Voices: Me – black type. The Mallet – red type. IvaHawk – blue type. Robert – green type. Tito – brown/maroon type. [Ed. note: this was the first brevet for "the Mallet", Iva, Robert and Tito -- none of whom are RUSA members. "The Mallet" did, however, ride approx 160 miles solo from Raleigh to just outside Charlotte last Thanksgiving. Also, Tito has completed at least one IronMan in a past life.]
This 200k Brevet started June 29 when Martin sent me an email – subject: “Goal”. It stated "if I may be so bold as to suggest the following goal for you." Not knowing what a Brevet was, never having participated in an organized ride or doing anything more than about 105 miles, I found this goal to be very interesting and exciting. So after a bunch of questions to Martin, I decided I would accept the suggestion and have been looking forward to this. [Ed. note: Robert’s first ever bicycle ride as an adult (he is 61 years-young) occurred during the April-May Brevet season (Apr-24); it was 38 miles longs. A week later, May-01, I met Robert for the first time: he ended up with about 71 miles which included some bonus miles.]
Planning - I realized I needed to plan well for this, so with the help of Martin and Gary I got some new equipment. I was as proud as my new stuff as Iva was. A cool little blinkie light for the front, a rear red light that if blinking will blind a rider behind me, a little basket [Bento box] up front so I could eat on the bike without taking the risk of reaching into my back pockets (as I was told most riders only stop at the 3 control points and I needed to eat in motion) plus a new bright yellow Joe Blow pump. Thanks to Gary for all your recommendations. Paul asked me what have I been doing for a pump before this ... all you guys at PUE that I have bummed your pumps are off the hook now.
Now on to the adventure...tried to arrive early so I would have a buffer for any problems and you know who was there first. After meeting a few new riders and a brief conversations with Martin, Iva, Tito and Paul, off we went.
I started quickly, immediately lost Iva, but was soon passed by Tito. He claimed he had not recognized me because I was not wearing one of my usual jerseys; I recognized Tito by his position on the bike.
I got lost on my way to the Brevet parking lot and barely was able to get to the starting line in time. Martin urged me to catch up to the lead group and so I did. As the sun rose slowly under a blanket of clouds, we forged ahead at a 22-23 mph pace. The first miles are so flat and the double paceline was so effective that we were rolling at a dizzying pace. The Mallet, Robert and I hung in there and the Mallet took a few pulls. I knew I would blow a gasket if I were to go to the front, since the pace was relentless. At the first really long hill, the lead rider surged upwards, but a following rider led out and raced to the summit. A few followed but not I. I did not have the leg quickness, but, luckily, on the succeeding flat (15/501) I caught up. A few miles later, my front wheel was shimmying and I realized I had flatted. I pulled over, changed the tube and then, just as I was ready to go, Martin pulled up.
Having the advantage of knowing that the first 17 or 18 miles are generally downslope, having experienced being dropped by the quick start of the peloton and being dropped by red lights at Davis Dr., NC-55, and Koppers Dr., and also with the advantage of knowing most of the regular NC randonneurs by sight, I used Jerry to pull me along during the early miles. When I couldn’t hold on to him after a couple miles, I let him go. But luckily for me, along came Tim and I grabbed his wheel. Tim was setting a nice, quick-yet-easy pace and we caught Jerry after a couple miles (I suspect that Jerry’s downslope speed is limited by his single-speed). We picked up Sridhar and (I think) recumbent Lyn on the way up to Farrington Point. I had figured I’d be dropped on that little climb, but perhaps a south breeze/wind enabled me and, more interestingly, Sridhar, to hang onto Tim’s wheel up to Lystra Rd. A mile on Lystra, a short mile on Jack Bennett, and then … bye Tim … thanks for the ride. Quickly passed by Jerry and “the train” he had collected … but even that train disintegrated on the Jack Bennet climb. Fyi, I think I was avg'ing 17.3 at the TOP of Jack Bennett.
I started with the leaders including Tito, Paul and Bryan (who I met on my one CBC ride with Lee). I remember Martin's warning....drop off a group that is too fast before you get tired. How does one know when you are tired when you have fresh legs, the adrenaline is pumping and excited about the adventure you are participating in? I realized I was way over my head even drafting with this crew but when I looked behind for the next train, I saw no one. I was hoping someone else would drop off and was trying to decide when to back off and then with the blink of an eye we hit a hill around the 19 mile mark and you would have thought it was a CL. My decision was made for me and I was off the back. I fought hard for many miles to maintain view of the group. Some place after about 20 miles in, I saw Tito off the side of the road. He said he did not need help. I continued on thinking I would see him again knowing his strength.
