Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sep-05: Lake Gaston 208

My friend Bob and I did back-to-back 100k rides today.  First we rode from Wilson, NC to Gasburg. VA.  Then we rode from Gasburg back to Wilson.
 
Actually, we rode Tim's Lake Gaston perm for the first time for each of us.  Nice route.  A little busy {by rural North Carolina standards) crossing Lake Gaston.  Controls only at start, turn-around, and end.  Stores or gas stations along the way, at convenient spacing, to fuel up mid-ride.  Some nice rolling vistas alongside some of the roads.

R-81 for Bob; R-1 (again) for me.
 
I hadn't ridden more than 65-miles in a single ride since mid-late-June when Bob and I did his North of Burlington perm (no blog report) and I was worried I'd have big trouble [well, that isn't quite true -- I forgot that I had done an 85-miler on Jun-30].  Bob, on the other hand. has ridden x-continent with PAC Tour since then and seems to still have his good form.

Bob took on most of the northbound, into the breeze/wind, leading duties and that was a good move as it only took us 5h04 elapsed from the start to the turn-aound.  BTW, I had to ask Bob to slow the pace early on as my out-of-shape legs were not doing well -- not warmed up and giving off complaints of pains.  

My legs eventually came around, or at least did better.  Or maybe it was just that they were so tired they couldn't feel any worse and they kept up a good cadence and pace on the way back, esp. the last 32-or-so-miles.

No photos.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

I wish I was riding as well as last year

This, from one year ago, popped up on my Facebook memories this morning.

August 6, 2015

Woohoo! 104k "Oxford" pop this morning with the usual ride partner. Seemingly virtually effortless. Started very easy, never seemed to pick it up (except for one outbound stretch when I was deep in thought and the bike picked up the pace all on its own), 2h04 in-motion outbound, 2h00 in-motion inbound for me. (The official elapsed time might look a bit slow since we started about 7 minutes late due to headlight issues and managed to time 2 outbound stop-lights wrongly, and had to wait for traffic at several spots outbound and inbound.) 
Woohoo-squared! That usual partner only put 6 minutes into me in the final 13.5-miles. (She usually puts 7 minutes into me.) Anyway, 6 minutes behind today, but I was faster on Bruce Garner / New Light than usual this year (with no effort), fastest UP Ghoston this year by a minute (with seemingly no effort), UP Peed at 7.5-8 mph instead of 5-5.5 mph (with very little effort).
 
Finished. Showered. Eaten. Relaxed. NOT tired. Woohoo-cubed! 

Also wish I had posted this to the blog last year.
I hope that I might have entitled the post "Aug-06:  Woohoo! 104"

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jun-30: Denny's Store Sortie 138

I went to bed on the 29th, mentally ready for several consecutive days of glorious riding.
I woke the morning of the 30th to find a tickle on the right side of my throat.
In other words, a summer head cold had found me.
"Dammit," I thought.
But a second thought came immediately, "maybe it isn't bad and a ride will chase it away."

I stepped outside just before 0530, to find water falling from the sky.
"What the heck?  It isn't supposed to rain this morning."
Rain being pretty much the opposite of what I needed to help chase off the head cold.
"Should I call off the ride," I wondered?
"Too late.  Bob will have left home 40 minutes ago.  I know he'll ride, 'cuz ... "
"I don't have Sridhar's phone number.  I wonder if he will show?"

As I walked the bike over to the rack on the back of the car, I realized it wasn't raining.
The falling water was just residual drops coming from the overhanging trees.
One "job" that trees have is to slow the progress of rain to the ground below.
Thus allowing more of the rain water to seep into the surface rather than run-off into creeks and such.


I got to the start at about 0545; Bob was already there, his bike ready to go.
I got my bike ready; we signed the waiver; I put it inside my car and locked the doors.
5 minutes before the start time, both Bob and I are raring to go.
But no Sridhar.

0559, just as I'm about to cut our chat off with the comment that it is time to go,
I see a car make the turn off Creedmoor Rd on to Norwood.
Sighing, I noted to Bob, "there's Sridhar," and started to retrieve my car keys from the saddle bag.

