Monday, May 31, 2010

May-31: Memorial Day

During today's ride, I recalled the veterans from my immediate and extended family.  We have been lucky in that there has been only 1 war death - that I know about - in the extended family since and including the Second World War. 

My dad's younger brother, that would be my Uncle Lawrence, only 7 1/2 years older than me, left part of his pelvis in Nam, and has had occassional flair-ups from an exposed nerve -- I thought of him.  My paternal grandfather's half brother served in Europe in WW II with the signal corps; family legend is that he had a thrilling story about being behind German lines, racing in a truck to stay ahead of pursuing Germans, one guy driving as fast as he could, leaning out the door window to look around the raised hood - which was raised because the other guy was lying on the "fender" trying to fix something with the engine; the family legend includes that when he told that story in the late 40's / early 50's, that my great-grandmother grew faint, because she had always thought that her son was safe, well behind our lines, doing signal corps things, not behind German lines stringing telephone lines before major attacks. 

I thought of my brother-in-law, who spent most of his time in the Air Force painting the inside of missile silos.  I thought of my two brothers who served in the Army; I think Earl never left the states; my baby brother, Adam, served in Germany and had a short stint in Kosovo, and was in Atlanta for the Olympics there. 

I know my maternal grandparents had several siblings, on both sides of the family, that served during WW II, but I know almost nothing of what they did or where they were stationed.

I thought of Lynn's Uncle Mack, whom she never met, because he died during the assault on some Pacific island.  Mack never made it ashore; but the unit medic, who won the Silver Star (I think) that day, credited Mack (in his unpublished memoir) with shooting down two planes from their landing craft before a third one got him.

During the ride, the above memories helped me feel stronger.  But, now, having written just the snippets, I'm feeling a bit maudlin.
I did a quick ride on my "time-trial" course while four of the Irregulars did a mini-Kerr Lake Loop ride that I would have preferred to do, but discretion about not-yet-quite-healed-places meant that 84 miles seemed a bit much.  The report is that Lt. Dave, IvaHawk, Tito and Lee had an enjoyable ride; but the Hawk nixed the idea of riding "Stovall Mtn" in favor of taking the flat way home.  The Hawk was a Marine in days gone by, and once-a-Marine-always-a-Marine, but today he decided discretion was the better part of valor and insisted on going the flat way home.  Iva will still more-than-likely kick my butt next week on the Ruin Wall and on Community House Rd..
Tito, Lee, Lt. Dave somewhere near Kerr Lake.
(Photo by IvaHawk.)

For a different sort of Memorial Day, I thought I'd look to what type of rides I'd done on previous Memorial Day weekends.

Year Month Date start / course  +  comments ____________________________________Miles avg mph
2004 _May _31 __________________________________________________________________24.0 _1.53 __12.7 
2005 _May _25 Neal School Food Lion (w/ Lynn) __________________________________31.1 _2.16 __13.7 

2006 _May _27 PUE: Olive Br, Baptist, Virgil; outside right calf very painful _ 32.9 _2.21 __14.0 
2006 _May 29 home: Old Weaver + Northside - Dove; no leg pain________ __________56.2 _4.03 __13.8 

2007 May 26 PUE: 0700 Lake loop + 1015 DocN-Kemp-Virgil ________________________63.1 _3.49 __16.5 
2007 May 27 0700-PUE: MVC; snapped seatpost clamp while adjusting _______________3.8 _0.17 __13.4 
2007 May 27 1330-PUE: encounter and rode w/ 2 separate touring tandems _________32.5 _2.14 __14.5 
2007 May 28 Holly Point: Youngsville-BR #2 rode easy; W-WSW wind ~ 7-11 mph ____77.3 _5.11 __14.9 

2008 ...... records are sketchy, I will skip ...... 

2009 May 23 Hanging Rock - Pilot - Sauartown - HR climbed only HR ______________40.8 _2.59 __13.6 
2009 May 24 PUE: ~8:30 am lake loop plus + ~noon PUChRd-DocN-Kemp-Virgil _______68.0 _4.30 __15.1 
2009 May 25 BJP: Coley-ShadyGr-Coley-DocN-Kemp-Virgil rain on MVC near end _____46.6 _2.49 __16.5

For the last several years, I have tried to make Memorial Day weekend a "big miles" event.  Not this year. 

BJP: DocN-Kemp-Virgil; 29.7 m.; 1hrs, 43min; 17.3 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: 10 rides; __837.2 m.: _58 hrs, 42 min; 14.3 mph.
YTD tot: 36 rides; 2,493.3 m.; 166 hrs, 46 min; 14.9 mph.  

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May-29: Creedmoor 'n back

Five of the crew set out to do a repeat of the Pizza in Stovall and a Mountain ride.  For reasons hinted at in the 600 km brevet write-up, I did not join them.  Instead, I decided to ride about 30 miles and test my healing situation.  Without me to drag down the pace, I estimated that BobH, Norris, the Mallet, Snapper and Smitty would average about 17 mph.  I timed getting to Creedmoor based on that estimate.

I arrived at the bench in front of the BP in Creedmoor just before 11:30, and tried to call the guys.
Snapper's phone rolled over to voice-mail.  I left a message.
I called Smitty, but it seemed his phone immediately rolled over to voice-mail.  I hung up.
I tried to call the Mallet.  Ended up calling the Iceman.
Wrong Paul.

So I just decided to ride around the block and head back.
As I topped the first roller on Dove Rd, I spied a group about 1/4 mile up the road.
I can recognize the guys from behind.
Norris is easy to spot because of his position on the bike, and his white jersey.
Snapper is easy to spot because of his position, and I recognized the baby blue jersey.
Clearly, if I hadn't ridden around the block, I would have been almost right with them.
Guys were lucky ... if I had been with them, they would have had to slow down.

