Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jun-30: "TT"

I didn't give my legs proper time to warm up.  Both lower groins hurt like heck early, and in the middle of the ride whenever going upslope.  Most pain dissipated during the ride as the legs got somewhat warmed up.  All pain stopped instantly when I finished the ride. 

I haven't done a boring segment-by-segment "pace report" lately, so: 

tot miles tot pace segmnt m. seg. pace location at end of segment

_____5.4 ____15.0 _____5.4 ______15.0 __MVC / Old Creedmoor
_____9.8 ____16.0 _____4.4 ______17.4 __CP / Coley
____13.5 ____16.8 _____3.7 ______19.4 __bottom Coley
____17.1 ____17.0 _____3.7 ______17.8 __Coley / CP
____20.1 ____17.3 _____3.0 ______19.2 __Panoramic
____32.8 ____17.8 ____12.7 ______18.7 __BJP


BJP:  Coley-Panoramic U-turn-directly back; 32.8 m.; 1hrs, 50 min; 17.8 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.
Jun tot: 11 rides; __708.2 m.; _45 hrs, 18 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD tot: 47 rides; 3,201.5 m.; 212 hrs, _6 min; 15.1 mph. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jun-26/27: Full Moon Kerr Lake Loop

First, kudos to Byron for suggesting a Full Moon ride.  Given the recent temps, the night ride was nearly infinitely preferable to melting all day under a hot sun. 

It was still plenty warm as the low was probably officially somewhere around 75F, but as Mary noted somewhere in Virginia, there were a lot of alternately cool and warm spots.  The night was humid – I wrung more sweat from my socks after the all-night ride than I have sometimes wrung rainwater after getting caught in a shower.  Warm, humid, sweaty, made the all-night gas station / convenience store across the lake / river from Clarksville feel as if it were a freezer. 

Note to the Irregular crew:  starting a ride from fire station at New Light / Purnell is MUCH easier than starting from PUE.  No Falls Lake to cross … meaning, no climb back up to the level of the plain from the nadir of the New Light Rd. bridge across the “Lake”.  Gosh, what a pleasure to be able to ride from the first pedal stroke.  My mental calculations of distances were all messed up though, by approximately 7.6 miles.  I managed to hang on to the fast pack until nearly Wilton (about 10 miles into the ride); however, I suspect that the fast pack was not really rolling yet. 

I had fallen about ¼ mile off the back of the lead pack approaching Wilton, but the fast-pack caught a green light (I think) whereas I caught a red light.  I figured I would next see the fast-pack leaving the US-158 control just as I arrived, but that was not to be the case.  On Cannady Mill Rd., just before the Philo White corner (just before the quick drop to the Tar River), I came upon Jerry fixing a flat, under careful observation by Mary F., with the rest of the fast-pack spread out along 75 yards of Cannady Mill. I pulled over just behind Geof and Bryan (who were the furthest up the road) just in time for a car or two to pass by and cause Geof to remark that perhaps they ought to move a bit further off the edge of the road. I suggested they ride ahead a further 50 yards and wait at the Philo White corner – I doubt Geof and Bryan paid the suggestion any attention – after all, they didn’t know the numerous times I have used that seldom travelled road and corner to view the flora.  Anyway, I decided that if I waited until Jerry completed his repair, I would be dropped within half-a-mile – on the opposite bank of the Tar River. Geof mentioned that Tom F. was the only rider that was up the road, and I replied that I was going to push on because they would all catch me within a few minutes, anyway. 

I zipped down to the river and (for me) climbed relatively quickly back up the far side.  Tom F. was standing alongside the road, more or less at the crest of the river climb – as I rolled past, I told him that Jerry had had a flat, but that I was riding on.  I figured Tom would wait for the pack (which included his “protected rider”, i.e., Mary). But a minute or two later, whoosh-whoosh-whoosh coming from those DEEP Zip rims signaled that it would be 20 mph (or nearly so) for the rest of the run up to the control.  Into the control with Tom at about 8:30 (I think my control card shows 8:34).  23.4 miles at an average moving pace of 17.3 mph.  I recall thinking “I wonder if I can ride this whole ride at an average pace of 17?”  What a foolish thought!!! 

All nine of us left the control together.  (This seems like a good place to mention the “cast”: Byron, Jerry, Geof, Bryan, Tom F., Mary F., Rob D., John O., me.)  Of the nine of us, only one or two possibly fail to qualify as a “tiny-body”; but Rob is clearly a stronger / faster rider than me; it seemed to me that the only thing holding him back Saturday night was a recent lack of miles caused by a recent (still lingering?) respiratory infection (I probably have the specific on that wrong, but he had had some respiratory or sinus problem, I think).  Any Irregular can tell you that almost all “tiny-bodies” suffer the same short-coming:  they cannot pedal fast enough downhill / downslope / downbump / downripple to keep this fat-gut body from having to sit-up, catch-air, and feather the brakes.  I managed to get the flywheel wound up on the ripples on Salem Rd. (headed for Vance County and Dabney Rd.), and on one of the downripples, I went around all four in front of me to take a ceremonial pull.  Actually, I was temporarily tired of dealing with “tiny-body-induced-ripple-syndrome”, and decided to solve the issue by going to the front.  All Irregulars would have suspected a move to snare the County Line. I did still lead when we passed into Vance County – I thought about making a Rando Fearless Leader-like victory salute, but as I don’t really know any of the rando crew with whom I was riding, decided that that would be a bit … something.  Later, I learned from Tom F. that Jerry had made a significant move to take the State Line into Virginia – and I knew I should have made a celebration at the Vance line.  By the time we got to Dabney (as opposed to Dabney Rd), order had been restored in the peloton, and I had been sorted to my rightful place … sucking the wheels of the whole of the rest of the peloton. 

At the back, I was able to appreciate the stillness of the night, and the beauty of the just-risen full moon: a glowing orange ball, with zephyrs of thin cloud drifting in front, making for an artist’s dream.  I wonder if any of the photo guys got a pic. 

NC Bike Route #1 is pretty flat until it gets to Nutbush Creek Rd and Anderson Creek Rd and whatever the road is called on the climb up to Drewry.  I had told John O. that I would be able to hold the group until those repeated creek crossings, with their Ups, would spit me off the back.  I was pretty much right.  Except that by Drewry, Rob was feeling the residuals of his recent health issue and the fast pace, and Mary was feeling the residual of her race last weekend. (I should have asked Tom to confirm which race – but I do know, because Tom was quietly bragging on Mary whenever Mary was out of earshot, that Mary had not only won her age group (and maybe “all women category”), but she had beaten all the males in her age group.) Anyway, I was not the last into Drewry.  The fast-pack had discovered that the “store” was still open, and an impromptu raid of almost all the store’s chilled water was in order.  I needed to change the batteries in the Fenix, and as a result, I was last into the store.  Due to temporary blindness, I didn’t see the water bottles, and was delayed another half-minute making my purchase.  I exited the store to see that the entire fast-pack was on the road already, and Mary and Rob were just pushing off.  I figured I might be finishing the 200 km solo from that point.  I calmly poured the water into my water bottles.  Then I mounted.  As I pushed off, the clerk was closing the store and called out “they all left you? You must be the fastest in the group and you will catch them all.”  I replied “I’m the slowest.”  I didn’t catch the exact words of the clerk in response. 

On a straight-ish, flattish section of the road just a bit after leaving the store, I spied a tell-tale red cycling tail-light in the distance.  At least a quarter mile, maybe more.  I had good cadence and form and seemed to be slowly closing on the light. I thought it might be Rob.  Eventually, I got close enough to recognize Rob’s dim tail light, and when a bit closer, recognized that Mary was riding with him.  How did I recognize Mary?  By the silhouette of her calves against the bright spot on the road in front of her. 

I did slow my cadence and go to an easier cog as / after I passed Mary and Rob, thinking they might hook onto my wheel.  But they didn’t.  And they probably thought I was being a jerk as I passed them – I had honestly thanked them for waiting for me (meaning by not going “full speed” on the road) – but I’m confident that my remark almost certainly came off as me being a churlish jerk.  When Mary and Rob didn’t catch my wheel, I decided to keep going until I got to the “ice cream place” where I would mix up an eLoad into the recently acquired chilled water.  I figured it would be easier to see what I was doing in the bright lights of the ice cream place.  There weren’t any bright lights at the ice cream place.  But there was adequate light to mix up the eLoad and throw in a Zim. 