I proceeded across Andrews Store Rd and onto Parker Herndon Rd. I don’t recall who was near me. On Parker Herndon Rd, I found Tito completing his repair of a flat tyre.
We rode together and discussed the world's problems. After no more than 5 miles, I flatted again and I urged Martin to ride ahead. By the time I had the repairs completed, Iva arrived.
We shoved off in the dark … could not see any of the other Irregulars … proud of my new Trek 7 flashing tail light. But shortly into the ride my heel my hit my fancy new Trek 7 light pushing it into my spokes, creating a grinding medal sound accompanied by the sound of the red lens bouncing across the pavement. This was a result of improper installation by me without sufficient testing prior to going to production. Later inspection revealed two of the five lights crushed.
Finally I settled in with a group of about 12 riders going along pretty well at 18 to 20 mph. One recumbent. Unfortunately, just before getting to 751, a Flowmax stop become mandatory and off go those riders.
From then on I was totally by myself until somewhere on Andrews Store Rd when I shifted down into my small chain ring. But, it threw the chain. That allowed the man with the Coho bike to pass on by kindly offering his help that I didn't need. [That would be Charles Lathe, builder of that Coho bike.]
About the time I caught him and again shifted, the chain threw, again. [Gary ... one of your customers was cursing you during much of his ride. :-O] Somewhere in here was another Flowmax stop. After this, I decided to just ride in the small chain ring for the rest of the ride. (Although I did accidentally go to the big ring a couple of times, and carefully shifting down, it worked.)
I'm not sure where. Probably on Jones Ferry [Hamlet Chpl], I encountered Tito who was changing a flat. I waited and Tito and I pretty much rode the whole rest of the way together. Of course, he could have ridden off at any time, but he decided ride with me. He had cooked his legs with the fast group at the start of the ride.
Jones Ferry, Crawford Dairy and Chicken Bridge roads had knocked my average down to 16.8 by the time I turned onto Castle Rock Rd. I figured my avg would slowly retreat after that, but keeping a good cadence across Castle Rock / Old Switchboard, up Lindley Mill, and on the rollers on the Old Greensboro Hwy, riding with and leap-frogging with Biker Bob (and perhaps someone else), I was pleasantly shocked to find I was avg'ing 17.0 when I got to Snow Camp. Iva and Tito arrived at Snow Camp just as BikerBob, Sridhar, Charles, and I were about to leave. I went over to chat to Tito and Iva for a couple minutes. The other three left about a minute before I did.
On to the control at Snow Camp … arriving at 9:20 am. Martin was there just getting ready to leave. Martin shoved off. A man named Vance (tall black guy, philosophy professor at Guilford College) came in to control. Tito invited him to ride with us.
Professor Vance joined us and regaled us with stories of his other Brevets. Vance rode with us all the way to approximately the 95-mile mark, but went ahead at Frosty's. As it turned out, Iva and I rode 106 miles together and found much to laugh about.
About the time we were leaving the lead group came in. They were 24 miles ahead of us!!
In the group, was Lynn and our very own Mallet. It was the first time I've seen Mallet tired.
Thanks for encouraging Irregular participation in the brevet. I had a great time and it was definitely a good group of people.
There were quite a few folks, including Lynn, who I could not hang on to beyond the 2nd Snow Camp stop - at that point I had a 20.3 avg, which was more than I had bargained for. I dropped back to the next pair, John and Dr Andrews (I think) and we rode in together. [Ed. note: probably John O., but who the heck is “Dr. Andrews”? Guess I’ll have to send an e-mail to John O. and ask if he rode with an Englishman from Snow Camp on in, and if so, who was the third person with them.] They were nice to wait for me for a minute or so when I had a thigh cramp going up a hill at the 120m point [perhaps on Yates Store Rd with its “little surprise”] - fortunately I think I got it into a stretch quickly enough to get it to pass.
We were certainly fortunate with the coolest morning in many weeks. It didn't seem nasty hot until at least 11.
The cookout was also excellent - I don't think I have been so ready for a cheese burger in a long time. Lynn had left but a number of the lead group were still sitting around (having got changed and looking a lot fresher the I felt). Robert turned up before I pushed off home and he appeared to have enjoyed his ride too but then he always does - I like people like that.
Both Vance and Tito flew down Siler City - Snow Camp with me lagging behind but still going ok. I finally arrived at the Siler City control find Tito, Vance, and Martin.
I had told Bob, when I had first arrived at Snow Camp, that I was done pushing-the-pace for day, but upon leaving Snow Camp, I wanted to catch up to the other three, so I made sure to stay in a good cadence. And after all, with the breeze now out of the northeast, the slight upslope from Snow Camp to Siler City felt more like a downslope. I saw Robert while I was headed for Siler City … he was headed back to Snow Camp, and sort-of sucking the wheel of single-speed Jerry (yes, the same Jerry whose wheel I had sucked early in the ride).
