Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feb-19: "The Dragon" and the Blustery Day

"The Dragon" and the Blustery Day

I created the Dragon by accident.  The accident part is that after I traced the route out on on-line electronic mapping software to get the distances to the turns, I realized that the result looked like the outline of a Dragon in flight (maybe I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and that put me in the mode of being ready to see a dragon).  At the time, I wanted to see if I could come up with a semi-reasonable 100k ride, based on the 38-mile Falls Lake Loop which would:
  • add some semi-scenic roads (e.g., Southview),
  • add some climbs (esp. Mangum Dairy Rd),
  • allow one to stay closer to home in case poor weather was closing in, and
  • consistent with the immediately above, have many opportunities to short the route.
Because of the twists and turns (including one complete circle within the "belly" of the beast) it also has appeal on a day where the wind is strong ... because there is never an elongated stretch where one must ride into the wind getting beaten up by same.  That was the appeal of the route today.

A nice sized crew was gathered, and looked to be ready for wheels-away only a minute or so late.  Then Tito came thundering in ... has he taken Snappers old place?  Anyway, Tito came in zooming and stopped his car a little bit later than he intended ... bouncing into the curb pretty hard.  I hope the left front tyre on his car is still in good shape. 

We made jokes at Tito's expense while he finished the prep of his bike and pumped up both tyres.  I'm pretty sure I saw him trying very hard to suppress a grin regarding one or two of the jokes.  Can't repeat them here ... not fit for a G or PG-rating.  Not as scatological as some of the stuff I've read about the Lone Star Randos, but a "fail" on other front. 

A few extra minutes late ... and we were underway.  I took a bit of a pull as I often do at the start to try to keep the pace to one where I can gently warm up my tendinitis prone legs.  Long before I would usually surrender the lead, I handed off to Gary (or he took control, I can't remember which) ... anyway, he set a very nice pace for another 4 or so miles.  Then BobH went to the front and finished off the last couple miles to the turn onto Doc Nichols Rd.  At that point, we had a quartering tail-wind going downslope, instead of the head-on head-wind we had been experiencing prior to that.

I'm unsure what happened as we turned off NC-98 and onto Baptist Rd.  I had been looking to zipping along for the two miles on Baptist with a complete tailwind, but the rear echelon sent Ags up to ask the Mallet and me to back off the pace.  I like Paul's retort:  "does it look like we're pedaling?"  We were doing 14 to 17 mph, soft-pedaling while being blown along, waiting for the tail to catch up.  They never did.  I later heard that there was at least some flo-max action going on. 

The group, save the two with the longest flo-max stops, regrouped on Southview at the re-crossing of NC-98.  As the now four in the lead pack (Mallet, Ags, Snapper, me) approached that crossing, I pointed at that we would be sure to come to complete stops in respect for the Wake County Deputy Sheriff sitting in his car at the crossing.  As I had just about completed my crossing, I heard someone from the group call out "clear" ... I shook my head ... hadn't they seen the reason to make sure to come to a complete and obvious stop, in which case "clear" becomes superfluous.  Apparently the Deputy was satisfied ... no one was stopped. 

We completed the next mile of Southview, and at the turn onto Kemp, I got out of the saddle to get a good cadence and momentum for the climb up to Virgil.  (A major, maybe THE major point of the ride for me today was to practice climbing ... too much easy-pedaling on rando routes has meant I've lost some speed and climbing ability.)  I heard Wendy yell my name and more sounds after, but I decided that whatever was the issue, the group did not need me to solve it, and since I was in an excellent hill-climbing cadence, I was going to do the darn climb.  I waited about 3 1/2 miles up the road at the CVS at the corner of NC-98 and Patterson.  I had time to eat half a peanut butter and jam sandwich (I probably could have eaten the whole sandwich, but decided to save the second half for later) ... and still no sign of the crew. 

Finally, Gary, Wendy, IvaHawk and BobH came into view.  I asked where the others (Tito, Snapper, Mallet, Ags) were.  "Oh," said Hawk, "Tito had a flat and they went back to help him."  That's what Wendy had attempted to shout to me; next time, maybe one of the guys will shout; guys voices carry better because they are at a lower octave.  However, even if I had heard, I think I might have kept climbing as I hate to give up my cadence for anybody once the flywheel is fully wound up and engaged.  At least the four tyre-changers were four thoroughbreds, and they'd be able to catch us lead five.

Iva commented several times how smooooth his bike was riding.  He'd gotten a new bottom bracket this past week ... maybe some other minor stuff (probably mostly a really good cleaning and check-up).  I have to admit, Iva seemed to be riding a bit easier today.

Approaching Creedmoor, several of the lead crew started wondering where the four horses were.  I commented that it probably took them 20 minutes to change the tyre, and at a minute a mile, it would take 20 miles for them to catch us; I mentioned, particularly to IvaHawk, that in January, it had taken 20 miles for Dean and me to catch Janis -- Iva understood completely -- Janis used to work with / for Iva -- and they used to talk some about cycling and randonneuring.  

The lead pack had only been stopped at the planned stop in Creedmoor for about 5 minutes, maybe a bit less, when the four horses rode into view.  Three turned to join us at the BP; Harvey turned toward Dove Rd and to head for the barn (PUE) -- he had to keep on schedule ... something about UNC playing roundball.