I got back on the road, once again a quarter-mile or so behind Mary and Rob.  I caught them just as the causeway was about to give way to the dam-proper of the Kerr Lake Dam.  I reached down to get my eLoad bottle and take a proper drink … only to fumble the bottle and drop it on the road.  Being safely lantern rouge, at least I did not have to worry about any other cyclist getting waylaid by my bottle.  I stopped, turned the bike around, and instantly saw the bottle highlighted in the light cast by the Fenix.  I walked back and retrieved the bottle, took my drink, and remounted – confident that I would once again be a quarter-mile or more behind Mary and Rob. 

However, I was not so unlucky.  I knew from reading Research Trailer Park, that there is almost always an obligatory “Dam Photo”, but had either forgotten or perhaps I figured the fast-pack had snapped their photo and pushed on long-ago.  I had sold them all short.  Everyone was gathered on the bridge / dam, waiting for the tail-end.  A photo or two was snapped (if Byron or Bryan or Geof happen to read this, and can direct me to one of your photos that I can “rip off”, please do so), and the re-united nine resumed our ride. 

Courtesy of "bryanphoto" (behind the camera).
L to R:  John O., Jerry, Geof, Mary F., Byron, RobD, me, Tom F.
I need to work on my fake rando smile.  (Check Andy's photo link.)  

We immediately turned off from Virginia Bike Route #1 and onto those narrow, no-fog line, sometimes no center-line Virginia roads that are so popular on a hot, sunny day. Popular not because of the narrowness of the roadway, but because the trees are usually quite close to the roadside (by NC standards) and therefore almost always cast a welcome shadow on the road surface on those hot, sunny days.  The peloton was starting to string out and form into separate sub-groupings by the time we turned onto Phyllis Rd.  The fast-pack disappeared with barely a trace while on Phyllis Rd. (more on that later), but I could usually see Mary and Rob’s headlights in the distance behind me.  There were a LOT of dogs on Phyllis Rd.!  The fast-pack seemed to have alerted them, and they were ready for me – but loud, assertive shouts did the trick in all but one or two cases – in those, I found I could sprint faster than the dogs.  I probably put the dogs on the super-alert for Mary and Rob, but maybe I had also tired them out a bit; they never mentioned the gauntlet of dogs. 

As I neared the court house square in Boydton, there were "Tom and Jerry, standing on on the sidewalk, in Boydton, Virginia" next to the open spigot.  (Maybe someone will sing a song about them some day.  Or cast a statue.)  Oh, good, more water!  I asked Jerry what the quote on the existing statue was (info control) as I never would have been able to make it out in the pitch dark.  Mary and Rob arrived a minute later. Jerry took off, presumably in pursuit of the rest of the fast-pack.  Tom allowed as how it would make no sense for him to finish the ride an hour or two or more before Mary, so he stayed and became the fourth of our loosely grouped and regrouping lantern rouge crew. 

The Daytons apparently grew up near Boydton / Skipwith / Clarksville, and Rob was serving as navigator-in-chief as we left Boydton. “Small rollers,” he informed, “from Boydton to Skipwith, with that one wall just before Skipwith.”  The “wall” was well-lit by the Full Moon – or rather, the kudzu attempting to encroach on the road from the field and ditch alongside the road was well-lit.  The Full Moon did its best throughout the night to provide additional illumination, and sometimes it was excellent on that front; however, if it hadn’t been humid, I am confident that we could have ridden without lights and been able to see everything (cars wouldn’t have been able to see us, though.) 

Speaking of cars and seeing, I don’t recall if it was before Skipwith or after, but there was a van lying on its side in the ditch, lights on that made for a strange sight.  The lights seemed the right brightness for an auto’s, seemed the right distance apart, but were nearly perfectly vertical.  We slowed as we passed, Mary called out asking if everyone / everything was okay; the drunks responded that everything was fine.  I couldn’t help but be a bit glad and thankful that the drunks had flipped themselves off the road before we got there, instead of as we were passing. 

Rob informed that Skipwith to Clarksville was flat.  It was quite nice riding at night, especially if I was trailing and using the brighter headlamps of the others as augmentation to the illumination from my Fenix.  Quiet, still, humid, a pool of light moving down the road. 

We stopped for a goodly while at the 24/7 store across the lake / river from Clarksville.  It was while stopped here that Mary finally asked who I was. I had apparently failed to introduce myself earlier.  She said she had hoped to pick up my name from someone else using it, but no such luck.  As we prepared to push off, Rob commented that he and brother Tim (?) had attempted to navigate from Clarksville to Stovall once before, they had gotten to Stovall, but not by the proper course – so he was advising that he did not know the course, but that “checkered jersey” did.  I did not disabuse him of that idea. 

Yes, I had ridden almost every mile of MikeD’s Kerr Lake Loop, not as a single ride, but in portions spread over several rides.  Yes, I had been the one to show Mike the way to Peace Mountain (“Stovall Mountain”).  Yes, the Irregulars sometimes refer to me as “the hu-man-gee-pee-ess”, but on the one and only time I had ever “looped” Kerr Lake, we had missed the turn onto Williamson Rd.  I had a pretty good idea where the turn was, and in the event, I only asked Tom one false time to illuminate the roadsign for an upcoming corner (i.e., the second time I asked Tom to do so, viola, the correct turn).  I also thought we would have to make one more turn to get onto Grassy Creek Rd headed for Stovall, but when I spotted the Grassy Creek Community Center, I knew exactly where we were.  After all, I had ridden that EXACT stretch of road 6 ½ days earlier as part of the Virginia Border Raid

Someday, I’ll have to ask MikeD why the course makes that turn onto Williamson Rd. instead of continuing straight on Shiny Rock Rd. all the way to the border, and then make a couple turns and a couple shallow-slope climbs to get onto Grassy Creek Rd. above the climb out of Grassy Creek.  My suspicion is that he was just looking for a few extra climbs.  On the other hand, there is a store (of sorts) in Grassy Creek, so maybe he is just trying to increase the potential supply of fluids, etc., or maybe he is doing unto the Grassy Creek store as I do unto the Bobbitt store – trying to get it a little extra business in hopes that the little extra is just enough extra … to stay in business. 

I used to fear the steep climb out of Grassy Creek on Grassy Creek Rd.  The last two Saturdays, once in the daylight, once in the Full Moon, I have recast my opinion – what steep climb was I worried about? 

Into Stovall.  No pizza.  No turkey breast sub.  No sitting in the gazebo.  I did walk the block-and-a-half from the post office to Oxford Rd., to assure myself that that was the correct turn to head toward Stovall Mountain.  (Rob’s comment that I knew the way still hung in the air – I didn’t want to make a mistake.)

Just before Stovall, and especially after, I was suddenly quite drowsy.  I didn’t trust myself to drink and drive – so I stopped several times on the flatter parts of Mountain Rd. to take a drink, hoping that the caffeine in the Zim would start to have an impact.  Ha.  At one point I warned Tom that I was falling asleep on the bike, and maybe it would be safer if he were either ahead or behind me.  He assured me that he would keep an eye on me, and give me a good shove if needed.  Uh … thanks. 

After the mountain, I told Mary and Rob that I was going to try pushing the pace to see if that would generate some adrenaline and help keep me awake.  Soon, we were all riding a bit faster than we had been. Somewhere, probably before getting the control at US-158, I also started blabbering to Tom a lot, figuring that talking, and the thinking that went with it, might also help to keep me awake.  I have almost no idea what I blabbered on about – I imagine that Tom must have been bored to near tears.  However, I do recall that I mentioned that I had had fantasies about doing Tony’s 1000 km over Labor Day, but luckily my DNF at Alan’s 600 km had put the kibosh on that – which is lucky because I’m riding the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway just a week later and … “you don’t want any mishap from Tony’s ride to endanger your Parkway ride” finished Tom.  Tom mentioned that Mary wants to do Tony’s 1000 km, so he wouldn’t do the Midwest 24-Hour race which is the same weekend.  I enthusiastically responded that I knew of that Midwest race from the Junior High outside Port Byron, Illinois, and that the large loop went right past my high school within about four blocks of my mother’s house.  I had looked at the map and I already knew most every road of the large loop, the middle loop, and the small loop. I failed to mention that I participated in either 8th grade athletic contests, or high school athletic contests at that very Junior High.  (I need to ask my brother Tom if the Port Byron Junior High used to be the Riverdale High School – my brother Tom would know – either way, I participated in athletic contests at that race host site.  By then, either from the caffeine in the Zim (I doubt it), or the increased pace (I doubt it, because I was REALLY slow re-warming the leg muscles after the US-158 control), or the jabbering (maybe), or the approaching dawn (probably), I was no longer trying to doze off while riding. 

