Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sep-13: NOB Lite 128 for NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge

Bob, Iva, and I decided to ride Bob's NOB Lite 128-km perm-pop 
For our September NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge ride.

Well, actually, Bob had ridden NOB Lite earlier in the month, but
This was Iva's first ever tour of the NOB Lite course, and
Although I had ridden NOB Lite on June-28, I'm not counting that as the June Explorer pop.

On the Jun-28 ride, I had taken several photographs using my flip-phone.
Each had come out pretty well (see the appropriate link above).
This ride, I wanted to get a pic of the church
Where the route turns onto NC-119 (turns off NC-119 on the return).
Sometimes it is a bit difficult to line up the lens for the desired photo, and I clearly slightly missed for this photo.  However, this mostly, or at least partially, conveys the shady scene which is a welcome sight and the resulting cooler temps are even more welcome on hot summer morning.

I don't recall much from the ride [typing this on October 12th].
It was a rather non-descript enjoyable outing.

I'm confident that I took a photo or two at Red House / of the Red House.
But said photo seems to have disappeared.
Oh, well, a reason to ride the course again.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: NOB Lite Populaire / 3285 128 2017/09/13 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T75230 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32
RUSA-T75231 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32
RUSA-T75232 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32

Thanks to Bob and Iva for dragging me through the ride.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NC Permanents Trivia

Originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Aug-07-2017.  

For the following, only Permanents of 200-kms or more:
  1. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "start groups," what is the most  popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (Multiple riders starting at the same time is a single "start group.")  [Hint:  it ain't flat.] 
  2. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "completed rides," what is the most popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (Each RUSA certificate equates to a single "completed ride.")  [Hint:  it is probably the flattest Perm in central NC.] 
  3. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "different riders," what is the most popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (If you can't figure out what "different riders" means, I can't help you.)  [Hint:  "back then, that's all we had."] 
Three different ways to look at historical popularity; three different answers.

============================================

Several people offered answers or comments 

      -- I took some liberties with the order of responses to make things "flow" better: 

From Chris G:
1. LLL
2. LOMBD
3. ??
From me: 
1.  yes.
2.  nope. 
3.  ___
From LinO:
3. KLL (???)   
From me:
Lin, one might expect that those who joined RUSA after 2012 would have to guess, but those whose main RUSA days were prior to 2010 would assert that answer, esp. if the should-be-asserter was one of the first dozen to get credit for that course. 
However, yes, KLL has had the most different riders get credit for completing at least one circuit of the route. 
So, that just leaves the second question. 
From LinO:
Now I feel guilty for having answered.  :)

FWIW, I drew blanks on 1 & 2. The KLL surmise was predicated on the "back then, it was all we had" hint.  Indeed, NC Randos are to be commended for having fairly rapidly developed a large selection of routes.

Re:  "...whose main RUSA days were prior to 2010...." Working to alter the timeline. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see some of these "new to me" routes.
From me: 
Don't feel guilty, Lin:  I admit that I decided to have a little extra fun sorta' at your expense -- perhaps rather like a certain county line "sprint" on the Tar Heel route, circa 2011, when I took off mid-sentence, got to the CL before you, and then picked up mid-sentence once we had come back together.  But you cut me off after only a word or two, berating me for having emulated a particular NC-rando that was known for contesting county lines.  Good memories, seemingly forgotten, now recalled, at least for a day.  
 
