Monday, November 1, 2010

Oct-31: Tarheel 200 km Halloween Permanent

I had planned to do my "Middleburg 100-miler" (you can find a map in the "map roll" on the right on the "Route Maps" page), but I didn't care to finish with 50 miles into a headwind.  So ... I called Dean Saturday evening to see if there was still time to be included with the crew doing the Tarheel 200 on Sunday.  "Yes." 

Dean sent out a post-7 p.m. e-mail with the usual information and some additional stuff about ghouls and ghosts and goblins (or some such) ... I didn't check my e-mail after 7-ish Saturday evening, so the e-mail was waiting for me this morning.  Now I understand about Dean and his Halloween "Rat Fink" jersey. 

Dean's version of the ride, with PHOTOS, can be seen here!

Luckily I didn't need the usual information as I still had the hard copy cue sheet from Sep-04, and had decided to wear my long-sleeve bright orange (blaze ?) jersey.  I claimed the orange was for Halloween pumpkins -- Dean made his usual "Tennessee Orange" joke (dang Univ. of Kentucky people, anyway) -- but UT jokes don't phase me -- I went to Illinois where our colors are blue and orange -- I did suggest, again, that he try out his joke on UT alum LynnL, if he can catch up to her.

I'm not sure that LinO got the "boo" message -- he showed up in a Randonneur USA jersey.  Off thread, I have read many "CrazyGuyOnABike" journals where the recumbent bike and cyclist attract much attention while the accompanying diamomd frames go unnoticed.  This was the first time I had ever ridden in a group with a recumbent ... Lin's bike got a lot of attention.  People would just stop whatever they were doing and ... LOOK.

I don't think Al P. got the "boo" message, either.  He showed up attired normally, with plenty of cargo space, but he was moving with a noticeable hitch in his get-along -- a reminder of his Sep-08 crash.  Al had gotten back on the bike for the first time, following rehab, on Oct-20.  He was, perhaps, pushing the envelope.

Cool to chilly morning.  Warming fast.  Even before the 8 a.m. official start time, people started changing their costumes, er, clothing choices.  We didn't push off until 8:18.  (An aside for the "Irregulars" that may read this:  I was ready before 8, and I did not participate in the costume changing -- yes, that's right, I was ready to go on time.)

Lin, Al, and I let Dean lead the way out of Benson ... after all, it is his route, and none of us actually have the course memorized.  Letting Dean lead also allowed him to break the wind ... but he was first to the first CL of the day ... no one challenged his lead of the paceline.

No evidence of Roscoe between Benson and Dunn.

The constantly reforming conversations were put on hold as we again let Dean lead through the maze in Dunn / Erwin ... maybe not ... because it seemed that Lin and Al were first to pull into the "Informational Control" in Erwin.

Out of Erwin and onto NC-82 (?) and to and thru the Aversboro Battlefield.  Somehow I had gotten dropped off the front (perhaps Dean and Lin were doing a better job, at that point, of trying to keep a pace suitable for Al?).  Lin would probably like me to claim that I had gotten ahead in order to carefully recon the county line that bisects the Battlefield, but I didn't.  Just after passing into Cumberland (?) County, we saw the overnight campground of the re-enactors.  There didn't seem to be much activity going on -- maybe this afternoon?

Clipping the edge of Wade, crossing over I-95, Dean, Lin and I ended up in some conversation that apparently got our adreniline flowing because we picked up the pace mightily and lost contact with Al, who had been just behind us, and regrouping (or nearly so) repeatedly on the road.  Al didn't see us or know to stop at Strickland's Marathon -- we found him at the old 600 km control in Stedman.  He told us to go on, because he "didn't know ... ."

We next saw Al between Tarheel and the bridge over the Cape Fear (?) River -- meaning he was staying pretty even with us.  That was the last time we saw Al (on the route).