This sentence / paragraph is mostly for the Irregulars:  I found out that the steep on Lawrence Rd. is not nearly so awesome if one’s ride finishes BEFORE having to re-cross Falls Lake (no Ghoston, no Peed, no MVC).  It was like a picnic to finish at the fire station. 
There are many, more interesting moments from the ride that would make for a better story than that which is above, but … today, we get a factual story without much humor … that’s just the way the cookie crumbled.

Full Moon Kerr Lake Loop; 130.3 m.; 8hrs, 29min in-motion; 11hrs, 34min elapsed clock 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: 10 rides; __837.2 m.: _58 hrs, 42 min; 14.3 mph.
Jun tot: 10 rides; __675.4 m.; _43 hrs, 24 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD tot: 46 rides; 3,168.7 m.; 210 hrs, 16 min; 15.1 mph. 

5000+ kms for the year so far. 

The humidty and fog seem to have conspired against my Cateye once again.  At least, I think it was condensation pooling on the contacts of the Cateye that caused the malfunction -- again.  I had to estimate the time and pace-in-motion.  Luckily, I already have a near fool-proof algorithm for doing just that.  You believe that it is "near fool-proof", don't you?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jun-26 -- The Stagville Blunder

Or Hello, Gyros !
Or I know Martin, and Iva's no Martin

I was "out" preparing to do another ride (more later), so the SpeedyIvaHawk organized and led the "Irregulars" Saturday morning.  He sent me a "report"; my initial comment is that one would expect a graduate of that little liberal arts college over Chapel Hill way to have learned the value of PARAGRAPHS; but no; so I created PARAGRAPHS; us "Big Ten'ers" have always been skeptical of those from that "Another Carolina Championship conference" (that is the proper name of the "ACC", isn't it?).  Here is a link to the route that most of the "crew" did.  This route was ridden "Irregularly" once before; but LT and I "di'nt need no stinkin' cue sheets".  The following, with PARAGRAPHS, and some comments from the editor inserted, is Iva's report:

When I arrived at 5:45 at PUE, many Irregulars were already present; that must be some kind of record. Arriving later were Tito and Gary in his TLC van. Harvey was there, not riding, to see us off [editor's note:  hmmn]. After all had gathered, there were 12 riders, a high number for us:  Gary, Wendy, two guests named Dennis and Richard, Tito, Aggs, LeeD, Robert, Levi, BobH, Smitty, and me [editor's note:  aka, "SpeedyIvaHawk"].

Eager to start, and at Gary's urging (he was not quite ready), we set off at 6:09 AM. Tito and Smitty led the way, Dennis and I followed. By the time we were on Carpenter Pond, I grew weary of keeping up with the lead two and slacked off. Dennis chose to stay with me. Soon we were sucked up by the peleton, but no Wendy, Richard, or Gary.

We waited at Carp Pond and Leesville for a bit and decided to shove off and wait again at Hwy 98. When we got to 98, Dennis called Gary's cell. No answer. On Patterson, Dennis got a call. They were already at Cheek. We learned later that they took Olive Branch to get ahead of us. We finally reunited with them at the Exxon at Red Mill (scene of my 2003 accident).

After turning on Old 75, I thought I'd ride up to the front and tell them the turn was on the left near the bottom of the hill as I had heard Martin say one time. Strike 1. That was Stagville Rd..  So we all bombed down Stagville for a few hundred yards. Everyone realized it pretty quickly.

We regrouped and got back on course. After the long pull up Cassam, we got to Range Rd.  Lee and Robert turned left to add another 14 miles to the route. They would follow Range north, east, and back south to come out on Old 75 just like us. Their route was 20.7 miles versus 6.1 for us.

As we approached Roberts Chapel Rd., a large group of cyclist approached us. If I was trying to time a merge with the Gyros, I couldn't have done it any better. It was like "a two ship join" in formation flying, it was so precise. Gary said they were the Gyro A minuses.

We fell in behind them and stayed there for a long time. Altogether, both groups must have numbered 50 riders. It must have looked like those photos of the tour where you see the peleton riding by a field of daisies. Everyone was thinking of what Martin would think, and having a good chuckle.

I said Martin would have known their route and would have calculated it such that we wouldn't have run up on them [editor's note:  Martin did know their route, had evaluated the possibilty of a close encounter of the Gyro kind, and concluded it was unlikely.  And Martin thinks that he did inform Iva of same -- but maybe he changed his mind and decided not to clutter Iva's mind with useless trivia.  Of course, Martin had assumed a timely start -- eh-hem, Gary -- and had also NOT assumed any mis-directed turns.]. Or, he would have immediately recalculated an alternate route if we did. Strike 2. Finally, they rode off from us as we came into Stem [editor's note:  there is a rumor that the Gyros are afraid of the "mean Rednecks" of Stem -- ask Harvey about the "'mean Rednecks' of Stem" reference].

After our stop at our usual place in Stem, the last part of ride was at a pretty good pace. I heard there was spirited competition for the Ghoston, Peed, MVC trophy among Smitty, Tito, Levi, Aggs, and Gary. I think we'll see Gary in the polka dot jersey next time. 
Good ride today, I had two strikes as the leader. I would have been impeached on a third one. It'll be good to have Martin back.  I'm out on vacation July 3 thru 9.  I'll see you all on the 10th, I hope.  [Editor's note:  Iva is being too self-depricating:  he is a better and more natural leader than I ever hope to be.  Ha, Iva, I got one "in on ya'".] 


Friday, June 25, 2010

28 = 31

I stopped by the Post Office to pick up four post cards for this coming weekend's Full Moon Kerr Lake Loop (FMKLL).  I was charged 31 cents for each card.  The "stamp" in the upper right corner on each postcard notes "USA28".  No extra 3 cent stamp is affixed. 

I hope the cards get delivered, and not "binned" for having inadequate postage.

Also, if the Postal Service can't tell the difference between 28 cents and 31 cents ... maybe that explains why it is always losing so much money.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jun-24: To Beat the Heat

I should have ridden at 0600. 
But didn't get away until 1000.
At ~17.5 miles into the ride, after little more than an hour, I stopped at the top of Coley, and took a long drink of "sports drink".  It was a pretty warm fluid; so I drank the rest of it before it became HOT.  Then I "washed it down" with a gulp from the water bottle; the water was pretty warm.  

I looked at the bottle, contemplating another 20 miles before completion of the ride, and ... decided to skip the planned 10 to 15 mile loop.  I headed straight back to BJP and called it a ride after 27.3 miles.  Then I phoned a contact and arranged the immediate puchase of two insulated water bottles.  I have made it through the previous hot summers without insulated bottles, but this year just seems so much hotter so much sooner, and with no breaks bringing in an occasional cool day.  I hope the insulated bottles work and help.  If they don't ... I know where the contact from whom I purchased the bottles lives.  That's all I'm saying.

To keep from thinking about the heat and to avoid thinking about speed, I had planned to ride a few bits that I seldom ride.  That helped the first half-hour.  During that half-hour, I rode to the Norwood / Old Creedmoor intersection, and then zoomed down the fresh pavement on Old Creedmoor, heading toward Carpenter Pond Rd.  The white fog lines are not painted yet, but at least the side of the road is no longer crumbling -- before repaving, the fog lines on Old Creedmoor would disappear into potholes; I had not ridden Old Creedmoor between Norwood and Shooting Club Rd for several years.  I am thinking the road can now be added back on to the list of roads to ride when "hill hunting".

Oh, I never got into the drops, and did not get into the best aero position even for being only on the hoods, but I hit 41 mph downslope on the steep part.  Irregulars beware.

