Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May-25: The 'Road to Hicksboro' 205-km Perm

Ricochet Robert and I rode this route for the first time on Apr-13, just two days after Crista had approved it, thinking it would be a nice addition to the north Raleigh Permanents Stable, which was seemingly getting low on options because of bridges being replaced, c-stores closing, and what-not -- "low on options" -- HA -- at one point, it seemed we might not have ANY north Raleigh perms on the board for awhile, except for "Showdown in Black Creek," and although that start is a "north Raleigh" location, the route is really a go-east-young-man affair. 

At about mile-71 of the route, Robert and I were on the receiving end of a little surprise:  a bridge was closed, being torn dorn and then replaced.  Bridge likely out until October or November.  Robert and I walked across the mostly still intact bridge, and continued the route as conceived.  Not long after crossing that bridge, I started struggling; Robert, on the other, just got stronger and stronger that day.

Anyway, before I get off topic, I wanted to check out what seemed to be the logical detour.  Although I have requested rides on short notice, I prefer to request with a decent lead time; therefore, operating on the "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" concept, on May-18, I posted the following to the NC-rando-list-serve:  
I'm planning a second tour of the "Road to Hicksboro" next Saturday, May 25th, to check out the bridge destruction and confirm the detour while said bridge is non-existent. 

If anyone would care to come along, send me your vitals by 9 pm, Wednesday, the 22nd. 
Here's a link to the RWGPS map:  http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2030839
(Although not a control, the best option for eats on the route is in Stovall -- "hunka' pizza" and a decent deli, eaten in the gazebo.)
I actually got a response! -- within a day (if I recall correctly) -- from the JanetF + MikeF, now of western North Carolina (but they started their rando careers a couple years ago in Texas -- more on that later?).  I'd met Janet + Mike during Alan's 200 brevet in early April, so I figured riding to Hicksboro with them would be fun.

Then they threw me for a loop:  did I have a motel suggestion?  Driving 4-hours and staying in a motel/hotel to ride a Permanent -- that just wasn't in my thought process.  I consulted other randos living in or near north Raleigh -- that wasn't much help -- maybe I should have consulted the Boone randos -- at least they have the drive + stay for Alan's brevet experience.

Luckily, Janet + Mike came up with a good solution on their own.  I guess it was a good solution -- they each appeared fully rested at the start.

I had tried to interest Ricochet in a second tour of "his ridge," but he thought that doing a 200 perm the week before doing the 600 brevet was a high-risk move.  I'll not mention this elsewhere, but what turned out to be a high-risk move was Robert riding a 103-km perm-pop, then doing yard work -- he did something to his back, and last I heard, could walk only if bent-over double -- but that reportedly was an improvement as earlier he had been unable to walk.

MikeD responded, either to the list-serve of the Facebook thing, in the middle of the week.  He managed to recruit Turbo Tim.  Just thought of this:  we didn't have a crew representing "Murphy to Manteo," but "'Asheville' to Wilson" still covers most of the east-west of this state.

Clearly, the 200-crew would have two sub-sections:  (1) MikeD and Tim as the fast-crew;  (2) Janet + MikeF and me as the not-so-fast-crew.  Robert's perm-pop 103k route shares the start and the same first 18.7-miles as the Hicksboro perm, and Robert seemed to stick with the fast-crew -- though I can't be sure of that because Janet + MikeF and I dropped MikeD and Turbo off our front wheels long before the perm and perm-pop routes diverged -- we got confirmation at the penultimate control that Mike and Tim were at least 65-minutes ahead of us at that control.  (I think they may have been taking it a bit easy since they were planning to do Tim's "Lake Gaston" 210k perm the next day -- something about training for a 1200 -- and they may have been riding a bit conservatively because they didn't know the roads -- certainly Tim didn't know the roads -- Dayton may well have been on many of them sometime previous.  ----  Strange ... as I typed the previous sentence, it seemed that Mike has likely ridden everything nearby in the last 4 decades of uninterrupted cycling, but ... I recall he didn't know about Mountain Road just south of Stovall.  Maybe Mike did ride a fair bit on new-to-him roads.  A mystery likely to go unsolved.)

Okay, this has been wandering around long enough.  Time to get to the meat of the matter.

