Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oct-30: Not the Plan

I had intended to ride at least once during the week to spin out the legs, etc..  Didn't happen due to a series of unfortunate events.

I intended to ride a 200k course I'm looking at for Permanent purposes. 
Last Saturday, I invited local RBA Alan to ride along and give his thoughts.
He expressed interest at the time, but never responded to my e-mail asking for confirmation.

10 Irregulars responded to the "rider-call", but only three were interested in riding the entire 200k.
Five only wanted to ride "70 miles or so" -- they could U-turn at the first "control".
Two were looking to go "short", i.e., about 45 miles -- they could U-turn before Snow Hill Rd.

What actually happened?

Only one ("the Mallet") of the three 200's showed -- at least the other two called prior to the scheduled start to cancel out, claiming lack-of-health for one of the two.
Four (BobH, Norris, Ags, Robert) of the five 70's showed.
Neither "short" showed.
I realized I had left my phone, ID, etc. at the store when I stopped en route to get some "ride food" -- I immediately suggested that the Mallet (the only prospective company for the 200) join the 70's while I went to try to retrieve my phone, etc..

The (now five) 70's decided to do one of our favorite routes:  Range Road Rover.  It is about 65 miles, has little traffic, and is otherwise also an excellent ride. 

I found my phone, etc., and returned to PUE and rode the 45-mile "Assault on Flat Rock".  I no longer had the mental energy to tackle 200k or 100 miles.  (I also didn't have enough daylight for a 200k).

I thought there was a bit of a headwind going out New Light / Bruce Garner / Pokomoke Rd and also on Gordon Moore Rd.  Wes Sandling Rd and the down-and-up part of Grove Hill Rd were fun.  Then I turned slightly onto the flat part of Grove Hill and immediately discovered that there had NOT been a headwind outbound, but there most certainly would be a headwind for the last 22 or 23 miles back to PUE.  I had to peddle on the upper portion of the downhill on Flat Rock Rd to maintain 19 or 20 mph -- I can usually coast down that at ~ 25 mph.  Luckily the valley on Flat Rock Rd was deep enough to provide a wind shadow on the steep part of that climb, but once near the top, instead of 15 to 17 mph, I could only do 11 or 12 mph into the wind.  The return on Bruce Garner / New Light reminded me of many previous "death marches" into the wind -- but it could have been a lot worse.  I gave it a "college try" on the G-P-MVC finish; got a decent time for me; I wonder what it would have been if the wind had been out of the north instead of mostly the south.

I returned to PUE to find four (wRong Way, Ags, BobH, Norris) of the five 70's gathered and discussing ... I know not what.  (The fifth, the Mallet, had ridden to the ride, and had already left to ride home.)  I learned the guys had decided to do the Range Road Rover.  I asked if they thought it had been a bit windy.  A unanimous explosion confirmed that "it wasn't only me".  Norris mentioned that the Mallet had had a tough day, and had commented after about 35 miles to the effect "... and I had thought to do a 200k today ...".

Oh, well, everyone enjoyed their ride(s) -- despite the winds.
I saw some familiar vehicles parked at the fire station on New Light Rd across from Purnell Rd.  The owner of one of those vehicles had told me, via phone, at about 5 or 6 pm yesterday that "my knees need rest ... I'll wait until it warms up and then probably only ride 60 miles or so."  Ummm-huh!

I am confident that they will "enjoy" their slog into the wind as much as I did mine.  Only theirs is likely to be on the order of 50 miles into the wind.  Glad it is not me.
If all had gone as planned this week, or even if just today had gone as planned, I would have rolled through my first ever 1000-mile month today. 


PUE:  Assault on Flat Rock; 45.0 m.; 2 hrs, 53 min in-motion; 15.6 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: 12 rides; __925.3 m.; _50 hrs, 33 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 96 rides; 6,420.0 m.; 429 hrs, 15 min; 15.0 mph.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oct-23 + 24: Mtns to Sea Showdown + Daylight KLL Perms

Oct-23:  Showdown at Black Creek 200 km Perm,
A Fundraiser for the "Mountains to the Sea Trail"

A full baseball team (MikeD, Lynn, Jerry, MaryF, TomF, TimL, Dean, Raleigh RBA Alan, and me) eventually split into a fast six and a 3-person lantern rouge crew, but the fast crew waited until about the 30 or 33-mile mark to pick up their pace.  Even then, one lantern bridged back to the fast crew just to see if he could come close to holding Jerry's wheel when Jerry went for the Nash CL. 

However, Jerry stopped half-way across Old-64 to remove his jacket / vest.  That likely left only TomF among the fast crew insane enough to go for the CL.  Then Tom missed the turn off Old-64 just as the heroic lantern completed his bridge.  With a motto of "no prisoners" (when he heard that later, Alan laughed), the most interesting CL of the day was securely put into the pocket of the lantern crew.  I then essentially soft-pedaled waiting for Dean and Alan. 

All nine of us were present at the Kwik Pik 40-mile control together.  Jerry scarfed what appeared to be the last chocolate milk in the store.  There was no "regular flavor" V-8 left after the fast scavengers did their thing.  (There was some of the "Spicy Hot"; but, no thankk-you.)  I settled for tomato juice.  Tom was also disappointed to find that Jerry had gotten the last chocolate milk -- I'm not sure what that concoction he chose was.

Back outside in the warming atmosphere, the fast six were merrily cheered on by the delaying lantern crew.  Having successfully manuevered (sp?) the fast crew off our front, we lanterns proceeded, enjoying the last of the outbound tailwind while Dean explained that he had taken that same Nash CL once last year when Jerry, et al, were enjoying their chats so much that they missed the turn, and most of the rest of group followed them. 

Alan was mostly quiet.  He listed many of the NC State Fair foods he had enjoyed the previous day.  It was all deep-fat fried this and deep-fat fried that and even more deep-fat fried fat and sugar.  He also finally acknowledged that the Fair seemed to have taken quite a bit of zip out of his legs.  Alan did, however, have enough zip to best Dean and me for the Wilson CL. 

The fast crew must have taken a long lunch in Black Creek, because we didn't see them againg until we were within a couple miles of the edge of town.  I think we got to the Grocery at 11:52, meaning it was 4 hours, 22 minutes from the official start.  The actual start for the last person of the group was a few minutes later as he had to pick himself up from parking lot -- half under his bike, half on top of it.  We won't go into that inglorious moment except to note that I will no longer even consider following the advice to relax the tension in the rear derailleur cable -- the risk is too high for not very much reward.

Nibbles and drinks -- maybe something approaching an almost real lunch, and Alan phoned home.  Then about 12:25 we were on the road again, enjoying the tailwind from Black Creek to Hornes Church.  I think Alan managed to snag the same CL as on the way out -- only this time the sign indicated Nash County. 

Dean is a much better riding partner than I am.  We were taking turns trying to ease the headwind burden for Alan's legs, but invariably I would slowly drift off the front whereas Dean maintained proper pulls.  I am NOT proud of my ineffectiveness. 

About the time we reached Youngsville and the subsequent rollers, the wind finally started to lie down.  At least we didn't have strongish headwinds while climbing.

Dean and I were soft-pedaling on Jackson Rd, waiting for Alan to re-attach after the Holden Rd climb, when suddenly, Alan came around both of us like he was strapped to a comet.  I realized what was up, and took out after Alan.  I didn't really care to snag the Wake CL, only to make Alan have to work a little for it.  Just as I was about to get up alongside, zoop, Alan went backwards.  I slowed, and when we were again abreast each other, I asked if he had decided to save energy for the Purnell Rd climbs.  He responded "yep", or something along those lines.  He stuck to that story for the rest of the ride and for the post-mortem at the McDonald's. 

Alan got last laugh, though.  Dean and I had been sitting for a minute or more, waiting for the light at New Falls of Neuse Rd to change so that we could cross to the McDonald's, just as the light changed green, again a comet flashed by.  Big laughs for all three of us.

Mike, Mary, and Tom were still in the McDonald's.  They had been there since about 4 o'clock.  Mike informed us that he was noting the official finish time for Dean, Alan, and me as 5:15. 

Under ten hours, but more importantly a great day for a bike ride, and we had had fun.

If you are waiting for me to close the loop on the initial nine baseball players -- there isn't a close.
Oct-24:  Daylight Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent

Why "Daylight" in the title?  Because the only previous time I had ridden the official Kerr Lake Loop Permanent had been "Byron's Full Moon KLL" earlier this year when Mike was in California riding some 1000 km ride up and down the west coast.  (A better blogger might find a link to Mike's post on the RTP blog, but ... .)