I decided to give it all I had, and chase.
One of my better efforts ever on Dove Rd.
Did quite a bit of Dove in the big chain ring instead of the middle chain ring.
Into the breeze.
I got to within 0.15 miles.
Close enough to differentiate the stripes in the Mallet's Great Britain jersery.
Close enough to think that BobH was in his red jersey.
But I cannot "pop" the last climb on Dove Rd.  I lost some ground to the group.
Gasping for breath, I measured that I was about 0.2 miles behind when the group turned onto Whitt Rd.
I lost more distance on the climb on Whitt Rd.
I made up nothing on the flat crossing the lake.
I lost more ground climbing up to New Light Rd.
They were out of sight by the time I got to New Light.

I stopped for a good drink.  Had to wait for a succession of cars.
At least that helped the heart rate.
I rode at a screaming rate down New Light to the bottom of Ghoston.
I figured to lose at least 5 minutes on the climbs of Ghoston-Peed-MVC.
I had to stop "chase mode", but motored on as best this slow climber could.

I got to the MVC / Pleasant Union Ch Rd just as the Mallet got there.
He was headed home after a quick chat at PUE with the rest of the guys.
Paul and I chatted for a couple minutes.
Only thing I recall is that I told him that I had chased them all the way from Creedmoor.
Certainly it was a true chase on Dove Rd.

I pulled into PUE to chat with the others, 
and congratulate Smitty and Snapper on their Mt. Mitchell adventures from Monday.
Congrats all around. Cheers all around.

I learned that, despite two of the five having done the ride previously,
they had missed a turn in Oxford.
More like made a turn they shouldn't have.
And took US-15 all the way to Hester Rd.
They didn't take the turn onto Belltown Rd, which would have saved them many miles on 15,
because the name of the road at the corner with US-15 was something other than Belltown Rd.

They did NOT like being on US-15.
But if, instead of turning onto Hester Rd,
they had hammered just another mile-and-a-half on 15, they would have reached Creedmoor.
Gotta' love that, without their "human gps", the guys "got lost".  Again.

After a bit more chatting about ... who knows what,
They all headed directly for home.

I was more "done in" after 28 miles than I was after 300 miles last Saturday.
I headed to BJP to finish my ride at an easy pace.

I can recognize the guys from 1/4 mile back.
But they cannot recognize me from 1/4 mile ahead.

I am not completely healed from the failed 600 km brevet.
Tomorrow's ride may be zero miles.
Monday's ride will be only 30-ish miles.
No mini-Kerr Lake Loop (84 miles).

I did set a record for most miles in the month of May.
Which also means I set a record for most miles in any month, ever.

BJP:  Creedmoor 'n back, G-P-MVC finish; 31.4 m.; 1hrs, 58min in-motion time; 16.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _9 rides; __807.5 m.: _56 hrs, 59 min; 14.2 mph.
YTD tot: 35 rides; 2,463.6 m.; 165 hrs, 03 min; 14.9 mph.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mending Wall

An old stone wall that's not being kept up.
Courtesty of Charles Lathe, Coho Bicycles.

Discussion after the poem.
Mending Wall, by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors.
Cycling buddies Harvey and Smitty did their first Assault on Mt. Mitchell this past Monday.
Upon prompting from another Irregular (not me), Smitty offered this short description:
It went great. We both finished, although a little slower than we originally planned. The weather was nearly perfect. We had a few minutes where it sprinkled a little bit on the parkway, but never developed into anything more than that. It took us 5 hours to do the first 75 miles to Marion and another 5 hours to do the last 28 miles to the top of Mitchell. I can't wait till next year to do it again. Anyone else want to join in next year? 
Harvey added: 
Let me add that without Paul’s heroic efforts to keep me climbing I would not have made it – I would have quit. AND, he would have easily finished well ahead of his official time had he not hung back to egg me on. 
I do consider it one of my greatest athletic accomplishments – but it would have been all for naught without Paul.

One wag in the group suggested:

Heroic efforts.
I suspect that Smitty will say that the heroic stuff was done by the guy that he encouraged to keep going. 
To which Smitty replied:
I think that Harvey and Smitty had a "Mending Wall" moment.  That is, they worked (played) together to accomplish a task (or goal). 
Much has been written about the meaning of Frost's poem, e.g., see here.  (After finding and making that link, I noticed that it is from my alma mater.  No matter ... my opinion is unchanged.)  As far as I am concerned, those people all miss the point.  The point of the poem is very simple:
Men bond via physical work. 
It does not really matter what the work is accomplishing. 
The joint physical work to accomplish the task is what counts. 
In today's office oriented world, I add physical exercise / play to reach goals.
Sharing a significant experience, or sharing similar experiences at different times can also be a "Mending Wall" moment.  For example, after my failed 600 km brevet this past weekend, Glenn told me of his similar Shennandoah 1200 experience.  Maybe a strange thing over which to share a bond, but there it is.
In my opinion:  jointly working to get to the top of Mitchell ... definitely a Mending Wall moment.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May-22/23: Morrisville 600 km Brevet

I pulled the plug after 300 miles due to serious chaffing in a tender spot. 
Camaraderie.  Bonding.  Personal goals.  Shared goals.  Determination.
Those can get one through a lot.
But they can't get one through certain pergatories.
I was writing a detailed write-up to replace or augment the criptic entry above ... but lost the internet connection mid-story and lost the write-up to that point.  I knew I should have drafted the dang thing in Word, and then copied over.  I didn't.  And losing the text that I had written ... fits with a DNF ... don't you think.  Therefore, I will leave my detailed story on the DNF floor, except for the following:

Thanks to Maria, Vance, BobO, Sridhar (someday I must learn to spell his name), Al P., Ian for being riding companions.  If I missed any, I'm sorry.

Thanks to all those with whom I interfaced (now isn't that a big word signifying ... what?) at the controls.

Thanks to all the volunteers, especially Alan and Dorothy and Jerry and MikeD.  Too bad Jerry couldn't supply the only thing I really needed to keep riding ... uh, NO. 

Thanks to Branson and Glenn for post-ride advice and Glenn for sharing his Shennandoah story.  The things men can bond over /:roll-eyes:/ . 

Thanks to Lt. Dave and Mrs. Lt. Dave and Zeke, the Wonder Dog, for rescuing me.
I learned some things on this ride and on the series in total.  A key one is:  don't read the other blogs until AFTER you have written your own story. 