From Cyndy, RUSA #608:
Gee Martin...you're making me feel bad...I joined RUSA in '99 and the answers aren't readily apparent to me.  I think it's more a case of a particular subset of NC Randos--the cool kids-- that would automatically know the answers to your trivia questions...  
From me:
1.  All randonneurs are "cool kids."  Otherwise, I loathe that elitist term.
2. What would be the point of readily apparent trivia questions? 
From BobB:
2. Tar Heel 200  

============================================   

From me -- the answers, originally posted to the list-serve on Aug-08: 
Bob didn't need the extra hint. 
Correct answers: 
  1. Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville (L-L-L), aka, Triple-L
  2. Tar Heel 200
  3. Kerr Lake Loop, aka, KLL 
I hope this chart will copy correctly (it looks okay as I copy it in). 
The chart is in order of the questions. 
   I've included LOMBD for kicks or whatever.
Route NameRoute #Start GroupsCompleted RidesDifferent Riders
Triple-L #83113226231
Tar Heel 200#58912232150
Kerr Lake Loop#1437424256
LOMBD#146811827134

==============================================

[Note that if one asked the same three questions, but limited the time period to only 2013 & subsequent, the answers would be significantly different.]  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Raleigh RUSA Region Brevet Trivia

Originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Jun-10-2016.

In anticipation of tomorrow's 600, here's some numerical trivia questions to contemplate: 
  • Who has ridden at least one RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire in the most different years? 
  • Hint: someone has ridden in 16 different years. 
  • Who has ridden the in the second most different years? 
  • Hint:  15 different years. 

  • Who has ridden the most RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire events? 
  • Hint:  55 events, and it isn't either of the above two answers. 
  • Who are the two people that have ridden the second most different events. 
  • Hint:  46 events, and one is the same as one of the above. 
  •  
  • What is the lowest RUSA member number to have ever completed at least one RUSA Raleigh Region event? 
  • And the name? 
Note:  if the International Randonneurs era (1983 - 1999, and yes, I have it on good authority that IR & RUSA overlapped) rides and years were included, I'd be willing to wager that the person with the most years & most events would be Alan (his first year was 1984), but the IR era information is not readily available.  
Note:  the lowest RUSA member number to have completed at least one Raleigh Region event, IR era or RUSA era, is likely #12, which belongs to Pamela Blalock.  (Pamela has completed a RUSA Highpoint Region event, but never a RUSA Raleigh Region event.  [Edit Aug-27-2017:  However, Pamela began her rando career in the 1980's doing IR Raleigh Region brevets.  Further, she was apparently the IR RBA, or whatever the "title" was then, for 1989, or maybe co-RBA -- I'm taking Pamela's word on that. (I knew this "RBA" information when I originally wrote the above, but forgot to include the information.)])

============================================

There was some back and forth as a few people guessed (or knew) the answers, but I'm currently unable to locate the appropriate emails.

============================================

Answers originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Jun-16-2016.

Who has ridden at least one RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire in the most different years?  

Answer:  Cyndy.  At least one event in 16 different years. 
Second most different years? 
Answer:  Mike O'C.  15 different years.  
Mike has been busy this year with more important stuff, and chose to ride no Raleigh brevets so far this year. 
Who has ridden the most RUSA Raleigh Region Brevets? 
Answer:  MikeD.  55 events, in 14 different years. 
Second most events? 
Answer:  Tie between Cyndy & Jerry.  47 events. 
Lowest RUSA # to have completed at least one RUSA Raleigh Region event? 
Answer:  # 25.  I'll let you look that # up on the RUSA website. 
  
Highest RUSA #? 
Answer:  # 11071.  I'll let you look that one up, too.  

Aug-02: Egypt Mtn No Detours 210

First ride on this route since last October with NO detours.
During last November's ride, we encountered a "bridge gone" situation.
I had eventually learned that the bridge replacement was planned maintenance activity.  However, the requisite information was never on the NCDOT website.  Strange.  [Photo by DaveG.]
After the above mentioned November ride, I had figured out a pretty good detour,
Which included a slight retracing from Warrenton to get to "No Bottom Rd."
Who could resist a road so named?

We, or I, used the "No Bottom detour" in January, May, and June.
The January ride had been quite tough, but provided a dividend.
The dividend being that I was able to give High Point Region RBA TonyG
A heads-up about the bridge being out, and suggested the "No Bottom detour"
To get into Warrenton for the Carolina Spring 1200.


