Monday, March 31, 2014

Mar-22: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 205

I was going to do my 210k Egypt Mtn route, but
Byron posted for a Triple-L adventure.

Contacting B, he agreed to let me ride if I kept to his glacial pace.
You certainly must know what happened.
Byron had to repeatedly wait for me.
While MikeD and Lynn drifted off our front wheels between each set of outbound controls.

We, okay, I finally managed to convince Mike that the two of them should just ride-on,
Without us,
As I had struggled the entire first half of the ride and the return might get quite ugly.

I admit I didn't struggle the whole ride.
Red Mill Rd outbound, and Old-75 and Red Mill inbound, were fun.

But anything with an UP or into the wind,
Were struggles for me.

Byron is an interesting ride partner.
Sometimes he is part of the fast-crew.  Sometimes not.
He is usually quite quiet.  But this ride he was quite talkative.

That latter was to my advantage.
It kept me from dwelling on my struggles,
And kept the ride interesting.

What did Byron and I (mostly Byron) chat about?
The list would include:
  • The course.
  • Previous rides on the course.
  • Ricochet Robert.
  • Geof.
  • The wind.
  • Byron's 4-year-old son.
  • Previous LIFE experiences.
  • And more.

All in all, it was a good day to have been on the bike.
Thanks, Byron.
Eddington Cycling Number:
After this ride:  110.
Meaning that I have completed at least 110 different rides that were at least 110 miles long.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mar-11: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 104

As previously indicated (good-bad-and-unexpected-102-km, 2nd half of post):
My friend, Ricochet Robert, had surgery a couple weeks ago.
Thinking he could benefit from a flat populaire to preserve his P-streak,
I suggested a pretty flat route (for north of Raleigh).
Robert was concerned that no one else would do the route.
I told him not to worry -- some would prefer a flat route for recovery,
Rather than the usual hill-fests he LOVES.

Trying to shoehorn several errands into a single day,
Mick & I decided to ride the Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf perm-pop.
I recall that Mick had only completed the Kerr Lake Loop twice,
And his non-rando stomping grounds {did not / do not} include the route's area.
Therefore, the route would be almost as if riding something completely new.

I, on the other hand, had completed KLL about 16 times,
And used to do this very route as an occasional non-rando ride.
And, to complete the story, I've ridden many other non-rando rides
That either started or ended (or both) using most of this "Oxford" route.

The route is an easy, mostly-flat route.
With only three (3) controls:  start, turn-around, finish.
[My theory on populaires and new randos is that many need to learn to get on the bike and ride. 
Not learn to get through controls. 
One learns quickly enough about controls if there is a willing teacher on one's first pop, 
And one learns VERY quickly if the group leaves one behind because one is too slow at the control.] 

It was sunny, but still chilly for the 8 am start.
[Okay, chilly by central NC, mid-March standards.]
We started 7-minutes late -- not because it was chilly.

5-kms later, we had to wait (what seemed like) 5-minutes for the light to change.

Then we putzed along for significant stretches of the route.
Mick indicated he wanted an easy ride.
And since he spoke-up first, I never had to indicate what kind of a ride I wanted.
That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.

Most of the route is rather open,
Or when not open, there are still houses within sight.
Safe "nature breaks" are hard to come by.
About 5-miles before the turn-around, Mick indicated he needed a nature break.
I replied that it was only 4-miles-or-so to the turn-around.
Mick quipped that normally that would be okay, but he had needed the break for 10-miles.
We made a slight diversion off-course to accommodate.

I'm not sure when we got to the turn-around,
And I am not inclined to check the receipts,
But I do know that we took quite a long break.
We remounted for the trip back a full 3h00 after the official start time.

By then, 11 am, it had warmed significantly, and the WSW wind was building,
A slightly quartering head-wind most of the way back.
But a direct in the face headwind on Bruce Garner Rd..

But, for me, it was wind be danged !
It wasn't a 20-mph wind, after all.
I wanted to get the ride done so that I could do the other shoehorned activities.
AND, my ride opportunities are rather limited at this time,
So I wanted to ride hard on the short distance,
To try to hold on to the remaining in-shapeness I've got.
In other words, keep the "use it or lose it" at bay for as long as possible.
[I doubt Dean would think my "plan" can work.
However, he has a more difficult time suspending his disbelief on the "use it or lose it" front.] 

Anyway, we rode somewhat hard on the homebound leg,
Finishing 2h15 after leaving the turn-around "Oxford" control. 
[Not all that fast, but we are slower than many, and it was into a bit of headwind.
There is also the three finishing climbs in the the final 9.5-kms.]

At 78 or 79 degrees Fahrenheit at the finish, it felt rather hot.
On the other hand, the higher temps have whetted my appetite for NO-more-cold-wintry-rides !!

