Saturday, July 13, 2019

Apr-06: Raleigh Region 200 km Brevet


Unlike two weeks earlier, when I had not gotten off from work until 9 pm Friday night,
My work shift was completed at 1 pm early Friday afternoon.
That gave me eight additional hours of recovery time.
And those hours might make the difference between tired, achy legs, and fresher-feeling legs.

I had not done a 200 in March.
As I told Bob near the end of the 7-Cs ride two weeks earlier:
He has a significant R-series to "protect."
I don't.
And although I have gotten to R-10 and R-11 since giving up my "original" R-series after 41,
December weather and work have gotten in the way, and
More importantly, I don't "worry" about it anymore.
[I still USUALLY try to keep the P-series going. 
After all, populaires only take half a day and can be completed if not really in shape.] 

This year, 2019, although having no grand randonnee aspirations,
I did have the goal of completing the Raleigh Region Super Randonneur Series.
Something I've only accomplished twice.

My recent 200's, brevets and/or permanents, had been tough slogs.
Or, even when not slogs, had been quite slow.
  • January, the High Point Natty Greene 200, had taken 12h40.  I had, however, not felt as badly at the finish as I had typically felt throughout 2018, probably because of taking three 30-minute control stops with Harvey. 
  • February, the "Egypt Mtn" 210-km permanent, had taken 12h39. 
I was expecting another 12 hour slog.

Cycling Commute to the Brevet

Usual commute ride to Morrisville, via
  1. North Hills Mall
  2. Cameron Village
  3. NC State
  4. the NC State Fairgrounds, (that is more  interesting at 6 am on a Saturday morning, as vendors are lining up to get into the Fairgrounds for the (almost) every Saturday Flea Market), and 
  5. through Cary
Sorta' nearly flat (by north Raleigh standards), with only one climb of note:  St. Mary's Rd after descending to Beaverdam Creek on Lassiter Mill Rd (the road / street changes name when it crosses the creek, or quite near the crossing, anyway).  Two things about that commute route:  (a) only do that EARLY in the morning or LATE at night, and (b) there is a nice zipping decline from Cary to Morrisville to complete the commute (except for the half-to-three-quarters-of-a-mile from NC-54 to the brevet ride start).
A comment on that "zipping decline" -- a few or several years ago, after passing Weston Parkway, there were almost no buildings on the north side of NC54 until crossing Crabtree Creek; it felt as if one was in the middle of a rural area; however, nowadays, there are buildings, with businesses, most of way down that decline.  It was more mentally relaxing when it felt rural.  However, I've now done this commute ride enough times that I now realize that my pre-ride commute is almost done, and I've managed to adjust mentally to that positive thought.  I'd still rather have the calm mental feeling that I got from the seeming rural decline.

I did not press the pace and completed the 19.9-mile commute in 1h24 in-motion.
That works out to an average of 14.1-mph.
Calm enough.  Not much unnecessary expenditure of energy.
And I recall I arrived half-an-hour before the ride start.

The Brevet Itself

First, an embed of the RWGPS course map:

Although we ride the same 200k brevet course every year, almost every year there is a new detour around bridges being re-destructed or (one year) a sink-hole!  I happen to know that the guy that makes the maps for Alan's brevets likes to maintain the integrity of the maps for each year.  However, this year, the route was virtually the same as in (?) 2012, and when the map-guy went to save the map for 2019, he goofed up and forgot to click "save as NEW," so the maps embedded or linked in previous posts for 2012 and 2013 now are not entirely correct.  Oh, well.  Guess I need to have a talk with the map-maker guy.  [Should be easy enough "conversation" -- after all, I am the map-maker guy.  Sigh.] 
Before the start of the ride, I had chatted with TommyB #12772, so I knew that his friend Greg had been injured and would not be riding, and I also knew that Tommy wanted to ride with me.  Okay.  Someone to ride with.

I also thought that Ricochet #6628 would be a likely ride partner.

Somehow I knew that AmyG #12124 was also doing the brevet.  (I recall that Amy had responded to Alan via the NC-rando-list-serve, so I'm pretty sure that is how I knew she was riding.)  I had looked up her previous results and figured that she might also be a ride partner.  
I dropped the fast-crew off my front wheel just after two miles.
Tommy was with me.
Amy was riding with the fast-crew. 
Ricochet was riding with the fast crew.

I recall a time when Ricochet chastised me for sticking with the fast-crew too long. 

Hmmn, I thought I had typed something similar to the following, but I apparently skated over it: 

At about 25 or 26 miles into the ride, Ricochet came up alongside me, and asked, rather sardonically, "so, we're riding with the big guys now?"  I replied that I wanted to have a quick chat with Joel, and after that we would drop back to a more sustainable pace.  Then when I was chatting with Joel, something I had never done because I had never been close enough during a ride to chat with him -- and I have never been close enough again since that moment back in 2011, I saw Lynn just ahead, with no one riding next to her, so I said to Joel, "well, I'm gonna' go chat with Lynn for a moment; that ought to confuse about half the group."  (The reason it would confuse some in the group is that Lynn and I were divorced from each other, and had been for a couple years.) No idea if anyone in the group was confused. 