I had enjoyed my back-to-back solo 200 km permanents so much earlier this month (see here and here ), that I decided to do a repeat, sort-of.  Obviously, the Saturday Showdown was not solo, and luckily, my Sunday KLL ride would be shared with JohnO -- more like he shared his ride with me. 

JohnO is similar in strength and speed to my "irregular" cycling buddy, Paul "the Mallet".  That is not just conjecture.  I have proof.  John and Paul had ridden the last 50 miles of the Aug-14 brevet together, along with Dr. Andreas.  What does that mean for our riding together?  It means that John slowed down and waited for me -- a lot.  Especially during or after a climb. 

John and I pretty much had a non-adventure ride, except that someone was a bit late (it wasn't me -- probably both "Irregulars" and MikeD are surprised by that), and we started about 15 minutes after our official time.  That wouldn't have been so bad, but I managed to get a pinch flat from a pebble in the road when we were only about 10.7 miles into the ride.  I couldn't find where the tube had pinched.  John could find nothing wrong with the tyre.  But we looked doubly carefully as we didn't want to go just another mile down the road and have another flat.  I am slow changing flats, but I managed to get the tyre off and back on without using tools.  I had the tyre "irons" handy, but didn't need them.  I rode the rest of the day on a spongy rear tyre.  Only noticable on the last bit of "Stovall Mountain" and on the steep on Lawrence Rd. 

We reached the "Oxford" control with 11 minutes to spare.  John had to make an urgent side trip, and his control card indicates only 8 minutes to spare.  If I had had another flat after the first, I would have told John to ride on; then I would have completed the second repair and completed the route -- credit or no credit.

It was another sunny day.  But a bit breezier than the day before.  We had a mostly tailwind all the way to Boydton.  Thereafter, mostly headwinds.  But not too bad. 

We began discussing where we could get some lunch after leaving Boydton, or was it Skipwith?  I jokingly suggested "Pizza in Stovall", but after John mentioned that he had eaten one or more times with Jerry at the Subway in Clarksville, I thought that sounded the better idea.  As we came off the bridge and up the river-bank / hill into Clarksville, I encouraged John to lead the way. 

He asked "where?" 

"To the Subway."

Turned out he had always "just followed Jerry" and didn't know where it was.  Aargh.

Being two 50-something males, guess what we did.  We actually asked directions.  Well, I insisted John asked since I claimed he had led me astray into thinking he knew where the Subway was located. We split a 12-inch turkey sub.

Later, in Stovall, John wanted to stop for water.  I don't think he had ever been in the gas station / convenience store / seed and feed store / delli / Hunt Bros pizza outlet.  When John saw the "pizza hunks", he expressed that he was glad we had stopped in Clarksville for food.  (Btw, at 3-whatever, the delli was NOT open.)

Up and over "Stovall Mountain" (actual name is Peace Mtn, I think).  Then we started picking up the pace a bit.  We each had lighting in case the ride lasted until after dark.  I told John that from the "Oxford" control to the finish, only the steep of the climb back up from the Tar River, and the steep of Lawrence would slow me down.  I think I was good to my word.  Of course, John was still just essentially putzing along. 

I tried to teach John the landmarks before the Wake CL -- perhaps he can have a "go" at Jerry one day.

We got to the fire station at 6:34.  Not bad considering the late start, flat-tyre time and certainly the spongy rear slowed me some during the day -- not to mention the previous day's ride.  At 6:34, the sun was a HUGE orange ball hanging just above the trees at the fire station, 

Thanks for the ride, John. 

Oh, between John and me, only one of us actually has a first name that is "John".  I leave it to you to guess.
Oct-23:  Showdown at Black Creek 200 km Perm; 125.4 m.; 8 hrs, 11 min in-motion; 15.3 mph; official rando-time:  9 hrs, 45 min.

Oct-24:  Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Perm; 131.5 m.; 8 hrs, 48 min in-motion; 14.9 mph; official rando time:  11 hrs, 4 min.

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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: 11 rides; __880.3 m.; _47 hrs, 40 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 95 rides; 6,375.0 m.; 426 hrs, 22 min; 15.0 mph. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cycling in the (central North Carolina) Cold

Over the weekend, "Irregular" cycling buddy Robert -- who's first adult bicycle ride, at 61 years young, was April 24th earlier this year -- sent an e-mail to those "Irregulars" with whom he rode Saturday (plus me).  Here is the text of his message: 

All, per our discussion yesterday on ride I have a temp chart for running... what you wear based on starting temp.  I am trying to create same for biking as I found it convenient for packing the night before as it reduces the thinking/planning time.  If this is something useful to you, please update this file based on your preferences and send me a copy.  Thank you.

I responded as follows:
Robert, er, I mean, wRong Way - 
I have not looked at your chart (yet), but here are some things I have learned in recent years: 

 1. In October, the first time it is 45F, after a HOT, HOT summer, 45F is FLIPPIN COLD!!!
 2. In February, after an even colder December and January, 45F is VERY comfortable. 

 3. 50F, on a dark gray overcast day, without any wind, is uncomfortable to chilly.
 4. 50F, on a dark gray overcast day, WITH a wind, is not only depressing, it is COLD. 

 5. 36F, on a bright sunny day, with little to no wind, is great. If you are riding 100k or less. 

 6. Guys with an extra layer of body fat, e.g., me and ... make that just me, tolerate cold a lot better than
 7. Guys with NO body fat, e.g., IvaHawk, Lee, you.  

 8. If I wore as much clothing, esp. headgear, as JohnH did last winter, I would have sweated to death.  
 9. If I wore as little clothing as the Mallet (whose "extra" clothes for winter often consisted of "borrowing" his daughter's knit cap and nothing else -- well, sometimes he had long sleeves or "arm-socks"), I would likely have been cold, but
10. Not as cold as I would have been if I had been overdressed since too much clothing ---> sweating ---> that freezing feeling. 

11. In the winter, all climbing is done in full sunshine, with either no wind, or a tailwind. And you get hot. 
12. In the winter, all descending is done in full shade, into a ferocious headwind. And you get COLD.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oct-23 -- The Cheek Blunder

While I was off doing a Rando Permanent, the "Irregular" crew went for a ride on a most excellent course.  Well, they tried to ride the intended course.  This report reminds me of a previous "no-Martin 'Irregular' ride".  This time I present with no internal comments from the editor -- I'm saving them for the "Comments" section ...

The suspects:
Tito, IvaHawk, Smitty, Robert, BobH, Ags.
Wheels away scheduled 0730 hours.  Actual departure 0739.  Not too bad.

Destination Mt Tirzah and return.  Mission accomplished.

Attendees:  BobH, Robert, Ags, Smitty, Tito, and Iva.  Three guesses who was the slo-poke in that group. But, we had a big time.  Although, some (initials PS) thought we should not reveal any missteps to you, I'm in favor of going full disclosure in case a congressional investigation were to open at some time in the future.  Right on Cheek, then quickly left on Creech. Our group continued straight on Cheek and enjoyed the view of the lake shrouded in the early morning mist.  Then we saw Old Weaver trail and we said, hmmmm.

Then I said we missed the turn on Creech.  What to do, what to do.  Go back.  Do a new route.  But, navigator Bob said, not to worry we go back and turn right on Hereford and we're back on course.  That little detour gave us about 2.5 bonus miles.

So back on course, we get to Red Mill Rd where the traffic is worse than I remembered.  One member of the group insisted riding in a double pace line despite my (the leader's) recommendation to go single pace line while on Red Mill.  This individual is well known for his rebellious tendencies and disdain for authority.  On to Stagville Rd which is more hilly than I remember.  We finally get to Moores Mill Rd where upon cresting the hill just after the turn off 501, Iva was overcome with gratitude for the beautiful morning and beautiful scenery.  This prompted him to say something about all of us should be thankful for being alive and enjoying this day.  This bit of sentiment was met with a stony, manly silence.  But, I could tell they were touched.

Upon arriving at Hollow Ridge Grocery, I was told but didn't witness due to my being a bit behind the group, Tito did a flying dismount into the gravel stirring up quite a bit of dust.  Fortunately, no harm done.  It was beautiful (I know I'm over using that word today) at the top.  I hope that store never closes.  Ags noticed a cooler with a glass door near the front of the store.  Top shelf:  skoal snuff, next mad dog flavored "wine" and red bull, next pigs feet, sausage of suspect origin and other "food"; bottom shelf maybe refrigerated cigarettes.  Ags called it "The Cooler of Temptation".  No vice was absent.  Our group photo was taken by a friendly local in hunting overalls.

