Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mar-28: Hester Rd

Or, LT drags me for 41 miles through the wind

LT was unable to ride on Saturday, so we met at noon at BJP.  We were supposed to meet at PUE, but somebody pulled into BJP about the time I should have been leaving, riding to PUE.

Dove Rd to Creedmoor, then Stem/Brogden Rd to Hester Rd.  I checked my confuser when I turned onto Hester.  15.8 mph.  We had had a tailwind all ~ 17 miles to that point. 

The seven miles on Hester Rd were a different story.  Headwind.  Slightly quartering off our right shoulders.  Tough headwind.  Dave had to slow several times to let me catch up. There are some nice houses and some nice scenery on Hester Rd, and the road surface is quite good.  I couldn't vouch for any of that based on today's ride, though.

The mile on NC-56 into Wilton was still into that same headwind.  Somewhat sheltered for the first part by that "nothing" of a climb between Hester Rd and downtown Wilton.  Not sheltered the latter part of the climb, nor once over the crest.  One thing about that "nothing of a climb" -- it ALWAYS gets me -- headwind or not.

NC-96 from Wilton to Brassfield Rd was not a slog at all -- until we crested that tiny ridge about a half-mile before the stop-sign.  We went from 17/18 mph to 10/11 mph instantaneously. 

Horseshoe Rd from NC-96 to Lawrence Rd is a gradual downslope, and the wind was mostly a side-wind. 

Then we turned onto Lawrence Rd -- with that steep climb followed by the shallower (but not shallow enough) climb for another mile.  ALL into the teeth of the wind.  LT was well off my front -- I do not even recall riding through that farmstead that is on both sides of the road -- always use that as a landmark to indicate that the worst is over.  NEVER even noticed the farmstead today!

I couldn't stomach the prospect of having to climb back up to New Light from the lake on Old Weaver, so I begged Dave for us to just stay on Bruce Garner / New Light to Six Forks.  Yep -- no Ghoston, etc..  I also couldn't stomach the prospect of riding Pleasant Union Ch Rd from PUE to BJP into THAT WIND.

Dave and I gave each "thanks for the ride" before we started the climb from the lake up to Pleasant Union Ch Rd.  We were each such liars!  (That last line is about it for the humor, today.)

BJP: << see text for course>>; w/ LT; 41.5 m.; 2hrs, 46min in-motion time; 15.0 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.
Mar tot: _8 rides; 507.7 m.; 32 hrs, 51 min; 15.4 mph.   
YTD tot: 16 rides; 938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.

Dave probably got in about 48 miles.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mar-27: modified Mitchiners Xroads, plus

Act 1 - I have no idea where I am.

The cast:  BobH, Norris, IvaHawk, Mallet, Lee, Tito, IvaN

First, and only Refueling Stop, of the day, at the gas station / convenience store on the east edge of Youngsville.  Discussing / commenting on the roads / path to get where we were, Norris said "I have no idea where I am. I think I've never been here before." 

BobH and I pointed out that had ridden by the location previously, but probably had never stopped there. 

Getting to Youngsville had been fun.  It was more than just a bit nippy at the start of the ride.  The fast guys were fast, the slow guys were slow, the Mallet was cold and tired from his marathon six days earlier and turned around at the corner of New Light and Old Weaver (30 total miles, taking into account riding from home, probably more than enough for six days after a hard-run marathon).  On Beaver Dam Rd, IvaHawk and I noted that IvaN seemed to be repeatedly getting caught in the middle between the fast guys and us.  That phenomenon would repeat itself.  Repeatedly.

BobH was "feeling the music" early and did a lot of leading between Grissom and Youngsville. Lee and Norris zipped to the front whenever the road tilted beyond 2.5 degrees upslope; IvaN too.  Tito stayed near the front, chatting with whomever was up front. The Hawk zipped past me several times on climbs. 

BobH and Tito managed to cut me off and force me to grab the brakes at the beginning of the climb on Graham Sherron Rd -- I had forgotten about that until later in the ride when Tito told me that the guys had told him that he had cut me off in a place where I actually had an advantage relative to the group.  (Don't feel too bad, Tito.  I have to do a lot of sitting up, catching air, brake feathering on quite a few downslopes / downhills, and I often have to let up across the bottom of some small valley and/or let up at the very bottom of the climb back up from some creek crossing because the "climbers" ahead of me have not yet begun to pedal.  But it is true that grabbing enough brake to go from 20 mph to 11 mph in just a few feet is a rare occurence.)

The fast guys did a good job of waiting for the slower among us.  Repeatedly.  Was that because they were being good friends?  Or because they were on the verge of being lost?  Probably both.  LOL.

Tito managed to be in the lead as we left Youngsville on Tarboro Rd.  Two other fast guys behind him (BobH and Lee, I think).  I was fourth.  It looked to me as if Tito was putzing along in the lead not wanting to risk going to fast and exploding the group.  If LT had been on the ride, I think he could have anticipated the moment when I decided to go to the front, take advantage of the false flat downslope which is Tarboro Rd (NC Bike Route #2) and pick up the pace.  I have ridden that section of road enough to know that, with the wind we had, 19 mph was a very doable thing for me (see here and here and not quite so much here).  So that is what we did - ride 19 mph to the turn onto Mays Store Rd.

Mays Store Rd from Tarboro Rd to NC-56 is about six miles.  The first four are nicely downslope.  This ride, it was downslope into the north / north-northeast wind.  Tito rode along with me up front, everyone else content to let me have a continuing moment of glory.  Then we crossed the bridge and started two miles (maybe a bit less) of regaining most the elevation we had lost -- and if you haven't already guessed who was soon left well behind, either you are new to the blog or you haven't been paying attention.  One nice thing about everyone climbing away so quickly was that I was not tempted to hang close, but instead climbed into the wind at a pace comfortable for me.

Mays Store Rd changes its name to Perry's Chapel Rd when it crosses NC-56.  One mile downslope to a creek, then one mile uphill to W. River Rd.  I like the view as one climbs past Perry's Chapel, and the scene was unencumbered by other cyclists blocking my view.  Or was it?  Several (actually, everyone else except Norris) were in need of a flo-max break (the gas station outside Youngsville claimed not to have an operating rest room), and the group was looking for / waiting for a turn-off the leader had suggested, so they were taking it easy lest they get too far ahead and miss the excellent flo-max location.  

