Published Somedays

Topsail Beach -- still can't finish it

(updated: Sep 22, 2009)

On Sunday low tide was around three in the afternoon. I decided to try completing the northern half of Topsail Island (pronounced top-sul). Ed, Michael and I had done the southern half a month or so ago, but the northern half (if you start where I did a few blocks north of the Surf City pier) is longer by about 5 miles. My goal is to do the entire 22+ mile length of the Island, but I was just trying to complete the northern half.

I thought it would be no problem. I wanted to get to the condemned houses slowly being claimed by the encroaching sea. However, a fierce 20 knot wind blew out of the North, and after getting to within a couple of miles of the north end, I didn't have the energy or the time to finish. I had started too late, and by the time I turned around, the tide was coming in.

I have to say that this ride was the closest I've ever come to climbing a mountain on a bike in the Cape Fear area. It was one of the toughest rides I've done in my five years living here. Fighting that wind killed my legs and forced me to hunch over the bike until my neck hurt. I also climbed out of the saddle just like a steep mountain climb. One guy on the beach gave me the thumbs up and said "Good job, man" or something similar. I must have looked like I felt.

Turning around made every minute of the struggle worth it. I absolutely flew down the beach. And all along the way, I got sweet air off of the sand ridges and did drops off a sand erosion line. One after another, jump after jump, drop after drop. Must have done a hundred. There was even a big section of pier laying on the sand which I bunny hopped for some onlookers.

Then I realized that my crank arm was coming off, with still several miles to go. I used a shell to snug up the bolt so I could make it home (I didn't bring a pump, tools or anything with me).

The weirdest thing about this ride, was that when I got back, the sun was starting to fade, and hours had passed, but it really felt like I was gone for only five minutes.

So I didn't make it all the way this time -- Topsail is one long island -- but maybe with some lighter wind I should do ok. And then it's the whole enchilada or bust.


South end of Topsail.

South end with view of north end of Lea Island.

My goal is to make it here. So close I could make them out in the distance but I knew they were still 2 -3 miles away.

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Topsail


1. Michael said...

This coming Sunday low tide should be around 09:30 at Topsail. I would like to try riding the whole island maybe by starting an hour or so before low tide. The nice part is not having to worry about getting run over.

Sep 23, 2009 @ 7:47 PM

2. Kevin said...

Interesting. I will get up with you guys this Saturday.

Sep 24, 2009 @ 8:29 PM


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