Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb-28: MORE Wind, More Missed Turns, but . . .

The Wind was worse today than yesterday.  But today, the course was not "35 miles out, then 35 miles back".  Instead, the loop of Falls Lake, with additional side-loops to get the desired mileage, called for repeated minor or major changes of directions, thus allowing for periodic recovery from a pounding headwind.  There would have been even more periodic recoveries, except . . .

Even after giving the orienteering scout trainer a cue sheet (hand-written after arrival at PUE, just in case the author suffered the same fate today as yesterday), the lead group of I'm-sure-this-way-will-get-us-lost-Wave, Snapper, Lee and JohnH managed to miss a key turn.  While Whitt and Dove roads would have been mostly into the wind, I am confident that their tree-lined, elevation-changing, sinous paths would have been less wind-harassed that staying on Old Weaver and riding the most exposed part of Cash Rd was. 

Smitty and I . . . okay, mostly me . . . considered several options, including:
 1. waiting at the proper turn for the return of the directionally challenged four,
 2. riding to within sight of the four, then stopping and glaring at them with arms crossed,
 3. riding up to the four, and asking if anyone knew the way to Dove Rd, and
 4. asking the scouting orienteering leader if he understood how cue sheets actually worked.

In the end, we . . . okay, I . . . settled for options 3 and 4.

Craziest comment of the day:  "We couldn't understand how we could turn right twice and still get to NC-50." 

Good grief !  This is not the Midwest where the roads are laid out on a square grid; this is central North Carolina where no road runs straight from more than a couple yards.

Good grief #2 !  How do you guys think you got from Creedmoor to PUE just LAST WEEK? 
Answer:  Creedmoor Main St (= NC-50), L onto Dove, L onto Whitt, L onto Old Weaver - three left turns to accomplish essentially ONE left turn.  All one need do is reverse the process.  Sheesh.
What was different about today's ride as compared to yesterday's ride, other than that today's ride was ~ 30 miles shorter?
Answer:  The guy that couldn't ride worth a flip yesterday did pretty darn well for himself today.  Oh . . . he still got dropped on the climbs, but he did two long pulls / break-aways:  the first from mile 18.3 to nearly mile 28; the second was the ~ 6 miles from DocNichols to Old Creedmoor.  The second "pull" ripped apart the peloton (Snapper, Wave and Smitty came up with some lame story about Harvey losing a water bottle) and the "pull" probably would have been longer except "that guy" didn't point out or yell a warning about a pot hole in time and JohnH hit it full on and got a snake-bite pinch flat.  So the "pull" ended after another mile (when Lee noticed that we had lost John) and Lee and I turned back to find John and see if his bike was still in one piece.  We didn't get far before we saw the SAS crew coming from the other direction and they informed us that John was adamant that he was okay and just needed to fix his flat. 

Maybe more will believe that the pre-ride comments on safety are not a lecture, but a reminder to ME to be safe and point-out and / or call-out road hazards.  Yes, of course, the "that guy" above is me.  :-(

Disappointing that despite all that hard work, the avg pace (for me) today was still so slow.  But as Lee commented, "riding into 50 mph headwinds will do that".
I got an e-mail that JohnH got home safe and sound. About 55 miles for him. Thanks for the ride.
Lee rode quickly up MVC and headed for home - about 48.5 miles for him.  Thanks for the ride.
Wave finished his exercise day at PUE - about 43.5 miles for him. Thanks for the ride.
Snapper and Smitty did a 6-mile brick run after their 43.5 mile rides.  Thanks for the ride.

Oh, btw, I think Smitty may have discovered something about back-to-back long or hard rides.

PUE: Falls Lake Loop counter-clockwise + Strawberry loop + Northside loop + Redwood loop; 43.5 m.; 2hrs, 52min; 15.2 mph.

Jan tot: _4 rides; 208.5 m.; 12 hrs, 54 min; 16.1 mph.
Feb tot: _4 rides; 222.0 m.; 14 hrs, 47 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: _8 rides; 430.5 m.; 26 hrs, 43 min; 15.5 mph.