This was also the second ever August 2nd ride on the Egypt Mtn perm.
On Aug-01-2014, LynnL and I had done the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" perm-pop,
Getting our respective P-rides in on the first likely possible date.
No blog post, but my Excel log indicates a tough outbound leg on that Oxford route,
Followed by a wind-blown homebound leg.

My Excel ride log: 
Aug 1 8448 --> Oxford 104 --> 8448   --   Oxford in-motion:  2:08:30 out, 1:54:30 back  6 am start, w/ Lynn    --    Oxford   4h15
    (That copying from the Excel log didn't work as nicely as I had hoped.)

RUSA website looks something like this:

2014/08/01 finishers=2 DNF=0
RUSA-T43248 5519 L__, Lynn Randonneurs USA / 933095 4:12
RUSA-T43249 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 4:15


We decided to do the Egypt Mtn course the next day and thus get our R-rides for the month.
No blog report, but I can assure you that we were having a great ride,
Taking advantage of overcast and some sprinkles.
Until just as we got to Bobbitt, when the bottom fell out of the sky.

Solo, I likely would have continued after the storm had passed.
But Lynn comes with nearly 0% body fat, and she was cold, and wanted to bail.
We managed to get a friend to come collect us. 

My Excel ride log:
Aug 2 8448 --> Egypt Mtn 210 --> DNF @ Bobbitt after 95.4-miles w/ Lynn, we DNF'd due to 66F & COLD rain

RUSA website looks something like this:
2014/08/02 finishers=0 DNF=2


You may be wondering what the above has to do with the Aug-02-2017 ride.
Answer:  not much.
But I felt like writing it.  Or typing it.  One of those.


Okay, then, I'll type something about the August 2nd ride:
Biker Bob, or more recently known, at least in PacTour circles, as NC-Bob, 
And I set out on time, 0600.

Wait, I just had a thought:
In PacTour circles, Bob might be better known as "Retta's other half."

Bob told me, late last year I think it was,
That when he and Retta registered for a week at the 2017 Arizona Desert Camp,
Susan had sent the monthly PacTour email with a particular prominent heading:
"Retta Is Coming!"

I've teased Bob a couple times that it seems, PacTour wise, he is superfluous.
He laughs, or least smiles, when I do that. 

Anyway, nothing special about/during the ride for the first half.
No flats, no long waits for traffic lights, no nothing special.
The loaner bike and I seemed to be getting along pretty well.
Loaner bike:  all the components are mine from the Trek Pilot 5.0;
The only loaner parts being used are the frame and fork -- but that's the main parts, right?

We went to the Subway in Warrenton for lunch, 'cuz that's where Bob wanted to stop.
Similar to other recent rides, we took quite a long time for lunch.
35 or 40 minutes during which we solved all the great problems of the world.
RUSA world, that is.
Well, maybe just North Carolina rando world.
Some may laugh / will laugh at characterizing 35 or 40 minutes as a long time,
But I suspect that they ride faster than I do. 

Leaving Warrenton, there was no detour.
I don't recall what happened on the long climb on MLK, Jr. Blvd,
But by the time we got to Vicksboro, about nine miles after Warrenton,
I know I was lagging behind on climbs.

The lagging got worse after the afternoon Epsom control.
On the steep climb on Dick Smith Rd,
The end of the derailleur cable was brushing my calf on every pedal stroke.
Very annoying!
I toughed it out until the climb was completed,
Then stopped and bent the cable so that it would not make contact with me
When it in the 30-tooth chain-ring.
The derailleur cable brushing / hitting my calf is not unique to the loaner bike,
It happened every time a new cable was installed on the Pilot. 

Before this ride, I had NEVER walked up any part of the steep climb
On Green Rd after crossing the Tar River.
But on this ride, I did.

I don't know if heat had gotten to me, or
If the loaner bike isn't quite set up correctly and prematurely wears out my legs, or
If I'm just too far out of shape --
[Probably the latter is the main cause]
I struggled to finish the ride.

Bob just pedaled on as if on a 30-mile around the park ride.
Of course.