Off we go, bombing down the mountain, looking for Culbreth Rd.  Our long cut has messed up the milage.  At this time, some weren't even sure if maybe it had been a short cut.  Finally, we come to a unmarked road that has a sign pointing to Culbreth. Could this be Culbreth Rd we ask.  Well maybe, but it doesn't square with our mileage.  Let's press on.  Then an old friend, Range Rd.  Maybe we should turn here.  But, which way ??!!  Oh, what to do?  Smitty consults the GPS -- which is of no help.  I make a command decision to press on and sure enough, to our relief, come upon Culbreth Rd.

Arriving in Stem, we stop again for flo-max.  We did see the Mayor who was supervising a chain saw team across the street.  Upon leaving Stem, Iva jumped in front on the road to Creedmore.  Shortly after a not too bad of a pull, BobH comes to the front and drops the hammer.  We got to Creedmore more quickly than had we been driving.

From there, it was pretty much business as usual with me dropping back on the always tough Old Weaver.  Upon arriving at Ghoston, Ags launched up the hill as if an afterburner had been inserted in his behind.  Tito was not "feeling it" today and decided to ride on in with Iva. I'm not sure how it shook out at the end.  To give you an idea of how slow and tired I was, my G-P-MVC time was 22:26, well off my PR of last week.  Robert told me he was in the 16s.

I got your message about having Robert write the report.  But, he said he wasn't a writer.
Okay, one comment not in the "Comments" section (can't get links in the "Comments" to work).  As for Robert not being a writer, I draw your attention to the green text in the Aug-14 brevet report.  Every word in the green text is Robert's -- if you knew Robert, you could actually HEAR his voice speaking quite a bit of that green text -- he captured himself nigh-on perfectly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oct-19: JRA, Spinning and Enjoying the World

I initially intended to zip out to the "Assault on Flat Rock" (google map), but I didn't get started soon enough for that, so I settled for a shorter ride.  Then, during the ride, my #3 shorts started to bother me, and I decided to ride even shorter, and I think I finally realized what happened on my failed 600 km in May, and still during the ride, I decided to toss the shorts.

But ... being a pack-rat, after the ride, I decided to hold on to the shorts for a while longer.  Maybe the second or third time I decide to "toss 'em", I actually will.

BJP:  MVC-Peed to the sharp corner-side road-Norwood to Bayleaf Fire Station #2 (i.e., mostly flat stuff); 13.3 m.; 0 hrs, 52 min in motion time; 15.2 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _9 rides; __623.4 m.; _40 hrs, 41 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 93 rides; 6,118.1 m.; 409 hrs, 23 min; 14.9 mph.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oct-18: Spin-Out-The-Legs, with Some Gusto

Usual spin-'em-out / "TT" course.
I'm not sure I ever figured out from which direction the wind blew.
Usual pattern:  started slowly, picked it up as the legs warmed up.
Included a couple "hot intervals".  Or maybe it was just downhill with a tailwind.
Had a good practice run at the Wake CL on Carpenter Pond Rd on the homeward leg.
Picked up the cadence and the pace all the way to the sign.
Saw about 4 or 5 other cyclists out enjoying the nice conditions.
All were hammering harder than me.

BJP:  DocN-Kemp-Virgil; 29.6 m.; 1 hrs, 49 min in motion time; 16.2 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _8 rides; __610.1 m.; _39 hrs, 53 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 92 rides; 6,104.8 m.; 408 hrs, 31 min; 14.9 mph.
[Just for Andy, I think I'll try to make a "map" of this course, and post it here.  He claims no one can understand where I've ridden.  And ... ... your point is ... ? 

This last section of each post is really just for me, but ... I'll see if I can create and include a map.]

For a semi-interactive "google-earth" based map, click here.

Irregular Reflections

One of the Irregulars sent me a message the other day regarding why ride / what he likes about riding "irregularly" / what he expects from the ride(s).

With apologies to him (I'll allow him to remain anonymous, although I suspect most of the IRs should be able to identify the author), here are some of his comments, possibly generalized slightly:

Martin, Here are a few comments on my life as an IR....

[A little over a] year ago, ..., I tagged along for an IR ride.  I was a bit self-conscious and not sure if I was going to be accepted.  I had ... some personal stuff going on.

After meeting the kind, humorous, eclectic bunch of folks called the IRs, I decided to do what I never thought I would do:  I stopped riding with the ... guys (with whom I had ridden for 20 years) and joined the IR rides.  This was not an easy transition, because it meant driving [much further each] way.  What put me in the IR group was the humor, acceptance, good riding skills and fine leadership ... . 

[The IRs] have discouraged egotistical riding, humorless riding and A-riding.  On the other hand, you have encouraged responsible riding, a lessening of a-holic behavior, and an increase in good paceline behavior.  ...  a good example for all of us, ... .

I continue to drive all the way to N. Raleigh, often with a bike and wheels but not always, to join the group of interesting guys known as the IRs.  Again and again, I have found that my angular personality and eccentric traits have been welcomed, sort of like the wacky uncle... or maybe as just another ok guy who is part of the crew.

So, thanks [Irregulars] for a good experience. If I can do a little bit to improve things, call on me. 

[name redacted]
Maybe the above will help me and others remember "why we ride". 
If the author of the above objects to me posting his words ... I'll take them down ... maybe ... not.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oct-17: Get 'Er Dunn Permanent Populaire

A very nice day for a bicycle ride.  A bit chilly in the early going, following our 8 a.m. start.  Starting to get warm by the end (an approx 12:48 p.m. finish).  Very little breeze; certainly no wind.  Good company (route owner and still pursuing 10k hound Dean, local RBA Alan, recent SR Maria, her friend Blake, and RUSA veep and newsletter editor and already successful 10k hound MikeD for a "friendly" ride -- someone described the ride before the start as a "friendly" -- it may be MikeD that made that comment -- I assumed that "friendly" meant Mike would ride with us and not drop off our front -- that's what he did -- until near the end, when I suspect that he desparately needed to "stretch his legs". 

More "terrain" for a course from Garner to Dunn than I expected.  When I mentioned that to Dean, the route owner, early-ish in the ride, MikeD commented "and it has hills, too!"  I didn't come up with a timely retort. 

About 4 or 5 miles into the ride, Alan and I were sharing the load, chatting while riding side-by-side, when Dean suddenly came by us in a mad rush.  I thought he was trying to lift the pace.  No ... only trying to get the Johnson CL green jersey points.  He allowed as how, due to having to wait for traffic to clear, that Alan and I shared the CL because his rush fell short.  Neither Alan nor I knew a CL was coming -- well, I certainly didn't -- Alan may have known, but I suspect, based on a later comment, that he didn't actually know WHERE the CL was -- no sign.  Anyway, that was pretty much the end of my opportunity for the day to chat with Alan.

Little rollers, Mike and Dean "stretching" their legs on uphill / upslope sections.  An information control -- what color are those __ , anyway?  And pretty soon we were thru Erwin headed for Dunn ... and then we were at the turn-around control in Dunn.

Nibbles and drinks and chat -- don't ask me what about -- and we were soon off for the control in Erwin.  I didn't recognize the convenience store / gas station until Maria mentioned that she had first stopped at this location on the 600 km brevet in May.  Aah ... now I recognize this store.  [See ... I (almost) never stay in the same tense, or person, for an entire blog post.  If you have a problem with that ... go away.]

Riding again toward Coats and then Garner.  But first there was a CL to be contested:  Harnett into Johnson County.  I have no idea what occured on the outbound leg, but on the inbound leg ... big fun.  Alan was leading, Maria second, then me.  I don't know if Dean or Blake intended to participate, but neither did.  I suspect that if Mike had "sprinted", it would have been N.C. (no contest).  Anyway, I saw the CL sign and thought to myself "I need to mark Alan, and jump when he jumps".  No sooner had I had that thought, than I realized that Alan had almost imperceptably picked up the pace; I thought "oh, he's trying to 'sneak' away and 'steal' the CL".  Even before completing that thought, I realized that Maria had realized Alan's game before I had ... and she was already accelerating.  "Irregular" "sprints" have taught me a few things -- including the value of seruptitiously shifting into a slightly lower gear some distance BEFORE the CL -- the lower gear allows (me) faster early acceleration.  I hit my pedals HARD, and was almost instantly overtaking Maria and had Alan in my sights.  I dug hard, stomach clenched, as I accelerated and smoothly shifted a couple times to faster gears.  Alan later mentioned that he had a disadvantage as he is 13 years older than me -- I reminded him that I owed him some revenge from the Howling Grits ride -- that made Alan laugh.  I also owed Maria some revenge from the Sauartown ride. 