BJP: Norwood-OldCreedmoor-CarpenterPond-Coley-MVC; 27.3 m.; 1hrs, 37min; 16.8 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.
Jun tot: _9 rides; __545.1 m.; _34 hrs, 55 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD tot: 45 rides; 3,038.4 m.; 201 hrs, 44 min; 15.1 mph. 
Woohoo!  The year-to-date avg pace increased by one tick.  The Full Moon Kerr Lake Loop this weekend will likely "correct" that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

IvaHawk asked a question

IvaHawk asked a question: 

"... my note was about possible June 26 rides in your absence.
So my question is what do you think about the ...
="Stem - Corinth - EatonRd - MtOlivetChRd "&ROUND(A31,0)&" m. Loop (Start/Finish PUE)"
63 miler ride on the 26th . Is that a good one ?"

My answer: 

All my rides/routes are good ones. ;-)  


The above, reversed:

DocN-Stem-Hester-Mt.Energy-Grissom (this is one of the three "core" rides):

Another route we haven't ridden (was gonna' use it for the final ride of 2009, depending on who rode):
        Figured if I "sprang" that on the crew, the G-P-MVC finish might not seem so bad.
            You may recall Nipper from:
                Approx map of that ride:

And this is a nice route - IMO, Robert's Chapel Rd is a great road to cycle:
    LT dragged me through the above route, 8 days after my crash:
THIS may be the ride you are looking for! I don't think the "IR's" have ever done except for the above time.
    I think we have done all the roads involved more than once, just not in the combination indicated.
        I wonder if there is an existing cue sheet. 
IvaHawk indicated that he is interested in the Cassam-RobertsChapel route for the 26th.
Turns out there isn't a cue sheet.  (Dave and I knew where we were going.  We don' need no stinkin' cue sheets!)

Preparation of a cue sheet can proceed once adequate bribes have been received.  :-0

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jun-22: Hot Day in the City

And on the asphault in the country.
48 minutes outbound.
43 minutes inbound.
Nothing else worth saying about today's ride, so I thought I'd look back in the ride log at rides on or near Jun-22 from previous years.

Riding the purple Zanzibar-Cygnal, 28 lb. mtn bike with slicks:

Year Mon Dt start / course comment ____________________________Miles avg
2004 Jun 19 Neal School: Falls Lake 35 _________________________35.9 2.49 12.7
2005 Jun 19 home: Possum Track circuit _________________________13.5 0.58 13.9
2005 Jun 23 Possum Track circuit _______________________________10.7 0.44 14.3
2006 Jun 18 PUE: expanded Old Weaver Loop + Stallings + Redwood 38.9 2.50 13.7
2006 Jun 24 PUE: Lake Loop + (tried to connect w/ Lynn on Tour de Cure) 51.1 3.29 14.6

Just a note:  the first ever (what was to become) "Irregulars" ride was Jul-22-2006.  Frank and me.

Riding the Pilot 5.0:  

Year Mon Dt start / course comment _____________________________Miles avg
2007 Jun 23 PUE: NL-GS-WC-Green-Long-FlatRock-Evans-NL __________56.2 3.34 15.7
2009 Jun 21 BJP: Leesville Rd - U-turn __________________________25.4 1.32 16.5
2009 Jun 23 BJP: DocN-Kemp-Virgil N breeze ______________________29.7 1.43 17.3
2010 Jun 22 BJP: Panoramic U-turn 94 degrees F __________________25.4 1.31 16.7

Just a note:  the Jun-21-2009 course is EXACTLY what I rode today.

BJP:  Panoramic-U-turn; 25.4 m.; 1hrs, 31min; 16.7 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.
Jun tot: _8 rides; __517.8 m.; _33 hrs, 18 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD tot: 44 rides; 3,011.1 m.; 200 hrs, 07 min; 15.0 mph. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jun-19: Solstice, Neuse, Tar, Dan

The original plan for the Solstice was a 300k "irregular" ride, but due to life, the cast of "interested and likely to ride" got down to only two riders.  Being flexible, we changed plans.  And instead did the "Virginia Border Raid", a slightly long 100-miler that starts from PUE, includes a few miles in Virginia, and was / is the original "irregulars" "Pizza in Stovall" ride.  The change of plans turned out to be a popular choice.

The Cast:

"Short-crew":  BigWaveDave, Duke (aka, SpongeBob), Aggs.
"Long-crew":  IvaHawk, LT, Smitty, Lee, Tito, Robert, Gary + Wendy, me.

Twelve starters.  Not quite equalling the record, but certainly more than two.

The Course:

I originally found, ripped-off, scouted, planned, designed, cue-sheeted this course in about April or May 2007 for a 2007 Solstice Century for Frank and me (the entire "membership" of the "irregulars" at the time [edit:  that were interested in riding SO far - by mid-2007, Gargan had come and gone, but had left Harvey (not yet a Snapper), BigWaveDave, the Duke, and Barry as 2007 additions to the crew]).  It was to be the first 100-miler for Frank and for me.  However, Frank had a conflict arise the night before the ride, so ... we didn't ride. 

I went on to do the ride on Sep-29-2007, solo.  Without a cue sheet, of course [edit:  for those that may be interested, I did almost get confused about the route between Stovall and Antioch Rd.  I've always found that getting lost, or thinking you are lost, turns out to be a REALLY good way to learn and remember how roads interconnect]

At the time, the climb up Brogden Rd to Stem still daunted me, so I made a "smart" decision, and turned onto Tump Wilkins Rd -- which I had never checked out, but which I was confident was a "short-cut" given that I had decided to take Belltown Rd north out of Stem to stay in a "tree tunnel" and out the NW wind that I would have been exposed to on Culbreth Rd from Stem.  My "smart" decision wasn't:  Tump Wilkins was not a short-cut - it probably added about 1/2 a mile to the course; Tump Wilkins was NOT less hill climbing than Brogden Rd, because whereas Brogden is one continuous climb, Tump Wilkins is down-and-up, down-and-up, etc., with at least three separate climbs and each giving away all or most of the elevation gained. 

Btw, that was the first and last time I ever rode Tump Wilkins.  I'm not afraid of the road, but there really is no point to riding the road because it bypasses Stem, and someone might want to acquire additional fluids in Stem on the Border Raid or any other ride we do that passes that way. 

The cue sheet is almost unchanged from that original ride, although I may have improved some of the original distance estimates for various sections.  The cue sheet also indicates a turn off Cannady Mill Rd onto Philo White Rd, which I no longer do when doing this ride.  (Originally, I was daunted by the long, gradual upslope on Cannady Mill after passing Philo White, and also the long, gradual upslope on NC-96 -- that terrain no longer intimidates me.)  The cue sheet also shows a finish staying on New Light to Six Forks to Pleasant Union Ch Rd.  Three years ago, I was still somewhat daunted by Ghoston and somewhat afraid of Peed Rd -- I no longer have those silly concerns.  Also, since 2007, I had occasion to be riding New Light / Six Forks when very, very tired and worried about falling over in front of the traffic on NL / 6F -- and I found that although Ghoston, Peed, MVC is tougher than NL / 6F, there is a lot less traffic, and I can get up those three hills even if very, very tired.

The Ride:

We pushed off several minutes late (someone was still lubing his chain at approx 6:05 and another did not arrive until 6:07).  However, everyone had all the essentials, and we pushed off into the fog at 6:09.  The only thing I remember about the ride between PUE and Creedmoor is that we were moving quite fast on Old Weaver Trail -- I was glad when we turned onto Whitt Rd and rollers on Whitt and Dove slowed the pace somewhat.  I can never work out why most everyone rides through downtown Creedmoor so slowly -- the road is mostly flat; it is easy to ride 18 or 19 mph; the speed limit is 20 mph; but we always seem to ride thru at about 14 mph; eh?  As we neared the turn onto Lake, it seemed to me that at least a couple people were glancing back as if uncertain of the turn -- maybe they were looking back to check the traffic.  Anyway, we made the turn onto Lake, and then zipped up to make the turn onto Stem Rd which becomes Brogden Rd. 

Various people were chatting with various other people.  I recall NOTHING from the turn off NC-56 until crossing over I-85.  Maybe I've done that stretch of road too many times for any destinct memories to remain.  I do recall chating with BigWaveDave, and that my Cateye was messing up (failing to properly record speed consistently).  I knew the problem with the Cateye -- condensation from the fog getting on the contacts -- I've had the "problem" before.  The condensation accumulated enough so that just as we crested the climb at the edge of Stem, my speed went to "0.0", and remained there until quite a few miles later.  The thing that dried out the Cateye was the increased breeze penetrating to the contacts.  Sherlock Holmes confirmed that for me.

