Monday, September 03, 2007

Foux Da Fa Fa

Arriving in Raleigh last night, we ended our adventure safe and sound with a combined 203.3 human powered miles under our belts. Click HERE for pictures of the trip and be sure to check out the slide show that Adam made set to "Foux Da Fa Fa" by Folk-Comedy Band Flight of the Conchords from New Zealand, we had this song stuck in our heads all weekend. Read on for the complete trip report.

We arrived in Manteo at around 9:45pm after stopping at a gas station for some food. Adam and I boldly went for 2 large microwavable beef and bean burritos each and mike stocked up on wheat thins and assorted cakes and muffins. We pulled up at Alan's house in Kill Devil Hills (our couch surfing host) not really knowing what to expect since none of us had ever couch surfed before. We called him from outside and he invited us in from the deck above the driveway. He turned out to be a really nice guy who had lived in Manteo for a while working for the local wildlife and natural resources branch researching water purity. We had fun playing with his 6 month old German Shepard Lopez who liked to eat shoes, especially when they were on your feet, before hitting the sack.

In the morning, Adam and I ate our burritos (little did we know how much rocket power these would give us later on) and we left quietly around 6:30am and leaving Alan one of the cantaloupe that Adam had brought down with him as a thank you gift of sorts. We drove back over to Roanoke and parked the car at the Manteo historic site and Festival park and geared up.
Lets Ride We pushed off at 10 past 8 onto the open road. Traffic was minimal and with a 15-20 mph following breeze we were riding over Oregon Inlet before we knew it cruising at around 25 mph in tight formation and getting into the groove. We got to Hatteras lighthouse at 11:00am (~53miles) with only 2 stops along the way for food. We refilled our water, took some pictures and kept on trucking. We boarded the Hatteras ferry to Ocracoke at around 12:30pm having averaged 20mph thus far, feeling good and enjoying the overcast skies that shaded us all morning.

The 40 min ferry to Ocracoke was a welcome break from riding. Mike's friend Neely who drove our camping gear down from Raleigh for us was planning to camp at the National Park campground on Saturday and Sunday. We didn't see his car in the campground on the first pass so we biked the last mile and a half or so to the town of Ocracoke at the end of the island and had a late lunch at The Jolly Rodger restaurant that Alan had suggested to us Friday night. After some much needed hamburgers and a pitcher of beer and mimosa (an interesting combo) we biked back to the campground to find Neely and friends setting us camp.

We made our introductions and set up our tents. Eager to wash off the days road grime we joined Neely and friends on the beach for some body surfing and relaxing. Later Mike biked over to an airstrip on the island and took some pictures of the airplanes parked there (I guess its a pilot thing). For dinner we had noodles (that I may or may not have burned...a little) with spicy tomato sauce (also an explosive combo as we soon found out) and a block of mozzarella cheese as well as a six pack of Red Stripe and the last few cups of protein powder that Adam had brought before hitting the hay around 10:30pm. We planned to catch the 6:30am ferry to Swanquarter and needed to get an early start.

Day 2:
We awoke to hazy stars at 5:15am and quietly packed up our tents and refilled water. We hopped on the bikes and felt the burn big time but just as we limbered up, we were there and boarded at 6:15. As we rode aboard we saw three other bikers ride on and after setting the bikes down we got to talking to them.

To our surprise they has set out yesterday morning from Manteo as well just an hour before us. We could not believe we had not run into them until now. They had planned the exact same trip as us and were headed back to Manteo today. We were even more surprised to learn that they two of them were majoring in Landscape architecture and the other in Accounting at NC STATE! Here we were all on the ferry together all doing the same trip. They were surprised how little gear we had until we told them about our friend camping on the island. They all had backpacks and were carrying everything with them. They had camped just north of us at another campground. We had some good times biking around on the ferry deck since there were hardly any cars on board and exchanged disapproving looks with the captain up on the bridge but we were never bothered to stop. We all got about an hour of sleep on the 2 and a half hour ride to Swanquarter.

