Thursday, January 12, 2017

Growth of Perm Route Starts Nationally (and some States)

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

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

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

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

Year "Days" # States

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

Total 40,411

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

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

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Rides on My Perms: 2012 thru 2016

In some earlier posts, I've mentioned that my bicycling was way down in 2016, or more like I've beaten that dead horse into the ground.  However, I continue on the subject.

The chart below shows the number of "days"(*) that at least one person started one of my perms for all years 2012 - 2016; also shown are the number of rides that were completed in those days/events and the number of different RUSA members that have ridden the indicated course at least once.

If you had read the previous posts alluded to above or know of the happenings in Johnston County, North Carolina in mid-February-2016, you would already suspect or know that the dramatic decrease in rides in 2016 compared to 2015 or 2014 is because a north Raleigh randonneuse was unable to ride during most of 2016 combined with the fact that I just didn't ride my bicycle very much in 2016.

My rando friend Dan Driscoll says and writes that one should make a plan (to K-Hound); others make plans to accomplish other goals.  However, I've never successfully completed a cycling plan; I've had much better results when I just rode what and when I could, enjoying the rides (or at least most of them).  So, for 2017, I'm not going to target any specific rides or goals, but I certainly hope to ride significantly more, on my routes and also on the routes of others.

I also hope to do some rides with the remnant Irregulars on some non-rando days and routes.

Enjoy your ride, whatever and wherever it is.

Route Name / Map Route # Kms
"Days" Complete Rides # Diff Riders
 "Days" 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Bahama Beach #1404 103
152 266 25
39 31 36 29 17
BL-Oxford-BL #2259 104
81 136 9

36 34 11
Denny's Store Sortie #1795 138
33 68 12

9 14 8 2
Hope Springs Eternal #1636 140
1 4 4


Egypt Mtn #1444 210
35 73 18
10 10 5 6 4
Road to Hicksboro #1938 205
12 32 15

6 4 0 2
Badgett Sisters Pkwy #2497 208
1 6 6

1 0
Badgett (Bay Leaf) #2498 234
3 8 7

2 1
3-Lake-300 #2771 300
1 7 7

1 0

Fish Pop #1895 106
6 11 7

1 5
Ammon-Whiteville #1380 202
3 5 5

2 1


328 616

49 56 95 84 44

(*) "Days" -- sometimes, different groups of people have ridden the same route on the same day, but starting at different times.  I submit those to RUSA separately:  one memorable day, I started the Oxford route four hours after Lynn started the same route and we crossed paths approximately 10 kms from the start / finish; that day is recorded as two "days" in the chart above.


[Edit Jan-14-2017: 
"A" comment regarding "Hope Springs Eternal" and "Fish Pop" and "Ammon-Whiteville": 
  • "Hope Springs Eternal" (HSE) was originally owned by MickH, but in late 2016, he concluded that he needed to reduce his RUSA commitment / "tyre-print" in order to have more time for more important personal and especially family needs.  Mick asked me to adopt his routes, which I was happy to do; after all, Mick's routes were collaborations by the two of us, and I like the routing of HSE and the other routes once they are clear of Raleigh traffic. 
  • "Fish Pop" and "Ammon-Whiteville" were originally owned by MaryF (and were created with SIGNIFICANT help of High Point Region RBA Tony Goodnight.  Mary's interests and life underwent change in 2014, and I adopted the routes in late 2014 or early 2015. 
  • The many rides that were done on those routes prior to my adopting them are not shown in the above chart because one of the points of the data collection exercise was to portray the drop in route-owner duties that I incurred in 2016 compared to the prior years.]  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dec-30-2016: Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh 107

Once again I'm again late with the blog post.

Bob had continued his R-series earlier in the month.
His P-series, also.

I, however, had been too lazy to do either when it would have been easy.
So, my last chance to rescue my P-series, we rode Lynn's "Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh" 107k pop.

We met for an 0600 start.
Dark for an hour, it was.
But being between Christmas and New Year's,
No school traffic,
And not much work traffic (we assumed many people had the week, or the day, off).

Even less traffic after we turned off New Light Rd onto Old Weaver Trail.
And no traffic at all on Whitt and Dove roads up to and into Creedmoor.
I think it was on one of the inclines on Dove Rd that I remarked to Bob,
That my legs were feeling the ride from two days before, and
That if a mild 100k and the 12-miles so far could make me this tired,
There was no way I should even attempt Tony's Jan-07 two hundred km brevet,
What with all the serious climbs on that route. 

