Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan-16: IR Lake Loop + Northside

Best comments of the day:

Snapper, explaining his triathlon cycling results:  "I'm only faster than those that are slower than me."
 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Oooo-kay.

LT, on Old Weaver, just before the climb up to NC-50, after I had mentioned something about the pace:  "I told Martin that I thought that it would be fast because so many will have 'cabin fever'.  Oh, you're Martin."
 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Last time I checked, I was still me.

Wave, upon reaching the top of Ghoston after 6 1/2 or 7 minutes:  "THAT was eye opening."
 ... ... ... ... ... No riding since Thanksgiving.  Still recovering from bronchitis. 
 ... ... ... ... I told him that have taken as long as 8 1/2 minutes. 
 ... ... ...  Even longer the time I bonked and Iceman was worried I might literally die.

I am confident that there were other "wise" comments, but I didn't hear them.
County Line report:

The first county line, on Old Creedmoor / Carpenter Pond was "neutralized".  Yeah!

The second county line, at the bridge across the Neuse River (submerged in Falls Lake ), seemed exciting, even from the very, very "rear seat" I had.  Six of us reached the descent to the lake; five were missing.  Wave and I dropped the other four in the "lead group" off our front.  Then, whoosh, the paceline train that included Snapper, Tito, Mallet, Mark and one other I can't recall, came by Wave and I so fast that Stew laughed.  I thought the five were "making a statement", but then thought they must be going for the CL.  However, despite many tutorials, none of the five seems to have recalled where the CL was, and upon reaching the lead four, the five pulled into line.  What I then saw was a mad dash to the CL - I hope no one was taking "big risks" such as a certain local cycling club sometimes does.  I later received a report that Lee was leading LT when LT saw - in his mirror - the Mallet pull out of line and start his rush.  Apparently LT had to work very hard to hold the Mallet off.  That's all I know.

The third county line, where Boyce Rd becomes Will Suitt, was a bit different.  Let's just say that when LT did not leave the stop-sign at Old Weaver with the lead rider, that lead rider was pretty sure he had the CL in the bag, but he did keep increasing his pace.  Good thing, too, because Snapper was coming hard, but had left it too late.  The "Old Master" snuck another one with a solo break-away.  The break-away was certainly helped by the fact that all the "fast guys" missed a key turn and started down the dead-end to the boat ramp, thus enabling me to catch and pass most / all of them.  A quick pace across Boyce while the fast-guys were probably still breathing hard from the previous CL, and possibly still discussing it too -- I wouldn't know -- I had plans. 

The fourth county line -- oh, yes, there was another CL -- we had to get back into Wake County -- was non-contestable because it is at a stop-sign. 

Back at the PUEn, several were discussing how they might be able to use technology to alert them and identify and place upcoming county lines.  I wish them luck -- they might even be able to market such a thing -- for example, from their google-groups-forum-thingy, it appears that half the members of a particular well-known north Raleigh cycling club / group don't know where the county lines are, either.  As I said, I wish them luck, but I'm betting that this old semi-Luddite of a Human GPS will still do a better job of knowing where most the CLs are (I never claimed to know where all of them are).
Eleven riders -- ties the all-time IR record from the Middleburgh Solstice last June.  Falls one short of the all-time turnout, though.  Twelve of us showed up for "Breakfast With Tito" .  Speaking of "Breakfast With Tito", Tito had an article about his experience in the Galapagos published .
A fun and SAFE time was had by all.  Well, maybe Wave wasn't having fun the last 9 miles or more -- but he seemed to be in good spirits back at the PUEn. 
I went out to ride another 20 miles.  Iva rode with me for the first ~ 3 miles, and the company was deeply appreciated.  He even decided to follow me down the first big drop to the bottom of Victory Church Rd, just so he could turn around and climb back up and get in a fifty mile ride.  I think that was more "hard-core" than the 20+ miles I did. 

I was really wiped out when I finished my ride.  Much worse than any of the rides at the end of December.  I suspect that the fast start -- 17.3 mph on my confuser when many took a flo-max and/or clothing removal break -- took a serious toll on me.  (I was going to pick on Snapper and the Duke here, but decided against it.)

PUE: (a) Lake Loop + Northside (w/ group), (b) Norwood-VctCh-CP-Coley-CP-MVC (solo); w/ Snapper, Wave, Duke, LT, Iva, Mallet, Smitty, LeeD, Tito, young Mark; 62.7 m.; 4hrs, 0min; 15.6 mph.

Jan tot: _2 rides; _92.9m.; _5 hrs, 45 min; 16.1 mph.

