Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bicycling from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to Rock Hill, SouthCarolina (Nov 21, 2014)

44.5 miles in 3:40.....79.98 miles for this trip....The day broke with sunshine and a mild wind that had switched to a northerly flow over night. YESSS! Tailwind. All day long. I intentionally overdressed because the cold, stiff knees, the other day just wasn't any fun. Every day is getting slightly warmer as this cold front exits the country, and today was in the fifties. That's gone from a high in the thirties on day one of riding, to highs in the forties yesterday, when I didn't ride, to highs in the fifties today. I peeled off my hat today, but nothing else. I saw a lot of people in Charlotte in shorts, so that's a good sign.
When I left the speedway, I rode south on US 29 for a few miles, before entering the Murray Creek Greenway Trail. Charlotte is filled with orange cones, detours, and building construction, and the bike trail didn't escape the wrath of progress. A detour trail took me right to the campus of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC). I had been there before, but my GPS girl had a meltdown, and got a sore throat trying to get me through the confusion. I stumbled across the football field, and a short while later, the track, where I had visited maybe ten years ago, to see my daughter, Andi run during a spring break trip. I remember a girl from UNCC, sitting in the stands, moaning that a girl from Slippery Rock was seeded ahead of her in the hurdles. She was making fun of the name of the school, laughing that it was only a division two school, and saying that she had never heard of it. Andi overheard her, and at race time, proceeded to kick her a$$. Andi was too classy to talk trash, but I know it made her feel good. Made me feel damn good.
Anyhow, from UNCC, I traveled some busy roads as well as some side roads as I headed towards the Charlotte skyline. Before I got into the heart of town, I was supposed to get on a trail that followed the Charlotte mass transit rails, but construction and confusion kept me off the trail. This afforded me a great opportunity to ride right through the middle of downtown Charlotte at lunch time. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic was busy, as I made my way down the street, but the dedicated bike lane made the trip as safe as it could be as I cruised with my neck craning and swiveling. I took a few pictures as I sat at red lights, and I'm really happy that I missed that trail. Eventually, I was guided onto the trail, and by this time GPS girl was working overtime. She did a good job though. I was on the rail trail, paralleling the mass transit system, for several miles, as I put downtown into my rear view mirror. The trail wasn't real crowded, fortunately, as I rode right across train platforms that would surely be busy at other times of the day.the trail switched sides of the tracks at least a dozen times, and my biggest concern was getting my tires caught in the rail slots. Bikers have to hit rail crossings at a 90 degree angle, because they will eat tires and dump you over if you hit them wrong. It was of special concern because I went with a skinnier front tire than I used to travel the country with on the last ride. The smaller tire surface allows me to roll faster and with less effort, but the dangers are increased, as a rail track, or a stone, or a tree root will lay you down much more easily (right Charlie?). I made the decision that it would be worth the risk when I replaced the tire recently. My back tire remains the same, because I do pack panniers and extra weight occasionally.
Eventually, after a great ride through Charlotte, made possible by the trail, as well as a steady diet of bike lanes when I was on the road, I came to the South Carolina state line. The South Carolina part of the ride was on busier roads, US 21, SC 460 and 160, and business 21 through the town of Fort Mill. Fort Mill became Rock Hill soon enough, and my legs still felt pretty good. The last four miles of my ride was a gradual uphill for four miles, on a very busy, narrow, shoulderless road, (it was an exciting road to drive a big motor home too!!) that took me north of town, to Ebenezer Park, which is a county access park to Lake Wylie. The lake is dammed on two sides, and forms multiple fingers of water as it filled many, many hollows, all the way north, past Charlotte, if I'm reading the map correctly. We were on the south end of the lake, which was formed by Duke Power, the local electric company, and we are not far from a nuclear power facility. The lake is beautiful, with many nice homes, a marina, and a lot of private docks that we could see. One night here, and off towards Columbia, SC tomorrow, as temps will be in the fifties, and my legs tired, until I can get into some kind of shape.

Bike trail leading to UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte's football stadium

UNC Charlotte's track - Andi won here

One of the several statues near track

Is this a noun or verb???

Closing in on downtown Charlotte

Charlotte skyline

Going right to the middle of town!

Statues on Trevon Street

Another statue on Trevon Street

The Avenue of the Arts

Famous newspaper

Bike trail next to the rail system

Rent -a-bikes on the trail

It should be getting warmer????

Ebenezer Park on Lake Wylie in NC

Our campsite

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