We provided amusement to the three non-participants -- I heard one of them, probably Dean, starting to laugh as the three of us dashed ahead. 

After that CL, we regrouped and rode "friendly".  Mike finally decided to stretch his legs in earnest the last half-dozen miles, and Dean launched me off the front of the remainder of the peloton.  I thought they were all right behind me, but ... when I couldn't see them in my mirror, I just kept pedaling. 

A 100 km ride is a nice distance.  As Mike commented about riding 200 kms, "it's not the distance, it's the time."  True enough.  A 100 km ride, on the other hand, is far enough to get in some good training and some just plain enjoyable cycling, but doesn't take ALL day.

Thanks to Dean for organizing the ride.  Thanks to everyone else for the good company on an enjoyable ride.

Get 'Er Dunn Permanent Populaire; 63.1 m.; 4 hrs, 7 min in motion time; 15.3 mph; rando-time:  4 hrs, 48 min elapsed clock time. 

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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _7 rides; __580.5 m.; _38 hrs, _4 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 91 rides; 6,075.2 m.; 406 hrs, 42 min; 14.9 mph. 
 _ _ 
One year ago today, I completed my first ever 200k ride.  Not a RUSA thingy.  Much more important -- an "Irregular" ride.  Click here to see the post.  
When I started to type the above sentence / paragraph, there were two things I wanted to mention.  I can't recall the second.  Must not have been that important.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oct-16: "I've Never Ridden Thru Leaves Before"

An Irregulars "Oldie, but a Goodie" route, the Stem-Hester-Mt.Energy-Grissom tour.

For a Google-earth based map:  click here.    

We actually did a very slight modification of the mapped route -- we rode across Norwood Rd to Leesville Rd to Hickory Grove Rd to Carpenter Pond Rd.  We rejoined the mapped route once we got to Carpenter Pond (and after cutting about 0.2 miles and the Mt. Vernon Ch Rd drop-down-to-the-creek-nearly-at-lake-level out of the ride -- it's warmer to avoid that 150-ish foot drop at the beginning of a ride).

There were a few early comments about chilly hands, but well before the 5-mile mark, such comments ceased.  I presume everyone was in the same situation I was -- my fingers warmed up once the blood started pumping through the system.
Early-ish in the ride, Snapper and I were chatting about EPIC RIDES from early in one's adult cycling career.  Harvey mentioned Gargone and the first time they did a 24-mile ride.  Career record 30 and 40 miles rides were mentioned.  Harv noted that the first time he did a 50-miler (with the Irregulars, btw -- actually, just about all Harvey's record long rides have been Irregular rides) that when he got home, he got Ashley to get in their car and they drove the route -- Harvey was excited about the ride and wanted to share his excitement with his spouse.

I recalled that when Lynn did her first 50-miler, we did the same thing.  That is, we got in a car and drove the route.  There were some BIG climbs on that route -- Woodland Church Rd and Purnell Rd come to mind.

I related the story of Lynn's first ever 80-miler -- it was a hot summer day, and when she got back to the house, she left her steed near the street and walked across to where I was watering some recently planted landscaping.  As she approached me, I turned the hose/sprayer to "shower" or "mist" setting, she spread her arms wide and soaked up the cool water onto her body and clothes.

She was sure she would never do a longer ride (other than the New Bern MS-150 rides).  [For those interested, her longest ride to-date was the 1000 km Natchez Trace Brevet, and her toughest ride to-date was the PacTour Elite Tour (~ 3000 miles in 17 days) earlier this year.]  
Somewhere during the first half of the ride, perhaps on Stem/Brogden Rd just after leaving Creedmoor, Robert noted "hey, I've never ridden through leaves before".  Should be plenty of opportunity for that in the next couple weeks.
After leaving Stem, the course goes down to cross one little creek "valley", and then climbs back up to near the elevation of Stem.  As we topped that little climb, I asked IvaHawk if he recalled the first time he had ridden Tally Ho Rd north out of Stem.  I had to remind him that as we topped the climb described above, and the immediately following next creek "valley" came into view, IvaHawk had exclaimed "look at that hill!"  Iva chuckled. 

Upon topping that "look at that hill!" today, I brought up Robert's first experience with Tally Ho / Saunders / Belltown roads.  Today we stayed on Tally Ho as it becomes Saunders (Tally Ho makes a 90 degree left corner), but on Robert's first experience at that corner, the planned course was to turn onto Belltown Rd.  However, Robert and BobH and Norris went the Wrong Way, and failed to make the turn until IvaN, IvaHawk and I yelled to them "Wrong Way". 

I think Lee is right -- Robert's nick ought to be "Wrong Way".  The above was his second Wrong Way turn.  The first time, at least he was trying to follow the dropping off the front hammers.  And since then, he has turned the Wrong Way at least three times -- even though each time he had a cue sheet and the others with whom he was "wrong waying" / possibly leading him astray, did not.  One out of every five rides that Robert has done, he has gone, or tried to go, the Wrong Way. 

Luckily, Robert is always upbeat and enjoys his ride.  Even after re-suggesting the "Wrong Way" moniker today, I heard Robert whistling as he rode along.  I've heard him whistling at least one or two other times on previous rides.  Gotta' appreciate a guy that is enjoying his ride that much.
Snapper took some "snaps" with his ... phone (I refuse to mention the brand ... but one can create movies on it ... which was a point of conversation for awhile during the ride ... for some examples of some movies made on that brand of phone ... check out the Research Trailer Park blog).  These three snaps were taken on East Thollie Green Rd -- you can find it parallel to I-85 on the linked map above.
Chat time for IvaN and Robert.
Snapper needs to practice his "panda" shots. 
And, oh look, see who is riding in the middle of the road ... again. 
Order has been restored. 

Nearing the end of the ride, we paused at the corner of Horseshoe and Lawrence roads.  (We took a second snap, hoping to photo-shop Snapper into the line, but he claims the second snap did not come out well enough.) 
IvaN, IvaHawk, Tito, Robert, me.
Snapper is snapping the pic.
It was a great day for riding.  Sunny and clear, although a bit chilly (but only because we're still used to the awful heat we had all summer) and a bit breezy (by central North Carolina standards).  [Hey, Sag, aka, Andy, look, I mentioned the STATE where I ride and blog.  Pick yourself back up out of the ditch.  ;-) ]
Cast for today:  Snapper, IvaHawk, Tito, IvaN, Robert, me.
[We didn't know that BobH and Norris intended to join us for the ride -- they had not responded to the rider call e-mail which had very tentatively suggested an 8 a.m. start time -- and thus we didn't know to clue them in that IvaHawk and Tito had tight back-end time constraints AND that the committed crew had rebelled and voted for a 7:30 start.  BobH and Norris arrived at PUE just as we were leaving.  We tried to hastily arrange a meeting place that they could reach before us by cutting ~ 3.5 miles out of the start, but no luck.  We saw BobH and Norris at PUE at the end of our respective rides -- as Norris noted, it was "a great day for riding".] 
Btw, IvaHawk set a personal record of 17:45 on the Ghoston-Peed-MVC finishing "time-trial".  By getting that personal record (by 45 seconds), he accomplished one of his goals for the day:  "beating Harvey on G-P-MVC".  ;-)

PUE:  DocN-Creedmoor-Stem-MtEnergy-Grissom 100k; 62.6 m.; 3 hrs, 58 min in motion time; 15.7 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _6 rides; __517.4 m.; _33 hrs, 54 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 90 rides; 6,012.1 m.; 402 hrs, 35 min; 14.9 mph. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oct-10: Showdown at Black Creek

I came.  40 or 45 minutes late. 
I rode.
I finished.
On time.
[Edit Oct-19-2010:  You might think that a numbers guy would have noticed that this ride was my ten-ten-ten ride, AND noted such in the original post.  But, no.  I didn't cogitate that this ride could have been referred to as "10/10/10" or "10-10-10" or "Ten-Ten-Ten" until today.  Oh well, a missed opportunity.]
First time I've ridden the "Showdown".
But only the sections from Wakefield High to Purnell,
And from Hornes Church to Black Creek were new to me.
Pre-rando, I had ridden from Youngsville as far east as Hornes Church.