I know that I can do the 600 distance, but I would like to confirm it.  Not for the hardware.  Just because.

I am trying to figure out another 600 I might be able to do this year.  Can't do Tony's Labor Day event ... I'm supposedly ridng the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway just a week later ... and I'm not endangering that trip.  Tony has another 600 in October ... but that looks to be another F-L-A-T, likely sore-a$$ adventure if I were to try that.  There are apparently two 600's on offer (one in June, one in July) near the Quad Cities, along and on both sides of the Mississippi River.  Those start on the Iowa side just north of the Quad Cities, go up and down the Missippi bluffs heading toward Galena, cross the River, go places in Illinois such as Apple River (it ain't flat there), goes up and down the bluffs on the Illinois side, and does more Iowa bluffs.  Sounds really hilly.  Certainly no Tony "Little Switzerland" adventure, but not flat.  I would already know half the towns and likely some of the roads ... but from a car, not from a bike.

I will have to do another 200 km brevet as due to timing of joining RUSA and doing the Morrisville 200 and results being sent in and ... I will likely see the central North Carolina rando crowd at Alan's August-14 ride. 

I hope to see some of the central North Carolina rando crowd on a Pemanent in June and/or July.

I will not see the central North Carolina rando crowd at Byron's L-L-L on Memorial Day Weekend ... I plan to give certain body parts plenty of time to heal.
For other, more interesting insights on the 600k, see:
 Biking Around NC with Bob
 Geof's SR adventure
 Sagittandy and JayJay ambushed us
 The Workers' pre-ride
 MikeD's road-side write-up, with photos and extracts
 Doc on a Bike -- his bike is red -- I saw it
 Vance thinks Irrelevantly
 Maria's extensive report - makes me feel a wimp for DNF'ing my write-up

Morrisville-Steadman-WhiteLake-Wilmington and back (I obviously didn't make it all the way back); 300.3 m.; 20hrs, 51min in-motion time; 14.4 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _8 rides; __776.1 m.: _55 hrs, 01 min; 14.1 mph.
YTD tot: 34 rides; 2,432.3 m.; 163 hrs, 05 min; 14.9 mph. 

I did accomplish one thing on the ride, I have now raised my "Eddington cycling number" to 65.  One note on that:  I count rides, not days.  So I have at least 65 rides that were at least 65 miles long.  The big interweb and most blogs that have mentioned the Eddington cycling number refer to "days" instead of rides; however, I am confident that Eddington had never heard of randonneuring, and that the blogs that pop up when one "googles" the phrase are not blogs of randonneurs (one blog that I saw was discussing an E of 21 - you get the idea). 

Just for giggles:  I now have 85 rides of at least 63 miles, 71 rides of at least 64 miles, 65 rides of at least 65 miles, 59 rides of at least 66 miles, 58 rides of at least 67 miles, 55 rides of at least 68 miles, 51 rides of at least 69 miles, 48 rides of at least 70 miles. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May-20: It's All About Cadence

With only the 600 km still to go (although I will have to do another ACP / BRM 200 km brevet because it certainly appears that I won't be getting credit for the April Morrisville 200), it is almost time to stop soft-pedaling in anticipation / preparation for possibly riding the entire brevet solo (that only happened on the 300 -- and I'm kind of glad about that actually as I proved that I can ride a LONG way solo if need be, or desired).  So ... last week and again today, I rode a usual short (sometimes) "time-trial" route practicing cadence-cadence-cadence.  What a huge difference it makes, riding cadence in an easy gear versus soft-pedaling in an easy gear.  Of course, 25 or 30 miles is no comparison to 200, 300, 400 km -- but cadence is the practice plan for the next few / several weeks (in between planned longer Irregular rides).

During today's ride, I came to realize that it would be a good idea to replace my front tyre before the 600.  The tyre has quite a flat profile.  I'll use that flat profile tyre as my spare tyre on Saturday.

Besides, sufficient "rubber" has been worn off that my Cateye is measuring long.  For example, the Cateye came up with 29.9 miles for today's ride, but I know the course is only 29.6 miles long.  So much rubber has been worn away, that the front tyre is making 101 revolutions in the distance in which a fresh front tyre would only make 100 revolutions.  That 1% difference would add up to nearly 4 miles over the course of the 600 km -- I'd hate to miss a turn because I was unable to do the mental arithmatic to adjust for measuring long. 

Cadence, cadence, cadence.  That will be the plan once the 600 is complete.  Knock on wood.

BJP:  DocN-Kemp-Virgil; 20.6 m.; 1hrs, 44min in-motion time; 17.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _7 rides; __475.8 m.: _34 hrs, 10 min; 13.9 mph.
YTD tot: 32 rides; 2,131.9 m.; 142 hrs, 14 min; 15.0 mph.
Total time for May and YTD adjusted slightly.  The rounding adds up eventually.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tito's AIDS Charity Ride

I took today (May-16) off -- legs trashed from yesterday mini-3-hump ride.  But in response to a query about how his May Day AIDS ride with his relatives went, Tito sent me an e-mail:

here it is, boss. please put on the blog: 

The 15th Annual AIDS Walk and Ride began at the State Capitol, just two blocks from a Legalize Marijuana rally. 

The many teams, each of which raised thousands of dollars, set off at 7:30 am with a destination 50 miles north and 51.5 miles back to the south. The mileage had something to do with the radio station 101.5, I think.

I was part of the Tarhealers, a team of 25 men and women (I was the senior member) who were mainly UNC med students. Unlike our image of med school geeks, these doctors-to-be were amazingly fit. The coordinator, Matthew Wetschler, is a champion cliff-jumping snowboarder and surfer, rock climber and photographer who, fortunately, is in love with my niece. My niece is a speed rock climber and long distance runner. 

Anyway, the Tarhealers have a way with money and managed to raise over $12K, by far the most of any team. This resulted in a free pizza party.

The route was pretty bumpy (incl New Light), but the camaraderie was great. So was the gourmet macadamia nut and raisin cookies that we encountered from time to time at the four rest stops.