I retrieved the group waiver and Sridhar's card from my car,
Looked around and asked, "where has Sridhar gone?  He ought to have come around by now."
Bob replied, "he turned into the gas station across the road."
"Why would he do that!?  
"I emailed him to meet at the same place as when he did Bahama Beach 2 weeks ago," I exclaimed.

A moment later Sridhar drove around the corner of the CVS.  Probably 0601.
"You're late, Sridhar.  Sign this and here is your card," said I.
He was quick to get ready, and we rolled out at 0608.


The stoplight at NC-98 was kind on this day, changing back to green after only a couple minutes.

The only thing of note until approx the 20-mile point,
Was the amount of traffic on Cash Rd heading into Butner.
It seemed the most traffic I could recall on that road.
Perhaps we caught the shift change at the various facilities in Butner at its height.

After Butner, the route gets much more interesting.
More scenic (though one should not compare to mountain vistas), more climbing, a LOT less traffic.

The first notable climb is on Range Rd, genially (or not) referred to as the "Range Wall."
Sridhar would tell you that he cannot climb.
But on this day, he made a strong effort and joined Bob in dropping me.
I was expecting to have to catch up to Bob.
I wasn't expecting Sridhar to be ahead of me.

The several miles on Range Rd are one of my favorites on this course, maybe my favorite.
In Spring, Summer, and Fall, early morning sunlight filtering between gaps in the trees;
I can't imagine much that could be better.
I don't dawdle that section, but I do like to enjoy it, at less than maximum effort.
On this day, I chased Bob and Sridhar the entire time on Range Rd,
Making no progress toward them, missing all my favorite scenes,
And generally not enjoying the ride so much.

They paused at the turn onto Bahama Rd.
That gave me a chance to take a drink with both feet on the ground,
Catch my breath,
And take a photo of a location that often seems quite pleasing.
House / homestead at corner of Red Mtn + Bahama roads.  [Some mornings this looks quite nice; either the sunlight, the camera, or the photographer (me) didn't give a good pic on this date.] 

There are several inclines on Bahama / Harmony Church Rd.
Sridhar attacked every one of them.  Very unusual.
Dropped me every time.  Very unusual. 

There are several more inclines on Mollie Mooney / Old Allensville Rd.
Sridhar attacked every one of them.  Expected by now.
Dropped me every time.  Also expected by now.

At some point on the above referenced roads, Bob stopped keeping up with Sridhar on his attacks,
Choosing instead to drop back with me -- mostly. 

There were no peeps waiting on the benches outside the Allensville Store control this day.
We made good use of the benches.
But took no photo this day. 

From Allensville to Berea, there are only a couple noticeable inclines.
Sridhar must have attacked them,
Because I recall I was again off the back approaching Denny's Cemetery.
I put in a Herculean effort and got to the Denny's Store corner first.
(The real reason I got to the corner first was that Bob + Sridhar backed off their pace.
But it is true that I did pick up the pace to get to the corner.)
Sridhar + Bob.  [I have been assured by Raleigh Region RBA Alan that there used to be an actual store at that crossroads.] 

After the Denny's Store crossroads, there is an immediate noticeable climb,
But after that, the route is more-or-less flattish to the second intermediate control in Berea.

We stopped for lunch at the preferred location in Berea.
Which should not be confused with the location noted on the cue sheet and control cards.

I don't recall of the ride between Berea and Creedmoor,
Except that I again dropped Bob + Sridhar off my front wheel,
Whenever the road tilted up, esp. the last two climbs into Creedmoor.

After Creedmoor, I know the guys dropped me again,
'Cuz they were wating for me at the turn off Old Weaver Trail onto New Light Rd.

We swooped the couple miles down and across Falls Lake,
And made the turn onto Ghoston Rd, just 10 more kms to the finish.

Locals will know that Ghoston is a 1.1-mile climb.
Something very unexpected happened on that climb.
Bob and I rode up, he a bit ahead, that was expected. 
But Sridhar was no where to be seen.
He had disappeared off the back!

Bob and I waited at the turn onto Peed Rd.
Bob at the corner, me a 100 yards up the road, in the shade of several trees. 
Sridahr appeared, and we zoomed down to the creek to the steep climb on Peed.