Regrouping at Mitchiner's Crossroads, we headed for Franklinton on W. River Rd.  BobH was once again feeling the music.  We zipped along at 20 mph all the way into downtown Franklinton.  I learned something in Franklinton -- one of my "cut-through" roads to avoid the stop-lights in Franklinton is one-way -- since I had never ridden that particular cut-through alley in "east to west" direction, I had never realized that the alley was one-way "west to east".  Hmmn. 

BobH missed the third cut-through turn, but he managed to catch the light on green while the rest of us had to deal with ... too many sketchy characters / drivers ... and we emerged onto Cheatham St. well behind Bob. 

Bob was still "feeling it" and continued to set a fast pace on Pokomoke Rd.  I, too, was finally riding relaxed and feeling fast -- getting dropped on the climbs still occurs.  But it became obvious that IvaHawk was struggling a bit -- some thought it might be the residual effects of activities that were supposed to "stay in Vegas" but actually came back to NC in Iva's legs.  Tito and I decided to ride with Iva and let the fast guys go.  That may have been a struggle for Tito -- weighing his competitve urges versus sticking with his good friend. 

IvaN ended up with fast guys Bob, Norris and Lee.  More on that later. 

Early on the long downslope of Rock Springs / Beaver Dam, we crossed paths with "seldom responders" Levi and Steve, accompanied by Levi's bro-in-law and Lori, a co-worker of Levi and Steve, apparently on her first true road ride.  She was using flat pedals.  Not clips.  Flat.  (We later learned that she had recently done a sprint tri on that new bike, with the flat pedals.  General consensus was that once she got some clipless pedals, and learned how to use them, that she would be puttin' some hurtin's on Levi and maybe Steve, too.)

Not long after we saw the Levi and Steve crew, Tito insensibly picked up the pace.  Once Iva and I realized that Tito was off our front, we picked up our pace for a bit too.  However, within a 100 yards, we realized that he had picked up again, and his "again pick-up" was more than our pick-up -- so we let him go -- figuring we would next see Tito when we got to Old Weaver.  Surprise!  Next we knew, we were passing Tito.  Yep, we definitely reeled him in. 

And to top it off, while climbing up Old Weaver to New Light, I caught and passed Tito -- while climbing.  Iva is my witness. 

When we got to New Light, there was a small crowd gathered there.  The Levi and Steve crew was taking a blow, and IvaN was there.  IvaN told us that the other three were riding FAST.  I guess he'd been caught in the middle again -- so to speak.

We finished our ride rushing down New Light, zipping up Ghoston, doing Peed (where IvaHawk may have thought he had found Pergatory), and then rushing down MVC to the creek, but riding sensibly up to PUE. 

There was no evidence of the fast guys.
Before going on, I will come clean on the catching and passing Tito on Rock Springs and Old Weaver.  He was putzing along to fall back to Iva and me on Rock Springs, and sat up so he wouldn't get ahead on Old Weaver.  However, that is not guaranteed to stop IvaHawk or me from embellishing.  What are friends for if you can't josh them once in a while?
Act 2 - We're going to Briggs from some brunch, wanna' join us?

Turned out the wait for Briggs was toooo long.  We went to some tropicana smoothie joint.  An hour later (at least an hour-and-a-half after we finished "Act 1", we ended our lunch tet-a-tet.  Iva and Tito headed for home and doing something useful, I presume.  I headed back to PUE to adjust my saddle to get a better fit with the shorter stem I was test-riding.

Upon returning to PUE, and again parking so that the car would act as a greenhouse ... I must have dozed off for a few minutes listening to the radio ... I don't even know what I had been listening to.  Eventually, I got out, adjusted the saddle, chatted for a few minutes with some other cyclists, mostly Karen (or is it Becky) from this ride, and set out for "Act 3".
Act 3 - Will I ride for a century, or just enough to test the adjusted saddle position, or just until I feel good?

Slow start, re-warming the legs, and MVC down and UP, makes for a slow start.  But after that ... I felt a lot better than I did on last week's century ride.  And for those that "love" it when I put up the following kind of thing:

miles pace _miles pace __location -- addtnl comment
__7.4 14.7 ___7.4 14.7 CP / Coley (actually 7.35 miles)
_11.0 15.3 ___3.7 16.7 bottom Coley (actually 3.65 miles)
_14.7 15.4 ___3.7 15.7 CP / Coley (3.65 miles)
_18.3 15.7 ___3.7 17.0 bottom Coley (3.65 miles)
_22.0 15.8 ___3.7 16.3 CP / Coley (3.65 miles)
_27.5 16.0 ___5.6 16.8 MVC / NC-50 (5.55 miles)
_28.5 16.2 ___1.0 24.7 MVC creek crossing
_29.4 16.1 ___0.9 13.7 PUE

Oh, I felt a LOT better at the end of today's ride than I did at the end of last week's ride.
I could have ridden an additional 5 miles; but I had enjoyed / was enjoying the ride very much.
And needed to leave something in the legs in case LT wants to ride tomorrow.
So, mostly to avoid risking turning the end of the ride into a slog, I stopped as I had planned when I turned off Coley onto Carpenter Pond.  Namely, when I got to PUE, I stopped.  Then I figured out what the total mileage was.
One ride or two?

An excellent question.  I mentally calculated the randonneuring time-limits for a 95-mile ride -- approximately 10hrs, 10min.  I finished "Act 3" 10hrs, 1min after the scheduled wheels-away time -- i.e., with nine minutes to spare.  Therefore, based on this scientific analysis -- ONE ride.

PUE:  Act 1) modified Mitchiners Crossroads; w/ BobH, Norris, IvaHawk, Lee, Tito, Ivan + Mallet for 6.8 miles; 65.6 m.; 4hrs, 12min in-motion time; 15.6 mph.
 . . . . . . . . . Act 2) 3 1/2 hours for lunch + adjust saddle.
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Act 3) Coley x 2; 29.4 m.; 1hr, 49min in-motion-time; 16.1 mph.
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Total) 95.0 m.; 6hrs, 2min (rounding issues) in-motion-time; 15.7 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.
Mar tot: _7 rides; 466.2 m.; 30 hrs, 02 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD tot: 15 rides; 896.7 m.; 57 hrs, 52 min; 15.5 mph.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Blast From the Past

From 2008 (before this blog existed):

Mon Date start / course __comment ______Miles avg mph
Dec _14 _Y'ville: BR #2 __PaulN, Harvey _48.9 2.54 __16.9 

That Youngsville ride with Paul and Harvey -- was a GREAT ride -- for me. 
Not so great for Paul nor for Harvey.
Paul had been hardly doing any riding.
Harvey hadn't ridden at all since his first Bridge 2 Battleship five or six weeks earlier.
 _And, if I recall, had hardly run or anything else one might construe as exercise.