The good thing(s) about the Cateye messing up:  I had to ride totally by feel, and I had no idea what the average pace of the ride was.  (Information below the break is based on ... "swag" -- not actually, but that is shorter to type.)

Tried to get a group photo at the border; had to settle for the above.
Left to right:  LT, Tito, Smitty, Gary.
This photo seems to be mostly free advertising for Gary.

The fog lasted at least until we reached the Virginia border, and for several miles beyond.  By the time we reached Stovall about an hour later, though, the fog had dissipated and we were in bake and broil mode for the rest of the ride.  But luckily, it is only 42 flat miles from Stovall back to PUE. 

A few weeks ago, we learned that the "Pizza in Stovall" is not ready until 10:30 -- if you want pizza, don't arrive before 10:30.  I think the lead riders got into Stovall about 10:35.  On this ride, we learned that if you want a sub-sandwich, don't arrive until 11:00, because that is when the help that makes the sandwiches gets to work.  A couple of us managed to talk the clerk into making us 6-inch turkey breast subs before 11:00.  Some of the early arrivals were jealous of our non-pizza foodstuffs.

The indoor plumbing at the gas station / store at US-158 and Antioch Rd was non-functional due to a water problem.  There was an outside "construction-like" mobile facility.  Sad?  I dunno' -- I've never had occasion to use the indoor facilities there.  The had plenty of chilled gallons of water -- and that was appreciated.  I only filled one of my large bottles and my small bottle -- I wish I had taken on more water, but that would have required additional purchase.

Some of us need a mile or two or three (or more ?) to get re-warmed up after a Refueling or Lunch Stop.  Lee, on the other hand, needs only one turn of his cranks, and then he is go-go-go.  This was confirmed to me by Tito.  Luckily, Lt. Dave went up and took over the lead from Lee, slowing the pace slightly until more of us were in go-go mode.  (That was after the US-158 / Antioch stop.)

Before the US-158 / Antioch stop, Robert got his first ever experience leading the line -- he immediately started dropping everyone except Smitty.  Gary went up to ride alongside Robert and coach him; by the time Gary made it up to Robert, even Smitty had decided to drop Robert off his front.  I think Robert got a good lesson -- he dropped his pace a bit and the group reassembled on his wheel, anyway.

Although I did not suffer to climb back up from the Tar River bridge, everyone dropped me like an anchor.  Luckily, the lead 8-pack slowed slightly on the slight upslope to NC-96, and I caught back up before the highway. 

I don't recall much the rest of the way to Grissom, except that we stopped in Wilton so that some of us could check our water levels, and ... we were in Wilton for a longish time ... I don't recall why.  Lucky there is that huge shade tree.

After Wilton, I managed to get second wheel, behind Lee, across to Horseshoe Rd.  Once on Horseshoe, I have no recollections.  I know I was slow on the steep part of Lawrence Rd, but actually faster than I often am.  I recall none of the mile-long slight upslope to Grissom.  I recall nothing about anyone else ... probably because they all dropped me on the steep part of Lawrence Rd..

Everyone else arrived at Grissom before me (I do recall that).  Those already there included the following:

I parked my bike and went into the store looking for something in addition to water that might catch my eye.  I saw the A&W Root Beer.  I decided I was having "second lunch" consisting of that Root Beer -- regardless of what anyone else decided to do.  Everyone else except Gary and Wendy decided to leave immediately for PUE.  I enjoyed my Root Beer, then purchased another gallon of water.  Gary, Wendy and I filled all our water bottles, and drank some nice, cold water, and refilled bottles again -- leaving much less than a quart of water for any "knowing" cyclist that might happen upon the scene in the next half-hour.  Then we rode for PUE -- at a pace between leisurely and hammerly.  [Edit:  I later heard that the lead six eventually split into three hammers and three people trying to enjoy the ride.  I think I'm glad I took the time to enjoy that Root Beer.]

Wendy was celebrating her birthday by doing the ride, and had thought about riding all the way home (an extra 10 miles) without stopping at PUE, but decided that it was getting hot (she found a thermometer afixed to or near the school that showed 93 degrees F), and why risk the ruin of a good ride for a few extra miles.
First time I did this course, slight variation, in 2007, I was solo, rode 109.0 miles and avg'd 15.5 mph in motion, and took 8 hours, 1 minute of elapsed clock time.

Second time I did this course, slight variation, in 2008, there were six of us, and rode 108.2 miles and I avg'd 16.0 mph, and it took 8 hours, 30 minutes of elapsed clock time.  (The longer elapse time was due to a long "male-bonding" / B.S. session in the gazebo in Stovall.)

This, the third time, there were twelve of us at the start, but three turned back as planned at Culbreth after approx. 26 miles, so there were nine of us for the whole ride.  Based on a "veloroute" check of the actual course ridden, I rode 106.9 miles, I'm guestimating a moving average of 15.4 mph, and it took 8 hours, 50 minutes of elapsed clock time.

The rides keep getting shorter, but they take longer. 

I'm also having trouble understanding how / where we were slow enough for long enough to bring the avg pace down so far below 16 mph.  Oh, well, it isn't supposed to matter.  Just enjoying the sights and the people are what is supposed to count.
I got a message from Lee that from his house to his house, he rode 111.4 miles at an avg 16.4 mph.

IvaHawk sent a fuzzy / foggy photo of his cycle confuser.  Photo taken after the ride.

Smitty sent a link to his Garmin data:  Smitty's Garmin data show
I find his heart rate chart particularly interesting.  A steady increase from the start to about 3 1/2 hours into the ride; then about 2 hours of a slight overall decline (gazebo in Stovall and the flat terrain from Stovall to Falls Lake ?); then the slight upward trend continues, almost as if there was no 2 hour "rest period". 

Well, Smitty, some of us were working some between Stovall and Lawrence Rd.. ;-)
Oh, you might wonder about "Neuse, Tar, Dan".  Those are the three river drainage basins we rode in during the ride.  (I figure everyone can figure out "Solstice" on their own.)
It seems that as the size of the crew on the rides has gotten larger, I get to talk to people less and less.  I can't recall saying anything to Aggs before or during the ride; I can't recall talking to the Duke during the ride; I can't recall talking to Smitty during the ride.  (I can't recall much from the ride, period, anyway -- except that I had a good ride and a good time.)

PUE: Virginia Border Raid; 106.9 m.; est. 6hrs, 57min in-motion; 15.4 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: 10 rides; __837.2 m.: _58 hrs, 42 min; 14.3 mph.
Jun tot: _7 rides; __492.4 m.; _31 hrs, 47 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD tot: 43 rides; 2,985.7 m.; 198 hrs, 36 min; 15.0 mph.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jun-17: I Thought of a "Clever" Title While Riding, but ...

I forgot what the "clever" title was. 

I thought about riding toward Huntsboro and Stovall to try to intercept YungFalbz as she neared completion of her third 200k Permanent in three days, but then thought that I didn't really know what pace she might be riding, and thought that she might prefer to complete the three day suffer-fest solo.  I also wasn't sure my legs had really recovered from Sunday, or that I wanted to tempt fate and give myself newly tired legs for this coming Saturday's Irregular ride.  In the end, I decided to just do my usual quickie mid-week ride.

The first few miles brought painful reminders of Sunday.  My left quad was decidedly still not recovered from the small cramps I'd experienced.  I hate to think what I would have felt like today if I had had serious cramps on Sunday.  Shudder.  (Look, Iva, something other than golf /:shudder:/ can make me shudder.  ;-) )

@ ~ 5.3 miles (turn onto Old Creedmoor from MVC), avg pace was 13.6 mph.  (And the legs hurt.)
I thought about shorting to a 10-mile "spin out the legs"; but decided to keep going.
@ ~ 9.8 miles (turn onto Coley from Carpenter Pond), avg pace was 14.4 mph.  (And the legs hurt.)
@ ~ 17.1 miles (turn onto Carpenter Pond from Coley), avg pace was 15.3 mph.  (And the legs hurt.)
@ ~ 20.1 miles (pause to drink and fiddle with water bottles on Panoramic Drive), avg pace was ~ 16.1.  (And the legs hurt.)  (Three miles in 10 minutes -- I'll take it.)
I didn't check the avg pace again until the finish. 
But I rode hard.  Maybe too hard.  What happened to my plan to "just ride cadence"?

