Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jun-09: Howling Grits Permanent Populaire 103 km

Maria contacted me late last week:  would I be available to ride Jerry's Howling Grits Populaire on Wednesday, preferably EARLY?  The answer became yes.  Ride at 0600 -- meet Jerry at 0530 for paperwork, etc..  Local RBA Alan chimed in on the list-serve that he'd like to join us, and Vance similarly rang the bell.

Maria and I carpooled from north Raleigh to the start at Farrington Point.  We picked up bonus miles in the car as we missed the turn onto Farrington Rd..  We called Jerry to let him know we might be a few minutes late; if we were too late (Jerry had to leave in time to teach an 0600 spin class), he would leave our paperwork with Alan, as Al was already there.  We made it in time to say "hello-goodbye" to Jerry.  Vance arrived a few minutes later.  Each of us was ready to roll with a couple minutes to spare; we waited until 0600, and then took off.
Jerry CLAIMS that he designed this course with newbie rando riders in mind.  HA !!

After 2.2 miles coasting almost continuously downslope, we came to the bottom of a little hill sometimes locally known as "Col de Lystra".  2.2 miles coasting downslope, then UP!  Neither of my legs were warmed up.  The lower groin area of each complained vigorously during the entire climb.  I would rather ride 150 miles and encounter Flint Hill Rd., even with the possibility of cramps, than encounter the Lystra climb after 2.2 miles of non-warm-up. 

Showing MikeD the "Stovall Mtn", which Mike has now included on his Kerr Lake Permanent, which Jerry rides occasionly (including this past Saturday), is not sufficient "revenge".  Is there another "mountain" that can be incorporated into a local Permanent?  I'm on the look-out. 

However, it must be admitted, that given where Jerry lives, he probably thinks it entirely normal to start a ride with a two or three mile downslope coast, and then suddenly encounter UP.  Perhaps.

Jerry has designed this Howling Grits ride with controls about every 10 miles.  This may be helpful for newbie rando-types, but it does put a damper on getting into a long rhythm.  RBA Alan informed those of us less familiar with "Permanent rules" that we needed a receipt at each of the controls in addition to getting our cards signed.  This gave rise to a suspicion in the mind of this author, and ... it can now be reported, that after an intensive, in-depth investigation, that the real reason for the numerous controls can now be revealed.  It is not that being controlled every 10 miles will get newbies into the habit of control protocol.  It is not, that without the numerous controls, that the route would be easy to short-cut.  No; neither of those.

The careful, intensive, in-depth investigation has revealed that Jerry gets a "kick-back" from each of the commercial establishments that serve as a control.  Hard to believe, I know.
This was my first time riding with the Fearless Leader, aka, RBA Alan.

After the ride, Vance noted that the 103 km marked the longest he had ever ridden with Alan.  I noted that I accomplished that once I completed the first pedal stroke.  Maria commented that this 103 km ride hardly even registered for her on that score:  she previously did the "worker's pre-ride" of the 200 km brevet and the 400 km brevet with Alan. 

Often, during the ride, we had a nice paceline.  Though, with the frequent controls, it was hard to get a proper rotation going.  Rotation was also effected by our relative abilites.  Maria, riding her light bike, and weighing nearly nothing, could climb really well when she wanted.  I, on the other hand, am somewhat gravity challenged when going uphill.  Alan and I had a bit of downslope gravity advantage over Maria and Vance (who is generally long-and-thin).  On one downslope, Alan commented, "I really like the downslopes on this ride."  Ditto.

Sometimes, the rubber-band that kept us together, was really stretched out a bit -- not quite as long as the rubber-band that sometimes links riders that are "together" on a 400 or 600 km ride, but long enough.  We could investigate the details, but as no "kick-backs" were involved, it seems unnecessary. 

We stopped in Pittsboro for "breakfast".  Although I had broken my fast several hours before, I ordered the Huevos Rancheros.  Vance had the Howling Grits.  Maria chose the supposedly vegan Burrito Pittsboro.  Alan, however, seems to have chosen best:  he got the Belgian Waffles.

Prior to Pittsboro, Alan had shown no inclination to "hammer away".  After consuming the Belgian Waffles, he had the ability to drop any / all of us on any terrain, or catch any of us, even if he intitially gave away a 3/4 mile lead.  (Background:  We rode through the first CL of the day in a line:  Alan, Maria, Vance, me.  When I saw the CL, I shouted to Maria that she should challenge Alan for the honor, but she chose not to -- that was the valorus thing to do, since Alan had been leading for a few miles at that point.  There may have been a second CL, but I don't recall the specifics, except that I think Alan was likely leading when we went thru that one, too.)  After Pittsboro, actually after the Moncure control, Vance and I were practicing riding assertively up the shallower slopes, and Alan and Maria dropped us off their front.  After about 7 miles, Vance and I let up a bit.  Next thing I know, a yellow streak passed us as if we were standing still -- Alan had made up about 3/4 a mile deficit over the course of 3 miles.  Impressive! 

Vance and I checked to see where Maria was; Vance volunteered to slow a bit to let Maria catch up to him.  Moments after that, we saw Alan raise his right fist in a victory salute.  He had chased us for three miles just to have a shot at nipping the CL.  Aargh. 

I zipped ahead to catch Alan; luckily he had slowed after notching the CL.  When I caught up, I reprised a line from former Irregular Mt. Rushmore to the Iceman:  "Okay, okay, NOW I see the game we are playing."  Alan giggled -- there is no other appropriate word for it.  I determined to "mark him" for the rest of the ride. 

There was one more CL.  Of course Alan was leading the paceline; I was in fourth position and never saw the CL marker.  Later, Alan suddenly accelerated up some slope, and I determined, that by golly, I have stuck to Lynn on a harder upslope than the one we were on, and by golly, I was going to catch Alan's wheel and "mark him" because something seemed to be "up".  When I caught his wheel, I told Alan the above.  His response:  "too late, the last CL was back just before that fork in the road a mile or two ago."  Aargh.

At least the Irregular crew will get a kick out of reading that I'd been bested at my own game.  Of course, today Alan had the home road advantage, whereas I usually have that going for me on Irregular rides.
I believe that we all had a good time on the ride.  Maria and I acquired more bonus miles once in the car.  We missed the turn onto the road upon which the aforementioned Jerry lives.  We did manage to drop off all the paperwork.  I hope the postman did not remove same before Jerry got to it. 
For a diiferent view of the ride, see Vance's report, here.
Maria's short write-up, with link to photos.  (I'm convinced she took more photos than she uploaded.)

Howling Grits Permanent Populaire 103 km; 64.3 m.; 4hrs, 1min in-motion; officially 6 hrs, 7 min rando time (it took 6 minutes from when I got off the bike at 12:01 pm to get my card signed); 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: 10 rides; __837.2 m.: _58 hrs, 42 min; 14.3 mph.
Jun tot: _3 rides; __181.7 m.; _11 hrs, 30 min; 15.8 mph.
YTD tot: 39 rides; 2,675.0 m.; 178 hrs, 16 min; 15.0 mph. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, we did all have a great time! I'm looking forward to riding that route again, soon, and often.