Everyone cycled to the start.
As I arrived first at 0626, I was mildly surprised by the lack of cars at the meeting spot.
But then quickly realized that:
- the Mallet always cycles the 7+ miles to and from PUE for the rides,
- that IvaHawk often pedals the 5-kms to and from the rides, and
- that Ricochet sometimes rides the 7 or so miles to and from PUE.
At 0627, Red Rocket arrived.
He had not indicated that he was going to do the ride.
He always cycles the 2.2 miles to the start.
He asked, "where is everybody?"
I replied confidently (even although I wasn't entirely convinced), "they're all riding here."
0629, the Mallet pulled in.
He did not seem confused by the paucity of other riders nor the lack of cars.
And a minute or so later, four cyclists were visible on the road heading for the start.
I recognized all from the combination of their jerseys and positions on their bikes.
BobH and Norris (who had not indicated they were riding -- which is usually the case), and
IvaHawk and Ricochet all arrived at about 0631.
We got underway at 0635.
I remember darn little of the first 14.5-miles of the ride,
Except that I noted to Iva that Lee didn't have the same
Problem that Ags + Tito had had on Jun-23.
Iva agreed, "yeah, Lee obviously knows the course."
I also recall a conversation with BobH.
We noted that the pace was higher than usual.
We estimated about 17-mph based on the distance covered in the first 40 minutes.
We attributed the higher to Lee -- he seemed in a hurry or something.
Between Creedmoor and Stem,
The Mallet commented that it had been so long since he had ridden the previous and current roads
In the direction we were riding, that he wasn't recognizing anything.
He in particular commented on one downhill just as we began the descent.
He admitted he recalled it from the other direction, but not the direction we were riding.
Next thing I recall is that we were pulling into the convenience store in Stem.
21.5-miles in 75-minutes in-motion and elapsed time.
17.1 mph. A couple miles per hour than usual for getting to Stem on that route.
After about 10 minutes in Stem to eat a little, refill water bottles, and to faff a little,
We resumed our ride.
Two down-and-ups, then left onto Belltown Rd,
For the stair-step rollers down to the Tar River.
Lee off the front of the rest of us the entire time we were on Belltown Rd.
I found the climb up to Bryan's Hill Rd after crossing the Tar River so mild,
That I thought the river had just been a creek.
I was surprised when Lee made the right turn.
For a moment I was sure he was making a wrong turn.
But luckily I saw the road-sign before I said anything.
Bryan's Hill Rd has the word "hill" in its name, and that might scare some, but
The down-and-up valley is not so special.
I've sometimes wondered where "Bryan's Hill" is.
Upon reaching US-15, there seemed some confusion among the lead riders as to which way to turn.
I seized the lead and zoomed up the initial little slope to get to the level ground,
And then we all turned onto Sam Usry Rd.
Sam Usry Rd has two notable down-and-ups.
I particularly like the first up.
Not because it is a challenge nor that it is easy.
No, what makes it interesting, or like-able, to me is that
The road makes a slow S-curve climbing and as a result,
There are multiple nice scenes presented for one's viewing pleasure.
Added bonus today: the house on the south side of the road
Had a Model-T or A in the carport.
A little far, and a modern vehicle was in the way, to get a really good view.
Left onto NC-96 at Corinth.
Right onto Eaton Rd.
Eaton Rd has a serious plunge to a creek, and
A stiff-ish climb back up on the other side.
Not comparable to Flint Hill Rd, but still a serious plunge and climb.
26-months ago, on his second ride as an adult,
Ricochet dropped his chain on that stiff-ish up.
A little bit on Cannadys Mill Rd.
The Hawk did much enjoy my mis-speakment at the turn onto Cannadys Mill.
It all had to do with "I" versus "me" usage.
Then left onto Gray Rock Rd.
Gray Rock Rd slowly drifts down to another plunge to a creek,
Then quickly climbs back up from same.
After the road has mostly leveled out ... a County Line.
