Saturday, March 28, 2020

Update on RUSA Events: April and Beyond

From: RUSA Board
Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2020, 06:13:30 PM EDT
Subject: Update on RUSA Events: April and Beyond

Update on RUSA Events: April and Beyond

Just a few days ago, on March 21, we told members that we weren't shutting down nationally but we said that could change any day. Since then, things have quickly gone downhill. The US confirmed cases have increased ten-fold and surpassed China. Our European and English speaking brethren worldwide have shut down, including Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. In much of Europe, not even solo riding is allowed other than utility cycling.

While not every state or county in the US has declared "stay at home" orders, we are heading that way. Testing has ramped up, giving us a better picture of community spread, but it's still incomplete. Too many are being monitored, test results unconfirmed.

So, with concern for our members, their families and communities, we started contacting RBAs one by one who still had rides on the calendar for April.  While every RBA was being ultra careful, the Board felt that those rides needed to be cancelled. At this point, we have nothing on the calendar for April. There is a small handful of rides taking place this weekend; but April is cleared. 

At this time we aren't sure about May. Rides are still on the calendar. The Board did not want this to be "closed until further notice", rather we'd see where this was headed, whether things were starting to level off. In densely populated areas, we do not expect the virus to have peaked in April. We need to develop a reopen strategy, perhaps starting out with short populaires that won't require either support or replenishment stops. If and when we approach this decision, it will probably be with travel and rider count restrictions. We want riders to feel safe and comfortable, and the Board wants your support and agreement that it's the right thing to do. We will be setting up a small board-led committee of RBAs to monitor and recommend a reopen strategy.
The RUSA Board

Saturday, March 21, 2020


From: RUSA Board
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2020, 06:08:40 PM EDT
Subject: COVID-19 and RUSA


We are in the middle of a global pandemic and here in the US, it's likely going to get much worse before it gets better.  We care about our members and their families, knowing well that many will be impacted.   Taking our cue from the country at large, we do not feel that it's appropriate for a national shutdown.  That could change any day.

We are placing our trust in the judgement of RBAs, leaving it up to them to decide whether or not to shutdown their region.  A number have already canceled their entire calendar or planned to postpone rides.  Each situation is different and they must adhere to guidelines from local, State and Federal civil and health authorities, protecting themselves, the riders and the community at large.

We know that many of you are still trying your best to qualify for awards.  The following provides a mechanism for a pause in P-12 / R-12 accumulation and a means for RBAs to reschedule rides.  We have conferred with ACP and they have provided broad latitude for RUSA to reschedule and/or add events to the schedule for later in 2020, covering ACP Brevets and the Fleche/Trace.  It will be up to each RBA to decide how they handle that within their region.

Here's a breakdown of what we are doing:

ACP brevet/Fleche/Trace events
ACP events already held or pre-ridden can be submitted and processed as usual.  Canceled events may be rescheduled later during the current ACP year.
RUSA brevet/populaire/team events:
These events can be canceled or rescheduled and new events added as necessary.
RM 1200+ events:
Ride organizers can cancel or reschedule.
R-12/P-12 streaks:
We are declaring a "pause" in counting months for R-12 and P-12. These months will not require make up rides after the pause ends but each award would still require 12 actual rides . The pause period will start March 1 and end when things are more-or-less back to normal.  For that, we will take our cue from other cycling organizations such as USA Cycling.  Rides during the full pause period will not count towards R-12/P-12 with the exception of rides during the month of March. Riders may use March as a pause month or if they have already completed rides they may use those toward any awards including the R-12/P-12. For those who were planning their permanents suspension make up rides to be ridden in March or April, those make up rides can now take place in the 2 months following the end of the pause.
We have nothing new to report.

Stay Safe and Healthy!
To all our membership and their families - please do your utmost to keep yourselves and your communities safe!
The RUSA Board

Friday, March 6, 2020

Oct-05-2019: Bahama Beach w/ "E. Thollie Green + 3-Hayes" Variant

It took me years to get around to finally riding this 'free-route' variant,
Which I finally did on Sep-22nd with John + Ann J (their first ever Permanent!).

I always knew I'd like doing that variant, but had never gotten around to riding it.
But once ridden, I was determined to ride it again.
The opportunity to do so came on October 5th,
With my friend Iva, #7702, and Wilmington Rick, #6985.

