Robert - RUSA SR (200, 300, 600, 600); qualified for P-B-P; R-5
Martin - ACP SR (200, 300, 400, 600, in order); R-10
The above says it all, really. But ...
First, the course:
Robert and I did the entire ride together.
We had other temporary allies at various times along the way.
At the start, hanging with the fast-folks.
Chats with JoelL (a first while on the bike), Lynn, Kevin Kaiser, others.
Approx 27 miles at 17.1 mph.
Chalybeate Springs Rd -- front flat. Can't find the cause of the problem.
15 minutes to change.
Biker Bob and Denis accreted to "group" of Robert and me during the change.
Old Buies Creek Rd, 19 minutes later -- front flat.
We waved Bob and Denis on.
Use "emergency tire" and second brand new tube of the day.
20 minutes to change.
Erwin "Get 'Er Dunn" control. Long line. Cost more time than a single flat change?
Wave to "Rico Rob" and JoAnn as they roll by.
Leaving Erwin, pass unknown rider, ask if he knows the way.
His response: "follow you."
My response: "that's right."
Sounds arrogant, but after all, I was on "home ground."
Or, Dean's Tar Heel 200 course, anyway.
Another turn on NC-82 ... spy Rob and JoAnn ahead.
While catching them, Robert worries aloud about pushing the pace.
Into Strickland's Marathon with Rob and JoAnn.
Too late for breakfast. Get Lunch Plate Special instead. That's a lot of food.
Biker Bob, Denis, Thai, Chloe, Rob, JoAnn leave while I'm still eating.
Introduce self to the "unknown rider" from above. He is NeilF from Augusta, GA.
Neil leaves before we do..
Sara and Gary arrive before we leave.
I introduce Robert to them.
We head for White Lake.
Turnbull Rd. Just as bump-ass as last year.
A plan to get across 13-miles of hell.
We'll take turns leading for exactly two miles.
"Ragged Robert", not the usual "Ricochet Robert", pleads "please don't make me pull."
Don't pull, we're not doing a paceline. Just lead, we're just taking turns leading.
To help keep our minds off this bump-ass road.
Ammon Center Rd. We pause to mix koolaid, or something.
But we didn't stop at the store. Just at the corner.
Dave (or was it JoAnn) rides over from the store -- tells us Rico Rob would like us to wait for him.
Dave needs a new tire. 27 x 1.25.
He can't get a signal to call Jerry or Alan.
He gets Rob to call Jerry.
We later learn details from Jerry. We won't "go there".
NC-242. Storm hits. Hard.
Rain drops feel like small hail.
No shelter to be seen.
I'm in my 30/25. Going about 7 mph.
Rain gets to the confuser connections.
Wind blows us around something fierce. From fog line to the double yellow.
The three of us decide the safest thing to do is:
Just stop and stand by the side of the road and wait for the worst to blow ever.
Storm abates. We continue.
We see Neil and Dave on the front porch of some church.
We wave "come on, it isn't bad, now."
Sweet Home Church Rd. Bumpy.
Tail-end of Half-Iron runners going the opposite direction, sharing the same shoulder.
Scotchman's control on the edge of White Lake.
Two chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk for me.
I'm confident that the Lunch Plate Special from Strickland's will get me through.
Dont' know what Ragged Robert ate.
Don't know what Rico Rob ate, if anything.
Through White Lake.
18 miles on not-smooth NC-53.
Robert, Rob and I play "two miles leading" at whatever pace each can handle.
It is not a paceline. It is a mental exercise to help pass the time and the miles.
It gets us across NC-53 through the swamp.
NC-210, by comparison, is glass.
We pick up Neil, making four.
We pause for butt-stretch break.
We pick up Dave, making five.
Still playing "two miles leading."
Last year, I rode NC-210 in the dark. Both directions.
There are a lot more houses and tiny communities than I realized last year.
We see the first five riders while we are on 210. We are at least 40, probably 50 miles behind.
I'm hoping to make it to the Hess control in Rocky Point before dark.
Partially so we don't have to stop and "fully reflectorize" our clothing;
Partially because ... I had originally wanted to get there by 7 p.m..
Neil had been riding very conservatively all day.
Slowish on the bike. Fast through the controls.
In the group, he shows that he can move much faster than he had been.
Dave finally decides he is recovered enough to "lead".
We've been doing 14 to 15 mph.
He ups it to 17+.
Neil goes with him.
Robert, Rob and I let them go.
It is only a couple more miles to the control, anyway.
Hess control. We say hello to Branson and a couple other homebound riders. They leave.
Robert wants to eat across the road at the Subway.
Robert changes his mind because everyone else is eating at the Wendy's attached to the Hess.
Rob, Robert and I each had a baked potato.
The five of us prepare for the run down US-117.
I take the lead ... I know what the turn looks like ... even if I can't remember the name of the turn.
Holly Shelter Rd is across from a really well lit up gas station.
