Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan-01: Tar Heel 200 km Permanent

Dean Gets R-48!
John O Begins 2011 Assault.
Fearless Leader Alan demonstrates discretion.
I get my first Jan-01 ride since 2005.

Gathering just before 7 am, Dean, John O and I were just trying to get a good start on the year.  Alan was going for a "kinder, gentler 400" as the ride would make his second Tar Heel in as many days.  Morning temps were moderate, although there was still quite a bit of snow piled in ditches and shady spots.  Morning breeze was not noticeable. 

I had thought John O would be going for back-to-back Tar Heel rides with Alan.  I thought that would be good because John might be a bit slower than usual.  However, he informed that he had decided to skip the ride on the 31st, but also claimed he had ridden nothing of consequence since a Whirligig ride four weeks earlier. 

So that defined our starting crew: 
 _ John claiming to be out of shape;
 _ Dean claiming to be out of shape;
 _ Alan, our 400k man;
 _ Me, hoping I was mostly over a cold. 

Not too long after the ride began, Alan changed his plan.  I have tried several ways of trying to be clever, but I can't come up with anything that looks and reads "clever" or "humorous" after I read what I've written.  So ... I'll just write it as follows.  Alan decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and turned back.  One of these days, I expect I'll get to ride an entire ride with Alan when he hasn't spent the entire previous day walking around the NC State Fair or doing a Permanent.  And maybe I'll be the one struggling, and I'll finally get to hear some of the many stories of previous brevets and permanents in Alan's war-chest. 

John, Dean and I pedaled on through the cool air on the damp roads.  Not too fast, though.  After all, each of was claiming to be a bit under-trained or dealing with residual health issues.  We got to the Strickland Marathon about 10 minutes later than previous rides.  We judged that pretty good, considering.

I decided to get a biggish breakfast:  biscuit with gravy, scrambled eggs, a big sausage link.  Stick to your rids food.  Dean was next after me in the food line; I heard him order grits; I didn't hear what he ordered to go with the grits.  Grits!  I think John did not eat "breakfast".  We were back on the bikes at 10 am ... 20 minutes after we stopped. 

Cautious pacing continued.  We were somewhere near Cedar Creek when the southwesterly wind made its appearance.  Our pace was cut considerably.  My confuser had indicated 14.9 mph avg pace at Strickland's; the avg pace was down to 14.3 mph when we reached Tar Heel at 12:05 pm.  (Side note, on Dec-22, Dean and I had LEFT Tar Heel at 12:05.  However, on the 22nd, we had a headwind once we got north of Strickland's on the return leg.)

John headed for the Subway to eat lunch.  Dean and I grabbed quick eats/drinks at the gas station / convenience store.  Dean and I were beside our bikes at 12:22 when we saw John hurry past.  We tried to attract his attention with a wave.  We probably should have shouted.  But ... for the first time all day, John looked like himself on the bike -- he looked quite comfortable with his patented high cadence.  It would have been a shame to stop him. 

John appeared to think that Dean and I had done a really quick turn-around stop and that we were already miles up the road.  Dean checked with the clerks at the controls during the homebound 100k; the clerks confirmed that he asked for / about us at Strickland's and in Erwin.  He never did "catch" us.  Instead, we were able to intermittently follow his tire tracks most of the way back on the mixed damp and dry roads. 

Dean and I were delayed leaving Tar Heel for a few extra minutes because while removing some clothing, I ended up with a wardrobe malfuntion -- no, no, nothing similar to Janice Jackson at the Super Bowl a few years ago -- just that when I had removed a base jersey layer, I had lowered the "suspenders" of my bibs, and then failed to put them back up BEFORE putting my outer jersey and windvest back on.  So ... I had to strip off again, put the bib strap/suspenders in their proper place, and put jersey, etc. back on.  We left Tar Heel at about 12:30 pm. 

However, we were secure in the knowledge that we would have a helpful tailwind almost every centimeter of the homebound trip. 