In other words, they each were a bit "off".
I was looking for my first ever 100k to avg 17.0+ mph.
Harvey showed 1 minute before wheels-away.
 _And managed to blow both valve assemblies out of his tubes.
 ___The valves were still good;
______but he had managed to unscrew the "open-and-close" part of the valve assembly.
 _______I have only ever seen one other person do that -- me.
We (well, Paul and Harvey) got the valves fixed and . . . we were finally underway.
 _But no longer was I hoping for a 17.0+ mph 100k. Just a 45 or 50 mile ride.
 ___But, by golly, we were going to avg 19+ coming back !

The wind was in our face going east/southeast -- that was the plan.
There was one point, on a slight downslope, where Paul was leading, pedaling hard,
 _Snapper was second, barely pedaling, and 
 ___I was third, sitting up to catch air and feathering the brakes.
The wind was just enough to bother the lead rider, and for the other two to benefit by staying in the "wind-shadow".

Fyi, eastbound on Bike Route #2 from Youngsville gets flatter the farther east one goes.
 _It gets a bit boring if one does not see the "beauty" in riding through the eastern NC sticks.
 ___The rando guys seem to have some interesting photos from time to time, though. Hmmn. 

When Paul and Harvey had used half their "kitchen pass", we made a small loop and turned around. 

The guys still didn't know it, but by golly, we were going to avg 19+ mph on the homeward leg.
 _Even if I had to pull the whole way.
But I figured that Harvey and Paul were each good for some strong pulls.
 _I was sorta' wrong on that. 

Harvey ran out of gas six miles out.
__On a road that I know he could do 27 mph today.
____All the way in to Youngsville. Unassisted.
I took the lead . . . and man, it felt great.
__I KNEW I could pull both guys the last six miles at a speed that would get to 19+ homebound.
____I hadn't felt that good while exercising since ~ 10 years before -- when running.
Paul took a two mile pull, from 4-to-go until 2-to-go.
Then I was on familiar ground . . . and after we had finished the ride,
  _Harvey commented that it seemed like somebody was picking up the pace the whole way back. 

I admitted it was me, because we were going to avg 19+ on the homeward leg, even if I had to pull both guys the whole way back. 

First and probably last time I put a hurtin' on Harvey. Ditto Paul. 

I used to drag out that ride just to tease Harvey. 

But now it is just a great memory.

Mar-24: "TT"

Or, Warm It Was, With An Annoying WNW Wind

Or, I Have To Do Something To Get My Speed Back - Will This Help?

Sunny and warm.  I saw one young woman riding in a bikini type top.  I thought that was a bit MUCH.  It wasn't THAT warm. 

Best to make friends with the wind -- which is easier to do on a shorter ride, I think.
Or, use the wind to one's advantage.

A nearly "true" north-wind is often the best for "using" on the "TT" course, but only if one throws in a loop or two on Coley.  (A north-wind is a headwind going downslope on Coley, and a tailwind going upslope.  For a possible way to "use" such a wind, see here.)

I started out trying too hard to go reasonably quickly into the wind.  My legs felt worn out by the 5.4 mile mark.  I changed my approach -- backing off slightly on the effort being applied to the pedals.  I immediately went faster.

At the corner of MVC and Pleasant Union Ch roads (near the school), I saw and gave a shout-out to recumbent acquaintence Bill.  Bill is in his 70's, and rides almost every day.  I see Bill frequently and always call out to him, despite my being convinced that he does not recall my name.  Today, when I called out his name, Bill stopped and we had a chat.  I knew that Bill does RAGBRAI every year (he told me that during our last longish roadside chat - about 2 years ago).  Today I learned that he rode x-country a few years ago.  His wife drove the RV, so he didn't have to lug his own panniers, and he had a good place to sleep every night.  He mentioned that he rode a few days with a couple young guys that were self-supported; but since he didn't have to carry his luggage on his bike, and he had a better bed than a tent every night, he was able to ride longer each day.  We also discussed "crazyguy" journals by people doing x-country (or other trips); we agreed that the journals that are the more interesting to read are the ones where the cyclist(s) is(are) self-supported, and HAVE to find food, water and a place to sleep every day.  What makes those journals interesting is the interactions with the locals the cyclists meet while searching for the essentials of food, water and a placd to sleep.  It helps (a lot) if the cyclist can write.  CrazyGuyOnABike
Since this was a "TT", I'll give the boring speed details by seciton of the ride:

miles pace _miles pace __location -- addtnl comment

__5.4 _14.3 __5.4 _14.3 _MVC / Old Creedmoor
__9.7 _15.0 __4.3 _16.0 _CP / Coley -- into the wind, + ~120 ft elev gain
_12.4 _15.4 __2.7 _17.0 _Leesville / DocN -- into the wind, flat
_14.3 _15.8 __1.9 _19.0 _DocN / OliveBranch -- downslope, tailwind
_19.4 _15.8 __5.1 _15.8 _Virgil / CP -- YES !!
_24.2 _16.5 __4.8 _20.2 _Old Creemoor / MVC
_29.6 _16.6 __5.4 _17.3 _BJP -- fin. 

I am happy to have avg'd 15.8 mph between DocN / OB and Virgil / CP.
 ___Why? _Because that includes (a) down 'n up on OliveBranch, (b) down n'up on Kemp, and (c) 2.4 miles up Virgil.
 _______I don't care if it was wind-assisted on Kemp and Virgil.  I am pleased.

A nice thing about 30 miles -- one is still relatively fresh after completing the ride. 

BJP: DocN-Kemp-Vrgil; 29.6 m.; 1hr, 46min, 41sec in-motion time; 16.6 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.
Mar tot: _6 rides; 371.2 m.; 24 hrs, 03 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 14 rides; 801.7 m.; 51 hrs, 50 min; 15.5 mph.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mar-20: Spring Equinox

Or, Seven-fifty to Seven-forty

Snapper, Smitty and I pushed off from PUE at 7:50 am ("Seven-fifty") for a Spring Equinox 100-miler.
A bit chilly in the first few miles, but exercise and the rising Sun soon warmed us.
Nice morning for a ride.

We arrived in Stem at about 10:10 am for our first refueling stop.
One gallon of chilled water, about $1.56 with tax.
Snapper may have removed a top layer before we left Stem.  He had neither knee nor leg-warmers, nor long pants today, even in the beginning.