We Tarhealers split into two groups, and the fast crowd held a pace of 18 mph for the whole distance. I held in there, if only because I knew the Irregulars would expect no less. Along with our lead group were three women, one of whom is Kelly, a national champion in the handicapped division of triathlons. She has a carbon fiber leg and has completed several Ironman competitions. She was fassssst.

The B group, in which my brother rode, turned a pace of about 16 mph. He was overtaken with cramps at mile 85, so, as his loving brother, I went back to pick him up. It was very brotherly.

At the end there was much celebrating and poignancy. In fact, there were even tears, because there was one bike dedicated to be THE AIDS BIKE. It was in front of the stage/podium all day with a sign ----> the riderless bike.

May-15: Lt. Dave's mini-3-hump tour

We pushed off from the Hanging Rock State Park parking lot at 9:30 a.m., coasting two miles down the mountain before turning onto Moore Springs Rd.  Rolling up and down in early-ish morning light in the humid and (if in direct sunlight) already quite warm conditions.  It was nice.

Rolling along on NC-66 and Chestnut Grove Rd was fun.  A couple of turns and we pulled into the store at Pinnacle.  Eat a little, drink a little.  Someone convinced the clerk in the store that Norris was Dale Jarret, pointing to the photo on the front of the Coke machine as proof.  Norris seemed to want to skedadle before someone actually asked for his autograph.  However, we did not skedadle or mosey down the road toward Pilot Mtn. until after IvaHawk demonstrated a half human flag stand -- twice -- because some missed it the first time.  (Iva describes the move and its "big brother" in the first comment.)  There were plenty of mountain scenes and vistas during the ride, but the most amazing sight was Iva holding himself perfectly parallel with the surface of the ground, supporting his entire body with his arms wrapped around the flagpole.  That feat unanimously won the "best athletic move of the day" contest.

Proceeding from Pinnacle toward Pilot Mtn, there is a nice downswoop to the only County Line of the day (well, we crossed it twice -- once going to Pilot, once returning).  Ken T was out front by a good distance, but I decided to spice things up a bit by snatching the CL -- it was easier for me to decide to "spice things up" because I was committed to NOT climbing Pilot (and was looking forward to a good rest at the bottom of the climb).  Since I outweigh Ken by about 50 pounds, it was easy to close the distance.  However, before I caught Ken, along comes the Mallet.  He said "very few on this ride would know that there is a county line just up ahead."  I replied "but I do."  I thought he was trying to box me in so that I wouldn't be able to get clear and out-gravity him as well as Ken (I have at least 30, maybe 40 pounds on Paul).  However, it turned out that Paul was trying to help me slip past Ken and take the CL.  At a key moment, I pulled out from behind Paul and zoomed past both him and Ken and took the CL by many, many bike lengths.  Everyone immediately passed me as the road immediately tilted up.  When we left Pilot, Paul used his superior climbing abilities to claim the upslope CL.

Norris, Iva and I declined the opportunity to climb Pilot.  Norris eventually decided to go part way up Pilot, just to get a taste.  After getting his taste of Pilot, Norris and Iva left early for Sauartown -- I saw them standing at the bottom -- presumably after having ridden to the top and back down -- as I turned onto Sauartown Mtn Rd for what was supposed to be my highlight climb of the day.  But I get ahead of the story.  

Everyone else, the MalletKen T, Lt. Dave, Lee, Tito, climbed Pilot -- most took the opportunity to enjoy the view from the top.

Back on the road, Ken was impatient to get going, and the next I saw of him was as he was zooming down Sauartown as I slogged up.  But that is getting ahead, again.

The rest of us, LT, Lee, Tito, Paul and me, were making our way across the short distance from Pilot to Sauartown.  The heat and Pilot seemed to have gotten to LT -- he was usually behind even me on the climbs of the little hills (rollers ?) we were traversing along the base of Sauartown, and he even commented that I might have to drag him home. 

Then came Flat Rock Rd and its tight downhill curve, its road surface chip-seal with a lot of loose pea gravel lying about.  The tight curve gets tighter and tighter as one descends into the creek valley, and just when one thinks it can't go any further down, it does, and when one thinks it can't get any tighter, it does, and then it gets tighter still.  All with the loose pea gravel making braking an adventure.  Knowing about the tighter and tighter nature of that curve, I had tried to scrubbed off speed on the descent -- I think it was a help.

After Tito and I had successfully navigated the descent and the corresponding ascent and the next descent and its corresponding ascent, I mentioned to Tito that I had gotten awfully squirrelly on that tight curving descent.  Tito mentioned that he'd felt a bit squirrelly himself on the second bridge.  Tito and I got to ??? Rd -- the one with the "Martin" gravestone near the corner with Flat Rock Rd.  While we waited, I suggested Tito check out the gravestone.  Tito recognized it from the blog post of the "Mountain Boys Adventure"  from a few weeks ago.  While we discussed various things and Tito did some exercises to loosen up his back, we started to realize that something must have happened and so we headed out to retrace our steps. 

After a mile or so, we saw the Mallet come over the crest of the hill we were climbing.  He waved to us to turn around.  Then Dave and Lee came in sight, apparently stopping at the crest to take a break, or something.  As we rode back to the headstone, Paul told Tito and me that Lee had gone off the road on that tight curve.  Damn! 

Lee later said he always wondered what skills would be revealed if he ever had a situation such as he encountered on the tight curve.  (Lee did not know about the decreasing radius of the curve and ... well, he does now.)  Lee later described that he had left a trail on the road where he was trying to brake on the loose pea gravel, headed straight for the ditch.  He endo'd, the ends of his tri-bars stuck in the soft ground, and Lee landed on his butt (of which there is damn little, btw) and his back.  In the three feet of clearance between barbed wire and a big tree.  I could try to describe more of the accident and recovery third-hand, but maybe Lee or LT or Paul will make a comment and provide first-hand information. 

