"Which way are you coming?"
"By Tryon Road."
"Okay, how 'bout I meet you at the entrance to I-40W on Gorman?"
We met up at about 7:55, and set out to Chapel Hill. Fortunately I had spoken with Robert yesterday about how to get to 54W from the 751 exit, as we needed to take the 54W exit, but it was closed due to construction, and we had to take the 751 exit. We got there without incident.
We checked in at registration. I got in the "pre-registered" line, and Joe got into the check-in line. After she processed me, and gave me my rider number, which was 16, she said, "Because you pre-registered, you get a free helmet. Please take one." I was so surprised, and pleased, as a helmet is at the top of my birthday wish list. Cool! I can't believe they gave away Trek helmets with only a $25 registration fee.
As people were checking in, they were announcing that this was their "first annual" Pedal for Pediatrics, so they were very open to suggestions of how they could do it better next year. The first one everyone seemed to have, was right when they got their maps, "You need cue sheets next year." They had printed out a map, the picture kind, with the main highway roads on them.
As she handed us our map, she said, we've already had feedback about the cue sheets for next year. However, we'll have people at each intersection where there's a critical turn, so it should be okay."
As it turned out, they have a lot of room for improvement for next year:
- Cue sheets
- Road signs (on the pavement would be nice)
- People at intersections moved up from the intersections in time to tell you where to turn instead of waiting until you are right up on them at the intersection
- People giving directions that have some personality
- Tell you in advance how far the pit stops are, and clearly mark them on the map/cue sheet
It was twenty-seven miles to the first pit stop. That was a long, long way, especially since we had no idea when it was coming, and we took a couple of turns where the corners weren't "staffed," and we weren't even sure we were going the right way. We got a little frustrated at about 3 miles from the pit stop. (Of course we didn't know we were 3 miles from it.)
I was really, really weary at the end of this ride. We haven't done 55 miles in a long time -- well since the ride in June. We were nearly the last ones in -- one other person came in after us.
It was a beautiful, beautiful day, though. The weather was just fantastic, and the actual route they chose was quite nice, especially the roads. There was one section of bumpy road, but most of it was very smooth. There were nasty headwinds coming back, which really sucked. I was already tired, and those winds didn't help.
Joe and I went to Souper! Salad! at the Fayetteville Road exit, and rewarded ourselves for our achievement. On the way back to Raleigh, in the car, I returned Lisa's call from Friday asking how the anniversary celebration in Orlando went, and I checked in with mom and dad to see how dad's stress turned out.
Turns out he still doesn't have his results. That base hospital is too much! I wish he'd "give it up," and go to the place mom goes. He told me a little about the test itself, and then put mom on the line.
She had received my card on Saturday, which really surprised me, as I mailed it on Friday. It was just to tell her I'd received her $35 Cingular check, hadn't yet found deck furniture, and update her on my latest phone numbers, which she'd mentioned not being up to date on them during our last call. We also talked about getting Vivian a gift certificate to O'Cool's. I'm going to check into that for her.
I took a well-deserved nap when I got home. I ran out to the Harris Teeter to get some cereal, a CKP pizza, and some lunch stuff for the week. I'm not at all looking forward to work tomorrow.