Monday, June 25, 2012

Jun-23: IR Post-Solstice Virginia Border Raid

At least three had indicated inability to do the Pre-Solstice Border Raid,
So ... a Post-Solstice Border Raid was also planned.
Interesting thing -- none of those three made this ride. 

Luckily, unanticipated participants emerged:
Tito returned from overseas, and wanted to ride,
Ags decided he wasn't up for his R-12 ride,
IvaHawk thought finding the NC/VA granite border marker would be interesting.
Iva also anticipated a "reunion" ride as many of us had not seen each other in quite a while.
The two reasons combined got him to attempt his first "back-to-back" centuries.
Special definition of "back-to-back":  consecutive Saturdays.

The afternoon before the ride, I invited Tom,
Who has been hanging around TLC-4-Bikes quite a bit lately,
To come and start with us.
He could turn around when we got to Creedmoor -- 14.5 miles into the ride.
Tom was doubtful about the 0600 start -- but he showed and rode.

Five people.
Two felt tired and were concerned about the potential pace that others might want to ride.
One getting one of his first tastes of riding on the road with some roller / climbs.
Two fast guys coming off two-week hiatus periods.

Easy pace across Pleasant Union Ch Rd and onto Six Forks, which becomes New Light Rd.

After Ags explained how he smashed one of his toes by dropping a large jar of pickles on it
At the beginning of his vacation and thus had been off the bike for 2 weeks,
He slowly drifted off the front.

"El Tito" decided to bridge to him and ... well ... I don't actually know.
Because Ags and Tito missed the turn onto Old Weaver Trail at 6.8 miles into the ride.

We yelled ... but it was too far for them to hear.
We thought about "chasing" ... but figured we'd be worn out if we caught them,
And our ride would be over ... IF ... we caught them.
We thought about just following until they stopped to wait for us.
But how many miles would it be before they stopped? 
Grissom at 11.4 miles?  Pokomoke at 15 miles?  Franklinton at 22? 
By the time they stopped, it might be too late to ride to the desired border location.
We could always just re-jigger a 100-mile route on the fly.
But Iva + I wanted to locate that granite border marker from 1887.

So we turned to follow the intended course.
Iva tried calling Tito ... voice and text messages passing in the ether for the next couple hours.

Iva, Tom and I soft-pedaled our way to Creedmoor,
Thinking Ags + Tito might catch us.
That didn't happen. 

But Tom did drop his water bottle twice.
The second time, he tried to re-start on an upslope in WAY too hard a gear.
Embarrassed he was.
Especially after he'd proclaimed the day before that he was not ever going to fall,
Particularly from forgetting to unclip before coming to a stop.
Gary + I had each assured him that he would eventually forget to unclip,
And that he would eventually take a fall.
Neither of us expected the first lesson would come within 14 hours.

Upon reaching the edge of Creedmoor,
Tom U-turned as was his plan.
Iva and I continued on at our easy-we-need-forever-to-warm-up-today pace.

We paused in Stem ... to try to connect with Ags + Tito.
And used the stop to top-up on water.

On thru Shoofly ... I didn't even see the sign -- again!  
(And I had so intended to keep an eye out for it.) 
Iva did -- and that led to a short discussion of old train tracks and "whistle-stops".

We turned at Culbreth.
And soon passed the Creech Family Farm.
Old NC / Raleigh family that Iva knows from his connections.

Across the Tar River ... and just like the week before -- no wall to climb on the other side.

About half way between the Tar River and US-158,
Tito and Iva finally connected via cell phone.
Ags + Tito were apparently at I-85 / US-158 just east of Oxford.

Options discussed.
Conclusion:  Ags + Tito would turn back and be happy with a 60+ mile ride.
Iva and I would continue on to do our second Border Raid in as many Saturdays.
Gosh, but that seems an awfully long intro ... .
AND, believe it or not, I "cut it down".
Past Lake Devin Rd (and the turn for the Shoofly Don't Bother Me course).
Across US-158  and  thru Kinton Forks.
Past Little Mountain Creek Rd (NC Bike Route #4) on the right,
Past Mountain Creek Rd (NC BR #4) on the left.
Iva + I taking turns leading or riding side-by-side, as whimsy suggested.

