Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lee's Birthday Adventure

When I started this blog, it was only for me, and almost entirely about my cycling stats.  Slowly, I started to write more about the ride(s).  Eventually, I swapped the order of the stats and the story, giving the story the priority.  

Then, on rare occasion, I would ask someone else to write the story of the ride, and I would publish that as a "guest blogger" post.  After I crashed in Sep-2009, Iva guest-blogged the next Irregulars ride -- a ride I did not do.  The pattern of guest-bloggers continued and picked up steam after I started doing rando rides; someone else, usually Iva, would author a write-up of the IR ride I didn't do, and I would separately blog the rando ride I had done.  

It slowly dawned on me that it would be a lot easier for Iva and me if Iva had actual "author" rights on this blog.  Fighting down my control-freak urges, I invited Iva and Robert to "author" rights.  Iva was reluctant, but accepted.  Robert, although he had contributed some excellent write-ups, declined, claiming that he was incapable of writing very well.  That is, he declined until just a couple days after P-B-P, when he sent me an e-mail from Paris:  "Martin, I'm ready to be a contributor to your blog."  I moved quickly to act on that, and the result was the excellent P-B-P story Robert crafted, and which is now the run-away all-time most-popular post on this blog.  (Btw, Robert's oral story-telling of his P-B-P adventures makes the write-up appear pale in comparison.)  

As the blog has become a little less "mine" and somewhat "ours", I have occasionally published write-ups from other Irregulars; sometimes the write-up has been regarding something decidedly NOT an IR ride.  Sometimes they have even been sent in without solicitation.  :-o  Sometimes, Irregulars have sent a write-up, and in trying not to overload the "readership" with multiple stories all at once, I have tried to space the  posts out a bit.  Sometimes, that has led to posts getting lost (or delayed ... perhaps for months) before the text was re-discovered ... and perhaps published.  

So ... if the write-up makes me laugh, or perhaps cry, or it is a good adventure, or well-written, or I'm just in a good mood ... I'll probably publish guest-posts from time to time ... maybe more than in the past ... if Irregulars want to share the story of their triathlon or mountain conquest or "birthday ride" other bicycle adventure.   

I won't publish everything on the blog.  For example, the Mallet undertook an excellent adventure this past mid-July.  He sent a short e-mail back to The States every day after his ride(s) in the Alps, waiting (?) for a certain "Tour" to get to the same slopes, but I understand that Paul has his own plans for the photos and videos he took.    

Gosh, my above blabbering might end up longer than the story that prompted the above introspection and this post in the first place.  Time for me to stop blabbering, and get to the point: 
Lee's birthday was on Jul-22nd -- er, maybe that should be IS on Jul-22nd -- I think he is planning on having several more birthdays in the future; I'm confident that his wife, children, and grandbabies also figure on many more birthday.  Anyway, in July, he sent me the story which you can now read below; however, it got lost in the shuffle or whatever.  Although he attempted to recruit some partners, Lee ended up undertaking his birthday adventure as a solo odyssey.

Astute and course-aware local randos, especially those that did a Kerr Lake Loop in mid-July, might be able to discern the advantage of having taken the detour early and again late during those KLL tours as compared to some of the "fun" Lee encountered and described in this recently re-discovered tome.

I had been planning on riding 62 miles today [Jul-22-2011], as it is my same number birthday.  It turned into an adventure.  I departed at 8:20 am as I wanted the inbound traffic to subside.   83 was the temp at departure time, wow and so humid.  
I stopped at the BP in Creedmoor and while there got to talking to the guy washing the windows.  He asked me how far I was going and I told him what I was doing.  He said he was 50 and used to ride.  He said he was raised in Philly and could ride the "wall" (this is in some pro races they have there) on a Murray 3 speed when he was a kid.  He said in 1982 he was trying to make the 7-11 Team while he was living in Baltimore.  He said he got hit by cars twice while trying to get in shape for the tryouts and decided to give up cycling. 
On I went.   I managed the hills on Eaton Road on the big chain ring.    When I turned onto Philo White Rd, I was hit in the face with a strong head wind.  I knew from the weather forecast that the wind would be out of the SW, and from Philo White back my compass read South to SW all of the way.  A subsequent check of the weather report showed the winds were gusting from 9-26 mph.  I had been sweating, but when turning into the wind it was so hot and dry it was drying me off.  
I pulled into Wilton and stopped under the big oak at the intersection to cool down for a few minutes.  Just after pulling out onto Hwy 96 I came across barricades indicating the road was closed and the detour was down Hwy 56.  I was already becoming toast and sure didn't want to add one inch to my ride so I continued on hoping I could navigate the road closure.  As I got closer a yellow DOT truck went past me in the same direction.  The driver was waving for me to go back.  He then stopped a ways up as I came coasting up to him.  At about the same time I noticed fresh tar on the road.  Great! - tar all over my wheels, and Gary just put them on last week. 
I stopped and the DOT guy, who made three of me and he was not fat, told me I couldn't continue.  From that point I could see that about three-tenths of a mile of road was torn out and they were grading and making a big dust mess.  I told the DOT guy that I was fried and asked if I could walk around it.  He told me no, he didn't want me to get run over or something to that effect.
So, doing what I had learned many years ago from a now-gray-haired bike rider, I asked him if he could give me a ride around the construction in his DOT truck.  He told me to put my bike in the back, hop on and he gave me a ride.  He also asked if I needed water, which I didn't at that time.  So I got a three-tenths of a mile ride.  When I got off of the truck and departed, the tar on the wheels was collecting every piece of gravel and crud on the road all the way to Horseshoe Road, with me riding the wheels with my gloves. 
When I got home I had done 62.4 miles.  Right on the money.  I then spent a couple of hours cleaning the tar out of my cleats and off the tires with a gasoline soaked rag. 

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