Monday, March 6, 2017

Mar-05: Down Coley and Up, 4+ times

I got off work at 11 and arranged to meet a friend at 1:30 for a short ride.
I intended to cycle 10.2-miles to the meeting place,
But I dozed off sitting in the chair while waiting for the electric kettle.

When I woke, it was too late to cycle to meeting place and be on time.
And since I was still in civilian clothing, I was probably going to be late even driving.

The timing of my arrival was pretty good.
I arrived at the intersection of Kemp and Coley roads just as friend rode through.
Friend continued down Coley as I parked and got ready to ride.

Toward NC-98 from Kemp is basically a downslope affair.
However, on this day, with legs tired from work, the saddle seeming too high, and into the wind,
I was convinced that the first mile-plus was all up a slight incline.

I met friend about 0.4 miles short of the "bottom" of Coley Rd,
Said "bottom" being the T-intersection at NC-98.
Joining friend heading upslope, into the bright sun, with a tailwind,
I immediately commented that I was a bit over-dressed for the upslope.

We mostly rode side-by-side on the no-traffic road.
But I would follow at the U-turns at the "bottom" and "top" of Coley.

Also, the first three times going up, there was one location when I faded back each time.
The legs did not like the slight increase in the incline there,
Combined with the apparent bounce-back headwind along that stretch,
I could not hold the pace needed to stay alongside friend.

After the first hour, my lower back, esp. on the left side, began to giving off pain signals.
Pain there is always a sign that I've been pushing too big a gear,
Or pushing the "correct" gear too hard.
I mentioned that, although my legs might be starting to feel better, I needed to back of the pace a bit.

Friend mentioned that her knees were bothering.
THAT is definitely NOT good.
I urged changing to an easier gear / a larger cog.
I doubt that was done.

Although I did back off the effort as mentioned above,
My legs started feeling better,
Or perhaps they were past feeling pain.
The "fast" cadence seemed to become easier.
I may have changed to a smaller cog / harder gear / faster gear.
The cadence may have increased.
Whatever, I started riding faster.

The last six or seven miles, the legs felt fine.
I could push the pace.
The back did not complain.
I seemed to have pushed through a pain barrier.

That has happened before, but not too often.

Maybe the next ride with friend, I'll have already passed through the pain barrier,
And it will be easier to ride friend's higher pace.

I certainly hope so, because riding with friend is likely to get tougher and tougher.
Previous outdoor ride this year, February 28th, was a 30-miler.
The ride, the third (?) outdoor ride of the year for friend, was a 41-or-so-miler.
Next week is likely to be a 50-miler.
The week after that, 60.
And the pace will not reduce.

It will likely feel as if training.
For me, I mean.
Friend will likely just zip along with no noticeable change in effort, or breathing, or pedaling.

Lame story, I know; but it is mine, and I'll be sticking to it.


~ 4 1/2 loops on Coley Rd, with she-who-must-not-be-named; 32.5 m;  2h09 in-mot; 15.0 mph.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _4 rides;  _357.8 m;  25h28;  14.0 mph; _509 RUSA kms
Mar tot:  _1 rides;  __32.3 m;  _2h09;  14.0 mph; ___0 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _9 rides;  _704.8 m;  51h25;  13.6 mph; _960 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Feb-18: Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 Brevet

Highpoint Region.
Fourth weekend of Tony's January/February Winter Series, plus.
Second weekend doing routes out of Lumberton (the previous having been Jan-28).
Second time doing the Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 (and companion routes) this season.
[As usual for Highpoint Region RWGPS maps, the above link is a Tony creation, 
But since he once warned me that he sometimes re-purposes routes, I made a copy. 
Now all I have to worry about is that I re-purpose or delete it.]

Leading up to the 2013 Taste of Carolina, for which I served as one of the roving volunteers,
Dan Driscoll asked me, via email, if I had done many of Tony's brevets.
The answer at that time was:  Nope; never done any of Tony's brevets.
[The other question Dan asked was what would the roads of the 1200 be like. 
I answered that by sending him this link:  report with some pics of typical NC roads.]

If asked that question now, the answer would be:  Not really, only three 200's and one 300.
  • Jan-2015, Lumberton-Ammon-Whiteville 200, no blog report, 
  • Feb-2017, Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200. 
There were about eleven riders, including Tony, for the 200,
None for 300, none for 400, and
Five fast-dudes for the 600.

