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
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
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.