Cool morning, but not as cool as yesterday.
Warmer in the afternoon; high likely a bit above 80F.

The wind forecast was for WSW in the morning,
Becoming S in the afternoon.
Tailwind in the morning (except for the last 17 miles).
Side-winds and quartering tail-winds in the afternoon.

Actual wind?
W, with maybe a hint of NW, in the early morning.
But by the time the sun was well-up,
All the flags were as limp rags.

Afternoon wind.
Bang out of the West.
Meaning that about 1/3 of the 35 miles from Hornes Church were spot-on into that wind.
And 2/3 of the time, it was a quartering headwind.

13 +/- mph when head-on into the wind.
17 +/- mph, with the same effort, when riding to the NW or WNW. 

It was a GLORIOUS day for a bicycle ride.
Some highlights (or lowlights) of the day:

I have wanted to ride Falls of the Neuse Rd north from Raven Ridge, past Falls Dam, and up the climb to Wakefield High for a couple years.  But there is too much traffic on that road.  (Those that have been riding in the area for 20+ years tell me that Falls of the Neuse used to be a favorite way north out of Raleigh, but there is too much traffic, and it is growing every day, for normal humans to ride that section of road.  Occasionally, one will see some cyclists during mid-day riding past the dam ... they must have a suicide wish.)  I decided to do a pre-ride from PUE (an undefined location to protect the ... you fill in the blank) to the "Showdown" start, intending to do a post-ride (but not past the dam) after completion of the ride, thus getting in 150 or 160 miles for the day.  (My eyes probably bit off more than my legs could chew; especially since I had done the "not-easy" L-L-L the previous day.)

I had mostly prepped the bike the night before, was at PUE, only minutes from starting my 11-mile pre-ride, when certain body functions decided to "act-up" in an intense and decidedly inopportune moment.  Forty minutes later, confident that I'd make the start before 0800, and confident that I could catch the imaginary DNF line that began moving at 0700 at 15 kph, I left PUE for the 11-mile pre-ride to the start location (in the absence of the route owner, a McDonald's about 0.9 miles across a side-road from the listed start location).  Thus the first line of this post.

I should have looked at Mike's cue sheet.  Instead I had looked at the on-line electronic maps, and relied on my understanding of how NC-98 and a couple other roads had been recently re-routed just to the west of Wake Forest.  Result:  1.6 or 1.7 bonus miles.  45 minutes late starting, and another 8 minutes wasted.

I wasn't worried.  I was confident I would catch and pass the moving DNF line.

Eastbound on Purnell in the morning was a bit of an adventure.
If in shade, everything was okay ... one could see what was ahead.
If no shade ... not so good ... more like BLINDED by the big yellow thing hanging low on the horizon.

Swooping downhill on Purnell, I knew I had to be close to the turn onto Jackson Rd,
But I couldn't SEE much of anything, let alone a side-road.
An SUV that had passed me near the top of the downhill turned left off Purnell.
I wonder if that is ... as I slid past, missing the turn, I could read the little green road sign ... Jackson.
50 yards past, U-turn, 50 yards back, onto Jackson.
I had forgotten that Jackson is all uphill / upslope all the way to Holden Rd.
(When I usually ride - JRA - in those parts, I take Bud Smith straight (no real climb) and ... with no turns ... one ends up on Holden Rd ... no turns, but there is a less-than 90-degree SHARP curve ... so I had forgotten the particulars regarding Jackson Rd.)

Starting forty minutes late did seem to have one advantage.
That BIG church on Holden between US-1 and Youngsville ...
The parking lot was full when I rode by.  No church traffic.
It seemed I had found a "hole in the donut" between early and mid-morning church traffic.

A big, lumbering, annoying dog on Tarboro Rd.
Never had seen that dog before.
Dang thing forced me to move all the way across the road to other fog line so as to not collide.
I did try unsuccessfully to deliver a "right jab" ... this dog seemed a bit smarter than Roscoe.

Ride on, ride on.
I got to the intermediate control at approx 42 miles ahead of the moving DNF line.
However, the swarming gnats got there before me.
Control signed.  Receipt obtained.

Ride on.  Ride on.
Right turn onto Bike Route #7 at Hornes Church.
Time to get the cue sheet out where I can read it.

11:41.  The phone rang. 
New phone.  New battery.  I can leave the phone turned on.  I can hear it ring.
I stopped to answer.
It was "L.I.L.", telling me about her Coastal 600. 
She interrupted her story to exclaim "a Dairy Queen ... I'm getting a milk shake."
A minute or two later, I had to explain that I was not yet to Black Creek,
And that the GNATS were swarming all over me.
I'll call you later.

Ride on,  Ride on.  Cautiously.
An extra ~ 0.9 miles at the beginning, plus ~ 1.7 bonus miles,
And I thought my cycle confuser was measuring long,
I couldn't be sure of the mileages for the turns.
In my delirium and frustration with the confuser, I thought that some of Mike's distance seemed wrong.
By luck, I happened to think "it seems about time to turn south again".
I stopped at the next road to the south, examined the cue sheet and my confuser.  Not much help.
Then I saw that the cue sheet had an important hint:  "sign missing".
I thought "well, there are no little green roadsigns at this intersection", and I turned south.
Good guess.

I made to it Black Creek and the Grocery well ahead of the imaginary moving DNF line.
A V-8 and an ice-cream bar for sustenance.  A Pepsi for morale.
I got out the cue sheet and a piece of paper and a pen, and removed the confuser from the bike.
A little bit of math scratch-work, and ... I discovered that the confuser was measuring slightly short.
Only slightly short.  Not LONG, as I had been convinced only a few minutes earlier.
Replacing appearances with facts.  To paraphrase an actuarial motto.
I recorded the outbound mileage and time, including the bonus miles, on the piece of paper
That already had the info from the pre-ride,
And reset the confuser to all zero's.
I'd have "clean" readings on the homeward leg.

Leaving Black Creek, I immediately knew that the wind was not going to be my friend.
I kept the cue sheet handy in case I needed to navigate my way back to Hornes Church.
Never looked at it once.
Put it away when I reached Hornes Church (aka, NC Bike Route #2).

Pedal on.  Pedal on.  Into the wind.
Try not to stop ... the GNATS are terrible.

The G-N-A-T-S were so bad at the intermediate control that once I went in to the store ...
I didn't come back out until I had eaten my "hunk of pizza" and finished another Pepsi.
When I left the inside of the store, I covered the 10 feet quickly, put my helmet on quickly, and rode on.

Before I reached Youngsville, I had decided to skip the post-ride ride.
But whom to call?
I hadn't put any of the numbers of the usual suspects into the new phone yet.
But at least the new phone's battery was still full of life.
I could call Lynn ... but she had sounded really tired after her 600.
I knew the last four digits of Gary's number.
I managed to correctly guess the middle three.
I called from the west edge of Youngsville.
Would he be willing to come to the Wakefield McDonald's and give me a lift to PUE?
I could hear the reluctance as he agreed.
Turned out he was watching the 'Boys.
Gary came.
Turned out that without him watching, them 'Boys lost to the Titans(?).

Oh yeah, on a clear day, you can see forever.
But forever is farther if you're on top of a hill.
No hills on the "Showdown" east of Youngsville.
Well ... compared to the "Tarheel" ... but the "Tarheel" is FLAT.
But not as F-L-A-T as Tony's Coastal Brevets were this weekend.

The very last bit of Thompson Mill Rd to get up to NC-98 is STEEP,
I looked at that 100 yards and said to myself "oh, this is going to hurt."
It did. 

But the short bit on NC-98 wasn't bad.
On then, on the shallow upslope on Falls of the Neuse Rd,
I suddenly found myself going 17, 18, 19 mph.
Where that was coming from ... I know not.

