Was expecting 11 plus me. 2 expecteds did not show. 3 "unexpecteds" did show -- actually, I expected 2 of the 3 would show; but did not expect the third.
The actual cast for the day: IvaHawk, Lt. Dave, the Mallet, Levi + Cathrine, Tito, IvaN, Ags, Robert, BobH, Norris, Lee, me. The previous sentence is the only place certain people make an appearance in today's story. That is because for some there was no particular point at which they stood out ... or if they did, I didn't see it. Others did stand out, but I chose not to write about that moment / those moments. And for others, private conversations are ... private.
Robert led out of the parking lot and across Pleasant Union Ch Rd. Soon we were on the newly repaved New Light Rd for the second time since its repaving -- a defininte improvement now that one does not need to dodge the many potholes, etc. that previously plagued the surface.
As had been advertised / warned in the "rider-call" e-mail, the ride leader and one other used the not-so-secret short-cuts in Franklinton to move from the lantern rouge positions to the front of the pack. The new order of things did not stick, though.
Similar to the experience on Pokomoke Rd, there was some separation of the group (but not much) on the shallow climb from the Tar River up to Bobbitt. At Bobbitt, Lee asked if we were doing the ride where I crashed into him , only backward. At first I responded that there was a lot of similiarity; then I changed my response to note that from Bobbitt on, the answer was ... no. For a map of the crash route, see here. Look for Floytan Crossroads (or Community House Rd) at about mile 32.
After a short liquid refueling stop in Bobbitt (Robert, btw, seems to have learned how to do VERY quick get-off-the-bike-and-into-the-store-to-get-supplies-and-get-back-to-the-bike stops. A skill that he picked up at last week's brevet, I'm thinking.). And we were soon on Dick Smith Rd, paralleling Bobbitt Rd as we headed directly back toward the Tar River. We didn't make it all the way to the river -- just to the flood plain.
Then northbound on Chavis Rd almost all the way to Kitrell. But we cut across before reaching that hamlet to get on Oak Ridge Ch Rd, more or less paralleling Chavis Rd, and therefore headed back toward the Tar River, again. However, Oak Ridge Ch Rd intersects US-1 well before getting to the flood plain.
We crossed US-1 and were suddenly on Egypt Mountain Road. Four-and-a-half rolling miles later, IvaHawk wanted to know WHY the road was named Egypt Mtn Rd. I told him it was because "Egypt Mtn Farm" was atop the biggest hill on the road. The Hawk then wanted to know why they named the farm THAT. I dunno. The local that we flagged down to verify the direction to Wilton Rd also reported that he had no idea why the road was so named; but he added that in the winter, one could easily see the HILL (that is apparently named Egypt Mtn). For those that may be curious and somewhat knowledgeable, Egypt Mtn is a LOT less impressive than Peace Mtn (aka, Stovall Mtn). However, the rollers on Egypt Mtn road are plenty nice enough, and so is the main creek crossing -- well, the creek is nice if one should happen to descend all the way to the water's edge. ( See May Day 2009 report here. )
Eventually, with the assistance of the local, we concluded that the cue sheet was correct. From Egypt Mtn Rd, we needed to turn left onto Charlie Grissom Rd to get to Wilton Rd.
Robert and I were among the first to get to Wilton Rd. I had a plan to get the (Granville) CL where the road changes name to Gray Rock Rd for Robert. However, suddenly Lee was alongside me, and I knew that game was up. ... We waited quite late before jumping for the CL -- Lee jumped first, I was a split second behind him. Lee was probably in his 53 chain ring, I can't guess what cog he was in. I was in my 39 chain ring and my 12 tooth cog -- perfect. ... Lee got almost his entire front tyre ahead of me, but at that moment I hit the pedals harder / faster and I knew I had him ... if the remaining 50 yards didn't run out too quickly ... I think I redoubled the cadence effort (I may have even gotten out of the saddle) ... a second later, I was still half to three-quarters a wheel behind but passing fast, I knew that Lee knew that I had him ... how? ... he did NOT let up ... although I heard a later report that he tried to shift cogs and that may have slowed him ... but I suddenly heard Lee's characteristic laugh ... the laugh told me that he knew that I had him ... I took the CL by about half-a-wheel. I was also VERY winded and tired. I paid for the victory all the way across (up) Gray Rock Rd. I am confident that Lee would agree that the sprint had been quite fun.