Whatever -- we finished the ride.
That's my story, and I think I'll be sticking to it.
Respective R-series intact if:
  1. Dean approves Bob's July "Lookin' Out My Back Door," and 
  2. Mike approves my July "Showdown in Black Creek."  
=========================================
Rando results:
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Warrenton & Egypt Mountain / 1444 210 2017/08/02 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T74031 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  12:00
RUSA-T74032 6985 R__, Richard A Cape Fear Cyclists / 933040  09:21
RUSA-T74033 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  12:00


Oh, yeah, Wilmington Rick started with us,
But he rode off into the rising sun somewhere in the first 3-miles.
[I know nothing about how his ride went, except his finish time.]
  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jul-26: Black Creek 201

In June, a Facebook memory from 2-years prior popped up.
I had posted on FB about Bob and I bailing on doing BC when the high temp was forecast to be ~ 100.
When the memory thing popped up, I commented that I wouldn't do BC in June,
But maybe in July.

After the FB memory popped up, I had a couple good rides (consult previous posts), but
More importantly, the mostly stripped threads on the rear derailleur hanger gave out.

So, blah, blah, blah (see posts since July 9th), I'd be doing Black Creek on a loaner bike.
I decided I'd rather tackle the route solo than have to deal with others,
Probably not riding at the pace I'd need to ride,
Probably not wanting to pause for tweaks to the steed.


I had not done the Black Creek route since August-2014 -- that's 35 months.
Neither had anyone else done the route in that time-frame.
Partially because people prefer some of the newer routes,
Partially because of life and LIFE surrounding the route-owner.

Anyway, the route-owner and I arranged a paperwork exchange
And scheduled my solo adventure for a 6 am start on the 26th.


I didn't get the loaner bike back from my wrench until the day before the ride,
So there were still some tweaks I needed to make that night / the next morning.
One of those being getting the headlamp that had worked perfectly the night before
To work the morning of the ride.

So, as has often been the situation on this course, I started late.
Approximately 35 minutes late.


Forty-five or fifty minutes into the ride, approx 19 or 20 kms,
I was transiting Youngsville.

But I need to back up a bit.
The big traffic contributor between US-1 and Youngsville used to be
The huge church complex on Holden Rd.
However, now, or at least in the near future,
The main traffic originator is or will be the several housing developments
Already partially developed on Holden Rd.

Okay, back to transiting Youngsville,
I was surprised by the west-bound backed-up traffic in downtown Youngsville.
All the way from the light at US-1A to the light where NC-96 turns south.

The unexpected level of traffic continued for most of the next seven miles on Tarboro Rd.
The vast majority of the traffic was headed west whereas I was eastbound, but
The westbound traffic volume frequently / always affected
The ability of eastbound motor vehicle traffic to pass me.

All in all, I concluded that I can no longer recommend the Black Creek route
For a weekday 6 or 7 am start.
[Starting at 8 on weekdays has previously been a bit problematic 
Because of Wakefield High School located 1-km from the start.]


After Tarboro Rd and the two miles on NC-98, meaning after the turn onto Strickland Rd,
Traffic was in-line with what I recalled from the fourteen previous rides on this route.
After all, the route does pretty much go through "no where,"
With some nice-looking farms and homesteads,
But also some that have seen better days, and
Some that have been abandoned.


I may have mentioned above that I've never needed the cue sheet on this route,
Since the first time I rode it.
I know the roads and the turn when I get to them, but
I don't pay much attention to the name(s) of the road(s).

This ride, at approx the 60.5-mile-mark, about 2-miles before the turn-around,
I had to stop at the T-intersection and wait for traffic.
Only a few seconds, but for the first time that I can recall,
I actually noticed the name of the road onto which I was about to turn.
I decided to take a photo.
I never heard of, nor met, "Fixie Pixie" until 2013.  So, the only time I might have looked at the cue sheet for this turn, my first "Black Creek" ride in October-2010, the name of the road would not have popped-out at me.  But waiting for traffic, I noticed the name of the road and decided to take a photo -- hey, sometimes when riding solo, one doesn't need much of an excuse to pause and take a photo.  That Blalock family must have been quite prodigious -- there are Blalock Roads seemingly everywhere in central and eastern North Carolina.  To complete the vignette, the Mangums were also apparently prodigious as there are also Mangum Roads everywhere.  [Photo by me.] 