Back-tracking, while at the Marathon Open Control stop, Dean had eaten some sweet potatoes and rice, and refilled his bottle with some unknown, caramel colored fluid.  Lin had eaten chicken legs or wings and had a Coke.  Between Stedman and Cedar Creek, Lin's food intake suddenly seemed to fuel him a little extra and we were suddenly flying down the road a lot faster than previously.  However, Lin's perfect storm of energy only last a few miles, and we returned to a more touristy pace.  At the touristy pace, Lin and I were chatting when suddenly Dean went flying past -- you'd think it was Fearless Leadah Alan charging for a county line -- oh, wait, Dean IS charging for the Bladen (?) CL.  Lin and then I gave chase -- Lin caught and passed Dean, I caught and passed Dean, I realized it was futile to attempt to catch Lin, so I sat up.

At the Tarheel control, I don't know what Lin ate but I think he may have had another Coke, and I don't know what Dean ate but he again refilled with that fizzy, caramel-colored liquid.  I ate a banana and drank a V-8 and mixed up some eLoad.

Back on River Rd, we were again doing touristy pace and having genial conversation when again Dean suddenly took off.  Sugar high?  Nope.  Same dang CL -- only from the other direction.  Lin caught and passed Dean; I'm not sure, but I don't think I even bothered to attempt to "sprint".  The pace on Tabor Ch Rd all the way to Cedar Creek remained high, and we made a quick stop there remove some more articles of clothing -- arm warmers, knee / leg warmers, wind vests that hadn't already been removed / adjusted.

Dean AGAIN refilled with the fizzy, caramel-colored fluid.  This time, his choice of drink became a matter for conversation.  The long-and-short of it is that Dean, the well-known Research Trailer Park physiologist, CLAIMED that he was refilling with Diet Coke.  However, this was not independently verified.  Perhaps those refills were the real thing -- real sugar-filled Coke.  If it was the real thing, it brings into questions those ill-fated charges for the county lines -- were those actually attempts to take the CL points, or were they just sudden, short-lived infusions of sugar into his system?  I know there is a post on the RTP blog about Dean drinking real Coke on a hot day down near Atlanta -- "linky here".  We report; you decide.

Dean's possible sugar-high efforts appeared to be leaving him somewhat drained.  He kept falling off the back on the way to the Aversboro Battlefield ... and the last contestable CL of the day.  I, too, was feeling the effects of the faster return pace and hanging on to Lin.  On one valley bump-up as we neared the Battlefield, I told Lin that if he was making a move for the CL -- he was welcome to it.  He remarked he was only trying to finesse the recumbent up the little climbs.  A bit further on, I commented that we seemed to have lost Dean again, and Lin suggested we reduce the pace while we waited for Dean; agreed.  Putzing along, me leading, my head at least a foot (maybe two) higher off the ground because of the difference between bent and diamond frames, I saw the change in the road surface that signalled the Harnett (?) County Line only 50 or 75 yards ahead -- zip, zip, zip, about three hard pedal strokes and Lin did not have time to react.  Lin claimed I had played him for a sucker.  Maybe.  The ensuing "sucker chat" helped pass a couple miles.

Injecting a mostly serious note, see this article about hydration for the endurance athlete, by Dean. 

Control at Erwin.  Denim Dr. to Dunn.  Fairgound Rd -- with a nice sunset view -- most of the way to Benson.  Finished off with a rush through town to end of the ride.

Dinner at the Subway.  Conversation.  Lin headed home.  I waited with Dean while he waited for Al.  Al finished about 75 minutes after we had finished.

Tough guy award for the day goes to ... Al.

Tarheel 200 km Permanent; 125.3 m.; 8 hrs, 10 min in-motion; 15.3 mph; official rando time:  10 hrs, 57 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: 13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 97 rides; 6,545.3 m.; 437 hrs, 26 min; 15.0 mph. 
Personal mile-stones achieved this month:

 1.  10k kms for the year -- second consecutive year with 10k+ kms.  (all riding, not RUSA credit kms)
 2.  1300+ RUSA credit kms for the month.  One 200k brevet, five 200k perms, one perm populaire.
 3.  First ever 1000+ mile month.
 4.  On Oct-30, passed 40k lifetime kms (it is a short "lifetime").
 5.  First November ride, I'll pass 25k lifetime miles.

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