However, despite the previous sentence, I will add that apparently while LT was trying to get Lee to let LT go thru an EMT-like protocol to make sure Lee wasn't more seriously damaged than Lee thought, Paul true'd Lee's rear wheel, and either alone or with LT's assistance fixed Lee's front fork.  I'm not sure if they were able to do anything with Lee's now sideways sloped saddle.  After restarting, Lee had to call a halt to properly reconnect his helmet straps, etc..  He is now in the market for a new red helmet. 

We took a few extra minutes in the shade at the corner near the "Martin" headstone, and then proceeded toward Sauartown.  Not surprisingly, Lee and LT skipped the Sauartown climb.  The Mallet and Tito zoomed up the climb, and I began my slog of a no-cadence climb.  Kenny came flashing by on his descent, and I made the right-hand curve after which Sauartown steepens.  Grinding up to the sharp left-hander, I took stock.  Very little water left, and I needed to ride from Sauartown to Hanging Rock on that very little water.  Sadly, but not necessarily relunctantly, I pulled the plug at that sharp left-hander, having completed about 1.3 or 1.4 miles of the 3-mile climb. 

I waited at the bottom of Sauartown for Paul and Tito for about 15 minutes, and then decided that they would catch me anyway, so I started the ride to Hanging Rock.  Within a couple / few minutes, I got to NC-66.  I had brought my zip-lock baggy of cue sheets to the ride, but the needed cue sheet was not in the bag.  I was not 100% sure that I was supposed to turn left onto NC-66, so I parked the bike and took a seat on some stone steps (rando rule:  never stand when you can sit).  In another couple minutes, Tito and Paul came over the crest.  Tito needed water, and Paul knew there was a store on NC-66 about a "quarter-mile" to the right.  Turned out it was about 100 yards, but none of us complained about that distance mis-estimate.

Tito and I refilled our bottles with ice and really sweet ice tea.  I expect to be on a sugar high for several days.  Tito demonstrated his "I've never met a stranger" skills, and engaged a couple locals in conversation.  Maybe Tito will make a comment about Homer and Ken.  Homer told us that he lives on Mickey Rd, and sure enough, several minutes later, a pick-up truck passed us on Mickey, the driver was clearly Homer.

Mickey Rd has a tough climb.  Hall Rd is mostly fun rollers, but I think there is one toughish climb (not nearly as tough as the the one on Mickey).  A short stint on Moore Springs Rd, and then the turn to climb up Hanging Rock.  I eventually convinced Paul and Tito to just go ahead and leave me in my private purgatory.  I had had visions of climbing Sauartown with cadence at 6.5 mph and climbing Hanging Rock with cadence at 4.5 mph.  No cadence either climb.  When the 5.7-6.0 mph slog up Hanging Rock reached the place where the 4 mph slog would have started, I dismounted.  I walked a LOT of the climb.  3.2, 2.8, 2.2 mph.  Sometimes I was clearly walking slower than 2.0 mph -- I learned that when the Cateye detects that the bike is moving less than 2.0 or 2.1 mph, it stops recording speed and distance -- still records time, though. 

Iva came driving down the hill to offer a rescue.  I asked him how much farther to the Visitor's Center turn-off.  He said three-tenths of a mile.  I'll continue, thank-you.  Longest frickin' three-tenths of a mile I ever experienced.  Iva later claimed he measured it at six-tenths on his drive back to the parking lot.  HA.  My Cateye accumulated at least eight-tenths, and it was NOT recording ALL the distance. 

I was riding into the parking lot as Iva was trying to sneak out before I arrived.  I flagged him down and he stopped.  Norris, in the shotgun seat, was laughing before I even started cussing out Iva; I couldn't see Tito in the back seat, but I'll wager he was also laughing; Iva, although trying to apologize and defend himself, was also laughing  Important lesson -- don't trust the IvaHawk for distance estimates. 

Everyone else was all cleaned up and ready to roll when I pulled in next to Paul's vehicle.  I was a marvel of a sweat-soaked creature.  But I had powered myself up the entire Hanging Rock climb -- some cycling, more walking.  (I later learned that some people had bailed at the bottom of Hanging Rock, and others had bailed "half-way" up.  At least Lee had good cause.  But all the others had climbed at least Pilot or Sauartown to the top -- I did neither.  And at least three -- Paul, Ken T, Tito -- completed all three climbs.)

LT, Laurie, Lee, Ken and Zoe headed for Winston-Salem and some pub (I don't remember the name) for post-ride refreshments.  Paul and I followed after I had cleaned up somewhat.

We relived the ride, the good parts and the bad.  Ate food.  Drank some beer.  Maybe talked some other stuff.  In retrospect, Laurie and Zoe probably were secretly rolling their eyes at much of the conversation.
As stated earlier, I had had visions of climbing Sauartown and Hanging Rock with cadence.  However, I have been doing a lot of soft-pedaling on the brevets, not practicing cadence.  Also, it is clear that 400 km left a few reminders in my legs (I have NOT been doing big miles long enough to be a "big miles rider" with a "big miles rider recovery ability").  Finally, I think I envisioned doing the climbs in 72F, slightly overcast weather -- not nearly 90F, with wonderfully clear skies.

Next time.

Hanging Rock - Pilot - Sauartown - Hanging Rock; 47.3 m.; 3hrs, 50min in-motion time; 12.3 mph.

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _6 rides; __446.2 m.: _32 hrs, 23 min; 13.8 mph.
YTD tot: 32 rides; 2,102.3 m.; 140 hrs, 30 min; 15.0 mph. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May-13: Spin-out-the-legs, or "TT"

I had intended to spin-out-the-legs yesterday.  But ... didn't happen.
So today was spin-out-the-legs day, with a bit of "maybe I'll be able to go sem-fast".

In the first few miles I learned that 400 kms seem to leave a "reminder" in the legs.
I had had "great" feeling legs for at least 36 hours, but even flat with a quartering tailwind brought on residual fatigue pulses in the legs.
I kept pedaling.
Sometime after seven or so miles, I must have tuned everything else out.
Just keep pedaling with cadence.
Suddenly at 11 miles, a stop sign and a turn.
Keep pedaling with cadence.
I don't recall going past Doc Nichols Rd; I wasn't turning there, anyway.
I U-turned at Panoramic Drive.  12.85 miles @ 16.5 mph pace.  Not bad.

