Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sep-30: Benson Mule Pull 105-km Perm-Pop

Quite a lot of deja vu today.
Same course out of Raleigh.
And yesterday I rode through the start of the Mule Pull,
And then I rode the Mule Pull course to near the start of the LOMBD.

The start of the LOMBD follows the same route as the Mule Pull for quite a while.

So ... definitely a bit of deja vu today.
Some things were different.
No thunderstorm and rain deluge at oh-dark-thirty.
No wet roads.
No need to ride in the dark.

I missed a turn this morning while still in Raleigh.
The sun -- there was NO sun at any time, yesterday!
Anyway, the sun in my eyes as I headed eastbound on Peace Street
Blinded me, and I didn't see the sign for Blount Street until I was past the corner.
I thought it a bit strange that I saw the sign on Saturday at 0615 in the pitch-black-dark,
But couldn't see the sign in the bright sunlight.

Beautiful sunny morning, today!
Until I was climbing on Rand Rd -- climbing VERY slowly, btw.
There's another thing that was different today.
Yesterday, Rand Rd was part of the "cycle to the ride",
And I zipped up that climb -- yesterday.
Today -- a slow slog.

Anyway, at 0928, slogging up Rand Rd,
I realized that I no longer had a shadow.
I gave a cursory look around -- nothing but overcast!
Where did that come from?

When I got to the level part of Rand Rd, I took a much better look-around:
Oh, crap!  This looks worse than most of yesterday did !!

My fun and easy ride in the sunshine had become
My slog under the charcoal gray clouds.

Slog.  That's what I was doing early in the ride.
First intermediate control, at the "Grocery Boy", 14.5 miles into the course.
I got there 12 whole minutes before the control window closed.
No problems -- just SLOW.

Lubed my chain before leaving -- 6 minutes after the control closed.
And the slog continued.
Down and up.
Down and up.
No pace at all on any of the "up".

About half-way across Benson-Hardee Rd, the down-and-ups finally stop.
Just a shallow incline up to the top of ridge-line,
Followed by a shallow decline on the opposite side.
I started finding cadence and some comfort on the bike on the incline.
And, of course, the decline felt great.

The good feeling lasted all the way to the Benson control.
The good pace lasted all that way, too.
Good thing, too, that I had found some pace.
[How many times can I use the word "good" in consecutive sentences?]
Because I was only 39 minutes ahead of the control closing in Benson.

Fairly quick turn-around -- I left the control about 22 minutes ahead of the control.
And the good feeling on the bike and the decent, er,
Good pace lasted up the incline (formerly decline),
And down the decline (formerly incline).

One other nice thing happened on the (now) incline after Benson:
At 1226, the sunshine returned.
That picked up my spirits and made for a much nicer ride.

But then I reached the down-and-ups.
No cadence.
No comfort on the bike.
No good pace.

However, somewhere before reaching the Grocery Boy again,
I realized I had FINALLY gotten comfortable on the bike,
And comfortable doing the down-and-ups,
And had excellent, er, good cadence climbing,
And good pace, too.

What made me realize that I had finally found "a zone"?
My bottom was no longer bothering me!

Grocery Boy control with 76 minutes in-hand.
Finish control with 85 minutes in-hand.
Hmmn.  That's strange.
I would have sworn I felt better after the Grocery Boy on the return than before.
But I only picked up an additional 9 minutes on the closing times.

Felt great from the Mule Pull finish back to and into and through downtown Raleigh.
I didn't even mind the stop-lights and stop-signs.
And I managed to avoid the trafficey streets.

Oh, lest you think I didn't notice any scenery or such:
For the first time ever, I noticed the park and bandstand in downtown Benson.
I didn't notice any mules today, but did see quite a few horses.
Record month for me as far as total miles goes.
Not a record month for me as regards RUSA credit kms.

Last year, I did 10 solo permanents, and one solo perm-populaire.
This year (so far), 0 solo permanents, and today made my 2nd solo perm-pop.
A few years ago, half or more of my rides were solo.
This year, excluding the "errand" rides, I have only 2 solo rides in addition to the solo pops.
What has happened ?!
I like some solo rides -- great time for contemplation, etc..

--> Benson Mule Pull 105-km perm-populaire; 89.9 m.; 6h28 in-motion; 13.9 mph; Mule Pull elapsed time:   5h35 (assuming it gets approved).

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
J-A tot: _19 rides; 1,591.9 m.; 105h29; 15.1 mph; 1599 RUSA kms
Sep tot: _13 rides; 1,367.0 m.; _91h48; 15.9 mph; 1384 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _83 rides; 7,280.7 m.; 488h47; 14.9 mph; 7630 RUSA kms.

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