Monday, April 14, 2014

Apr-08: Inaugural Bunn Wash Caper 108

The course:  (

Mick and I rode the inaugural Bunn Wash Caper on a pleasant, though mostly overcast, Spring day.
The wind must not have been much of an issue, because as I type this I cannot recall the wind effects.
However, I do seem to have a slight recollection of riding up the incline on Dunn Rd into a small headwind.
That would suggest a westerly wind on the day.

Checking the weather Almanac for Raleigh:

Just a bit of up-and-down climbing in the early miles on Mitchell Mill Rd -- wake-up, legs!
Then mostly flat with a slight loss of elevation as one joins NC Bike Route #2 for several miles.
The route leaves NC Bike Route #2 upon reaching "W. Old Spring Hope Rd."
Which occurs at a cross-roads community (of about three houses).
Or at least there is an NC-DOT green sign for a community there.
Can't recall the name of the crossroads community.
Or maybe that is a potential Info Control question.

One thing we did notice at that turn is this:
The only nuisance dawg on the whole route lives on the "inside" of the turn there.
Sort of a pug / boxer mix.
Not too tall, but tall enough to possibly nip one just above the ankle.
And fast enough, given its "inside" position, to possibly get in the way. 
Mick tried to administer some "training" -- I doubt it took.

After that we dropped down to cross the Tar River, and then climbed back up.
You can see the dip in the elevation profile on the RWGPS map linked-to above.
The first Tar River crossing is at about mile 27.6.
The road climbs about 100 feet in about 1/2 a mile.
That's standard, or even a bit less than the standard,
For roads north of Raleigh.
East of Raleigh, in the area covered by the Bunn Wash Caper route,
That 100 feet in 1/2 a mile is about as difficult as it gets.

After crossing the Tar River, we turned to go up into and through the heart of Spring Hope.
The cue sheet notes a couple c-stores in Spring Hope at mile 30.6 of the route.
There are also some places where one could grab a meal in Spring Hope.
Mick and I rode through Spring Hope without stopping;
We were thinking of a quick lunch in Bunn.

After Spring Hope, we had nearly 10-miles on 7-Paths Rd.
Now that might sound boring and wearing on the mind.
However, it was anything but that.
There are two or three turns required to stay on the 7-Paths;
All of them logical and easy to make without even consulting the cue sheet.

There were also some nice little vistas scattered along 7-Paths.
Nice vistas if one is not so foolish as to attempt to compare to mountains or other such nonsense.
Accept where you are, and accept what the location has to offer, and enjoy it.

Possibly the greatest thing about 7-Paths Rd was the lack of vehicle traffic.
As best I can recall, we encountered only two pick-up trucks during our entire time on 7-Paths.

We dealt with the Info Control at the corner of 7-Paths and Dunn roads,
And proceeded on Dunn and Mort Harris roads to Ferrell Bridge Rd.

Our lunch plans took a detour when we encountered a small country diner
At the corner of Mort Harris / Sledge Rd and Ferrell Bridge Rd.

The diner has only been in operation since about December.
At least that is what the owner / cook told us.
Country cooking.
Home cooking.
Traditional Rural Southern cooking.
Made to order AFTER we put in our orders.
Filling and tasty.
50-minutes total was the stop for lunch.

Then on to Bunn.
A couple miles on Ferrell Bridge Rd (again with no traffic), and about a mile on NC-39.
39 is wide and flat.  Not too much traffic.
However, any traffic at all seemed a lot after the complete absence we'd just experienced.

Through Bunn and onto another bit of NC Bike Route #2.
But now we were headed west.

Those that have done MikeD's "Showdown at Black Creek" Permanent
May recall Brantleytown Rd -> Old Halifax Rd, and a "bear right" onto Strickland Rd.
At that "bear right," the Bunn Wash Caper instead "bears left,"
Staying on Old Halifax Rd and opening a new road to randonneuring traffic.

A short stint on NC-98 and then 8-miles on Mitchell Mill Rd rollers to get back to the start / finish.

