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 when
Lynn finally rode off down the road, leaving the two of us to suffer.

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 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,
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 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.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jan-17: Denny's Store Sortie 138

BikerBob, newbie Daniel (but not a rando virgin since he had joined Bob and Bryan in December on the Tar Heel 200 -- a ride of exactly 200 kms RUSA credit, ridden by Bryan in order to get to exactly 40-thousand RUSA credit kms, Mondial Award, as Bryan's last act before taking a hiatus of undetermined length, a hiatus so that he can properly participate in the care and rearing of his child born in early 2016) -- whew, that background comment in the parenthesis is pretty long.  Let's start over.

BikerBob, newbie-but-not-a-rando-virgin Daniel, and I undertook the Denny's Store route,
Promptly on time, at 8 am.
Early on, I commented to Bob that the route was seeming rather familiar,
Since the start was much or exactly the same as my previous two rides,
Rando pop "Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh" and Irregulars Holiday Range Road Rover,
Each of which Bob had done.

I think Bob didn't quite understand the comment when I made it.
Because when we were approaching Butner,
Bob asked if the Denny's Store route was the same as the Range Road Rover.
Yep, same routing, except that RRR stays on Range Road,
Whereas Denny's Store turns off Range Rd and then stays a few miles on the outside.
Until the return, that is, as the last 23 miles or so are again duplicative.

Up the "Range Wall" and onto a favorite section of the route.
At least it is a favorite in the Spring and early-early on a Summer day,
When the sunshine sneaks through the leaves at a low angle,
Lighting up the greenery with that special dappling of morning light.
On this ride, I did mention that to Daniel and Bob.
Bob had probably previously heard me extolling the virtues of that section of road.
Daniel may or may not have cared.
And on this ride, me being out-of-shape, still, I think I was mentioning the sights
In order to distract my brain from the exertion of our appointed round.

I don't really recall the sunshine dynamics on the day,
But it must have been at least partly to mostly cloudy,
Because I pointed to the farmstead at the turn of the route onto Bahama Rd,
Noting that, though not true on this ride, that farmstead often makes for an appealing sight.

I did think about mentioning the "tobacco barn valley" vista,
But refrained form doing so.
It wasn't attractive this day, and
I think I had fallen behind a bit on the previous incline.
[Ha!  Looking the photo linked to above, that photo leaves a lot to be desired.]

Daniel started exerting his climbing ability, pulling ahead on every notable incline.
On several occasions he would ride circles at the next intersection,
At or beyond the crest of the climb.

Into the control at the Allensville store.
3h04 elapsed, 3h02 in-motion.
I use 3h00 as the "target" for that control.
A couple years ago, I morphed into using 2h50 for that control,
But since then, as I mention with the frequency of a broken record,
I haven't been in good cycling shape.

No locals sitting on the bench outside the store.
The clerk mentioned that she hadn't seen us in quite awhile.
I explained that I'd only done the route twice in 2016;
At least partially because the woman that used to often ride with me,
And the clerk interrupted, "your ex-wife?"
Yes, and then I explained about her and others getting bashed into on Feb-20-2016.
The clerk commented that that was a shame,
Adding that [Lynn] always enjoyed the bench,
And that the locals always enjoyed chatting with her.
And I added that the locals also enjoyed teasing me for being "half-an-hour" behind. 

My chat with clerk had turned an intended 7-minute control stop
Into an 11-minute stop.
But we still had a chance to get to Berea, the next control,
Within an hour of arriving at the Allensville control.

Well, it would have been possible except that I was out-of-shape,
Bob was recovering from just getting off anit-biotics and a bout of bronchitis,
And there may have been an unhelpful breeze.

21-minutes it took to get from Allensville to Denny's Store.
Not the usual, expected, and perhaps even "programmed" 19-minutes.
We stopped for the sometimes usual photo.
Bob + Daniel, bundled up against the chill.  Gray skies and evidence of weak sunlight that didn't provide much extra warmth.  [photo credit to me]
We arrived at the preferred Berea control exactly one hour after we left the Allensville control.
[After we left the control, not after we arrived.  Sigh.] 
The preferred control is not the suggested open control in Berea;
The preferred establishment is not open on Sundays,
Thus the gas station / c-store on the inside of the corner is the suggested control.

50 minutes at the control for lunch, and
Discussing some of the "finer points" of randonnuering,
Mostly about proof-of-passage requirements,
And discussing / describing brevet options / courses within North Carolina.