Prologue:  PUE to Wakefield McDonald's; 11.2 m.; 0 hrs, 47 min in motion time; 14.1 mph.
Main Event:  Showdown at Black Creek 200 km Permanent: 
 _ _ _ _outbound; 64.7 m.; 4 hrs, 17 min in-motion time; 15.1 mph.
 _ _ _ _homeward; 63.0 m.; 4 hrs, 18 min in-motion time; 14.6 mph.
 _ _ _ _sub-total; 127.7 m.; 8 hrs, 35 min in-motion time; 14.9 mph; rando time: 11 hours, 30 min elapsed clock time. 
Epilogue:  skipped in favor of a lift.
Total:  138.9 m.; 9 hrs, 22 min in-motion time; 14.8 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _5 rides; __454.8 m.; _29 hrs, 56 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 89 rides; 5,949.5 m.; 398 hrs, 37 min; 14.9 mph.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oct-09: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville

I came.
I rode.
I finished.
On time.
It only took three attempts. 
In June, the high was 96F, I had an explosive front flat, and a T-storm caused about an hour's delay.
In July, the high in Leasburg was 101F.  Need I say more.  10 minutes late to finish.  10 minutes.
Today, morning low probably below 50F, afternoon high about 80F, maybe.
I may be in better condition than three and four months ago, but
I think the difference was almost entirely due to the lower temperature.

It was a GLORIOUS day for a bicycle ride.
Some highlights of the day:

The Simple Green / Trek/Volvo / All-Star training ride passed me on Stagville Rd on my way to Bahama.
Straight lines, evenly pace bikes, in a double pace-line.  It was beautiful to see.

I detoured off the course onto Wiley Mangum Rd for about 200 yards to get the view from there.
Beautiful.  Sorry, no photo.

The leaves are starting to turn.  Mostly green with some mottled color.
But on some trees, the leaves are already brown.
And a couple wafted gently down in front of me. 

On a clear day, you can see forever.

Many of the homesteads and farmsteads along the course looked very appealing,
As they always seem to do.
But I have to admit, some of them did look better in HOT-HOT-HOT summer,
Because they had more flowers, etc., in the Summer, I think.

One elderly couple just outside Timberlake were arranging their pumpkin / Halloween display.
I shouted to the woman "don't get it too perfect".
She laughed.

The store at Mt. Tirzah is getting new management effective Oct-15 or 16.
Some of the locals were making BBQ chicken dinners when I arrived at just after 10 in the morning.
I took extra time atop Mt. Tirzah in the afternoon to eat one of the dinners:  chicken, potatoes, green beans.
They gave me an extra leg-thigh quarter.
They intend to cook out about once a month during the Winter months.
Vegetarians and Vegans will not be interested in their meals.

The time-stamp from the cash register at Mt. Tirzah was about 23 minutes FAST.
Luckily, I was well ahead of the cut-off time.

The time stamp from the cash register in Leasburg was about 1 hour, 18 minutes slow.
It was that way in June and July.
And it was still that way, today.

So much for cash register receipts.

I refilled my water bottles at the Bahama Fire Station in the afternoon.
Shared a couple laughs with the chief(?) and a couple others.

I don't care for that Control on Red Mill.
Rough crowd.
The place, outdoors as well as in, REEKS of tobacco.
17-miles into the ride, just when I'm getting into the swing of things,
Just after the tough Ray - Boxelder - Victory Ch - Kemp start is about wrung out of the legs,
A tobacco REEKING Control.

My fastest speed today was on one of the downhills on Hester Store Rd, there was a following breeze/wind.
38+ mph.

My second fastest speed was outbound on the downhill on Boxelder Rd.
36+ mph.
Boxelder is a very short sub-division road.  But steep.
You can imagine how steep because I hit that 36 mph coasting.
And I was not in an aggressive aero position.

The afternoon climb up Boxelder was not the slowest moving speed of the day,
I forget where that was (maybe on Hester Store Rd - about 4.7 mph - into the breeze/wind),
But that short climb on Boxelder was likely the second slowest speed of the day,
And my legs ACHED a lot more on that climb than anywhere else.

Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204 km Permanent; 128.6 m.; 8 hrs, 35 min in-motion time; 15.0 mph; rando time:  10 hours, 54 min elapsed clock time. 

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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _4 rides; __315.9 m.; _20 hrs, 34 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 88 rides; 5,810.6 m.; 389 hrs, 15 min; 14.9 mph. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oct-06: It Really is Autumn

Today's ride reminded me that at this time of the year, one definitely does NOT want to be riding on Carpenter Pond heading SW toward Durham after about 3 p.m..  That heads directly into the sun, and following traffic can see NOTHING, let alone a cyclist, at that time of day.

However, I was headed NE around 4:30 to 5 p.m., so I did not have the above problem. 

BJP:  Nrwood-HickoryGrove-Coley-Panoramic; 32.4 m.; 1 hrs, 55 min in-motion time; 16.8 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _3 rides; __187.3 m.; _11 hrs, 59 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD tot: 87 rides; 5,682.0 m.; 380 hrs, 40 min; 14.9 mph. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oct-03: JRA, and Bayleaf Fire Dept Open House

Just riding around spinning out the legs. 

Met 71-year-old Dick P. on Coley Rd.  I've been crossing paths with Dick for two or three years, about three to five times a year, always on Coley Rd.  But I'd never managed a conversation.

This time, he was near NC-98 headed toward Carpenter Pond (which on this blog, is sometimes referred to as "CP") while I was still headed toward the highway.  I figured I would catch the unknown gentleman and see if I could strike up a conversation.  There was traffic on Coley trying to turn onto 98, so I was delayed an extra minute, and I didn't catch Dick until after we had just crossed Kemp Rd.

I slowed to chat.  We exchanged recognition and names.  He asked if I rode with a particular north Raleigh group.  Nope.  I told him about some of my usual courses.  He knew them all, but in recent years has grown leary of the traffic on New Light and Old Weaver Trail -- so he winds a hilly path through housing developments to get to Hickory Grove Rd and CP and the Coley -- and then reverses course to return home.

At the top of Coley (i.e., at the intersection with CP), we found that each of us intended to head east:  Dick to head home; me to head to Bayleaf Fire Dept.  Dick asked if I cared to ride the housing development trail and he'd lead me to Norwood near Bayleaf.  As we headed up the last climb to Norwood, Dick apologized as he had only just realized he was taking me toward the Durham Highway Fire Dept.  I told him "I know, but that's all right; I'm just out to loosen up the legs, and this route through these housing developments has been quite interesting."  

'Till next time, Dick.

Oh, and thanks for leading me on that housing development route.
The "Irregulars" will love it.  Bwahaha!
I then rode over to Bayleaf Fire Dept's Open House.  And blah, blah, blah, I got Lt. Dave to take my blood pressure:  132 / 78.  About the same as last year; click here to find out.

BJP:  Coley-housing development-Norwood-PleasantUnionChRd; 30.3 m.; 2 hrs, 7 min in-motion time; 14.3 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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _2 rides; __154.9 m.; _10 hrs, 04 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 86 rides; 5,649.6 m.; 378 hrs, 44 min; 14.9 mph.

Oct-02: Morrisville 200 km Brevet

I pulled into Siler City to see “Runs With Joints” Jerry set up with cycle workstation and toolbox, and he had water in his car.  He also had a brand-new stamp to use on Control Cards; reportedly to make a unique and special mark on Howling Grits Control Cards.  First special volunteer-manned control I can recall encountering since Seagrove was “manned” by Andy, JayJay and Mrs. Andy during Alan's 300.  (Perhaps Andy will read this and leave a message reminding me of the proper name of Mrs. Andy.)  [Edit:  clearly I forgot about the 600 -- Jerry was in Wilmington and MikeD was in White Lake.  Maybe my mind has trouble recalling certain facts from that ride.]

There was quite a crowd gathered around Jerry. It included familiar rando faces such as Dean, Mike O., Biker Bob, and possibly one or two more, but I don’t recall.  The crowd also included me and “my 3 guys” Iva, Tito and Robert.  Turned out Tito knew Jerry (OF COURSE) from Carolina Godiva Track Club days.  (Possible foreshadowing, or maybe more properly, post-shadowing.)  I had not known that Tito was a former Godivan until early in the ride when he powered past wearing a Godiva Tyvek jacket.  My Godiva Tyvek jacket is a bit older than Tito’s despite the fact that Tito is nine years older than me – question: will I be as fast as Tito when I am his age? – I’d be happy to be as fast as Iva when I’m Iva’s age (inside joke for “Irregulars” – I’m not explaining). 

