From the RUSA website, Permanents page:
"Free-Route Permanents - A Free-Route Permanent is like a normal Permanent except that only the total creditable distance, the start and finish locations, and a number of intermediate controls are pre-defined; the exact route to be taken between controls is by agreement between the rider and organizer. Go to the Free-Route Permanents regulations to see how they are run."
The Free-Route regulations seem to be getting longer and longer, but ... .
To me, the key sentence in the regulations is this one:
"Riding Route Variants - The rider may plan out a route variant in advance, or "wing it" as he/she goes along, or vary from a pre-planned route at will."
When I morphed Bahama Beach into a 'Free-Route,' I filed a few variants via a RWGPS map to prove that there were logical alternatives, but I have since re-purposed that RWGPS map.
Lately, I've been thinking about reasonable (and maybe not-so-reasonable) variants that I might like to ride instead of doing the standard course every time (I did the standard course 20-times in 2012, and twice did it reversed -- I've done the course 7-times so far this year; five times on the standard-course and twice with some "winging-it."
The following is a chart of some the mostly-reasonable variants. The links embedded in the chart are to appropriate RWGPS maps; on each map, the red-line(s) indicate where the course follows the standard route and the green-line(s) indicate where the variant diverges from the standard route. The "RWGPS" column indicates the climbing (in feet) that RWGPS reports; the "ft/m" column is the average RWGPS feet-climbed per mile.
|Route Name||start location||miles||RWGPS||ft/m|
|Bahama Beach||Bay Leaf, NC||64.6||3,587||55.5|
|Bahama Beach - "Wave at Bernie"||Bay Leaf, NC||68.0||3,771||55.5|
|Bahama Beach - "Taste of Johnson Mill Rd"||Bay Leaf, NC||71.1||4,215||59.3|
|Bahama Beach - "Hall Rd"||Bay Leaf, NC||65.1||3,583||55.0|
|Bahama Beach - "Mt. Tabor / Hampton Rd"||Bay Leaf, NC||66.1||3,644||55.1|
|Bahama Beach - "3 Hayes"||Bay Leaf, NC||65.9||3,690||56.0|
|Bahama Beach - "Mangum Dairy"||Bay Leaf, NC||69.8||4,017||57.6|
|Bahama Beach - "Bold Run + Mangum Dairy"||Bay Leaf, NC||72.2||4,205||58.2|
|Bahama Beach - JM + 3 + MD||Bay Leaf, NC||77.6||4,748||61.2|
|Bahama Beach - JM + 3 + BRMD||Bay Leaf, NC||80.0||4,936||61.7|
- According to RWGPS climbing estimates, the Bahama Beach standard route is already the hilliest permanent-populaire in the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area (aka, the Triangle); essentially tied with the Howling Grits route -- Jerry clearly "low-balled" that HG climbing estimate when he filed -- not complaining as I low-balled the BB estimate when I originally filed it.
- Every variant indicated above (except "Hall Rd" and "Hampton Rd") results in sufficient additional climbing that the variants are at least as "hilly" per mile, or more so, than the standard route.
- Here in central North Carolina (the Triangle, anyway), when we want to do some hill-work without driving to the mountains (or to Siler City for the Siler City Express), we do the L-L-L perm. Now, if someone were to ask me about doing a hilly route, but they didn't have the time available to do Triple-L, I would suggest Bahama Beach with the "Taste of JM" and/or also "Mangum Dairy" variants tacked on. That wouldn't be as much climbing per mile as Triple-L, but it also wouldn't take as long.
- The "Wave at Bernie" variant may warrant an additional comment. It strays significantly from the standard route at the start to go through Butner and then proceed past the Federal Prison. One of the incarcerated is none other than Bernie Madoff. Thus "Wave at Bernie."
- It is my opinion that each of the variants above will make for a nice and / or interesting ride. (Although I've ridden all the roads involved, except for a couple short segments, I've never ridden any of the combinations indicated above.)
- I look forward to doing each variant listed above -- and some others.