50 minutes!
Oh, well, we had plenty of time.
50 minutes?
Rando friend CristaB, whom I've never actually met,
Would laugh at my concern over taking 50 minutes.

5h05 elapsed when we left Berea.
Two hours to go (on a good, in-shape day).

Down the decline to the Tar River,
Up the short, but non-trivial climb back up to the plain.
For the mostly flattish 5-miles to Culbreth,
And the more rolling 5-miles from Culbreth to Stem.

Onto the "Brodgen Expressway," better known amongst Irregulars as "Hulse Expressway,"
To Creemoor.
[I must have turned off my brain on the two most notable inclines to get into Creedmoor, 
One somewhat longish, the other shorter but steeper, 
As I have no recollection of those climbs that day, 
And I'm pretty sure I had no recollection even as I did them.]

Through Creedmoor and onto Dove Rd.
Dove Rd can be a fun roller coaster at speed,
Using momentum of each decline to pop the next incline.
But there is one incline that is too long to pop.

I wasn't riding "at speed" this day,
But it still felt roller-coasty and reasonably fun.
Bob enjoyed the coaster at my pace;
I imagine that I recall that Daniel enjoyed them at his somewhat faster pace. 
Anyway, he was riding circles at the turn onto Whitt Rd as Bob and I approached.

Onto Old Weaver Trail, reversing our early course.
Falls Lake was being whipped to nearly a froth.
It had been smooth on the outbound crossing.

Daniel pulled ahead on the long incline(s) to New Light Rd.
Bob more-or-less went with him.
Upon reaching the corner, I insisted on a couple minutes breather.

Zoom "down" New Light Rd to another Falls Lake crossing,
Then the finishing 10-kms on Ghoston, Peed, and Mt. Vernon Church roads.
Which description I leave to Fixie Pixie's experience on those:
"we hit the three toughest climbs in the waning miles of the event ...

Official results on the day: 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2017/01/17 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T68923 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 07:34
RUSA-T68924 11331 R__, Daniel B Greensboro Velo Club / 933001 07:34
RUSA-T68925 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 07:34
Not the slowest passage of the route -- I checked.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Growth of Perm Route Starts Nationally (and some States)

The chart below shows the number of RUSA perm "Group Starts"(*) by year, the number of states in which those perms and perm-pops started, the number of perm "groups" by year for the six states with the most perm starts, and the number of perm "groups" for the other states not specifically shown.  [You might wonder why I decided to show six specific states:  (1) because that's the number of states that allowed the exhibit to fit on the page, and (2) there was rather a natural break-point in the counts between the sixth and seventh states.]

You will notice that the total number of "group starts" increased every year until 2016, when there were approximately 440 fewer start groups than in 2015.  I have a good idea why the count for North Carolina (NC) decreased by approx 130, being almost entirely due to two frequent riders being knocked off the road and their corralling of others to ride once or twice a week going missing, combined with two other frequent riders essentially retiring or at least taking a hiatus.   However, I have no information or knowledge about why California (CA) and Washington (WA) also showed significant decreases in their counts.  Guesses would include a post-PBP effect and perhaps a decrease in K-Hounds in those states.

I'm attempting no profound insights (at this time); just simply showing the high-level information.

I have not attempted to look at the amount of brevet riding by year / region or state.

Year Groups # States

2004 34 5
6 0 22 0 0 0
2005 124 9
10 21 57 0 0 0
2006 370 17
25 80 130 7 9 1
2007 764 23
182 101 248 22 29 24
2008 1,065 28
245 161 198 33 93 43
2009 1,815 31
353 332 395 45 114 56
2010 2,631 38
449 472 555 194 75 89
2011 3,921 35
724 569 663 349 93 168
2012 5,123 46
997 660 742 382 224 266
2013 5,175 47
1,048 803 555 392 215 278
2014 6,227 47
1,481 904 578 422 286 370
2015 6,803 48
1,484 1,125 511 449 339 323
2016 6,359 51
1,315 964 616 318 385 312

Total 40,411

8,319 6,192 5,270 2,613 1,862 1,930

(*) "Group Starts" -- for purposes of this chart / blog-post, a "Group Start" is one group starting one perm or perm-pop route (presumably at the same time, though I cannot confirm that same start time assumption), regardless of how big or small the group.

The 40-plus-thousand "group starts" in the above chart translate to approximately 68-thousand individual completed rides / "RUSA-T" certificates.  [Obviously, there is a lot of solo riding occurring on perms.  Hey, I like doing solo bike rides, but it is rather amazing the amount of solo rando perm riding that occurs.]