Going back, into the quartering headwind.
Some early small bumps cut the speed to 13 mph or slower.
Try to keep up the cadence; don't worry about the pace.
I don't recall going past Virgil or Coley.
I don't recall the "up" to get to Hickory Grove Rd.
I barely recall the "up" to get to Kemp Rd.
Maybe all those long rando miles are helping me to tune out trivia.
And maybe the Uwharries are helping me to ignore "bumps".

I do recall keeping it together on the slope up to the Wake CL:
I recalled Lee telling me "go for the line" after JohnH had snake-bit on a pothole;
I recalled leading others toward that line at 26.5 mph earlier this year;
I recalled blasting past Lee and LT on the "welcome back, Tito" ride in December.

I recall nothing after the CL until the turn onto MVC.
The "up" on MVC to PUE wasn't bad, although I did drop to 8.5 mph.
I worked to keep up the cadence on Pleasant Union Church Rd to BJP.

Second fastest ride of the calendar year.
Hope I have legs on Saturday.

BJP:  Panoramic U-turn; 25.7 m.; 1hrs, 30min in-motion time; 17.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _5 rides; __398.9 m.: _35 hrs, 33 min; 14.0 mph.
YTD tot: 31 rides; 2,055.0 m.; 136 hrs, 39 min; 15.0 mph.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May-08: Morrisville 400 km Brevet

I am toooo tired to write a blog post. Here is the quick version: 

Daylight riding: 


Nighttime riding: 

Chilly.  COLD.  WINDY (the wind changed direction).  TIRED.  All VERY.
Also, so SLEEPY and nodding off 3:30 to 4:30, that I weaved around on the road worse than the Duke.
Made bearable by riding companions Gary and Sara.
Sara + Gary and me at the Snow Camp penultimate control. 
(Photo borrowed, with permission, from Biker-Bob.)

The above was originally intended as a temporary, place-holding post, to which I would add "more" details.  I've decided I like the original post, so other than links to others blogging the day (or the pre-ride), and perhaps I'll "borrow" a photo, the above will stand.  (There are some details in one of the comments.)

To:  the "Irregulars" -- bonus points for correctly identifying your "fearless leader" in photos in the linked blogs.
To:  rando folk -- brownie points for correctly identifying your "fearless leader".

(I am quite confident that the "Irregular" that recently referred to me as "our fearless leader" has never seen any of the rando blogs.)

 Maria's pre-ride  ("how much climbing?"  "Too frickin' much.")
 MikeD set a record
 Doc on a bike  (I still don't know who "Keith" is.  Recipricol, I imagine.)
 Vance had a tough time, too  (Our paths crossed several times.  The last in Uwharrie, or Seagrove.)
 Hurrah for volunteers!  (We should have turned his camera on him at 3 am -- it would have made a better pic.)
A few "moments" to mention before I forget them:

 1)  the 'possum in the dark in the middle of my lane on the bridge on Abner Rd; I went right; it went left.
 2)  two deer in the dark leaping across Old Greensboro Hwy in front of me; a third stayed in the ditch.
 3)  three alert and "interested" black dogs Coleridge Rd; "visible" only by being even darker than the night.
 4)  the night sky as we passed beyond Nautical Twilight; followed by all night bright stars.
 5)  the sliver of a moon that rose not long before Civil Twilight.

Morrisville 400 km Brevet; 250.1 m.; 18hrs, 55min in-motion time; 13.2 mph; Rando time: _start time 0600 Saturday; finish time 0734 Sunday; total elasped clock time 25 hrs, 34 min. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _4 rides; __373.2 m.: _34 hrs, 03 min; 13.8 mph.
YTD tot: 30 rides; 2,029.3 m.; 135 hrs, 09 min; 15.0 mph.

At least five counties for this ride:  1) Wake, 2) Chatham, 3) Alamance, 4) Randolph, 5) Montgomery.

But the route description, as it winds back and forth across CLs, would be, at least:  1) Wake, 2) Chatham, 3) Wake, 4) Chatham, 5) Alamance, 6) Chatham, 7) Randolph, 8) Montgomery.

May-08 -- Iva's Range Road Rover 66

I received an e-mail from the Hawk regarding "Irregular" adventures while I was away doing something else.

Saturday was wheels away from PUE at 6:55 AM with BobH, RobertNew, NorrisT, Tito, John Askew, Gary, Wendy, and me. The ride was Range Road Rover, and thanks for the cue sheet. My recall is dim at the start of the ride. I think a group broke away on New Light and waited for us at Old Weaver. We regrouped and had a nice ride over to Cash and on into Butner. Norris was about 80% of his normal level with some medication he was taking.

When we hit the Range Road wall, no one really hammered it with most everyone staying together till Gary swung out for the last 50 yards outpacing Tito to the top. I have no idea of the effort level either were at. 

Then we started our 23 mile traverse of Range Road. Beautiful weather, nice roads, and little traffic. You can't get much better than that. We wondered how you were doing and how you were going to do riding on through the night. The state roads division has largely fixed the pot holes that were so bad the last time we did this route. Again, I can't recall anything in particular along this route. I rode hard for me and felt pretty good. 

For the ride in general, BobH was the hammer today dragging along Norris, Tito, and John. We stopped in Stem for refreshments. Thanks to Wendy for breaking her $20 for a gallon of water. Gary had a variety of supplements I'd like to try. Wendy took a 5-Hour Energy which she said works great. She drinks half a bottle early and the other half later. 

Half of the group leaves Stem early heading for Creedmore. The other half I think Tito, me, Gary, and Wendy leave a bit later. The front group soft pedals and we eventually catch them before Creedmore. 

At Dove Rd, the group breaks up. BobH, Tito, Norris, and Robert are in the first group, then John and me, then Wendy and Gary. John's bike is still not set up right. He can't get his heel down. So rather than hang with the front group, he hung back with me. This stays that way all the way to PUE. It was a good ride.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

May-05: Night Ride Light Testing

Given the new seat-post mounted water bottle holder, I wanted to check that the alignment of bottles and both rear lights still gave good rear light "projection".  Also wanted to test a helmet light Smitty loaned me.  Too much light in the city to really test anything, so I visited the abode of Lt. Dave after dark.