We paused at the corner of Dove Road and NC-50 before proceeding through Creedmoor.
Waiting for a little traffic to pass and probably also to turn off lights not already switched off.

Slow progress up Brogden Rd from Creedmoor to Stem, into the increasing NW breeze.
We paused again at Tally Ho Rd in the middle of Stem.
I don't recall why, maybe just because I needed a breather.

Onward onto Culbreth Rd, still into the NW breeze and chilly temps.
My toes, esp. my left toes were cold enough, thank-you-very-much.
I forget what Bob indicated about his toes and fingers.

Across the Tar River and up to the control in Berea.
2h35 in motion, approx 2h45 if I recall correctly.
[That latter being what the control cards indicate.]

We took our time eating some breakfast biscuits purchased at the control.
I was playing for a little time for my toes to warm up a bit.

Back on the bikes at 0905 or 0910, probably the latter.
The breeze now sorta' at our backs.
But more a cross-tailwind, actually.
Not as much help homeward bound as I had expected.

But, I must back up for a moment:
The Tar River is about a mile-and-a-quarter from the control,
Well before we got to the river, there were white flakes floating down from the sky above;
Each of us felt a few of the flakes land upon our respective faces and immediately melt.
We commented that we hoped no local drivers panicked in the snow.

The cross-tailwind did seem to be helping my pace;
At the very least, riding away from the wind, and sometimes into the sunshine,
My toes were warming, and by the end of the ride, the left toes seemed fine,
Whereas the right toes were still a bit chilly (they were exposed to that cross-tailwind).

We paused to take a good drink when we reached New Light Rd home-bound.
Other than that, the only pauses home-bound were due to traffic lights or stop signs.
We got to the finish at 1156, i.e., 5h56 after the start.
Total time in-motion was 5h09.
That was quite a surprise -- surely we had ridden better than a 1-minute in-motion negative split.
But, facts don't lie.

Bob's ride put him beyond 12-thousand RUSA kms for the year.
He would put that figure further behind him next day on his "Ala-Orange" populaire.

We rescued my P-series, making P-24, on the last ride on Lynn's populaire.
Or at least the last ride under Lynn's auspices as she is taking leave of RUSA, at least for awhile.

[Hmmn, my sixth ride on RBR, but this was the first I've blogged.]

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dec-28-2016: "Irregulars" Holiday Range Road Rover

Yep, I'm again late with the blog post.

2008.  Dec-27.  
The first Irregulars Holiday Range Road Rover was just a ride by LT and me.
The first time either of us rode the entire length of Range Road.
And we did ride the entire length of Range Road that first time.
Dave and I enjoyed the ride. 
No photos.  No blog post.

2009.  Dec-24.  A Holiday Tradition?
The second Irregulars Holiday Range Road Rover.
We rode what would become the regular, er, Irregular RRR route.
Turning off Range Road onto Little Mountain Road to get to Stem.
That may have been the first time I cycled across Little Mountain Rd. 
4 riders:  LT, RedRocket, IvaHawk, me.
See the blog post, with its iconic photo.

2010.  Dec-24.  
The third annual Irregulars Holiday RRR.
7 riders:  LT, RedRocket, IvaHawk, Ricochet, Levi, Gary, me.
I coordinated a little pre-ride fun at Levi's expense.
See the blog post for Levi's torment.

2011.  Dec-24.
Fourth annual IR Holiday RRR.
8 riders for the full RRR:  LT, RedRocket, IvaHawk, Ricochet, Shane, BobH, Norris, me.
2 riders took the Robert's Chapel Rd cut-off:  Mallet, Tito.
Blog post.

2012.  Date unknown.
My recollection is that there was an Irregulars Holiday RRR.
I recall that one of the other Irregulars put out the rider-call. 
I also recall that the start time was rather later than usual,
And that I got busy and forgot about the ride until too late.
These things happen.
Too bad, really, because I was in excellent cycling shape at the end of 2012.

2013.  Dec-31.
We rescued the tradition on the 31st.
7 riders:  LT, RedRocket, IvaHawk, Ricochet, Tito, BobS, me.
I would have sworn that we took a photo in 2013 at the same location as the 2009 pic.
However, there is no photo on the blog post.
Maybe the photo(s) was(were) too blurry.
[I also would have sworn that we took a photo in 2010 or 2011.  Oh, well.]

