I used to live up in North Raleigh and would love to ride my bike around Falls Lake. After moving South about 3 years ago I hardly ever get back up to that area, but when I do it brings back all the old memories. Today was one of those days. The plan was for me to drive up to Durant and Falls of the Neuse, ride my bike to a friends house, pick him up and then ride back to my car and then drive up to do a 1 hour kayak trip down the neuse river. Usually I don't enjoy riding my bike alone as it's boring and sometimes dangerous, but this morning the first half of my bike was great.
After a short stretch on Durant I turned onto Honeycutt road and was treated to a couple huge castles. Probably an acre or two of land and all brick houses that looked to be 8000 sq feet or so. I was going up hill so I got a good look at both and I swear I saw some motes around them... At the top of the hill a squirrel ran across the street followed closely by a hawk or falcon or some kind of bird of prey, I think the squirrel got away, but not sure. Then a few more houses and there is this deer walking in the front yard eating plants and stuff, he paused briefly to look at me after I said hello, then he walked on. I couple of hills later I was on pleasant union and saw my first human. He looked, smiled, waved, and said hello. Amazing, usually humans don't like bikers, but this is North Raleigh and not South. Less than a mile later a lady up ahead is crossing the street with her dog and she turns to look at me, smiles and waves good morning. Now I am amazed, she was way up ahead and didn't have to even acknowledge my existence. This is getting weird, I never get this many friendly people. I travel down some of my old favorite hilly roads and pass more friendly people. I knew I had to be at Ray rd and Norwell by 7:50 so I could meet up at 8:15, and my memory seemed to fail me as I misjudged the distance so I had to really pick up the pace, I somehow managed to make it at 7:52. this is when I met the first person who didn't wave, and the only one on the ride. He was riding his pro bike with his pro shirt on and just too busy to notice. I speculated it was the husband of someone I know who lives in that area, but I wasn't sure. Anyway, ray road is great until you get to lake lynn and I had never rode south, so the next hill took my by surprise and kicked my butt. After that I was able to cruise to Tim's house and take a powerbar break. We were on a tight schedule so we headed out. Tim started to sandbag me with his "I haven't been on the road bike in a while so if you drop me, I know where you car is" routine. but I knew better, and I was already on 22 miles so I told him not to worry. I thought I would drop him on some of the hills, but he surprised me and was able to keep up until the very end. There was one hill on 6 forks where I was dying and I thought there was no way he is still back there, but I looked back, and there he was. We got to the top or at least to where it wasn't as steep and he yelled something at me, so we stopped for a second to rest. I never thought of that, it's hurting I'm dying, why not just stop and recover, that thought never seems to enter my oxygen deprived mind. We passed the first human that waved at me this morning again, I guess he was on his way back home after a long walk, but he was still very cheerful. Finally we got to the last hill, and it was a killer, it was at the bottom of a hill where there was a 4 way stop and we had to make a left turn, then go straight up. I shifted to the small ring in the front since I had gone down it to start and knew what was coming, and it still took a lot out of me to make it up that one. But at the top I was able to recover and peddle back to the car. Two iced mocha's later and we are on the way to Kayak.
I have never kayaked before, but I have been in a canoe a lot when I was a kid. The people at paddle creek were assured me that if I could handle a canoe I would have no problem in the kayak on this trip. We started off and for the first 15 minutes my shoulders and arms were burning as I criss crossed back and forth across the river trying to figure out how to steer one of these crazy things. But eventually I figured it out and was able to kinda keep a straight line. I found that paddling backwards was easier as long as there wasn't something to run into, and even just floating with the current took skill. My hip flexors where killing me from the seated position, but when I would bend my legs my left inner thigh would cramp up. the most comfortable position seemed to be hanging my left leg over the edge. I was just getting the hang of the steering when the trip was over. I think some lessons would be a good idea, then some faster rivers would be really fun.
Then we headed back to Tim's, I got changed and went to get an iced white lightning and pick up the girl at her friends birthday party, got there just in time for the cake. Sweeeeet! After a half hour of crazy screaming kids we headed home. I had one final job of cleaning the garbage can, then off to the shower and a much needed nap.
If you think it took a long time to read this post, you should try living it ;-)