Later, Mick commented, "the route is flat, by 'Martin standards'."
xxx, yyy, zzz

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mar-02: The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected

Before getting into the March 2nd ride, I want to note a few things about my Feb-22nd perm ride.  I had intended to put up a post about that ride, but stuff got in the way.  Anyway, ...

Feb-22:  Egypt Mtn 210-km Perm

It was a pretty good day, weather-wise, for late February in north-central North Carolina.
CHILLY at the start, though.
Lynn and I each had COLD hands almost immediately.
We paused after about 2-miles to put plastic bread-bags over each hand + lower arm.
I immediately felt the improvement of having effective wind-blocks;
I removed the bread-bags 10 or 15 miles after having put them on.
Lynn, who sometimes is affected by Raynaud's Syndrome, took longer to re-warm.
She removed her bread-bags at the first control, some 34-miles after donning them.

Thereafter, the day was pretty, but never seemed as warm as forecast.
Lynn slipped away off my front wheel on all inclines of more than 2%.
On inclines of 4% or more, she zoomed ahead as if I was anchored.
That is the same as it has always been.

As this was my first 200k ride in eight weeks, I purposefully took it easy the first half of the ride. 
[Actually, it was my first ride of more than 75-miles in eight weeks.]

When we weren't climbing, Lynn was usually tucked in behind me.
I am faster on the declines, and perhaps also on the flat.
At least I was on this day.

Lynn noted that she had no gitty-up in her legs, and
Her right leg was acting up.
Not wanting to fully extend and getting tight very quickly whenever we stopped or paused.

My lower right groin did try to cramp on the steep part of the long incline
To get to the afternoon control at Epsom.
However, I refused to let the leg cramp.
I guess I've done enough 200k-plus rando rides to have learned a few things.

About 11-miles before the finish, I suddenly realized that I needed to stop and eat some food,
Else I was going to get rather bonky in the last 10-kms with the three finishing climbs.
Lynn rode on so that her right leg would not stiffen up, again.

All in all, it was a bit tough for each of us.
But each made the best of the situation, and I think that overall,
We each enjoyed our ride.

Oh, yeah -- this was my third ever career R-1 (as I had skipped a January R-ride). 
Mar-02:  The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected 

My friend, Ricochet Robert, had surgery a couple weeks ago.
He wants to maintain both his P-series and his R-series.
Biker Bob and I think we've convinced Ricochet to do a FLAT 200 at the end of March.
Perhaps Dean's "Tar Heel 200" permanent.
Robert will have to drive to get to the start in Benson, NC.

I realized that getting him to drive to Dean's "Get 'er Dunn" perm-pop
The week before driving to Benson was decidedly not a Ricochet preference.
However, there is an excellent mostly-flat perm-pop route that has been waiting
For someone to bite the bullet and ... submit it.
Given Robert's surgery and "flat needs,"
It was time to effectuate the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 102k perm-pop.
[Click-here for a RWGPS map of the revised 104k route.] 

I decided to ride the new route and make sure everything is still copesthetic.
Here's what I found:

The Good

Except for crossing Falls Lake, the creek valley on Lawrence Rd, and the Tar River --
The route is much flatter than I recalled from many previous non-rando rides, and
Also from lotsa' finishes of the rando Kerr Lake Loop.

The surface of the bridge across the Tar River has been resurfaced.
There are no gaps between the sections and thus no need to bunny-hop one's way across the bridge.

The Bad

Cannady Mill Rd has escaped being Obamulated.
The rough surfaces of the many, LONG patches are still rough and long.
Probably rougher than in previous years ago.

There are quite a few freeze-thaw potholes that have opened up on Cannady Mill Rd.
Almost all of them on the northbound (outbound) lane.
I had to play dodge-'em in a couple places to stay on the smooth surface
Between the old rough patches and the new HOLES.

I would not be surprised if tar-snakes suddenly appeared on the entire 6+ miles of Cannady Mill Rd.

The Unexpected

The intended turn-around control,
Known to many NC-randos as the "Oxford control" on the old Kerr Lake Loop,
Is closed.
It appears the site is about to be leveled and something else constructed.
Or, maybe not leveled, but with extensive changes and something else constructed.

Either way, I've submitted a revision to the route.
Making the turn-around at the Hasty Mart BP, a half-mile up US-158.
That gas station / c-store usually looked cleaner, anyway.
Often has chocolate milk whereas the Exxon never did.
And, there are a couple high-tables with stools where one can sit for a few minutes.
No such sit-options at the now-defunct Exxon.
As for the rest rooms -- you don't expect me to check out everything, do you?

The Conclusion

We now have an easy, mostly flat recovery-pop on the north side of Raleigh.
And a route that Ricochet can use for his March P-ride, without undue climbing concern.
xxx, yyy, zzz