I think there was no Irregulars Holiday Range Road Rover ride. 
Maybe there was, but I didn't do any bicycle riding in December 2014. 

2015.  Dec-26. 
11 riders:  LT, RedRocket, IvaHawk, Snapper, Mallet + son, Ags, Shane, newFrank, Gene, me.
We took a couple photos at the iconic photo location.
One was apparently too blurry to bother with -- never got emailed to me.
The other photo, well, here it is:
More road and trees than riders.  I've mentioned this to the photographer, whom I won't identify.  I do NOT understand why anyone bothers to take a group photo if the photographer doesn't get close enough to the people to actually see them.  Oh, well, these things happen.  [Also, I'm not entirely convinced that this was taken at the same location as the iconic 2009 photo, despite that fact that I was adamant at the time that this was the correct location.  Sigh.]
2016.  Dec-28.
Finally, something about the ride that this is supposed to be about.
4 riders:  LT, Snapper, rando buddy BobB, me.
This was apparently the first Holiday RRR appearance for Snapper.
How did that happen?
Also the first Holiday RRR appearance for BobB.
But that makes sense.
BobB has joined a few Irregular rides, even one Range Road Rover,
But not previously on the Holiday ride.

Why always Range Road for the Holiday ride?
Well, it has become a tradition.
But how did it become tradition?
Well, see above, and also, Range Road loops back on itself,
Going nowhere except "circling" the National Guard training ground.
Essentially 24 miles with almost no traffic. 
That last is the reason we enjoy Range Road.
It allows easy conversation with no worries about traffic.

One drawback, though,
The surface of the Person County portion of Range Road is getting quite crappy.
The Durham and Granville County sections are smooooth.

I couldn't climb with the others. 
But worse than usual.
I'm just not in good cycling shape.
I did, however, make a hot-interval effort in Person County.
Going faster makes the crappy road surface feel not quite as bad.
Or at least gets it over with sooner.

I don't recall Snapper making any special effort on any section of the ride.
Evidence of intelligence?

Lt. Dave was strong on every climb.
He decided to make a special effort on the last 1.5-miles of Old Weaver Trail up to New Light Rd.
Bob decided to go with him.
And Dave's special effort section turned into Bob's special effort section.

Bob says he can tell that he no longer has the in-shape-ness that he had in mid-August,
But I cannot tell that he's lost anything. 

Snapper had attended the recent NCBC meeting where rando Sridhar
Had made a presentation on the PacTour Northern Tour that he and Bob had done.
Harvey didn't know that Bob had also done that ride,
Until I let the cat out of the bag.

Harvey asked Bob quite a few questions about the ride.
That's about the extent of the conversation items that I can recall.
Anyone that has read my blog posts knows that I almost never recall road conversations.
That is my story and I'm sticking to it.
It was a great day for a bike ride.
Warm for late December, sunny, and a slight NW breeze.

Oh, and we took a couple photos.
I prefer the other one, but I'm publishing the selfie. 
Left to right:  me, BobB, Lt. Dave, Snapper, aka, Harvey.  [It looks as if I'm photo-bombing; my recollection is that Bob's bike was blocking me, so I had to lean in.] 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Copying my Nov-17 email to the NC-rando-list-serve so that it will be easier to find in the future.