Pretty wimpy performance given YungFalbz odyssey refered to above. 

But I did rescue a reasonably large Slider or Painted turtle just after passing PUE headed to finish at BJP.  It was moving fast when I saw it, but seemed to slow as it neared the double-yellow lines.  I decided to stop and see if I could encourage it to continue its trip across the road.  I tried the "pretend to be a predator and stand close behind it" tactic.  The turtle took off ... and U-turned ... and U-turned ... and U-turned several more times.  A couple vehicles came by, and were respectful.  I tried to pick up the turtle, but it would scamper faster than I could move in my cycling shoes and escaped my grasp several times.  It kept trying to stay near the double-yellow lines.  It was well above 90F, so he didn't need to be on the road looking for additional warmth.  I finally spoke to the turtle, telling him that he didn't need to stay on the road for warmth, and that if he did stay on the road, some jerk would aim for him with their car/truck tires and ... he'd be dead.  My advice seemed to make no difference.  However, after a few more scampering U-turns to stay near the double-yellow, Mr. Turtle seemed to have tired, and I was able to get ahold of his shell, pick him up and move him to the side of the road toward which he had originally been moving. 

Such stubborness to stay near the double-yellow lines.  Maybe Mr. Turtle was really a Miss Turtle. 

BJP:  Coley-Panoramic-U turn-straight back; 32.8 m.; 1hrs, 58min; 16.6 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.
Jun tot: _6 rides; __385.5 m.; _24 hrs, 50 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD tot: 42 rides; 2,878.8 m.; 191 hrs, 39 min; 15.0 mph. 
 _ _ (time adj. to account for rounding "errors")  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jun-13: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville


And on the 13th:  Hot-Hot-Hot ... until the BIG STORM came.
Who picked the date for this ride? 
Oh, I did.  ...  Never mind. 

7 a.m..  Already above 70oF; headed for ~ 95oF; with a chance of thunderstorms.
Byron, Sridhar, John O., Tim L. and I set off into the heat and humdity, feeling chipper and optimistic.
I had ridden all the roads of Byron's masterpiece of hill torture,
except the ~ 12 miles from Hurdle Mills to US-158 about 3 miles east of Leasburg.
However, I had NEVER ridden all those roads on the SAME ride.
But, I knew the roads.  I knew the climbs.  I could handle them.
Not as quickly as Byron or John O. or Tim -- but individually, no problem.
Even in combination, given reasonable temps -- no problem.

People sometimes ask why the "Irregulars" ride so early in the summer.
I give two answers. 
Coming clean, the less important to me is:  so the dads can get home in time to be dads.
More important to me:  I sometime do very poorly in the heat. 

The combination of climb after climb could become a problem if it was hot.
Was it hot?  YES!
But I remained hopeful that the terrain from Hurdle Mills to Leasburg would mimick the easy terrain between Timberlake and Hurdle Mills.  HA!

Hester Store Rd had at least one kick-ass hill.
Gordonton Rd had at least two.
I recall wondering WHY Yo!-Adrian would have included such hills on his preferred Raleigh to Yanceyville route. 
Insanity came to mind.

"Speaking" of insanity:
When Byron first released his Permanent for public consumption, I sent him an e-mail.
Byron put on the list-serve that one local rider had accused him of being "insane" because of this course.
I never did.
Until now.
Yes, nice-guy Byron is acually Insane Sado-Masochist Byron.

Due to some extra stoppage in Hurdle Mills and bonus miles seaching for Sridhar, I became worried that I might not make the Leasburg control on time.  My overheated brain cells calculated that 1:15 or 1:20 was probably the closing time (a cooler head would have calculated something more akin to 1:40).  I pushed hard to Leasburg to make the control.  I left Sridhar in the dust. 

About 150 or 200 yards before I got to the Leasburg store, my front tyre had a gun-shot sounding instantaneous flat. I'm thinking I picked up a piece of glass earlier in the ride, and it took until Leasburg to blow. Worried as I was about the control time, I kept riding -- it was a flat road to the store, after all.  I couldn't locate my control card -- I thought I must have lost it on the road from Hurdle Mills.  I bought something to get a receipt.  The time-stamp on the receipt read ... 12:05 p.m..  So much for receipts.

Sridhar arrived about 10 minutes after I had.  By then I had found my control card, and the bag of ice the fast trio had left for us.  My breathing was still extremely fast and shallow.  My heart rate must have been off the chart.  When breathing and heart rate slowed, I looked at the tyre.  Needed either a really good boot or a different tyre.  I didn't bring a spare tyre -- it was only a puny 200k, after all.  Sridhar said he had both -- a spare tyre and rubber-patchy boots.  I accepted the boot.  It took a while to get the flat changed -- mostly to get the new tube in place inside the tyre -- I think I may have still been breathing heavily and ... tired.  Sridhar remained calm -- after all, he has been through these kind of things with the masters of calm:  Adrian and Gilbert.  All things considered, as Sridhar noted, better to have blown just before the Leasburg store / control than almost anywhere else.

We left Leasburg headed for Mt. Tirzah by way of Hurdle Mills.  We were behind on the control times, but could easily make it up if we kept our heads and refilled with cold drinks and food at regular intervals, including in between the controls. 

I started noticing the huge (for North Carolina standards) cyclonic storm brewing up to the west.  It reminded me of storms in the midwest; storms that have nasty, twisting things in them.  About 3:30, Sridhar pulled up alongside and said "the gods are being good to us"; the clouds had just gotten in front of the Sun.  Instantly cooler; we each were instantly riding about 2 mph faster.  I replied to Sridhar that "yes, the gods are good for the current moment, but I'm worried for the next moments."  Sridhar asked "do you mean rain?"  I replied "I'm not worried about rain; but big winds and hail and lightning are what I'm thinking."  I did not mention the nasty, twisty things. 

Just after that, the first serious gust of wind hit us, head on.  We instantly went from about 16 mph to about 5-8 mph, until the gust passed.  Later gusts came from all directions of the compass; some them blew each of us around a bit.  I don't recall when the sprinkles started, but we were on Union Grove Ch Rd (I think that is the name) when the light rain started, it built in intensity enough so that I know I never noticed "Rock of Ages", but luckily Sridhar had noted said info control #2 while still outbound.  By the time I pulled in to the slight overhang of the store at Hurdle Mills, it was raining pretty hard.  Sridhar was a minute or two behind, and he had no more than barely gained the leeward (south) side of the store when all fury broke loose.  Sheets of rain.  Sideways, lashing rain. 

We ended up eating almost real food (chicken salad) while sitting in the no-air-conditioning-on-Sunday-because-it-is-closed-all-day cafe (the store was TOO COLD), waiting out the storm.  We began discussing rescue ride options. I was surprised that the storm blew over in a bit less than an hour, maybe a full hour.  No hail.  No nasty, twisty things.  But there had been lightning.  (There clearly was lightning before we got Hurdle Mills -- Sridhar said he hadn't seen any -- I asked him where he thought thunder came from.  There was clearly some lightning after we left Hurdle Mills -- not that I saw any, but there were a couple thunder-bangers.)  

At Tirzah, after finding the gallon of water the fast trio had left for us (we hoped it was from them) probably nearly two hours before, we put my back-up-back-up front light onto Sridhar's handlebar, and put my main light on mine (I don't have just a regular back-up).  Sridhar had figured why carry a light ... we'll be done long before dark.  I had thought the same, but for some reason had thrown the little nuisance of a handlebar bag with batteries and my main (only real) headlight onto the bike.  My back-up-back-up I can afix in such a way that it is completely out of my way, so I leave it on the bike all the time ... until I'm riding with someone who needs a light, not so much to see with, but to help been seen by cars and others. 

We continued on.  Sridhar had said that there was a possibility that even though we had missed an intermediate control, that if we finished by 8:30, we might still get credit.  Although doubtful we could make Stonehenge by 8:30, we continued.   Luckily, I knew the roads, so Sridhar had been able to put away his cue sheet even before we got to Hurdle Mills.  I even knew a possible short-cut; but we did NOT take it.   Where would be the honor in that? 