I am well behind last year's pace.  And SOOOOO far behind in my planned "training", . . . I guess one must bow to the weather and head cold, though.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb-27: Bearpond-Bobbitt, with a LOT of Wind

Good things about today's ride:

 1. It is over.
 2. I didn't crash.  No one else crashed.
 3. It was sunny.
 4. Everyone had a better ride than I did.  But IvaHawk's ride may have been only marginally so.

Not-so-good things about today's ride:

 1. The WIND.
I drafted Smitty to do a write-up of today's ride because . . . I might not be able to do so in good humor. 

Departing PUE we had eight in the group (Martin, Tito, Norris, BobH, Mallet, Lt. Dave, John A., and Smitty), but picked Iva up a few miles up the road on NewLight after he had retrieved his missing helmet from his house.  Now we were nine... 

A slight miscue took a few of us up a wrong turn onto Wes Sandling Rd..  Regrouped shortly after that where Mallet and Lt. Dave split from the group for a shorter ride.  Now we were seven.

Somewhere shortly before the wall Tito, Iva and I stopped to briefly admire the fauna and wildlife.  While trying to catch up with the group Tito's shoe cover tried to fly free of his shoe.  After another short stop to sort that out, we once again set out to rejoin the group.  Some in our group are wondering what the deal is with Tito's footwear here lately. I personally think that him having issues is the only way I can keep up with him.

Stayed loosely together from there until Bearpond, where there was another slight miscue from the lead group (if you are keeping score from home: _GPS 0 - Cue sheet 2).  Regrouped briefly at the store on Bobbit where BobH and Norris got a headstart on the rest of the group.  Several miles later, Tito and I spotted BobH and Norris ahead of us and started off to catch them.  Tito hit the afterburners and left me in the dust.  Now we were three mini-groups of three, two and two...

John, Paul, Martin and Iva regrouped in Franklinton.  After that regrouping, we stayed together for a while until Martin had issues and had to drop off the back of the group, and ultimately he made arrangements for Iva to loop back in his truck and sag him in.  So, we were three...

We fought the wind all the way back in on Bruce Garner/New Light, but made decent time.  Before the ride started, there had been some talk about having a tailwind on the way back to PUE from Bearpond.  Still waiting for that to happen.  On New Light, Iva was entertaining offers for a tow rope up Ghoston, but decided to go pick up our leader instead of making a quick buck.  And then we were two...

Upon arrival back at PUE Tito, BobH and Norris were still loading up their gear.  Not sure how much earlier they got back than us.  I just know I was gassed.  Iva and Martin showed up within minutes of John and I getting back.

Final stats from my garmin: 

75.74 miles
04:50:25 ride time 
15.6 mph average
Other rider's stats may vary.

Here is the link for the ride info from my garmin. 


PUE:  Bearpond-Bobbitt, but I bailed at Grissom; BobH, Norris, Tito 77 m., Smitty, Agnew 75 m., IvaHawk 63m., Mallet, LT 43 m. + ride from-to home; 63.3 m.; 4hrs, 21min; 14.5 mph.

Jan tot: _4 rides; 208.5 m.; 12 hrs, 54 min; 16.1 mph.
Feb tot: _3 rides; 178.5 m.; 11 hrs, 55 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: _7 rides; 387.0 m.; 24 hrs, 51 min; 15.6 mph.

Regarding Smitty's comment "Other rider's stats may vary":  _Definitely.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feb-20: Of Ships and Shoes and Breaking Away and. . .

1. I don't always ride as slow as I did today. Sometimes, but not always. More likely on a Sunday after a hard Saturday ride. I plead the remnants of my head cold. Evidence?

 2. Even after cleaning up, a look in the mirror reminded me of something a classmate's / teammate's mother said back when I was in sixth grade.

There was an organized basketball conference for the elementary country schools in Whiteside County. 7th & 8th graders made a team. 5th & 6th graders made a team. And if your school was as small as ours (~ 100 kids in 8 grades), the substitutes for the 5th & 6th grade team came from the 4th grade. And, you guessed it, the 6th graders (and maybe the 5th graders, too) made most of the "bench" for the 7th & 8th graders.