All in all, a nice ride on a pleasant, very low traffic route.
If you are a NC-rando living in the Triangle area, and looking for a new Perm-Pop route,
I think you can't go wrong riding the Bunn Wash Caper.
Contact Mick -- you can find his contact info by following the above link.

Monday, April 7, 2014

RUSA Member Retention

I've been a bit remiss in following up on something.  So ...
In context of, and supplementary to, my Jan-01 post,

[Apr-07, 9:30 am EDT -- now 3212.] 
 - - That is up 480 members in the last two months.
 - - - - Mostly renewals?   

The key text of the Jan-01 post was / is:
[M]embership [as of approx. 10:10 am EST] is:  "2002 Matches Found". 
It might be interesting to watch that number change over the next few days / weeks / months. 

And that was followed by a series of time-stamped edits:
[Edit, 10:26 am EDT -- now "2027 Matches Found".]
[Edit, Jan-02, 6:30 am EDT -- now "2063 Matches Found".]
[Edit, Jan-04, 4:00 pm EDT -- now 2184.]
[Edit, Jan-07, 8:00 am EDT -- now 2269.]
[Edit, Jan-10, 8:00 am EDT -- now 2363.]
[Edit, Jan-27, 6:30 am EDT -- now 2646.]
[Edit, Feb-07, 5:00 pm EDT -- now 2732.]

It might still be interesting to watch the member count change over the next few months as brevet-season hits its peak (for most of the country, anyway).  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mar-22: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 205

I was going to do my 210k Egypt Mtn route, but
Byron posted for a Triple-L adventure.

Contacting B, he agreed to let me ride if I kept to his glacial pace.
You certainly must know what happened.
Byron had to repeatedly wait for me.
While MikeD and Lynn drifted off our front wheels between each set of outbound controls.

We, okay, I finally managed to convince Mike that the two of them should just ride-on,
Without us,
As I had struggled the entire first half of the ride and the return might get quite ugly.

I admit I didn't struggle the whole ride.
Red Mill Rd outbound, and Old-75 and Red Mill inbound, were fun.

But anything with an UP or into the wind,
Were struggles for me.

Byron is an interesting ride partner.
Sometimes he is part of the fast-crew.  Sometimes not.
He is usually quite quiet.  But this ride he was quite talkative.

That latter was to my advantage.
It kept me from dwelling on my struggles,
And kept the ride interesting.

What did Byron and I (mostly Byron) chat about?
The list would include:
  • The course.
  • Previous rides on the course.
  • Ricochet Robert.
  • Geof.
  • The wind.
  • Byron's 4-year-old son.
  • Previous LIFE experiences.
  • And more.

All in all, it was a good day to have been on the bike.
Thanks, Byron.

[One of these days, I'll resume the individual ride and year-to-date stats. 
But not today. 
I will note that the ride put me over 1100 kms year-to-date, and 
I'm only 1-km behind where I was at this time last year. 
So ... if I can avoid the long bouts of not riding that plagued last year, 
I might still be able to make a run at K-Hound this year. 

That's enough for today, I need to work on the 2013 club/state stats post for the K-Hound blog.]   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mar-11: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 104

As previously indicated (good-bad-and-unexpected-102-km, 2nd half of post):
My friend, Ricochet Robert, had surgery a couple weeks ago.
Thinking he could benefit from a flat populaire to preserve his P-streak,
I suggested a pretty flat route (for north of Raleigh).
Robert was concerned that no one else would do the route.
I told him not to worry -- some would prefer a flat route for recovery,
Rather than the usual hill-fests he LOVES.

Trying to shoehorn several errands into a single day,
Mick & I decided to ride the Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf perm-pop.
I recall that Mick had only completed the Kerr Lake Loop twice,
And his non-rando stomping grounds {did not / do not} include the route's area.
Therefore, the route would be almost as if riding something completely new.

I, on the other hand, had completed KLL about 16 times,
And used to do this very route as an occasional non-rando ride.
And, to complete the story, I've ridden many other non-rando rides
That either started or ended (or both) using most of this "Oxford" route.

