Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dec-24: A Holiday Tradition? Third Year.

Two years ago, Dec-27th (I think), Lt. Dave and I did a Range Road Rover for the first time for either of us (the last section of Range Rd wasn't "asphalted" until mid-2008).  It was chilly.  No snow on the ground or in the air.  The main thing I recall from that ride is swooping down-and-up the rollers on Range Rd as we headed south toward Old-75.  We had fun.
Last year, Lt. Dave, IvaHawk, Lee and I did the Range Road Rover + a Little Mountain Rd.  There was snow on the ground (see the photo from last year).  It never got above ~ 37 F.  Most of us felt "sloggy".  We had fun.
This year, there were seven:  Lt. Dave, IvaHawk, Lee, Levi, Rapid Robert, Gary, and me.  We again did the Range Road Rover + a Little Mountain Rd.  Backing up a little, I put out the "rider-call" e-mail mentioning only the route ... thinking everyone (on the "Irregulars" list) already knew (or at least knew-of) the course. 
In response to my "rider-call" e-mail, Levi responded:

At the risk of being punished…can I get a cue sheet?
Mileage 70 to 80?
I responded with the following:

Cue sheet? ... Cue sheet! 
Do I have a cue sheet? 
In case I don't, here is a map:  Range Road Rover + a Little Mountain Rd 

65 miles. 

I then realized that I did have a Range Rd cue sheet -- just not the exact course intended. The cue indicates staying on Range Rd all the way to Old-75. However, about 1.5 to 2 miles before getting to the end of Range Rd, we'd be taking the left onto "Little Mtn Rd"; that would put us on a flat section of Old-75 instead of having to cross a deep-ish valley to get into Stem.
Levi thought it a bit strange that we'd be taking a road named “Little Mountain Road” to avoid a climb?  

I immediately alerted everyone EXCEPT Levi:  Do NOT clue Levi in as to how lame Little Mtn Rd is.  Let him "fear the unknown".  IvaHawk embellished the reputation of Little Mtn Rd with an e-mail to Levi:  Little Mountain Road should be named Very Big Mountain Rd. Think of Col de Madeleine on steroids. 
Before the start of the ride, I was sure to remind everyone to save "something" for Little Mtn Rd.  Levi bought hook, line, and sinker.  To bad he was tired and showing it BEFORE we got to Little Mtn Rd.

I "stayed back" with Levi on Little Mtn Rd.  As we approached the end of the road, I said, "I'm confident that either you figured out we were having you on, or someone clued you in, yes?"  Levi was confused.  I told him he had just ridden the entire length of "Little Mtn Rd."  Levi was delighted.
Later, Rapid Robert told me that I was "mean to Levi, today."  I thought he was referring to my mentioning the infamous "bell girl" ride to Levi (and LT) near the end of the ride, but I realized that Robert doesn't know about that ride, and was out of earshot when I mentioned the "bell girl".  However, in my defense, Levi is not the first that I've tried to slow down by intimidating with mentioning the "difficult" Little Mountain Road.  I pulled the same non-prank on Snapper.  And, hey!, most all you guys are faster than me -- I need better course knowledge or other "help" to keep y'all to a pace I can handle.
As for the ride:  It was a bit chilly, possibly cold, at the beginning.  Before 6 miles, I was warm everywhere except for my left little finger -- even that was warm a few miles later.  LT requested a flo-max stop at the BP in Butner -- that turned into a fairly long stop as others, in turn, realized that they also suddenly needed a pee.  Those of us not so afflicted rested in a sunny spot of the parking lot; however, although sunny, the concrete was not warm -- my feet were warm when we arrived, but after standing still on the cold concrete for ___ minutes, they were quite chilled when we restarted.

