Which is good for me, esp. considering the climb on MVC Rd to get to Bay Leaf.
Decided I should lube the chain before pushing off from the start.
That and other preliminaries meant I shoved off at 0h05.
Not quite a mile later, Irregular cycling-buddy Bob "Duke" S drove by me.
I followed him into PUE to chat for minute, and to ask him to pass on a message.
I hadn't seen BobS in nearly two years;
The two minutes with BobS were well-spent rando time.
That is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
A local cyclist caught me between PUE and the sharp curve on Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Still slightly off my left rear, he commented, "looks like you're in for a long ride."
"Yep. 130 miles. Wanna' come along?"
"No, thanks. Where are you going?"
I told him.
He seemed aware of all the locations.
I turned left at Six Forks Rd. He U-turned to complete his 30-miler.
A domesticated goose, I don't know the breed, but it was black, and
Free-range chickens and Guinea-fowl opposite the May Store.
I thought, "Robert would have liked this."
The alpacas were all together near the door to their shed as I passed "the Llama House."
Although it may have been wetter than the month before,
The grouping might have made for a better "Llama photo" than the one Jerry was able to snap.
Or maybe not.
Lots of free-range Guinea-fowl next to the Pokomoke Cowboy Church.
One strutted off the opposite side of the road to get out of way a car coming from the other way.
Several on my side of the road took flight to avoid me.
Had never previously seen Guinea-fowl take to flight.
I thought, "Robert would definitely have liked this."
30-miles into the route, crossing the 2nd creek bridge after the Tar River,
I noticed that I was averaging 17.0 mph.
"Nice," I thought.
Pulled into the control in Epsom at 2h20.
Quickest I've gotten there.
Adjusting for the 5-minute late start, and the 2-minute chat with BobS, "very nice."
Then I got off the bike.
And discovered that my legs were immediately "tight".
The result of going just a little too-fast too-early.
That is also my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
Card initialed and receipt obtained, at 2h23.
Quick, but calm, ingestion of some food.
Back on the road at 2h29.
Where I proceeded at "slowly warm the legs back up" pace.
And when the 4-mile downslope transitioned to the 2+ mile incline,
I transitioned to "recovery" pace.
Nearing Middleburg, I was surprised to see a non-squirrel, non-rat rodent
Rush across the road in front of me, and disappear into a small opening in the long weeds.
At the time, I thought the creature was perhaps a beaver or, more likely, a muskrat.
Since then, the idea of an otter has come to mind because it seemed too sleek to be a muskrat.
It was probably a muskrat.
I stayed in recovery-pace through Middleburg and Drewry (info control, 3h38), and
Through Ridgeway and all the way to the Warrenton Hardee's control at 4h20.
Despite 28-miles at the slower pace, that is still the quickest I've ever gotten there.
Card initialed and receipt stamped 4h23.
(There were no customers when I arrived, and service and food were quick this day.)
I was figuring only 20-minutes for lunch, instead of the usual 30 or slightly more.
I was only going to eat part of the "Big Bag Lunch", and take the rest with me.
I did do that -- finishing the 2nd sandwich at Epsom, and the apple turnover after the ride.
But my leaving was delayed by a well-timed call of nature.
(Better to sit inside, with proper cleaning up facilities, than to squat in the ditch.)
Back on the road at 4h48. That's about when I usually arrive.
There's a slight incline from the Hardee's to historic downtown Warrenton.
Sometimes that incline bothers me, but not this day, as the legs seemed somewhat refreshed.
Or maybe it was joy that the sun had finally broken through the clouds and burned off the fog.
I made sure to look for the Horace Greeley Historic Marker while transiting downtown.
After making the turn to leave downtown Warrenton, I settled in on my bike,
And was glad to notice that my legs felt much better, and
Although slower on the main incline on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd,
I was back to enjoying my first solo 200k ride in 13-and-a-half months.
Tower Rd and Jones Chapel Rd were pleasant.
