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.


  1. Good write up Martin. Norris, BobH, and LD and Tito, till he decided to ride with us were hammering today. Good for Ivan for hanging in there. My legs weren't with me much today. Tired, tired, tired. I was disappointed about Briggs too. But Tropical Smoothie, not bad. Iva

  2. I learned (on Mar-28) from LT that Lee had told Dave that the finish for the fast guys became a hammer-fest. Lee claimed Norris rode at about 32 mph down the entire length of Rock Springs / Beaver Dam.

    Gives context to IvaN's comment that the other three were riding FAST.


  3. I am not sure you can say the other three were riding fast. Norris was riding fast, I was hanging on and I don't know where BobH was, that is until we turned on Ghoston when HE dropped US.

    Arrrgh! (that is how I felt at the end of the ride.


  4. Just having fun (while I can).

    From the point the pack was split into 2 groups (near the cowboy church) Norris and I got into a rhythm. Lee and IvaN hooked up and when we saw them trying to catch up we slowed so that we could have a larger group. At Pocomoke we became one. While IvaN and I grabbed a drink Norris upped the pace with Lee in pursuit. After a couple 100 yards IvaN and I caught up and the fun began as we flew through until the end of Beaver Dam onto Old Weaver. Once again I decided to grab a drink and Lee left all three of us behind. I attempted to catch Lee but was burping drink and couldn't get my stomach settled while Norris and IvaN lagged about 50 yards behind me. At the end of Old Weaver Norris caught me and IvaN was lagging about 50 yards off the pace.

    At this point the stomach had settled and the legs relaxed so Norris and I decided it was time to see what was left in the tank. We caught Lee about 3/4 of a mile or so from Ghoston and used our momentum to roll up Ghoston. From that point it was time to activate the mountain goat legs and get up the remaining 2 hills. Norris and I were expecting Lee to let the dogs loose but probably thought better of it considering he had ridden to and from PUE.

    All in all, a great training ride despite the cold start. Always fun to ride with all the Irregulars to challenge this old man to get out and enjoy.