Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feb-02: Tally Ho -- The Fixie Pixie 103-km Perm-Pop

How this ride went from four (including 1-rando-virgin and 1-other-rookie) to seven, though interesting in some ways, would probably be boring if dwelt on.  So, I'll just note that a couple days before the ride, a woman I did not know posted to the NC-rando-list-serve that she was looking for a fixie ride of any sort, preferably starting in or near Durham.  Confident the unknown woman would reply "no thanks", I let her know that JP would be doing the Bahama Beach perm-pop on his fixie, starting at 10 on Saturday.  I copied JP on the e-mail.  I now suspect, but did not at the time, that JP knew who the recipient was, as he chimed in seconding the invite.  Surprise on me -- she accepted.

While preparing to send her some information, I decided I had better check that her RUSA membership was up-to-date -- better a tad late to check, than never.  Membership up to date; that's good.  ... ... ...  While actually typing the e-mail with info on where to find the start, where to find a Ride With GPS map, etc., I finally happened to notice the RUSA number.  ... ... ...  12  ... ... ...  Oh, golly. 

Apparently JP wasn't the only one who knew this #12 person, as MikeD signed on for the ride, and Branson, too.  Ride now four fixies and four standardly geared diamond frames.
Since the morning low was expected to be 20F,  we weren't starting the ride until 10 am.  That gave me plenty of time in the morning to organize spare cards and waivers and cue sheets.   

As I prepared to swing-a-leg-over in timely enough fashion that I'd arrive 15 or even 20 minutes before the start time, I had a sudden panic:  I didn't know where all those carefully organized cards were.  What followed was about 10-minutes of calm panic (if that makes sense).  I looked everywhere:  the table, around the commode, everywhere I'd been in the last hour.  No cards.  The calm part of the panic had evaporated; serious panic was about to set in.  ...  I was starting to think how to make cards on some blank pieces of paper at the start.  ...  Then I realized  ...  everything was in my jacket pocket instead of the handle-bar bag where I usually put such things.  ...  Whew!
Due to the reason explained immediately above, I arrived at the start 10 or 11 minutes later than planned, but still with plenty of time to get waiver signatures and give everyone their control card.  I meet Pamela; everyone else has already done introductions all around.  ... ... ...  Then virgin-Greg disappeared.  Apparently to the wash-room; maybe he had an attack of nerves and needed to pee.  I had that problem my first several rando rides; I still sometimes have that problem before a brevet.

Tick  ...  tick  ...  tick ...  the clock is running.  10:07.  I called out, "Greg, are you ready?"  ...  "That means we're going to leave without you," added JP.  ... ...  We start.  We all make it through the stop-light together.

Up front, chatting with Jerry and Pamela, I forgot that they didn't know the course, and had to rein them in to make the turn onto Victory Church Rd.  I can be oblivious, sometimes.

Fast forwarding, at least a couple people notice that Greg's saddle seems quite low.  Turns out that he and Brad (the other member of the NC-2013-rando-rookie class on the ride) had built up Greg's bike over the last few days.  I never was clear as to whether the BB ride was the test ride or not.  A stop for Greg, Brad and me at Red Mill and Teknika to raise Greg's saddle -- about 3/4 of an inch.
The others rode on a further mile and found fixie ahn-e-mal Branson.  Branson couldn't miss the opportunity to ride at least a little with the Fixie Pixie, so he timed his meeting with us so he could cover the two toughest climbs on the course:  Stagville Rd and "the Michie Wall". 

Everyone waited while Greg received some instruction regarding Information Controls in the middle of Bahama.  Then we plunged down to Lake Michie and climbed back up the other side, where we again waited for Greg, applauding and waving him past us.  I caught Greg to advise him on how he might best ride Ellis Chapel Rd..  "You weigh 200+ pounds, therefore 'attack' the downslopes and carry your momentum as far as you can up the reverse slope, giving away gears to maintain your cadence; you should be able to 'pop', or nearly so, all the climbs on Ellis Chapel."

Branson turned the other way at the end of Ellis Chapel Rd. -- I hope he got at least a little chat time with Pamela.  Father and spouse duties were calling him.  [I'd rather ride once a year with someone too busy being a dad, than ride all the time with someone that never seems to need to take time off the bike to be a dad.]  

Onward to Roberts Chapel Rd..  Advice to Greg:  "same as Ellis Chapel Rd, but there are at least two climbs that you won't be able to 'pop'; you should still carry as much momentum as far as you can; it will be easier that way; I know, I used to weigh over 200 pounds."

The fixie-crew pulled away on Roberts Chapel and Range and Little Mountain Rd. -- yeah, the Bahama Beach route includes a Little Mountain Rd -- that's its name.  The fixies got to Stem in time for Jerry, a locally well-known restaurant-hound, and Pamela, who suffers from cafe and bike shop constipation (meaning she can't ride past without stopping -- that's what she told me), and MikeD, who's been known to sniff out some good eats, to find a road-side BBQ vendor.  He's never been there previously (and I've ridden though Stem, on the Bahama Beach route and others, well over 50 times).  Good BBQ with good people.  Only problem was that we were still out in the cold.