I'm not sure if Iva and Rick-squared had ridden together recently.
I do know that Iva and I had first met Rick on June 11, 2011.
On that day, I rode MikeD's Kerr Lake Loop with Ricochet Robert, and
Iva and Rick rode with several Irregulars to Stovall and returned via "Stoval Mtn."
 Typical scene near Wilmington, NC that Rick encounters while cycling about.  [photo by Rick]

Iva had some back trouble the prior couple months, and was worried about being able to do the route.
Rick had severely broken his leg in the spring, and this was his rando come-back ride.
We therefore decided that we would ride an easy pace, but limit the stoppage time.
Side-road on the way to Stem.  [photo credit to R^squared]

Wilmington Rick had to wait for Iva and me on several occasions.
It was as if his cycling had not been interrupted by the break.
It turned out to be a good ride.
 Group selfie by Rick, taken in Stem, in front of the control.  L to R:  me, IvaHawk, Rick.

This isn't much of a story,
But as this turned out to be the last Bahama Beach ride before the demise of the Perms Program,
I wanted to type something.

The first time Bahama Beach was ridden for RUSA credit was January 29, 2012.
MickH, #6169, and I completed the route in 5h24 and 5h22 elapsed, respectively.
[A couple years later, I'm confident that I would have given us the same time.] 

I rode the Bahama Beach perm-pop 76 times for RUSA credit.
That includes clockwise and reversed, the standard route and several 'free-route' variants.
My average rando elapsed time was 5h04. 

28 others completed Bahama Beach 220 times for RUSA credit.
The total average elapsed time of all riders was 5h00.

Those 296 credit completed rides were done in 170 start groups.
An average of 1.7 completed rides per start group.

There were 3 DNFs on the route, in 2 start-groups.
Those DNFs are not included in the 296 mentioned above,
But those DNFs are included in the 170 start-groups.

I recall both DNFs:
The first occurred in January-2014 when
A "newbie" tried to complete a near NC-P-12-Explorer by finishing on the route where he started.
He didn't complete BB that day because he tried to overpower the climbs despite TIRED legs.
He did complete his generic P-12 (on another course), but I think he then hung up his rando shoes.

I was one of the other two riders to DNF.
For that story, click here.

I was / am delighted that Bahama Beach was the first ever Permanent for three well-known randos:
PamelaB, #12, on February 2, 2013.
JohnJ + AnnJ, #2190 + 10504, on September 22, 2019.

I am also proud that so many local randonneurs enjoyed the route.

With the demise of the RUSA Permanents Program,
I think it unlikely that I will ride the Bahama Beach route as constituted for RUSA.
However, I am very confident that I will ride key parts of the route -- hopefully often.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Oct-02: Too HOT It Got 138

My original plan was "Denny's Store" at 5 am. solo.
Then, wanting to ride with IvaHawk, it became "Oxford" at 7:30, also with BobB.
However, Iva has been trying to get a roofing contractor to his place for a couple weeks,
And the contractor changed his visit from Monday to Wednesday.
No IvaHawk.
And that put paid to my plan to spend only one or two dollars during the ride (for cold drinks).

And the plan became BobB and me doing "Denny's Store" starting at 7:30.
I figured two to three dollars during the ride (for cold drinks and maybe an Oatmeal cookie). 

I had two goals on the day:
  1. complete "Denny's Store Sortie" 138-km route in under 6h30 elapsed, 
  2. get in a 100+ mile ride (including commutes to and from). 

"Half-way" through the commute ride to Bay Leaf for the ride,
I realized that I had forgotten my water bottles.
They were still in the refrigerator, water still chilling.

Not to worry.
I was on schedule to arrive at the CVS at about 7:15.
Plenty of time to get Bob's wet ink signature on the waiver
And go across the road to the gas station and find a bottle of cold water.
Got lucky on that:
Found some Deer Park bottles with re-seal-able flip-tops, on sale 2 for $2.22.
But that did put an end to the two or three dollar plan.

One issue:  the bottles were just a bit too small to fit properly in the bottle cages.
The bottle in the cage on the part of the frame beneath the saddle was fine.
But the cage on part of the frame from the bottom bracket to the headset,
Well, the bottle in that cage was pretty loose.

