The wind was the theme of the day. While we battled it all day, we witnessed the Memorial where the Wright Brothers leveraged it, and we enjoyed the Outer Banks Brewing Station which utilized the wind to make our dinner.
30 mph Headwinds for 9 hours
Today’s ride tested our tenacity and resolve. I thought the heat and humidity in Key West was hard, this was one of the toughest days on my knees, on my sit bones, and on my ability to control the bike. With direct headwinds of 30mph throughout the entire day and frequent gusts above 30, it’s imponderable how we managed to cycle 1 mile, let alone 60.
The wind pushed us so hard that we could barely keep a 7mph pace even with our bikes in the lowest gears. On one of the scariest bridges, the sign read “High Crosswinds” so we took over one lane and attempted to draft behind the RV, but we were going too slow even for that. The crosswinds at the top almost knocked us off the bike countless times. In addition to the inexhaustible winds, the sporadic gusts of wind did a great job of pelting us with sand. And the wind never let up all day. Our 60 miles took us about 9 hours to complete.
The Outer Banks was definitely an experience I didn’t want to miss, but frankly I hope never to ride my bike here again!
Wright Brothers Memorial
We stopped at the Wright Brothers Memorial on our way through Kitty Hawk. The National Park has done a marvelous job of preserving the history, protecting the sight of the first flight, and commemorating the contribution that Oliver and Wilber made. Interestingly, the Wright Brothers funded the first flight with $1,000 proceeds from their bike repair shop. In addition, to construct the first flying machine, they used the same equipment and tools purchased for repairing bicycles.
I learned from the museum today that in order to fly a powered machine, the Wright Brothers had to solve 3 major problems: lift, power, and control. That about sums up our challenges today cycling into the wind.
Outer Banks Brewing Station
The OBBS (as the locals call it) is spectacular! Not only is the food incredibly delicious, it is the only wind-generated brewing company in the country. A wind-generator powers the brewery and the restaurant. As a result they save $300/month in electricity costs. Finally! Someone brilliantly makes use of all this crazy wind!
My multi-serving friend Ami
Ami and I hit it off on a plane to Indianapolis back in February. When she mentioned that she lives in the Outer Banks, I promised to get in touch when we cycled through. Tonight we met for dinner at OBBS (Ami’s recommendation) and what a blast we all had! Ami is in educational consulting as an Engagement Manager for a non-profit called Mass Insight Education. In that role she goes into school districts to lift policy barriers and help the lowest performing schools. What she loves is the possibilities. Ami espouses that if we can turn around the lowest-performing schools, every school has a chance and no school has an excuse. Ami’s commitment and passion are inspiring – that’s why she was not just a single-serving friend!
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Day 21 miles: 60.12
Total miles: 1,413.10
Today’s route: Rondanthe to Kill Devils Hill to Kitty Hawk to Jarlesberg to Grandy, NC
Day 21 road kill count: 18 (including some beautiful-looking but slow-moving turtles)
Total road kill count: 308
Day 21 interviews: 1 (so many people I would have liked to talk to if I could hear them over the wind!)
Total interviews: 51
Best picture of the day: a panoramic picture taken by Jeff off the coast in Kitty Hawk