I had publicly suggested the Mitchener's X-roads Cruise, but I couldn't locate the cue sheet (who needs cue sheets?) and my heart + mind weren't really into that -- I don't know why -- it is a perfectly good course with some climbs and low-traffic roads and all that. I suggested privately to John (because I mistakenly thought he was the only other person interested in a ride) that maybe it would be good to just take US Bike Route #1 from PUE to US-158, turn-around without stopping, and retrace our route for about 61 miles. John e-mailed back that he didn't care as long as it was less than 6 hours. I guaranteed it would be less than 6 hours.
On the way to Grissom, I had a thought that I'd like to ride Flat Rock Rd northbound as I couldn't recall ever having done that. So ... we continued straight for another 2 1/2 miles past Grissom [note to self: need to mention to Branson that the BR#1 sign at Grissom for the left turn onto Lawrence Rd has gone missing] to Wayside Farm Rd, then to Kelsey's Western Wear, then Suitt's Store Rd, etc. to Flat Rock Rd.. I think Flat Rock Rd may be easier northbound than southbound -- it could have been the tailwind, though.
Philo White Rd to get back to Cannady Mill Rd and BR#1, having added a little extra climbing.
Cruising along Cannady Mill, John and Bob in deep conversation(s). It seemed like a repeat of Thursday; only with John substituting for Robert, and I wasn't singing aloud to myself.
Then ... another idea: BR #1 to US-158 and come back is really a 60-mile TT -- not a "let's have an enjoyable time" ride. How about ... when we get to Dickerson, we turn right onto Dorsey Rd and take that up to US-158, ride 158 for a short mile to the east, then turn south (right) onto Old Watkins / Peaces Chapel Rd to Fairport. Then Fairport Rd to Charlie Grissom / Green Hill Rd to Olivet(?) Chpl Rd to NC-56 to Gordon Moore to Pokomoke, and then on in.
Adds some climbing and the scenery is more interesting. (BR #1 is a great route from Raleigh up to Oxford, but it mostly runs along a wide, flat ridge; not much in the way of vistas. Get off a half mile or so in either direction, though, and things change dramatically -- maybe not vista-wise, but certainly down-and-up-wise.)
Bob and John were willing to follow. Actually, I had to follow across 158; and they didn't slow for me once on Old Watkins until they'd covered at least a mile -- maybe more. They waited for me at a nibbles and drink and maybe something else roadside pause. Then we continued on toward Fairport. [It is always farther from the creek to the county line than I recall -- all upslope or some uphill.]
Bob and I were taking all the pulls starting at that creek on Old Watkins, all the way to the Tar River, and up Olivet Chpl Rd, and then continuing on Gordon Moore Rd. I had mentioned possibly stopping in Grissom for a break, and as we got within a long half-mile of Pokomoke, John asked "how far to Grissom?"
Bob pulled all the way from Pokomoke to Grissom. We stopped in Grissom for the pause that refreshes. John was appalled or something when upon leaving I noted that we'd stopped for nearly 25 minutes. [We'd gotten to Grissom at 12:02, and left at 12:25.] Bob continued pulling ... all the way to the bottom of Ghoston Rd. then John left us in the dust as Bob and I made our way up Ghoston and Peed re-passing each other several times. [I'm sure the only reason I was staying with Bob was the 8 1/2 mile pull (with Grissom in the middle) that he took to get to Grissom. I had sat on the back, wondering if / when John would go to the front. He never did. Until the climb on Grissom. At least he didn't try to swipe the Wake CL. I didn't either. I did, however, consider how the dynamic would have changed if Smitty and a couple others had been along at that point.]
Gary + Wendy + Karen(?) were just coming out of the Peed Store as Bob and I zipped off NC-98 onto Peed Rd.. We were going 20+ mph, so all I did was give them a shout-out, and we kept going. Gary gave a shout-out back.
I got into PUE at 1:05 pm; 5h05 elapsed clock time for what Bob reported as 69-and-change miles; well under the 6 hour limit. John claimed to have gotten there only a couple minutes before. I don't believe "only a couple minutes"; probably at least "a few minutes" and maybe "several minutes" as Bob and I took 20 minutes to do Ghoston-Peed-MVC; John never takes more than 16 or 17 (the latter only when he is really putzing it in).
A little chat. John left to go home to be a dad. Bob and I chatted a bit more about nothing very important -- I certainly no not recall the topic(s). Then he got in his truck to drive home and I remounted to complete my journey.
Well ... I did have to make a necessary stop en route. Luckily certain people live at just the right place.
--> PUE: US BR #1 out-and-back, but with enough modifications that even LT would not have though it an out-and-back course --> ; 78.0 m.; 5h,08m in-motion; 15.2 mph.
Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph.
Oct tot: _10 rides; _924.0 m.; _61 h, 54 m; 14.9 mph.
Nov tot: __9 rides; _540.2 m.; _35 h, 40 m; 15.1 mph.
I was avg'ing 15.6 or better when we turned onto Ghoston, and 15.5 or so when I got to PUE.
I've been taking it very easy all year coming back up the "other MVC climb" toward Raleigh all year. I wonder what that extra cool-down mileage and pace has done to my annual avg pace?
I figured out an answer to the above question. I've been riding back from PUE in about 6 more minutes than I've been riding out to PUE prior to the rides. Just over 1/3 of my rides this year have entailed that putz-cool-down back to town. That 6 minutes has cut an average 0.2 to 0.3 mph off the avg pace of all those rides. And has cut 0.1 mph off the total average mph for the entire year. If I was starting and stopping all my rides from PUE (as in previous years), I estimate that my avg overall pace YTD would be 15.1 mph. As MaryF alluded while on the Kerr Lake Loop near the end of September -- I'm probably faster than last year.