From Stem we took Old-75 (on which we found an very full and heavy garbage bag in the middle of the road -- we moved it to the side of the road) to Range Rd to Little Mountain Rd (since neither Snapper nor Smitty had ever ridden that road), then continued on Old-75 to Culbreth / Tally Ho Rd back to Saunders Rd, rejoining the Stem-Hester 100 km route about a mile or mile-and-a-half from downtown Stem.
We are thinking we can claim we did a "mountain" century today -- after all, we rode Little Mtn Rd.
I removed my arm warmers and knee warmers, and Smitty removed his arm warmers at the corner Tally Ho/ Saunders.
It was very liberating feeling riding sans knee-warmers and arm-warmers!

We took E. Thollie Green Rd to loop back to Hester Rd, went through Hester, and continued across on that nice cycling road to Tar River Rd to Blackley Rd to Tom Hunt Rd to NC-96 to Cannady Mill Rd to Philo While to Flat Rock Rd.  Aah, Flat Rock Rd -- into a very light breeze.  Good local climbing training.

We continued on past the Western Wear Store to Wayside Farm Rd to Bruce Garner to Grissom. 
The Grissom store used to have a wider array of products.  I wanted a quart of chocolate milk.  Did not have.
A gallon of chilled water, $2.04 with tax. 
I prefer the price in Stem.
Smitty removed his long pants while in Grissom. 
Upon restarting, he commented how great it felt to be sans long pants.

From Grissom we took Rock Springs / Beaver Dam Rd -- Harvey leaving us well behind -- into the increasing wind.  Luckily RS/BD is almost entirely downslope.  The wind was still quite annoying, though.

From there we essentially looped Falls Lake counter-clockwise, with a couple "do-dads" added on to get the desired mileage. 
We missed the turn off Cash Rd onto Northside Rd.  I was leading at the time.  Brain infarction. 
I quickly recovered by doing "Strawberry Loop" instead of "Pottery Loop". 
So all was good, and we were never lost.  Although my tired brain was confused for a couple minutes.
We were able to do this "on-the-fly" adjustment because there were no rules restricting us to a set course.
And also, no one consulted a GPS system for advice.  Based on repeated results from various IRs, likely a "good thing".

The last 8 1/2 miles on Carpenter Pond and MVC roads, Harvey -- who had previously claimed he was "bushed" -- hit his stride, and ... you all remember the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds"?
Smitty tried to stick with him, but eventually gave in to the inevitable. 
I had been hoping to find a second or third wind on Leesville and Carpenter Pond roads.  Didn't happen.
Waved "bye-bye" as soon as it was obvious that Snapper was "feeling it". 

I finished the ride at 3:30 pm.  Thus the elapsed clock time (or, as Smitty called it when I was describing the rando time limits, "no-auto-pause timing") was 7 hrs, 40 minutes ("Seven-forty").  Smitty had waited at MVC / Peed, so he was just ahead of me.  Snapper -- he must have finished many minutes earlier.

Earliest 100-miler during a calendar year for each of us.

Snapper and Smitty, with their triathlon training of swimming, cycling, running almost every day are way too frickin' strong for me. 
My exercise this year?  13 bike rides, counting today.  That's it.  No swimming -- I would drown.  No running.  12 bike rides in the last two months (I took the first half of January off) is just not enough to keep up with those guys -- they are also naturally a bit faster already, anyway -- oh, and also naturally about seven years younger. 
I have got to get in some mid-week rides or something. 

I know I failed to describe any of the flora -- but it is greening up, and many things are blooming.
There were also many nice houses and yards.  Also ghost houses.
Nice scenery in many places.
An annoying SW breeze / wind later in the ride, though.

All-in-all, we had a GREAT, though tiring, ride.  Not tiresome, tiring.
I suspect that the most tiring thing for Snapper and Smitty was ... waiting for me.
Below is the course we intended to ride -- well, actually, we did not intend to finish on Hickory Grove and Norwood roads -- we always intended to finish on Carpenter Pond and MVC roads.  It is close enough to the actual ride.

route: No Ghoston-Peed 100-miler
distance: 100.5 miles
location: Bayleaf, , US

Below is a link to Smitty's Garmin stats.  It shows the actual route ridden.  Can you tell the difference?
 Smitty's Equinox Stats

PUE: for the route, see either the map above, or Smitty's Garmin report; w/ Snapper, Smitty; 100.5 m.; 6hrs, 37min in-motion-time for me; 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.
Mar tot: _5 rides; 341.6 m.; 22 hrs, 21 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 13 rides; 772.1 m.; 50 hrs, 03 min; 15.4 mph.
Oh, after today's ride, I can claim a cycling E of 64. 
That is, I have at least 64 rides that were at least 64 miles long.
I need seven additional 65-milers before I can reach an E of 65.
(For kicks, I have 77 rides that are at least 63 miles long.
Yeah, 13 rides that are between 63.0 and 63.8 miles long.  Wild, huh?)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Earlier this week, I sent Snapper and Smitty a link to a proposed route for an Equinox Century this coming Saturday.  (It doesn't seem desirable to do a route with 40 or 50 miles homebound heading into a southerly headwind.) 

Turned out Snapper was too LAZY (no wonder he is sometimes a Cheeta') to click on the link and look at the route or the mileage.  He sent me an e-mail asking "how long is the route? 168 miles?"

I responded:  "Look at the link."

He sent me another e-mail asking "how long is the route?  108 miles?"

I responded:  "Look at the link."  But also included the answer:  100.5 miles.

He sent an e-mail that he "had been trying to wear me down, and it worked."

I sent him the following message:  "I wonder what would happen if I "got lost" in the middle of Saturday's ride? Bwa..hahaha!"

Snapper sent back:  "If you got lost I would forever hold it against you. . . "

Which made me think of the following:

I did get lost once a few years ago ...

Year Month Date start / course comment _________Miles avg mph
2004 _Jul __24 _Neal School ___wrong turns ______44.2 3.23 _13.0

At the time, it was my LONGEST ride ever -- by 6 LONG miles. I thought I would NEVER finish -- it was soooo HOT, and sooo hilly.