My Godiva time ended about the time Jerry’s Godiva time started (which must have been when Tito was a Godivan) … but after letting memories percolate since April (my first brevets), I think I recall hearing about “Runs With Joints”.  I also used to run with “Rusty Joints”, but Jerry ran with Walter during lunch whereas I ran with Walter on Sundays, at races, or occasionally at Hashes.  I think I recall “Rusty Joints” himself mentioning “Runs With Joints”.  But I also think I recall that “Rusty Joints” had a female running companion for lunchtime excursions.  What happened to her? When did Jerry replace her?  I do not recall Jerry from my Godiva days; he does not recall me; but we know / knew a lot of the same people.

(Btw, the "Walter" referred to in the above paragraph is not the dog named "Walter" that I may have mentioned in a previous blog entry.)  

But I digress. 

There was quite a crowd gathered around Jerry.  I overheard him explaining to someone, perhaps Dean, that Jerry had just recruited MikeD to join the “let’s get Maria her 600” crew.  I couldn’t resist piping up with “Sure, after I have publically renounced this year’s SR quest, people decide to do the 600 at a pace I could ride.”  (Possible foreshadowing.) 

I recall MikeD writing about and explaining that he enjoyed the shifting temporary riding alliances one often experiences during a brevet.  (I am not going to look for the entry in Mike’s RTP blog, so … no link.)  On Saturday, I experienced that phenomenon more than I ever had previously (not that I have that many brevets / permanents in my legs). 

Iva planned to ride with me and let Tito and Robert go up the road.  I hoped to find a Jerry or Tim L or John O or someone similar so that I could suck their wheel to the bottom of the Jack Bennett climb.  However, Jerry was volunteering; Tim L was not present; John O was not present; Geof was not there; I did not see Branson.  Except for Branson, the entire “not-quite-with-the-incredibly-fast-lead-crowd” seemed to be missing.  Well, not entirely. I saw and exchanged some paper-work with Byron prior to the ride, but come start time, I did not locate him (or I would have tried to shamelessly suck his wheel for that first 17 miles). 

MikeD was there, but I figured that even at a “soft-pedal”, “I’m-still-tired-from-the-Trace-1000” pace that I would not be likely to hold on to him all the way to the bottom of Jack Bennett.  I was kinda’ wrong on that point: we caught Mike on Lystra or maybe just before.  Tito rode up alongside Mike, and in typical Tito fashion, was soon talking to whomever was leading the group with which he was riding.  Pretty soon I hear Mike say “Oh, I recognize and remember you from training rides years ago.”  OF COURSE .  There was also time for Tito to learn that Mike was riding his 1958 frame, built up as a fixie.  He rode a different fixie at least one time last year .  (For those that were at the Oct-02 brevet, compare Mike's bike that day to the one in the photo at the top-right of this blog.)

Soon enough, the Jack Bennett climb began, and Mike and Tito disappeared, leaving Dean, Iva and me loosely riding “together” up JB.  I figured Tito would likely ride all day with Mike – Tito wanted to ride faster and with more panache than he did at the Aug-14 brevet and picnic ride.  But, half-way up the hill, we found that Tito had stopped alongside the road to admire the flora – Tito rode the rest of the day with Iva and … you’ll have to read on. 

Flashing back to the start, I couldn’t find any “medium-fast” guys or gals to follow, so I settled for a better plan:  stick with Dean. 

I can identify Dean and me.
The other 4-tailenders ... I know not.
Nor can I identify those already on the road.
Photo, with permission, by "sag" of "sagittandy".

Iva disappeared just at 7 a.m..  Why?  His “brother” Tito arrived at about 6:58, of course, and Iva waited the couple / few minutes for Tito to get paper-work from Alan.  However, the Tito locomotive was in fine fettle and Tito, pulling Iva, soon caught Dean and me, and, as indicated above, we rode along together … and even temporarily “collected” MikeD “into” our group … though Mike was always ahead of Dean, Iva, and me … only Tito got alongside Mike … at least that is what I recall.  Where was Biker Bob?  I dunno. 

As described above, Mike dropped us on the Jack Bennett climb; I figured that we would only see him again as we approached Siler City (Mike would be leaving Siler City).  I was wrong on that count.  Although we never caught Mike on the road, he was still in Snow Camp when I arrived (Mike O thirty seconds behind, Dean a minute behind, and Tito, Iva and Robert were six to eight minutes behind).  We did see MikeD as we approached Siler City.  And, wow!, MikeD was still at Snow Camp when we returned to that control. (Sitting on the bench, drinking chocolate milk, I commented “there goes Mike; this has been the first time I’ve ever been at the same control at the same time as MikeD.”  Ian said that he had mentioned a similar thing to MikeD, to which Mike had responded “I’m soft-pedaling.”  We knew that.  We knew that he was likely still somewhat tired from the Natchez Trace 1000.  And Dean had filled in the info that Mike was also recovering from a cold or something.  We knew.  But still … Ian and I are more likely to ride with “Brother Rob” than “Brother Mike”.  See here for my Rico Rob Experience and see here for Ian's longer experience .  

You may have noticed that Dean, Iva, Tito and I had added Robert to our group.  How did that happen?  He was waiting for us at outbound Frosty’s, having decided he wanted to ride with "his buddies" instead of with “John” and “Mike”.  “John” turned out to be Mike O’C.  As for “Mike”, I think that may have been MikeD.  I think it would have been a good test for Robert if he had stuck with “Brother Mike”. 

How did I get to outbound Snow Camp 6 or 8 minutes before Tito, Robert and Iva?  I RODE THEM OFF MY WHEEL.  Well … no.  Iva told some story about being sure some big truck was going to hit him on NC-87, so Iva purposefully ditched.  Then Tito failed to notice that Dean and I had turned off NC-87 onto Castle Rock Farm Rd, and Tito started riding hell-bent-for-leather for Pittsboro.  Got half-an-extra-mile south on NC-87, and concluded no one was following him as he collected bonus miles.  After Tito returned to Castle Rock Rd, Robert apparently completed the trifecta by having a mechanical.  What was my reaction when I realized the three musketeers were not in my mirror?  I figured the three could take care of each other, and I, having learned some lessons from DNF’ing on some Summer Permanents, pedaled on. 

I think Dean may have been doing too much riding on his FLAT Tarheel 200 Permanent and (I’m guessing) flat Benson Mule Pull and Get ‘Er Dunn Permanent Populaires.  Why do I think that?  Because I slowly pulled ahead on Castle Rock / Old Swithboard Rd … and I seldom catch or pull-ahead of anybody on even slightly rolling terrain.  But I also caught Mike O just at the end Old Swithboard Rd, so maybe I was benefitting from my recent trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway . 

Maybe Dean was in his usual (I-almost-have-10-thousand-RUSA-kms-myself-but-I’ll-only-mention-that-MikeD-is-due-to-cross-that-threshold-today) shape, but I was in a bit better shape than usual.  (On Sunday, I dropped by the Bayleaf Fire Dept. Open House to get Lt. Dave to take my blood pressure – 132 / 78 towards the end of a short, spin-out-the-legs ride – and upon seeing me, Dave asked “did you do that brevet?”  In response to my confirmation, he added “easy, wasn’t it.”  I had to admit that it was easier than previous 200’s.  Dave attributed the “ease” to the BRP ride.  I added that the lower temps didn’t hurt, either.) 

Anyway, I caught Mike O just at the turn off Old Switchboard onto Lindley Mill Rd.  I’d never caught Mike O before; he usually just powers away from me .  MikeO cleverly managed to get BEHIND me as we turned onto Lindley Mill, and into the north-northeast breeze (wind?).  Half-way up to the Old Greensboro Highway, I told MikeO that I was going to include him in my blog as a “wheel-sucking-wind-shadowing-something”.  Mike’s response: “Great!”  So … I continued riding strongly up Lindley Mill Rd followed by wheel-sucking-wind-shadowing-energy-saving-for-later-bedeviling-purposes Mike O.  Maybe MikeO has been doing the Tarheel 200 and other flat options too often.  Why?  Because with the slight quartering tailwind on the westbound rollers on Old Greensboro Highway the last 4.66 miles (that’s what it says on Alan’s April brevet cue sheet) into Snow Camp, I slowly pulled ahead of him. 

I tried to be quick (for once) at the Snow Camp control.  As previously mentioned, MikeO and Dean pulled in within a minute or so; but the three musketeers did not arrive until 6 or 8 minutes after I had.  Iva filled me in on the above mentioned ditching, bonus miles and mechanical.  And … my legs were getting stiff after having been in Snow Camp for 15 minutes (and besides, someone else was using the rest room) … so I headed out for Siler City.  I thought that Dean and Biker Bob were on my wheel, but a mile down the road, a check in my mirror indicated I was solo.  Strange. 