[I do know that at the year-end 2011 party, talking to GeofS, he was describing riding with Lynn, and I would say "yes, I know" after each of his observations.  The confusion on Geof's face because he did not understand how I could possibly know about Lynn's characteristics (since she was a much faster cyclist than me) became more and more obvious.  Finally, I asked Geof, "you do know that Lynn and I used to be married to each other, don't you?"  He didn't.  So, certainly, six months before the party, during that 2011 six-hundred-brevet, he would not have known that there might be a reason to be confused by me riding next to Lynn and engaging in something akin to a conversation.]

Anyway, back to this year's 200 instead of the 600 from eight years ago.

Tommy and I continued riding letting the fast-crew go.
Tommy lives right on the course, just after 20+ miles,
And he made a quick side-trip into his house to pick up some fresh cold fluids
While I soft-pedaled on.

I figured I would be near the turn off Parker Herndon Rd onto Hamlets Chapel Rd.
At approx the 23-mile mark before Tommy caught me up.
Instead, he was back with me before the turn onto Parker Herndon,
Less than a mile after his detour at his abode.
That informed me that Tommy had a lot more in the speed-tank than I did.

Somewhere near Parker Herndon Rd, Ricochet "caught" us.
He had let the fast-crew go and drifted back, waiting for us.
Looked like it would be three together for the final 100-miles.

Ricochet and Tommy got ahead of me on the repeating down-and-ups
Of Hamlets Chapel / Jones Ferry Rd.
But not so far that I had let them go.
I figured I'd regroup with them, repeatedly, on the downhill sections.

However, at Frosty's, just before the 29-mile mark, Ami was in the Frosty's parking lot.
Apparently waiting for us.
Ricochet called out to Ami to join us.

Next thing I knew, just a quarter or half-a-mile later,
I realized that Ricochet, Tommy, and Ami were riding just that pedal-stroke faster than I wanted to do.
So I let them go.
Perhaps I thought I might eventually catch them.
I'm not sure.

But a nice thing for me happened after I decided to let them go.
I was now riding IN MY PACE, and not in somebody else's slightly faster pace.
I settled in, making decent progress.

To keep this post to a reasonable length, I'm going to copy in the text of an email that I sent to HH when trying to convince him to ride the 300 brevet so that he could continue some advancement toward riding a Series and ultimately PBP (now HH is targeting 2023 instead of 2019 as was his original plan).  
Backing off the pace, soft-pedaling the whole way, averaging about 13-mph, gets the job done.  I averaged approx 13.3-mph while in motion last week on the 200, yet I finished in 10h21, the lowest elapsed time for a 200 brevet or a "200" perm since October 2015.  

How did I do that?  I kept the control stops to reasonably short times.  10-minutes at Snow Camp outbound (which is pretty amazing given that there were 20+ riders there at the same time from some Gran Fondo); 14-minutes at Snow Camp inbound (as I agonized for a minute or more about what to get to eat, what ice cream treat to get, and then sat on the bench and reasonably slowly consumed said treat); 28-minutes at the Siler City turn-around (but that included an extra 12-15 minutes chatting with Mike O'Connor who was manning the control).  No other stops -- well, outbound, just before getting to Snow Camp, I had to stop on the side of the road for about 5-minutes to let an excitement-induced cramp release / muscle relax. 
The above email text, encapsulates everything I "need" to write, er, type regarding this brevet. 
Except for the following: 
I was so happy to finally finish a 200 in under 10-and-a-half hours, and 
If I had done a reasonably shorter stop at the turn-around control, 
I would have come pretty close to a 10-hour finish.

Cycling Commute Post-Brevet

I spent a little more than hour chatting with RBA Alan after completing the brevet.
Making some plans for the future.
Of course drinking a welcome home-brewed beer.
Probably a "Belgian" -- Alan would recall; I usually forget which option I chose.
The final act of the visit was helping Alan put things away.

Then I headed for my abode by the flatter westerly route that I use.
I didn't do that route in morning because the above described easterly route has more city lights,
Which help with seeing the roadway.
(There is, or was, some road construction on the westerly route.)

It was dark by the time I got to my abode.
I was surprised when I figured out the in-motion time for the post-brevet commute.
I thought I was riding faster than the number indicate.
I wasn't pushing, but it was a mile or more per hour slower than I thought I was riding.

Turns out that there was one more rider out on the course when I finished.
My visit time with Alan may have been partially to wait for that rider, and
To assist in a welcoming finish.
[I've checked the results for the lantern rouge finisher: 
His 13 hour time means that he finished at 8 pm. 
That was well after sunset, and close to civil twilight. 
In other words, darkness was certainly closing in on that ride. 
So far, this 200 brevet is his only completed / credited rando ride. 
Will we ever see him again. 
Frankly, I'm not hopeful.]  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mar-23: 7-Cs for Alan's 76 -- A 108-km Perm-Pop

Last year, I had the idea and put out the call to celebrate RBA Alan's 75th birthday
In a manner similar to how we celebrated his 70th birthday.
Clyde's Curious Critters Chatham County Cycling Circuit
Owner:  Raleigh RBA Alan Johnson

Thinking it a good idea to celebrate Alan's 75th birthday,
I put out a call / invite on the NC Rando list-serve and Facebook group,
To ride Alan's Perm-Pop and then share a low-key meal with Alan and the other riders.

