Today I rode in the Tarwheels Bikefest -- the 13th Annual Rural Heritage Tour. The route goes through rural North Carolina and winds through Orange, Caswell and Person counties. The weather was great! August in North Carolina and only in the 80s with low humidity to boot!
The ride started in downtown Hillsborough, NC near the county courthouse. The 100k and the 100 mile routes start out the same but split after 25 miles. The first section was a bit crazy. The roads were clogged with cyclists that came out for this popular ride. I wasn't able to find all of my "peeps" in the start area so Jim, Fred, Chris and I set out on our own. Jim was quickly frustrated with the congested roads and he went ahead but the throng of cyclists kept Fred, Chris and I from following. I just tried to stay in contact with those two and figured that we'd regroup at the first rest stop. The final five miles or so before the first stop, we caught up with David and Doug who we had been looking for at the start area. That was good news and bad news. I had hoped that David could be talked into doing the 100 mile route with us but he said no, he was a 100k in his immediate future.
We regrouped and found Jim again so after the first rest stop, it was Doug, Jim, Fred, Chris and myself. Between the first and second rest stop some one yelled out to us, "Do you have a CO2 cartridge?!" We did so we stopped so that they could fix their flat. While we were stopped, The Cheetah Girls, a group of cyclists that included four women in cheeta print jerseys, passed us. Doug kept calling them the leopard girls but he was corrected by them! Of course once we got onto our bikes, we ended up chasing to catch the Cheetah Girls group. We caught them just before the second rest stop. They left before us and we ended up chasing again, passed them again and so on. Things were a little bit more hilly than rolling after the third rest stop and we decided that we weren't sure how much we like Person County!
The rest of the ride continued more or less the same way. At the third stop we left after the Cheetah Girls again and passed them on the road and the same thing happened at the fourth stop. By the time we got to the fourth stop, about 83 miles into the ride, we were starting to flag. In the next time miles, I started to worry a little bit about (1) being dropped by the group or (2) holding the group up. I felt better after talking to Fred. He took a pull at the front and after his pull I thanked him.
"I have to keep the pulls short now. I'm getting tired," he replied.
"I'm glad I'm not the only one!" I said.
There were a few hills in the last section and a water-only stop at mile 92 (which we skipped) and then we were back in Hillsborough!
We hung out for a minute at the finish and took a few pictures and then I headed to Weaver Street Market for a roll and the cup of coffee that I didn't have earlier!
It was a good ride.