0530. What is that damn noise? Crap! It is the alarm on my watch. I'm late! Very late.
0535. En route. No breakfast. No bananas. No apples. No nothing eaten or to be eaten.
0549. Arrival at PUE. Smitty asks "what's the hurry? Gary won't be here until 5 after." My response, "well, I'm going to be on the road by then."
0554. Gary and Wendy arrive.
0556. Eight ounces of chocolate milk will have to suffice for breakfast and pre-ride energy drink.
0559. Helmet and everything in place.
0600. "Hey, Smitty, not bad, eh, 30 minutes from sound asleep to ready to ride."
0600, and 10 seconds. "Oops, I better put some chamois butt'r in some crucial places."
0605. "Hey, Smitty, not bad, eh, 35 minutes from sound asleep to ready to ride."
Introductions at a fast pace. No one probably picked up on any names of people they didn't already know. Remember, "I start slowly; especially today." Ride safely! Let's go.
0607 or 08. Into the cool, approx 60F morning. It did feel more than chilly on the MVC downslope.
0609. Crap! I forgot to put the money in the saddle bag. I stop on the downslope. Several tell me "I got money."
0610. At the bottom of MVC, the crew throws away much momentum. I, being a fat-gutted non-cliimber, do not, and shoot around everyone just after crossing the creek. Everyone probably thought that was my move to re-establish early control of the pace. Possibly true; but more the result of adrenaline.
No one tries to take the lead on the MVC climb, or the flat, or on Carpenter Pond -- at least for a while. Eventually, some come around and take the lead on Carpenter Pond or DocNichols or ... somewhere. Dennis comes up along side and says "the early pace is more reasonable this week with you here." I did not respond "I yell louder than Iva." I should have -- that would have been more humorous than whatever lame comment I made -- probably something about they pay more attention because I make the cue sheets, and perhaps worry that one day, if irked, I might take them into unknown territory, drop them off my front, and make a sudden turn and get-away.
Some parts of DocNichols were smack into the blinding morning sun. The crew did a good job of spreading out and giving each other LOTS of room; everyone did a good job of riding a straight line.
East onto NC-98. More blinding sun. Everyone using one hand as a visor to block the sun from shining directly into their eyes. Everyone safely off NC-98 onto Baptist. (Well, not everyone. At the pause at the DocN / OliveBranch corner, Norris, Robert and Tito left early to ride ahead to water their favorite fauna. Apparently no one paid attention to the cue sheet Robert had with him. That three some never saw Baptist Rd or Southview Rd or Kemp Rd; they did get more than their fair share of Patterson, though.)
Baptist Rd, heading for Southview. More blinding sun -- but at least the angles were not as blinding as earlier. We turned onto the blinding sun induced mirage of Southview Rd -- oh, good, it is not a mirage. Since Southview was paved for its entire distance several months ago, it makes an excellent part of any ride. I wonder what the people that live on it think.
A couple short climbs on Kemp, then we zoom west on NC-98 to Patterson. A word on the stoplight at NC-98 / Patterson: always remember that there is a Durham Sheriff's office next to Neal School and I have seen cyclists pulled over for running the light there -- therefore, always stop. Bap-view Circle done.
Patterson / Cheek. No recollections. Wait. Norris pulled the fast crew ahead. Smitty used the lead-out to take the CL at the "bridge-proper". Right turn after the "lake" crossing. No slowing by the fast crew. They didn't even miss the turn onto Boyce Rd -- I always enjoy it when they ride straight for the boat launch area instead of making that turn. Across Boyce -- no slowing by the fast crew. However, Smitty had stopped to examine the flora, and that likely helped Robert catch the entire fast crew unawares (Robert told me some miles later that he had managed to "take" a CL -- I asked if he "snuck away" for it, out-sprinted the rest, or if they weren't paying attention -- his response "oh, good grief, I wouldn't be able to outsprint them; they just weren't paying attention.")
The whole crew was assembled at Will Suitt / US-15, apparently debating which way to go. As Wendy and I reached the corner, I manouevered to slide by onto US-15 on the inside. Lee called out "do you want to go straight?" I called back "I want to go this way." I did not look back. I didn't slow either. The pattern had been set; I knew the fast crew would catch and pass; the only thing saving me would be that they might not be sure of where to go.
Northside loop done. Immediately onto Strawberry loop. A couple nice little, semi-tough climbs. This time, upon reaching US-15, there was no confusion. Darn. Strawberry loop done.
Onto Northside Rd for the run into Creedmoor. Apparently people do look at the cue sheet(s) enough to figure out the Refueling Stops. Hmmn.
De-watered. Re-watered. Onward.