1.3-miles on the above-noted Blalock Rd, and a "zig" on US-117:   
Welcome to the Town of Black Creek, which has been around for quite awhile, by USA standards.  The town has seen better days economy-wise, and downtown (no pic) is pretty much a ghost-town these days.  (I think MikeD wrote about that once on "Research Trailer Park," or at least commented on it -- okay, I took a few minutes to search out a couple Black Creek ghost references -- click here for the other one, and skim the article, but definitely read the second comment to the blog post.)  [Photo by me.] 

Speaking of ghost towns and more or less abandoned storefronts:
Crappy, up-close photo of the door of the "business" previously known as "Black Creek Grocery."  The ownership has changed since MikeD created the route, the name of the store may have changed but I'm not sure 'cuz I didn't see any business name on the storefront.  Apparently the store is still in business, but was closed this day.  Also, looking through the window(s) at the insides, a dozen randonneurs might well completely clean this place out of merchandise.  I got my card signed at the City Hall -- the clerk told me that this store definitely seems to be on its last legs, but there is a Family Dollar store that is supposed to be coming to Black Creek the Fall.  Based on where the clerk indicated the Dollar store is supposedly to be located, the route might lose a half a kilometer each way, maybe a bit more, if one controlled there.  [Photo by me.] 

There had been no noticeable breeze the first three or more hours of my ride.
And after that, all the way to Black Creek, there may have been a very slight, mostly headwind.
I expected the breeze to pick up on the way back and to be a mostly tailwind.
Ha!!!
The breeze did pick up, seemingly both variable and mostly a headwind.
Ugh!!


I don't recall exactly where I encountered the immediately below, but 
Clearly, some folks were not having the best day.
Required turn appears to have been somewhat tighter than someone was expecting.  [Photo by me.]

The day was the least hot day in more than a week,
But even so, I may have become a bit over-warm,
Or maybe the loaner bike is a bit heavier and sluggish than my bike was,
And/or the fit needs some tweaking,
And/or I'm just not in good shape,
Perhaps aggravated by a breeze that was mostly in my face.

Anyway, my average in-motion pace slowly declined during the afternoon.


There is at least one new store on the route:
At US-401, there is a new(ish) Family Dollar store.
I stopped there on the return to get a cold drink.
Note that most gas-station / convenience stores are better stocked for rando purposes
Than are Family Dollar stores.


I finished the route, and if Mike approves the paperwork,
This ride will mark my renewed R-7.
I expect to complete my fourth R-12 in December.
IF I stay focused.
Which focus I lost in 2014 after getting to R-10 (after missing a month after R-41).

Since 2014, I haven't given much thought to maintaining the R-series.
I know I can get through them, even when in poor shape.
But I need to commit to getting back to where I rip off three or four R-rides in a month,
Including at least back-to-back 200's ("double-double" as JayJay referred to such).
(My work schedule is unlikely to allow a repeat of my 2011 "triple-double," but
I'd like to get to the point where I believe I could do a triple-double and
Still not be completely fatigued.)

I was certainly fatigued at the end of this Black Creek ride.
Locals may well understand:
There is a short but very steep ramp to get up to NC-98 at approx the 122-mile-mark.
On this ride, I took one look at that ramp, and
Dismounted and walked up it (I've done that before).

