On the return leg, I commented to Dean, "I've seen plenty of horses on the route, today, but I haven't noticed any mules. Did I just fail to recognize them?"
I had been a "bit" tired all ride, but I must have been even more tired than I would acknowledge because, although Dean replied in what I am confident was a North Carolina centric Amerispeak dialect and inflection, it sounded jibberish to me. I just nodded my head and said something such as "sounds reasonable" rather than ask for a repeat because I was pretty sure I wouldn't understand him even if he repeated his statement -- totally because of lack of proper brain function on my part.
BryanR had put out the call on the NC rando listserve for Mule Riders, I couldn't resist responding thusly:
... [Bryan] used his code lingo ("[a] few of us are going to ride") which invariably actually means "Geof, Fast-Bryan (or other similarly incredibly fast-folk) and [Bryan] are going to hammer" such-and-such ride. I have noticed that Smiley-Bryan uses a different code lingo when he is looking for a reasonably-paced ride -- I don't have any of the old e-mails handy, so I can't share the "reasonable code lingo" at this time. I'm just sharing what I've noticed.
I wonder if 105 kms is far enough for Bryan to develop cramps, etc., due to chasing Geof, Fast-Bryan, etc.?
... In interest of full disclosure -- I have contacted Dean ... for a control card ... . I plan to use a lot more of the "open window" of the control times than I suspect Smiley will use.
2010 NC Rando Rookie-of-the-Year, recent Texas Stampede finisher and all-around nice-guy Tim responded off listserve: "That's hilarious! I'll see you Sunday!" It always nice when you make someone laugh.
We rolled out at 0800, and stayed together for a mile or two, then the fast-dudes (Geof, Fast-Bryan, Tim, Smiley, David) drifted off the front of the back-of-the-pack. [Dean could have been the solo middle-of-the-pack, leaving me as the solo back-of-the-pack, but he slowed and waited. A theme that replayed until the record nearly broke during the ride.]
The fast-dudes were still at the intermediate control when Dean and I arrived. We all left together, more-or-less -- Dean and I gave the fast-dudes a 15 or 30 second head start; David decided to switch from the fast-dude pack to the back-of-the-pack pack. David rode steadily. Dean rode steadily. I, on the other hand, had no strength on anything resembling an upslope -- and Dean seemed to have inserted a few more upslopes since May. I could and did "fake it" on flat and downslope, and once or twice got the fly-wheel wound up on a shallow upslope, but I couldn't seduce real strength from behind the veneer.
David finally rode ahead of Dean and me. He was probably tired of dealing with my yo-yo as I repeatedly hoped that "NOW, my legs are warmed and responding" only to learn a minute or two later that it had all still been a futile search.
All the fast-dudes were still in Benson. I asked if they had been there for half-an-hour, waiting. Tim replied, "only about 10 or 15 minutes." I suspect that his watch has 70 or 80 seconds to the minute.
The fast-dudes left for the return journey without the back-of-the-pack. But Smiley had decided to switch from the fast-dude pack to riding with David. He claimed it was so that David would have someone to ride with, but it may have been a ploy to eliminate the possibility of cramps, etc.. Only Smiley knows for sure.
Tim was still at the intermediate control when Smiley, David, Dean and I arrived. I asked Tim if he had decided to let the others go on without him and wait for us. His response caught me by surprise, "they dropped me long before getting here; I've ridden at least 400 miles each of the last three weeks; I think I'm tired." [If I could do it justice, I would write that in Tim's slight "down-east North Carolina drawl" -- very slight, actually. But since I can't do it justice ... you'll have to imagine. Hint: Tim's "tired" contains only a trace of "tarred" ... only a trace.]
The five of us left together. I had no more moments of "maybe NOW my legs are warmed up and some strength will come thru". Instead, Dean had to slow, and wait, and slow, and wait. With about 7 miles to go, I asked Dean to find some shade and pull over and wait with me while I nibbled on some food from my pockets. Accommodating gentleman that he is ... he did so at the first opportunity.
Dean finished with some panache; I just finished. Each of us had some measure of satisfaction as Dean chipped away toward his kilometer goal for the year and I topped 4000 RUSA kms.
Tim, David and Smiley were still at the finish control. Snacking away on food. A little chat amongst everyone while we signed our cards, etc., and handed them over to the route owner (Dean), and then we all scattered for home.
Gosh, it felt hot.
Benson Mule Pull 105 km Perm Pop; 67.4 m.; 4h,50m in-motion; 13.9 mph; elapsed clock-time: 5h,55m.
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: __9 rides; __743.8 m.; _49 hrs, 44 min; 14.9 mph.
YTD tot: _49 rides; _4253.9 m.; 286 hrs, 06 min; 14.9 mph.