I had drunk a few ounces from the loose bottle,
But when hurrying, standing, pedaling quickly to make the light at NC-50,
The bottle slipped and started pouring water on my right foot and onto the ground.
I pulled over before crossing the highway and grabbed the bottle,
Thus rescuing at least a third of the water originally in that bottle.
Heavy sigh.
I closed the flip-top and put the bottle in my left jersey pocket.
[Wish I had done that first thing. 
Because it turned out that being in the pocket 
Kept the fluid chilled longer than the fluid(s) in the bottle in the cage. 
Apparently the jersey provided protection from direct sunlight?]

We arrived at the Allensville Store Control after 2:49 in-motion, 2h54 elapsed. 
The difference being roughly 3 1/2 minutes at the light at NC-98 plus
A short minute at the aforementioned NC-50 stop-light.

12 minutes at the control.
Including the clerk asking "how is your ex-wife doing?"
That clerk always asks.
She remembers Lynn from rides prior to Feb-20-2016.
[Sometimes, if certain locals are sitting on the outside bench, 
One of them might ask about "that woman that used to ride up here with you." 
However, being 10:30-ish, with the temperature rising toward the mid-90's, 
There were no locals on this day.]

Oh, because of the heat, and the increasing temperatures expected,
I got a large Gatorade (~ $2.50 with tax) instead of my usual 99-cent Arizona Tea.
On the ride to Allensville, I realized that Bob was wearing a new jersey, or at least a different one; that is, one I did not recognize.  So, at the Control, where I was close enough to "study" the jersey, I realized that, once again, Bob was wearing a PacTour jersey.  Trying to intimidate me, again?  [That's a running joke, ya' know.]  I got Bob to pose for a photo; that revealed it was a "Notorangelo Midwest Camp" jersey -- I decided to feature the shoulder pic of Susan.  Bob explained that the jersey had been one of the Richard Lawrence collection -- which jerseys Joel had parceled out after his father had died.

So, off for the Berea Open Control, 12.8-miles in an easterly direction.
It appeared we would have a tailwind -- at least until the road curved to a southeasterly direction.
By which time I figured the wind would have back around to be from the SW instead of the west.
[Turned out I was correct regarding the shift in the wind direction.
It is no great feat to forecast that wind shift to the SW. 
It happens almost every time the temperature reaches "hot" in central NC.]

En route Allensville to Berea,
Probably between the Denny's Store crossroads and Berea,
We were stopped by a flagman for some sort of road construction.
While waiting, I commented to the flagman that it was certainly getting hot out here on the asphalt.
The flagman definitely agreed, commenting that he didn't understand why
He wasn't stationed about 50 yards behind Bob and me,
Which would have been in the SHADE.

We waited for several minutes.
All the while "melting" under the unrelenting sunshine with no apparent breeze.
Finally, the flagman indicated that he couldn't legally stop us,
That we were free to continue at our own risk.
We immediately continued on our way.

It was a mile or more to the other end of the flagged section of road.
Half or two-thirds of the way across, we encountered the "pilot truck"
Followed by one, count 'em, one vehicle.
There were traveling on our side of the road.
So, we crossed over to the other side, intending to pause while the pilot went by.
However, it was clear those vehicles were going to stay on the wrong side of the road,
So we did not pause, but kept on pedaling, returning to the correct side after safely passing.

We arrived at the Berea Control at 4h04 rando elapsed time.
In other words, it was more-or-less 11:30 am.
4h04 elapsed with 3:42 total in-motion time.
I.e., it had taken 58 elapsed minutes, 53 in-motion minutes
To get from Allensville Store to Berea.

The six-and-a-half hour elapsed time goal appeared to still be easily within reach.
If, repeat IF, one didn't consider what the increasing temps might mean.

I failed to note the time when we actually left the Berea Control.
That is unusual.

It usually takes me a little less than an hour in-motion to ride from Berea to Creedmoor.
But on this day, the heat started to get to me, and I was sure I was slowing.

Approaching Creedmoor, having finished most of my two bottles of fluids,
I informed Bob that WE would be stopping at the BP in Creedmoor,
To refresh cold liquids and to sit at one of the inside tables to cool off.
I admit -- I was adamant.

We took a full 30 minutes at the BP.
And then we left for the last 15-miles.

The only thing I recall from those 15-miles is this:
Climbing Mt. Vernon Ch Rd, just a couple miles from the finish,
I noted it was now 6h58 elapsed since the start.