We sent the fixie-crew on to finish their ride so that those needing to, could go home and take care of other business.  When ... ready to leave Stem, Brad decided he needed to take a pee; he decided to use the BP station.  When he reappeared, he had learned why I recommend the other c'store for the open control.  He'd found a floater in the commode just as I had found about five years ago -- I haven't stopped at the Stem BP since.  [The restroom in the other c-store is no bargain either.  I recommend using the BP in Creedmoor as it has the cleanest restrooms I know about -- or use the Southern States in Creedmoor as it has the 3rd cleanest restrooms I know about.  (The 2nd cleanest restrooms you ask -- the BP in Butner, which is owned and managed by the same person that owns and manages the Creedmoor BP.)]

Anyway, upon completing his job, Brad learned why it is a very bad idea to take a pee with your glove held under your arm next to your body -- if your arm relaxes, the glove likely ends up in the commode.  Important riding lesson there for Brad.

I wasn't dressed for a 30-minute stop in the cold outdoors -- I was starting to shiver.  Greg loaned Brad a clean sock to use as a glove; I gave Brad three plastic bread-wrappers:  one to hold the rinsed, but obviously useless glove, two to use as windbreaks for his be-socked hand (and perhaps the other hand also -- I never looked to check).  By the time that was done, I was shivering nearly uncontrollably.  A concerted mental effort to stop the shivering, and I announced that I've got to start riding to generate some body heat.

More cold news:  the breeze had now kicked up and is on its way to becoming a real wind.  A headwind, of course.  Doing the decline from Stem on Brogden Rd, riding into the wind at 17-mph instead of an easy 20 or 25 mph or more.  Ricochet Robert, who had wisely switched from the 204-km Triple-L perm because of the projected morning low, stuck to my wheel,  We got to the light at NC-56 and US-15 in Creedmoor; of course, on this chilly day, the light was red.  Brad and Greg caught us or perhaps were with us all the time -- I don't know which.  At the light, Greg started riding circles instead of just stopping and putting a foot down.  I never approve of that:  cars coming from behind have no idea what is going on; other cyclists in the group have no idea what is going on.  I forcefully mention this to Greg.  As the cars from behind got closer, Greg fell over, luckily off the roadway.  The light turned green.  I started riding, shaking my head.

Up the slope into downtown Creedmoor, then through the business district on flat Main Street, turn onto Church Street, looking over my shoulder to confirm that Brad and Greg were still with us -- they weren't.  Ricochet also looked, and then asked if we should wait.  I replied I needed to create more internal body heat, the kids had cue sheets, they'd be fine.  We rode on.

Three miles later, at the turn onto Pope Rd.. I recall thinking, "I hope Jerry and Pamela looked at the cue sheet, or Mike clue'd them in to avoid the deep grooves in the road surface at this turn."  Ricochet decided to wait for Brad and Greg at the turn.  I rode on, still looking for more internal warmth.  I finally re-found my own cadence and comfort zone on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd. -- I had found my comfort zone, but I was certainly slow into the headwind on BG / NL -- and I crawled up the steep section of Peed Rd at 4.8-mph -- it has been a long time since I was that slow on that climb.

Ricochet waited for the rookies, and coached, or at least talked them through the Grissom Info Control and up Ghoston, Peed and Mt. Vernon Ch roads.  Here's an amusing point:  Robert did a better job of coaching the kids than did any of the three route-organizers on the ride.  Robert told me that he started recalling April and May 2010, and his first bicycle rides as an adult (at age 61) since childhood, and concluded to pay-it-back a little for the coaching and advice he has received the last three years.

Btw, I did get confirmation from a worthy source that the finishing climbs on Ghoston, Peed and MVC are not trivial climbs.  Pamela commented on them immediately after the ride -- that's good enough for me -- and a week later, she included remarks to that effect in a very well written blog post.
Fixie Pixie and a couple NC rando "names".  Fixie fans all.
Fixie Pixie and the rookies Brad and Greg.

  1. Greg completed his first ever RUSA ride.  
  2. Brad re-started his P-series.  
  3. Pamela, despite being RUSA #12, and doing more crazy and interesting stuff on a bicycle than I can imagine, completed her first ever RUSA Permanent.  
  4. Jerry snagged his 21st different North Carolina Permanent course. 
  5. This course was a repeat of his 23rd different NC Perm course for MikeD. 
  6. Robert, targeting the P-series in addition to maintaining his R-series, snagged P-5 or 6 (?). 
  7. I snagged P-14, and also my 48th consecutive month of at least one 100+ km ride a month. 
  8. As for Branson, I don't know what to summarize, except that it was good to see you, man.  
A day or two later, Pamela posted on Facebook that she had to like any route where the main intermediate control was in a town named for a bicycle part.  Stem.

I've ridden through Stem at least 50 times.  Maybe 100 times.  And I've never made the bike part connection.  I can be oblivious.  I decided to do a little research -- allowing a few seconds for those familiar with this blog to recover -- I found this on Wikipedia (,_North_Carolina):

"The town of Stem was established as a separate and distinct entity from Tally Ho township in 1888 by William Thomas Stem. The Stem family were co-proprietors of a general store in the Tally Ho township[1] and owners of the land where a new spur of theRichmond and Danville Railroad terminated. Stem was built around this new rail station. The town was incorporated in 1911.

There ya' go, Jerry -- "Tally Ho" explained (mostly).
I may add on my usual personal stats later.  Maybe not.

1 comment: