Pausing at the corner of Kemp + Carpenter Pond roads with a little less than 11-kms still to ride, Robert commented, "we haven't had much practice where I have to help you; usually, it is the other way 'round."
I reminded Robert of his first ever Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville ride. Byron had legs. Robert really had legs. I had struggled the last half of the ride. I MUCH prefer it when I struggle the first half, then find my rhythm, etc. for the second half.
Due to some hard physical efforts the day before related to "life", there was nothing in my legs with which to climb -- NOT my favorite way to tackle the climbingest Permanent in the area. So little oomph was available in my legs that I even took it easy on the flat sections, er, make that the flatter sections.
We had started 18 minutes late -- the result, mostly, of me enjoying a hot chocolate before the ride (I don't do that [shudder] coffee stuff). I think I'm not cut out to be a cyclist that rides to eat -- especially to eat / drink BEFORE the ride starts.
I think I had managed to trick myself into at least partially believing that my legs would be okay, or would come around. If outbound Victory Church / Kemp Road didn't correct that suspension of disbelief, Stagville Rd certainly did.
On the day, I used every small gear I had, repeatedly, wishing I had even smaller gears.
Ricochet did make me chuckle at one point -- it must have been on Victory Ch / Kemp Rd -- because I was not close to him on any other climbs (or even descents) later in the ride. Anyway, I heard Robert exclaim out loud, "I can feel that I'm losing it, have lost it." ("It", of course, being the excellent shape that carried him last Summer / Fall through the ToC-1200 and another 1000-km brevet a month after that.)
The day became a serious race against the Dark Monster. Upon leaving the penultimate control on Red Mill Rd, I decided to finally burn some matches and see if I could make a decent pace, and beat the Dark Monster. I led Robert for about 8.7-miles, covered in 30-minutes -- well, he passed me on the 2nd last "climb" on Patterson, but I kept my cadence up. I was mentally revved up to quick-cadence my way across Kemp / Victory Ch Rd, regardless how much it hurt.
Reality reared its ugly head on the first climb on Kemp -- I tried convincing myself that I could force the cadence issue as I knew how to hurt and continue on that climb -- I've done that first mile(plus) on Kemp at least 100 hundred time. My legs were having none of it. Struggle in a slow cadence in the easiest gear I've got for each of the five climbs (in about as many miles) on Kemp / Victory Ch Rd.
Then, onto the road that adds insult to pain: Boxelder Rd. It is "just" a little road through a housing develepment -- which, of course, means almost no engineering to the grade -- it is just asphalt on grass. Robert tried to encourage me: "it is steep, but it is quite short." I've walked up that "quite short" once or twice. I've also "danced" up it. This ride, I tried to climb standing using the 39/21. "That gear won't work," I muttered as Robert powered past. He chuckled. Sat down, change to 39/23, stand up -- that worked. It certainly wasn't "dancing", but it got me up that incline more easily than I had feared.
Ray Rd, which sometimes seems a pain, passed relatively quickly and without note. Across Howard Rd to the finish. The sun officially set a few minutes before we officially finished. Then Robert and I headed our separate directions, each of us abike, to go home.
I've checked my L-L-L stats. This 10h59 ride will go down as my second slowest official credit L-L-L ever. (My slowest is a 12h00 effort from last August, when I was coming down (already had) a nasty little summer cold.) [The "Hors Delay" approx. 13h48 from July-2010 does not count. A (I guess it was) "just for fun" ride in November-2011 also doesn't count. No credit either time.]
NO LEGS (but not ill) and still under 11-hours on the climbingest Permanent handy to north Raleigh. I know that there is NO WAY I COULD HAVE DONE THAT THREE YEARS AGO. Guess I've picked up some physical strength and some mental knowledge somewhere along the way in the last three years. [That statement seems rather self-serving. Tough -- a guy has got to brag a little once in awhile.]
This ride made R-31 for me, but more interestingly, it also made C-36. Three years of at least one 100-plus-miler a month. (Click here for the C-1 story. Something not included in that report is that I desperately wanted to stop after about 75-miles, and I wondered how in the name of all things I could possibly hope to ride a 200k brevet three weeks later, and a 300k brevet another two weeks after that. I did do those brevets; and I learned a lot -- in retrospect, most of what I learned was about me)
--> Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204-km Perm -->; 132.1 m.; 9h54 in-motion; 13.3 mph; LLL elapsed time: 10h59.
Jan tot: _3 rides; _219.9 m; 14h54; 14.7 mph; _313 RUSA kms.
Feb tot: _2 rides; _203.3 m; 15h05; 13.5 mph; _307 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _5 rides; _423.2 m; 30h00; 14.1 mph; _620 RUSA kms.
Only two rides for me this month (so far).
But enough to have snagged R-31 + P-14 (also C-36 + M-48).