I commented to Bob that I had had two goals on the day:
Finish in 6h30 or less, and by cycling to and from the ride, sneak in a 100-mile ride.
"It is now 28 minutes beyond the time goal, and
Are you willing to give me a lift home?"

Bob chuckled and agreed.
Total 7h09 elapse, 6:05 in-motion.
I.e., 2:23 in-motion from Berea to Creedmoor.

If I hadn't needed that extra 30 minutes in Creedmoor,
We would have finished in just over six-and-a-half hours.
But if we hadn't taken that 30-minutes in Creedmoor,
The ride time from Creedmoor to the finish would likely have been significantly more.

2019/10/02 finishers=2 DNF=0
RUSA-T93021 5843 B_, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:09
RUSA-T93022 6218 S_, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:09

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Sep-27: RBR 109, Again

The only real reason for blogging this ride is that when I completed it,
It was my second fastest in-motion ride of the year.
[As I type this on Oct 15th, it is still my second fastest in-motion ride of the year.]

Further, it made my four fastest rides of the year concentrated in the 14 days of
Sep-13 through this ride on Sep-27.
Evidence that if I actually get off my duff and ride semi-regularly
That I do get in shape (or is it mental condition) to go faster?

2:11 in-motion within 2h12 elapsed to the turn-around control in Berea.
Seven minutes at the control -- no photo in Berea.
2:11 in-motion in 2h17 elapsed on the return.
The down-time being because I stopped in Creedmoor to take a photo.
Without my magnifiers / readers, it is difficult to see exactly what is in the camera's view.  Clearly this is lopsided and I missed some of the front of the restaurant.  Interestingly, while off the roadway, putting the phone back in its ziplock and then into the (hopefully) secure place on me or the bike while I'm riding, some jerk walked by and insulted me.  I'm not sure what he said, but the tone was quite ugly.

Total 4:22 in-motion in 4h36 elapsed for the 68.1-mile ride.
Avg pace in-motion  =  15.6-mph.
Pleased, I was.  And am.

11th RBR so far this year.
If I had been "serious" about pursuing any km-accumulation goal,
I probably would have ridden RBR about 30 times by this time of the year -- maybe even more.

11 RBR rides so far this year, with an average elapsed time of 5h04.
Last year I completed 11 RBR rides with an average elapsed time of 5h04.
Total 28 career RBR rides for an average elapsed time of 5h05.

As I indicated at the start, the only reason for blogging this ride
Was to put into print my second fastest in-motion ride of the year (so far).
Also to note that my 4 fastest in-motion rides of the year are in the two weeks ending with this ride.

Lame story, but I'll be sticking to it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sep-25: Oxford 104

Today, I intended to do "Denny's Store," but after a comedy of errors, I did the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km route.  After the errors, all committed by me, I "had" to be at the start to meet the New Hampshire tandem team, JohnJ #2190 and AnnJ #10504, for them to sign the "Oxford" waiver, and since I, as route-owner, was also obligated to sign the waiver, I switched to the "Oxford" route.
John and Ann were scheduled / planned to start at 0830, and that is what they did.  All the interface requirements were completed and I was ready to ride a few minutes before 0815, so I elected to start at 0815.
I'm not sure when this photo was taken.  After the Sep-22nd "Bahama Beach" ride?  Before that ride?  After the Sep-23rd "Bahama Beach" ride that John and Ann did without me?  Before that ride?  After the Sep-25th "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" ride that this blog post is ostensibly about?  Before that ride?  [Also, I think I likely snapped this photo, but maybe they got a stranger to take it?  Ha!  Before Sep-21, I had never met John and Ann, and more to the point, I had never heard of them!  As I type this on Mar-25-2020, I think it may be that it was not me that snapped this photo -- it doesn't really matter, it is a good photo of smiling people that I'm glad I can now call friends.]

With the 15 minute head start, I wondered when John and Ann would catch me.  I considered whether they might catch me by or at Grissom, 20-kms into the route.  After all, they would average 30-kph or better whereas I would likely only average 20-kph.  However, as I quickly pedaled and gave the matter some thought, I realized that 20-kph (which is 3-minutes per kilometer) would be the result including pausage and stoppage time (stop-lights, stop-signs, peeing, control interaction, eating), so it was likely that I they wouldn't catch me until perhaps 25-kms into the course.  I didn't look at my confuser when they caught and passed me, but I know where that occurred, approximately that is -- and it was pretty close to the 25-km mark.
I guess I was motivated by the visitors from New Hampshire, repeat Charlie Miller finishers at PBP, and concentrated on keeping a good cadence, even though my legs were complaining about the high cadence / high effort / "high" pace for much of the ride. 