Anyway, one game, at our school, Bob Bolivar's mother said I looked like I had "been dragged through a knothole backwards". Yeah, I probably should have been at home in bed and not playing in the game.

That same sentiment probably applies to today's ride. I do note, however, that my "in-motion time" was only three minutes slower than the famous ( \:roll-eyes:\ ) Range Road Rover from Christmas Eve day, just two months ago.

 3. There was some snow remnants on the heavily-shaded ditches / banks of Range Rd. But not comparable to Dec-24-09.

 4. I have received word that there was an interesting / amusing incident on Robert's Chapel Rd amongst the short crew today. But no photos! :-(


Thanks for the ride today as usual. We had an incident (thankfully humorous) on (I think) Roberts Chapel Road related to Tito's duct tape. The road was a long uphill. I was lagging behind. Smitty was back there with me for some reason. Tito started coming back to us. His gears had locked. He couldn't turn the crank. Then the chain threw. About this time, I was going by him and said I'll wait for you at the top. Then I looked back once I got to the top and he was lying in the middle of the road with Smitty standing over him. I said oh, no and rode back down. The others had not seen this and were waiting even further ahead where they couldn't see back down the hill. He had slowed and slowed until the bike stopped. Naturally, he couldn't get his duct tape foot out and the bike, unfortunately, was falling to that side. So down he goes. Then when Smitty and I were trying to get him remounted, having his foot attached to the bike made it where we couldn't get his butt back over the rear of the seat. But, we finally did. It was quite a scene. I figured you would want to include this in the log.

For myself, very tired today. I've been working out a lot. But, there is in shape and in riding shape. I wasn't in riding shape. I was way back on the hills. But, it was fun, good weather, and good fellowship.

A photo would be pretty much like the photos of turtles caught in the middle of the road -- an animal unable to move quickly, needy of a samaritan to throw him off the road. luckily for me, there were many samaritans today, to purchase duct tape and re-attach my shoe, to pull me off the road, to help me stand up with a bike stuck to my foot. 
 5. Earlier, just as we were about to leave the stop in Butner, Tito walked over to me and said "my cleat came completely off my shoe."  I was dumb-founded; all I could think of was that I had not brought my mutli-tool, and even if I had, it wouldn't have been of any use because this was a situation WAY beyond part of Cheeta's pedal falling off and WAY, WAY beyond the Hawk's cleat becoming loose.

Luckily, Cheeta' had his wits about him, and suggested a "Breaking Away" type solution .  Ivan apparently purchased some duct tape, and Wave and Cheeta' and other(s) were soon at work.  Going with the theory that a photo can be worth a thousand words:

 6. Some good things about today's ride:

 - My head, chest, HANDS, and FEET were WARM all ride!
 - There was good conversation going around the crew today.
 - I didn't cough even once while in motion on the bike.
 - My expected coughing fit after the end of the ride did not materialize. There was just some tiny bit of coughing. I was having mixed feeling about finishing the ride: the "pain" from lack of energy would end, but I was mightily worried about the probable coughing fit.
 - JohnH slowed on Old Weaver and New Light and Ghoston, etc. so he could ocassionally look back and check on me. Thanks! He claimed that he knew he couldn't keep up with Lee at that point. I'm not sure I believe John on that portion of his story. (BobH and Norris took the long way home from Creedmoor; probably thinking that they'd get home sooner going longer than they would if they had to stop repeatedly to wait for me.)
 - I got in a 65 mile ride! Twelve straight months with at least one 100k ride each month. Wimpy compared to the rando guys, but, hey.

 7. After the ride, I learned that I became an Uncle again earlier today! More male Shipps in the world!

 8. I intend to start near-term future rides at 15 minutes before the hour, and avoid the crush. Of course, once we start riding starting from PUE @ 0600, the "crush" won't be a problem. Btw, I can't wait until we can start rides at 0600! Why, you ask? Because it will be W-A-R-M !!!

