Posted May 1, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Dream trip: Stephens City's Nagel completes goal of cycling along Outer Banks

Richard Nagel rides his bike along Aylor Road near his home last week. The Stephens City resident recently completed a bicycle trip along the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Rich Cooley/Daily

Rich Nagel rode 103 miles over the course of three days from Beaufort, N.C., to the Outer Banks and then back to Beaufort during this trip. Rich Cooley/Daily

Rich Nagel, 61, of Stephens City, recently completed a bicycle trip along the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Tommy Keeler Jr. - tkeeler@nvdaily.com

STEPHENS CITY -- Rich Nagel had been dreaming for years of going on a bicycle trip.

With the timing finally just right, the 61-year old Stephens City resident finally made his dream happen last week.

Nagel went on a four-day trip along the coast of North Carolina through a company called Carolina Tailwinds. He rode 103 miles over the course of three days from Beaufort, N.C., to the Outer Banks and back to Beaufort.

"This has been on my mind for 10 or 15 years. I've always wanted to do something like this," Nagel said.

Nagel served in the Navy, and retired from the Department of Defense 12 years ago.

Nagel said a year-and-a-half ago he realized the timing was finally perfect to do it and he began to work out and get in even better shape to make it happen.

He became a grandfather last year, and he said he wanted to be able to tell his grandson a story of what he had done during his lifetime.

In October of 2010, he became a member of Anytime Fitness Center in Stephens City and worked out three to five times a week. Nagel said he rode the indoor bikes, lifted weights and did abdominal exercises.

Nagel had been riding bikes for years, but nothing real serious, so he knew it would take quite a bit of training to get ready for the trip.

In January 2011, he ordered a brand-new bike from Black Bar Bicycle shop in Winchester, and last spring he began riding outside more and more.

By the summer, he was riding 25 miles per day, three times a week.

Nagel said he looked at a lot of different web sites to find the best tour he could find, but the one through Carolina Tailwinds stood out to him.

"The timing was nice," Nagel said. "It was a pretty ride along the North Carolina coast, Cape Hatteras, Okracoke. Spring time -- the weather would be very conducive to our riding conditions. It wasn't going to be too hot or too cold."

When he first made the decision to make the trip, a friend of his, Steve Brim, was going to do it with him. However, due to a medical issue, Brim was unable to do it, but Nagel continued to stay the course with his training.

He arrived in Beaufort on April 23. The next day and the group of seven others began their three-day ride. They rode their bikes for approximately 31 miles and then took a ferry to Okracoke Village.

The next day they took a ferry to Hatteras Island, and they then rode through the Hatteras Village to Buxton, where the Cape Hatteras Light is located.

As he was approaching the light tower, Nagel suffered his only scare of the trip. He fell down and hit his head on the road.

"My helmet saved me," Nagel said. "If it wasn't for my helmet I probably would've been spending a few days in the hospital. The helmets really do work."

The group was then shuttled back to Okracoke Village, where they caught a ferry on the fourth day to Cedar Island. They then biked around the Cedar Island area, before heading back to Beaufort to conclude the trip.

Nagel said a van carried their bags with them from stop to stop, and everyone was allowed to bike at their own pace. They each had a card that was given to them, which gave them directions on where to go.

Nagel said 25-to-30 mile an hour winds made the journey even more difficult.

Now that he's done it, Nagel said he will continue to ride his bike even more.

"I will ride recreationally now," Nagel said. "I know I can do this. I'm trained now where I know I can go out and do more of these types of rides."

Nagel said he now has his sights set on another goal that he wants to accomplish.

"Thirty rounds of golf, 30 days in 30 different states," Nagel said. "Golf is my first love."

Nagel said that his trip shows that anyone can take trips like this if they're dedicated to it.

"For every man, woman, young person out there -- this can be done," Nagel said. "It's a sport. You can devote yourself to it. You have to watch what you eat, you have to train religiously. You can't back off. You can't cheat the system or it will catch up to you."

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