Yesterday, while riding Bob's Ala-Orange Populaire for only my 2nd time, an idea came to me. 
Many of us get in the habit, maybe rut, of riding the same few routes over and over, with the same few ride partners.  That may be good for the "comfort zone" feelings, but how about something to encourage us to mix it up, route wise?  And maybe also ride partner wise, and promote additional camaraderie throughout the peloton? 
Here's the idea, hopefully explained well-enough to be understandable:
  • Each month in a P-12 series would include a unique populaire that starts in North Carolina.
  • You could ride that same populaire multiple times in a month,
  • You could ride that same populaire in multiple months, but
  • A given route would only count as the designated unique route in one month of the P-12 series.
Here's an example:  suppose I ride my Bahama Beach, Oxford and Denny's Store routes every month; I could count BB for January, my Oxford route for February, Denny's Store for March, but I'd need to branch out after that.  Suppose Alan's 7-Cs in April (in addition to whatever other populaires I might ride); Tim's Whirligig in May; Bob's Ala-Orange in June; Jerry's Saxapahaw in July; Alan's picnic brevet-populaire in August; one of Cyndy's routes in September; etc.. 
One extra rule:  Luke (who owns 13 perm-pops) has to have at least two months where the designated unique route would not be one that he or Ende owns.  Make that applicable to anyone that comes to own 12 or more pops, but still call it the "Luke rule." 
I picked Populaires instead of 200+ km routes because Pops only take half a day, instead of all day.  And for camaraderie and making new friends, I have to believe that even the fastest rider in the peloton would be willing to ride with the slower riders for a 5 hour tour, but maybe / probably not for an 11 or 12 hour marathon. 
I think it would be a good thing if people advertised the rides (Perm-Pops) on this list-serve and on the NC Facebook group.  (However, keep in mind that not everyone is on Facebook, and although it might not apply to any NC randonneurs, there are RUSA members that, because of their employment situation, are not allowed to be on Facebook.) 
In 2010, when I started rando (along with several other, more prominent members), most, maybe all the Perm rides were advertised on this list-serve.  It was relatively easy for new members to find and join rides, with veterans to show them the ropes.  However, in the last several years, almost no rides get advertised (either here or on FB); it has become harder for new members to integrate into the fold.  I add that it has become almost impossible for a new middle-to-back-of-the-pack rider to join the fold.  It would be nice if we had a way to encourage new members to join and to ride.  Advertising via a medium that is not restricted to those already in the fold seems a good idea to me. 
This would be an informal kind of challenge / award for North Carolina, maybe with a paper certificate of completion, with mention made at year end parties, if there is one next year (I assume there is no plan for a year-end party this year). 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sep-17: Salisbury-Hoffman 300k Brevet

[I'm violating all "my rules" about timeliness of blog posts, however ... ]

“If I never see NC-73 again, it will be too soon.”
That’s what I told RBA Tony Goodnight at the end,
But that is getting ahead of the story.  LOL.  

I had not done a 300 since April 26, 2014,

Without looking to verify,
I had previously done 300’s in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the above-mentioned 2014.
All had been the same Raleigh Region 300. 
Same, except that most every year there has been a detour
Caused by bridge re-destruction on the route. 

I didn’t do the Raleigh Region 300 in 2015,
Even though I had helped car-scout the route with RBA Alan. 
Instead, on the day of the Raleigh 300, I did my 103k ‘free-route’ perm-pop,
Bahama Beach, reversed, with the popular “3-Hayes” variant,
With my friend Lynn. 

Lynn didn’t want to do Alan’s 300, claiming she didn’t want to do that much climbing.
I didn’t want to do Alan’s 300 because, at the time,
A couple recent 200 perms had decidedly been NOT fun. 

In the event, Lynn and I were quite glad we did a 100 instead of the 300,
As we had gotten more than wet enough by the finish of the 100. 
In particular, it felt as if I were on the edge of going hypothermic.
A result of a poor choice of jersey and jacket. 

Good thing I didn’t do the 300 ‘cuz the kit I would have worn for the 300,
Which turned out to be a rainfest, would have been the one I wore for the 100.
If I had almost gone hypothermic by the end of the 100,
Can you imagine what might have happened on the 300? 
I shudder at the thought.

Anyway, although I had hosted some Highpoint Region 300’s for RBA TonyG,
I had never ridden one of Tony’s 300's.   

This year, 2016, has been a difficult one. 
In 2015, my friend Lynn and I did 36 perm rides together. 
Most were 100's (plus) routes that we started at 6 am (during the warm months), 
And perhaps we started a bit later than that during the chillier months.  

We also did a short non-rando route one morning when we expected rain by 10:30 am. 
It didn't start raining until about 5 pm. 

And I also wimped out on riding at least twice, and 
Lynn rode the intended rando perm-pop solo.  
Riding solo was something Lynn no longer liked doing, 
Because she's lost strength in her hands and arms / shoulders, 
[Read that the loss has been concentrated in her right hand and arm / shoulder,]  
And usually cannot manage to change a flat tyre (should she get one).  

Anyway, the usual readers, or informed RUSA members, are likely to know 
That on Feb-20 of this year (2016), Lynn and three others were plowed into by ___ --  
I'll fill that blank by typing "a woman driving a car." 

Since that Feb-20th afternoon, Lynn has not done a single rando ride. 
Many mornings, instead of leaping out of bed to go ride a 6 am perm-pop, 
I just rolled over and went back to sleep, 
Using low temperatures, or hot and humid weather, or just no reason at all, 
As an excuse to not ride solo. 

Stupid, really. 
I enjoy solo rides. 
At whatever pace they pass. 