I was concerned about the drop to Lake Michie on Bahama Rd, with its sharpish "curve", if the roads were wet, if it were raining.  Turned out that I think I had worried about nothing.  But maybe, since the rains and gusting winds may have caught the lead threesome on that section of road, maybe they can better speak to the potential level of hazard there. 
I had been having small cramps, usually whenever I would push off after having stopped, ever since Leasburg.  Also, my front tyre had been getting thump-thump-thumpy for some miles, and was getting worse with each revolution.  I pulled into the store on Red Mill, looked at my watch, looked at the tyre, and decided I was pulling the plug if I could get anyone to come to the rescue.  Sridhar relunctantly agreed.  Each of us had been saying for 30+ miles that credit did not matter, but it would be nice to finish for personal honor.  But at 7:45 with 17 miles to go, with only one light that would effectively illuminate the road, we each knew it was the correct decison.  I called my friend and "Irregular" riding buddy Lt. Dave (he lived second closest and has the biggest, meanest vehicle); he came to rescue us.  Dave had started his day in northwest Georgia, and had thought about doing a 30-mile ride to include a climb up Brasstown Bald -- but it was so hot and humid even at just after dawn, that he decided against the idea.  He had to drive through the storm; I think he said he and his wife were near Winston-Salem at the time.  (Second choice would have been IvaHawk -- he lives just off Wood Valley Rd.) 

So, we pulled the plug.  And probably just in time.  I started having small cramps every time I was trying to surreptitiously stretch a leg while we were talking and waiting for Dave.  I had to calm my muscles and "steel" myself before I hoisted myself into Dave's truck -- one leg was trying to cramp just in anticipation of getting into the truck.  Not bad cramps, mind you.  Just minor ones. 

Our Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville ride was shortened to L-L-Gorman.  Doesn't have much of "ring" to it, does it?
I will give the Hell-Hell-Hell Permanent another go.  But I think I'll wait until the temperatures are likely to be less than 95oF for the high.  Byron's write-up and excellent photo essay can be found here. 

I know that Maria and Fearless Leader Alan are doing L-L-L on the 15th.
I predict that they will breeze through the ride despite high temps.
I hope so.
2.1 miles pre-ride, plus approx 111.8 miles (includes ~ 2 bonus miles)
My Cateye sometimes stops recording speed and distance when really wet.
Still records time-in-motion, though.  Strange.
Byron's Hell-Hell-Hell Permanent; 113.9 m.; 7hrs, 57min in-motion (incl. pre-ride); 14.3 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.
Jun tot: _5 rides; __352.7 m.; _22 hrs, 52 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 41 rides; 2,846.0 m.; 189 hrs, 38 min; 15.0 mph. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jun-12: Ruin Wall 'n Community House Rd

Ruin Wall and Community House Rd.  That was the requested Irregulars ride today; requested by Snapper.  Last year, when we did this ride, Snapper was part of the group of 4 lost boys that were going short and ... made a wrong turn and ... then made a series of poor choices trying to get back to PUE.  I think Snapper wanted to find out what he missed. 

8 IRs showed for the advertised 75-miler:  1) Snapper,  2) the Mallet,  3) Lee,  4) Tito,  5) JohnH,  6) IvaN,  7) Aggs,  8) Robert.
3 showed for the 56-mile short option:  1) me,  2) BigWaveDave,  3) Lazarus (formerly known as "Frank").
No-shows:  1) Duke (I didn't know he was intending to come until after the ride when I checked voice-mail, and found a msg that he was cancelling "out"),  2) Norris (but maybe he didn't know that BobH had reported him "In" for this week),  3, 4, 5) G + W + a guest (W probably got back into town late yesterday and was too tired for a 6 am ride start).

Eleven riders for the start is near a record for us, but not quite.

This may be the first time that I rode, but was one of the "short" riders.  I'm confident that someone will correct me if that was not the case.

We had a bit of a tailwind at the start.  Something I didn't realize until we turned to head back south, and found a headwind. 

The fast-pack was generous on New Light, and Aggs and I were able to catch back on after the upslope on New Light eased a bit.  (I'm confident that Aggs stayed back with me to be polite as I was dropping off the back.)  I zoomed up to the front and asked Tito to switch order with me in the line as I was going to try to "jump" the Mallet for the CL; Tito willingly swapped places. The Mallet later told me that he realized that I was the one behind him.  Approaching the Granville CL, I waited and waited and waited.  I was pretty sure Paul wouldn't "go" until I "went".  I jumped for the line; I probably should have been in one size smaller cog since I got past Paul, but topped out in speed too soon; Paul made a rush; he took the line by half a bike.  I probably should have waited a bit longer ... and checked what gear I was in (I didn't want to tip my hand with premature shifting, so I just accepted whatever easy gear I was in).

Bruce Garner Rd in Granville County has a much nicer surface than New Light in Wake County.  Paul and I rode at the front of a double line the entire time we were in Granville County (Paul because he strong; me because I was talking to Paul and wanted to force myself to keep up the pace ... which might not have happened if I had slid to the back).  As we approached the Franklin CL, I quietly said to Paul "let's not increase our speed; instead, let's see if anyone remembers where the CL is; Harvey should remember as he has sprinted for and won and lost at that line."  We remained on alert for sounds of shifting gears and a sudden change in speed.  Nothing happened.  The Sun was directly in our eyes, so maybe no one could see the coming CL.  Fifteen or twenty yards before the line, with no one coming to challenge us, I saw and heard Paul squeeze his brakes and saw him shoot backwards a yard or so.  I "won" the CL; more like the Mallet "gifted" it to me; as IvaHawk would say, "there was some Armstrong - Pantini action going on."

The temps and humidity were still quite reasonable as we went thru Pokomoke, and then turned onto Gordon Moore Rd, and then, with a zig-zag on NC-56, turned onto Mt. Olivet Ch Rd.  Gordon Moore feels mostly downslope; Mt. Olivet actually is almost entirely downslope. Nice.  The sun was still low.

We paused at the corner with Green Hill Rd so that various people could grab a snack or study the flora and fauna.  Two German Shephards (safely behind a fence) took notice and announced our presence to one resident that eventually started making her way toward the corner where the canines were making a fuss. 

While examining the flora, Tito lost his left cleat.  As "us short riders" were nearing the last segment of our ride, Stew told me that he'd seen a cleat in the dirt, but hadn't realized that it belonged to anyone he knew, let alone anyone in today's group.  The cleat is likely still out there near the corner of Mt. Olivet and Green Hill.  Tito soldiered on without telling anyone (except me).  Maybe he was worried about getting his foot taped to his pedal again. 

The Mallet and I led the way downslope on Green Hill Rd to the one-lane, curving bridge across the creek which is only 1/2 a mile before the Tar River and its bridge.  After the one-lane bridge, Lee pulled up alongside and asked if I was going to challenge Paul again for the CL.  I told Lee that I had been hoping to entice Harvey to chase us similar to what he had done previously, but no luck.  After telling that to Lee, I zoomed ahead to pass the Mallet, trying to look for all the world as if I was having another serious "go" for the CL; Paul took the bait and zoomed to the CL to the accompaniment of Lee's laughter.  I told Lee that LT would have said that I had done another of my "fake sprints". 

A few miles on, Lazarus, Stew and I turned off Charlie Grissom Rd onto Fairport Rd to take our short-cut.  There was immediately another CL, but none of us made a "move" for it; I think Stew was leading the line, so I'll give him the credit.  After three miles on Fairport Rd, we turned onto Cannady Mill Rd and followed NC BR #1 all the way to bottom of Ghoston Rd.  We did stop in Wilton to check out the supposed improvement to the little store there "in town".  Improvements, if any, were not noticeable. 

We all rode well all the way back to PUE.  BigWaveDave's cold / sinus-infection did start to get the better of him, but he mostly stayed strong.  We crossed paths with a couple of Stew's other riding buddies.  They were aghast that we had started at 0600.  When asked "why 0600", I replied "to beat as much heat as possible, and to get the dads home in time to be dads."

I rolled into PUE at 1000.  Lazarus (formerly known as "Wrong-Way Frank") was a couple minutes ahead of me, and Stew was a couple minutes behind -- all due to the relative efforts / speed with which we each attacked the climbs on Peed and MVC.  Frank and Stew left the parking lot by 1010 or 1015; I took a little longer to stretch and stop sweating, etc., and left PUE at approx 1048. 

As I write the above (1200 to 1230 +/-), I have still heard nothing from the long crew, and I'm getting a little concerned.  I was expecting them to finish at around 1115.  (I'm going to publish without a report from the long crew.)