Robert and I were first onto Dove Rd. I think this is where Robert told me about collecting the CL. We rode on for about a mile or more, everyone tacked on. Then I said to Robert "let's have some fun", and picked up the pace. "County Line" asked Robert? "Nope. Poppers." Some day I hope to pop, or at least climb at pace, that last long climb on Dove before Whitt.
I tried to time my catching the group so that I could zoom by on the inside of the turn onto Whitt and steal the CL. I did not have the timing right. Plus, both Tito and Dennis were too lazy to make the turn properly into the far lane; thus I was cut off, anyway. Onto Old Weaver. Creedmoor-Dove loop done.
Silliest comment of the day occurred on Old Weaver as we crossed the lake headed for Beaver Dam Rd. Gary relayed Dennis's comment that, with only 41 miles so far, there was no way we could get 64+ miles out of the route. I told Gary to tell Dennis that I could easily get another 40 out of the route without missing a beat. Wendy piped up that she and Gary had told Dennis "you don't know Martin."
Up Beaver Dam. The fast crew disappeared again. Was there a fire somewhere? I assured Dennis and Wendy that they would most likely be waiting at the church at the top of Rock Springs Ch Rd. They were.
I relayed the concern that Dennis had expressed, and asked if anyone wanted to do Bold Run Hill Rd, and then circle back and still do Mangum Dairy, from a dead stop, without replicating any roads. No takers. Dennis allowed as how he was now willing to acknowledge that the route could easily be 64+ miles.
Bold Run Hill Rd and circle back for Mangum Dairy. Hmmn. A parital routing for a "Shadow Ride" one day.
Smitty clearly wanted to sprint for the CL where Lawrence Rd becomes Mangum Dairy. I gave him a little faux competiton. Then we both zoomed down the rest of the downslope become downhill. First bump -- nothing to write home about. Around a corner, and in Robert's words "oh, that's why everyone slowed down." Except that, now from the lantern rouge position, the only one that seemed to slow, and be "Draggin' his butt" up the climb was Norris.
On to Purnell. Norris terrain on the run across to Woodlief. Except that Tito and Norris again appeared to ignore Robert's cue sheet -- Robert seemed to ignore it also. Hey, the climb on Woodlief is at least as "interesting" as the climb on Purnell, and with a whole lot LESS traffic. Gary went up to have fun with the fast crew, leaving Wendy to find her own pace up; I slowed slightly to make sure I could see Wendy in my mirror, or over my shoulder, so that she would not feel totally abandoned. The crew reassembled at New Light. I commented that it looked as if I would have to increase the length of the rides to attempt to slow some of the fast crew. :-o "The Milk Run" loop done.
NOW, it was my turn to use the after-burners. In the early days of the Irregulars, Frank used to dread the section from Grissom to the bottom of Ghoston. I determined to give a good go at reproducing. At the first "bump-up" before Holly Point, Smitty, Robert, Tito and Levi came around -- and instantly were not taking advantage of the "bump-down" before the last "bump-up". I yelled, quite assertively "do NOT slow down." More than once, I yelled, as I was boxed in. Somehow, maybe because Lee had not quite closed up, I was able to get to the double-yellow lines, and ... fun-time-of-fun-time ... at 25 mph up that last "bump-up", I put Lee, Levi, Robert, Tito and Smitty behind me. I couldn't hold them off all the way to the bottom of Ghoston, but ... the fat-gut that did those brevets soft-pedaling, can, at selected times, make the bike "GO!" What fun!
I took it easy on Ghoston -- Dennis caught me and mentioned that he had tried to catch us all on New Light, but been unable to do so. Then he motored on ahead looking for the fast crew. I waited for Gary and Wendy at the turn onto Peed for about a minute, and then decided that they had probably taken the wimpy way (New Light to Six Forks), so I went on. (When Gary showed at PUE without Wendy, I knew that she had decided to get in an additional 10 miles or so by riding home.)
I was done with my ride by 1045. Lee, who rode from home, probably was done a few minutes after that. Everyone from the fast crew was probably done by about 1035 or 1040. VERY nice to get in a good, pretty long ride, and be done BEFORE 1100.
The cast today was: Norris, Smitty, Levi, Lee, Tito, Robert, Gary, Wendy, Dennis, me.
PUE: "The Dragon" (see the map roll to the right); 64.7 m.; 4hrs, 1min; 16.1 mph.
Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: 31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Ju1 tot: _2 rides; __109.6 m.; __6 hrs, 42 min; 16.3 mph.
YTD tot: 49 rides; 3,311.1 m.; 218 hrs, 50 min; 15.1 mph.