I guess one could say that I was a "bit" unmotivated.  
Having a regular ride partner would have overcome the lack of motivation.  
But the only dependable rando ride partner was Bob Bingham, 
And Bob lives 45 or so miles from me. 

Bob kept me going, doing at least one populaire and one 200 a month, 
Until a very sore achilles led to me NOT doing a 200 in July.  

Mostly I did not ride the first half of July, and 
During the second half of the month, I mostly did much shorter rides.  
I did an easy populaire on July 31st, but 
That isn't enough to approach regaining cycling shape. 

You get the idea:  I have not been in good rando cycling shape this year.  

My friend, Bob, on the other hand, 
Has been in good, no, make that great cycling shape for over two years.  
The result of getting in shape to do a 1000, a 1200, and 
From mid-July through mid-August of this year, he rode the PacTour Northern Tour.  

Doing those rides isn't what has gotten or kept Bob in shape.  
Well, Bob would tell you that he did get in better shape during the Northern Tour.  
But those rides aren't what has gotten and kept him shape; 
The training rides to prepare for those rides have been what got and kept him in shape.  

By mid-September, Bob claimed that he could tell that he was losing some of the 
Finely tuned shape that he had by the end of the Northern Tour. 
However, if one were to ask me, I couldn't tell that he had lost anything.  

So, with all that background, and me thinking I should ride at least one 300 this year, 
And maybe, if the 300 went well, there was a bit of a long-shot "plan" 
To ride a late season 400 and a late season 600, 
To complete, er, struggle through an SR.  

Anyway, I talked Bob into doing the captioned 300 with me. 
For a link to a RWGPS map of the route, click here.  
[Note:  that is Tony's map; I copied it into my RWGPS routes 
To guard against Tony possibly re-purposing his map.]  

The ride started at 6 am.
I stayed at my place in Raleigh the night before.
Because I didn't get off work until 7 pm, and was tired and dirty,
As I knew I would be when I turned down an offer to stay in Salisbury the night before the brevet.

When about 20 minutes from the start location,
I texted Bob and RBA Tony that my ETA was 5:45.
I hit that on the nose.

Tony rushed over with the waiver, cue sheet, and control card.
Everyone else was already signed in, and their bikes were ready to roll.
I finished putting my bike together,
Putting on cycling shoes, gloves, helmet, hi-vis vest, etc. while Tony gave last minute instructions.
I was easily ready to roll out with the group.

I knew almost everyone there for the two brevets (300 and also a 400).
However, in the dark, there were one or two I didn't recognize.
One person I had never met was there, from Pennsylvania.

Amusing aside, though some may not think so.
Said Pennsylvanian was leading the combined peloton (only 2 were doing the 400),
He had a GPS unit of some sort.
But he missed one turn after 3 or 4 miles.
We traveled less than 100 yards before others caught the miss.

More on this humor front.
Somewhere in the next 6 miles or so,
There was a left and then a quick right,
The 400 rider on a bent had made the correct turns as he started to drift off our front,
But Pennsylvania was intent on turning right at the aforementioned left.

Bob had done the 300 route a few years before,
And began shouting from the rear of the group, "wrong way."
It took several shouts, and more, to get the whole crew on the correct route.

Around the 10 1/2 mile mark, while going up a nothing incline,
I decided, or perhaps, my legs decided, it was time to let the group go.
From there on, except for getting to the first control at the same time as Joel,
Who had arrived late and had started late, (that's a re-occurring theme with Joel),
Bob and I were without other rando company.

To complete the amusing aside:
While at that first control,
We saw the aforementioned Pennsylvanian rapidly returning to the five point corner
Where that first control was located,
And just as rapidly getting back on to the correct course.
He had apparently left the control and taken the sharp left instead of the second, slight left.
We gathered that he had either left before the rest of the crew,
Or left the control after the rest of the crew.
We thought the former the more likely, though I can't recall ever confirming that with anyone.

Anyway, to completely complete the amusing aside:
Said Pennsylvanian was a candidate for the late in 2016 election for RUSA board members.
I thought about sending him a note
To the effect that I wasn't sure of his leadership abilities,
Because the only time I had ever "ridden" with him,
He had tried to lead the entire rando crew astray.
Three times.

I never did send the note, or mention to anyone other than Bob.
Until now.

After that first control, the route skirts the southern edge of the Uwharries. 
A hilly remnant of an ancient, ancient mountain chain. 
RBA Tony does not agree with that description, 
But I'm sticking with that description / story. 

