And the Virginia Lake Festival.
Biker Bob wanted to carefully continue his R-series pursuit.
Because in late May he encountered not man's best friend.
After extending to R-18 on the flat Tar Heel 200 near the end of June,
Bob chose the smooth riding, not overly hilly Kerr Lake Loop for July and R-19.
I decided to sign on for the ride.
Knowing it would be a much better experience than
The last time Bob and I rode together in July.
(100 F for the high in Raleigh last year; only 89 F for the Raleigh high this ride.)
MikeH originally wanted to ride KLL on Sunday.
But he switched to Saturday.
You'll have to ask him why.
When MikeH was intending to ride KLL on Sunday,
Ricochet and I decided to ride on Sunday.
Ricochet because he is training for "the big ride",
And me, just for the fun of it. Or the kms.
There was some kerfuffle regarding Saturday and Sunday KLL crews.
To help clarify the situation, I called MikeD.
Over the phone, MikeD let slip that Dean would be riding on Sunday.
I'm pretty sure that MikeD didn't know to not let that info out of the bag.
And I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly.
But I decided to not e-mail Dean.
Who had previously decided to not e-mail me.
So ... some Saturday morning surprise remained.
Just not the one Dean intended.
The morning was beautiful.
The 0600 start helped to accentuate the early morning sun and shadows
On the way up to the Virginia state line and Kerr Lake Dam.
But ... there are a couple incidents to mention before the crossing of the state line:
First, just a mile or more into the ride,
Dean and I were riding alongside each other, Bob and MikeH just behind.
I wasn't paying attention to where we were,
When I saw Dean's left hand move to his front brake and give a momentary squeeze.
I looked to my right and confirmed the situation,
Then said, "I saw that!"
Reverse CL-sprint to Dean.
Being on home turf to start the ride,
I suggested a logical and rando-shortest-route-friendly detour
Instead of riding until we found the detour,
Which would have required virtually back-tracking.
Added a short two miles to the course.
During the detour, MikeH mentioned
That he'd forgotten his rubber band to hold his cue sheet holder in place,
And the holder and cue sheet were flopping around.
I urged him to put the cue sheet away and trust me not to let him get lost.
Not pushing the pace, we still got to and then away from the Exxon control
Sooner than I think I've ever managed.
At the control, Dean pointed out that since I'd encouraged everyone to put their cue sheets away,
It was incumbent upon me to wait at turns for the now cue-less.
After leaving that control, Bob pushed the pace up; I kept up with him.
Still enjoying the great morning low sunlight.
(It was not yet 0800.)
After the turn on to Salem Rd, I got concerned that Dean and MikeH had disappeared off our back.
Bob and I pulled over on to the side of Salem Rd, just before Dabney Rd.
I admit an ulterior motive.
I told Bob about the reverse CL-sprints that Dean had been consistently winning from me
On Get 'Er Dunn, Benson Mule Pull and Tar Heel 200 rides.
I also explained about the previous CL that very morning.
When Dean and MikeH were within hailing distance,
I pointed out to Bob how Dean had stopped pedaling just a moment before.
Clearly hoping I'd get back on my bike and lose yet another reverse CL-sprint.
When within talking distance, I said Bob and I would latch on to Dean and Mike's wheels.
Dean was having none of that.
He and MikeH pulled over to wait -- Dean insisting I lead the way.
I gave in. Sorta'.
I made about one or two pedal strokes,
Just enough for Mike and Dean to start to fall into line,
Then I U-turned.
Dean stopped. Mike followed me with his own U-turn.
Laughs enjoyed, I was forced to U-turn and lead the way across the CL into Vance County.
Did I mention that it was a beautiful, picture-postcard type morning and day?
MikeH lamented that he forgot his camera.
Dean also did not bring his.
I don't have one.
I don't know about Bob.
Horses and chickens and cattle and wildlife were abundant.
Possibly including a hawk or two.
Luckily the deer bolted away long before we got close.
Somehow, I was in the lead again when the Warren CL sign came into sight.
Rather than be silly, I hit the pedals for a couple quick, hard strokes
To take the CL and keep the calm, leisurely momentum intact.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Each MikeH and Dean commented that the store alongside NC BR #1 (our route)
In Warren County is worth stopping to see.
But we didn't do so this ride.
After that store, I managed to get second in line behind Dean.
Mike and Bob behind me in no particular order that I recall.
I stayed behind Dean. I stayed behind Dean. And I stayed behind Dean.