That remained my longest ride until:
2004 _Oct ___9 _Blue Jay Pt. - Lake Loop w/ Lynn 53.4 3.39 _14.6

The course on Jul-24?
Was supposed to be:  essentially the Creedmoor-Grissom route.  I had a very vague idea of the route.
I didn't have a cue sheet.  But had ridden some of the roads with Lynn many years before when we lived in Creedmoor.
I missed the turn onto Pope Rd.  Si I turned off Brassfield when I got to Lawrence Rd.  That would have been okay.
But when I got to the Lawrence / Horseshoe corner, I didn't want to ride DOWN the big hill on Lawrence.
I figured that it was just going DOWN to the lake, again.  And I didn't want to have climb back UP.
So I went the direction with the shallower downslope.  In other words, I turned right onto Horseshoe Rd. 
I had a very vague idea of the route, but certainly not the road names.
When I got to Pope Rd, I knew I was cooked.  Cooked physically by the heat and mentally cooked because I going backwards.
But at least I knew how to get back to civilization: 
reverse the course, i.e., Pope to Brassfield (into Creedmoor) to Northside to ... to Cheek to Patterson to NC-98 to Neal School.
I had to stop on Patterson at the top of one of the endless killer hills.  In the scorching sun. 
I may have run out of water.

I don't think I've been lost since.  I might not have known where I was, but I wasn't lost.
And, on that day, I drove the course afterward, and really learned where I had intended to go.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the beauty of electronic maps.

Last weekend, LT was recalling last year's Jul-03 Kerr Lake Loop on a route I mostly ripped off from ... MikeD's teeny tiny map on RTP.  (A few months later, we introduced MikeD to "Stovall Mtn", so maybe a "fair trade"?)
After we crossed the Kerr Dam, I knew we had to take the first available left, but I wasn't sure we were turning onto the correct road.
As LT noted last week, the road was quite narrow and seemed a bit sketchy.
Someone asked "are we sure this is the correct road?"
My response: "No, but let's take it anyway."
A few miles later, when we got to the next turn, we knew we had been on the correct road.

We hadn't been lost -- we just didn't know where we were, or if we were on the correct road.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mar-14: A Little Exploration

Just a Little. 

Two definites and three maybees looking forward to today's ride.
I sent an e-mail around 9:30 deploring the conditions.
Maybe a couple of the maybees thought I was opting out from riding at noon.
That wasn't the intent, but maybe ... .

LT and I met at noon at PUE under warm sunshiny skies.
We started a few minutes late to give one of the maybees a few extra minutes.
We even modified the planned start to ride to MVC / Norwood to give a few extra minutes.
We decided that maybe Lee decided to go see some grandbabies.
Strikes me as a better option than going for a ride -- most of the time, anyway.

Snow Hill Rd into the headwind was . . . "fun".

Orange Factory Rd, a new road for cycling for both LT and me was . . . F-U-N.
A tailwind will do that.

Here's a funny:
One of the two of us (I won't say which -- but only one of us is a civil engineer -- and it ain't me) had done some civil engineering work on the dam that creates the water resevoir (small lake) that one sees / crosses on Orange Factory Rd.  But that guy had no idea what the terrain on that road would be like for cycling.  \:still-shaking-my-head-over-that:\

There are a number of ups and downs on Stagville Rd between Orange Factory and Bahama.  I didn't recall ever noticing that before -- I thought it was mostly one long ascent.  Probably I thought that because the first mile-plus on Stagville (from Old-75 to Orange Factory) has likely always induced a serious lack of oxygen in my brain cells on the later part of Stagville.  The Snow Hill - Orange Factory approach may have allowed a greater oxygen content in my brain cells than previously experienced from OF to Bahama.

We pulled into the Bahama Fire Station looking to refill our water bottles and a short rest.

We got the water and the rest.  And LT got a tour of a support vehicle (maybe LT will recall the actual official name of the vehicle) from two youngsters (aged 18 and 20 -- and definitely looked 18 and 20).  Then LT, with some prodding from me, regaled the youngsters with a couple firefighting / EMS stories.  I was playing for a longer rest stop. 

I think LT wants to permanently "borrow" that support vehicle for the Bayleaf Fire Department.

Fyi, the Lake Michie Wall is still there.

We found Hall road to be a nice alternative to Ellis Chapel Rd, even though it is chip-seal.  Well, I found it to be a nice alternative -- LT may have thought it wasn't hilly enough.

I hit 43.0 mph going down the Range Wall.  Takes second place on my faster ever list; since my bike is heavier than LT's bike, and I am heavier than LT, he probably didn't get quite as fast.  Fastest ever was 45.0 mph going down Lystra at the Cup 'n Cone a couple years ago. 

Finished thru Butner onto Cash Rd and the usual Old Weaver - New Light - Ghoston - Peed - MVC finish. 

A very nice ride.
Long of the year so far for LT.
My sixth metric so far this year.
I keep NOT adding on and getting my 64th ride of at least 64 miles.
Next week for that.

Did I mention that it was A VERY NICE RIDE?

PUE:  Norwood-VctCh/Kemp-Patterson--RedMill-SnowHill-OrangeFactory-Bahama-HallRd-Range-Butner-Cash-G-P-MVC; w/ LT; 62.9 m.; 4hrs, 3min; 15.5 mph. 

(Since he rode from and back to his house, LT likely had around 65 miles.)

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.
Mar tot: _4 rides; 241.1 m.; 15 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 12 rides; 671.6 m.; 43 hrs, 26 min; 15.5 mph.

March-14 - IRs at the Wilmington Sprint Tri

I received three e-mails while I was riding today. 
No text -- just pics.

Irregulars Represent.
Left to right:  IvaHawk, Smitty, Tito, Snapper.

Master Clydesdale - 1st Place.
And . . . saving the best for last.
Age 60-64, 1st and 2nd place.

Well done, guys!

Looks to me like the sky above Wilmington was friendlier today than the skies around Bayleaf, Treyburn, Bahama and Butner were today.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mar-13: Warm enough to sweat

Warm enough to sweat in SUMMER clothes. 

I waited until 12:30 for the roads to dry.  :-)  The wind was up by then. :-(
Act 1 - "TT":

Not much to say.  I coasted down MVC -- was avg'ing 18+ mph at the bridge.
I worked pretty well up MVC to NC-50 and across to Old Creedmoor Rd.
At least I thought I was.  13.6 avg mph when I turned onto Old Creedmoor. 

I don't know when I decided to make the ride into a "TT".
At the turn off Leesville Rd onto Doc Nichols, I had 10.00 miles in 40:00 mm:ss.  15.0 mph 'xactly.

"Fast" fun on DocN.  1.9 miles later, total time 45:45.  1.9 miles in 5:45.
We won't tell anyone it was seriously downslope, with a tailwind.

Olive Branch was great.  0.9 miles in 3:47. 
Don't tell anyone there was a tailwind.

NC-98 was great fun.  0.7 miles SMOOTH miles with a TAILWIND.