Riders on the day:

  • BobB, #5843, 
  • me, #6218, and 
  • MikeO, #215. 

The three of us had a fun ride on a nice weather day in the middle of March.

This year, MikeO had the idea to celebrate Alan's 76th birthday.
But somehow, I ended up being assigned to put out the call for riders.
Hey, all --  

MikeO, BobB, and I are going to do Alan's 7-Cs Perm-Pop on March 23rd, with an 8 am start, as a belated birthday ride for the Fear Leader.  I reckon we'll do lunch after the ride -- lunch group includes Alan, but ride group probably not (as I understand it). 
  • if you missed the 75th birthday ride and lunch ride last year, and want to join for the belated 76th birthday ride, or
  • if you need to ramp up for Alan's Raleigh Region 200k Brevet on April 6th, or 
  • if you have no reason whatsoever, but just wanna' join what should be a camaraderie ride, 
contact Alan to arrange your paperwork exchange.
I rode from north Raleigh to the ride start in Morrisville,
Arriving to find Bob, MikeO, and Alan in the parking lot, waiting for me.

But surprise!  Mike wasn't going to be able to ride.
He had extra chores regarding his several dogs to take care of.
We let him off the hook for riding,
But maybe only because he left a contribution toward Alan's lunch.  :-O

[The historical weather almanac seems to be "down," 
So I can't confirm the weather conditions, so 
I'll just go with my memory.]

It was reasonable weather for mid-late March.
Cool but sunny, with a breeze or wind out of the NNW.
My Excel log actually notes "VERY windy, NNW."

Given the route, that was a headwind for some of the early miles, and
All of the miles after the penultimate control (Ray's Supermarket),

I had worked until 8 pm the night before, so my legs were tired all ride long.
Bob and I took a rather long stop at the first intermediate control -- Andrew's Store.
I was hoping my legs would start to come around.

The next miles to the intermediate Info Control at Clyde's weren't the easiest miles I've ever ridden.
But we had agreed to not take too much time at said Info Control.
Clyde's place was looking a bit worse for wear,
Instead of being the stellar looking place it had been a few years prior.
[I later heard that Clyde may have had to move into a nursing home / long-term care facility. 
Don't know for sure if that is true, but it seemed logical.]

We continued on our way to Pittsboro.
Just keeping the pedals going around.
I tried to force my legs to perform better on the section between Pittsboro and Ray's.
I figured that with a tailwind, it would be "easy" to pick up the pace and
Get the legs to come around.
Nope.  Didn't happen. 
The legs didn't start to feel better, and the pace was still rather slow.
I kept forcing my legs to work, looking forward to sitting at the outside table at Ray's
No luck on that table front, either.
Two "locals," one at each table, were sitting facing each other,
With the two tables between them.
Yes, I'll type it:  hogging both tables.
And each was busy smoking.
Making the entire atmosphere extremely less than I had hoped for.

We left Ray's for the last 24 or so miles of the course.
My legs wishing they were doing something else.

Bob, by the way, had been patient the entire ride.
He was in good shape having done a PacTour Desert Camp week in late February.
    ( Bob's blog report(s) from Arizona. )

We called Alan with about 10-miles still to ride.
From Wilsonville, if I recall correctly.

Alan met us at the finish.
Then the three of us walked from Bob and Alan's vehicles to the Mexican cafe.
I'm not sure which of Alan and me walked more gingerly across the lot.
My legs hurting from late work and riding, Alan's legs a bit wobbly from his recent LIFE activities.

I was quietly wondering to myself how I could handle Alan's April 200-km brevet
Given how badly my legs had just performed on the much shorter populaire. 
Regardless of such thoughts, and more importantly, we enjoyed a lunch together.

I'm wondering if there will be any chance to get more people to come out next year,
For Alan's 77th birthday.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Feb-06: Egypt Mtn 210

It's not how much gear you have with you;

It's whether or not you have the piece of gear that you need.

Bob and I set out upon our most frequent go-to Permanent:
"Warrenton and Egypt Mtn," a 210-km trip.

We started at 0600, which meant 40 or 45 minutes riding in the dark,
But also that meant getting away from north Raleigh before most of the morning traffic.
And might mean finishing comfortably in daylight at the end of the ride.

It was an unusually warm day for early February.
The temperature at 0600 was in the lower 60s.
The high temp, middle 70's, slightly lower the further north one was, at about 10 am.
Thereafter, the temperature slowly, ever so slowly declined, being mid-60's when we finished.

Accompanying those unusually warm temperatures,
There was a stiff SW or SSW wind, 10 to 20 mph, all day.
Well, once the wind "woke up" after around 9 am.
Mostly a tailwind outbound.
A stiff headwind for most of the second half of the ride. 

Just as we reached the turn off Tower Rd onto Jones Chapel Rd, 74.7-miles into the ride,
Bob was suddenly looking down at his cassette, or so it seemed to me.
Turned out he was looking at his rear wheel because it was going soft on him.
We pulled over at / after the turn, and Bob began to investigate the problem.
[I tried to use a google-street-view here, but the yellow-man has not been to that corner.] 

Turned out that the problem was that his rim tape has slipped inside the rim,
Or deteriorated to the point of no longer being useful for protecting the inside of the tube.
Who carries spare rim tape?
Not Bob.
Not me.
This could get "interesting."

