Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feb-20: Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent

Wind Variable at 5 mph

Quarter-to-seven:  I sure hope Chris knows where this ride starts.  He did note that this would be his first KLL. 

Ten-to-seven:  A couple firemen arriving.  Hmmn.  Every other time I've been here at this hour, there has been no "firemen traffic" -- except at the end of the Full Moon ride when they got "called out".  I sure hope Chris is still coming -- he has the control cards. 

Seven-to-seven:  I wonder if I can use a piece of plain paper for the control card if Chris doesn't arrive?  I would have the receipts.  And I have the waiver already signed.

Six-to-seven:  I'll bet that's Chris.  No one but a cyclist would be wearing a bright yellow "jacket" like that.

Five-to-seven:  Glad to meet you, Chris.  One of the firemen tries to start his truck -- dead battery.  He goes back inside the station.

Two-to-seven:  More firemen.  Obviously a "shift change" of sorts by the volunteers.  I wonder why that has never happened at this hour before?  Chris asks if I need a cue sheet.  He chuckles when I respond "no."

One-to-seven:  I ask one of the firemen if he would do us a favor and initial these cards and write in the time.  "Sure thing," he says.  Then he adds, "do you know Dave I.?"  I respond, "sure do; I ride with him all the time!"  Fireman asks, "why the h__ isn't he out here for this ride?"  Thinking it meaningless to explain the intricacies, I responded, "he rode yesterday; I think he's supposed to do 'honey-do's' today." 

Zero-to-seven:  Chris not quite ready.  I see the front "license tag" on the big, red, pickup truck of the fireman that had initialed our cards.  I go over to re-meet Lt. Dave's captain, and introduce myself a little better.  Fireman acknowledges that he is Capt. Tom.  I think to myself "wait until I tell Dave about this chance encounter."  [Ed.:  To fill in the background information that is not obvious:  Dave is a Lieutenant at Bayleaf Fire Dept.; Kerr Lake Loop starts at a Stony Hill Fire Dept. station; both are volunteer depts. in Wake County, but in the last 10 or so years the areas have grown such that Bayleaf (and I think Stony Hill, also) have hired full-time day-time staff; the volunteers are repsonsible for the night-time and weekends; Capt. Tom is captain at Bayleaf; I don't know what his position at Stony Hill is; I was definitely surprised to see the "Bayleaf Capt." tag at Stony Hill.]
A couple minutes later and we are off.  100 yards down the road, things seem a whole lot chillier than I was expecting, so I ask Chris if he knows what the latest weather forecast for today is.  He tells me, "58 for the high in Boydton."  Yikes; I'm significantly under dressed.  "Go ahead and ride on," I tell Chris, "I'm going back to put on another jersey."  Chris calls out, "I'll just soft-pedal."

Helmet off.  Wind-vest off.  Grab my long-sleeve red jersey and put it on over top of the short-sleeve jersey and arm warmers.  Wind-vest on.  Helmet on.  Back on the road.  Cost:  0.23 miles and probably another 3 or 4 minutes.  Oh, well -- I think I'm a little faster than Chris -- I know these roads like the back of my hand (not the whole course, just the part that is in my usual stomping grounds) -- Chris will be slowing to check his cue sheet -- probably I will catch up ... before the Tar River ... at the Oxford control at the worst.
Back on the road.  This is much better.  My shoulders are warm instead of feeling like they are freezing.  Gosh, maybe I should have grabbed the long-fingers and worn them for the start of this ride.  The fingers on my left hand are really chilly cold.  That didn't make any sense to me, but I did keep periodically tucking the left hand under the wind-vest.  That seemed to help ... on all the fingers except the pinkie.  I sometimes wonder if the little fingers get an extra dose of cold coming from the metal handlebar.  I probably do hold my left hand on the bar slightly differently than I hold my right hand -- after all, it was the left hand, particularly the left index and middle fingers that suffered most from my crash a-year-and-a-half ago.

I spotted Chris when I was about 11 miles into the ride -- a mile after transiting Wilton.  Slowly closed the gap on the mostly downslope of NC-96.  I think Chris saw me and slowed just before the turn onto Cannadys Mill Rd. -- so that the "catch" would happen that little bit sooner. 

We started chatting about ... other than we each had at least one cold finger ... I'm not sure what we chatted about.  I warned Chris that the bridge over the Tar River had some rough abutments, and then, on the climb back up to the plain, I warned him, and then pointed out the house from which the dog bit me on Aug-05 last year -- even pointed out the azalea bush(es) behind which the dog hid.  No dog today.

Our cruise up to the control at US-158 continued amid much chat and seemingly little to no effort.  There did appear to be a very light breeze out of the north; the flags at the firehouse had been completely limp.
I took the lead upon leaving the control.  I knew where the route went and ... .  There was a slightly more than "light and variable" breeze as we headed due north on Tabbs Creek Rd, but as soon as we turned northeastward onto Salem Rd there was no noticeable breeze (other than the false apparent wind we were creating by riding) and it seemed warmer.

Chris got a kick out of the double-wide with the (about) six huge Rottweilers.  The owner even stepped out the door and shouted at his dogs to be quiet.  Made no difference to the dogs.  And as long as the gate on that fence around that house and yard remains locked ... no difference to me.

As we rolled up to the stop sign for the intersection with Kelly Rd, I pointed out the house on southeast corner with the huge tree ... showing every bit of its glorious architecture during this leafless season.  We continued rolling past a horse farm or two or three or four.  We rolled thru Drewry and across the Warren County Line and the Virginia State Line -- all the while chatting ... don't ask "about what?"

I pointed out the ice cream stand / shop that is between the Virginia Line and the Kerr Lake Dam; I told Chris that I've thought for years (long before I'd even heard of randonneuring) that a nice ride would be to ride up Bike Route #1 from Raleigh to get an ice cream cone there, and ride back.  Chris asked if the ride could be made into a Permanent.  I looked at my confuser and confirmed what I already knew, "from the most logical north Raleigh start location, one would end up with a 196 km Permanent Populaire; that would probably be a very unpopular distance.  Not to mention that the route would completely duplicate the KLL start except for the bit added from Raleigh to the firehouse.  Better route for 'just because', I think." 

Shortly after that, I asked Chris if he was willing to take a quick break to eat some nibbles; he was agreeable.  (I thought we were still a couple miles short of the dam.)  We stopped and each ate something -- then remounted and headed for the dam.  Turned out the causeway and the lake were literally just around the curve -- if we had ridden another mile, we could have taken our quick-break overlooking the lake.  Oh, well. 

Turn left coming off the dam.  Then onto Phyllis Rd ... all the way into Boydton ... noting for the second time in three weeks that the house on that one 90-degree curve/corner at the top of that short, but annoying steep, where a whole pack of dogs had been riled up during the Full Moon Ride ... that house is burned out.  Not completely to the ground ... but close enough.  No annoying dogs there. 

We stopped in the square in Boydton to carefully check out the writing on the statue.  The time was 12:10.  Hmmn; a little disappointing since it had seemed that we'd gotten from Oxford to Boydton in no-time-at-all.  I never seem to get to Boydton before noon. 

I noticed the flag in the square was now indicating a significant breeze from the WSW.  Darn.  I was thinking we'd have a bit of tail-breeze from Boydton to Skipwith and on to Clarksville, then Shiney Rock and Grassy Creek and then the whole way home.

Oh, well.  If the breeze / wind doesn't pick up, and continues from the WSW, the terrain from Clarksville to the state border would break up the breeze close to the ground, and then we'd have a semi-quartering tail-breeze from Grassy Creek to Stovall; after that ... we'd be homebound.

The "light and variable" breeze did NOT increase in force.  It seemed to calm down again after Boydton.  However, it did not remain a WSW breeze -- it backed around to SSW breeze.  Giving the story line away ... we managed to have a real head-breeze all day.  Not much of one; but it would have been nice to have had some tail-breeze. 

Not long after Clarksville, going up that one steepish, but not too long climb, the three dogs came out to the road.  Chris was on the verge of turning his pump into a club when the last of the three turned aside.

Three llamas in the same field near Shiney Rock.  One standing and grazing; one sitting with head held high; one flat on its side; all three enjoying the sunshine.  It could have been my Jan-30 KLL ride (don't feel like making a link). 

There is a young, black pup (looks to be a lab-cross to me) that is probably developing into a pain by next year.  Lives at that corner where Dave Winston Rd becomes Grassy Creek Rd (or maybe you think of it as a "slight-bear-to-the-left" -- I don't know what the cue sheet says -- I have hard and soft-copy of the cue sheet, but I've never looked at it ... 'cause I would hate to let Rico Rob down by appearing to not know the way.  The pup usually has a longggg way to run to get to the road, but he can make it to the road in time to be a problem if he has been paying attention.  Maybe the pup will get a good lesson delivered soon, and stop its progression toward becoming dangerous.

