Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jun-11: Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent

An Owl, Two Eagles, Some Horses, No Llamas, No Dawgs
And Some Irregulars 

Cycle to the ride.

5:43.  Leg over.  I'm 8 minutes behind schedule.
39/15 feels very good.  Nice pace on flat.  Nice pace on downslope.  Nice pace on upslope.

Corner of Six Forks and Pleasant Union Church roads.
7.4 miles into the ride.  5.6 more miles to Stony Hill Fire Station #2.
6:08, according to my watch, which might be as much as 2 minutes fast.
Look across Pleasant Union Ch Rd.  No cyclists visible.
Good, I'm probably ahead of the crew.
If they catch me, they can drag me to the fire station.

Could they be ahead of me? 
Nah.  They wouldn't get to Six Forks before 6:08 even if they started on time.
They likely started a minute or two late. 

Can I cover THESE 5.6 miles in 22 minutes?
If the guys catch me, they can drag me to the fire station.

Hello, you big German Shephard.  Good dog.  You never come out into the road.
Not any more.
But you do a good job of letting your people know that others are going by your house.

Swoop down to Falls Lake / Neuse River.
I can push this first upslope away from the lake.
A respite as the slope relaxes.
Keep the cadence on this series of slopes.
Keep it all the way to Old Weaver Trail.
Wow!  I might make it before 6:30.

I don't even recall that church with the parking lot on both sides of the road.
Push up this last bit to Purnell Rd and the fire station.
6:29, by my watch that might be fast.
The clock in the cycle confuser indicates 6:27.
Hey, Robert!

Robert gets a fireman to sign the cards.
I'm eating some food.
We're not quite ready to start, even though it is a couple minutes after 6:30.

We meet some friends -- old and new.

We hear a group of cyclists coming.  We see them as they clear the screen of trees.
Robert:  "Those aren't our guys. are they?"
Me:  "Yes, they are.  I heard Ags voice mention my name 100 yards ago."

There are nine in the group.  I don't recognize two of them.
One I did not expect to see at 6:30 -- he wanted to wait until 8:00 to ride.
Hello and bump-knuckles with everyone -- hope I left no one out.

"Who are you?"
"Ken.  BobH and Norris brought me.
"Nice to meet you, Ken."
Norris later informs that he's been trying to get Ken to ride Irregularly for quite some time.
But, Ken teaches riding horses, or something like that, and weekends are the busy days for him.

"Who are you?"
"And who invited you to the ride?"
"You did."
"I did?"
"Yeah, you're 'skiffrun', right?"
"I saw your blog entry where you mentioned the ride and the time, so I figured it was an invite."

Looking at the nicely appointed bike with fenders and flaps and leather handlebar bag ...
"Yep.  6985."
"RUSA number.  6985."
"Oh.  I'm 6218; Robert 6628; John 6951.
"You remember all that?"
"I'm a numbers kind of guy.  Welcome, but Iva will have already taken care of that."
RedRocket seemed impatient.
We saddle up and go.
Didn't check the time.  Maybe 6:35. 

I drift back, looking for Richard.
I find out that Richard is the one that left a message with no name and no apparent way to contact.
I had thought it was the second "junk" comment of the day.
Someone had left what I deemed commercial spam earlier in the day.
Richard's comment made little to no sense without any context.
It obviously had context ... but I didn't understand it.
Both comments had seemed from people that "sourced" from the same NW rando blog.

Learned that Richard had done Tony's recent 200k Hot Springs brevet.
The one where Bryan and Geof and others got many bonus miles climbing up and over a mountain.
Then had to turn around and go back over the mountain to get back on course.
Richard had collected those same bonus miles.
I knew Richard would handle "Stovall, and a Mountain" without trouble.

We say good-bye to friends.

Arriving at the Oxford control, Robert and I said good-gye to the Irregulars.
Six continued on to Stovall, and then rode over a mountain.
Three, wanting only about 60 miles, U-turned and rode back to PUE.
Robert and I went into the control.  Not yet 8:00.
I'd never gotten to that control so quickly.
Although I had backed off because it felt too fast, we'd avg'd 17.4 mph to the control.

Just to get it on the record:
When Robert and I were still unsure we'd get the paperwork to do the KLL ride,
The Mallet and IvaHawk had planned for the Irregulars.
After being asked, I gave advice on which of three routes they might like to do.
(I suggested "Stovall, and a Mountain" because JohnA wasn't doing KLL.)
But the Mallet and IvaHawk settled on an 0600 PUE start
Without knowing where or when Robert and I were riding.
After the KLL paperwork came through,
I let Mallet and IvaHawk know that they would likely get to the fire house
Just as Robert and I were starting our Permanent.

On to Boydton.

Reasonably quick at the control, Robert and I were back to riding and making good time.
Robert was worried I was trying to make too much good time.
He kept wondering if I was setting too fast a pace, too early.
I told him that I wanted to get as far as I could before it got hot. 

Robert didn't know the course.  I did. 
He kept asking me questions pertaining to the cue sheet.  I didn't know, exactly. 
I don't look at the KLL cue sheet except to verify the info control questions.
You ride that course at night one time ... you'll never need the cue sheet again.
Besides, just follow the Bike Route #1 signs until you cross Kerr Lake Dam.
Then make a few lefts ... and one noteable right ... and you're back in North Carolina,
Headed for Stovall, and a mountain.

We did pause at the ice cream shop that is just south of the dam.
It doesn't open until 11:30. 
Too late for a nice summer morning "let's ride up to Virginia for an ice cream" ride.

We also paused at the Kerr Dam Visitor's Center ... Robert thought he needed more water.
Here's some interesting information:
The Visitor's Center is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Monday thru Friday.
Closed weekends.
Seems logical.  Why would anyone want the Visitor's Center to be open on the weekends?
Just because that is when it seems most likely to have visitors.
So ... no water to be had there on a weekend.

The entrance to Virginia Buggs Island Recreational Area (or whatever is the official name)
Is smack dab next to the Visitor's Center.
We decided to check if they had a faucette or something where one could get some water.

It is best just to continue on to Boydton.
Which is what we did.

Arriving opposite the courthouse statue, with a particular phrase or two, at 10:49.
Officially, 4h,19m to cover the first 66 miles of the course.
I was delighted.
Robert was concerned.

Robert consulted the statue.
I showed him the faucette on the other side of the street.
(Btw, the outside spigot at the Oxford control ... the handle has been removed.
Makes it, uh, ..., difficult to get water from that spigot.)

We made a new acquaintence.

We decided to take a short break, sitting on a Courthouse Square bench, nibbling on food.
We were greated by a Bob Hawley (if we got his last name right).
Bob is a Staff Sgt on the Clarksville Police Dept.
Whose wife was, that day, opening a Quilt Shop in Boydton, opposite the court house.
We thought it a good idea to build good relations with the local constabulary.
Bob said he did some bicycle riding. 
Was building up to ride farther, but then tried to ride from Boydton to Clarksville
Before his body was ready.
We encouraged him to keep riding and build up the stamina.
Nice conversation with Bob.  Robert did most of the talking. 
Surprised at that?  Of course you are not.

On the way out of Boydton toward Skipwith,
Robert noticed that on about half of the signs "Elect ___ for Sheriff",
The ___ was Bob Hawley.
Maybe we'd been improving relations with the next Sheriff of Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

On to Skipwith and Clarksville.

The store in Skipwith ... was open.
We acquired some gatoraid and got back on our bikes as quickly as possible.

Across the causeway into Clarksville.
Robert wanted to stop for lunch at the Subway.
(He's continuing to expand his food-while-cycling choices.)
As I unerringly lead him nearly a quarter-mile off route 
Across the parking lot to get to the Subway, Robert asked,
"How did you find this place?"
Answer:  "I didn't.  Jerry probably did.  He's famous for finding the food spots."
(Alternate answer:  "MikeD grew up around here.  Maybe he knew where to look.")

On to Stovall.