Five of the 200 riders set out with the five 600 riders.
Six of us 200 riders had more sense than that.

However, even the six of us increased our pace early on,
Trying to generate some body warmth which would penetrate to our fingers and toes.
Most of us were dressed for a 45 degree start temp;
However, 40 would be a better estimate of what we experienced.

Five degrees may not sound like much:
Is 85 much different than 80?
Probably not.
But when the 5 degrees is the difference between 45 and 40,
It can make a noticeable difference.

I'm quite sure I was the weakest link in the six rational paced 200 riders,
However, I managed to somehow get in the lead on Tar Heel Rd.
A false flat ever so slight decline headed toward Tar Heel and the Cape Fear River.
[Btw, don't confuse Tar Heel with Tarheel -- those are two different towns.  LOL.]

Anyway, Tar Heel Rd, a seven-and-a-half mile false flat with a slight tailwind,
It seemed reasonable to ride at about 17-mph,
A pace that I have ridden for entire 200-km rides a few years ago,
But not a pace I can maintain for that distance nowadays.

Tar Heel Rd had sufficient early-morning traffic that everyone appreciated
The repeated "car back" shout outs coming from Juliet.
However, after awhile, I heard no more shout outs, and
Around the time I began to wonder about that,
The rider fourth in line, probably Daniel, shouted-out that we had lost a couple riders.

The two were no where to be seen, but I wasn't worried.
I knew that TomD was a strong rider, and
Could handle any problem that he or his sister Juliet might encounter.
[We later learned that the pace was a bit much for Juliet. 
And that she and Tom had stopped at the diner in White Oak, 
21.4-miles into the ride, to eat the breakfast they hadn't had before the start. 
(They thought the ride started at 7 am, and were just heading to breakfast, 
When we intercepted them at about 5:50, to inform them that the ride started at 6.) 
Juliet and Tom reported that they had a pleasant experience at the White Oak diner. 
That surprised me because the White Oak c-store is a smoker's haven. 
I'll have to remember that the diner is a universe apart from the c-store, 
Even though they are each part of what appears to be one long building.]

After crossing NC-87 at Tar Heel, the road drops 80 feet, and
The temperature must have dropped another 5 degrees.
Everyone exclaimed at the drop.
After all, we each had likely gotten used to the temperature situation, but
Suddenly, we were in a new chill.
A chill that would last all the way to Roseboro,
The first intermediate control, some 44.3-miles into the course.
Typical scenery on the day.  [photo credit to BobB]

One notable thing happened between Ammon and the Roseboro control:
The four of us, BobB #5843, Daniel #11661, Harvey #11802, and me #6218,
Caught Geof #5350 and TimL #6016.
[They had apparently started with the 600 fast-dudes, but had decided to let them go.]

The six of got to the Roseboro control together,
Did our business at said control, taking time to warm ourselves,
And then we all left together.

Almost immediately, or even sooner, Turbo-Tim started drifting off the front.
Geof took a mile or so and then he moved to catch Tim.
[photo credit to BobB]

And somewhere along the road toward Garland, into the quartering headwind,
I began drifting off the rear.

I managed to hold Bob, Harvey, and Daniel at a cross-able distance,
IF I put in a big effort.
I must have done that at some point to let Bob know that I was going to stop in Garland.
Ostensibly to remove some clothes,
But I may also have mentioned that I needed to get some electrolytes into my system.
And by the time we got to the main crossroad in Garland,
Where there is a Subway and convenience store more-or-less in one,
I had managed to drift off the back again.

All five may have paused for a minute to wait for me,
But Tim and Geof went on.
Luckily for me, Bob, Harvey, and Daniel waited.

From Garland to Delway, in the words of "Fixie Pixie," I was really feeling good,
We were all feeling really good.
If you're not the Fixie Pixie, you might think there was a substantial tailwind.

The Delway control is just over 70-miles into the course.
From there to the finish back in Lumberton is 55-miles,
And always seems to be into a tough headwind (example) getting back to Lumberton.

Between Garland and Delway, we had crossed paths with RickR, Tony, and JohnM.
[I didn't feel like looking up their RUSA number.  Lazy me.]
Tony, JohnM.  [photo credit to BobB]
Tim and Geof left the Delway control just as Bob, Harvey, Daniel, and I arrived.