Turns out it is a Kangaroo.
Holly Shelter Rd.
Dave's boot, that he has been nursing for 70 or so miles, gives out.
Somebody helped Dave. I don't recall who. It wasn't me -- I helped by staying out of the way.
Thai passes us while Dave re-boots.
Moving again. Blue Clay Rd. We catch Thai.
He decides it is better to pick up his pace and stay in our slip-stream (such as it is),
Than continue slower, solo.
A few more turns.
Six of us arrive at the never-to-be-named-again control on Market St.
Dave pays Jerry for the new tire Jerry had tracked down.
Neil showered and changed. I'm not sure about that.
Thai showered, changed, sleept. I'm not sure about that.
Robert, Rob and I ate pizza and drank beverages.
And thanked Jerry for his volunteer work that weekend.
(He did the "worker's ride" the week before.)
JohnO stumbled onto the scene ... looking chipper and well rested,
Even though he hadn't changed clothes. Fell into a long sleep.
Which he thought he had put in the "White Lake pile",
But the bag was in Wilmington, instead.
What to do?
I never looked carefully at the bag, but it is one that "closes" by drawstrings.
Drawstrings long enough to loop over his shoulders.
As I have done with the "shoe-bag" in which my rain and cold gear reside.
I've done this before ... you need to make sure everything is safely inside a plastic bag,
Or else even a slight shower will soak everything.
Jerry has some plastic shopping bags going unused.
We gear up and leave.
JohnO, Robert, Rob, me.
I figure to "use" JohnO as much as he will let us. All the way to White Lake, I hope.
John knows he is strongest. He leads and leads and leads.
At a pace we can all handle. Thanks, John.
But on NC-210, I am dangerously nodding off. 9 miles to Currie.
9 miles of nodding hell.
The Currie Post Office looks really good.
Robert stops with me. We bid adieu to John and Rob. We'll not see them again.
The Post Office lobby was open, and warm.
Off with the shoes and helmet.
Empty the back pockets.
Use my rain-and-cold-gear filled "shoe-bag" as a pillow.
Roberts follows a similar regimine.
He does mention that he is concerned about getting back up off the floor later.
I'm already laying down, back on the floor, head on "pillow".
I try to set the count-down alarm on my watch to 17 minutes, but get it stopped on 19 minutes.
That's what I told Robert.
According to the only eye-and-ear witness, I was cutting logs within a minute.
Robert took longer to fall asleep. Claiming my Zzz's kept him awake for a bit.
Robert woke me at 3:30 a.m.. I guess he called my name, probably repeatedly.
Neither of us have any idea how long we have been asleep.
Robert mentions that he heard my watch alarm, and thought, "oh, I need to wake Martin."
But he thinks he instantly fell back asleep.
I think it had been a little after 1:00 a.m. when we had left the Hess control.
It was now 3:30 a.m.. I could look at a map and guestimate how long we slept. But I haven't.
Across the rest of NC-210.
Across NC-53. Robert voiced the opinion for each of us: "this road never ends."
It felt like we were really moving at high speed.
I told Robert that I estimated that "high speed" to be no more than 12 mph.
Darkness always fools the speed-senses.
As civil twilight slowly crept across the scene, I could see that we riding at 13+ mph.
I decided to up the pace to 14+. It hurt. 13+ had not hurt.
I backed back down to the soft-pedal 13+.
I think we spotted the white fence around the RV park from about 2 miles away.
Arrived Langston Motel in White Lake at 6:30 a.m..
We found JohnO and Rob were still in White Lake.
And they had only been there about 15 minutes.
John had had two flats between Currie and White Lake.
My insurmountable lead for "most flats on the ride" was now not a lead at all.
Further, Rob's rear bag rack had failed twice between Currie and White Lake.
I'm very glad to have stopped in Currie for a nap.
Pasta. Beverages. Fig Newtons.
Thanks to volunteer Ian, and his more important half, Mary.
Shower. Change clothes.
I happened to notice that the count-down alarm on my watch was set for 29 minutes.
Guess we had a pretty good sleep in Currie.
Rob left White Lake with Robert and me.
US-701. Not nearly so fast.
Sweet Home Church Rd.
A pause to apply Chamois Butt'r in a spot I had apparently missed back in White Lake.
NC-242 to Ammon. Does THIS road ever end?
We tried the store at Ammon. It was closed.
At least three riders passed us while at the store. We were feasting from our pockets.
I think it was 27 x 1.25 Dave that sped past.
With two good tires, he was keeping a faster pace than me.
Just as he had done on the 200, 300 and 400.
Eli stopped at the store, only to join the disappointed crew.
JohnO kept riding circles while Eli checked out nature.
John and Eli pulled out and ahead of Rob, Robert, and me.
Robert, Rob and I went back to playing "two mile leads"
To get across Old Fayetteville Rd / Turnbull Rd.