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2019/09/25 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T92863 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:09
RUSA-T92864 2190 J__, John New England Randonneurs / 921005 03:28
RUSA-T92865 10504 J__, Ann Benoit New England Randonneurs / 921005 03:28

I had to wait 4 minutes, FOUR, at the stop-light at NC-98 outbound.  
I know I have mentioned waiting for what seemed eternities at that light, but 
Today I actually looked at the clock on the confuser and KNOW it was 4-minutes (rounding). 
[Sometimes I get to that light on the green -- yippee! -- sometimes I have to wait. 
But today's actually measured 4-minutes, certainly a record wait time.] 
I had to wait 1 1/2 minutes at the stop-light in Wilton outbound. 
[Sometimes I catch that light on green, but not today.  Sigh.] 
Some slight pausage times at a couple stop-signs outbound. 
Total elapsed time outbound:  2h04. 
In-motion time outbound:  1:57:30. 
There was a "neutral" side-wind coming from the East during the outbound segment. 
There is a house on Fairport Rd, about 15-minutes before the turn-around 
That always flies a large American flag.  
Outbound, that flag was proudly pointing due West, indicating an East wind.  
5 minutes at the control to pee, buy an ice tea, pour into bottle, get going..  
I had to wait 1 1/2 minutes on Ghoston due to road work / one lane / follow-car.  
As I approached the "flag-man" with his stop-sign, 
I was saying out loud, "no, no, no, no." 
The legs had accepted the effort of the ride and climbing on Ghoston Rd; 
I did not want to risk what might happen if I had to stop for several minutes, and then restart. 
[As it happened, the legs were fine after the short wait -- I was relieved.] 
A couple other small pausage times in-bound, not accounting for much. 
Total elapsed time in-bound:  2h00.  
In-motion time in-bound:  1:59:00. 
There was a non-neutral Southeast wind during the return. 
The aforementioned flag had moved during the 35-minutes between my passing of same. 
The flag clearly indicated that Southeast wind. 
I.e., Southeast was a quartering headwind coming into my left shoulder for much of the return. 
The wind may have continued to "back-around" and was possibly a South wind by the end. 
In summer and fall, regardless of what direction the wind start the day, 
It almost always eventually backs-around to the Southwest 
When the temperature rises during the day.  
There is also more climbing on the return leg. 
Ghoston, Peed, and Mt. Vernon Church roads make up the last 6-miles of the return. 
Each with a non-trivial climb. 
Outbound, the course traverses Pleasant Union Ch, Six Forks, and New Light roads; 
Although one faces a couple climbs to get to the Ghoston / New Light corner, 
There is less outbound climbing, AND it is not as steep.

Total elapsed time:  4h09. 
Total in-motion time:  3:56:30. 
64.7 miles. 
Avg pace:  16.4 mph. 
A full 1.2 mph faster than my second fastest ride this year! 
[The second fastest ride so far this year?  The Raleigh Picnic 100 I did on Saturday past. 
Third fastest ride so far this year?  Sep-13 "Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh."
Cooler weather, less humidity, I've lost some weight, what other reason(s) can I come up with?] 

I did not know I could do what I did this morning! 
That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sep-22: Bahama Beach w/ "E. Thollie Green + 3-Hayes" Variant

On Saturday at the Picnic, John J expressed interest in a ride for Sunday.
So ... John and Ann and I agreed to meet to ride the Bahama Beach 'free route' perm-pop.
Among the riders completing the 200 were a tandem team from New Hampshire.
During the ... the conversations, John inquired about possible ride routes for the next day.
My impression was that he and Ann may have been interested in a greenway ride.
Finally, after a couple minutes of what appeared to be fruitless conversation,
I asked if John and Ann would be interested in riding as far as 100-kms.

Quick conversation confirmed they were staying only a couple miles from Bay Leaf,
The location where three of my permanent-populaires begin and end.
Blah, blah, blah, we agreed to meet at the Bay Leaf CVS for a 7 am ride
On the "Bahama Beach" route the next morning.