As mentioned in the text-proper, the first 13 or so miles I was avg'ing 17.3 mph.  I was avg'ing 16.7 when I turned onto Ghoston -- but I had promised Wave I would ride in with him, even if I dropped him on Ghoston.  Wave "went backward" on Ghoston.  I slowed and waited and then limped in with him -- the "irregulars" do NOT leave struggling riders alone.  My avg when I got to PUE after the group portion of the ride was 16.0.  "Irregulars" do NOT leave struggling riders alone!
Alternative report:

I really enjoyed the ride on Saturday, also, even though I spent a lot of time "off the back".

Early on I was going a bit slower than Harvey and BobS seemed to be wanting to ride -- I wanted to warm up the legs a little before pedaling hard. Although I never really got the slower, warm-up period I was hoping for, I did get to talk with "young Mark" early when we were on Carpenter Pond Rd. I think he was worried I was going to slide even further off the back. If the Gyro B's hadn't gotten in front of us by taking Nipper Rd out of PUE, I may have fallen even further back; but with the B's on the road, the front pace did eventually slow a bit, and everyone pretended to pay attention while I tried to buy time for the B's to get farther off our front.

I managed to get to the lead on much of Patterson when several took flo-max breaks or stopped to remove excess clothing (coincident with the stop to wait for Harvey and Stew). I decided that riding ahead, at a slightly slower pace than I would have done at that point if I were solo was the best way for me to continue warming-up and to stay in the midst of the group. However, by the top of the last climb on Patterson, everyone except Iva had passed me . . . then Iva noticed that we were again missing two people: this time it was Smitty and Stew. I decided to wait but Iva was worried that he'd never be able to bridge -- I figured I could use the downslope on Cheek near the lake if I had to bridge.

Luckily, the entire lead group of 8 stopped beside Plainview Church to wait for Smitty, Stew, and me. I didn't really check to see if people were eating or whatever, and since I only had my "emergency" fig newtons, I had no interest in stopping, and it seemed a good idea to again just keep going until the group swarmed around. I had some conversation(s) on Cheek, but other than Lt. Dave, I couldn't tell you now who they were with. When we noticed that we were missing five people, I said that if it was a flat, at least there were good flat-changers among the five, and we continued on. By about that time, I had noticed that Stew had no "umph" in his gitty-up. He and I spent a lot of time off the back together.

The paceline whooshing past toward the bridge on Cheek was (for lack of a better word) amusing -- Stew did actually laugh. The sprint, even from as far away as I was, looked entertaining.

Lt. Dave and I were shaking our heads about all the fast guys missing the turn onto Boyce Rd. Dave commented "you'd think they would have learned the course by now ... we've done this part enough times." When all the fast guys were suddenly behind me because of missing that turn, I developed my plan for Will Suitt Rd. I'm pretty sure Lt. Dave did not suspect anything because that is a flattish stretch and I can usually ride it pretty well. I didn't say much, but I was plotting for the entire 2 miles to the stop sign at Old Weaver. I had learned something from Tito a few weeks ago, and I was planning to give it a try on Lt. Dave for the CL; but Dave did not come with me away from the stop sign. Maybe he was chatting with others. I was so surprised he was not in my mirror or peripheral vision that I did a full turn to check -- no Dave. New plan: steadily increase the pace, but not so suddenly that anyone would be reminded there was a CL up ahead (good thing Iceman couldn't make the ride). Watching the mirror, increasing the pace, worried that either the Mallet or Harvey would come by rushing. Harvey says he decided to catch me when he saw I was off the front; he picked up his pace, but then realized I had picked up my pace . . . and when he saw the CL sign, he gave a couple hard pedal strokes but realized that unless I fell off my bike he could not catch me. Internalized fun. Another tutorial on County Line placement had been administered.

Some chatting with Smitty and Tito when they passed -- then I had to ask them to pick it up on the first shallow upslope on Northside Rd, but within 100 yards, the road was steeper and I drifted backward to join Stew.

On the later part of Northside and again on Cash, Stew and I slipped back, at least partly because we were chatting and looking around, and I know I failed to notice we had slipped off. Sometimes I wasn't sure if Stew was just hanging back with me, or if he was struggling. But by the time we got to NC-50, I knew Stew was struggling.

When we were going across the lake -- admiring all the ice its surface -- I found out from Lee that he had become a gran-daddy for the second time at 6:30 that morning, and had been up since 3:00 -- congrats to Lee & his family. I figured I would do the first bump-up from the lake with gusto and then just naturally drift backward on the never-ending mile-and-a-half to New Light. On that section, Stew and I had more conversation, and I promised him I would ride in with him, even if I dropped him on Ghoston.

I said my good-byes to all at the corner of Old Weaver and New Light because I figured it was at least possible that half the crew might be gone by the time I got to PUE.