I wasn’t solo for long.  Tito pulled the other two musketeers to catch me; I think Dean was also in tow.  The 12-mile trip to Siler City was quick – we had a good tailwind. 

The happenings at Siler City have already been discussed.  Except to note that when, after about 4 or 5 minutes, I looked to head back toward Snow Camp, the three musketeers were no where in sight.  Then I spotted their bikes … they were in the convenience store.  Well, I was trying to do the brevet as two 50-milers with a 25-miler in the middle; I figured, with the cooler temps, to fill-up in Snow Camp and not dally in Siler City.  (I did get some water from one of Jerry’s water jugs.) 

I left Siler City with Dean.  Where was Biker Bob?  I dunno. 

The chronology between Snow Camp and Siler City is a bit confused in my head.  Perhaps as confused as you, the reader may be, what with this post starting in the middle, jumping to the start and continuing along, and then returning to the start, and jumping all around … chronology wise.  Two or three miles south of the Chatham-Alamance County Line, Dean led me up to hook onto Mike O and (I don’t know how to spell) Moisha.  Mike asked Dean how many were now in line.  Four. 

Mike got Moisha to pull out of the lead and drift to the back of the line, as Mike took over pulling.  He pulled for a mile or a bit more.  Then Mike pulled out and Dean was pulling.  I felt a bit bad for Dean as he had pulled me the last couple miles before we had caught Mike and Moisha; but I didn’t feel too bad, after all, I had pulled Dean the couple or three miles before that.  Anyway, about half-a-mile into Dean’s pull, it was easy to see the change in road surface at the County Line.  A quarter-mile later, around and shooting past goes Mike, the wheel-sucking-wind-shadowing-energy-saving-conniving-25-miles-ahead-of-time-on-how-to-take-the-CL Irishman.  Fearless Leader Alan, Mike’s apparently frequent cycling partner in crime, would have enjoyed the moment.  Neither Dean nor I entertained any thoughts to challenge Mike.  Moisha had disappeared off the back of the pace-line. 

I think it was a few moments after the CL that the three musketeers, led with panache by the Tito locomotive, powered past Dean and I.  We continued to lose ground to the three, and also Mike, despite running at 19 mph upslope and into the headwind.  Funny though: Mike re-caught the three musketeers, and Dean and I also closed the gap just before the Snow Camp control.  I suspect that Mike, Dean and I all knew that that last little insult of a bump-up to the control was coming, and we were mentally prepared whereas the three musketeers, having only ridden the course once previously, were caught mentally unprepared.  Aah, I love it when I have a course-knowledge advantage over those a bit faster – something I no longer have on most “Irregular” rides. 

The rest room at Snow Camp was again occupied, so I decided to use the port-a-john at the athletic field at the corner of the Old Greensboro Highway and Lindley Mill Rd.  I told Robert that I planned to use the “Tardis” at the athletic field – I think Robert is not familiar with “Dr. Who”.  The three musketeers slowly pulled ahead on the eastbound harder-rollers on Old Greensboro Highway, Dean was slightly behind, and I pulled off and over to the port-a-john … aah … empty bladder is so much better. 

Lindley Mill, with a quartering tailwind, solo.  Nice.
Old Switchboro Rd, the first bump-up just at / after the turn:  man this wind must have really picked up. 
No.  I’m in the 50 chain ring; the 39 felt better; the 30 felt even better than that.
Dang it, though.  What is with this pain in the right knee?
Second time since … I can’t recall.  Second time in a month.
Both times after riding with Dean.  Hmmn.  That’ll make a good line for later. 

I did use that line.  First, when making small talk with Jerry and playing for additional rest time for the knee, and later, at Alan’s, I pointed out this troubling situation to Dean. 

However, I’m pretty sure I know the cause:  too much effort, too soon.  Always remember Velocio’s rule # 7 (one of the other’s may apply, but #7 is the only one I can remember by number). 

On Castle Rock Rd, Jerry, driving the course on his way home from Siler City, pulled up alongside in his car and asked how I was doing and if I needed anything.  Water came to mind – that was a LOT more possible than what I suggested the the last time Jerry pulled up alongside and asked if I needed anything.  Jerry pulled off the road ahead of me and I took too much water, really.  But I was worried that I’d have to ride the entire last 45 miles at 10 mph or slower because of “no-go” in the right knee.  I took some Ibuprofen (which I had acquired after doing Dean’s Tarheel 200 in early September and in preparation for the BRP trip – I had no knee pain on the trip).  Jerry told me that Biker Bob was behind me a mile or so, and then Ian and Moisha were further back.  Jerry also started trying to talk me into joining the “let’s get Maria her 600” crew.  The guy had just given me water, and was not complaining as I wasted his time, playing for rest time for my knee – what could I do.  The right thing, of course.  Which was to say that I would think it over, taking into account how the knee reacted and logistics issues, etc..  Biker Bob arrived just as I was finally ready to push off.  Jerry gave Bob an instruction: “work on him about the 600”. 

The ibuprofen did its job.  The knee pain gradually dissipated, and long before the finish ... no knee pain. 

Those that know Biker Bob even a little, know that he is not effusive.  Nor even talkative.  Pleasant, nice, always will say hello and chat for a moment.  But talkative – no.  Effusive – definitely not.  Well, Bob was not effusive, nor even that talkative, but he did “work on me” some.  Later, when Bob was leaving Alan’s, Bob held out his hand to shake mine, and said “see you next week on the 600.”  That's probably a strategy as effective as any.  (MikeD added some "ride the 600" encouragement while at Alan's.)

Anyway, Bob and I rode the last 40 or 45 miles together.  We stopped opposite Andrew’s Store to each munch on a cheap “granola” bar.  Mike O came out of the store, more-or-less with Dean, and stopped to tell me that “my guys” had blasted past a few minutes earlier.  Mike and Dean took off while Bob and I were still munching away; Dean with the words “you’ll probably catch us.” 

I started closing on Dean while descending Jack Bennett – I have a downslope gravity advantage.  I also started dropping Biker Bob; again I have a gravity advantage.  I came within about 50 yards of catching Dean at the “top” of Martha’s Chapel Rd, but decided I should stop and mix up some electrolyte drink.  It would really look foolish to catch Dean only to cramp up, or, alternatively, to have to stop and mix some “koolaide”.  (Dean, for those not in the know, makes insightful contributions to the “Research Trailer Park” blog, mostly about hydration, nutrition, proper training, that kind of thing. I think he teaches about those and other subjects – but I’m not 100% sure.  I haven’t included a link to any of Dean’s posts on RTP – but they are somewhat easy to find.) 

Biker Bob caught me as I mixed the “koolaide”, and we rode the remainder of the brevet together.  We did not see Dean or Mike, again, until we finished.  I did not see the three musketeers anywhere, although a look at Alan’s check-in sheet showed that Iva had finished only 15 minutes before I did.  Apparently all three left without a brownie or a cupcake or Alan even having a chance to offer a soft-drink or home brew.  Apparently they left without even chatting with the assembled.  Iva is quiet; Robert is quiet; but it is hard to believe that Tito failed to strike up a conversation with … someone; after all, that is one of his main characteristics. 

For a different take on the brevet, see here .  

Btw, I don’t think Andy mentioned it in his blog post, but congratulations to JayJay and Andy, who finished the brevet in under 12 hours.  (Alan wasn’t expecting them for another hour.  JayJay admitted that she had expected them to take 13 hours, instead of the 12.) 

For "proof" (to the three musketeers) that there were cupcakes, etc., click here.

Thanks to Fearless Leader Alan and Dorothy for the Morrisville season.  Thanks also to all those that volunteered this year (I won’t make a partial list and unintentionally leave someone off).  Thanks to all those I rode with this year (again I won’t risk the partial list thing).  Thanks to Alan for the homebrew.  Thanks to Dorothy for keeping Alan in line and for the tomato sandwiches.

Morrisville 200 km Brevet; 124.6 m.; 7 hrs, 57 min in-motion time; 15.7 mph; rando time:  09hh00mm.  1 hour, 1 minute faster than in August.

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.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _1 rides; __124.6 m.; __7 hrs, 57 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD tot: 85 rides; 5,619.3 m.; 376 hrs, 37 min; 14.9 mph.