I must have ridden for 20 - 25 miles on my own looking back for the next train. Finally, Jerry was there and I joined with him. We went into the Snow Camp CP, got drinks, cards marked and moved on. He had no cue sheet...so when I asked if he has done many of these, his response was I have done one of these every month for the last 53 months ... . I had my mental abilities with me still ... that was more than 4 years. So for the next few miles I was thinking 53 vs. 1 brevets and the odds did not sound very good ... over my head #2. Robert did not pull anymore after that. We saw the Paul and the lead group about 2 or 3 miles before we hit the turn around.
I had been eating regularly during the first 62 miles but arriving at Siler City nothing looked good to eat. The upset stomach would only handle 1/3 of my sandwich. Thinking to my talk with Gary that you need to keep eating, I forced myself to do so in small amounts the rest of the journey but my stomach did not appreciate any. Hydration wise I was ok ... drank the entire way.
Half way done out we go. It was good seeing the IR (Martin, Iva and Tito) team in passing. Jerry and I rode the next 30 miles together. As fatigue set in, I realized how good it was to have Jerry as a tour guide ... no thinking about turns.
He pounded every hill. Even thou I was drafting the entire way back it was taking its toll. Knowing the answer I asked Jerry if he considered himself a good climber ... yes. During our conversations, it came out that he teaches spin class ... over my head #3. I could not hang beyond 95 miles and said thank you and good bye to Jerry.
I was pleasantly shocked to find that I was still avg'ing 17.0 when I got to Siler City. (62.4 miles, 3:40 moving time) Bob pulled in a minute later and quoted my line back at me: “I thought you said you were done pushing the pace.” For those that know or that even have only met Bob, a sarcastic comment is quite out of the ordinary. I had to internally chuckle.
Tito and Iva arrived at Siler City before I left. They came with the news that the Mallet looked pretty tired as he pulled into Snow Camp the second time. I learned from Lynn that Paul “the Mallet” did not leave Snow Camp the second time with the lead group, but stayed on a bit longer, and he eventually arrived at the finish about 20 minutes after the leaders.
Bob, Charles and Sridhar left Siler City, either in a group or singly, but I had decided to ride with Iva and Tito, so I waited for them. When the moment to hit the trail came, the “men of numbers” (Iva and I) left, leaving the “men of letters” (Tito and Vance) to follow.
I basically rode from Siler City to 10.5 miles from the finish with Iva and Tito. For much of that time we were also joined by Vance, and occasionally by Sridhar and we saw Charles once or twice, and we leapfrogged 6-time PBP finisher Doug Kirby a couple times (I'd never met Doug until Saturday).
Here is a bit of a funny: at about miles 91-92-93, Iva complained that Tito should stop trying to engage him in conversation, because there was no blood going to Iva's brain. Iva was not enjoying his ride at that point. I told him that he would likely feel better in 10 miles. Twenty miles later, on Martha's Chapel Rd, I was still forcing myself to maintain a decent cadence, but I clearly had not eaten enough, nor had I drunk enough, and I was seriously not enjoying my ride. On the three previous brevets, Martha’s Chapel Rd had been a good experience. Well, as I think about … the 300 in the rain was great … the 400 with Sara and Gary was good … but on the 200, I had lost some pace … hmmn. Anyway, Iva insisted on telling me some irrelevant story from the movie "Full Metal Jacket". I said nothing, but a minute or two later told Iva and Tito that this was my worst ever experience on Martha's Chapel Rd (not from Iva's story, but from exhaustion), and then - since Tito had pulled ahead at the time - I told Iva I would be stopping when we got to NC-751 for a few minutes. Iva and Tito rode on.
We four (Tito, Vance, Martin and I) rode together all the way to Frosty's to have a sit. The clerk was frosty to us. Maybe that's where it gets his name. Tito said the man has had his fill of cyclists. Vance went on ahead just leaving us three to deal with the rest of the ride.
By this time, all three of us were way tired. Not speaking for them. They told me. It was just grind and grind.
The next 5 to 10 miles (after I let go of Jerry) were ok at the reduced pace. Then the level of pain increased. Reading the cue sheet was a struggle ... I would repeat the name of the next turn and L or R three or four times and still I could not remember it. I kept hoping for the next person or train.
My GPS died at 101 miles, 6 hr 13 mins with 17.7 moving average.
The last 25 miles were not pleasant. Finally, finally arriving at the Town Hall and to a nice welcome. Stomach still in knots and I could only drink a Root Beer. I thanked Jerry for his companionship and much needed help and had a brief talk with Paul.