All in all, we had made pretty good time getting to that "70-mile" control.
Perhaps we arrived around five-and-a-half hours into the elapsed time.
That quick pace (for me), being roughly 15-mph while in motion,
Would not last -- I've mentioned why a couple paragraphs above.

A third or half-way back to Garland,
We crossed paths with the aforementioned Tom and Juliet.
They had pulled over at an intersection, probably for a quick breather.
We pulled over to chat a minute -- that's when we found out about their breakfast at White Oak.
Juliet, TomD.  [photo credit to BobB]

The four of us pulled into the aforementioned Garland Subway to grab some lunch.
Roughly 82.4-miles into the course.
Tim and Geof were still eating when we arrived, but they left long before we did.

Not sure what time it was when we got back on the road.
I do recall that bells (or artificial method) at the church across from the Subway
Were tolling out "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

We left Garland on Rich Road.
I didn't see much evidence of wealth.
But the road name soon changed to Helltown Road.
I didn't notice anything worrisome about or along the road.

A quick zig-zag at NC-210 to get onto Old Fayetteville Rd.
Eight miles later, Ammon -- a location I know from several rando rides / routes.
In early June, there is a Blueberry Festival centered on the large open field at Ammon.
Locally, the Raleigh Region 600 usually coincides with the Blueberry Festival.
Blueberry field near Ammon.  [photo credit to BobB]

I mis-remembered or mis-spoke or something [the first option is correct, don't tell anyone],
And told Harvey and Daniel that is was straight shot to White Oak,
Which wasn't all far away.
So those two newbies decided they could wait until White Oak to refill water bottles, etc..

It is only 10-miles from Ammon to White Oak via the route,
But straight shot it is not!
'Cuz 2.6-miles from Ammon, one must make a 90-degree right turn.

We're riding along, getting strung out,
Daniel hammering off the front into the wind, maybe 150 yards ahead of Bob and me,
Harvey about a third of the way up to Daniel,
When I realized that Bob and I were passing Gum Springs Road.

I mentioned same to Bob -- I was somewhat confused about where the route went.
Bob immediately realized that we were to turn, and
He tried to hail Harvey and Daniel, primarily with his well-known air horn.
No dice.
The air horn sound was no match for the headwind.

Bob and I considered what to do.
We were not going to attempt to chase the other two the wrong way.
We thought about waiting until they realized we weren't following.
In the end, I called each of Harvey and Daniel, leaving a message that they needed to turn around,
And Bob and I headed across Gum Springs Road for White Oak.

I was grateful for the unexpected rest at White Oak because
Bob had dragged some of the life out of me as he zipped across Gum Springs Rd..

The errant twosome arrived earlier than I expected.
And after some re-watering, etc., we four made our way across River Road,
And Tar Heel Road, across which we thought we would never reach Benny Road.

Once on Benny, though, it is just a hop, skip, and holler to Lumberton.

It had been a very sunshiny day, reasonably warm, though windy day.
All in all, a great day for a bike ride.

That's my story, and deficient though it may be, I'll be sticking to it.


Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 brevet; 125.8 m;  8h43 in-mot; 14.4 mph; rando elapsed time: 11h05.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _3 rides;  _317.2 m;  22h36;  14.0 mph; _509 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _7 rides;  _631.9 m;  46h44;  13.3 mph; _960 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feb-11: 'Road to Hicksboro' 205

I hadn't done the "Road to Hicksboro" 205-km perm since June-2014.
A ride I did not blog.
And about all I can recall from the ride is that Turbo-Tim and I were glad,
Or at least pretended to be,
When Lynn rode off down the road, leaving the two of us to suffer.
Subsequent to publication of this post, I stumbled across this photo from the Jun-2014 "Road to Hicksboro" ride.  Photo obviously taken by Turbo-Tim because that is Lynn and me sitting on the benches in Stovall at approx the 75-mile-mark of the perm route.  Stovall is the usual lunch stop, and on decent weather days, lunch is eaten under the shade offered by that gazebo.  Specifically regarding this photo:  Lynn appears to be calmly resting, having been taking it easy on Tim and me.  I, on the other hand, appear to be worn out and desperately hoping for some recovery.  
Results from that Jun-2014 "Road to Hicksboro" adventure:

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Road to Hicksboro / 1938 205 2014/06/14 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T41865 5519 L___, Lynn Randonneurs USA / 933095 09:34
RUSA-T41866 6016 L___, Tim Randonneurs USA / 933095 10:58
RUSA-T41867 6218 S___, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 11:02

Okay, back to the ride this post is supposed to be about.  