 9. Next week, the scheduled ride is the Bearpond-Bobbitt 70-miler. The Ruin Wall, aka, "Charlie Grissom Mountain", will make today's Range Wall seem as child's play. The nice thing about the Bearpond-Bobbitt route is that once one has scaled the Ruin Wall, the ride is flat and very gentle rollers. Even an injured guy on an injured bike , with only the 39/19 gearing available can ride the last 40 miles, spinning in that easy gear, at an average 16.0 mph.

10.  Today's suspects (13 total):

 - short course:  ~ 50 miles:  Snapper (aka, Cheeta'), Wave, Duke, Hawk, Smitty, Tito, Ivan, JohnA
 - long course: ~ 65 miles + to-and-from PUE distance:  BobH, Norris, LeeD, JohnH, me.
PUE: Range Road Rover, w/ Little Mtn Rd; 65.0 m.; 4hrs, 21min; 14.9 mph.

Jan tot: _4 rides; 208.5 m.; 12 hrs, 54 min; 16.1 mph.
Feb tot: _2 rides; 115.2 m.; _7 hrs, 34 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: _7 rides; 324.7 m.; 20 hrs, 28 min; 15.8 mph. 

good ride today. my gps data...Smitty (color-coded Red to celebrate Wolfpack victory over Wake)
    Smitty's GPS data -- short crew, stranded turtle moment
As recorded on JohnH's Droid GPS app:
    JohnH Droid GPS data.  Be sure to click on "Irregulars (End)" on the left side.   

Monday, February 15, 2010

Irregulars Blog (very irregular, net – 2, No Martin)

Temperature at departure (noon) was 38 degrees. Wind 10 to 15 from the NW shifting to the W. Stopped at PUE to see if any other brave hearts were waiting. Found one lone Gyro (female) who wanted to join us. After telling her the route & distance see thought better of it and did not go.

Route was Carpenter Pond to Shady Grove. Shady Grove to Coley. Coley to Shady Grove. Shady grove – Coley – Coley -…………….. (Do you like the route so far, Martin?) 

Actually, it was Pleasant Union to Six Forks (watch for craters – it looks like someone detonated IED’s in the road – probably to take out bicycles!). Lft on Six Forks, to New Light, Rt. On Purnell, Lft on Camp Kanata, Rt. On Woodland Church, Lft. On Jona Davis to Holden, lft. On Sid Mitchell, Rt. On Green (nice hills!), Lft on Long Mill, Rt. On Bert Winston, Lft on Hicks, Lft on College (in Franklinton), Lft. On Cheatham. Stop for a stretch at the ghetto yellow pawn shop at US 1. Then Pocomoke to Bruce Garner, rt. On Rock Springs (much to the dismay of Lee), Lft on Old Weaver, Rt. On New Light, Ghoston, Peed, Mt Vernon. Total mileage from Park Ridge 50. Average speed 15.4. Total climbing 2000’. Temperature at end 46 degrees.

Overall a very good route. Good roads (except New Light), light traffic. Some sand and a few icy patches on road in Franklin Co. Tough ride. The cold and wind really take it out of you. The ride back from Franklinton was a real slog. Headwinds the last 20 miles. Quote of the day by Lt. Dave upon encountering hills and 15 mph headwinds on Pocomoke “ What don’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Lt. Dave

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Eddington Cycling Number

On a cycling forum, I saw a reference to a measure of long distance cycling achievement, the Eddington Cycling Number, or E

For some background:

Who is / was Eddington?  Arthur Stanley Eddington
What is / was the "Eddington number"?  Eddington number
What is the "Eddington cycling number"?  Eddington cycling number

The key section of the immediately above Wikipedia link defining one's E reads as follows:

"Eddington is credited with devising a measure of a cyclist's long distance riding achievements. The Eddington Number in this context is defined as E, the number of days a cyclist has cycled more than E miles. For example an Eddington Number of 70 would imply that a cyclist has cycled more than 70 miles in a day on 70 occasions. Achieving a high Eddington number is difficult since moving from, say, 70 to 75 will probably require more than five new long distance rides since any rides shorter than 75 miles will no longer be included in the reckoning."

