Monday, October 4, 2010

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. 

1 comment:

  1. Martin,
    Excellent write up. I always say that but that's because it's always true.

    Thanks for the ride. I think in the end, it would have been better for me to stick with you and to have let Robert and Tito do their thing. I think they could have finished a good 1/2 hour sooner not waiting for me. I gave out of gas about 91 miles. I remember looking at the odometer when the tank went empty. But, we had fun.

    I did get a big scare on a bridge that I think was Lindley Mill Rd inbound. There was a big hole in the middle of the road. I saw it at the last second swerving around in the nick of time. That would have been ugly. But, in this case, a miss is as good as a mile. Iva