When needing wanting to ride a 200+ km perm, and
"Needing" to do one of my own (since June-2014) on short notice,
I had mostly been riding the "Egypt Mtn" 210-km perm.
EM has less climbing and seems to be better than Hicksboro for weekday rides.
At least that is my perception, to which I'll be sticking, at least for awhile.

But the work schedule opened up for February 11th, and
I'm trying to get back into cycling shape, and
I certainly owe it to the route and other randonneurs
To stay familiar with my own routes.
So, advertise I did.

The result of advertising, you ask?
This is how I put it on Facebook, the evening before the ride:
3 Mondials, 2 of those with a RUSA Cup, 1 of those a [PBP] Ancien, the other an Ultra Randonneur and currently at R-85.
3 rookies. Well, 2 rookies with #s greater than 11-thousand. One of those a rando virgin, but I've probably ridden [a few] thousand miles with said "virgin." The 3rd "rookie" has only four or five rando rides to his credit, yet his # is the lowest of the six riders, yes, including the 3 Mondials. 

7 am start.  A bit chilly.
But, hmmn, randonnesia has set in, I don't recall getting cold.
And I know all of us, or most of us, shed clothes as early as the first intermediate control,
At Underwood Grocery, approximately 33-miles into the course.
I'm shedding clothes.  Robert on his phone.  Hans and Harvey chatting about who-knows-what. Been 33-miles mostly with headwind to this point.  But about to embark on 47-mile tailwind section!  [photo credit to Bob]

However, I get ahead of myself.
I recall everyone else was faster than me on the climbs that are Snow Hill Road,
But I can't recall being pained about that or by the effort on Snow Hill Road.
I gather that there is a definite advantage to backing off the effort when climbing and out-of-shape.

Oh, wait, now I recall:
Robert, Hans and Harvey appeared to leave Bob, Daniel and me behind.
Daniel, Bob and I got to the stop-light at US-501 well after the other three.
I think I made a comment or two, probably including that I wondered
If they would wait at the Underwood Control.

We didn't have to wait that long.
Robert, Hans and Harvey had pulled over and waited at the next minor roadside.

All together, we each enjoyed the horse farms and associated homes along St. Mary's Road.
Somewhere after the horse farm estates, but still on St. Mary's Road,
Harvey suddenly exclaimed, "hey, my friend ___ lives there!"
[This wasn't the first time Harvey had ridden on St. Mary's Rd, 
But it may have been long enough ago that he may well have forgotten.]

Turning on to Schley Rd, one pops up a short incline and then into some easy rollers.
Harvey commented on the hills, so I mentioned that these were definitely "Martin hills,"
And a few yard later pointed to a particular sign.
[Next time, somebody needs to take a photo.] 

Leaving Underwood Grocery on New Sharon Rd,
There are a couple downs and ups that lead to the toughest climb on the route,
Cresting out at about the 37.5-mile mark.

After that, the route is some decent roads, rolling up and down,
With some of the ups sufficient for me to drop off the back.

But, in general, on this ride, we had a good enough time
That nothing in particular sticks in my mind.

Guess I'll just finish off this post by ripping-off borrowing some photos that Bob took.
Daniel.  Between Underwood Grocery and Timberlake controls.
Strung out line.  Back to front:  Hans, Harvey, Robert, and that must be me in the distance ('cuz the kit color is wrong for Daniel and Bob took the photo).  [How did I get that far ahead?  This must be a shallow incline just after a noticeable descent.]
L to R:  Harvey and Hans, with Daniel behind.  All enjoying the smooth road surface.  [photo by Bob]

Somewhere between the Timberlake control and the non-control lunch stop in Stovall, Robert tried to hang a new nickname on Bob.  I didn't understand the nick, and I certainly don't recall the proposed nick.  My recollection, refreshed at the Feb-18 Highpoint Region 200k out of Lumberton, is that Bob didn't quite understand the reasoning behind Robert's suggestion.

