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Ride across North Carolina Four: Travel Day

Scott Sherrill - Monday, September 28, 2015

Travel Day

Today we left early at 6:30 am for Waynesville, North Carolina. Team morale was good because we all know that driving a car across North Carolina is a lot easier than riding a bicycle back.

The team was lead by Miss Buffa, and in her form of Swedish immersion classes, she made the team members first say the English word and then the corresponding Swedish word. It kind of sounded like this:

Bicycle…… Cykel

Dog…… Hund

Pitt Bull…….Pitt Tjur

Mountains………Bergs

Tall mountains…….Hoga Bergs

As most of you are aware, some of the words are supposed to have two dots over random vowels, but we cannot make our computer do that. For the first two hours all the riders could talk about was-- when do we get to eat breakfast?…..Frukost.

Just like last year, we asked our PKS supporters if they had any questions they would like us to answer. How many times are we going to fall for this dumb idea! Well here is what we got:

1.  The Swedish lady wanted to know (because she was the one who successfully influenced us to pick Swedish as our cultural theme) what was she going to get out of it?

  • The team deliberated for about 20 seconds and decided to drop her as a friend on face book. It took about another 20 seconds to realize none of us were on face book and we did not even have the Swedish lady as a friend in the first place. But we hope this really teaches her not to mess with us.

2.  The second question was from an older man who wanted to know if he could replace us as the Swedish lady’s friend?

  • What part of our answer to question number 1 did he not understand? We think he is the same man that is hanging around the PKS recycling dumpsters. See the answer to Question 4 below.

3.  The Mayor wanted to know who authorized our team to refer to themselves as the PKS Cycling Team?

  • We refuse to answer this question because it was clearly asked by a politician with some sort of environmentally influenced global warming agenda. Please note that we did not identify the town the mayor was representing.

4.   One person (just like last year) wanted to know about the cycling in the Tour de France and how they related to what the PKS Cycling team did on their ride across North Carolina?

  • For those who remember these from last year, bear with us because if we do not answer this guy’s question, he will never stop. By the way, if you have seen a strange looking man hanging around the dumpsters in front of the Fire Station counting the number of people who do not flatten their cardboard boxes properly before recycling- that’s him!

Let’s start with these:

Peloton- is a large group of riders traveling very close together diminishing wind resistance to those who are following the leaders of the pack.

Answer: Yes we do this as much as we can so we don’t get too tired to continue.

Domestics- are individuals on a team who will sacrifice for others on the team to make their ride easier. Like riding in front or going back to the team car for food and water for their teammates.

Answer: We do not have any of these cyclists on               our team. It’s all for one and none for the others.

Race Radio- is the radio used to keep riders informed of their current location and of any dangers that might be ahead.

Answer: We do not have a race radio. Instead we use all the technology available to us--which is an automatic window opener that allows Buffa or Sylvia to roll down the truck window and yell at us.

What a wonderful travel day! We left the island at 6:30am and arrived in Asheville at 1pm. We promptly showed up at our lunch reservations at Curate Tapas Restaurant--Spanish for “cure yourself” –which we did!  And this is how we did it: ordered Sangria and numerous tapas including butternut squash soup, baby beet salad, skirt steak, and many more delectable dishes.

Then some of us napped while others explored the fabulous city, including the Basilica of St. Lawrence, Grove Arcade, Woolworth Walk and the eclectic sights of beautiful downtown Asheville. Later that evening, another wonderful meal was enjoyed at Nightbell Restaurant which featured another small plate menu based on American cuisine. We devoured Deviled Eggs, Boiled Peanuts, Hush Puppies, Drunken Fried Chicken and not a crumb was left.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at an establishment with a live Zydeco band and enjoyed the music and even some dancing. Then we all literally fell into our beds, exhausted, but knowing the morning would bring even more excitement as tomorrow we start!

Good night (god natt)!!

Ride across North Carolina #4: Day 1

Scott Sherrill - Monday, September 28, 2015

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!)