At the first control, about 33-miles into the ride, Janet, who is not fond of climbing, asked me if "the first section was harder, easier, or similar to the rest of the route?"  I answered, "yes."  Janet didn't think that was very informative, but I'd never thought about it that way.  I know I think that my "Egypt Mtn" perm starts rather gently and with some nice vistas (as long as one doesn't try to compare to mountains or some such nonsense) and then gets a little more interesting with some nice vistas, and then more gentle stuff with vistas, and then some more interesting stuff generally in a tree tunnel; but I had not thought much about the musical-tempo of the Hicksboro route.  There are some boring roads -- I pointedly remarked so to Janet + MikeF after completing one such chip-seal tree tunnel.  There are some nice homestead and farmsteads.  There are donkeys and goats, and of course, the llamas at the llama house, in addition to the normal complement of horses and some cattle and sheep.  And the two steepest climbs are after the first control, but ... I think I would say the route is similar throughout.  [If Jerry reads this, he'll likely think I typed a lot words to "say" not much -- my defense is:  I didn't plan this, I just type what comes into my head.]

At the second control at about 47-miles, in context of other conversations, Janet -- remember, she started her rando career in Houston, TX, and still lists the Houston Randonneurs as her home-club -- asked if I knew BobR, Houston RBA; I said, "no, but I know who he is, sorta'."  Then Janet asked if I knew DanD, Lone Star RBA.  I replied, "no, but I 10-K-Hounded last year and am in e-mail contact with Dan."  ...  Janet's replied:  "Dan says to say 'hello' to you and MikeD, so ... 'hello'."  ...  "Well," said I, "tell Dan 'hello back at ya'."

Between the 2nd control and bridge out (at approx 71-miles), MikeF told me that double-D had ridden with Janet on her first 600, and had gotten her through the night.  Aah -- connections.

When we got to the bridge that is being replaced, Janet took two photos:
The first photo to show the destruction (and, I guess, me talking with my hands).
And the 2nd was "for Dan."  Just about every group photo I've seen that includes DanD, he is pulling the old "rabbit ears" prank.  [Clearly, I have not developed the "r. e'" skill -- my hand is visible.]

I'd never ridden on Davis Chapel Rd, but was reasonably confident because of previous Virginia Border Raids and Kerr Lake Loops that it went through (and wasn't gravel).  It did go through.  It is a reasonable road.  Little Mountain Creek Rd is better -- and not just because it has a more alluring name.

Well, that's the highlights that Janet + MikeF and I had.  We finished the ride in mostly fine fettle.  Wait -- I suddenly recalled something:

I had drifted off the front of Janet + Mike, saving at least some portion of their ear-drums for future useful conversations, when I received a phone call when I still had about 12.7-miles to complete the route.  It was Brad, telling me that he had realized that he had the entire weekend off, and wanted to join me in doing the Bahama Beach 103k perm-pop the next day.  Brad claims that he thought I said, in the opening moments of the phone conversation, that I had finished my ride.  After about 6-minutes, I finally had to cut him off, saying, "I've still got 20-kms to ride; tell me tomorrow."

I wouldn't include the above, but until the phone rang, I had been riding really well,  Afterward, I got a little bonky -- I'm blaming Brad, and had to stop at the bottom of Ghoston Rd to consume some nibbles -- probably dried mangoes.  Janet + Mike, who had passed me while I was on the phone with Brad, were also stopped at the bottom of Ghoston.  So, we more-or-less the last 10-kms together.

[Janet + MikeF and I all got the same elapsed time.  ...  Oh, Turbo Tim and MikeD apparently finished 1h27 before we did -- at least that is what the documentation indicated.  ...  I think the others all enjoyed their first trip on the 'Road to Hicksboro'; I enjoyed this, my second circuit of the route, in large part, I think, because Janet + MikeF made the day enjoyable.]


--> the 'Road to Hicksboro' 205-km Perm -->; 148.9 m.; 9h59 in-motion; 14.9 mph; Hicksboro elapsed time:  10h57.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms

May tot: __5 rides; __640.4 m; _45h20; 14.1 mph; __909 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _21 rides; _2232.2 m; 155h05; 14.4 mph; _3095 RUSA kms


Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  104
Meaning that I have completed at least 104 different rides that were at least 104 miles long. 

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