Monday, March 10, 2008


What do you get when you take three people, three surfboards, four wetsuits, one bicycle, two sets of wheels, a whole wardrobe of outdoor cycling clothing and neoprene, and send them to Chincoteague, VA, for four days of surfing and general beach fun?

You get three days of rain and, at times, 30 MPH wind.

It wasn't a total washout. I got out on my bike twice, conducting the good 'ol Ronde du Chincoteague more times than I could count (the headland on the bridge to the mainland was beastly, and the road had no shoulder; I attempted it once and came home shaken, afeared for my life). I ran a lot, going back to the old 2-a-day running training (I'd forgotten just how much I like running twice a day), and we went surfing twice. The first time was laughable, huge onshore breezes that turned the waves into dirty slop. We stayed out maybe twenty minutes and then almost froze trying to get out of our wetsuits. No rides, anywhere, except for one moment when Uncle Jesse stood up on a 1-foot reform about five feet from the beach. Day two of surfing was better, as the wind was howling offshore, and the waves were crisp, clean, and not-small. There were even a few barrels out there. That said, the surfing was still frustrating. The water was cold (around 45 degrees), but the heavy wind really chilled. I caught three rides, courtesy of Buddy Ben's 10-foot Big Orange, but also got whacked in the head by said giant surfboard, the aftereffects of which I still feel this morning. Uncle Jesse and I surfed for almost an hour, I think, and then tried to get out of our wetsuits before hypothermia set in.

Here's the thing about vacation, though. If Jesse and I really wanted to surf for our vacation, we would have eschewed further company (Jesse's girlfriend Sierra came along), crashed in a tiny hotel in Cape Hatteras, and had a more focused, but probably less enjoyable time. As it was, we woke up, had breakfast, I'd go for a run, we'd try to surf, have lunch, take naps, I'd run again, and then we'd cook dinner, have a few drinks, and then collapse on the couches to talk about radio and writing (Sierra's a fiction writer, Jesse's a radio producer, and I like to play around with poems). So although the surfing was less than perfect, the time spent in our rental cottage (a steal; the time to rent in Chincoteague is definitely the off-season) was marvelous.

If this weren't enough, there's a gigantic fiberglass Viking statue on the side of the road in one of Chincoteague's trailer parks (see above). There are also wild ponies!

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