Everyone else climbed the Range Wall with (what appeared to be) gusto; I climbed a bit slower than I usually do (but I doubt anyone else would notice the difference) -- I could definitely still feel "Wednesday" in my quads.  I think everyone else was feeling the chill.  Once atop the Wall, and then finally to where the plain levels out, the crew continued to soft-pedal waiting for Iva and me to catch up.  Also, I think the front five were having much enjoyable chat -- I certainly hope so; I think Iva and I were also chatting while catching up.  The front crew also made mad dashes for the Durham and then the Person county lines.  Gary took one of the CLs; I don't know about the other.

When we caught back on the peleton, IvaHawk and I enjoyed the wind-screen the others provided.  Somewhere along the still northbound section of Range Rd, Lee and I were discussing possible nick-names for Robert:  I suggested "Rapid Robert"; Lee suggested "Robert Rabbit"; we'll see if anything sticks. 

I was not re-warming as I thought I should be, and (if'n I recall correctly) others were also commenting on being somewhat chilly.  I decided that 15 mph on the "flat" was the problem, so I went around and dragged the pace up to 17 or 18.  Hating to see a draft go to waste, Rapid Robert grabbed my wheel (I'm guessing -- I didn't look -- but as Robert Rabbit ended up on my wheel, I'm assuming his usual "move"). 

After what seemed about 2 miles, there was a small curve in the road (in addition to the general bend taking us from northbound to eastbound) which revealed a small bridge, and just beyond that, one of those diamond shaped road-warning signs (cross-road) with the green Granville County sign attached to the same pole.  Being first to see the sign, I was was first to hit the pedals a bit harder -- I think Rapid Robert Rabbit was the only one to challenge -- on the flat, I can accelerate faster than Robert -- one CL for the "slow guys". 

The best thing about crossing into Granville County:  the road surface changed from rough chip-seal to smooooth asphalt.  The second best thing:  the northbound part of the ride was essentially over and we should start to collect a tailwind as we rode into the bright sunshine low on the southern horizon.

I tried to "swoop" the rollers southbound, but I didn't have the legs to do it.  All I managed to do was break up what had been a reasonably well-working social formation of cyclists.  Maybe we need a new "leader".  But I was much warmer; only my feet remained slightly chilled.

We stopped in Stem because that had been the plan.  The mayor didn't seem to be on duty at her store.  IvaHawk had promised that the store would be all "decked-out" for Christmas.  It wasn't.  I don't know why I had thought it would be.

Zoom most of the way to Creedmoor.  Slog up the one big slope before Creedmoor.  Zip through Creedmoor -- not all of us used the same course.  ;-)  Onto Dove; I didn't have the legs to roller-coaster the rollers; I was happy follow LT and ride with Iva.  Gary provided Iva with a "jato bottle" assist on the biggest "up" on Dove.

We reached Whitt Rd.  I saw Gary go into an exaggerated "I'm getting ready to sprint" position on the bike; someone said "I know what's coming"; I thought, because of the exaggerated position, that Gary was mostly "faking-a-sprint"; I saw a one-foot wide clear path between the fog line and the ugly gravel on the other side of the corner; I saw Gary cutting across the double-yellow and sort of pretend to start a sprint; I hit the pedals hard, NOT faking a sprint, taking the aforementioned clear pathway, hitting the pedals hard enough that the front wheel came up off the road surface; I don't know if anyone else gave chase, being only about 60 yards from the turn to the CL sign, if one hasn't pre-planned to "sprint", there really isn't time to react; mark up two CL's for the slow guys. 

Good thing about that "sprint":  it loosened up my legs and gave me cadence to carry me all the way up the climb on Whitt Rd.  I wasn't fast, mind you -- but it was not a slog.  Everyone else except Levi road easily up the Whitt Rd climb.

Onto Old Weaver Trail headed for New Light Rd; we split into two sections.  The back section consisted of Levi, Lt. Dave (who provided repeated jato assists to Levi), and me (watching for traffic from behind to make sure jato assists were viable).  The other four were in the front section; Gary apparently gave Iva some jato assists on Old Weaver. 