Very dark on his street / road.

The rear blinkies and bottles are nicely aligned such that the there is no obstruction of the blinkie lights.  The white water bottles may actually act as an additional reflector when filled with water ... interesting. 

Smitty's helmet light nearly blinded Lt. Dave when I flicked it on.  It is about as bright as the Fenix flashlight.  I will figure out how to weave the headband into / around my helmet before Saturday, and I will be good to go with a primary and a back-up headlight, each with sufficient candle-power to light the road ahead.  And, maybe more importantly, get respect from oncoming traffic.

I did a little 7-mile jaunt from LT's to BJP and back.  Had thought to ride longer, but the batteries in the Fenix were the same ones I was using when I finished the 300 km brevet -- I wanted to find out how much useful juice they still had in them.  I should have grabbed a couple replacement batteries before I started riding because after about 5 miles, I really wanted more light on the road ahead.  However, and this is a good thing, even though the Fenix was no longer casting sufficient light for me to adequately see the road ahead, oncoming cars were still respectful and dimmed their headlights.  That is what I had encountered during the rainy finish of the 300 -- even when the Fenix was giving me almost no help in seeing the road, cars could obviously see me (because they dimmed their headlights). 

I returned to LT's neighborhood as the lights inside LT's were going out.  I suspected he and Laurie knew I had returned.  Since I didn't want them to be worried further about my safety, instead of replacing batteries and riding a bit more, I packed it in for the night.  After all, I had accomplished what I wanted:  checked the alignment of the rear lights and seat-post mounted water bottles; checked the brightness of Smitty's loaner light; tested the time limit on the Fenix batteries; and changed the Fenix batteries in the dark.

LT's: Night Light Testing, BJP 'n back; 7.0 m.; 0hrs, 27min in-motion time; 15.3 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _3 rides; __123.1 m.: __8 hrs, 08 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 29 rides; 1,779.2 m.; 116 hrs, 14 min; 15.3 mph.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May-02: Hill practice - Firehouse visit - A short "TT"

Smitty met me at PUE for a 7 am ride.  He was game for anything.  I figured he might like to continue to get in hill practice as mountain practice was outside the the options today.  Also, the sky looked threatening, so staying close to PUE seemed like a good idea on that account. 

I also thought hill-cadence practice would be good for me.  I wildly hoped that I'd be able to cadence my way uphill and upslope and end up with an average somewhere near 16 mph.  Ha!

Smitty knew almost all the roads I took him on during our hill-training quest, but he didn't know all the roads.  (After the firehouse stop and visit, Smitty commented "I never expected so much 'city' riding from one of your routes".)

Raven Ridge and Possum Track and Durant and Bayleaf Ch Rd all figured importantly in the first 20 miles of the ride.  Don't ask -- Smitty is sworn to secrecy. 
As we were riding past Bayleaf Volunteer Fire Dept. Station # 1, we decided to stop in and harass LT.  One of the firemen greeted us as we were parking our bikes and asked if we were looking for LT.  I said that and maybe some water -- when the fireman started to turn aside from leading us to LT and toward water, I added "but mostly we are here to harass LT".  

Visited with Dave for a bit.  Got some water.  Discussed yesterday's ride and how tough Robert is.  Shared more B.S., then we left to complete our ride -- leaving Dave in the peace and quiet of the firehouse life (which seemed to be mostly about seeing how many of the crew's vehicles they could wash in one day).
On to more hill training, and I took Smitty on a few turns he was not expecting.  Don't ask -- he's sworn to secrecy.  (The route makes an excellent "Shadow Route", and I might need to spring it, er, share it, yeah, that's it, "share it", with the "Irregulars" one day.)  

Smitty thought I was trying to "sneak" the Durham CL on Victory Church Rd (becomes Kemp Rd), so he put the kabash on that.

At the corner of Kemp and Carpenter Pond, we agreed that we'd had enough hill training for the day, and would finish out with a short ~ 15 miles "time trial" on CP and Leesville to just past DocNichols and then back on Carpenter Pond to PUE.  We were averaging about 14.5 mph when we abandoned the hill training.  At the end of the ride, despite riding up MVC much / most of the way in the triple / granny at about 6.5 mph, my avg came in at 15.3 mph for the whole ride.  Smitty couldn't resist chasing a guy up the MVC hill, and he probably ended up with at least 15.4 mph for his avg.  (Smitty had to do a LOT of soft-pedaling while waiting for me to catch up -- he chose that "method" for regrouping instead of riding repeatedly ahead and waiting.)

In the PUE parking lot, after the end of the ride, Smitty and I lied to each other about much we had enjoyed the ride.

PUE: combo hill training "Shadow Course" with "TT"; 48.5 m.; 3hrs, 10min in-motion time; 15.3 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _2 rides; __116.1 m.: __7 hrs, 41 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 28 rides; 1,772.2 m.; 115 hrs, 47 min; 15.3 mph.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May-01: May Day on Eaton + Gray Rock Roads

Three Shorted the Course.  One Went Bonus Miles.  Two Followed the Course.

(Actually, IvaHawk and I didn't do the intended route, either.  To help the Hawk better understand how Gordon Moore, Fred Wilder, Long Mill and Pokomoke roads, and the Llama House, all relate to each other, we took Fred Wilder to Long Mill to Pokomoke Rd, instead of Gordon Moore to Pokomoke Rd..)

The planned route. 

Enjoyable chit-chat before the start meant we got underway several minutes late.  A nice ride to a pit stop in Creedmoor, where they were having a car-show festival.  Lee happened to be at the pit stop -- something about buying corn on his way to a shooting contest. 

More nice riding up to Stem.  IvaHawk and I trying to help Robert understand his gearing and how to improve his shifting between gears.  After receiving that advice / information, Robert liked using his big chain ring on downslopes. 