I recall that Sridhar did not zoom down the climb.
Neither did he attack the steep part.
Bob got to the turn onto Mt. Vernon Church Rd a bit ahead of me.
He was waiting.
I made the turn, looking for another shady spot, but also looking over my shoulder for Sridhar.
He was within sight, so I forged on, zooming down MVC Rd to another creek crossing.

Bob stopped to wait atop the MVC Ch climb, at the stop sign.
I went around to finish the last 2-kms.
However, Bob must have followed me,
'Cuz I know he finished the ride half-a-minute or more before me.

Sridhar came in a minute or so later.

The route owner gave us all the same time.
It was a record time passage on the route.
A record slow time.
Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 17951382016/06/3030
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T634955843B___, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309507:55
RUSA-T634966218S___, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309507:55
RUSA-T634971582S___, SridharNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304507:55


 My head cold lastest only a few days, and it was never very much.
I failed to mention the left Achilles pain that plagued me all ride long.
Pain sufficient enough that I essentially took the entire month of July off from cycling.
I finally did another rando ride, a populaire to preserve the P-series, on July 31st.
NO Achillies pain.  Yippee!!

I type this completely overly long and boring report on August 1st.
I'm planning to do a couple or three populaires a week until later this month,
So that I'll be in shape to do a 200 with Bob in late August as he preserves his R-streak,
Which is uninterrupted since he joined RUSA in Jan-2010.
 
Btw, Bob and Sridhar are about half-way through their big adventure

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jun-06 & 22: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf Pop, x 2

Jun-06

Bob, IvaHawk and me.
My 104k Perm-Pop Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf.

Bob, training for a PAC Tour Northern Tour starting in mid-July.
May have been looking for an easy pace, sorta' recovery ride.
Or maybe just riding with a couple friends.

IvaHawk, training for the upcoming Blood, Sweat and Gears, the "50-mile" version.
Iva, and our friend Tito, have apparently gotten their fill of difficult 100-mile mountain rides.
Iva is in excellent shape, but hasn't been on his bicycle as much this year as usual.
(E.g., last year, I think it was last year, he did a couple Denny's Store Sorties to prep for the BSG.)

[Ha!  Turns out the double-DSS was in 2013; last year was a double Bahama Beach program. 
BB isn't as long as DSS, but there is more climbing per mile.]

Me, training for nothing, and no announced goals.
Just happy to ride with a couple friends.

I recall none of the conversation on the outbound leg, but I know it wasn't a completely silent ride.

As we dismounted outside the turn-around control,
Bob remarked, "I guess we're riding for Lynn."
[Lynn completed the "Oxford" route 60 times prior to the events of Feb-20-2016.]

Upon entering the store, the clerk asked, "how are you?"
I responded, "I gather you're actually asking about Lynn and 'Skipwith'?"
"Yes," she replied.
 
It was reminiscent of the March 3rd control experience on this course. 
So I filled her in on Lynn's status / recent progress.
But I had to beg off regarding "Skipwith" 'cuz I didn't know anything.

After completing our control paperwork and enjoying a short respite,
We headed out for the return leg.
I know there was conversation, but I can't remember 17 days back to report on it.

Oh, yeah -- Bob and Iva dropped me on the last climb of the day:
Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 22591042016/06/0630
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T628547702A__, Iva CRandonneurs USA / 93309504:49
RUSA-T628555843B__, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309504:48
RUSA-T628566218S__, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309504:50

 
Jun-22

Just Bob and me.
(Though IvaHawk did serendipitously intersect and ride with us for some of the route.)

Bob had ridden 150-miles the day before.
His last big-miles ride before heading to the west coast for his PAC Tour.
[200k rides don't really count as big-miles as he has done so many of them. 
At least that's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.]

That 150-miles the day before helped me stay with Bob during the ride.
At least for the first 15 or so miles -- as Bob reported later, that's about when his legs loosened up.
After that, after a few miles where he repeatedly pulled ahead of me,
Bob backed off his effort so that we could stick together.

I didn't recognize the clerk at the turn-around control.
Which was rather strange, since he knew the card and receipt protocol.

He didn't ask about Lynn or "Skipwith."

We nibbled some snacks, refilled bottles with cold fluids, chatted a bit,
And then headed out on the return leg.