I did let up on Ghoston after the first steep step because I couldn't see Stew in my mirror. He really did say "THAT was eye opening" when he got to the top of Ghoston. I have been there.

I enjoyed listening to the County Line Map App talk while prepping for my further 20+ miles.

Iva and I rode at an easy pace across Norwood, and in what seemed like seconds, we were to Macon Rd -- which should have been his turn -- but he decided to ride with me to Victory Church Rd and then to ride down to the bottom of the first valley on Vct Ch Rd. THAT was either a hard-core way to get to 50 miles, or he was being really nice. We know the latter is a given; I think the first also applies.

I had really achey legs when I finished my ride, and took at least 40 minutes to take off my damp tops, put the bike in the car, stretch, and eat a banana. I got in the car just in time to think that I heard Woody Durham (the UNC radio sports play-by-play announcer) say that UNC was behind by 14 pts at halftime. I couldn't believe that was correct, so I called Iva -- he confirmed the score.

I probably had less interplay conversation than most everyone else, but I had a good time on the ride Saturday. It seemed that everyone else did also.

One last thing. About 8 o'clock that night, I got a phone call from a "happy" Snapper. Apparently he and his wife were out to dinner with Smitty and his wife. Snaps said that he and Smitty had been discussing the ride and how much they had enjoyed it, and then Smitty said that he had no idea what my last name was, and Snapper said he couldn't remember, but knew that my e-mail address was a word-play off my last name. So Harvey called to ask me. Next morning, I sent Harvey an e-mail asking, now that he was no longer "happy", could he remember my last name.

My legs ached for much of Saturday night. I was glad for all the rain on Sunday as it gave me an excuse not ride, and let my legs recover.


  1. Don't leave struggling riders alone? That must be true, but they do let them get lost. ;)

    I'll remember that and "struggle" a little the next time I'm on that last leg and can't remember which way to turn. :p

  2. Just fun'n with you and you know it. :)

  3. Good ride today. It turned out to be beautiful weather. What was up with Bob and Norris passing us going the other way on Olive Branch. Either they went early, wanted to go longer, or wanted some alone time. ha ha. Iva

  4. BobH and Norris have gear for all weather. And like to ride, as Wolfie-Karen says, at the "butt-crack of dawn".

  5. Here's to hoping our Luddite Leader doesn't start executions for those 'dropping' the slower IR's. Also, for anyone that wants to invest in the County Line Maps App please send you checks directly to Snapper - who promises not to Cheetah anyone!

  6. You very funny man, Cheeta.

    Very fast, too.

    But I noticed you didn't get any CL wins yesterday.

    The slowest "IR" did ! Woohoo!

  7. Very simple trick to spotting a county line from a distance- watch for big changes in the road surface. Green Level/Lewter Shop for instance: tar&gravel to new asphalt. Works 90% of the time. The other 10% just has to be committed to memory.

  8. The CL I snuck on them I did by making a slow get-away starting from about 0.4 miles from the CL, while at least some may still have been approaching the stop sign. I did make a complete, foot-down stop at that ss -- there was a vehicle coming to the intersection from the opposite direction, and I like to make sure to do a 100% complete no-forward-motion stop any time a vehicle is anywhere near. In addition to being too far away to see even if it were a straight, level line, there was a nice gentle curve and a slowly increasing in "severity" downslope that also served to help hide the CL.

    Unfortunately for the rest of the crew, I already know where almost all the CLs are by memory, or the passing scenery will recall the location to mind for me.

    I have previously given tutorials to several of the usual CL-suspects on where the CLs are, and the one I "snuck" in particular, but . . . .

    In a few weeks, on the same day as Tony's Salisbury or Coastal 300, I have scheduled a 50-miler for the crew. There will be 12, repeat 12, county lines during the middle 32 miles. And for many / most of those, there will be little or no discernable difference in the road surface, or the road will be curving significantly, or will be just after a crest, or will be while plunging downslope around a curve, or will be while climbing back up after the most recent creek crossing. Only two of the CL's will be completely new to an "irregulars" ride; for the other 10, at least one IR ride will have been on that stretch of road.

    For those not interested in the CLs, they will be able to enjoy the ride as a hill-fest training session. And for me, since I am planning 80 miles that day, I doubt I will be contesting any true sprints -- might try a break-away or two, though.

    I'm pretty sure we are going to do the ride sans-cue-sheet so that I can ride as slow as I want, thus controlling the "start" of each fresh CL-segment, and because the rest of the crew will have to wait for me at the many, many turns -- meaning I can take it easy enough so that I can complete the additional 30 miles after the group fun is over.

  9. It sounds like it is going to be a fun ride.

    I really enjoyed the ride last Sat – it was great to ride along with different people and have conversation, exercise and scenery.