I "attacked" down and up the first mile on Kemp, to Virgil.
I "attacked" the 2.37 miles of Virgil. 
At least it felt like it.  Smooth pedaling and reasonably high cadence (for me).
At the right turn off Virgil onto Carpenter Pond (I decided to add some distance to the "TT"),
I was avg'ing 15.4 mph.  Had been avg'ing 15.5 after Kemp.
How fast does that translate for the time on Virgil?
I don't know, and I'm not going to calculate (SURPRISED, aren't you).
It was enjoyable and I don't want to ruin the feeling with facts.

Across CarpPond and Leesville to Panoramic Rd.  Avg up to 15.6 in 2.5 addtln miles.
Leesville, Carpenter Pond, MVC back to PUE.  Avg for the whole ride -- 16.4 mph.
Top of the head calc ---> 18.0 mph avg the last 10 miles.  I'll take it.
The wind was not helping all the time in those last 10 miles.

Just after crossing the bridge on MVC, headed for PUE,
This fast guy came along side, and . . . it was JohnH.
He rode about 2/3 the way up MVC with me,
Which was just enough time for him to tell me that he MIGHT ride tomorrow,
Then told me to stop chatting and finish my "TT",
And he rode off up the hill.

Attire for the ride?
Headsweats head cover / sweatband. Helmet.
Faded orange SHORT-sleeve jersey.
Short fingered gloves.
Socks. Shoes.

No leg warmers.  No knee warmers.  No arm warmers.  No wind vest or shell.
Only ONE jersey.  No toe covers.
No old running headband masquerading as a neck warmer. 

Oh, I SWEATED enough that drops were dripping from my helmet / headband,
And my shoes were actually slightly damp.

WARM is a good thing.
I stopped at PUE to eat some food, drink slightly warm A&W Root Beer that fizzed all over the shirt I changed into for "meal-time".  :-(

Took longer than I intended for my rest-meal-time stop.
But it was shorter than the max allowed at any one stop for a RUSA Fleche.
Don't know what that is?  Look it up. 
Act 2 - "Putzing Around":

One wardrobe change:
I put my red long-sleeved jersey on under my orange short-sleeved jersey.
There were a lot of clouds working in while I was eating. 

Funny thing about this "putzing around" -- and I did start pretty slowly on the re-warm-up loop of 4 miles on Pleasant Union Ch Rd -- I happened to look down at my confuser at 'xactly 10.00 miles, so I checked the total time of the "putz ride" at that point -- only 20 seconds more than for the first 10 miles of Act 1 - the "TT".  :-o

But I had no desire to try to turn "Act 2" into another "TT".  I did ride Kemp reasonably well.  And Baptist was slightly downslope, with a tailwind.  And Southview, although into a headwind, is pretty flat.

As I apporached the Southview / Kemp corner at about 4:35 EST, I saw a rider go by on Kemp.  Looked like he might have been wearing a long-sleeved wool jersey, but it was really too far to see properly.  Before I got to the corner, another rider went by -- I could see his fenders.  After I turned onto Kemp and was able to see THREE rando looking riders ahead, I concluded that the first rider I saw (second of the 3 randos) might, repeat might, be riding a fixie.  And further concluded the rider might, repeat might, be MikeD, but it was really too far to be sure.  I later determined who the rando cyclists likely were.

I rode Kemp from Southview to Carpenter Pond pretty well (for me), and was holding roughly the same deficit to the rando guys -- until the last bit up to CP got steeper.  So . . . if that was MikeD, it seems that if he has ridden 110 hilly-miles and I have ridden only 48 not-as-hilly-miles, then he won't drop me quite as fast as he could if we each had the same miles in our legs.  Note: "he won't drop me quite as fast ...".

One last thing from the "putz around":  I rode MVC up to PUE faster than I did during the "TT".  You might ask:  Why?

It could be that I was more warmed up.  But I don't think that made any difference.
It could be that I was not distracted talking to JohnH.  That likely contributed, but I think that was not the major reason.
I think the major reason I rode faster the second time up MVC was that I was motivated by the very large raindrops that started falling. 
Never amounted to anything, though.

PUE: (1) DocN-Kemp-Virgil-Panoramic U-turn; 29.7 m.; 1hrs, 48min, 0sec; 16.5 mph;
. . . . . . . .(2) 6Forks-U-Nrwd-VctCh/Kemp-Bap-S'view-Kemp-CP-MVC; 23.9 m.; 1hrs, 32min, 40sec; 15.5 mph;
. . . . . . . . . . . .total 53.6 m.; 3hrs, 21min; 16.0 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.
Mar tot: _3 rides; 178.2 m.; 11 hrs, 41 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 11 rides; 608.7 m.; 39 hrs, 23 min; 15.5 mph.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This post is likely to disappear within a couple days.

Background / a Route on "Veloroutes": 

 - - 

"Simple" verison of map and elevation: 

 - - 

The "picture" in the immediately above link copied into the blog in bits:

 route: SnowHill OrangeFactory Hall rds -- Butner
distance: 62.6 miles
tags: location: Bayleaf, , US
And now blogger won't let me left justify the text.  Of course!

Ah, but I managed to get this left justified.  The above becomes essentially a photo caption.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mar-07: Sunny, and ... WARM ??

LeeD, the Duke and I met at PUE at noon for 40 to 60 miles.  They both wanted 60.  Luckily my legs loosened up and I felt pretty good.  I felt better after finishing today than I did yesterday.  I think I need more exercise times to keep my right leg more loosened up, or as I said during the ride, "more better" (perhaps a sign of lack of oxygen to the brain cells?). 

Lee and the Bob each rode really well.  We encouraged Lee to push it in the last 12 or 13 miles lest he risk becoming permanently a 16 mph rider.  Bob humored me and rode the last dozen miles with me.  I am telling you that he could ridden off at any time.

Did I mention that my right leg feels a LOT better after today's ride than after yesterday's ride?


PUE: firehouse + Creedmoor-Grissom loop + Redwood + Northside + WaysideFarm loops; 61.5 m.; 4hrs, 2min; 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.
Mar tot: _2 rides; 124.6 m.; _8 hrs, 20 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: 10 rides; 555.1 m.; 36 hrs, 00 min; 15.4 mph.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mar-06: Sunny Day, Some Scenery, Some Fun

The Cast:

 1) Snapper - short, 2) BobH - long, 3) Norris - long, 4) IvaHawk - long, 5) Mallet - short + to-from home, 6) Smitty - short, 7) Tito - long, 8) Ivan - short, 9) Agnew - long, 10) Ivan's friend Andy - short, 11) me - long + a little extra

The Plot:

"Strategy", or "The County Line Conspiracy"

The Results: 

Very sunny day. 
Some nice scenery.  Esp. early on Lawrence and all of Bold Run Hill roads.  Also John Mitchell, Woodland Ch, Hugh Davis, Mays Store, Suitt/Evans, Gordon Moore roads. 
Good fun. 