Then ... when the state line came within sight, and within "sprint" distance,
I went around, calling out that the problem with taking the State Line sprint
Is figuring out which sign designated the State Line.
There is a sign for "Welcome to North Carolina", facing opposite the direction we were riding,
And I think there is a sign for Warren County, facing the opposite direction,
And there is a sign for "Welcome to Virginia",
And a sign welcoming to Mecklinburg County in Virginia.
I'm not sure if there is a sign at the actual State Line or not.
I may have to consult an expert on rando CL and State Line sprints.
I wonder when I'll next see Jerry.
The lake, bound up behind the dam, was -- I know it sounds redundant -- a picture postcard.
Deep blue, with a very slight chop.
And a cooling breeze coming off the water.
Even with tired legs, I enjoy the last few miles of Phillis Rd into Boydton.
After that short, steep with the 90-degree "curve" at the top of the steep,
Just where one used to wonder "Who Let the Dogs Out?",
All the way into Boydton is great "popper" riding.
I like it, anyway.
I understood that this ride was the first time that Bob and MikeH had seen a certain statue
In the Boydton Courthouse Square withOUT scaffolding and fencing obscuring the view.
I think all four of us took the opportunity to carefully examine the statue.
Leaving Boydton, I drifted off the front of the other three.
But could hear that they'd struck up a conversation with another cyclist found on the road.
I tried to slow a bit to listen in from afar, but the road beckoned, and I followed.
That, too, is my story, and I'm sticking with it.
"Tobacco-whiskers" at the store in Skipwith recognized me from Jul-04.
I told that this time I had friends following along.
He seemed somewhat pleased with that information.
But he still didn't care to print me a receipt.
("It costs him paper, which is money, to print receipts." That's what MikeH told me, anyway.)
On to Clarksville. At a leisurely pace.
The causeway and bridge across the lake were closed to automobile traffic,
And open to pedestrian traffic to get to the Virginia Lake Festival (or try here).
As there is no other reasonable way to get across to Clarksville, we rode across anyway.
Then, we had to find and wend our way to the other side of Clarksville.
Made more interesting by an 18-wheeler stuck trying to make it around
A very tight residential corner.
Why wasn't that rig on the bypass?
We got lucky arriving when we did at the Subway in Clarksville.
There were only about two other customers when we entered.
But immediately the line behind was 8 or 10 people long,
And the establishment was quite crowed when we left.
The North Carolina State Line on the way to Grassy Creek would make for a great photo.
The road goes up a small climb, and just at the crest,
There is a large tree (I don't know the species) and within arms length of the tree,
The official-looking North Carolina State Line sign.
Across from the tree and sign is a house that is barely within North Carolina.
I've never not seen the Stars-and-Stripes and North Carolina flag flying proudly on that lawn.
Thru Grassy Creek and on toward Stovall.
Bob and Dean dropped Mike and me off their front,
So upon reaching US-15 in Stovall,
I suggested to Mike that we wait for Bob and Dean in the "gazebo",
And perhaps everyone would enjoy a five-minute break before tackling "Stovall Mountain".
I've cycled across that lawn to get to the gazebo many times.
I've pushed my bike across that lawn many times.
Never found a hole.
Bob, however, was unlucky enough to find a quite large hole,
Hidden beneath what appeared to be even grass on a mostly level lawn.
Mostly swallowed his front wheel.
Bob suddenly on the ground and not moving.
Having added new injuries to several fingers and his arm and elbow and maybe his one thigh.
A take-it-leisurely 200k on a scenic and friendly course suddenly soured.
We took considerable extra time sitting in the gazebo.
Chatting away. Playing for extra "calm collection" time for Bob.
While chatting, I pointed out to Dean that while KLL is a "north Raleigh" Permanent,
It is not the one that I've been "suggesting" that a true 10K km hound should add to his resume.
After all, this KLL was his 14th, and his LLL count is stagnant at ... zero.
MikeH and Bob each confirmed that LLL isn't that hard.
If the high temp isn't 100F or nearly so.
Everyone cleared Peace Mountain in style,
And then we finished the route with at least a little panache.
Including retracing the detour.
R-19 for Bob.
Appears to be R-9 for MikeH. But maybe he is not counting.
Looks like R-54 "insurance" for Dean; or maybe 208 kms closer to another goal.
I'll admit to R-12 "insurance" for me; and 208 kms more on the ledger.
Kerr Lake Loop 208km Permanent; 135.0 m.; 8h,53m in-motion; 15.2 mph; rando elapsed-clock time: 11h,48m.