Before saddling up to leave Creedmoor, we confirmed that IvaHawk and Tito were also shorting the ride.  Again, because UNC was playing roundball ... and Iva has season tickets to the Temple.  (As I write this, the game is over, UNC 48, Boston College 46 -- I'm not sure UNC should be allowed to count the game as a victory.) 

The remaining six of us (BobH, Mallet, Ags, Gary, Wendy, me) continued up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Rd.  I knew I couldn't outsprint the Mallet no matter how late I left the acceleration ... so I decided to make him work for the Granville CL.  (Oh, Ags had previously snuck the Wake CL just after the turn onto Whitt from Dove by aggressively cutting the corner and accelerating when no one else was even feigning interest -- I have taken that CL in the same type circumstances, so I can't complain.)  (Aah, I now recall the dash from Wake into Granville county ... I thought the CL was about 200 yards closer than it actually was ... so my sneak attack was for naught ... Gary ran me down and went around.)

I rode up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Rd much better than I had done the last time on that road.  That alone would have made the ride worthwhile for me.  We regrouped at the church opposite Rock Springs Ch Rd, and headed for Grissom and Mangum Dairy Rd.

On Lawrence Rd, I was trying to coax Wendy to sprint for the CL when the time came.  I was giving suggestions loudly enough that Paul, riding next to me, certainly heard, and should have deduced my "plan".  But no; Paul decided to see if he could induce Gary to chase, thus finding out just how fast Gary is / can be.  Gary let him go.

I was looking forward to the pain that the steep on Mangum Dairy would inflict on me.  Not really.  But I wasn't dreading it -- I knew it was a fact of life.  In the event, I was slow on the steep, falling below 6 mph on the steepest part -- but there was no undue pain.  After topping the steep and riding on the flatter slope approaching Purnell Rd, I asked Wendy how she would like to ride up something that steep for 12 miles without respite.  She wanted to know WHERE would there be a 12-mile climb that steep.  Answer:  Blue Ridge Parkway.  (And the roads off either side of the BRP are significantly steeper than the "tame" 5 and 6 per cent BRP grades.) 

While going up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Ch Rd, Paul "the Mallet" had explained about changing Tito's flat.  Apparently the first flat was changed by ... Paul never actually said ... but I will assume it was Tito.  They got 50 yards and phhtttt.  Apparently a pinch flat caused by improper installation.  Paul said he kicked the others out of his way and got another tube from Ags; but when he put a little air in that tube to test it and make it easier to install / seat properly, he discovered a big hole in the supposedly new tube.  Third tube did the trick. 

I describe the above because, just at the top of the steep part of Woodlief, the other four guys were pulled of the side of the road, where Gary was fixing Paul's flat.  At least Gary was happy ... he got to change one of the flats on the ride today.  (Paul was waiting at PUE to say thanks or such to Gary, but we had allowed Wendy to get dropped on New Light and further allowed her fall wayyyy back.  Gary + Wendy were sufficiently delayed that, looking at his watch, Paul mentioned that he better get going toward home. 

I know I enjoyed my ride today, and I was able to actually believe I was accomplishing some training; you might not think so when you look at my average stats below.  I think I was averaged about 14.3 mph on my 7.2 mile ride to PUE.  Upon completing "The Dragon" and returning to PUE, my average was 15.1 mph.  That seems consistent with BobH telling me that he avg'd 15.3 mph on the Dragon.  I still had a 15.1 average after completing my 7.2 mile post-ride ride. 

As I noted, you might not think that that was very much work ... but with the winds and the extra portion of hills ... it was a good workout.  I'm confident that I won't be fast tomorrow, but I am also confident that working harder will help on my rando rides in the long run.

A boring, only the facts post, but ... that's today's story and I'm sticking to it.

See you on the road ... .
Oh, Irregular Ricochet Robert is doing his first ever 300 km ride today.  One of Tony Goodnight's brevets starting / finishing in Lumberton.  You can find Tony's rando website listed as "Western NC Rando Brevets" on the right-hand side of this blog, under "Some Links".  If Robert writes up his ride, and is interested, I will publish on this blog as a "guest post".  He says he can't write, but I draw your attention to the green colored text in this post.  Those of us that know Robert, can "hear" him in that green text.

--> PUE:  "The Dragon" --> return; 78.6 m.; 5 hrs, 11 min in-motion; 15.1 mph.
 _ _ (my predicted time, based on the previous two / three years riding, was 5 hrs, 0 min)
 _ _ _ _ ("The Dragon" is 64.2 miles.)

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __5 rides; __435.6 m.; _29 hrs, 43 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _14 rides; _1107.0 m.; _76 hrs, 21 min; 14.5 mph.

1 comment:

  1. Good report, Martin. The day was so beautiful, I didn't want to short, but had to if I wanted to be in the Dome in time. May I give a shout out to TLC Bikes and the owner of same, Gary Smith, re the work he did on my 2001 Cervelo Soloist. It has a new compact crank and bottom bracket and head tube, and now rides like it's brand new. I don't even want a new bike after his work. Good job, Gary, and thanks. Iva