Suddenly, I realized that I had a roll of black electrical tape with me.
Voila, acceptable rim tape substitute.
I watched in awe as Bob quickly strung the electrical tape in place as if rim tape.
We were soon on our way on Jones Chapel Rd and the rest of the course.

I was thinking that this was also the ride where my rear tyre developed a problem
At about the 103-mile mark.
But upon reflection and investigation,
That flat tyre experience was on the Sep-06-2018 Egypt Mtn ride.
I can no longer keep straight what happened when.
[I should share this with Dean #4070.
He could remember incidents, but couldn't remember when or who was with him.
And sometimes he couldn't recall onn which route an incident occurred.
Riding the Tar Heel 200 fifty-two times will do that.
Riding Lookin' Out My Back Door fifty-two times will do that.
And, most especially, riding Get 'er Dunn 314 times will do that.]

This made the 34th time I successfully completed the Egypt Mtn route.
I have one DNF on the Egypt Mtn course -- Aug-02-2014 -- apparently I never blogged that ride.
A cold downpour hit Lynn and me just before we got to Bobbitt, 89.5-mile mark
We sheltered at the Bobbitt store for about an hour. 
The temperature dropped considerably. 
Lynn did not want to continue. 
Lt. Dave, whom we talked into coming to rescue us, told us it was good we chose to DNF. 
He had encountered many flooded roads getting to us. 
I recall that in the Summer 2014, we had to use a detour. 
The "pipe-stem" connecting bridge was undergoing re-construction. 
So Bobbitt was actually at the 93.4-mile mark that day. 
Modified route that day:   

This made the 13th time that Bob successfully completed the Egypt Mtn route.
Flat tyre.  Unlucky 13th time?
I don't believe in that.
I'm pretty sure Bob also does not believe in that.
Oh, btw, this made R-110 for Bob.

The headwind on the return slowed our in-motion pace.
Me being out of shape, of course I was out of shape, slowed our in-motion pace.
And the extra time dealing with Bob's flat tyre slowed our elapsed time.

--> Egypt Mtn 210 ; 136.5-miles; 10h43 in-motion; 12.7 mph; EM rando elapsed time:  12h39

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Warrenton & Egypt Mountain / 1444 210 2019/02/06 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T87538 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 12:39
RUSA-T87539 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 12:39

Feb-02: Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh 109

I wasn't going to blog this ride, but I thought of an amusing angle.

If you are reading this, you may realize that I have quite substantial memories of my Jan-05 brevet.
You may also realize that I recall very little of my Jan-23 perm-pop.
And continuing the trend, I recall nothing of this Saturday ride, with its 0800 start time.
Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Looking at my Excel log, we used the standard route at the beginning and to finish.

And coming in the flattest way, Six Forks to Strickland to the shopping center,
Certainly suggests that I wanted to avoid the extra climbs of a Honeycutt finish.

The Excel log also notes that Bob and I ate lunch at Fireside Subs after the ride.

And then I rode the half-mile to my abode.
Coasted more like it, since there is a gentle down-slope the entire way.
--> R-B-R 109, with Strickland start and finish --> ; 68.8-miles; 5h11 in-motion; 13.3 mph; RBR rando elapsed time:  5h42

Jan-23: Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh 109

When Lynn and I created this route, for Lynn to be the route owner,
We absolutely knew that Strickland to Six Forks was shorter
Than using any part of Honeycutt Rd.
We KNEW that.
So I never plotted out the mileage, etc. using Honeycutt.

However, Lynn did comment that if we found Six Forks to Strickland to have too much traffic,
We would just make a safety detour.
I was likely thinking Ghoston to Peed to MVC to Norwood -- adding distance and climbing.
Lynn may have been thinking Honeycutt.

So, the submitted and official R-B-R routing uses Strickland and Six Forks,
Outbound and homeward bound.

I have since discovered that riding the entire length of Honeycutt Rd,
Then Possum Track to Six Forks
Is exactly the same distance as riding Strickland to Six Forks.
[Exact meaning within they each round to 67.8-miles.]
I have also discovered that using a (usually) finishing combination
Of Six Forks to Durant to Honeycutt adds only 0.1-miles to the route.
And by-passes one of the Honeycutt climbs.
And also passes by the home of another north Raleigh RUSA member.
[That last can be handy for doing a front porch paperwork exchange.]

By the way, for those that are convinced that RWGPS provides good climbing estimates:
Take a look at the profiles of the three routes embedded above.
Then look at the supposed climbing of each route.
To help with your examination, note that the first 62.9-miles of each are exactly the same route.
Do you still think that RWGPS offers up an accurate estimate of climbing?  All the time?

Anyway, enough background.  On to the ride report.

Bob and I started our ride at 0800 on a Wednesday.
I knew that Strickland and then Six Forks would be trafficey,
So we started using the Honeycutt Safety Detour.

We used the sidewalk to avoid getting on Falls of the Neuse Rd during rush-hour,
Then cut through the gas station at the Honeycutt corner.
We had chicane our way through cars stopped on Honeycutt, waiting for the stop-light.
Bob did not like cutting between the stopped cars.  Not at all.
I also didn't care for doing that' but I was sure the cars were not moving and there was plenty of space.