At Cannady Mill Rd, we discovered a real error in the cue sheet -- who creates those things, anyway? On Cannady Mill Rd, I pointed out the house I had been riding past two weeks ago when the dog bit me. No dog today.
On the short, steep climb up from the Tar River (yes, we finally did actually re-cross the river -- after the ride, Levi asked me how many times we had crossed the Tar -- only twice ... but we got quite close two or three other times), I began to suspect that the day's ride was getting to Robert ... because I nearly passed him on the climb. In the event, I backed off to make sure that Levi and, more importantly, Cathrine had someone with which to ride Philo White Rd.
Two or three of us stopped near the Cannady Mill / Philo White corner to admire the flora. Then we took after following the leading 10 riders. One comment on Philo White: it is a LOT easier if one pops that first steep section rather than slogging it. I had never popped that first steep until two weeks ago (see "An Extra Loop") -- I've certainly learned my lesson there.
On to Flat Rock Rd. I think everyone enjoyed Flat Rock today, each at their own pace. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
To Kelsey's (the Western Wear Store) at Suitt's Store Rd and NC-96. A short stop to replenish liquids. Then off we went. Actually, BobH and Norris went off earlier than everyone else.
We ended up with a front group that must have been BobH, Norris, Lee and Robert, and a back group made up of the other nine of us. I'm not sure about the groupings on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd, because other than the fading Robert, whom the back group caught between Old Weaver and Ghoston, I never saw any of the front group again. The back group split also: "the sensibles" were LT and Cathrine; the other seven of us constituted "the TT nut-jobs". I enjoyed the rush on Bruce Garner / New Light. The other six enjoyed the "rush" and the subsequent climbs of G-P-MVC.
Robert, refugee from the front group, was last of the six-plus-one to pass me on the lower slopes of Ghoston. We exchanged pleasantries and as I thought everyone may have just passed me by except for Cathrine, I commented that Levi should have stayed with his better half. I realized just how tired Robert was when he outbid me for the right to wait for Cathrine and make sure she had someone with whom to complete the ride.
I understand that Robert circled back to bottom of Ghoston, but apparently he arrived too late to see "the sensibles" take the New Light / Six Forks optional finish instead of turning onto Ghoston. He eventually gave up waiting and came on to finish his ride.
I waited for the threesome of Cathrine, LT and Robert at the first shady spot on Peed Rd. After six minutes passed, I concluded that they had probably taken the easier finishing route, and I went ahead and completed my ride at a leisurely pace on Peed and MVC.
Sure enough, Cathrine was with the others still gathered in the PUE parking lot. LT, Lee and the Mallet had all ridden straight for home, of course. Robert arrived a couple minutes later.
Excellent ride. Excellent company. A few fun moments. Some good climbs.
On a semi-personal note (and you thought this post was only about me), one of my goals for the day was for LT to finish a longish, hilly-ish ride in style. Dave reports that he had a good ride and finished in acceptable form. Why was one of my goals about someone else's ride? Because we're supposed to ride the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway starting in three weeks, and Dave has struggled his last couple rides. I think there were extenuating circumstances for both times, but I'm not sure he accepts those circumstances as reason(s) enough.
100-miler Durham Tech to Yanceyville ride next week?
One last, but not least, point: Cathrine did her longest ride ever today. Increasing her previous record by 50%. Yep, 50-miles to 75-miles in one step. Congratulations, Cathrine!
PUE: Bobbitt - Egypt Mtn - Gray Rock - Flat Rock; 75.2 m.; 4 hrs, 35 min in-motion time; 16.4 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: 13 rides; __786.9 m.; _52 hrs, 36 min; 15.0 mph.
Aug tot: _5 rides; __403.8 m.; _25 hrs, 12 min; 16.0 mph.
YTD tot: 65 rides; 4,392.2 m.; 289 hrs, 58 min; 15.1 mph.