Except, we modifed the "lead distance" by rider.
Rob was moaning and groaning and sighing loudly at an increasing rate.
He was feeling the two months off the bike.
After one set of particularly long and loud set of moans and groans,
I "assured" Rob that I had Mike's number on speed dial,
And I wasn't afraid to use if I heard anything resembling "enough" or "quit".
(I wanted to make the above comment, but couldn't fit it in edgewise.
Of course, Rob would have known I was referencing his 1000 km experience from last September.
I knew I wouldn't need to use my phone, but the "threat" would have provided some mirth.
Anything to get across Turnbull Rd.)
Anyway, Rob was taking "one mile leads."
Ragged Robert was taking "two mile leads."
I took "three mile leads."
The "game" helped.
At least that is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
Jerry, driving back to Morrisville via the course, caught us up.
We aquired some soft drinks with caffine.
Further down the road, we spotted JohnO and Eli and Jerry.
John had successfully taken the lead in the "most flats on the course" category.
He never relenquished his lead.
I kept thinking that John would pull Eli along and they might catch us up.
But we next saw them at Alan's.
Into Strickland's Marathon. Too late for breakfast. I chose the same Lunch Plate Special.
Robert got more food than usual. He later claimed it bothered his stomach.
Rob got quite a bit of food.
There were too many randos there to remember them all.
Besides, if I were to name them, I might include ghost memories.
Jerry caught up again. He got fried chicken.
Robert tried to trip me up by asking me to guess what Jerry had ordered.
He claimed I cheated by looking over to the food counter.
I asserted that it didn't matter -- Jerry always gets fried chicken at Strickland's.
The "Phun Physiologist" told me once while we were there for a mid-winter Tar Heel 200 control.
Jerry regaled us with the story of getting 27 x 1.25 Dave's new tire.
And with information on JohnO's third flat.
Somehow the conversation got around to bike mechanics.
Jerry uses a one-man shop in some town not far from where he lives.
(I don't recall ever hearing the guy's name previously.)
I told Jerry that Robert and I also used a one-man shop in north Raleigh.
Jerry asked whom. I told him Gary Smith.
Jerry responded, "oh, Mike took his carbon bike to him; man, was it clean when Mike got it back."
Jerry continued, "it looked better than I'd ever seen it."
I let Jerry in on my "standard line" about Gary:
"I don't know if he is a good mechanic, but he can really clean a bike."
(I think Gary is a pretty dang good mechanic, actually.)
Too much time in Strickland's.
But we had nine or more hours to cover 77 miles.
Around 310 miles into the ride (67 to go), "Ricochet Robert" finally made an appearance.
To Erwin. Past the "Tar Heel 200" control to the "Get 'Er Dunn" control.
Tables and chairs at the latter. I'm tellin' ya', it was like being on "home ground."
To Angier. On the way, we leap-frogged with RonM and JosephT.
We all stopped at the McD's in Angier. Just as half the town seemed to stop.
A quick stop for Robert, Rob and me.
Ron and Joseph were in for a bigger meal.
After Angier, the F-L-A-T definitely ends.
Chalybeate Springs Rd seemed like a WALL.
I was in my 30/25, going 5.2 mph -- slower than I did the mountain climbs on the BRP.
Eventually, with everyone doing the rollers-become-hills at their own pace,
Some space opened between Rob and Robert / me.
We didn't drop him; he was never far behind; besides, it was just "go your own pace."
Ragged Robert reappeared, replacing "Ricochet" with around 25 or 30 miles to go.
Ragged commented that these south-of-Raleigh hills were tougher than our north-of-Raleigh hills.
Blasphemer! I accused him. A north-sider can never say that!
Besides, I pointed out, these little climbs were pretty easy rollers Saturday morning.
It is just the 350 miles in your legs that are talking.
New Hill - Holleman Rd becomes New Hill Olive Chapel Rd and then NC-751.
Lewter Shop Rd finally appeared. We made the turn and took a stretch break.
Jerry appeared, now truly headed for home after having left drop bags, etc. at Alan's.
We chatted for a couple minutes. Mostly about "summer riding plans."
Rico Rob turned the corner and rode by. We waved.
Jerry headed for home. Robert and I headed for "home."
But only after Robert made me agree that we would just soft-pedal / spin our way in.
I was good to my word on that.
But "spin-it-in" on Morrisville-Carpenter Rd must be done at 18 to 22 mph!
We finished at 7:30.
Alan's first words to me, after taking care of the official paperwork, were:
"Jerry drank your share of the home-brew."
(You have to have been on the NC rando list-serve to get that one. I'm not explaining.)
Morrisville 600 km Brevet; 377.2 m.; 26h,34m in-motion; 14.2 mph; rando elapsed time: 37h,30m.
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.
May tot: __3 rides; __495.9 m.; _34 hrs, 04 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _33 rides; _3111.9 m.; 209 hrs, 38 min; 14.8 mph.