I think a better definition would be:

"One's cycling E is defined as the maximum integer for which the following is a True Statement:
 __ 'I have at least E rides that were at least E miles long.' "
So, what is my E?  Better yet, what is the history of my E?
Cumulative career statistics through the end of:
year rides _miles _mi./r _long _E  

2004 __38 _1,176.2 _31.0 _53.4 _26
2005 __75 _2,441.7 _32.6 _75.6 _33
2006 _133 _4,926.6 _37.0 _75.6 _42
2007 _212 _8,457.2 _39.9 109.0 _49
2008 _294 12,222.5 _41.6 109.0 _54
2009 _420 18,439.2 _43.9 126.3 _63

As of this post, my E is still 63.  I need two 64+ mile rides to get to an E of 64, and nine 65+ mile rides to get to an E of 65.

If I duplicate my 2009 rides in 2010, I will end 2010 with an E of at least 68, and it may be as high as 70. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb-7: The Lake Is Full -- V-E-R-Y Full

Smitty, Lee, JohnH and I rode at noon from PUE on a "Shadow" course.  We tried to take advantage of the North wind by going downslope into the wind on Coley and Baptist, and upslope with a tailwind on those two roads.  We were somewhat successful in this strategy, but there definitely seemed to be a westerly component to the wind that was annoying during the upslope on Baptist and the second time we did the upslope on Coley.

Early in the ride there was much discussion about nostalgic days of yesteryear -- mostly about running epics.  (Lee was retiring from competive running for Carolina Godiva Track Club at about the same time that I was becoming involved as part of the Godiva leadership.  Lee was a LOT faster runner on his worst day than I ever was on my best days.  But, that is just part of the nostalgia equation.) 

We rode all the way to bottom of Baptist (negotiating the speeds bumps to do so) so we could see how full the lake is.  It is VERY FULL.  The flood waters covered half the road surface on the downslope side of the circle at the bottom.  If the lake had been two inches higher, the road surface there would have likely been completely covered.

The frog serenade while crossing the creek on Southview Rd was quite loud.  I'm thinking that it may become nearly deafening when it warms up in a few weeks. 

John turned off when we went passed Hickory Grove Rd on the way back to PUE.  He had ridden to the ride from his home.

Lee skedaddled directly on home when he got to the top of MVC next to the school.

My thighs were each tight and stiff and cold from the ride, and when I started up MVC to the school, some of the little muscles in the front of my right thigh started doing involuntary twitches.  I immediately dropped into my triple and rode up to the school in my 30-23 at an almost no effort 7 1/2 mph.  I told Smitty that I was confident that sometime this evening that my right thigh would cramp on me.  As I write this, I no longer think that, but the ride left me very tired.

Smitty (who had run 8 miles in the morning) described similar leg aches and said he was more tired after today's 50-miler than he was after the 200k ride last October.   

Thank goodness it was SUNNY for the entire ride!

p.s.  During the ride, Lee asked "where is Iva?"  After the ride, I concluded that Iva was likely watching the UNC @ Maryland game on the tube.  I'm thinking he may now wish that he had gone on a cold bicycle ride instead. :-o

PUE: Coley-DocN-marina-Southview-Virgil-Coley; 50.2 m.; 3hrs, 13min; 15.7 mph.

Jan tot: _4 rides; 208.5 m.; 12 hrs, 54 min; 16.1 mph.
Feb tot: _1 ride; __50.2 m.; _3 hrs, 13 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD tot: _5 rides; 258.7 m.; 16 hrs, _7 min; 16.1 mph.
John provided this link for the ride . 
    It is not exactly the route the rest of us rode since John started from his home. 
        Be sure to click on the various "links" to the left of the map, 
            especially the "End" link.

Smitty provided this link for the ride .
    He forgot to turn his Garmin on until we got to the bottom of MVC,
        but interesting information is available, including pace vs elevation vs where on the map.