The route is an easy, mostly-flat route.
With only three (3) controls:  start, turn-around, finish.
[My theory on populaires and new randos is that many need to learn to get on the bike and ride. 
Not learn to get through controls. 
One learns quickly enough about controls if there is a willing teacher on one's first pop, 
And one learns VERY quickly if the group leaves one behind because one is too slow at the control.] 

It was sunny, but still chilly for the 8 am start.
[Okay, chilly by central NC, mid-March standards.]
We started 7-minutes late -- not because it was chilly.

5-kms later, we had to wait (what seemed like) 5-minutes for the light to change.

Then we putzed along for significant stretches of the route.
Mick indicated he wanted an easy ride.
And since he spoke-up first, I never had to indicate what kind of a ride I wanted.
That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.

Most of the route is rather open,
Or when not open, there are still houses within sight.
Safe "nature breaks" are hard to come by.
About 5-miles before the turn-around, Mick indicated he needed a nature break.
I replied that it was only 4-miles-or-so to the turn-around.
Mick quipped that normally that would be okay, but he had needed the break for 10-miles.
We made a slight diversion off-course to accommodate.

I'm not sure when we got to the turn-around,
And I am not inclined to check the receipts,
But I do know that we took quite a long break.
We remounted for the trip back a full 3h00 after the official start time.

By then, 11 am, it had warmed significantly, and the WSW wind was building,
A slightly quartering head-wind most of the way back.
But a direct in the face headwind on Bruce Garner Rd..

But, for me, it was wind be danged !
It wasn't a 20-mph wind, after all.
I wanted to get the ride done so that I could do the other shoehorned activities.
AND, my ride opportunities are rather limited at this time,
So I wanted to ride hard on the short distance,
To try to hold on to the remaining in-shapeness I've got.
In other words, keep the "use it or lose it" at bay for as long as possible.
[I doubt Dean would think my "plan" can work.
However, he has a more difficult time suspending his disbelief on the "use it or lose it" front.] 

Anyway, we rode somewhat hard on the homebound leg,
Finishing 2h15 after leaving the turn-around "Oxford" control. 
[Not all that fast, but we are slower than many, and it was into a bit of headwind.
There is also the three finishing climbs in the the final 9.5-kms.]

At 78 or 79 degrees Fahrenheit at the finish, it felt rather hot.
On the other hand, the higher temps have whetted my appetite for NO-more-cold-wintry-rides !!

Later, Mick commented, "the route is flat, by 'Martin standards'."
xxx, yyy, zzz

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mar-02: The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected

Before getting into the March 2nd ride, I want to note a few things about my Feb-22nd perm ride.  I had intended to put up a post about that ride, but stuff got in the way.  Anyway, ...

Feb-22:  Egypt Mtn 210-km Perm

It was a pretty good day, weather-wise, for late February in north-central North Carolina.
CHILLY at the start, though.
Lynn and I each had COLD hands almost immediately.
We paused after about 2-miles to put plastic bread-bags over each hand + lower arm.
I immediately felt the improvement of having effective wind-blocks;
I removed the bread-bags 10 or 15 miles after having put them on.
Lynn, who sometimes is affected by Raynaud's Syndrome, took longer to re-warm.
She removed her bread-bags at the first control, some 34-miles after donning them.

Thereafter, the day was pretty, but never seemed as warm as forecast.
Lynn slipped away off my front wheel on all inclines of more than 2%.
On inclines of 4% or more, she zoomed ahead as if I was anchored.
That is the same as it has always been.

As this was my first 200k ride in eight weeks, I purposefully took it easy the first half of the ride. 
[Actually, it was my first ride of more than 75-miles in eight weeks.]

When we weren't climbing, Lynn was usually tucked in behind me.
I am faster on the declines, and perhaps also on the flat.
At least I was on this day.

Lynn noted that she had no gitty-up in her legs, and
Her right leg was acting up.
Not wanting to fully extend and getting tight very quickly whenever we stopped or paused.

My lower right groin did try to cramp on the steep part of the long incline
To get to the afternoon control at Epsom.
However, I refused to let the leg cramp.
I guess I've done enough 200k-plus rando rides to have learned a few things.