Outbound, we had chatted about fitting in a couple rides together before Bob heads west.
Inbound, there was less conversation, at least partially because I decided to
"Train" a bit -- mostly a long "hot interval."

There was also the slight headwind on the return.
That always makes convivial conversation more difficult.

Bob did not drop me on the final three climbs.
I'm sure he could have, but ... he chose not to.
Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 22591042016/06/2220
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T632705843B__, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309505:06
RUSA-T632716218S__, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309505:06
[Sometimes, the stop-light at NC-98, approx 4.4-miles into the ride, 
Is green when we get there. 
Sometimes it is red, or turns red just before we get there. 
On this ride, it turned red just before we got to it, 
And, I swear, the light stayed red for at least five minutes. 
Clearly, a record wait at that light. 
At least a record at the start of the ride. 
There's been some seriously long waits at that light at the end of some rides.] 

Monday, May 16, 2016

May-14: "Irregulars" - In Honor of Lynn

I joined some of the old Irregulars gang on Saturday morning for a three hour tour.
(pics of route and elevation profile below) 


When we got to Gordon Moore Rd at about 21.5-miles into the ride,
I mentioned that Gordon Moore was perhaps Lynn's favorite road to cycle.
Lt. Dave immediately commented, "okay then, we're riding in honor of Lynn."

That wasn't the original intent of the ride, nor my intent when I made my comment; however ... 
The crew:  LT, Snapper, Ricochet, Rich, Ags, BobH, me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Fortunate Day

Attention randonneurs:  this is the first post I've written in a LONG time that is mostly, maybe entirely, FOR the Irregulars.  As such, I won't explain certain things in detail.  However, if you know what happened in the rando world in Johnston County, North Carolina on Feb-20-2016, then you might appreciate the following, too. 

  
Looking back in my Excel logs, the first ride of what I would eventually come to call the Irregulars was Jul-22-2006.  Just Frank and me.
 
We met at PUE, and I truly mean MET, as in that was the first time we had met each other.  Frank had recently acquired a used road bike, but didn't know anyone to ride with or where to ride.  He had decided to ask a "superwoman" and the instructor in the Spin Class that he had been attending.  The "superwoman" was Lynn; the instructor was Lynn's friend Larissa.  As I recall the story, Larissa is the one that suggested Frank ride with me.  (Lynn and Larissa had been trying to hook me up with an existing group because they were concerned about me riding solo.  However, all the suggested groups had a at least one characteristic in common:  their rides didn't start until 8, or more probably 9 am, and I liked to be finishing by then.) 
 
Anyway, Frank and I met at PUE, probably at about 7 am, or maybe 6 -- Frank had a couple young children, so he wanted to finish his ride in time to get home and be a father.  We rode across Carpenter Pond to Olive Branch Rd (in those days, Doc Nichols Rd was in bad shape), then took NC-98 across to Kemp Rd so that we could ride up Virgil Rd.  And if I understand the cryptic notes in my Excel log, we also rode down Coley Rd to 98 and U-turned to ride back up to Carpenter Pond, from whence we returned to PUE completing our 31.0-mile ride.  (At an avg 15.6-mph while in-motion, it was the fastest ride I had ever done.)
 
You may be thinking that what was fortunate about the day Frank asked Lynn and Larissa regarding ride partners is that I got a ride partner out of it.  That is not what I am mean. 
 
The fortunate thing came from a long string of subsequent meetings, that is:
  • Frank soon brought his neighbor Sean,
  • who brought his co-worker Harvey, aka "Snapper," aka "Cheeta." 
  • who brought another co-worker Big-Wave-Dave, 
  • who brought his lifelong friend Bob, the "Duke," 
  • who brought Lt. Dave and IvaHawk and some others.
There were others that eventually came to Irregulars rides, but this is as far as I need go to explain "a fortunate day."
 
Fast forward nearly 10 years, and I received a call from Lynn last Friday night, about 7 pm.
Skipping the background details, could I help get a ramp built at her house by Tuesday? 
Skipping some hand wringing, I wracked my brain, who did I know that would know people that might be able to help.
The answer I came up with was Lt. Dave. 
I drove to Lynn's house so I would know first-hand the exact situation.
Then I drove to Dave's house.
 