As had been the entire ride, actually.
The only nuisances had been the usual and expected attentions of several dogs;
All of which had been deterred with an assertive "NO".
However, my calm ride ended just after I "transited" Vicksboro.
A pack of dogs, previously unknown to me, got to the road ahead of me.
One dog quickly lost interest, and I ignored him.
Two seemed very interested, but I mostly ignored them.
Because the fourth was a serious problem.
It cut across my front wheel at least five times.
Requiring some deft braking and quick handlebar adjustments to avoid a collision.
Teeth bared, its hackles raised, I wanted nothing to do with that yellow-spawn-of-Lucifer.
I was unable to dissuade the dawg, and
I perhaps only got away unscathed because a van coming up the hill toward me,
Seeing what was happening, had slowed considerably (I think actually stopped on the road),
And gave a short beep to alert me of its presence.
The beep distracted the dawg and its two companions, allowing me to get away.
I stopped at the county line sign to put the left shoe toe-cover back in place
(The dawg had managed to tug it almost completely off).
And to recover a little calm in my breathing and to allow my re-stressed legs a quick break.
I took only a minute or two, and continued.
However, my previously tired legs were now trashed.
Both quads wanted to cramp on me on the short but steep incline to get to Southerland Mill Rd.
And the immediately following steeper and longer incline on that road,
It took all the mental calmness I could muster to keep my legs relaxed and pedalling
With as little effort as possible -- not so easy on a 4 or 5 percent incline.
The entire 4-mile mostly upslope to Epsom,
I was very much looking to sitting on the bench outside the store in Epsom.
But when I got there at 6h12, two large-sized locals were ensconced.
I stood and chatted with them.
My legs started feeling better with "just standing" instead of having to pedal.
I got back on the road at 6h23, feeling much better.
My legs were still toasted from the too-fast too-early pace and the dawg incident,
But I kept pedaling on.
No longer thinking of pushing the pace,
But still thinking I might be able to finish closer to 9h30 than 10h00.
Having backed off the pace a bit, the upslope on Gooch Rd,
That sometimes knocks me back, didn't.
That was nice.
The sun, having made a total appearance of about 1 1/2 hours, had disappeared behind new clouds.
That was disappointing.
Through Bobbitt and onto Dick Smith Rd.
4-miles of an almost continuous slight decline.
Going only 17-18 mph, not 21-24.
Followed by the steep descent to the "flood plain" of the Tar River.
I knew I was still not completely recovered
Because I didn't get into an aggressive aero position, and topped out around 35-36 mph,
Instead of 40.
I think I used the small ring of the triple to climb the steep opposite slope,
To avoid inflicting more pain on the thighs.
(Funny thing, I don't recall the calves complaining at any time during the ride. Only the thighs.)
False flat up to near Kittrell.
False flat down to cross US-1 and get onto Egypt Mtn Rd.
Being fully experienced with Egypt Mtn Rd, I covered the 5-miles without struggling.
Charlie Grissom Rd down to the Tar River,
The road changes name to Green Hill Rd (at the river / county line).
Up Green Hill Rd to Mt. Olivet Ch Rd.
To a nice surprise.
Irregular cycling buddy IvaHawk was at the corner of Green Hill and Mt. Olivet Ch roads.
He rode the final 23 or so miles with me back to Bay Leaf.
That made those miles a lot more pleasant.
And I think I picked up the cadence + pace beyond what I would have done alone.
I finished in a personal record 9h50.
Not the 9h30 that, for much of the day, I thought I might get, but
It is the course record.
However, that course record will only stand until a fast person does the course,
And pedals the whole way.
Instead of waiting a lot (such as JP did last month).
--> Egypt Mtn 210-km Permanent; 135.4 m.; 9h03 in-motion; 14.9 mph; EM elapsed time: 9h50.
Jan tot: _1 rides; _135.4 m; _9h03; 14.9 mph; _210 RUSA kms.