I drove to the start instead of my usual cycle to the start.
Truth be told, the reason I did that is that I had left the bike IN the car overnight.

I got to the CVS at Bay Leaf at about 6:15 am.
Plenty of time to put the two wheels back on the frame,
Even in the pitch black dark (and no lighting in the parking lot).

And time to get the waiver and back-up cue sheet and souvenir quality card stock control cards ready.[Using card stock control cards in case John and Ann want to keep them as souvenirs
Because this "Bahama Beach" ride will be their first ever Permanent.]

Only one problem -- WHERE is the waiver?
And the cue sheet and the cards?
[The waiver is important. 
John + Ann plan to navigate using GPS, so the cues and cards are not critical.]

WHERE is the dang WAIVER?
I realized I had left it in my abode.
I've got to get it.

But what to do with the bike?
Take the wheels off and put back in the car?
Hide it somewhere at the CVS?
Or just leave it parked against the side of the CVS building?
I decided to risk it and leave the bike against the side of the building.
5.6-miles from the CVS back to my hovel.
In record time.  I'm sure it ought to have been the record time.

Bounded into my abode, grabbed the WAIVER and other papers.
5.6-miles back the CVS.

WAIVER signed.
Cue sheet and control cards handed over.
Ride started at 0715.

As an aside, click here to see the standard "BB" route that John had loaded into their GPS.
And see the embed just below to see the route that I wanted to ride / the route we did ride.
"BB" route with "E. Thollie Green + 3-Hayes" variant.

The ride started innocuously enough.
Conversation on flat Norwood Rd, and
More conversation / stories, mostly on the upslopes, of Victory Church / Kemp Rd.

Ha -- just recalled.
As we approached the stop sign at Carpenter Pond Rd,
John commented, "the road name seems to have changed."
"Yes," I replied, "roads usually change name at county lines."

From my perspective, everything seemed to be going well.
Then, at the stop sign at NC-98, about 8-miles into the ride,
John indicated that their rear derailleur cable had just broken.
"How about we ride a short mile and pull in at the CVS up ahead," I suggested.
That's what we did.

While John, with some purported assistance from me, attempted to
Tie off the derailleur cable so that John and Ann's tandem would stay in a middling cog.
However, we couldn't get any tension on the cable;
The chain would immediately fall to the 11-tooth cog no matter what we did.
So, after about 10-minutes, John concluded that they would stay in the 11 for the rest of the ride.

John or Ann inquired if the climbs on Victory Ch / Kemp were the hard ones of the course.
"Sure," I replied in a false upbeat tone.
Then, more sounding more serious, "no, those were just appetizers."
[I wish I had been clever enough to put it that way.]

Hmmn, I seem to have a pattern.
  1. First time Ricochet Robert did Byron's "Leesville - Leasburg - Leesville" perm"At Hollow Ridge Grocery atop Mt. Tirzah, I told Ricochet, "the hard part is done now, Robert."  I heard Byron chuckle-gasp under his breathe that sounded something like "sheesh."  (Just previously, out of Robert's earshot -- because he was too far ahead -- Byron and I had been discussing the hills on the course as we rode the final approaches up to Mt. Tirzah:  Byron was of the opinion that Gordonton Rd was harder than Moores Mills Rd; I had agreed, adding that I thought one of the climbs on Hester Store Rd might also be harder.)  But Byron played along with my comment to Robert and said nothing.  Unfortunately, Robert voiced that he thought I was pulling his leg."  
  2. When Janet and Mike F did the "Road to Hicksboro," upon reaching the first control at Underwood Grocery at about 33-miles into the ride, "Janet, who is not fond of climbing, asked me if "the first section was harder, easier, or similar to the rest of the route?"  I answered, "yes."  Janet didn't think that was very informative, but I'd never thought about it that way.  I know I think that my "Egypt Mtn" perm starts rather gently and with some nice vistas ... and then gets a little more interesting ...; but I had not thought much about the ... tempo of the Hicksboro route.  There are some boring roads -- I pointedly remarked so to Janet + MikeF after completing one such chip-seal tree tunnel.  There are some nice homestead and farmsteads.  There are donkeys and goats, and of course, the llamas at the llama house, in addition to the normal complement of horses and some cattle and sheep.  And the two steepest climbs are after the first control, but ... I think I would say the route is similar throughout."  
  3. And now, the "Bahama Beach" route and this ride.

