Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jun-18: Summer Solstice to the Whirligigs

The Gathering

Sixteen cyclists. 
Eleven for the Whirligigs; five shorting the destination.
Three start locations.
104, 120, or 143 miles.
Seventy or eighty miles for the "shorters".
Our "leader" had been very definite in his pre-ride e-mail explaining logistics:
Be on time, we are NOT waiting if you are late.

PUE starters away at 0600 ... at least I never heard otherwise.
Wakefield starters planned away at 0620; actually away 0628.
The "overall leader" guaranteed the "segment leader" that we could afford the 8 minutes.
It worked out ... we got to Y'ville in 31 minures ... and before the PUE starters.
IvaHawk liked starting somewhere other than PUE for a change.
Everyone gathered in Youngsville by 0705.
Most the Youngsville starters had been there since approx 0630.

Four of the sixteen had cancelled.
One unexpected cyclists added to the crew.
He had decided to cancel on the Atlanta 300 km solstice brevet.
Also cancelled his last-minute planned "rush to qualify for Paris".

All Together Now

PUE and Wakefield starters re-watered from the stash the Y'ville starters brought.
Chilled water.  One ice in a cooler.  Nice.
Away from Youngsville about 0710.
Peach Orchard Rd -- nice.
Lee keeping those unsure of the turns on course.

Into Louisburg on West River Rd.
Leaving on Nash St.  Bidding adeui to the "shorters".
Edge of Louisburg, onto East River Rd.
Only Lee has ridden this road previously. 
Nice road.  With rollers climbing away from the Tar River.

A couple turns, onto NC-581.
Some of it chip-seal.
Some smooth asphalt.
Nature break for some.
A county line breakaway for others (not me).
Rolling down to, and back up from, the Tar River, again.

Into and thru Spring Hope.
Seems a good place to pause on ride. 
Several convenience and food options.
Shade trees.

Still on NC-581 to Bailey.
Into Bailey.
Iceman had previously indicated that he'd ridden thru, maybe even stopped in Bailey,
On his way to Greenville, to effectuate a car-exchange with his daughter in ECU.
I asked him to lead us to the stores.

Iceman's facial reaction reminded me of JohnO last October,
Luckily, the center of Bailey, and the convenience and food outlets were just ahead.

Into the first convenience store.
It was on the right, so was an easy choice.
Two of the crew scampered across the road to the Hardee's.
The scamperers encountered Rando Tim of Wilson.
A day after the solstice ride, I learned something from Rando Tim of Wilson.
That info caused me send the following note to the rest of the crew:

I'm particularly thinking that the two of you that scampered over to the Hardee's in Bailey to use their restroom, and got in conversation with Tim from Wilson, might like to illuminate the moment when, upon hearing that the group was from Raleigh, Tim said "oh, you must be riding with Martin."

This is the ENTIRE reply I got back from Iceman:

It was pretty cool. A couple of us scampered over to the Hardee's in Bailey to use their restroom, and got in conversation with Tim from Wilson. Upon hearing that the group was from Raleigh, Tim said "oh, you must be riding with Martin." We said, "Yeah!"

Oh, boy!  THAT certainly added a lot of insight and filled in information from another angle.  Seven entire original words.  I'll certainly be able to turn that into a humorous antecdote of a chance encounter 50-plus miles from "home" with a cyclist that knew ... at least one of us.  NOT.

At least he replied.  The other slug scamperer didn't even reply.  Slug
I'm still wondering who initiated the chat at the Hardee's.
Hard to imagine that it might have been quiet, somewhat shy, but fun Tim.

Tim came out from the Hardee's to give me a "hello".
Tim standing in front of Hardee's, me pulling out of the convenience store,
Second-to-last in our crew, I didn't know that Tim was across the road.
I spotted Tim in one of his signature jerseys.
I told Lee, who was just behind me, that I needed to cross the road to say "hello" to someone.
Lee responded "that's right" and gave me room to manoeuver.
("That's right" is a Lt. Dave phrase ... but Lee may have used it ... correct useage, at least.)

Tim and his better half were with a "breakfast crew" from Wilson.
They ride about 50 to 60 miles, and get breakfast at Hardee's.
They have four courses, each with a different Hardee's.
One course / Hardee's for each of the four directions.
Ride into the wind; then turn and head for home.
Eat breakfast along the way.

