Monday, July 15, 2013

Jul-13: Solo + WET, with Lightning on Egypt Mtn

I could have done L-L-L with Robert & Byron, but: 
I hadn't done my "Egypt Mtn" perm since January.
I hadn't seen the bridge-out detour for myself.
[I did have reliable eye-witness reports and the NC-DOT website describes the detour.]  
I wanted some peaceful, contemplation time.
I wanted to get in my July R-ride.
The results?

I did advertise on the NC-rando-list-serve, but no one responded.
These Curious Critters aren't part of Clyde's menagerie, nor are they even in Chatham County, but their location was on my Cycling Circuit twice on the day.  [Click-here for information on Clyde's Curious Critter Chatham County Cycling Circuit.]  The llamas (alpacas) were at least as interested in me @ 0809 as I was in them.  [This turned out to be my ONLY non-control stop all day.]
Roads were dry when I started, promptly at 0700, but were not expected to stay that way.
And they certainly didn't.  The first sprinkles started about the same time I got to the Sims Bridge.

The detour is just after the Sims Bridge.
It adds approximately 3-kms to the course (I already knew that).
And one rejoins the proper course too late to enjoy one of my favorite road vistas.

By the time I got to the first control in Epsom, at 0924,
I had decided to put my 20-year-old, running, wind-vest on as a rain-vest.
The vest prevents cold raindrops from penetrating straight through my jersey onto me.
It also provides a wind barrier and helps hold body heat in.

I got a little lucky while inside at Epsom.
A 3-minute heavy rain came and went while I was inside.
It was raining harder when I left than when I arrived, though.

I recall that it was still raining or sprinkling when I got to the house with the "busy brickwork," but
It was not raining or sprinkling as I transited Middleburg.
Actually, the falling water started and stopped so many times,
With the zippers on the jersey and the vest going up or down so many times,
That I'm not sure if there was water falling from the sky in Middleburg or not.

I have a better recollection of Jacksontown Rd, upon which part of U.S. Bike Route #1 rolls.
It was definitely NOT raining when I rode across the bridge over Mill Creek.  
However, any thoughts about anyone possibly doing ye' ol' Kerr Lake Loop
Were put to rest when I crossed the Mill Creek bridge on Jacksontown Rd.
The smooth-surface of the backed-up water from Kerr Lake was only a foot below the bridge.
That would certainly indicate that the bridge on Nutbush Rd would be flooded by several feet,
And that the bridge on Anderson Creek Rd might also be under water.

If this pattern of rain keeps up, I can imagine having to detour around Jacksontown Rd
In order to ride the Egypt Mtn route.

It was sprinkling or raining most of the 10-miles from Drewry to Warrenton,
Drabbing out my favorite vistas on the route.
I did see the largest heard of dairy cows just below the crest of distant ridge:
Almost all were lying down rather than roaming about, eating grass.

I arrived at the Warrenton Hardee's at 1125.
They're usually a bit slow in getting the food out to one, and they were on this occasion, too.
I took my time eating and stretching (left ankle to right knee / right ankle to left knee), and
Needed some time for a natural reason.
Combined, that made lucky again -- as a 5-to-7 minute downpour spent itself while I was inside.

The sun was shining as I transited Warrenton.
It was still shining while I did the first half of the climb on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd..
Sun shining and steamy.
I found myself thinking that the overcast and the sprinkle or rain was a better option.

I didn't have to wait long for conditions to change.
By the time I reached the crest where Jerry had had his flat, it was raining (not sprinkling).
By the time (1308) I arrived at Epsom for the "afternoon" store control, it was raining hard.

Whether I started laughing about the amount of rain I was experiencing
Before or after the pm-Epsom control, I cannot recall, but
I know was laughing out-loud, enjoying the silliness of it all, while on the climb up to Bobbitt.
I smiled a lot, and laughed a lot, after that.
I mean, what the heck else was there to do?
And, I admit, I was ENJOYING the ride.

Climbing in the rain was easy.  I only recall noticing three inclines after the pm-Epsom-control.
The one on Dick Smith Rd, the one on Green Hill Rd after crossing the Tar River, and
Of course, the first climb on Egypt Mtn Rd.
(I had been sure to save something for Egypt Mtn Rd..)

About 21-miles from the end, on Mt. Olivet Ch Rd just before reaching NC-56,
When I heard something that made me think "oh, Lord!"
The sound?
HARD, HEAVY DOWNPOUR coming my way (or me into it).

The downpour should readjust all the previous descriptions of heavy rains, but
I have left them as heavy or hard, because that it what I thought at those times.

This downpour certainly takes place of order as the heaviest rain I've experienced while on a bike.
I'm assigning it second place for all rains I've ever been caught out in.
I recall a running club race in Umstead Park where the rain and the lightning was TREMENDOUS.
Running on a gravel double-track through woods all around,
With lightning making the hair on one's neck stand up,
Not a good idea.

A thunder-shower that Maria and I rode thru in 2010 on the Sauartown perm was no bargain.
[I wish Maria had not deleted her blog.] 
If a branch had fallen from a tree in front of me, instead of in front of Maria,
I might put that 2010 experience ahead of this ride, but ...

It seemed the best thing to do was to just keep pedaling.
When I turned off Long Mill Rd onto Pokomoke Rd, I had a new experience:
The rain came slamming into my left side, and INTO my left ear-hole.

The lightning was very close and the thunder quite loud as I transited Pokomoke,
Wondering if I should consider stopping at the seemingly abandoned store a mile up the road.

By the time I got that short mile beyond Pokomoke ... the falling water was just a sprinkle.
Another mile and there was no water falling from the sky.
Another couple miles, and the roads were drying out, and in some places, dry.

I finished the ride at 1626.
It wasn't raining.
It did rain on me for almost my entire post-ride commute.

How to summarize this ride?
I didn't get much, if any, peaceful contemplation time, but
It must have been a great day to ride a bicycle, 
Because I sure had FUN !!! 


--> Egypt Mtn 210-km Perm (+ detour) -->; 154.1 m.;  9h51 in-motion; 15.6 mph.  
 ____ pre-ride commute: _9.0 m.; 0h31 in-motion; 17.4 mph. 
 ____ Egypt Mtn + detour:  132.5 m.; 8h28 in-motion; 15.6 mph; elapsed time:  9h26. 
 ____ post-ride commute:  12.6 m.; 0h52 in-motion; 14.5 mph. 

Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms.
Q-2 tot: _18 rides; _2293.9 m; 158h18; 14.5 mph; _3142 RUSA kms.
Jul tot: __3 rides; __345.1 m; _23h17; 15.5 mph; __313 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _32 rides; _3579.3 m; 245h18; 14.6 mph; _4730 RUSA kms.
This R-ride wasn't just any ol' R-ride -- it was my R-36.
Not long compared to a lot of folks in NC, but it is MY streak, and I quietly celebrate here.

One might notice the timing of the store control arrivals + finish time:
  1. Epsom, am control -- 0924, 
  2. Warrenton, "lunch" -- 1125, 
  3. Epsom, pm control -- 1308, 
  4. Bay Leaf, at finish --  1626. 
One of those times does not fit the pattern. 


  1. Rain is great! long as the puddles don't get too deep.

    1. I tried to avoid most of the puddles, so I'm not sure how deep any of them became; however, I'm confident that the many streams that were using various parts of the roads as a riverbed never got as deep as my tyres. I did have quite a nice bow-wave action going several times.