Laurie, Dave, and Dave's dad, Lew, welcomed me into the house.
I came straight to the point:  did Dave have any ideas on how to get a ramp built by Tuesday.
I think Lew was the first to suggest "Bay Leaf Builders,"
A group of retirees at Dave and Laurie and Lew's church that build a ramp every Wednesday.

Skipping some more details, by 8:45 pm, Bay Leaf Builders had agreed to build Lynn's ramp on Wednesday, i.e., today.
The ramp was completed by about 2 pm earlier today, Mar-30.

The day Frank asked Lynn and Larissa for advice regarding whom to ride with,
That was definitely a Fortunate Day for me.
And for Lynn.
The ramp.
Ramp nearly invisible behind the bushes.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mar-09: Ambassador Tour 210

Actually, just my 'Warrenton + Egypt Mtn 210k perm' with my friend BobB.  (Hmmn, just noticed that the controls are not indicated on that RWGPS map -- maybe I'll edit it one of these days and include the icons for the controls.)

When we got to the first intermediate control at Epsom, approx mile 36.7, one of the regular customers, as we dismounted, asked if we were aware of four cyclists that had been recently hit down in Johnston County.

Bob and I responded simultaneously, "yes."

And since I recognized the regular from previous control visits, I continued, "all four of them are our friends, and I know that you've met the woman."

A shocked and sad face greeted those words.

We chatted for a bit.  I asked him to please pass on to his friends that he had met at least one of those four cyclists, the woman, and to please let those friends know that, from his experience, she was a nice person, and that the cyclists he had met seemed to be reasonable people, regular people.

He added, "you are regular people; the only difference being that you ride your bicycles a long way." 
Bob & I went in to get our respective receipts.  As I checked out, I mentioned the four cyclists to the clerk.  I knew that he, too, had met Lynn, even more times than the regular customer outside.  I was pretty sure he would recall Lynn.  He did.  Emotion was beginning to well-up in his eyes.  I asked him to pass on to his friends that cyclists were reasonable and regular people with family and jobs and all that; the only distinguishing thing being that we rode our bicycles long distances.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next intermediate control, ignoring the info control in Drewry, was in Warrenton.  On this ride, we went to the Subway sandwich shop.

One of the behind-the-counter employees asked me where my wife was.  I corrected, ex-wife.  She expressed disappointment for me.  I explained that we had been divorced for several years, but we were still friends, as witnessed by our doing these long bike rides together.  [Or more likely, "together."  But I didn't explain the difference between together and "together" -- North Carolina randonneurs ought to understand.  Anyone that has ever looked up our respective results ought to understand.  Anyway, back to the story.]  

As there was a line forming behind me, I did not do a "please tell your friends" routine.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The afternoon non-info-control was again at Epsom.  The same regular customer was still there.  Actually, he indicated that he had left, done some errands, and then returned, claiming the c-store was the "Epsom Walmart" where everyone eventually came.  We chatted some more, including that one of the nearby neighbors, about aged 80, rode his three-wheeled bicycle around the area for about 7 or so miles every day, and if he came across cans or bottles along the way, he would pick them up and put them in the front basket.  [Although I could have referred to the three-wheeler as a tricycle, have you ever checked the general statutes in your state?  I expect that you'll find that, legally, tricycles are bicycles.]

There was a different clerk at the store.  Busy line of customers.  I did not do a "please tell your friends routine".  Besides, I didn't recognize the woman.  And that is mighty strange, because she asked me for my control card without prompting.  Maybe I need to pay better attention to the clerks. 

Bob and I left and finished our ride.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Uh-huh, a simple "finished our ride" to refer to the remaining 47 or so miles into that howling headwind.  Bob is training to do a x-continental Northern PAC Tour this summer; I therefore graciously allowed him to lead most of the second half of the ride.  Hey, I had magnanimously led the entire first 64 miles, where, in "Fixie Pixie" words, we had been feeling really good.  Others might say that we had had a howling tailwind for those outbound miles.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Eddington Cycling Number:
After this ride:  125.
Meaning that I have completed at least 125 different rides that were at least 125 miles long.