I can think of two appropriate new nicknames for Bob.  Both are related to his 2016 PacTour:
  • "NCBob".  As I understand it, early in the sign-up for the aforementioned PacTour, there were two Bobs, and our Bob suggested he'd go with "NCBob" on his PacTour nameplate. 
  • "Mr. Retta":  A month or so ago, Bob told me that, after he had signed up for one of the PacTour Arizona weeks, Susan had sent out the PacTour email newsletter including the headline "Retta Is Coming!"  After Bob reported that, I replied to the effect that it seemed he was almost superfluous. 
Ricochet Robert -- whose idea was responsible for the creation of the "Road to Hicksboro".  With a grimace?  [photo by NCBob]
NCBob:  "Llamas.  Best to position yourself upwind."  [photo by NCBob]

Once the Llama House is reached, it is just a straight shot on Pokomoke / Bruce Garner / New Light Rd, and then the typical Ghoston - Peed - Mt. Vernon Ch finish.

I'll close this report with a quote from Harvey:  "Great day, group, conversations."


"Road to Hicksboro" 205-km Perm; 126.7 m;  9h22 in-motion; 13.5 mph; rando elapsed time: 10h53.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _2 rides;  _191.4 m;  13h52;  14.0 mph; _309 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _6 rides;  _506.1 m;  38h00;  13.3 mph; _760 RUSA kms.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Feb-01: 1001 Carolina Days

My previous ride, in addition to being the fifth anniversary of the Bahama Beach perm-pop,
Was also my 1000th ride.
Or, at least it is recorded in my records as my 1000th ride.

Today, with BobB, #5843, we did the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104 km perm-pop.
1001 rides for me since I've kept records.
1001 stories.
Many on this blog.
[Not all my rides have been in North Carolina, only the VAST majority of them.]   

This ride was much easier from the first pedal stroke than the ride three days previously.
Of course, the "Oxford" route is easier, read flatter, than the "Bahama Beach" route.
But I think the main thing making it easier was that I was on a "lucky good" day,
Instead of a "lucky bad" day.

An interesting thing or two from the ride:
  • The wait for the light to change at NC-98 was almost no wait at all.  Not quite, but almost. 
  • However, the previous wait to turn onto Six Forks Rd probably set a delay record.  We timed getting to that turn, 3.2-miles into the course, very badly.  It felt as if we waiting for five minutes, and we may have actually had to wait that long.  
  • The surface over the rebuilt bridge on Lawrence Rd is very smooth.  
  • And that's about it. 

We had periods of chatting and long periods of riding without words.
The only subject I can recall is Bob asking if I had read John Lee's blog post
Comparing Audax UK brevet ride distances to RUSA brevet ride distances.
I hadn't read the post at the time, but I did shortly thereafter.

The wind was rather indeterminate.
Giving the impression of an apparent headwind both directions.

Oh, an interesting data item from the ride:
2h15 in-motion outbound; 2h15 in-motion homebound.

This ride put me over 500 RUSA kms for the year,
Bob over 1000 RUSA kms (or maybe he accomplished that in January).

P-unknown-count for Bob.
P-26 for me.
(I interrupted my original P-series after 35 months, and restarted the next month,
So ... you do the math.)

Also, Bob and I are each on target of an NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge "award."

Oxford 104-km Perm-Pop; 64.7 m; 4h30 in-motion; 14.4 mph; rando elapsed time: 5h00.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  28h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _1 rides;  __64.7 m;   4h30;  14.4 mph; _104 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _5 rides;  _379.4 m;  32h08;  13.2 mph; _555 RUSA kms.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Jan-29: Fifth Anniversary Bahama Beach

Exactly five years ago, Jan-29-2012, MickH, #6169, and I opened the Bahama Beach account.

Today, Jan-29-2017, it was fitting that Ricochet Robert, #6628, and I
Celebrated the fifth anniversary by riding this 103k "free route" perm-pop together.
Fitting because Robert has ridden the route more times than anyone else,  
And because I am the route-owner

I was drafting an involved post that included information on the history of the route,
Including who had ridden it the most, the fastest, the slowest,
Who might have been the most notable randonneur, etc., etc..

However, in the end, I decided that approach was getting rather silly,
So just this report:

It was a hard ride for me / a hard day for me, from the very beginning.
I think it may have been a hard day for Robert, too.
After all, he had to take it easy on the "flats"
And wait after every climb (and there are many of those on Bahama Beach).

We considered doing the standard route,
The original not-a-free-route routing, thru Creedmoor,
But decided to avoid the possible extra traffic that might entail.
[Extra traffic -- HA!  That might have been half-a-dozen cars.]
Instead using the "3-Hayes" variant to bypass Creedmoor.