The back section caught the front section because Rapid Robert had dropped his chain and had to stop to put it back on.  (Robert -- take a lesson from Lee.  Lee had dropped his chain while climbing the Range Wall, and although his speed fell off to nearly "I can't balance going this slow", he used the "chain guide" to put the chain back on without stopping.  While going UP the Range Wall !!)

Oh, funny thing today.  Everyone decided to take the easier finish (NewLight / SixForks - Pleasant Union Ch Rd  instead of  Ghoston - Peed - MVC).  Even me.

All-in-all ... we had a fun ride.  (I suspect that I forgot to close something I may have foreshadowed.  If so, that's just the way the stream-of-thought works.)

PUE:  Range Road Rover + a Little Mountain Rd; 64.6 m.; 4 hrs, 17 min in-motion; 15.1 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: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: _10 rides; __726.4 m.; _48 hrs, _6 min; 15.1 mph.
Dec tot: __5 rides; __287.8 m.; _19 hrs, _5 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: 112 rides; 7,559.5 m.; 504 hrs, 43 min; 15.0 mph.


  1. I am counting on the ex-Marine pilot to explain (in a comment) "jato bottles" as in the real world.

    "Jato bottles" as in the post ... should be more-or-less obvious once the real world definition is understood.


  2. Martin

    An enjoyable ride ... . A little slower than last year, but then I am a little slower as I am a little older.
    Since you asked -

    most enjoyable ride - the VA raid

    most memorable ride - when Rabbit Robert finally got on a bike

    most scary ride - need I say, knowing I was going down at 30 mph

    most inspiring - 3 hump when (1)Iva did his flag pole trick & (2) I tried to drag myself up Hanging Rock.

    Enjoy the day,

  3. Martin,
    Thanks for the ride and report. I'm glad we did it when we did it looking out my window at the foot high snow.

    JATO stands for Jet Assisted Take Off. There may be other applications, but I remember them as being attached to C-130s that enabled them to take off from aircraft carriers or short runways. They are one time use jet pods attached to the fuselage that the pilot fires on takeoff to help the plane into the air. Gary's push feels just like it !

    Robert Rabbit and Rapid Robert. I like that. We could make a play on the various John Updike titles like Rabbit Run or Rabbit at Rest (which isn't often).

    I thought Gary, Lee, LtDave, and RR all climbed very well today. So I was surprised that LD thought he was slower than last year.

    Santa bought me a cool GPS watch yesterday.


  4. @ Iva -

    My "in-motion" time was ONE minute LESS than last year. I think that while I had less time-in-motion, Lee may well have had more time-in-motion because last year he and Dave stopped-to-wait on me, whereas this year, the front section appeared to just soft-pedal on Range Rd waiting for you and me. And I think most/all were having fun-chat, and when one is enjoying the conversation sufficiently, the cadence lessens.

    I don't know about you, but I'll trade enjoyable conversation for a little speed almost any time.

  5. A great time was had by all. Range Rd. although not nearly as green this time of the year still provides ample beauty. Weather was cool to start but overall it was a great day for a ride.

    What -- no mention of the super human fast flat fix? :-)

  6. Darn it! I knew there was something I was forgetting.

    I had planned to integrate into the story how certain "Irregulars" have been waiting for two or three years for my number to come up on the "flat front". Well, my number finally came up during an "Irregulars" ride. Snapper, Stew, JohnH, etc., you missed it.

    It only took a few minutes for the change, and for the first time EVER, I saw the use of a CO2 cartridge NOT result in (a) wasting of the cartridge as all the air escaped and/or (b) the tube being ruined by putting the air in too fast.

    I take full credit ...
    for having Gary on the ride. Haha!
    I owe Gary a replacement cartridge.

  7. Had a really good time on the ride and am thankful for the JATO's by LT and Gary. Thank goodness no bike with bells were anywhere to be seen.