We obviously passed thru Cornwall,
But were so busy chatting as we drifted along at (probably) 12 or 13 mph,
That neither of us noticed Cornwall when we passed thru.
(It isn't that hard to miss Cornwall, actually.  Ride Cornwall Rd some day -- you'll see.)

We realized we had already gone thru Cornwall when we got to Jonathon X-roads.
One more down and one more up ... the border.

We spent about 20-minutes trying to find the 1887 granite border marker.
[If you follow the link immediately above, you will notice that it is labeled "1897"; 
However, every other source I've found refers to 1887.  (click here for some other sources)
I'm "going with" 1887.]

Iva + I are convinced, that if the marker has not been moved,
That we got within about 12 or 15 feet of the marker.
However, unlike in the photo (link here again), the area between that "fence" and the trees,
Was ALL tall weeds.
We decided not to chance encounters with ticks and poison ivy or other unwanted contacts.
Maybe we'll try to come back on a warm day in the winter,
When the weeds should be less of a problem.

We did the little pig-tail loop the course does into Virginia,
Then continued on our way to and thru Grassy Creek and to Stovall.

A few miles before getting to Stovall, I noticed that Iva was drifting off my front. 
I had to work pretty good to catch him. 
The self-proclaimed "old man of the 'Irregulars'" had rounded into pedaling form before me.

Our better form and better feeling legs stuck with us
And carried us the 42 miles from Stovall back to PUE.
Of course, we had wisely decided to take the "flat way" back
(Instead of the "mountain way" or the "NC BR #4 way").
There may also have been a bit of a tailwind.

We diverted from the mapped version of the Border Raid
By taking a left turn onto Philo White Rd,
Another left onto Conyers Rd
And then right on NC-56 for half-a-mile to get into Wilton.
Fewer cars on Philo White (and an extra climb).
[When one turns off Cannady Mill Rd onto Philo White, 
After climbing up the near-wall from the Tar River, 
One immediately drops down almost as far as the river to a tiny creek, 
Then immediately climbs back up to the top of the plain. 
That climb used to be a major-hill for me. 
Then, last year, or maybe the year before, I discovered I could overpower that climb. 
This time, partially / mostly by accident, I did that climb with a decently high cadence, 
Standing, in the 39/11.  
I was amazed. 
I was pleasantly surprised to find Iva right on my wheel as the steepest part of the climb ended. 
IvaHawk is like an Energizer-Bunny -- he just keeps coming and coming and coming. 
I imagine that is how he did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell this year and last.]

I convinced Iva to turn onto Conyers Rd to keep intact my record of
Never having done the same exact Virginia Border Raid course twice.
[Some day I may run out of logical alternatives ... .]
Also, the first time I did the Border Raid,
I stopped at the store at the corner of Conyers and NC-56.
I expected that store was going out of business a few years back.
But it seemed to be thriving when we cycled past.
Probably a benefit of the more strategically located Citgo gas station / c'store
That was located AT the Wilton crossroads going out of business first.

The last 17 miles of our ride were non-event filled.
The only thing that comes to mind is this:
The climb up Mt. Vernon Ch Rd to PUE is so much easier since the resurfacing of the last few weeks.
Iva commented, "it takes 20% less energy to do that climb!".

Iva + I agreed we each had a good ride.
I'm pretty sure neither of us was lying.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
We forgot to take any photos while on the ride.
We certainly should have taken at least one when we thought we were near the border marker.
Oh, well.  Them's the breaks.
Long post.  I was intending a short, "sense-of" post.
Maybe there was too much I wanted to record from the early part of the ride.

One more thing:
The "flat way" from Stovall to US-158 near Oxford,
Is not nearly as interesting as the "mountain way" or the "BR #4 way",
But it is a heck of a lot easier!

commute --> PUE:  Virginia Border Raid, version 5 --> TLC-4-Bikes (new location) --> commute; 128.4 m.; est. 9h03 in-motion; 14.2 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __7 rides; __910.7 m.; _60 h, 28 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: _49 rides; 4,222.6 m.; 284 h, 46 m; 14.8 mph. 

[The above are my stats.  For today's ride, Iva rode about 113.3-miles.  107.1-miles on the "core" Border Raid, plus a 3.1-mile commute each way.  (My commutes were longer).] 

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