After the minute or two conversation with Tim,
The Irregulars were out of sight, having transited the underpass, and left town.
I wasn't worried ... I had a cue sheet.
Coming up from the underpass, I saw IvaN circling about,
Waiting to pull me back to the group.
I told IvaN I was willing to give up my faux single-speed to get back to the group.
But the gentle rise we climbed ... was perfect for the 39/15.
Also, the guys clearly soft-pedaled to make it easier to get back.
Thanks, guys.

Governor Hunt Rd and The Whirligig Farm

Rando Tim told me (when I saw him on Sunday) that
"Governor Hunt Road is the best hill we have down east."
I believe him.
It was non-trivial.
And scenic.

A couple turns, including on to "Willing Workers Rd."
One member of the group noted that that sounded rather communist.
Similar to "Happy Workers Rd."

Anyway ... the Whirligig Farm.

Although there was almost no discernable wind down in the hollow where the Whirligigs are located, and only the tiniest of the gigs were moving at all, we were all at advanced enough ages to appreciate the concept and workmanship of the artist, Vollis Simpson.  (Images for Vollis Simpson and his "windmills".)  (Wilson Visitor's Bureau)  (Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park planned

"Google" "Vollis Simpson".  You won't be disappointed.

To Wilson and Lunch

We finally tore ourselves away from the Whirligig Farm, and headed for Wilson.
The roads quite flat.
Headed east to connect (more-or-less) with NC Bike Route #7.
I had permanently put away my hand-written cue sheet.
It was only good for another few miles anyway.

Most everyone else had printed and brought their own copy
Of the Excel cue sheet of the entire route.
I had a hand-written version.
It only covered the turns and roads from Louisburg to Quaker Rd.
Before and after, I knew where I was and where I was going.

Funny thing, though.
No matter how many times some people have experienced
"Oh, you knew how these roads inter-connected,"
No matter how many times you tell some people "don't worry about the cue sheet,"
"I know where we're at and where we're going,"
They keep watching the cue sheet,
And the road signs after unmarked turns,
Looking for a mistake?

Onto the west edge of Wilson.
A raft of motels / hotels and chain food.
The Mallet explored the little strip mall behind the Bojangles, etc.,
And found what appeared to be a non-chain place.

The immediate above captured Snapper before he changed into
costume for his role as the fifth of the Village People.

Per IvaHawk:  "Good subs on an EMPTY stomach."

Headed for Home (Youngsville, Anyway)

North on NC BR #7 toward Hornes Church and NC BR #2.
At digestion pace.
With a tailwind.

At Hornes Church, take a left.
Follow BR #2 to Youngsville.
Strongest riders to the front, please.
We've finally found the headwind.

Just as we've settle in ... BANG!
Iceman's rear tyre found a pebble just the correct size to pinch flat him.

We all stopped under some shade. 
Most of us stayed out of Paul's way.
When he asked for a pump instead of using his CO2 cartridge,
Smitty offered his pump.
It is an excellent mini-pump.
I have a duplicate.
But I looked over and knew that Paul Mallet had a full length frame pump.
It has the advantage of that longer air cylinder.
So Paul #1 changed his flat, very quickly I might add,
While Paul #3 offered use of his pump,
And the pump of Paul #2 was used.

A "Mountains to the Sea Trail" (click here and/or here and/or here)
Runner came by just as Paul finished with his flat.
He slowed to semi-chat for a moment.

He had to have been HOT.

How many Pauls does it take to change a flat?

That's a bit unfair of me.
But how often can you expect a line like that to be delivered on a platter?

The Mallet and IvaN continued to pull the crew.
Displaying that they were the "real leaders" on the day.

Seems to me that Snapper, after having been in pack for 15 miles,
Decide to race around and try to take the Franklin County Line.
He was accused of bad form.
I think he may not even have collected the points.
I don't know.

After the CL, Snapper went to front and kept going.
I am recalling a particular time when Snapper said to Smitty,
"Get in front where you can be of use to the rest of us.
"Rather than hanging out with no one behind you."
Ahem, Snapper.  Pot.  Kettle.

Anyway, Snapper raced off.
Red Rocket, after a long hesitation, took off after him.
They later wondered what happened to the rest of us.

We stopped at the store at US-401,
Just as we'd been discussing since we skipped the Kountry Kwik Pik.

Re-iced, re-watered.
But slowed because of the threats from the former Marine.
My confuser showed 105 miles at 16.9 mph at that stop.

Back underway, 15 miles to Younsville.
We'd slowed down about 2 mph.
Still being led by IvaN and the Mallet.

Everyone of the remaining 8 was good,
Until with 2 miles to go to get to Youngsville,
"Someone" decided the group should arrive in Y'ville with some panache,
So he went around and dragged the pace back up to where it had been.