Oh, the results of the County Line "sprints":

 1. Mallet - apparently he zipped around the main group after bridging from the autobus
 2. me - the Mallet let me have it / fit nicely in the "conspiracy"
 3. Smitty - I was too far back to "understand" the action up front
 4. Smitty - 0.6 miles after # 3; probably caught everyone in the front group unawares
 5. Smitty - Iva and Tito tried to go the wrong way on John Mitchell Rd.  The Mallet took off; the "evil" Smitty caught him.
 6. Mallet - he was well back when I told him "it is time for you to make a move" / he pulled away up the slope
 7. Tito - the "conspiracy" lead-out-man beat off the "evil" Smitty
 8. BobH - the smaller "long crew" rode thru as a group; no one made an attempt. (That's what I heard.)
 9. BobH - the "long crew" rode thru as a group; no one made an attempt. (That's what I SAW.)
10. BobH - first three probably rode thru as a group; I'm guessing.  I was back at the corner waiting for the flo-max twins.
11. Hawk - see my comment on the "Strategy" post
12. Tito - He accelerated early on Rock Springs Rd.  Iva and I could not hang on.  The others may have bridged.  Iva and I never saw the lead foursome again.  Only Tito was still at PUE.  Iva had the key to the car.

Other stuff:

Tito got a flat just as we got to Gordon Moore / Pokomoke Rd on the way back.  Iva was looking around and squeezing his tires because he thought that the sound of leaking air had come from his bike.  Norris and BobH and Agnew checked their bikes.  I had fallen back a bit, and got to the corner AFTER the flatting sound.  Finally, Norris or BobH (? - memory fails) saw the flat and said "Tito, it's your front tire."  Luckily, Tito had picked a very sunny place out of the breeze to get his flat.  We all waited.  Some helped.  The remainder just enjoyed the extra rest stop.

The Hawk found what appears to be a very nice and functional tape measure at the corner of Peed and MVC. A profitable ride for him.

A mile later, the rear of the autobus called ahead to the front of the autobus "I have a flat. But I'm going to keep going."  Iva rode the climb up to PUE on a flat front tire.  Hard core!


I hope everyone enjoyed the ride.  I had much pleasure in figuring out the course - which I did about a year ago, I think.

A nice thing about today's course is that it can TRULY be ridden as a hill-cadence training exercise.  I think Andy KNOWS it was a hill-cadence exercise.  Thanks to Snapper and host Spronk for taking care of guest Andy. 

I hope Ivan convinces Andy to come again and try us again.  I think he might make the second person in the group that I can out-climb.  I doubt that the next few rides will be quite as hilly as today's was.  However, as we all know:  there are no flat courses north of Raleigh.

I am tired.  But I expect to be fit as fiddle by Noon tomorrow!

This was only one Shadow course.  There are many more !!

PUE: (1) 12-CL Fest; 55.5 m.; 3hrs, 44min; 14.8 mph;
 . . . . . . . .(2) some solo on the flat near PUE; 7.6 m.; 0hrs, 32min; 14.0 mph;
 . . . . . . . . . . . .total 63.1 m.; 4hrs, 16min; 14.8 mph.

( Probably should have ridden another 0.9 miles to get my 64th ride of at least 64 miles; but I was passing PUE and the extra miles were not fun; so I stopped; at least I got in 100+k.)

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.
Mar tot: _1 rides; _63.1 m.; _4 hrs, 16 min; 14.8 mph.
YTD tot: _9 rides; 493.6 m.; 31 hrs, 58 min; 15.4 mph.

Mar-06 - Strategy

Or, "The County Line Conspiracy"

I assume that Iva has previously clued Tito in on the conspiracy. No one will expect Iva to try to steal any CLs -- they will all be watching me. No one will expect Tito to seriously sprint for any CLs because all (with the possible exception of the Mallet) figure Tito knows he could take the CL if he tried, but he doesn't / won't (in a usual situation). Even if that is not true, we want to use that perception to our advantage.
There are 12 county lines in the middle 33 miles of this ride. I'll outline two to four where we might be able to "trick" the group and sneak a CL or two for the Speedy Hawk.

Basically, people will likely be marking me. I will try to make some fake charges early, and at least some when Iva is not in position to steal or challenge. I will try to make a big deal about how I wasn't able to trick anyone and therefore saved my energy. Repeatedly, if need be.

No one expects Iva to try to get a CL. Therefore, I think sneak attack / break-aways may work for Iva, especially if I have drifted to the back at the key times, and Tito rides along with Iva, and leads out if appropriate. 

Waste no energy if it is not a "real" CL move. Waste no energy if it becomes obvious that someone else is going to get to the CL before you.
The first CL will be on Beaver Dam Rd, about 11 miles into the ride. Several, including Harvey, the Mallet, Smitty and Lt. Dave ought to recall where the CL is without any "prodding". This is NOT a CL that I would recommend as a "sneak target". If there appears to be no "activity" as we approach the CL, I will make an apparent move to start the wearing down process. I would expect that each of you would be in the peloton somewhere where you are comfortable, and would be consistent with your usual placement. E.g., Tito might be near the front engaging in conversation, Iva in the middle to rear engaging in conversation. There is likely no point to you guys to accelerating at all at this CL.

The second CL will be on Lawrence Rd as we near Bold Run Hill Rd. Some may recall this CL. Since this is a long downslope, I will try to get near the front so that others might think that I am trying to sneak the CL. Norris and Harvey are really fast downslope; Iva, because he weighs next to nothing, is not. We will use my fake interest and the others natural competitive juices to let them tire themselves a bit.

The third CL (at about 21 miles into the ride) will be on Bud Smith Rd about a mile after we turned off Purnell Rd @ Purnell. Neat, huh. This will be a new stretch of road, and the only reason we will be riding it is so that we can approach the CL at the intersection of Bud Smith and Woodland Ch roads from a direction in which it will be acceptable to contest a CL. I don't think that I can do a good fake for this CL, and it is not one of the ones that I think we should target for Iva. However, if I am in the middle or near the front as we approach this CL, I will make a fake in order to get the guys to wear themselves out a bit more.