Then, on the downslope away from Falls of the Neuse, we claimed the lane.
The upslope lane was filled with a line of cars.
If we had tried to ride along the fog-line of our down-sloping northbound lane,
There would not have been sufficient room for cars to safely pass us.
Half-way down the decline, there were no more up-slope southbound cars,
So cars behind us were able to safely pass.
However, I reckon I'll avoid future 0800 RBR starts -- I don't want to temp traffic too often.

After riding the entire length of Honeycutt Rd, and making the quick cut on Possum Track,
We turned onto Six Forks Rd, rejoining the submitted, official route.
I asked Bob to check his cycle computer for the distance ridden vs. what is on the cue sheet.
He reported that they were the same.
RWGPS is very good at getting the distance correct.

I recall nothing from the middle 58 miles.
It must have been a pleasant day.
After all, the weather history almanac for RDU airport indicates that
The temp at the beginning of the ride was in the low to mid-60's, and
That the temps during most of the ride were in the upper-60's to lower-to-mid-70's.

My Excel log indicates 22-minutes at the Berea control, and
Another four minutes (two minutes, twice) of stoppage / pauseage time elsewhere en route.

The plan when we started was to ride the entire length of Honeycutt for the finish routing.
But my Excel log indicates that we used Six Forks to Durant to Honeycutt to get to the finish.
I told Bob that the reason was so that I could point out someone's house.
A someone that was committed to going to PBP, and
That maybe it would be good for Bob to know where that someone lived,
In case Bob ever gathered there to "car"-pool with that someone.

That was my excuse.
There was another reason:
I recall feeling rather worn out, and wanted to eliminate at least one of the Honeycutt climbs.

More proof that I was tired at the end?
I let Bob give me a lift from the finish at the shopping center to my abode.
That's all of half-a-mile.  With a gentle down-slope.

Not much of a story, but it is mine, and I'll be sticking to it.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh / 2818 109 2019/01/23 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T87187 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:36
RUSA-T87188 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:36

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jan-05: "Natty Greene 200"

[At least I'm in the same year now.]

On the drive from north Raleigh to Greensboro, Harvey commented that we were in for a tough ride,
As there was, according to RWGPS, slightly over 7000 feet of climbing on the route.

I responded that we were lucky that Tony had decided to use the "Natty Greene" route
Instead of the "Sedalia - Danbury" route.

Harvey refuted that!
He had the "Natty Greene" route loaded on his GPS device and
There was a lot more climbing than the previous 200-km brevets he had done, and
Also more climbing that any of the "200" km permanents he had done.
[Without checking the results to confirm: 
I recall that Harvey's previous 200-km brevets were:
  • a very flat 200 out of Lumberton, NC in early 2017, and
  • a hilly 200 out of Salisbury (but significantly less climbing than the "Natty Greene"). 
And the "200" perms, while hilly enough, were much milder than the "NG": 
  • "Road to Hicksboro," and 
  • "Warrenton and Egypt Mtn."] 
Although Harvey didn't accept my "analysis," I am glad that we were doing the "NG" route, even though I  had never before ridden it, instead of the "Sedalia - Danbury" route as I did not want to contemplate Phillips Rd and its incline that reaches 18% at one point.  Although RWGPS indicates that the "NG" route has slightly more climbing, nothing on the "NG" approaches Phillips Rd in the steepness category.  [Some of the climbs on the "NG" were steep "enough" as it was / as we were about to experience.]

Enough background.  On with the story.
But first, the route map:  a link to Tony's RWGPS map, click here to open in a new tab.
(I'm going to risk that Tony won't completely re-purpose that map in the future,
But as insurance, here follow "hard-copies" of the route map and elevation profile.)

(Well, okay, blogger added both pics when I was trying to load only the map, to be followed by the profile, but okay, the above works.  Well, it works as well as a pic of the route might be expected to work.)

The gathering point / start location was in downtown Greensboro, next to the RR station.
Mild temperatures for January 5th.  The almanac indicates a morning low of approx 45F.
The high temp on the day was approximately 60F.
Sunny conditions all day.
But here is a strange thing about the unseasonally warm temps:
There was a strong wind out of the NW.
Look at the map:  we'd ride into that wind for the first half of the ride.
It was particularly noticeable for the nine miles after the first intermediate control,
Which was just west of Madision, NC.
Let me try again to get to the strange point about the wind:
A wind from the NW during the winter does not usually accompany 60+ degree temperatures!!
[All the almanac stations indicate that the wind was out of the WSW. 
To that, I reply, "bull hockey!"]

Being the first weekend of the ACP 2019 season
(in RUSA-land, other countries have season start / stop dates different than RUSA has),
Combined with the mild weather conditions,
There was a good turn-out for the brevet.
Official results indicate 30 riders, 28 of which finished.
I looked at the results:
  • I know who the two DNF's were, 
  • I know, or have at least met, 18 of the 28 finishers, 
  • And I've heard of one other. 
  • I wouldn't know the other nine if I fell over them.  

The plan for the day was Harvey, Bob, and me to ride together.
That worked well early on.