However, as we approached the decision point as between "3-Hayes" and "Hester Rd,"
Robert suggested we use the "Hester Rd" variant to remove some climbing.
I was more than willing.

As noted above, it was still a hard half-day on the bike, for me.
Robert's day?
He will always be cheerful happy,
But I imagine I wore him out, his having to wait so much.

Bahama Beach 103-km free-route Perm-Pop, with "Hester Rd variant"; 66.2 m; 4h46 in-motion; 13.4 mph; BB elapsed time: 5h30.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  28h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
YTD tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  28h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Jan-24: Worked Over By The Wind 210

The title of this post gives it away.

Prompt 7 am start with BobB and newbie Daniel.
[Daniel had ridden the Tar Heel 200 in December with Bob and going-on-hiatus-Bryan. 
He had also ridden the Denny's Store Sortie a week earlier with Bob and me.] 

The purpose of the ride, other than re-starting my R-series and R-2 for Daniel -
Bob had picked up R-85 earlier in the month -
Was to try to find out some information regarding the "bridge gone" near Warrenton.
Usually, the NCDOT website details road closed / bridge construction situations,
But as of the date of the ride, there was nothing on the website about that road / bridge.

The start of the "Egypt Mtn" perm is the same
As the ride I did with the non-rando Irregulars the previous Saturday.
The same, except the starts are 1.2 miles apart,
An extra 1.2 miles of false flat decline for the rando permanent.
I mention this because on Saturday, with the Irregulars,
We had covered exactly 14.5-miles in exactly 1-hour, 0-minutes in-motion.
And doing the second hour solo, I had covered exactly 29.0-miles in exactly 2-hours, 0-minutes.
But at the start of this rando permanent, with the start being flatter than the previous ride,
We only covered only 13.36-miles in exactly 1-hour, 0-minutes in-motion.
[That was disappointing.]
The second hour in motion was much better,
As we had covered 28.0-miles in exactly 2-hours, 0-minutes in-motion.
[Seemed we were back on a reasonable pace.]

Then the wind woke up.

Coming strong from the NW early, and backing around to the WNW in the afternoon.
Headwind all the way to Drewry.
Headwind almost all the way from Warrenton until near the finish.
The only tailwind for more than a few yards was the 10-miles from Drewry to Warrenton.

We stopped for lunch at the Subway in Warrenton.
My recollection is that we were there for 50-minutes.
50-minutes when the situation surely indicated that we ought to have been conserving time,
Because we were certainly headed toward a Dark Monster finish.

I needed to visit the rest room before we left the Subway.
Upon returning from the rest room, I overheard part of a conversation by two men
That seemed to be discussing road issues.
I stopped, interrupted, and asked if they knew anything about the aforementioned bridge.
One of the men pointed to the other guy,
Who said that the bridge was out due to "maintenance,"
An expected six month project.

I thanked him for the information, and
Mentioned that I had been able to find NOTHING about it on the NCDOT website.
The knowledgeable guy was obviously surprised to hear that.

Outside, Bob and Daniel were waiting for me.
We remounted and retraced the last couple miles of the standard route
To get to No Bottom Road for our detour around the "bridge gone" situation.

That couple miles was NOT pleasant.
The wind had picked up while we had been at the Subway.

No Bottom Road, on the other hand, is a nice road upon which to ride a bicycle.
Some down-and-up, some curving about.
It will make a good detour until the bridge is replaced.

The headwind on the return beat us up pretty well.
At least I attest to that for myself.

Darkness descended upon us just after we transited Pokomoke (16.2-miles from the finish).
Blackness descended shortly thereafter.

One last comment:  gosh, but there was a lot of traffic on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd.
Seemed to be more traffic than I can ever recall from previous, always daylight, rides.

Oh, one more thing:  Hans was unable to start with us at 7 am.
So I set him up with an official 8 am start, meaning he could start as late as 9 am.
Hans used to be FAST - he holds the record for fastest passage on the Egypt Mtn perm,
But hasn't been cycling much in recent years.
But, retired now, re-upped with RUSA, his first goal being to complete an R-12.
I expected that he would catch us.
Hans expected that he would catch us.
He indicates that he took a beating from the wind.
His card reveals that he got a receipt at 8:21 am (starting at least 81 minutes after we three).
He officially finished at 8:04 pm -- 39 minutes after we three had finished.
R-1 in the books for Hans. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Jan-21: "Irregulars" Ride Shorted

Snapper put out a call for riders and requested suggestions for a route. 
The Mallet suggested a three hour tour beginning at 8 am:  the Cedar Creek Cruise.

I let Snapper know that I could do an hour or so with the crew, but not at the required 16 mph.
Snaps indicated that he couldn't handle 16 mph for three hours, either,
So an hour at 14.5 mph or so would be welcome.

Gathering at start, LT suggested a modification of the Cedar Creek Cruise,
Avoiding riding Holden Rd across to Youngsville.
LT and Rich had ridden LT's suggested modification recently,
But they were not in agreement as to the length of the resulting route. 
Mallet was fine with the modification, regardless the exact length.
As I was planning to turn aside long before reaching LT's modification,
I didn't worry about what the modification was, nor did I spare a thought for the resulting distance.

The first two miles across Pleasant Union Church Rd are essentially flat.
A good road upon which to ease into warming up to the ride.
The Mallet, however, had ridden - I'm guessing - 6 or more miles to the start.
He was already warmed up, and setting what he thought was an easy pace (for me).
I thought about asking him to back off half a pedal stroke, but kept quiet.

Mallet came alongside me and we chatted about the usual, and even some unexpected.
Paul "the Mallet" mentioned that he had ridden with rando-Joel on the picnic brevet.
I had to shift my brain from Irregular to Rando paradigm; it took a repeat or two to understand.
Oh, Alan's Picnic Brevet last August.
Something I had not attended because of my work schedule.

Rando-Joel, one of the victims of the Feb-20-2016  bash into,
Had apparently given the Mallet information that was up to date as of mid-August-2016.
Paul has met and possibly ridden with MikeD -- on a previous brevet.
Paul has also ridden with Lynn a time or two.

Paul was curious as to Lynn's status and also Mike's.
I shared some info regarding Lynn. 
I had no information regarding Mike, but
I did note that Snapper had seen Mike at an NCBC monthly meeting not too long ago.

By this time we had crossed the flat Pleasant Union Ch Rd and were turning on to Six Forks Rd..
Six Forks, which becomes New Light Rd when one crosses NC-98 heading north,
Has several non-trivial down-and-ups to cross and clear Falls Lake.
All I was doing was just trying to keep up.

Well, maybe Paul and I had the chat about Lynn and Mike before reaching Six Forks Rd..
Or maybe it was after clearing the several climbs to get north of Falls Lake.
After getting north of Old Weaver Trail, New Light and Bruce Garner roads are relatively flat.
I might be confusing where the chat regarding Lynn and Mike,
And Paul's brevet conversation(s) with JoelL took place.
It doesn't really matter, but Ricochet Robert would like it if I included actual facts,
Rather than just my memory, which might be askew.

Anyway, riding on Bruce Garner Rd, approaching Lawrence Rd,
A key road for a couple local perm-pops, I reminded myself to check to see
If the road closed signs on Lawrence had been removed.

However, there was chatting with LT and/or Snapper going on,
Including mutual razzing about the trail of gunk being deposited up the middle of our shorts
And continuing up the middle of each jersey or jacket.
Did I mention that it wasn't raining, but that it had done so the previous day?
Did I mention that it was a very foggy morning, with dampness still hanging in the air?
And on the roads?
Guess I forgot about to mention that.

Anyway, back to the approach to Lawrence Rd and the saga of the road closed signs.
In addition to being distracted by the chatting, 
Whomever was leading the group,
Started to make as if to make a right turn onto Lawrence
Instead of continuing onward for another mile to Graham Sherron Rd.
Shouting ahead to keep the leaders on course, distracted me,
And I forgot to look left at Lawrence Rd.  Sigh.

A mile more on Bruce Garner and we made the right turn on to Graham Sherron.
Which is initially a false flat decline, but then plunges down to a creek (I think there's a creek there),
Rears up a short climb which is almost pop-able,
Then plunges again to another creek,
Before making the more serious climb up to the lopsided intersection with Woodland Church Rd.
I worked that last climb, and I recall I was not the last to reach the corner,
Where the parting of the ways was to occur.
As I coasted to a stop, the odometer rolled 14.5 miles exactly,
And the chronometer rolled 1-hour and 0-minutes exactly.
[Remember that for the next blog post.]

After goodbyes all around, I went left while the other four went right.