We ate too much.  Particularly Robert.
After Clarksville, the southerly hot sirocco breeze was quite noticeable.
Sweat evaporated almost before it formed on your skin.
There were no llamas to be seen in any of the usual fields.
I pointed out the three fields that often had llamas in them during the winter months.
I pointed out the roadside and the pond where I took a 10k photo of Dean (and a friend).
Mental diversions were useful.

Robert wondered if he had made a mistake the night before.
The heat of this 200k was getting to him ... what would 1200k do to him.

Nearing Stovall, Robert asked if there was a place to take a break (he did not know where he was).
I suggested the gazebo in Stovall.
"How far," asked Robert.
"About a mile."

In the gazebo, beneath the shade trees,
The hot sirocco near-wind was a gentle, cooling breeze.
5 minutes sitting, Robert was up and stretching.
I continued to sit.  (Rando rule:  never stand when you can sit.)
Another few minutes, feeling much refreshed, we remounted.

Headed for Peace Mountain.

Robert thought he was struggling.
The dawg that lives just as the slope kicks up,
The one that has harassed many a cyclist,
The one I kicked in the head in late January,
Was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe it learned something from that kick in the head.
More likely, it was hiding from the heat.
After all, none of the usual or sometimes annoying dawgs made an appearance.
Probably they were all staying in cooler spots.

One annoying Chihuahua did make an appearance as we left Clarksville.
I unclipped my left foot and pretended to kick at it.
Its eyes seemed to get bigger and it immediately shied away.
Clearly, it has met someone else's foot previously.

This is out of order ... I keep mentioning that I may have a plan when I write these things, but
I don't make an outline before writing, and I seldom "draft and edit".
I just type.

Anyway, this is out of order, but we did have a couple noteable fauna moments:
Robert is convinced he saw two eagles, possibly bald eagles ... I forget where.
Probably between Boydton and Clarksville (because Robert was behind me).
I think I may have spied one of the eagles ... thought it was maybe a hawk ...
But had to look back to the road.

The other, possibly even more noteable fauna moment,
Probably between Clarksville and the North Carolina border,
In a deeply shaded area, Robert leading,
An owl -- don't ask me what species -- fluttered up from near the roadside to the trees.
Wow!!  An owl!!
One occassionally sees eagles around Kerr, Falls and Jordan Lakes.
First time I've ever seen an owl while cycling!
After Peace Mountain.

We were on NC-96, headed into Wilton, Robert leading,
I sneezed ... the upper and lower groin muscles of my right leg cramped.
Not the deep-cramps I've suffered in those locations over the years,
Usually a few hours after the ride is over.
But still annoying.
We stopped in Wilton, at the picnic table, so I could mix E-load into my last bottle of water.
Pretty warm water. 
But I intended to drink the entire contents in the last 10 miles.

While at the picnic table, locals asked how far we had ridden.
I called out "130 miles".
The didn't have to say we were crazy.
Robert told them that we were.

We arrived back at the fire station, 1708 by my probably fast watch.
Assuming paperwork approval:
R-6 for Robert.
R-11 for me.
If Dean reads this:  Yep, I am DEFINITELY counting, now.
I'm making arrangements to R-12 on L-L-L early next month.
If you are wondering "why on L-L-L?" ... Search the June and July blog entries for last year.
Oh, I forgot.  I rode a bit more after the end of the Permanent.
No one other than Robert, Gary and me would care about the details.
Thanks for the ride, Robert.  And the lift.
Thanks to Gary for "helping" me get the rear shifting to be properly responsive.

--> Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Perm -->; 151.8 m.; 9h,36m in-motion; 15.8 mph; rando elapsed clock time on the Permanent:  10h,38m.
(4th longest ride of the year; 6th fastest.
If I had stopped after the end of KLL, it would have been:  4th longest, 4th fastest)

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; _1822.2 m.; 123 hrs, 05 min; 14.8 mph.
Apr tot: __7 rides; __793.8 m.; _52 hrs, 28 min; 15.1 mph.
May tot: _10 rides; __894.1 m.; _63 hrs, 45 min; 14.7 mph.
Jun tot: __5 rides; __347.2 m.; _23 hrs, 07 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: _45 rides; _3857.3 m.; 259 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.

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