Well, I guess I should stop here, but not until after I type the following:
That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.
======================================
xxxyyyzzz 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Flashback -- Aug-06-2015

Flashback memory from Aug-06-2015 from Facebook: 

Woohoo!  104k "Oxford" pop this morning with the usual ride partner.  Seemingly virtually effortless.  Started very easy, never seemed to pick it up (except for one outbound stretch when I was deep in thought and the bike picked up the pace all on its own), 2h04 in-motion outbound, 2h00 in-motion inbound for me.  (The official elapsed time might look a bit slow since we started about 7 minutes late due to headlight issues and managed to time 2 outbound stop-lights wrongly, and had to wait for traffic at several spots outbound and inbound.) 
 
Woohoo-squared!  That usual partner only put 6 minutes into me in the final 13.5-miles.  (She usually puts 7 minutes into me -- LOL.)  Anyway, 6 minutes behind today, but I was faster on Bruce Garner / New Light than usual this year (with no effort), fastest UP Ghoston this year by a minute (with seemingly no effort), UP Peed at 7.5-8 mph instead of 5-5.5 mph (with very little effort).

Finished.  Showered.  Eaten.  Relaxed.  NOT tired.  Woohoo-cubed!

Things were much better two years ago cycling wise for me, and just plain all-round for that usual partner.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jul-15: Test and Adjust 104

My previous ride saw the demise, at least temporarily,
Of the only road bike I've ever owned.
[Well, full disclosure, I did purchase a Pilot 1.2 in early December 2016. 
Rode that bike four times totaling 112.8-miles Dec 6th thru 15th. 
But traded that bike in the afternoon of the 15th, for the Pilot 5.0. 
First ride on the Pilot 5.0 was 56.4-miles on the 16th. 
I recall that ride, approx 50-53 degrees F all ride, NO wind. 
A little chilly when in motion, 
But when stopped in the sunshine, very nice.]  

Anyway, while I consider whether to fix the Pilot 5.0 or acquire a new (probably used) bike, 
IvaHawk has loaned me his old aluminum Raleigh R600
That was just hanging around in his garage going unused.

We met for a ride to test out the potential of the loaner bike.
Doing the easiest / flattest perm-pop in the north Raleigh stable,
The "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km.

The first several miles were definitely not pleasant.
I was using "rat-cage" pedals instead of clipless,
Which resulted in the feeling that I was pedaling with my toes
Instead of the middle (or forefront) of my feet.

The seat-post was at the wrong height,
And it took until mile ten to get that sorted out.

All-in-all, I came to fully realize the travails that a newbie adult cyclist faces.
I've been riding a bike that fits me,
With handlebars that I like and were set to a proper height.
With handlebar tape that I like, and
With brake-shifters located where I like them, and
Shift dynamics with which I was familiar.

All of that on the loaner bike was "wrong", or
At least not to my liking.

It was easy to understand why so many give up after just a couple or a few rides.


Finally, as noted above, at about the 10-mile mark,
I got the saddle to the right position, or
At least an acceptable one.

The biggest issues I had after that were:
Whenever I would come to a stop, I would try to twist my foot to unclip.
That works for clipless pedals, useless for "rat-cages".
The first time I properly pulled my foot backward out of the cage was at the turn-around.

My right heal has always come close to scraping the right crank.
In fact, if you look at that crank arm, you'll see that some material is obviously missing.
Sixty-two thousand miles, perhaps 17 to 20 million pedal-strokes,
Many, or maybe only a couple million,
Just barely brushing the side of the heal of the shoe against the crank arm.
Not enough to ever notice, but enough to create the indentation.

Wearing former running shoes with wide heal bottoms,
The shoes kept banging into the crank.
Annoying.  Irritating. 
I finally was able to modify my position or my stroke to stop that, but
That may have contributed to my discomforts. 

Despite the difficulties and many pauses to make saddle adjustments outbound,
At some point on the homeward bound leg,
I realized that I had gotten things adjusted to the point where
I was comfortable and enjoying the ride.

Enjoying the ride sufficiently enough to decide to
Transfer the components from my Pilot 5.0 onto Iva's machine, and
To use said machine while I figure out and acquire a "permanent" solution.

========================================
Official rando results: 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2017/07/15 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T73538 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:52 
RUSA-T73539 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:52 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx