Sunday, May 1, 2011

Apr-30: Morrisville 400 km Brevet

In Which We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

First, an "Open Note to BryanR":  Bryan - I don't understand why you always seem to have trouble / problems (cramps, being over-tired, gasping for air, etc.) after holding Geof's wheel at the beginning of a brevet or permanent.  I rode with Geof at the start of this brevet, although he was leading the inside line of the double-pace-line and I was second in the outside line of the double-pace-line, and I later had no shortness of breath or tiredness (other than that caused by Flint Hill Rd); nor did I experience any cramps or any other problems(s) that could in any way be attributed to riding with Geof early in the ride.  The only thing I experienced that was Geof-related was pleasant conversation -- first time EVER I was able to converse with Geof DURING the ride (excluding previous "hello's" as Geof sped past to catch the front after his apparently usual one or two minute late start).  As part of my conversation with Geof, I mentioned that I thought I would definitely have to include a paragraph similar to this one in my blog post; Geof thought that was an excellent idea. 

Extremely CIVILIZED start to the brevet.  Two in a row (click here and here; especially check out the second video on the latter option); I hope this becomes a tradition for all the Morrisville brevets as I got to ride with and chat with several of the fast-folk with whom I had previously shared not even a single pedal-stroke (Geof, Branson and Doc-on-a-bike Keith come to mind).

Not as warm as as last year's 400.
Not nearly as windy.
Exactly the same amount of hilliness.
I was not nearly so tired.

Rode the entire 400k with at least two others ALL the time (BikerBob and Denis), usually at least three others (+ Byron), and for much of the first half, four others (+ Vance).
Not to forget the 30 others with which I rode the first 17 or 18 miles.  (Without BryanR and his signature video, will anyone believe and / or remember that the start of this 400 was, if anything, MORE civilized than the start of the 300 two weeks ago?)

Great volunteers Joel, Ian, Lin.  And never forget RBA Alan and Dorothy (who came to help with the pre-ride registration / check-in process for the second time in two weeks with a cold still hanging on).
Joel brought an assistant to help him at the turn-around control ... I finally got to meet Richard (the now retired High Point RBA).  Richard commented, "that is all history, now."  I replied, "without the history, we got nothing."  (That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.)

Flint Hill Rd was SO MUCH FUN outbound.  More of a purgatory slog inbound (but at least I didn't have to worry about possibly cramping while going up that steepest climb).  Purgatory?  Compared to my experience last year between the turn-around and completing inbound Flint Hill Rd, HOW can I possibly have thought it was a purgatory experience?

Gosh, the inbound route after Seagrove is EASY compared to the inbound route prior to Seagrove.

BikerBob, Denis and I made it all the way to Erect in daylight.  Despite my chain messing up a bit just after we turned onto Fork Creek Mill Rd ... the chain yanked the metal piece off the chain-stay that protects said carbon chain-stay from chain mishaps.

I had some trouble with the Fenix flashlight that I use for my headlamp.  I had tested all the batteries prior to the ride.  They all worked.  During the ride ... only one set of two double-A batteries did their job.  Battery problem or Fenix problem?  To be determined.  Thank goodness for the generosity of those I was riding with.  Bob had offered his backup-backup headlamp -- but I stubbornly stuck with my backup "headlamp"; besides, I'd already borrowed Bob's blue jacket".  

We had reacquired Byron to our group because he took a nap in Snow Camp.  Some miles on, Byron "suggested" I accept the use of his backup-backup headlamp.  My stubbornness does have a limit ... I acquiesced ... good thing.

I was never tired "drunk" like I was last year, but I did start to nod-off while riding on Lystra.  The store at the corner of Lystra and Farrington Pt roads has a picnic table between the two buildings.  I didn't know that, but BikerBob did -- I think he's done Jerry's Howling Grits Permanent Populaire several times and knew about the tables because of that.  Someone asked, "what time is it?"  I looked at my watch and responded, "just after 3 am;" my watch indicated 3:06.  A couple minutes later, I raised my head off the picnic table; I looked at my watch ... 3:30.  I asked if I had been snoring.  Although Byron, Bob, Denis and Lin (who had seen us stopped while on his way home from the Snow Camp control and stopped to check on us) assured me that I had definitely been asleep, they claimed to have heard no snoring.

Refreshed, I led us back onto the route, with only 15 or 16 miles to complete the ride.  Zip, zoom ... 4:38 am completion for three of us (Byron had noticed some interesting night-time flora he wanted to "check-out", and he finished a few minutes later).
Quick work by Alan!
[edit / addendum(s)]

We heard reports that JohnM had encountered a smallish dog on Flint Hill Rd, but the information was incomplete and third-hand at best.  Click here for MikeD's on-site report[I've changed the sub-title of this post from an "inside joke" between Denis and me to something more meaningful.]

Morrisville 400 km Brevet; 249.2 m.; 17h,8m in-motion; 14.5 mph; 22h,39m elapsed clock time. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __7 rides; __606.0 m.; _41 hrs, 18 min; 14.7 mph.
Mar tot: __7 rides; __544.8 m.; _35 hrs, 06 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: __7 rides; __793.8 m.; _52 hrs, 28 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: _30 rides; _2616.0 m.; 175 hrs, 34 min; 14.9 mph.


  1. Well done, Martin. 400K is most impressive.

  2. For kicks, and because the blogger "Stats" indicated at least one referal from the search, I googled "400km brevet raleigh nc":

    the first two results were ... this post and last year's post from this blog.

    third result was Alan's 27th Annual NCBC Brevet Series" homepage. (From the text on the page, I think it might be the 28th annual, but Alan forgot to update the title of the webpage.)

    fourth result was Tony's "Bicycle for Life: RUSA Events".
    It doesn't seem right that my jibberish comes up before those two useful websites.


  3. Flint Hill Rd was SO MUCH FUN outbound. (I hit 40 mph and had to scrub speed because there were a couple turns -- that I didn't recall -- approaching the little, old-style bridge across the creek. On another location descent, one immediately pops back while taking a hard left-hander and ... oh my gosh ... look at that!)

    Flint Hill Rd on the return leg ... not nearly so much fun from my POV, but I managed to hold the line at a minimum 4.6 mph going UP that 40 mph slope; and as soon as the slope eased just the tiniest bit, cadence returned and so did some speed. (BikerBob and Denis seemed to be in similar purgatories.)

    During the ride through the Uwharries, I thought to myself a couple time (at least): "hmmn, maybe I still have some residual from the Blue Ridge in me ... Lt. Dave might get a kick out of hearing that."

    During the Seagrove to Siler City segment (half in daylight - half in darkness), I thought to myself "after the Uwharries, this is easy." Last year, I didn't have any thoughts like that. Last year, I rode at least 170 kms in pitch-black darkness. This year, about 125 kms in deep darkness.

    I keep remembering little moments I didn't mention in the blog. For example, just this side of Coleridge, we went past someone having a "bluegrass festival" on their front porch. "The fast guys and gals didn't see that."

  4. Perfect weather! Pretty landscape. My first 400k brevet and only my third brevet ever. Bike far over-geared (41 gear inch 1st gear), so Flint Hill rd was a real test. Pinch flatted at mile 8, so the next 24 hrs I rode alone. Missed the turn onto Old Switchboard Rd approx 3:00 AM. About six bonus miles. Outstanding volunteers, patiently waiting for me, the final cyclist, to finish.

  5. Hey, Joseph(?).

    It was only a year ago that I was doing my first 400, which was my third brevet. Including your bonus miles, you got onto Old Switchboard Rd about the same time I did last year (I at least got to ride with two others -- Sara and Gary -- from the 240 km mark on in).

    I had to consult a gear-inches chart to translate into Ameri-speak: 41-gear-inches --> probably 39/25. I would not have been wanting to be using that climbing up Flint Hill Rd; 30/25 was enough, thank-you very much. (And I get pains just thinking about Branson's fixie with a 46/16 on that road.)


  6. Martin
    I forgot about Branson's fixie and that road. I have a 34/34 and was just able to get up the thing. I don't know he doesn't just fall over.