About 11-miles before the finish, I suddenly realized that I needed to stop and eat some food,
Else I was going to get rather bonky in the last 10-kms with the three finishing climbs.
Lynn rode on so that her right leg would not stiffen up, again.

All in all, it was a bit tough for each of us.
But each made the best of the situation, and I think that overall,
We each enjoyed our ride.

Oh, yeah -- this was my third ever career P-1 (as I had skipped a January R-ride). 
Mar-02:  The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected 

My friend, Ricochet Robert, had surgery a couple weeks ago.
He wants to maintain both his P-series and his R-series.
Biker Bob and I think we've convinced Ricochet to do a FLAT 200 at the end of March.
Perhaps Dean's "Tar Heel 200" permanent.
Robert will have to drive to get to the start in Benson, NC.

I realized that getting him to drive to Dean's "Get 'er Dunn" perm-pop
The week before driving to Benson was decidedly not a Ricochet preference.
However, there is an excellent mostly-flat perm-pop route that has been waiting
For someone to bite the bullet and ... submit it.
Given Robert's surgery and "flat needs,"
It was time to effectuate the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 102k perm-pop.
[Click-here for a RWGPS map of the revised 104k route.] 

I decided to ride the new route and make sure everything is still copesthetic.
Here's what I found:

The Good

Except for crossing Falls Lake, the creek valley on Lawrence Rd, and the Tar River --
The route is much flatter than I recalled from many previous non-rando rides, and
Also from lotsa' finishes of the rando Kerr Lake Loop.

The surface of the bridge across the Tar River has been resurfaced.
There are no gaps between the sections and thus no need to bunny-hop one's way across the bridge.

The Bad

Cannady Mill Rd has escaped being Obamulated.
The rough surfaces of the many, LONG patches are still rough and long.
Probably rougher than in previous years ago.

There are quite a few freeze-thaw potholes that have opened up on Cannady Mill Rd.
Almost all of them on the northbound (outbound) lane.
I had to play dodge-'em in a couple places to stay on the smooth surface
Between the old rough patches and the new HOLES.

I would not be surprised if tar-snakes suddenly appeared on the entire 6+ miles of Cannady Mill Rd.

The Unexpected

The intended turn-around control,
Known to many NC-randos as the "Oxford control" on the old Kerr Lake Loop,
Is closed.
It appears the site is about to be leveled and something else constructed.
Or, maybe not leveled, but with extensive changes and something else constructed.

Either way, I've submitted a revision to the route.
Making the turn-around at the Handy Mart BP, a half-mile up US-158.
That gas station / c-store usually looked cleaner, anyway.
Often has chocolate milk whereas the Exxon never did.
And, there are a couple high-tables with stools where one can sit for a few minutes.
No such sit-options at the now-defunct Exxon.
As for the rest rooms -- you don't expect me to check out everything, do you?

The Conclusion

We now have an easy, mostly flat recovery-pop on the north side of Raleigh.
And a route that Ricochet can use for his March P-ride, without undue climbing concern.
xxx, yyy, zzz

Friday, February 7, 2014

Feb-01: Bahama Beach 103+

A long-time friend, from before either of us "cycled-about,"
Wanted to get in her P-ride on the first day of the month.
So did I.
Given the morning chill, we met at the start of the Bahama Beach perm-pop for a 10 am start. 

Brilliant sunshine for the start and all the way to first control --
An Info Control in Mt. Bethel (or in modern vernacular, Bahama).

We paused there for a moment to examine a marker in the cemetery next to the control.
For the locals, here's a hint regarding my ride partner:

Down to Lake Michie and up the "wall" on the other side.
But seeing as how my ride partner was doing her R-ride the next day,
We decided to 'wing-it' and take the Hall Rd variation (see the green part of the "trace") --
Half a mile longer, but the same total climbing (at least according to RWGPS).

Arriving at the corner of Robert's Chapel and Range roads,
NOT, btw, the corner of Range and Robert's Chapel roads,
We paused in the still bright sunshine to nibble a bit and drink a bit.
[Just as well we did that, since upon leaving the control in Stem, it was overcast.]