The entire crew was pretty much together through Greensboro, but
Things did start to sort out soon enough.
Group still within Greensboro city limits.  [photo by TonyG]

The first intermediate control was about 31-miles into the ride, just west of Madison, NC.
Interestingly, if one looks at the brevet route description on the RUSA website,
One would see that the control is supposedly at Ellisboro, which is about 26.5-miles after the start.
Perhaps Tony has made a de minimus change to the route.
Or it could be that information on the RUSA website has always been a bit suspect.
[After all, brevet route #2356, "Badgett Sisters Parkway," 
Which was created to help deal with the December Permanents suspension, 
Shows controls in Mebane and Hillsborough, but 
The route gets no closer than 5-miles from HIllsborough, and 
Doesn't come even that close to Mebane. 
Maybe the Corbett control has a Mebane address. 
The Underwood Grocery probably has a Hillsborough address, but 
No local would refer to the Underwood location as being "in" Hillsborough.] 

Anyway, there were at least ten of us, maybe twelve, that left that Madison control together,
As the Lantern Rouge group,
To start the 6-mile gentle incline, into the wind, on K Fork Rd,
Which would be followed by another 4-mile gentle incline on NC-772, into the wind,
Followed by 9 flattish miles on NC-704, maybe into the wind.

Byron and Ricochet were the first to get tired of waiting at the Madison control and started riding,
I was also thinking we were wasting time, and was eager to get going, so I followed Byron + Ricochet.
Bob got behind me, and Harvey was behind Bob.
Behind them, the group included MikeD, Joel, Kevin, Tommy, Doug, Greg, DaveG, and Devaul.
[At least I think that all of those were in the group. 
I certainly know that first 6 were, but it is possible that DaveG and Devaul were well ahead, 
But later drifted back to team up with MikeD, Joel, and Kevin.]

Bryon led for a mile or two, and then pulled out of the lead.
And surprise, but not really, Ricochet pulled out with Bryon instead of taking a turn at the front.
Just as well, I suppose, since Bryon + Ricochet together are not big enough to create a usable draft.

I led for about a mile [I'm guessing], and decided to pull out and
Take advantage of the draft that the big group would create.
I drifted back, leaving Bob in the lead, followed by Harvey.
But then, there was a huge hole that was being made by the immediately following riders.
So, I pulled in behind Harvey.

Bob is a dependable rider, but this day, at this location, it seemed that he picked up the pace.
After another mile or so, I couldn't hold the effort needed to stay on Harvey's wheel, and
Started to drift back.
The others started to come around, one by one, or maybe even two or three at a time.
I wasn't concerned; I would finally be able to take advantage of the big draft from the big group.

However, when the last of those still with the group,
Which was everyone mentioned above except for Greg, who apparently been popped off earlier,
Had gone around, I still couldn't hang on.
So I let the group go.

I wasn't worried.
I knew that I would eventually re-connect with Bob and Harvey, and
I had a cue sheet with me.
I can ride as far as needed by myself.
It would be no problem.

When K Fork Rd ended at NC-772, I couldn't see any of the others.
[I had been occasionally catching glimpses of either Bob or Harvey up the road.]
So I had to get the cue sheet out of my back pocket and figure out which way to turn.
As I was re-folding the cue sheet to put away until next needed,
Greg came riding by, apparently using his GPS for navigation, and
At that same moment, a GUST of wind blew the cue sheet from my hand and into the ditch.
Lucky for me, the cue sheet caught in the long grass of the ditch, else I would have been in trouble.

I retrieved the cue sheet, put it my pocket, remounted and started riding.
I could see Greg up ahead, and realized soon-enough that I was slowly catching him.

I did catch Greg and start to pass, thinking he might grab my wheel.
But Greg apparently wanted to chat for a bit, so we ended up riding side-by-side for awhile.
Finally, perhaps as the result of another gust of wind, or perhaps a slight tilt upward in the incline,
Greg was behind me, and I was slowly pulling ahead.

As noted in prologue, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and
I think I was enjoying my ride, wondering when I might re-connect with Bob and Harvey. and
Figuring that Greg with likely stay more-or-less within sight of me.

Then suddenly, there was Harvey pulled over into a church parking lot.
My recollection is that he had pulled over at approximately 42-miles into the ride.
That makes sense since Delta United Methodist Church is located at the 41.5-mile mark.
One thing though:  the google-street-view is not correct -- I suspect the view is outdated.
Or perhaps my memory is not quite correct.

Anyway, Harvey had pulled into the church parking lot, so I turned into the lot and stopped next to him,
"What's up, Harv," I asked.
"I'm checking to find the shortest route back to Greensboro," he replied.
"Because I'm done and need to go back," Harvey replied.
"No,  You are not done."
"Yes, I'm worn out, I can't continue."
"NO, you are NOT done.  You are not turning around. You are not quitting."
"You are going to ride with me, and you are going to FINISH this ride!!"
I was adamant.

I recall that it took at least three or four "no, you are not done, you are finishing this ride"
Proclamations from me to convince Harvey.

Then Harvey started removing his jacket and perhaps a long-sleeve jersey
Because he was now over-dressed.

Somewhere in the midst of the above, Greg had pulled into the church parking lot to join us.
I urged, no, I instructed Greg to ride on.
That Harvey would ride my pace, which was a little faster than his,
So if Greg would leave now, we would catch him up in a few miles.
Greg, perhaps reluctantly, proceeded on.

Harvey had trouble getting the clothing he had removed into or strapped onto his pannier.
So the two us didn't leave the church parking lot for several minutes after Greg.

