JP put out a call to ride TL's Whirligig Permanent Populaire, but the early crew that had signed on (Jerry, Geof, Tim, MikeD(?), JohnO(?)) made me think I'd be off-the-back in nothing flat. I was otherwise in e-mail contact with BryanR for I-forget-why, and he expressed a similar concern about getting gapped immediately and spending half-a-day chasing, so we decided to do MikeD's Showdown in Black Creek at a reasonable pace and enjoy the expected warmer temperatures (and "deal with" the homebound headwind when it materialized). We are sticking to the "no chase" story, even though some may think that we rode 200k just to collect the extra kms.
Bryan and I have known each other digitally for a couple years, but had never ridden together except for a short stint last June on "Byron's Full Moon KLL" ("photo non-proof": Kerr Lake Dam obligatory photo; why "non-proof"? because Bryan was behind the camera). Last year, Bryan was one of the not-quite-incredibly-fast-NC-randos; this year, he claims he is backing off chasing the fast-"guys" and planning to enjoy his rides more. I hope so ... because it was a great day on the bike Sunday ... mostly because Bryan was great company.
Prior to starting to ride, Bryan asked me if I needed a cue sheet. Nope. This was only Bryan's second time doing the Black Creek ride; my fifth. And I am fully familiar with the first ~ 46 miles of the course because of riding in my pre-rando days (and current "Irregular" rides); i.e., much of the Black Creek course is on the edge / barely inside my usual riding grounds. A slightly amusing moment occurred when, at the turn off Tarboro Rd onto NC-98, Bryan said he needed to flip his cue sheet -- I told him not to worry about it as I wouldn't / couldn't drop him. He replied that he wasn't so sure about that. [Ha!] Two miles later when we turned off 98, Bryan groused "I flipped my cue sheet too early."
As we were arriving at the Kountry Kwik Pik control, Bryan commented that there was something wrong with Mike's cue sheet; namely, that there had been no left turn two miles previously as noted on the cue sheet. I made a mental note. [I hope I remember to close the circle on the previous sentence.]
For those of you that know me ... I hope you are sitting down ... Bryan out-talked me during the ride ... especially for the first 40+ miles from the start to the control at the Kountry Kwik Pik. That first 40+ miles went by in a flash because of the conversation (and there was no wind, yet). Whereas I contribute very little to the local cycling scene, Bryan is a co-captain of one of the largest MS-150 teams in the area, and checks all their prospective routes (from the saddle of his bike) and develops the cue sheets and gps-feeds for those that need such things. That subject area provided much grist for the conversation mill. Bryan has also been riding brevets in the cold and rain of January and early February, and now needs only the 400 to complete his first SR of the year. That provided more grist for the mill.
I hope we didn't cover ALL that we might have to talk about, because that might make the next ride awfully boring. Aah, we can probably fill an entire 200k with discussions of the nuances of the various hills on Byron's
Upon arriving at the Kwik Pik control, Bryan used his new Verizon iPhone to check some ludicrous thing called "Facebook"; he found posts from several people doing the Whirligig (I presume Mike or Jerry or Geof may put up a post about visiting the Whirligig Farm, so I won't try to connect to any photos or the video I've seen). There was no noticeable wind when we arrived at the Kwik Pik control (clock in the cash register on Daylight Time), but upon leaving the control I noticed there was now a west-southwesterly wind. Shortly after the control, when the route turned due south ... oh, yes, there is wind.
The store in Black Creek was not open, so we filled in the alternative Info Control question while talking to the proprietor of the shop next door. (He had come out when he saw a couple cyclists milling about, to ask if we were trying to use the store. Bryan informed him that since the store was closed, we were writing down the name and address of his establishment. Cheerful momentary conversation followed.)
17 miles, mostly north, mostly with a tailwind. Left turn off NC BR #7 onto NC BR #2. Aah, time to toughen up ... 35 miles into the increasing WSW wind.
Two miles after the post-mid-day Kwik Pik control, when we turned onto Frazier Rd, I remembered to point out to Bryan that this was the left turn that he had claimed we had not encountered in the morning [I have now closed the circle mentioned above]. Brian immediately acknowledged that he hadn't realized that we'd made that turn ... it is a "bear to the left" type turn, and the only logical thing to do at that point. Frazier Rd was the only section from Hornes Church to Youngsville where the WSW wind was not a complete hindrance; however, the wind was not nearly as much help as it had been a month earlier.
Our avg pace for the entire ride slowly decreased as the 35 miles wore on. We stopped in Youngsville for a few moments: me to stretch my shoulders and back (maybe I should slide my saddle back a couple mms, or maybe I had been hunched up riding into the wind, or both) and Bryan got a soft drink. For some reason, I mentioned that there was a Sheetz a further two miles up the road -- Bryan was disappointed to learn THAT after he had purchased his soft drink -- because his favorite drink is a "Mountain Dew Slushy" from Sheetz. Local knowledge -- I love it -- when I have it, and the stronger rider does not.
We each commented that the short steep up to the highway just west of Wake Forest had made our legs and/or buttocks "burn" [for those that may be reading that are not familiar with NC -- Wake Forest University used to be located in "the village of Wake Forest" just north of Raleigh; but in the 1950's, Reynold's Tobacco "bought" the university, built a beautiful campus in Winston-Salem, and WFU is now located in W-S, not WF]. I noted that I had had to "get angry" to make myself complete the steep. Bryan noted the same for him.
A couple miles later, we got our cards signed at 17:28 (and got receipts stamped 17:30). That was not an error. The McDonald's clerk signed our cards before we ordered a bit of food.
A nice, enjoyable, sunny, windy day on the bike with good company (and only one truly annoying dog -- that apparently learned nothing when I managed to kick his head in the morning -- because he repeated his annoying behavior in the afternoon).
Click here to go to Byran's report.
Showdown in Black Creek 204 km Permanent; 127.0 m.; 8 hrs, 35 min in-motion; 14.8 mph; rando-time: 10 hrs, 28 min.
Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __3 rides; __327.3 m.; _22 hrs, 20 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _12 rides; __998.7 m.; _68 hrs, 58 min; 14.5 mph.