Cycle NC Prologue

Scott Sherrill - Friday, September 25, 2015

Ride across North Carolina #Four

Prologue:

Why would anybody in their right mind ride across North Carolina for a “Fourth” time on their bicycles? Well, because if you have done it three previous times, the next time you do it would be the fourth! But you do have to wonder what in the heck is wrong with the PKS Cycling Team. They could just stay home and ride their bikes down to Molly’s in Atlantic Beach for beer and be done with it. But no, that would be too easy and really does not address the question of why we do it. That’s a question that requires an answer, so let’s get it out of the way early.

  1. We like raising money for great causes like the Carteret County Hospice Organizations. Also we enjoy keeping you, our somewhat captive audience, informed of what we are doing because we know some of you like it.  However, some of you have stated that you think we are a bunch of losers- -but we say Nay!
  2. We have decided to continue using a cultural theme (like we used last year), because the Pope recently said all of us should do our part to help educate the masses and that inspired us.  Last year we used an Italian theme, and as most of you know who read the prologue to the prologue, we have chosen Swedish this year. We chose the Swedish theme to get the crazy Swedish lady from PKS who tormented us on last year’s ride off our backs.
  3. Some of you PKSers have contacted us and have indicated you think the crazy Swedish lady does not exist and certainly does not live in PKS. Well, you’re wrong again! We put our best investigative people on the job and now have proof that President Obama was not born in America. Wait, that was the question Donald Trump asked us to investigate. To your question- -we know she lives on Loblolly Circle and we have a picture to prove it. Before we show you the picture, let’s learn a little Swedish. To say Thank you -you would just say Tack. To show our appreciation for you now believing us, we would also say Tack. If you had a whole lot of Swedish people saying Tack at the same time it would sound like a spring chicken eating corn on the cob. So there you go, and our indisputable proof the Crazy Swedish lady living in PKS is real can be found by clicking here!
  4. We have spent a lot of time (not) since the last ride thinking about a theme that might be of interest to our many supporters. After developing this theme, we will ride across North Carolina and report to you using this terrific idea. (You can be the judge of whether it is terrific or not!)  But suffice it to say we are riding for each and every one of you. So with this in mind, come and join us for this exciting adventure.

As usual we will ride as depicted on the map below from the left of our state to the right of our state. The route is always different each year to keep us from actually knowing where we are going. What we really know is we start in the high mountains in the town of Waynesville and

ride our bicycles cross North Carolina to the coastal town of Oak Island. The distance is 494 miles-- if you do not get lost along the way (OK- quit laughing we always report when we get lost) and it should take us seven days.

 Click here for the a map of NC. Brown is real hard, Yellow is easier and Green is the easiest. 

We posted some fun facts and figures on the tracking board at town hall and if you have not been by to see them, here they are:

Facts and Figures:

  • 494 miles from Waynesville to Oak Island

  • 7 days of riding between 55-100 miles a day

  • 20 miles between rest stops with peanut butter sandwiches as the riders’ favorite

  • 25 peanut butter sandwiches should be enough to get you across the state

  • 3 distinct geographical areas to pass through: the Mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal plain

  • 27 Hours of riding at 18 mph to go 494 miles. Average of 3.92 hours of riding per day.  Note- you are lucky if you can go up the mountains at 6 miles per hour. Going down is a lot more fun!

In the late breaking news department this just came across the wires. Wait--do we still use the word wires when we are talking about modern day communication?

I don’t think so! But again we digress. Jarrett Bay Oyster Company has agreed to terms making it the first Official Corporate Sponsor of the PKS Cycling Team. If  you are hearing this news for the first time, we recommend that you sit down before you fall down.

Jarrett Bay Oyster Company is one of the mega giants in the Seafood industry and has promised to give our Cycling Team all the Oysters they can eat and get this—for free!

The Swedish lady just called in and said that she knows for a fact that one of the owners of Jarrett Bay Oyster Company is also one of the Cyclists on the PKS Cycling Team. She claims this is a clear case of insider trading and will file a suit in Federal Court as soon as she can find her pants. To be continued ………….