Grassy Creek to Stovall ... I recall nothing ... except that Chris and I were chatting.  Don't ask "what about?"  Because I don't know.

We stopped in Stovall to top off water.  Then on to Mountain Road.  Most interesting thing about the mountain today was:  the dog that I managed to kick in the head three weeks prior did not come out into the road!!!  It sat with its pelvis turned sideways as dogs sometimes often do, it barked continuously, even after we were well past it, but he never betrayed a single impulse to come into the road.  Maybe he did learn something on Jan-30 (see the last full paragraph).

I'll add that I was not dreading the mountain today, nor was I cursing the fool that showed said mountain to Mike.  I don't recall what Chris thought.  He certainly could have climbed something much longer and much steeper -- he has mountain bike gearing on his blue Surly Long Haul Trucker -- with a 24 crank that can be used with a 34 pie plate cog if needed.

On to Oxford.  Cross the Tar River.  Climb up to Grissom on Lawrence Rd.  Plenty of energy; plenty of daylight; we had good luck with the firemen this morning -- let's keep going till we get to the firehouse.

Back on home roads, I was leading at 18 or 19 mph.  Suddenly, I was crawling at 10 or 11 or 12.  I mini-bonked.  I'm not stopping when we are just two miles from the finish.

17:36 at the firehouse.  No answer to the polite knock on the door.  I never have noticed a doorbell.  Chris and I, at my instigation, initialed each other's cards.  It might not have been wise to listen to the advice of a mini-bonker; but I hope that will suffice.

I think I remembered to thank Chris for the ride.  If not:  THANKS, Chris, it was fun riding with you.
I experienced an unexpected side-effect of the mini-bonking:  I was cold and shivering almost as soon as we stopped.  Even when I got my slightly damp tops off and replace with dry and slightly warm tops.  Even after risking ... something ... and getting out of the slightly damp bottoms and into dry sweat-pants ... I was still cold and shivering.  I immediately started eating a chocolate brownie Cliff bar and got underway to get some heat into the car and complete the transition out of the cold. 

When I had gotten warm enough that I was no longer shivering, I called Lt. Dave, planning to tell him about my meeting Capt. Tom that morning.  Surprise was on me!  Dave and Tom had seen each other earlier when called out to respond to yet another bushfire emergency, and Tom had already told Dave that he met a couple bicyclists at the Stony Hill station that morning that claimed to know him.  Dang!
This has been a very long and boring report full of trivial minutia.  Andy has been suggesting that I make a blog post explaining how I can remember details of rides from years ago.  (Believe it or not, Andy, I left out some stuff that I remembered.)  I suspect that Andy is "taking a Micky", but he says he is not ... anyway, even after I realized I was writing wayyyy too much and it was wayyy too boring, I decided to keep writing.  Maybe I'll do a post as Andy suggests, maybe I won't.  I've been harassing him the last several days with tidbits.  But here is something I just realized:  to remember trivial minutia years later ... do a write-up of the ride including much trivial minutia.  Even before I started this blog, I would write up summaries of Irregular rides (some / many weren't so much a summary as a pedal-stroke-by-pedal-stroke description).  I try not to do that so much anymore, believing that "less is more", but sometimes ... .  I also have an Excel log that records every ride since 2004 -- that is how I know that I have 547 rides (145 of which can count as "Irregular") since/iincluding my first adult road-ride on May-09-2004.  The Excel file helps, but as I think about it ... write it once ... remember it forever.

For the non-locals and/or Irregulars that may still be reading, you may be wondering who "Andy" is.  Here are three hints:
 _ _ sag,
 _ _ _ _ sagittandy, and
 _ _ _ _ _ _ RUSA Blogs.

Oh, and Andy is the creator of RUSA's new Permanent Locations Map.
 _ _ I am lucky enough to call him "friend" ... or at least "fellow NC randonneur."

Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent; 131.5 m.; 9 hrs, 5 min in-motion; 14.5 mph; rando time:  10 hrs, 36 min. elapsed clock time.

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __6 rides; __567.1 m.; _38 hrs, 48 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _15 rides; _1238.5 m.; _85 hrs, 26 min; 14.5 mph.

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