The next CL is only 0.6 miles later, after Bud Smith Rd becomes Jonah Davis Rd, and after the sharp corner. This is the same CL that Iva and I conspired to steal for him last summer. If the fast guys slow after the CL at Bud Smith / Woodland Ch, it might be useful if Iva and I again teamed up to appear to be trying to sneak past and away. With luck, others will remember last summer, and think that they have spotted a plot. I assume we will not be able to steal this CL, and Iva should waste no energy.

The fifth CL, about 25.6 miles into the ride, is about a quarter mile after we turn off Sid Mitchell Rd onto John Mitchell Rd. This is the first real target of the conspiracy. I will be sure to have drifted to the back, so those marking me will not be alerted. If you two can try to get away together from that corner first (probably a re-grouping point), people may think that the two of you are just chatting. I suggest not sprinting, but if you get away from the corner first, just keep dragging the pace up; Tito leading out Iva, and Iva going hell-bent-for-leather if you manage to get a lead and the usual suspects (e.g., Mallet, Snapper, Smitty) do not appear to be paying attention. If they are paying attention, go for it anyway, but maybe not totally all out, just appear to do so. If the others manage to beat Iva here, they probably won't expect a repeat of the strategy, which may help get them off their guard. It is possible that Harvey may recall this road / CL from the ride he, Iva and I did a few months ago. If so, them's the breaks.

A regrouping when we get to Woodland Ch Rd would be in order, to direct those preferring a really short ride back toward PUE.

The sixth CL, at about 29.2 miles into the ride, will be on Tom Linum (?) Rd. Just stay in the pack wherever you are comfortable and wherever you think will cause the least attention to be paid to you.

The seventh CL, at about 29.8 miles, will be about a 1/4 mile or less after turning left off NC-96. This is the second real target. After the previous CL, drift to the FRONT, and try to be the first ones to make that left off the highway onto Mays Store Rd. If you manage to make that turn first, I suggest repeating the strategy used on the fifth CL.

The next CL, at about 30.5 miles, will be on Bruce Garner between the Mays Store and Pokomoke. I anticipate a regroup at Mays Store / Bruce Garner so those wanting to short the route can be directed toward PUE. I expect everyone should recognize where they are, and make a try for this CL, so I expect it will be too difficult to take this CL, so I wouldn't waste any energy. We will regroup just after the turn onto Gordon Moore from Pokomoke Rd.

The ninth CL, at about 32.0 miles, will be on Suitt Rd. I will drift to the back, and if you guys can drift to the front, you will have the opportunity to be the first to see the CL sign as you crest a small hill or ridge. If you manage to be in the front, make a two man train going hell-bent-for leather.

Shortly after the above CL, we will regroup, again, when we reach the stop-sign. We will push away to the right on Evans Rd. The tenth CL is at about 34.0 miles. If you didn't have a chance to contest the previous CL, getting away first from the stop-sign has a definite advantage. The CL is about 1/2 mile, maybe less, from the stop-sign. This is the last real target.

The eleventh CL, at about 38.2 miles, will be where Pokomoke Rd becomes Bruce Garner Rd (about 1/2 mile after Pokomoke). Since we will have just gone through this section the opposite direction, everyone ought to realize where they are. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

The last (12th) CL, at about 44.6 miles, will be on Rock Springs / Beaver Dam Rd. Since it is the same CL as the first CL, and Snapper has had instruction on this CL in the last two months, I figure there is no chance for Iva or me.
If we manage at least one CL for the Hawk, we will celebrate big-time, sometime after we get onto Gordon Moore Rd (after the 10th CL, while still 17 to 19 miles from PUE). If we manage no CLs for Iva -- we've still had extra fun plotting.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pre-ride SAFETY Points for Mar-06 Ride

At this time, the expected turnout for tomorrow's IR ride from PUE, wheels-away @ 8:30 am, is:

Snapper, BobH, Norris?, IvaHawk?, LT (big ?), Mallet, Smitty?, Tito, Ivan, Agnew, me.

The start of the course is Six Forks --> New Light --> Old Weaver Trail. With the size of the group, it makes sense to split ourselves into two sub-groups while on New Light from the lake up to Old Weaver so that it will be easier for cars to pass on that sinuous and rough section of road.

Clearly, I will be in the back sub-group because I start slowly and do not climb steep as fast as the rest of you; that said, I will swoop down the first downslope after the stop-light at NC-98 in order to "pop" that next 50-foot climb with little to no effort; if you are in front of me on that downslope, do NOT slow down.

As for the rest of the split -- we'll decide either on a volunteer basis prior to the ride start, or I'll request / assign volunteers.

The route is a "Shadow" route, meaning there is no cue sheet. And particularly in this case, I will be giving course directions in small chunks, at the many re-grouping points. The route has a lot of twists and turns (I might actually have to bring notes to remember the route ! ), a LOT of opportunity for hill-cadence practice on different types of slopes, and 10-CountyLines in the middle 38 miles.

And, in case you are curious, while I doubt one could design a route with more contestable CLs in the same distance, one could EASILY design a tougher hill-cadence fest by making just a few changes. ;-)

We all make mistakes, but if we think about, mention and visualize SAFE practices often enough, maybe we'll remember when the moment is critical, and reduce the number of mistakes and the consequences. Keeping in mind that I assert that this is NOT a "tight pace-line" group, but instead is a "loose line / follow the rotating leader / check out the scenery / social formation" group:

Let's be sure to practice SAFE cycling.
Ride a straight and consistent line.
Point and / or call out road hazards.
Signal and yell BEFORE suddenly stopping / slowing (such as for road hazards, flo-max break, dropped water bottle).
 _ _For pee breaks and dropped water bottles and such, one should NOT slow if one is in the middle of the "line".
 _ _ _ _Instead, SAFELY pull out of line, drift to the rear and stop SAFELY, or U-turn when SAFE.

Most of us have ridden with each other enough that each of us should know the strengths and weaknesses of most of the rest. For example:

 - I start slowly, ride shallow upslopes fairly well, but SUCK on steeper slopes, and build momentum on downslopes for the next steep upslope.
 - I won't mention any other idiosyncracies, but many of us have at least one -- hopefully each is particularly aware of his own, and others are, too.

Regarding the CLs: 

 - if there is traffic behind or ahead, please use common sense and don't do a "sprint" if there is potentially a traffic issue.
 - please be SAFE during CL "sprints". There is no potential reward sufficient for taking any "big risks", or even small ones.
 - please ride a straight line, except as needed to pass, when "sprinting". Use care and be SAFE when passing / changing lanes.

See you tomorrow,