Goodbye (god dag)

Crystal Coast Hospice House provides an inpatient hospice facility to patients and families along the central NC coast and Hospice of Carteret County provides in-home patient care through extensive Nursing Services. If you want to contribute, you simply make a check out to Crystal Coast Hospice House or the Carteret General Foundation (annotate your check for Hospice) to support Hospice of Carteret County and mail it to Mike Hargett, 139 Hoffman Beach Rd, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512. Mike will take your contributions to these agencies and ensure you get a letter acknowledging your tax deductible contribution. Tack, Tack. Tack !!!!!!!!!!

Ride across North Carolina 4, Prologue to the Prologue

Scott Sherrill - Monday, September 21, 2015

So, we have been silent since finishing Ride Number 3 on Oct 3, 2014. Hasn’t the silence been great? But, unfortunately just like a bad habit, we just keep coming back.

Contrary to popular belief, the Pine knoll Shores’ Cycling team did not train all winter, spring and summer getting ready to ride across NC for the 4th time for Charity.  What we did was pretend we were never going to do this ride again unless we got a sign from an inspirational source like from outer space, nature, an intoxicated neighbor, or a television evangelist…you get the picture, we were trying to come up with any reason not to do it, because it would get us out of a lot of training which is always accompanied by pain when you are no longer a spring chicken.

Well, one day a couple of our team members were going over to Havelock to have some BBQ for their training lunch at Big Fellas. On the way they passed the Hospice House and damn if they didn’t see a spring chicken standing on the side of the road.

The team members discussed the meaning of this unusual occurrence while eating pulled pork BBQ, potato salad, green beans and corn bread and decided that if the spring chicken was in any way connected to the Hospice House, the Pine Knoll Shores’ Cycling Team had to take up the challenge of riding across NC again to raise money for the Hospice. For this group this is kind of like a sign sent from heaven. During further team discussions it was discovered that Hospice had indeed been instrumental and phenomenal in taking such good care of someone they knew. And for that, the team wanted to give back to this saintly group of people.

As to the team, Jan Frye’s (the Dog Whisperer) training has been sporadic because of a torn retina in his left eye that required surgery twice.  Although this is certainly a concern of John and Mike, his teammates, they are more worried about how effective the Dog Whisperer will be if he has trouble seeing attacking dogs coming from his left. They quickly developed a brilliant strategy to combat this defensive weakness that is quite simple.  If an attack dog comes from the right, Jan (the Dog Whisperer) will simply talk it into submission as usual. But if the dog comes from the left side – Mike, who is well aware that a large pit bull could easily bite his bike in half, plans to switch over to Jan’s right side and yell “hey a dog is about to bite you!” John, a college down hill snow skier, plans to use his collegiate training by finding the closest natural mogul (tiny hill) and jump over the dog and speed away.

Some of you are clearly thinking that real teammates would not expose one of their own to get away from a charging -lets just say it- pit bull. John and Mike, when questioned on this point, quickly responded if Jan (the Dog Whisperer) can’t talk himself out of this situation, who can?

Our team managers Buffa and Sylvia have agreed to again provide logistics, training and first aid support for the Cyclists, but have issued the Cyclists a twenty eight-page list of do’s and don’ts that we will report on later. When asked why the list was so long and exhaustive- Buffa and Sylvia simply responded, “You can’t fix stupid -but you have got to keep trying”.

We appreciate every one of you who supported us last year and as a result we were successful in raising $5000 for the Hope for the Warriors Project. We now plan to concentrate on raising as much as we can for our Hospice House, to whom many of us owe a great deal of gratitude.

So if you get this “blog”, we leave on September 26 (Travel Day), start the bike trip on the 27th, will send you daily reports, and all you have to do is wait anxiously each day to receive all the exciting news about your Pine Knoll Shores’ Cycling Team.  We have chosen to wear yellow and sky blue team colors and speak Swedish this year to honor the contributions of our neighbor, the crazy Swedish Lady, who last year motivated the team by questioning their hearts and their desire to succeed in this impossible endeavor. So to you Swedish Lady, we say Skoal!

Late breaking news (aka rumors) has it that Bill and Tina Keefe will join us on the last day of the ride to provide moral support.

When you are getting moral support from an Irishman on a motorcycle what possibly could go wrong? As usual Tina has agreed to supervise this activity, but has not afforded any information that has convinced our cyclists that mixing motorcycles and bicycles and Irish libations is a good idea.