I had been glad to undertake the short ride with the others,
Just for the excuse to ride Woodland Church Rd from Graham Sherron to Bruce Garner Rd..
There is a climb, that has almost always been tough for me,
But I've always appreciated the winding climb up to and past the farmstead there.

I knew the climb would be tough, so I intentionally took it easy.
The farmstead was not very attractive through the fog and the damp.
And, funny thing, I reached the top of the main part of the climb
Without even realizing it.
The value of taking it a little bit easier.

Up the remainer of Woodland Church Rd, being mostly a false flat incline,
Well, there is another decline and incline, non-trivial ones, but I recall them not.
I seem to recall barely noticing the incline even when riding up it.
The value of taking it a little bit easier!

I made the left turn onto Bruce Garner, heading for home (or PUE, anyway).
A slightly short two miles later,
I recall looking at the store and cars at Grissom,
Which is the intersection of Bruce Garner and Lawrence roads.
But I completely forgot to look, this time to the right, to check for the road closed signs,
Or more to the point, the lack of road closed signs.

Bruce Garner becomes New Light Rd.
I rode past the Stony Hill Fire Station.
Local randonneurs, and maybe even some non-locals, will know why I mention that.
And zipping along ("zipping along" is a relative term),
I found myself nearing the sharp curve/corner on Peed Rd,
But the crazy thing is that I thought I was on Mt. Vernon Church Rd,
Approaching the stop-sign across from Pleasant Union Elementary.

That confusion only lasted a couple seconds, and then I realized where I was.
I've done New Light to Ghoston to Peed to MVC several hundred times,
Perhaps on the order of 700 times.
Rando rides and non-rando, too, I tend to finish with those roads.
I guess the brain just sorta' shut off on this day.
Or maybe I was thinking deeply about other things.

This wasn't the first time that I've ridden without realizing where I was, or what road(s) I was on.

I think it was 2011, doing Alan's 200-km brevet, where I realized late in the ride,
That I had no recollection (except crossing the Chicken Bridge and making one particular turn)
Of anything for about 30 miles.
That resulted in my record fast passage on that 200.

I know that I've done Mike's Black Creek perm, more than once,
Suddenly realizing that I did not know what road I was on.
Luckily, each time, I was several miles further along than I thought,
And, just as important, on the correct course.

I recall one time, doing Dean's Tar Heel 200 with Dean,
That I suddenly realized that I had been deep in thought and wasn't sure I was still on course.
Apparently, while in the deep thought, I had unintentionally picked up my pace,
And Dean was no where to be seen, so I pulled over to hope and wait.
Luckily, I had pulled over at correct place, for when Dean arrived, we made a left turn.

I also recall that I completely thought out the Bahama Beach 103k populaire
When doing Dean's Get 'er Dunn populaire with Dean.
I completed the mental creation and came out of my reverie just as I was entering Coats,
A small town on the Get 'er Dunn route.
Dean was no where in sight.

Anyway, back to the ride that I'm supposedly writing, er, typing about.
On the shallow decline on MVC, before the drop to the creek,
I chanced to look down at my cycle confuser,
And decided to pick up my cadence just a bit,
So that I rolled 29.0 miles exactly in 2 hours exactly.
Pleased I was that I had managed to keep the same average pace
As when being pulled along by the Mallet earlier.

I had barely put my bike on my bike-rack, which I did within seconds of stopping.
When LT and Snapper suddenly appeared.

Their story was that Snapper had dropped his chain two more times
Immediately after I had turned aside from the group tide, and
Snaps had decided that the smart thing to do was to short the planned route.
And Lt. Dave had decided to accompany Snapper,
Partially because as soon as I was no longer part of the group,
The Mallet had picked up the pace beyond where LT was comfortable.

After I finished lashing my bike to the rack,
Dave and I looked at Harvey's transmission system with him.
The long and short of that is that we gave him a tutorial or advice:
Swap out to a new chain when you're supposed to,
Before a worn out chain wears out a cassette that ought to have more life in it.
Pay attention to the miles on the bottom bracket, cassette, chain.
Visually check the jockey wheels in the derailluer from time to time.
Interesting thing, every suggestion we made, Snapper indicated that his mechanic had said the same thing.

In case you are wondering:
I have no idea what the Mallet and Rich ended up riding.
I presume that they had a good time.

In case you are wondering #2:
This was supposed to be a short post,
Without so much detail.