At approx 1250, I got a call from Snapper.  Apparently the long crew had some issues.  He says he will write a "story" tonight and forward to me for subsequent inclusion here.  He did give me one hint:  one of their issues included a blonde sherrif's deputy.  I can't wait.  /: roll-eyes :/
 I received an excellent partial report from the Mallet -- it speaks for itself:

There was a separation of the group at the store at Lawrence/Bruce Garner so I’ll give you the breakaway edition.

Background – It had been a fast ride, after duct tape was obtained at a general store, with Harvey, Tito, IvaN and Aggs all “feeling it” and doing fast long pulls. I think Harvey bombed Dorsey and that set the tune. Somewhere on Cannady Mill Robert dropped off the back and got quite far behind. We regrouped at the Turn onto NC-96 and determined that he was not going to be left or dropped again. Snapper did a great job going to the front and doing a controlled pull, keeping the group together and at a good pace, through NC-96 and Horseshoe. Robert kept pace but continued to be quite down on himself in the belief that he was holding up the group (I suspect that most of the group were only too happy to have the pace “controlled” at that point in the ride).

At the store at Bruce Garner Robert continued to express a desire for the group to press ahead but no one was having any of it. I noted that Robert was in fact ready to ride and that Tito was not yet being retaped to his bike. I suggested to Robert that we take off and let the other catch up – so off we went. I settled into what I hoped would be a comfortable pace and Robert settled in behind. As we approach the last CL of the day it was clear Robert was feeling better and he blew by me to take the sprint points – now his spirits we up and he started to talk of keeping the breakaway going and taking the stage victory. I figured we could give it a go but knew that Tito and Harvey would be doing big pulls at the front of the peloton and would be closing fast.

Robert with his Liggettesque physique climbed Goshton with gusto and we swooped down onto NC-98 with one hill down and no sign of the peloton. The commentary continued in our heads as the breakaway rolled on toward the Peed climb. Paul “Sherwin” led the climb with Robert “Liggett” hot on his heels – we just knew the train would be coming up behind us at any minute. Two climbs done and we were still away – the telemetry to the team car was not going to help us – this was old school racing. Robert “Liggett” was getting antsy, jumping out of the saddle and giving it everything for the breakaway. We climbed the MVC hill with the Liggett/Sherwin commentary playing in our heads and glancing over our shoulders looking for the Harvey train. Sweet victory – we rolled into PUE a full minute ahead of the peloton – this time the victory went to the riders who got out front.

Of course reality set back in, and the “peloton” may not have been chasing very hard, but it made for a fun ride back from Bruce Garner!

Special note to Paul "Mallet" "Sherwin":  I hear that the US beat England 1 to 1.  ;-)
I received a strange partial report from Snapper.  Perhaps it speaks for itself:  

The Story of Cletus

Did I ever tell you how much I love Mimes? Well, you see, when I was a little
boy living in rural North Carolina ...... oh, this is supposed to the be the
story of Cletus? Sorry, I digress.

4:35am is a time when most sane people are asleep to the world. For those not so
sane its also the time when the smell of fresh brewing coffee only slightly
makes the prospect of waking any better. Having Sheryl Crow sing she is off to
church while Kid Rock says he is off to drink her away helps some in getting Sam
and Dave to hit the floor.

4:37am. Awake and moving.

At 5:25am the neighborhood was still dark as the Exploder moved towards PUE.

Snapper picked up his pace (does he ever stop talking?) while the Giant sipped his
Colombian. The Exploder pulled in to the school in third place bested only by
Martin and Robert (probably in that order).

Minutes later the two executives arrived in style toting their expensive Carbon
inside some of Japan's more exclusive brands, The Mallet pulled up toting three
frozen bombs on the back of the Zeppelin: LD arrived on the Sammy Hagar: JohnH
was there looking freshly shaved: Tito pulled in (with HIS bird of prey); and returned
from the dead came Lazarus. The gang is all here. Wheels away slightly after 6am.

Since Martin has already recapped the ride through the turnoff and The Mallet
spilled some beans on the longer leg my job is made somewhat easier - fill in
the blanks.

Shell convenience stores used to be owned by Indians but no longer. As predicted
by one in the group they are now under the tutelage of the Middle East mafia.
Our first stop in Henderson proves it. No English; only a head-shake of sorts.
Universal sign language. No duct tape. Meanwhile, outside, the group loads up on
water and Gu while Tito got lost behind the store in a Flow Max moment.

Empty-handed we soon pedal away but not in the direction we should be headed
instead we go searching for a shoe fix towards the lovely metropolis of
Henderson. The Rose Gin provides just the ticket. "Cletus" hooks up with Ms.
Wendy and a roll of Super Gorilla Tape. In short order the Giant attaches the
left Sidi to the left SpeedPlay. The first of many times. Off we go.

Does this "picture" seem familiar? Haven't we been here before - the cleat, the
tape, Tito "Cletus"???

The Mallet doesn't like the prospect of traveling back from which we came so he
pulls out the GPS - Martin and BWD would have been laughing here - and
reconfigures our course of action. Off we'll go in uncharted territory adding
five more miles to the intended target of 75 but feeling better now that Cletus
is safely tied to his trusty Falcon. Moving through Henderson past the jovial
Toyota dealership and the strangely new and expensive looking Regional Hospital
the group weaves its way back to the cue sheet.

(skipping ahead) We stopped at a sunny corner somewhere in beautiful
rural North Carolina. Cletus and the Giant (not many men are 6'6 or bigger, so to
me they're all Giants) once again do their Gorilla dance while Robert pulls in
with the first of several proposals:  "you guys go ahead. I don't want to hold
you up. It's not fair. I'm not feeling it. You shouldn't have to wait on
me"......Robert, that type of group also leaves out of PUE (and their group name
sounds like a Yankee sandwich - nothing "Irregular" about that) but
unlike their type, ours doesn't not leave a fallen soldier. We go in to battle
together and we leave together. So Robert's pleas fell on deaf ears. Off we go.
The train falls in to a nice 18ish pace and the brothers have once again banded.

The mass of flashing red lights ahead told us there was something wrong on this
rural road and sure enough the white Chrysler four-door well off the left
side of the road with its driver already in a waiting ambulance only proved it.
How does one just drive off the road in the middle of the day? Speed, an animal,
sexting, alcohol? Who knows. Who cares?

How can you care when among the nine
County Sheriff cars present was one sporting Miss Henderson County. This County
beauty sat perky in her air conditioned Dodge not paying one cent of attention
to the crime scene - instead she fixed her gaze on the Irregular Train slowly
driving by and may have had her eye on one rider in particular.... Cletus and
his size 16 Sidi's? Ag's and his white egg yolks? The Mallet and those peculiar
looking missiles on the back of the Zeppelin? LD and his Sammy Hagar Red Rocket?
John and that fresh face or Robert and his sexy S-Works? I have no idea. All I
do know is that within minutes of passing the scene all the Irregulars were sure
if was he who she lusted for. Wishful thinking guys. 

The rest of the ride was pretty much uneventful - though hot and beautiful - we
made our way to the last store as one. Cletus and the Giant did their dance yet
again, the rest of us filled our bottles and stomachs and secretly Robert and
The Mallet slipped off to win "the race". With the Gorilla holding tight to its
Sidi, Cletus led the way (with a tremendous one-handed push by the Giant) down
Bruce Garner/New Light towards the toughest finish among all of Wake County's
cycling groups.

It was a little after 12 noon as the train pulled in to the school. Hot, sweaty,
tired and thirsty the group recounted the day in glorious detail. The little
accomplishments of the ride were somehow made larger and grander - much like the
friendships that are formed, bonded and nurtured every weekend on those smooth
North Carolina country roads.  
Young (at heart) Robert provided a Garmin track link:  see here.

Now to study that course and see where y'all went.  I know where the hospital is, and decided a couple years ago I'd be avoiding what apparently was a good cycling road a few years ago.  ...M

PUE:  GordonMoore-Mt.Olivet-GreenHill-Fairport-NC BR #1-G-P-MVC; 57.1 m.; 3hrs, 25min; 16.7 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.
Jun tot: _4 rides; __238.8 m.; _14 hrs, 55 min; 16.0 mph.
YTD tot: 40 rides; 2,732.1 m.; 181 hrs, 41 min; 15.0 mph.