Fortunately, the ex-Marine took no action, the supposed "crew leader" said nothing,
And the two "real leaders" on the day ...
They were likely glad to be able to suck someone else's wheel for awhile.

Arriving at the morning gathering spot,
We found Snapper mostly changed and looking rather refreshed.
But the Red Rocket was clearly feeling the effects of his efforts chase Snapper.
Red Face, deep sighs, rolling eyes, surreptitiously leaning on a vehicle.
I later learned that Red Rocket had been unable to hold Snapper's wheel the entire way back.
No surprise there.
Snapper has a large engine.
Not quite as large as IvaN's, I think.
But I'll never really know, since I can't hold either of them if they really GO!


Some re-arranging of "finish" plans.
Snapper, IvaN, Iceman and Red Rocket Lee ended their rides at Youngsville,
For about 104 miles as planned.

IvaHawk negotiated a lift from Y'ville to Wakefield to his car.
That was the shortest way for the IvaN/Snapper-mobile, anyway.
Hawk thought he'd get to Wakefield and drive toward Youngsville
To pick Smitty and Ags en route, and save them some miles.
Surprise:  Smitty and Ags got to Wakefield before Iva.
Did IvaN / Snapper (whichever was driving) take a long-cut?
Approx 112 miles for Hawk.
Approx 128 miles for Ags (he had started from PUE in the morning).
Approx 128 miles for Smitty (he had cycled to Wakefield, but got a lift home).

The Mallet, Rando Rick and I rode another 20 miles to PUE.
I haven't written one word about Rando Rick from Wilmington.
I know I had intended to touch upon, or harass, everyone,
But I forget things as I write, as I think of others.
Per IvaHawk:  "RickR strong rider."
Approx 144 miles for Rick.
He decided to cancel on a Sunday ride in North Wilkesboro,
And headed home to Wilmington, instead.

151 miles for me.  I gave up the 39/15 faux SS after 125.5 miles.
When I commented that to Paul and Rick, Rick's comment was "oh, the shame of it!"
(I had cycled to Wakefield in the morning, to PUE and "home" in the p.m..)

Approx 160 miles for the Mallet.
He's training to cycling in July in the Alps with his brother's cycling club.
He needs mountains, or distance, or both.

I'm sure I left out many individual favorite moments.
That's what comments are for.

Oh, and next week's Irregular ride:  I'm thinking something less EPIC.
The route from PUE and back:


Summer Solstice Whirligig Farm Destination Ride, plus; 151.4 m.; 9h,10m in-motion; 16.5 mph; fastest avg in-motion pace this year; admittedly, I sat in the group a lot, but I also did some decent pulls, if I do say so myself.

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: __8 rides; __676.4 m.; _44 hrs, 54 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: _48 rides; _4186.5 m.; 281 hrs, 16 min; 14.9 mph.


  1. I always name the crew. This time ... I forgot. So:

    Whirligigers: Mallet, Ags, Rando RickRod, Smitty, IvaHawk, Snapper, IvaN, Iceman, Red Rocket, me.

    Shorters: BobH, Ricochet Robert, JohnD.

  2. What, no mention of the Pork Chop moment. Is Snapper never going to find out the truth?


  3. The "pork chop" story has already been fully covered previously. However, one does need to search for "lunch plate" and not search for "pork chop".

    Also, although it may be hard to believe, I had to cull a lot from this post, and just plain never even wrote about some moments. The post is wayyyy too long as it is.

  4. Good report. This was an "epicisque" ride. The heat at 90 miles really made me feel like summer (Zim, electolyte blocks, multiple water bottle refills, sweat in eyes, white sleevless jersey) is finally here.

  5. Martin, excellent job on laying out the route and planning this ride. To get all those clowns at the right place and the right time was amazing. Thanks for the leadership. Robert

  6. Gosh, Robert, me-thinks you've been hanging out with Ags too much ... his sarcastic ways seem to be rubbing off on you.

    As for getting everyone together at the correct time ... in an early draft, I had mentioned the harsh threats from the "overall leader" that those not on time would be left behind ... but that got culled due to length of the post and attempted minimalist style. However, I think the main reasons everyone got together on time were: (1) it was hard for Snapper to be late given he was driving to Y'ville with his neighbor, IvaN; (2) everyone likes new roads; (3) the Summer Solstice rides had been pretty good events / rides the previous two years; (4) the Whirligig Farm is a neat thing.