as the fourth of July with anticipation. The day started a little slowly as we had to drive from Asheville to Waynesville to start the ride and apparently some of the team members were a little slow on the uptake, because of the previous night’s activities.
We stopped at an International House of Pancakes for breakfast (to right the ship--as we say down east). After a hearty breakfast John Brodman (JB) and Jan Frye (JF--the dog whisperer) were in such great spirits they volunteered to make sure there was enough air in the team members’ bikes. The operative word in this scenario is enough air. Mike Hargett (MH) was still suffering from dancing to the Zydeco beat the night before and just staring straight ahead. Well, everything was going excellently until JB AND JF managed to over inflate the rear tire on MH’s bike until it exploded. Now remember, we are still in the parking lot of the IHOP.
Now…if we were on the course that would be different, but we are still twenty miles away in the Jarrett Bay Oyster Truck. That was clever how we snuck in our first commercial. The Team obviously will work hard for free oysters.
When we arrived at the starting place, all of the 1000 others riders had departed two hours earlier because it is now close to 10:00 am. MH had his tire repaired and the team took of in hot pursuit of the pack. After only a mile, MH’s rear tire exploded again. The team quickly (not so much) fixed the second flat of the day by pooling their repair supplies and they took off again. They were really moving until they hit the first climb of the day, which was only about a mile up the road.
Our cyclists do not like to whine (but they love wine). So they reported to the team managers that the hill climb was to steep, to early in the ride, and was causing them to breathe heavily. They also wondered why Mountains could not just go down instead of this ‘up’ stuff.
The team managers quickly talked the Cyclists down from their self-inflicted state of despair, and convinced them that quitting was unacceptable for the PKS Cycling Team and if they did--they would be left in the mountains to fend for themselves.
Remember these instructions are communicated by race radio. As it was explained earlier, the Team managers just roll down the power windows and yell at the cyclists.
Well, if you are sitting at home wondering when it will quit raining, the cyclists are with you in spirit. They rode sixty miles today in drizzling to hard rain (55-63 degrees), up and down mountain passes with wet leaves all over the road, and thankfully they all managed to stay upright. Well not so fast, JF (the Dog Whisperer) actually crashed coming into rest stop number three in a mud puddle while trying to stop. MH and JB pretended they did not know him until he received appropriate medical treatment from the local rescue squad. The only good news in todays tale of woe, is that your cyclists did not wear any clothing indicating they were from PKS or knew anything about the Jarrett Bay Oyster Company.
Other significant facts on today’s ride:
- MH had his rear tire blow out for a third time at the same rest stop where JF crashed coming in.
- JB rode like a champion all day because he did not like being cold and wet.
- JF (the dog whisperer) had to scare one small dog away earlier in the ride, but JB and MH thought the dog was just trying to make friends.
- Our cyclists rode for 6.5 hours and endured elevation gains of 3,853 feet over a distance of 60.4 miles.
Hendersonville has tons of attractions for you PKS travelers and here are a few:
- Blue Ridge Parkway is just twelve miles away. Americas most scenic ride with views of some of western NC famous landmarks including Mt Mitchell, the highest Mountain east of the Rockies.
- Carl Sandburg Home is 3 miles south of town and is the last home of the famous poet, author, historian and Pulitzer Prize winner.
- Chimney Rock Park with its panoramic peak is just seventeen miles away.
- The Cradle of Forestry is the place where scientific forestry was first practiced and taught over 909 years ago.
- Looking Glass Falls is a popular attraction and is in the Pisgah National Forest.
- The Pisgah National Forest covers almost 491,00 acres of forestland, spreading over 12 western counties and over all the outdoor recreational activities most people could ever imagine.
- The well-known Italian marble angel statue that served as the inspiration for the Thomas Wolfe book, Look Homeward, Angel resides in Oakdale Cemetery.
For the evening festivities, we met up with several friends we met on the trip last year (Joyce, Ron, Susan & Larry), and all went downtown Hendersonville to the restaurant Square Root. From last year our new friends knew we all liked J Lohr Cabernet (because we bought the last bottle in a restaurant—which meant no more for them://) so they brought two bottles for us to enjoy and celebrate our reunion! The wine went perfectly with our dining choices of Filet Mignon, Ahi Tuna, Hanger Steak and Braised Pork Shank.
See you later! (vi ses senare!)