We must have gone through Mt. Pleasant in daylight, 
But I have no recollection. 
Maybe that was where the first control was located. 
[You don't expect me to check out the cue sheet, do you?]  

I recall making a comment to Bob when we transited Red Cross. 
White Cross is about half-way between Raleigh and where Bob lives. 

I recall passing through Mt. Gilead. 
We made a wrong turn and had to back-track half-a-mile or maybe more. 
Back on the course, we stopped at a small store for some extra snacks and drinks. 
Bob might not have needed to, but I certainly did. 
Yep, 58-miles into a 188-mile course, and I was already nearly toast. 

Then we left Mt. Gilead, heading southeast on NC-73, on those dang rollers! 
A couple of those rollers might have been as much as a 300 foot climb, 
And the steepness seemed the same as the Blue Ridge Parkway climbs. 
I could not apply pressure to the pedals in a biggish gear, 
Nor could I maintain a decent cadence in a smallish gear. 
So I climbed a lot in my granny gear, 
SLOWER than I climbed the BRP climbs in 2010.  
SLOW enough that I would occasionally be unable to hold my line. 
If the PBP officials had been there, they might well have pulled me from the ride. 

Bob graciously waited at the top of every climb. 
Well, not every climb. 
I recall a couple times when I pulled over at the summit, 
Leaned hard on the handlebars, and breathed very heavily for half-a-minute, 
A whole minute, 
Maybe more. 

I thought NC-73 was never going to end. 

It did finally end. 
Actually, the course turned off NC-73 to go through Ellerbe. 
First time I had ever been in Ellerbe. 
Which might seem strange to you if I let you know that 
One of the brevet-couplets I hosted for Tony, that started/ended in Lumberton, 
Transited Ellerbe. 
AND, I actually own a permanent route, a 200+ km route, 
That starts/ends in Lumberton, and turns around in Ellerbe. 
How can I own such a route, and never have been in Ellerbe? 
I adopted the route after the original owner no longer had interest, and 
I just haven't been able to make it down to Lumberton to ride the route. 
[See above for why I didn't make it to that route this year (2016).]  

After Ellerbe, my recollection is that the course flattened out a bit, but 
Looking at the RWGPS profile, that is not the case. 

I'd like to put in that I received a text while at the 89-mile "turn-around," 
That a friend had completed 60-miles solo that morning, 
But I probably shouldn't. 
So I'll just note that I sent a return text that I had completed 89-miles so far, 
That I was TOAST, and  
Had another 99-mile to cover. 

I struggled back to Ellerbe, Bob still being patient. 
I struggled to the 115-mile point, Bob still patient. 
I was grateful for the flat stuff between the 115 and 130 mile marks, Bob patient. 
[Yes, I'm looking at the RWGPS map for these mile marks.] 

There was a control in Oakboro. 
We chatted with some locals. 
Oh, how I wanted to quit.  
We continued. 

Although the inclines got less severe, I could barely make the bike get up anything. 
There were many, many pauses at the side of the road, to try to catch my breath. 
Sometimes Bob stopped at the same place, to wait. 
Sometimes, he would realize that I was no longer visible behind him, and then he would stop. 

There was another control. 
I don't recall where [and I'm not looking at the cue sheet to figure it out]
I drank quite a bit of extra fluids, and took a lot more time than Bob wanted to take. 
But he was patient and waited. 

Then, just as we were leaving, Tony called or texted to check on us. 
At least that is my recollection.  
It was hard getting the bike going again, again. 

Somehow, we trudged toward the finish. 
Bob patiently reading the cue sheet. 

We finished at 1:01 am, for an elapsed time of 19h01. 
Record slow time for a 300 for each of us. 
Bob could have finished HOURS earlier.  

After the ride, Bob, Tony, and I had "breakfast" at the Salisbury Waffle house. 
Then Bob did the hour or so drive home, 
While I followed Tony to his place where I collapsed 
And Tony returned to the finish to wait for the two 400 riders. 

Next morning, before I left for home, 
I helped Tony review the entire upcoming Taste of Carolina 1200 course, 
Checking the NCDOT website for possible road closures. 
And ... I ultimately agreed to drive one portion of said course where a detour was required. 
At least, I think that is why Tony wanted me to check it out. 

Oh, if you didn't know, Hurricane Matthew cancelled the 2016 Taste of Carolina 1200.