I'm not sure if Red Rocket and the Mallet contested it or not.
A right turn onto Charlie Grissom Rd.
Lee and Ricochet seemed glad that we were not headed for "Charlie Grissom Mtn."
That's how Lee usually refers to the "Grissom Wall".
Ricochet may also have been glad we weren't headed for Egypt Mtn Rd.
Instead, we headed for the Tar River.
The Mallet and I were trying to up the pace sufficiently that no one would be tempted to attack.
I think Red Rocket Lee heard me saying that to Paul,
And promptly launched his attack.
I was in the wrong gear for a rapid acceleration.
The Mallet misunderstood where the "finish line" was, and
Lee easily claimed the CL.
(That's my story, to which I sticking, and the Mallet's story, to which he is sticking.)
Re-crossed the Tar River and the creek another 0.4 miles later.
Then a STEEP climb away from the Tar River, but only for a short distance.
Followed by three or four miles of a more-or-less continuous upslope.
[Interesting side-note: this elevation of the bridge at this second crossing of the Tar River
Is 100 feet lower than the elevation at the first crossing (on Belltown Rd).
If you look at the embedded map, and click to get to the "details",
You should be able to figure out the two Tar River crossings, and confirm this.]
As we were NOT doing the "Warrenton + Egypt Mtn" permanent,
We followed the cue sheet (and map) for this Stem-EatonRd-GrayRockRd route.
[What a concept! Following the cue sheet on an Irregulars ride!]
Meaning a right onto NC-56, and then a relatively quick left onto Gordon Moore Rd.
Gordon Moore Rd follows a ridge-line all the way to Pokomoke ... gentle upslope.
Long Mill Rd on the Egypt Mtn route has a major down-and-up, and
Upon reaching Pokomoke Rd, there are two more non-trivial down-and-ups
To get to the metropolis of Pokomoke.
Gordon Moore Rd bypasses all three down-and-ups.
But crossing straight across NC-56 is a bit safer, and
Less confusing to unknowing randonneurs.
Lee and Norris and BobH and the Mallet were intent on "time-trialing"
In on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd.
I often / usually like doing that.
But today, I dropped out of the line after a couple miles.
I'm riding the "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville" perm tomorrow, and
I'll need some legs for that.
Robert joined me and we let the other five drift off our front.
Robert and I came in BG / NL Rd at 16 to 18 or 19 mph.
[Previous two lines crafted especially for IvaHawk's enjoyment.]
I'm guessing the others were likely moving at 21-23 mph.
I have no idea whether Lee and Paul contested the Wake County Line,
But my guess is that they did.
However, I have no guess as to whom may have gotten the point there.
Ricochet and I found the front-five near the top of Ghoston Rd.
There was some glass on Ghoston, and the Mallet had gotten a flat.
Quick tire change by Paul, and we all finished our ride(s).
Norris and BobH and Lee disappeared quickly up the road.
Robert and Paul and Iva and I stayed loosely together all the to PUE and a bit beyond.
Gosh, I wanted to do an "essence-of" report.
Highlighting and concentrating on "seven cyclist, and everyone commuted via bicycle."
But my fingers of feeble mind went in another direction.
We all had a good ride.
My outbound commute: 8.9 m.; 0h31 in-motion (also elapsed time); 17.0 mph.
Stem-EatonRd-GrayRockRd Route: 64.3 m.; 3h50 in-motion; 16.7 mph; 4h07 elapsed.
My inbound ommute (which included an "errand-stop"): 11.6 m.; 0h48 in-motion; 14.4 mph.
Total ride: 84.8 m.; 5h07 in-motion; 16.5 mph.
Second fastest ride of the year for me. I clearly need to do more rides at the above avg pace.
Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph.
Ju1 tot: __6 rides; __489.0 m.; _32 h, 27 m; 15.1 mph.YTD tot: _57 rides; 4,810.8 m.; 323 h, 56 m; 14.9 mph.