We arrived at Strickland's at about 2:30 (some 25 minutes behind our Dec-22nd ride), but were officially registered at the Erwin contol at 4:05 (which was the time we had left Erwin on the 22nd).  We left the Erwin control before 4:10 with me hoping that maybe we could still catch a 5 pm finish (my cold symptoms were diminishing and my legs and butt felt great).  Of course, hopes were dashed while still in Erwin:  although we caught the light at the control on green, the light at the big intersection in Erwin was red, and red, and red, and red, and still red.  Finally, we were underway again. 

Leaving Dunn, I had the scent of the barn now only about 10 miles away.  Dean was in the rear, using his gazonk-a-zonk taillights on overtaking auto traffic.  I was up front, still thinking about 5 pm, and thinking more about how there had been so very little traffic all day, the "New Year resolution" runners and walkers we had seen, and most importantly, the lack of annoying dogs  the whole day.  I also think I was thinking about deeper issues, but I don't actually recall bacause I kind of zoned out.  I came to just before reaching "RoscoeLand", and realized that Dean was not just behind me, but had fallen back.  I didn't slow for that, but I did slow significantly when Roscoe came out to play.  I unclipped my left foot and was prepared to administer Roscoe a more serious "life-lesson" than I administered a couple months ago; however, Roscoe veered off once he saw my left foot move clear of the pedal; we repeated the dance a couple more times.  I hoped that Dean would have his "Halt!" ready.  I didn't get a clear picture of Dean's encounter with Roscoe and Roscoe's "mom", but I'm pretty sure Dean was not able to administer any "Halt!".

A quarter-mile after Roscoe, just at the turn off Old Fairgrounds Rd, the dog on the corner decided to be a pest.  At least that owner seemed at least mildly displeased with the dog.  Wish they would try actual training.

The ride finished without futher incident.  I got off my bike at 5:05 pm; it was 5:08 when I got my receipt and my card signed.  Homebound tailwinds are an excellent ally.

Although the above is a boring ride report ... it was a great day for a ride with good company.  We had a great ride.

I got in my first ride on Jan-1st since 2005.
John got a good jump on his 2011 goal.  (He mentioned what it is, but it is not my place to "spill the beans".)
Dean got his R-48.

Tar Heel 200 Permanent; 125.1 m.; 8 hrs, 16 min in-motion; 15.1 mph; rando time: 10 hrs, 8 min elapsed clock time. 

Jan tot: __1 rides; __125.1 m.; __8 hrs, 16 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: __1 rides; __125.1 m.; __8 hrs, 16 min; 15.1 mph.
Meanwhile, Some Irregulars Played on Some Hills and With A "Cow"?


Four of us rode today ushering in the New Year.  Tito, Wendy, Gary, and I had a nice ride leaving from Ravenstone Plaza doing the Johnson Mill, Rougemont, Range Road, Butner, Will Suitt route.  [route map, Iva's actual route skipped approx the first 11 and last 11 miles]  What a nice and difficult route.  I don't think I've done it before.  [Iva's memory has apparently blocked out certain things from the past.]  We were slow and stopped for long periods.  61 miles took us 5 and 1/2 hours to complete.  It started cold and then warmed (well, warm is not the right word).  Cool and dank is a good description.  I couldn't decide if it was perfect riding weather or a bit too cool and damp.

The scenery along Johnson Mill, Lowell, and Hopkins was spectacular.  We overtook three cyclists on McBroom.  Gary made contact with more potential customers because we rode with them up to McKee.

On Hampton Rd, we stopped to take some photos of a bull, which I later learned was a cow. 

One of the locals rode up on his ATV straight off the set of Deliverance.  You won't be surprised to learn that Tito found him interesting. 

Tito described it best today.  He said he felt like a rhinoceros trying to ride a bike.  I felt like an out of shape rhino trying to ride a bike.  But, anyway, we had a big time.  It was a good way to start the new year.

Some conversation followed receipt of the immediately above "Irregular" ride report:

Me:  I don't understand why Tito should feel like a rhino, or you should feel like an out-of-shape rhino.  Each of you got in more exercise in December than I did, and neither of you had a head cold the last week.  I must be failing to comprehend something. :-}

Iva:  It was just it was just so hard to turn the cranks.

Me:  Perhaps you should have tried using the 39 for awhile instead of the 53.  Or a cog with more than 11 or 12 teeth.

Iva:  I can never remember whether the easy gear is big crank - little cog or little crank - big cog.

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