Ann indicated that this wouldn't be the first time they had a broken rear cable to deal with.
She also described some other mechanicals they had previously overcome.
The most interesting might have been swapping their broken road tandem
For a mountain bike tandem on the Minnesota-Wisconsin 1200 the previous year.
[I'm drawing a blank on the proper name of the 1200.]

Since John and Ann were stuck riding in the 11-tooth cog for the rest of the day,
I did give them a head's up for the subsequent tougher climbs.
For example, I urged them to wind it up when riding on the bridge next to Lake Michie
Because upon making the left turn away from the Lake, they'd be going up the Michie Wall.
[Not much compared to those famous Pittsburgh walls, 
Not much compared to many mountain climbs, 
But still enough to get one's attention.]
In the event, I came around that turn in time to see the tandem serpentining part of the climb.
Hope John and Ann will forgive me, but it was somewhat amusing to watch.
Ann + John + their tandem in front of the decommissioned self-propelled (?) artillery gun at the corner of Range Rd and Roberts Chapel Rd.  This is a safer photo opp than posing ON the gun.  [I almost forgot to include this photo!]  One tidbit from just before we got to this location:  I was on their wheel as we approached the county line (on Range Rd after turning off Cassam Rd), so I picked up my cadence for 20 strokes or so and edged ahead and raised my right arm in a mock victory salute as I crossed the CL, then immediately drifted back -- John commented, "I wondered what you were doing."  Then as I was temporarily riding alongside the tandem team, I asked if they would mind posing for the above photo.  You can guess that they were up for the opportunity.

John and Ann paused and waited numerous times during the ride.
Especially late in the ride when my legs were feeling-it from the day before
And the semi-fast riding from earlier in the ride.
In addition to the legs talking to me, I was scheduled to work starting at 4 pm,
And I wanted to be able to walk for that.

Me, nearing the stop-sign at NC-98 at the top of Ghoston Rd, snapped by Ann.  She took two additional photos just after I turned onto the highway, but ... this is the one I'm using.
As you might guess, the two bikes made the turn off NC-98 onto Peed Rd together,
But John and Ann got to the finish several minutes before me.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bahama Beach / 1404 103 2019/09/22 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T92774 10504 J__, Ann Benoit New England Randonneurs / 921005 05:03
RUSA-T92775 2190 J__, John New England Randonneurs / 921005 05:03
RUSA-T92776 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:08

That's my story that I'll be sticking to for this ride.

Except for this:
After we had completed the ride and I had signed the potential souvenir cards,
John indicated that they liked the route so much that they wanted to do it, again, the next day.
We arranged how to meet late in the afternoon so that they could sign another waiver, and

Then John asked, "what is the record fast time on this course?"
"3 hours, 55 minutes,: I replied.
John then asked, "who did that?"
"Will you be upset if we break it," John asked.
"No," said I.

They rode the standard route, using texted photos for proof of passage.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bahama Beach / 1404 103 2019/09/23 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T92833 10504 J__, Ann Benoit New England Randonneurs / 921005 03:26
RUSA-T92834 2190 J__, John New England Randonneurs / 921005 03:26

That's a time that can never be lowered -- officially -- as that is the minimum time.
I'm not sure when this photo was taken.  After the Sep-22nd ride this blog post is ostensibly about?  Before that ride?  After the Sep-23rd "Bahama Beach" ride that John and Ann did without me?  Before that ride?  After the Sep-25th "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" ride?  Before that ride?  [Also, I think I likely snapped this photo, but maybe they got a stranger to take it?  Ha!  Before Sep-21, I had never met John and Ann, and more to the point, I had never heard of them!  As I type this on Mar-25-2020, I think it may be that it was not me that snapped this photo -- it doesn't really matter, it is a good photo of smiling people that I'm glad I can now call friends.]  
Late Monday, when I got home from work, there was an email from John,
Thanking me for the route, and asking if the route embedded just below was a good one.

They had found the RWGPS map all on their own -- it probably isn't that hard to find. I replied that the route is a good one; that it was a favorite in my non-rando days -- still is.

So on Tuesday, John and Ann rode that "Basic Falls Lake Loop," reportedly at recovery pace.

And late Tuesday afternoon, John asked if there was another perm-pop
They could ride on Wednesday.
But that is a story for another day.