According to Harvey, we caught Greg about 9-miles later.
Harv seemed surprised that it had taken us that long to catch Greg, but
If you give someone a 4-minute lead, and ride each mile in one-half minute faster,
It will take eight miles to catch the "rabbit."

I recall that we caught Greg a bit before crossing into Virginia.
The state line was at the 50.3-mile mark.
So Harvey's recollection seems correct, at least in a gross magnitude estimate way.

From the Virginia line to the second intermediate control at Dry Pond, VA
Was ten-and-a- half miles of quite hilly stuff.
Every upslope, Harvey and Greg would drop behind as they continued their struggles. 
[It was no picnic for me, but I can't say that I was struggling.]

The last one-third of a mile from Elk Creek up to Dry Pond
Was on a nice, wide, sunny road,
With, according to RWGPS, an incline that gets up to at least 5.4%.
That is definitely non-trivial in my book.
Harvey and Greg had dropped me off their front wheels, again, on that last climb.

I turned into the control, finding RBA Tony, newbie Tommy on his Moulton, and
Eight-time PBP finisher (I can't spell ancien) Doug at the control .
Usually, when you see Tony in the middle of the course,
Esp. if he is at or near the lantern rouge crew,
Tony is checking on the riders he doesn't know,
To see how they are doing.

I assumed that is what Tony was doing this day,
So taking a peek at where Harvey and Greg were,
I told Tony not to worry about Harvey -- I would get him to the finish.
I added that I could also get Greg to the finish -- unless his friend Tommy took on that mission.

Tony indicated that he was not at Dry Pond to check on the conditions of the lantern riders, but
I'm sticking with the thought I had when first I saw Tony in Dry Pond.

Harvey and I took half-an-hour at Dry Pond.
During that time Harvey finally ate and drank enough to get ahead or catch up
With possible slight-dehydration and slight-bonk conditions.

During that half-hour, Doug left, and then Tommy and Greg left.
We would catch-up to Greg and Tommy later, but
I never saw Doug again. Results show that Doug caught- up to some other riders.
And eight time ancien knows what he's doing.

Immediately upon leaving Dry Pond, we took a left turn onto Collinstown Rd, and
More importantly, the road tilted UP.
And Harvey, topped up with fluids and food, I couldn't keep up with him on any of the climbs
Between Dry Pond and Danbury, NC.
And in case you are wondering,
The twenty miles from Dry Pond to Danbury had more than its share of the climbing.

I labored / struggled on many climbs while Harvey sometimes seemed to be only soft pedaling.
Amazing what food and drink can accomplish.

We crossed the Dan River so many times that I lost count.
Every crossing had meant a decline to get to the river, followed by another steep climb.
Harvey took to referring to the river as Damn River -- that added some amusement.

The repeated climbing and descending did not stop even once inside the Danbury city limits.
I was beginning to think we would never get the control.
I was familiar with the control, and the first road after the control, but
I had never ridden (nor driven) on the road through Danbury to get to the control.
Every darn climb inside the city limits was more than I wanted to deal with.
Soft-soft pedaling did get me up every climb, but I was not enjoying the sensations.

A mile or two before the control, maybe less distance than that.
But there were still at least two more steep climbs, all within Danbury,
We say Greg sitting in a church parking lot off to the left of the inclining roadway.
I called out to him, "come on Greg, it's only a mile or so to the control.  Come join us."
Greg responded that he was done.
His wife had traveled from the Raleigh area to Greensboro to surprise / congatulate
Him on completing the first on the way to Paris.
But now, she was coming to rescue Greg.  He was to meet her at the Danbury control.

Tommy was still at the Danbury control when Harvey and I got there.
Greg arrived several minutes after we had.
Tommy chatted with Greg, and then Tommy took off, headed for the last intermediate control.

Harvey and I took another half-hour control stop, then we headed after Tommy.
Not that we were trying to catch him.
Not that we expected to catch him.
In fact, given our long stay at the Danbury control,
I figured that we would not see Tommy again.

Sheppard Mill Rd out of Danbury hits the legs hard.
Even RWGPS indicates that the incline gets up to 8%.
My recollection is that although I may have started up that incline ahead of Harvey,
He soon returned to climbing better than me.

After 2.2-miles on Sheppard Rd, we turned onto Pitzer Rd.
I had told Harvey that I was familiar with Sheppard Rd.
He thought I might be familiar with more of the roads ahead of us.
But the only portion of the route that I had seen previously was Sheppard Rd.

The tough rollers -- "rollers" -- Ha! -- after Danbury only last about 9-miles,
Then we were on the more-or-less continuous gentle decline to get back to Madison.
We may have also had a tailwind.
Harvey later reported that we covered the last 9-miles to the Madison control in less than 30-minutes.

While on that gentle decline, we caught Tommy.
He was no longer putting any real effort into pedaling.
We tried to get him to latch onto us, but no-go.

We got to the last intermediate control just west of Madison.
The same location as was the first intermediate control earlier in the ride.
We had only 31 more miles to cover.

Harvey wanted to get something approaching real food from the grill.
We ended up with another half-hour control stop.