One thing I always find interesting from Garmin readouts is . . . how much the elevation of the same place changes over time.  :-o

Thursday, February 4, 2010


While revising my cycling "plan" after the "Great Storm" last weekend, I discovered that on Thursday, Jan-28, while on Old Creedmoor Rd, about half-way between the Carpenter Pond / Old Creedmoor corner and Rogers Store, I passed the 30k km lifetime cycling mark. 

30 thousand kilometers is a drop in the bucket for many, many, many cyclists.  Even a few of those that occassionally are foolish enough to read this blog have many, many, many more kilometers (and miles) under their butt.  However, a nice round figure such as 30 thousand ought not to pass by without notice.

Therefore, I notice and note my 30k km mark. 

How long is a "lifetime" of cycling? 

I started logging and still have data beginning only in 2004.

"Lifetime" Rides, Miles, Pace, Mi./Ride

year #rds _miles _hrs.frc _pace __m/r

2004 _38 _1,176.2 ___86.5 13.60 _31.0
2005 _37 _1,265.5 ___91.8 13.78 _34.2
2006 _58 _2,484.9 __167.0 14.88 _42.8
2007 _79 _3,530.5 __221.3 15.95 _44.7
2008 _82 _3,765.3 __234.5 16.05 _45.9
2009 126 _6,216.7 __393.8 15.78 _49.3
2010 __4 ___208.5 ___12.9 16.13 _52.1 

tot. 424 18,647.7 1,207.9 15.44 _44.0 
Where's the 30 thousand?

If one inch equals 2.54 cm exactly, then
one mile equals 1.609344 km exactly, so

18,647.7 miles _x_ 1.609344 km per mile _=_ 30,010.5 kilometers.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Jan-30 -- Irregulars Ride

Guest write-up of Saturday's ride.

For those of you who missed it, this past weekend's Irregulars ride was one to brag about for years to come. As usual, Martin was "chomping at the bit" to get going from the PUE parking lot at the crack of official NOAA Atomic Clock sunrise of 7:19 AM. Plus, we didn't want to have to deal with those nasty Gyroscope riders, who were scheduled to be there as early as 11:00 AM.

Of course it was hard to determine the actual sunrise, because the sun did not make an appearance. The plunging temperatures and blowing sleet pretty much motivated everyone to get riding and stop standing around pumping up tires, watching the clock and wondering how late Harvey would be that day, and what equipment he would be missing. The pace was fast and furious as we plunged down Mt. Vernon Church road, reaching speeds of 20 FPH and Chill Factors of -20 F (what they call perfect 20/20 conditions). A few gears were slipped while our fingers slipped on the shifters and the tires slipped on the ice causing me to slip my pants.

Thinking he could trick us into taking the "long way 'round," Martin mixed up the route by faking a turn on Nipper Road where it intersected with Shooting Club Road, and then made a quick run on Old Creedmoor - Joe Peed cutover to Angus McShaughessey New Light Rock Mountain Bruce Jones Horseshoe Wayfarm Road NC Bike Route 18. At some time during this point we think we may have passed a County Line sprint unawares, but the posted sign was obscurred by a build-up of snow and freezing sleet.. It probably said, "Watch for Ice on Bridge." Hard to see. Too much Ice on Bridge.

Our crew performed admirably. I think Paul and Dave rode pretty much along with Paul and Dave and Paul, with Duke and Iva and Paul occasionally taking turns at the front with Tito and Dave and Paul. Not to be outdone, Martin brought Dave and Paul and Bob up along with the other Paul and the other Dave. Everyone was happy to see Karen, but it later turned out "she" was just a mirage in the snowstorm. With water bottles frozen solid, and a few idiots putting their wet fingers on Martin's frozen bike fork, we knew it was time to finish the exhilerating outing before anyone lost appendages.

Distance: 4.1 yards (27 yards total in 2010)
High Speed: 21 FPH, Average 6.2 (average 12.5 in 2010)
Altitude: 27,218 feet (perhaps an error on my Confuser, but the conditions seemed about right for that height).

Detailed blog posted at: . Check out the photo of someone answering the "call of nature" and getting lost in the white-out. Details are a bit smudged.