I had recorded 7 hrs and 54 minutes.
Section 1 - 0 to 19 miles with lead group
Section 2 - 19 to 45 on own
Section 3 - 45 to 95 with Jerry
Section 4 - 95 to 124 on own
I certainly enjoyed the adventure and challenge ... it was a fun, successful day.
On Martha Chapel Rd. Martin said he was going to sit in the shade for a bit. Tito and I decided to keep on slogging. Mistake!!
Something happened to Tito and me on Lewter Shop Rd. We ended up on Morrisville Pkwy. [Fyi, the road changes its name at, you guessed it, the CL.] When we came to a dead end and saw Green Level Ch Rd., I went right (wrong!!). After about a mile I saw Beaver Dam. I hollered at Tito and we turned around.
But being on Green Level Church Rd, we still didn't see Weldon Ridge Blvd or Yates Store Rd.
Finally we crossed Davis Rd and eventually somehow found Carpenter Fire Station, to Morrisville Carpenter. We saw the parking lot and turned in. This was at 127 miles due to our lostness. I told Tito to finish we needed to go town to the park. Oh, no, not more riding. Tito went into the Indian convenience store and bought coconut water. That stuff was nasty even as thirsty as I was.
The laughing became less uproarious about mile 120 when we realized we were lost. Yes, we had been tired and sore and overheated for about 50 miles, but now we were lost, as well. Luckily, some blond women of the female persuasion were quite interested in our plight, and the steered us in the right direction. I don't know why Iva does not like coconut milk but I do know of its mysterious healing powers. But, as my luck would have it, there was not a single veggie burger at the picnic so I went home with an empty stomach. Not to worry because I could still sip on my box of coco milk.
After about 10 minutes sitting in the ditch at the corner of Martha’s Chapel and NC-751, I got back underway. I basically rode the last 10.5 miles at 11-12-13 mph … no cadence; eventually the terrain helped improve the pace. I got to the park at 4:01 pm. I didn't see Iva or Tito, and assumed that they had turned in their paper-work and skedaddled.
I had a cheeseburger, some beans, some chips, and most of a Pepsi. After I had been at the park shelter long enough to have eaten all that, about 20 minutes I estimate, Tito and Iva pulled in to finish the ride. I asked where they had been. The answer: "Lost". Later, when I told him that story, Sridhar got a kick out of that – he thought it served them “right” for leaving their leader.
Tito and I reluctantly decided since we had gone this far, we wouldn't stop now. Unfortunately, one more bit of lostness. I missed Town Hall Rd and went across 54 down to Cedar Park. Turn around. Go back. Finally getting to Indian Creek Park with about 128 miles … whew. There was Martin who had beaten us back … obviously not getting lost. Ha ha. He never does.
How tired was I? I had an orange soda at the park. I haven't had a soft drink in over two years. Man was it good.
What a grueling day. But, I'm proud of myself beating my previous long mileage by over 20 miles.
|IvaHawk's cycle-confuser after the ride.|
Lynn told me that she finished with an avg pace of 19.3; a bit fast for her, she said. The 19.3, combined with Paul’s 20.3 information, shows how even the fast were affected by that east wind. She told me that she saw Paul ride by as she was preparing to leave the parking lot, but she just wanted to "get going".
My avg at 100 miles was 16.4 -- faster by 0.3 mph than my fastest ever "100-miler" avg. I finished with an avg of 16.0 (125.0 miles, 7:49 moving time). I judge my ride a success.
Oh, and I hope I actually get credit for this 200 km brevet. Now, I have to decide if I’m actually going to try to do Tony’s 600 in October. (I know Tony is offering a 600 over Labor Day weekend, but I’m supposedly riding the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway Sep 11-18, and I will NOT put that ride in jeopardy by being overly zealous the prior weekend.)
Thanks to Rando Fearless Leader Alan and volunteers Mike O., Dean, MikeD, and others. I enjoyed my picnic food and drink. I especially enjoyed sitting for about 2 hours until I was pretty sure my legs were not going to cramp on me.
Btw, including me in the count, Irregulars made up 5 of the 40 participants in the 200k.
Some other views on the day:
"Professor Vance" and Charles "Coho" Lathe's hillarious take
Morrisville 200 km Brevet and Picnic; 125.0 m.; 7 hrs, 49 min in-motion time; 16.0 mph; rando time: 10hh01mm.
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: 13 rides; __786.9 m.; _52 hrs, 36 min; 15.0 mph.
Aug tot: _3 rides; __298.6 m.; _18 hrs, 50 min; 15.8 mph.
YTD tot: 63 rides; 4,287.0 m.; 283 hrs, 34 min; 15.1 mph.