Keeping in mind that one of us was doing a quite hilly 200 the next day,
We 'winged-it' again and took the Hester Rd variation (see green part of the "trace"),
Adding one-and-a-half miles, but reducing the overall climbing per mile.

My ride partner drifted off my front wheel on Lawrence Rd,
About 14-miles before the finish.
I did manage to almost re-attach to her wheel,
On Bruce Garner / New Light Road.

But each time, before I could complete the catch / latch on to her wheel,
Slight inclines separated us.
I last saw her ... where? ... I dunno' ... inside Wake County, I guess.

Then she took the easier New Light / Six Forks to Pleasant Union Elementary Rd finish.
I took the harder Ghoston to Peed to Mt. Vernon Ch Rd finish.
[Same distance, within about 17 yards -- but G-P-MVC is harder -- and I think safer.] 

Anyway, my ride partner had her bike mounted on her rack,
Had signed her card, and
Had changed her shoes (and maybe some cycling kit) by the time I finished -- 6 minutes later.

All in all, a nice ride.
Wish the sun had stayed out longer -- for the entire ride would have been nice.

Must be about P-6 for my long-time friend.
It was P-26 for me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan-26: Cabin Fever 103

With only two short errand rides, and no 200 this month,
A solo populaire on Sunday afternoon was just the ticket I needed.
I can usually fit the Bahama Beach ride into four-and-half hours,
If I stick to the standard route rather than go a-winging-it.

[Experimentation above copying the RWGPS provided map and profile images. 
I'll try something else next time.]   

I thought it was going to be mostly sunny all ride, and
It was brilliantly sunny for two or more hours, but then
The thin clouds started to filter in.
Clouds that slowly thickened in the last two hours.

I thought the high temperature was expected to be the upper 40's (Fahrenheit).
I doubt it got quite that warm.

I thought I was in the 39/14 gearing (you figure out the gear inches if you want), but
Only about a mile into the route, it seemed harder than it should have felt.
Slight headwind, slight incline -- but it seemed to be a slog.
No wonder -- turned out I was in the 39/13, which is significantly harder than 39/14. 
I changed to the 14.

That felt much better.
As if someone else was doing the pedaling for me.
That was GREAT.

I stayed in the 14 for the rest of the ride.
Partially out of determination -- partially because the rear derailleur would not move.
I did surrender and use the 30 chain ring on the Michie Wall and on lower Ghoston Rd.
However, in each of those cases, to get properly aligned in the 39 once the steep was complete,
I had to go to the 50 for a bit.
Although one rando fracquaintance claims there is no such thing as a tailwind,
For those newbies who don't know this, there is no such thing as a tailwind in cycling. There are headwinds, crosswinds, or "I'm feeling good!" Apparently we'd been feeling really good heading out, because we now had a very stiff wind in our faces for the ride home. 
I think I'd been helped significantly by a breeze that was mostly at my back
All the way to Stem, and even some of the distance to Grissom (or I'd been protected by trees). 

In contrast, the last 12.6 miles (20-kms) from Grissom to finish were into a tough headwind.
I've ridden parts of Bruce Garner and New Light roads six hundred or more times.
I've had more "death marches" finishing on BG / NL into a stiff SW wind than I can remember.

53-minutes it took me to cover those last 20-kms.
I've done those same roads, from further out, Pokomoke at 16.2-miles (26-kms) to be "exact,"
In as few as 54-minutes.

This ride finish was not a death march. but I did start to feel-it in my legs.
However, I knew there would be no need to call for a rescue from Bruce Garner Rd.
I did have to do that once when I had terrible cramps,
And once when ... well, I guess I just plain wimped out.

All in all, I had a great ride, and rescued my RUSA P-series and my M-series.
Now at P-25 and M-59.

Due to "life," I'm abandoning my RUSA R-series and my C-series.
Those got to R-41 and C-47 in December.

The future brings new hope, and
The possibility of a renewed R-series.