It is good to be the HELPER.
Because, next time you might be the HELPEE.
Route owner MikeD was headed to France for P-B-P.
I tried to contact him far enough in advance to NOT add to any stress he may have been having.
I probably should have contacted him even sooner.
How do I know?
It is obvious to those of us that did the ride.
When Mike is back from France, and nicely relaxed, we'll share with him.
Hopeful that he will laugh.
Ended up with a "Party of Six".
Could have been "Eight is Enough", but
One cancelled early the in week before claiming bronchitis.
And one over-slept on Saturday morning.
I had planned to cycle 10 or more miles to get to the start of the ride,
But when I decided to put a little more air in the tyres,
The seal between the valve and "rubber" of the tube in the rear failed.
Great. Not. I needed a "wayback machine", or 20 minutes, anyway.
I put bike in car and drove to the start.
I had to get to the start on time ... I had the group waiver signatures to collect.
Fixed the flat at the start, before the start.
Interesting thing about that tube:
It had a patch. I had forgotten it was a patched tube.
The patch was still good when I tossed the tube.
The permanent style patch had lasted for at least two thousand miles.
A little confusion at the start, but nothing really worth mentioning.
At the first control, ~ 23 miles in to the ride,
I informed Irregular and newbie-this-year rando JohnA that he would be the lucky one
To ride with LynnL when she rode away from us.
6 or 8 miles later (I'm not going to consult the cue sheet),
I saw Lynn drifting off the front, and called out to John that his ride partner was making her move.
[John had never ridden with Lynn. Only heard about her.]
John asked, "is that her moving away for the day?"
I responded, "yep, we won't see her again."
Also at the first control, or maybe it was at the store in Boydton,
I pointed out to RBA Alan that since MikeO had over-slept,
No one was on the ride that knew his tell-tale signs of ... bad things.
If he noticed he was over-heating, please tell us.
[I'm sure Alan later informed MikeO that he is not allowed to oversleep again
As I make a tougher "nanny" than Mike does.
Not really: I saw Mike "frog-march" Alan into the air conditioning on a Jul-02 ride.]
Alan had spent the early part of the month walking around San Francisco,
Fulfilling life commitments, and being a tourist.
He had ridden all of 27 miles in August before this ride.
All 27 miles were the day before.
I've been on rides with Alan when I couldn't keep up with him.
I've been on rides with Alan when he's had a bad day.
This ride, Alan struggled with his conditioning ... not so much the heat.
Just after the crest of Peace Mountain (aka, "Stovall Mountain"),
I pulled over to wait, BikerBob pulled over to wait, Alan pulled over announcing he needed a REST.
Next minute I look behind Bob, and saw
Alan's bike lying in the ditch,
His shoes and camelback neatly beside the bike, and
Alan lying flat on his back along the roadside.
Classic randonneur sleeping in the ditch kind of thing.
Neither Bob nor I had a camera.
If we had had a camera, this post would consist of ... that photo and nothing else.
Alan's lie-down and everything else only took 11 minutes of time,
From when he pulled over until we started again.
We soon caught up to MikeH, who had kept riding
As the best way to hold off cramps his legs had been trying to inflict since Clarksville.
MikeH had also had limited recent cycle time,
Completing the renovations to his house.
Those are done, now.
I expect I'll soon have trouble keeping up with him, again.
Our lantern rouge foursome split into two twosomes the last 18 miles or so.
Alan could "go" on the flat and downslopes,
MikeH's legs wanted to hold him back, regardless of the terrain.
We all finished.
Hopefully, when MikeD returns, we'll all get credit.
R-rides for Alan, MikeH and JohnA.
Kilometers towards goals for BikerBob and me.
I'm not sure what Lynn is thinking these days.
One more thing: that flat I had before attempting to cycle to the ride ...
I'm thinking it may have been a Godsend ...
Otherwise, I would have either had to ride "home" in the failing light,
Or, I might not have wanted to be as much of a HELPER as the day called for.
Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent; 131.1.; 8h,46m in-motion; 14.9 mph; rando elapsed clock time: 12h,00m.