Just after Stem, BobH, Norris and Robert missed the turn onto Belltown Rd.  IvaN wasn't sure what to do -- he made the turn but then U-turned.  I shouted ahead to B, N and R "wrong way".  IvaN U-turned again.  Robert seemed to have trouble correcting the missed turn, due to some traffic or something.

I was all for soft-pedaling until the wayward three caught up, but IvaN said "they'll catch up -- go for it."  What's a guy to do?  Belltown Rd headed north, away from Stem is not only smooth, the rollers are like a set of steps down to the Tar River -- and I like to "go" on that road in that direction. 

We waited at Bryan's Hill Rd.  Some may have examined the flora really carefully.  I mixed up more koolaid.  Bryan's Hill Rd from Belltown Rd to US-15 is more favorable "Martin" terrain.  I continued to "go".  Everyone was close behind when I got to US-15.  A slight wait for a car, then up-out-of-the-saddle getting up to 18 mph upslope; a turn onto Sam Usry Rd, and I don't recall what happened on Sam Usry.  I think Norris was taking a turn off the back explaining energy drinks to Robert

A turn onto NC-96 and then Eaton Rd.  Eaton Rd has two tough down-and-ups whereas Sam Usry has two not-quite-so-tough down-and-up and Bryan's Hill has an easier down-and-up.  Sam Usry Rd also has a nice curving section cresting the middle "up" -- looks better with the sun at one's back instead of mostly in one's eyes -- also looks better when cooler than it was today.

On the second tough up on Eaton, Robert dropped his chain.  IvaHawk and I waited at the top of the climb.  Robert eventually went around us and kept going, as if he was intent on catching the fast troika.  The troika never slowed as they turned onto Cannady Mill Rd.  That was the last we saw of them as they "missed" the turn onto Gray Rock Rd.  (Being faster dudes, they probably wanted to work on their speed-stats by staying on flatter roads.) 

Robert had gone around IvaHawk and me.  We thought maybe he had glimpsed the troika.  We later found out that that was NOT the case.  In any event, Robert blythely zoomed past the turn onto Gray Rock Rd.  I thought about trying to chase him down, but decided that even if I caught him, the max effort would have ruined my ride.  IvaHawk and I considered our options:  follow Robert or do the intended course.  We figured the troika would wait for Robert / us just up the road somewhere, so the Hawk and I decided to do the intended course.

From six to two in slightly over a mile. 

The Hawk and I had an enjoyable ride -- well, it would have been enjoyable if the headwind had been a little less exuberent (sp?).  We did do a mighty sprint for the Vance county line (Gray Rock becomes Wilton Rd).  Our grunts and shoulder and upper body shakes and lunges were mighty.  Especially the grunts.  IvaHawk took the "grunting" Vance CL by the width of his wheel. 

After that, we rode sensibly, trying to get the most enjoyment possible from the ride as we continued into the headwind. 

We decided to stop in Grissom to get some additional water.  We split my last two Gatorade powder packets.  Just as we were thinking to leave, I said to IvaHawk:  "Look what the cat dragged in."  It was Robert

Apparently Robert had gone a mile or two down the road, crossed the Tar River, climbing up the steep bank from the bridge, and stopped near Philo White Rd.  After a few minutes, he decided that we had probably turned on that road he had gone past ... so he re-crossed the Tar River and rode back to Gray Rock Rd ... and somehow made his way on Charlie Grissom Rd --> Green Hill Rd, turned onto Mt. Olivet Ch Rd ... and somehow took either Gordon Moore or Long Mill to Pokomoke ... and reached Grissom a tired old dog.  (Later, I estimated -- and told Robert -- that when he turned around, he was about 10 miles from Grissom, and that by turning around and following the course, he had to ride about 20 miles to get to Grissom.  Robert's response:  "ugh.") 

If anyone gets lost or separated from the group when north of Raleigh, and you find yourself on US Bike Route # 1 -- just follow the BR # 1 signs in a southerly direction -- BR # 1 is relatively flat AND will lead right to New Light Rd (i.e., toward "the barn" at PUE). 

The Hawk didn't want to ride straight in on Bruce Garner --> New Light, so we took the longer Rock Springs / Old Weaver Trail detour.  Then up Ghoston, Peed and MVC, of course. 

I ended with 67+ miles.  IvaHawk, with his 6.6 mile round trip from his house to PUE, must have gotten just over 74 miles -- he is tough.  Robert, due to his bonus miles, ended up with 70 or 71 miles -- quite an increase from 38 miles the week before (both rides have been "longest distance ever" rides for him) -- he is tough.

Robert also completed his tough introduction (let's hope he has completed it) to road cycling the last two weeks.  He witnessed a one-bicycle accident.  He has dropped his chain at least twice.  He has unclicked the wrong foot when coming to a stop ... and fallen over ... twice.  He got harassed by jerk-in-a-car honking aggressively at him this ride ... and experienced some jerk-in-a-car action last week. 
Oh, and he went the wrong way, got lost, and separated from the group.

Despite all that, I think he had fun.  Was quite tired at PUE, though.
As for the troika -- who knows.
One line for the rando readers:  I am thinking that Alan and Maria are going to be hot and very windblown on their pre-ride of the 400k today.  I hope the weather is a bit nicer next Saturday.

PUE:  Creedmoor-Stem-BelltownRd-EatonRd-GrayRockRd-GreenHillRd-LongMillRd-Pokomoke-RockSpringsRd-OWT-G-P-MVC; 67.6 m.; 4hrs, 31min in-motion time; 15.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 27 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _1 ride_; ___67.6 m.: __4 hrs, 31 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: 27 rides; 1,723.7 m.; 112 hrs, 37 min; 15.3 mph.

The wind was a major player today.  Started out an almost non-existant tailwind which became a light tailwind outbound.  Once we turned off Belltown Rd onto Bryan's Hill Rd, however, the headwind was noticeable ... increased during the entire homeward bound part of the ride.  I was avg'ing 15.6 when I turned onto Bryan's Hill Rd.  Clearly the homeward bound portion of the ride was ... slow.