We stopped with Scott and his party after leaving the ferry and consulted a map that they had. We were planning to take a scenic detour over lake Mattamuskeet while they were just going to continue on hwy 264 so we parted ways and never saw them again but are planning to look them up now that we are back at school. Riding north was quite a bit more difficult than yesterday as the winds were still out of the North and we got very good at keeping a tight formation and rotating positions every few miles. Drafting was essential all day long into the headwind. We slowed our average to about 16mph this day because of wind as we rode north on hwy 94 over the lake. Once over the water, we were immediately engulfed in a cloud of nats that stuck to our sweaty arms and legs like flypaper. Soon they were gone and we made it to a small store where we loaded up on calories in the form of assorted little debbies, muffins and cinnabuns. We also borrowed some sunscreen from a girl working the register. All the store had for sale was tanning oil (SPF 4) and she took pity on us when she learned how far we had come and that we (I) had left our sunscreen on the beach the day before.

Rocket Power
I chose not to mention until now the effect that our diet of bean burritos and power bars had on us but early on in the ride on Saturday Mike exclaimed to me "I've got rocket power"! (I happened to be drafting him so it wasn't very funny to me at the time) and it seemed that soon after, we all developed a tremendous case of the farts. Honestly I don't think I have had so much gas in so little a period of time. We were all pretty impressed with ourselves. We're not sure if it was the power bars or the constant pedaling motion that kept us going but it wasn't until we got home that I think we let up. It was especially bad on Sunday biking in the headwind because we were trying to draft as close as possible to the the leader usually by no more than a couple of inches for full effect and then you were put into the lose lose situation where you had to ask yourself, do I break away for fresh air or stay in the draft and just deal with it. Usually it was the latter because our legs were nearing the end. Good times.

Almost there
Our final stop was at Stumpy Point were we refilled on water and scarfed down what little food we had left (realizing now that we really did not bring enough fuel for our legs). Adam said that he thought we had about 35 miles to go so it was a wonder full sight when just around the corner was a mile marker that said "Manteo 24 miles". Those last miles were slow ones and we separated for a time having to just grind through at our own paces but we all met back up when the wind died and brought the pace back up to around 20mpg for a sold 5 or 10 miles. We reached hwy 64 once again and knew that we were almost there.

We made the turn onto 64 and as Adam slowed to get into the left turn lane for the bridge over to Roanoke, I slowed with him while Mike, who was still in cruise mode didn't see us slow down and when he nicked my rear derailleur with his front wheel it sent him off balance and he landed hard on his left side in the middle of the road. We both stopped and he got up quickly a little stunned and said he was ok. We made the turn and then pulled off to check Mike and his bike over. He had twisted his foot a little and ding'd up a couple of spokes on his front wheel but that seemed to be about it and everything still worked. We started back out slowly and commented on the fact that we were just a couple of miles from the car and had yet to have a single flat tire or breakdown which we thought was pretty incredible.

The bridge over to Roanoke was long and drained my legs of their last bit of energy. We stopped at the top of the bridge to catch our breath. Rocket power really does not help you climb the hills but it does keep you laughing (or at least it kept us laughing). At the top of the bridge was a small concrete building and a sign bolted to the wall left only one thing to be done and Adam was happy to oblige.

Mike and Adam made it to the turn for the Park where the car was before me and having missed the sign, I ended up going an extra mile before realizing and turning around. When I got to the car, I figured they would be looking for me and they were. They showed up a couple of minutes later and figured that I had missed the turn which I had. Who cares, we were done. We had finished at about 5:30pm and averaged about 16mph. We took some pictures, threw the bikes on the car, and convinced Mike that Big Macs were the only cure for the extreme hunger that we all had.

Mike had 3 Big Macs and Adam and I both had 2 and fries. We later estimated that we had burned about 7400 calories that day having rode over 100 miles since the morning and even with the Big Macs we only took in about half that many. Ooops, now we know. After Adam nearly cleared that room with an earth shattering noise from underneath the seat, we left and headed over to Jockey's Ridge to fly a kite that I had brought down to play with in case we got bored. After we were good and tired, we found an outdoor shower at a surf shop that was closed and got clean. We were glad to have made it back in time to get home on Sunday and Mike drove most of the way while Adam and I slept. Our feeling of accomplishment was outweighed only by our excitement in doing the trip again next year hopefully with even more riders.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Great trip, boys! And delighted you're enjoying Flight of the Conchords.