While waiting for our food, Tommy arrived and joined us at the counter.
He ordered some food.
We tried to convince him to come with us -- that we would get him through the final 31-miles.
Tommy couldn't be budged from his decision to DNF.
He had contacted Greg and arranged that Greg and Greg's wife would collect Tommy at the control.

[ I next saw Tommy at the Raleigh Region 200 in April. 
I apologized to Tommy for having been so adamant and hard on him on January 5th 
When trying to get him to continue on. 

I've done enough all-ride volunteering on Taste of Carolina 1200's, 
Often shepherding lantern rouge groups, 
To know that sometimes the thing to do is to virtually throw the rider back on their bike, 
And also to know that sometimes gentle persuasion is the way to go. 
And sometimes, if the rider is a super experienced 1200 rider, all one does is 
Ask "are you sure?"  And accept the DNF/

Anyway, Tommy indicated that afterwards he had concluded that he should have finished with us.] 

It was getting dark when we left Madison.
But it must not have been completely dark because we stopped somewhere en route
For Harvey to put on his reflective gear.
I had worn mine all day, mostly unzipped, on top of my wind-breaker, also unzipped,
So all I had to do to fully reflector gear up was zip up.

For the first half of those last 31-miles, Harvey continued to be quicker up the climbs.
But the last 15 or so miles, that was reversed.
I don't know if fatigue had caught up with Harvey, or
Maybe the riding in the dark affected Harvey more than me.
I've done plenty of riding in the dark, but Harvey has not.
He was, and is, unnerved by the prospect of riding in the dark, actually riding in the dark.

The last couple miles were again in downtown Greensboro.
We caught every single stop-light on the red.
We were lucky when we got two or three blocks before having to stop again, and again, and again.

We arrived at the finish, finding RBA Tony there.
He took a photo.
He posted it on Facebook.
I may get around to "borrowing" it.
Harvey had a big smile -- he usually does.
I, as usual, looked as if I was Death, slightly warmed over.

However, as I noted to Tony, I felt better after a 200 than I had done in a long time.
Tony commented that I did appear to be slightly less done-in than I had recently.
So ... after signing the control cards, etc., Tony wants to take the usual finishers photo. 

I just put on my normal face; I know Harvey has his big smile on. 

Tony says, "Martin, smile at least a little."

I smile. 

Then Tony says, "don't overdo it."

So I de-smile a bit. 

But Tony takes enough time before actually taking the pic, that I start to mess about changing my facial expression slightly, and the above is what Tony managed to capture.

Harvey insisted that we grab some dinner before heading back to Raleigh.
He also thanked me for not letting him quit early in the day.

A note of ... something to address my possible hubris:
I may have come off during the ride,
I may have come off in the above text,
As being awfully dang sure of myself during this ride.
Too dang sure of myself.
Perhaps reaching to the level of being a jerk.

Well, I knew I would finish the ride.
And Harvey wanted to go to PBP, and
He was not going to come up short on my watch, period !!
Also, I knew that Harvey had more in him than he thought he did.

I obviously also tried to get Greg and, to a greater extent, Tommy to finish this ride.
They also wanted to go to PBP.
But whereas I've known Harvey for ten years,
I only met Tommy and Greg in August 2018, and strictly speaking, they weren't "on my watch." 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Dec-26-2018: Holiday Range Road Rover -- NOT

The Irregulars used to do a Holiday Range Road Rover every Christmas / New Year's season.
Well, most years.
Range Road Rover course embed:

For previous Holiday Range Road Rover reports, click here.

However, the "tradition" has been becoming weaker in recent years.
I had the 26th and the 29th off.
An informal and probably not very well "attended" poll of the Irregulars
Revealed that more people could attend / would attend a Wednesday-the-26th ride,
So that became the plan.

Ride would start from Pleasant Union Elementary (PUE) at 10 am.
In the event, two or three that had indicated they preferred the 26th, cancelled.
The ride became IvaHawk, Harvey, and me.
Three of the four Irregulars that are also active RUSA members.
I wonder if there is more than just a correlation there.

According to weather almanac sources,
The temperature for the ride we did was approximately 50F the entire ride.
I also looked up the wind report, but I didn't write it down and have forgotten
What I saw just three or four minutes ago.

50F at the end of December,
Following all the absolutely crappy weather that we had almost the entirety of December,
Was very nice.

Iva, Harvey, and I agreed to do a ride shorter than the Range Rover.
But I recall that we never agreed on exactly what.

Harvey had a plan, and that is what we started riding.
But I thought he had described something else,
And when I realized how short Harvey's idea was,
I started nudging for a bit longer -- I had in my mind doing my old "'TT' / cadence" course.
Embed of that route:

Harvey complained, but ... we ended up doing the "TT" course.
Except that we started from PUE,
Which is about 2.4-miles from the start indicated in the embedded map,
Thus the route was only approximately 24.1-miles.

Turned out Harvey had also made an appointment to see his dad on the 26th,
And the two events were close to overlapping.

We finished the shortened TT route in plenty of time for Harvey to make it to his dad's.
He may have set a record for getting his bike on his car's bike rack on skedaddling.

Iva and I spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting in the warm sunshine of the PUE parking lot.
Warm sunshine, and protected from the wind.

That's my short story, typed 5+ months after the fact, and I'll be sticking to it.

[For all previous blog reports on Range Road Rover rides, click here.]