Monday, June 19, 2017

Jun-17: A Penny For Your Thoughts 210

Harvey and I had jointly agreed to the ride on this date.
Although I've known and ridden with Harv for about 8 years, he joined RUSA only this year.
Due to Life and other cycling commitments, Harv would be re-starting his R-series.
Come the morning of the ride, Harv called at 5:10 am to bail.
I assumed it was because of the weather forecast.
[But after the ride, based on a comment from Harvey's wife,
I think he had "honey-do's" that needed attention.] 
Anyway, whatever, solo ride beginning at 6am for me.

I thought about doing a photo essay ride similar to my ride in May.
But decided to forego that in order to save time.
Time to beat as much of the forecast thunderstorms as possible.

The early miles felt mostly easy and went by rather quickly.
I go to the AM control in Epsom at 8:30.
2h30 -- that's much quicker than the last three or six EM rides.

An advantage of paper control cards is that randos have to interface with clerks,
And one can, over time, develop a relationship.
Came in handy on this ride as I negotiated the lower price of buying two instead of just one,
But leaving the second drink in the store refrigerator until I returned for the PM control.

Between Epsom and Middleburg,
I started wondering whether Jacksontown Rd would be flooded as it was on Memorial Day.
It had rained quite heavily in north Raleigh the night before,
And I could see that the soil in the fields was damp or wet,
Indicating that it had also rained along the course.
So, after thinking / wondering about it, I decided to contact the route owner, Myself,
To consider a detour around Jacksontown Rd.

I had checked the RWGPS map the night before, looking for a reasonable detour.
Myself had also checked the map the night before.

I was a bit concerned about the amount of traffic there might be on US-158,
Myself was also concerned on that front.
Neither Myself nor I had ever ridden or driven that section of US-158. 
In addition, neither Myself nor I had ever ridden Drewry-Manson Rd,
And the combination of those two roads made the detour to work around
A possibly future flooded Jacksontown Rd.

So, after the above conversation between I and Myself,
I rode the extra 2.7-miles on US-158 to Manson.
It had a bit more traffic than I prefer, but the road was basically flat.
Certainly nothing that I or Myself would consider a slowing incline.

I turned onto Drewry-Manson Rd,
Expecting to find the same kind of creek crossings as on Jacksontown Rd.
It was flat all the way to the intersection with Drewry-Ridgeway Rd.

There is an Info Control in Drewry at the turn off Jacksontown Rd onto D-R Rd,
So I rode the 0.2-miles to get to the Info Control location.
I decided to take a photo.
Drewry.  Where NC-Bike-Route-4 turns east while US-Bike-Route-1 continues north.  Those that have ridden the Egypt Mtn course might recognize that spot, or maybe not, as that scene is superfluous to making a safe turn and/or answering the Info Control question.  
I retraced the 0.2-miles to the split in the road and took Drewry-Ridgeway Rd.
I must have been riding well, or else distracted by thinking about who-knows-what-I-don't,
Because I don't recall the non-trivial creek crossing and climb on D-R Rd.

Getting off US-158, or is it US-1,
If it is US-1, then all the above references need to be edited.
Anyway, after turning off US-1/158 onto Ridgeway-Warrenton Rd,
I did notice the descent into the deep creek valley,
But I don't really recall climbing back up to the level of the plain.
The two subsequent declines and climbs also made no lasting impression.
A sign that I was riding well?

I arrived at the Hardee's on the west edge of Warrenton at 1041.
4h41 after the start.
It has been quite a while since I got to the lunch control that early.
That made me feel good.
Add to that there was no feeling of fatigue in my legs made good into very good.

Ordering, waiting for food, eating, and a natural break, took about 25 minutes.

I (and Myself) had decided to use the "No Bottom - Perry Town" detour
Around the bridge-out on the standard route leaving Warrenton.

On No Bottom Rd, nearing Perry Town, sprinkles and light rain made it first appearance.
Roughly 70-miles of no precipitation -- there had been a pretty good overcast, though.
At Perry Town and just after the turn there, the light rain became rain.
But that stopped after a mile or so.

Reaching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., it was proven that taking the detour had been a good idea.
The "Bridge Out" signs and barricades were still in place.
Eight months and counting on a supposed six month project.
Maybe more issues were found than expected. 

The Epsom PM control is actually too soon after the Warrenton lunch control.
The original plan was for the PM control to be at the Bobbitt Store,
Another 8-miles further into the course.
However, the second time anyone did the EM course,
We found that the Bobbitt Store was closed, permanently.
The Bobbitt Store has reopened, but is closed on Sundays, and is not all that well stocked.
So the route owner, Myself, has stuck with the PM control in Epsom.

Anyway, despite the 25 minute lunch stop,
I arrived at Epsom 2 hours and 10 minutes after arriving at the Hardee's.
When in shape and riding well, I once did the lunch and 18-miles in 2 hours and 1 minute.

I decided to take a little extra time at Epsom,
To eat an ice cream, retrieve the second drink referred to above,
And LUBE my chain (which has needed lubing for more time than I'd like to admit).
25 minutes for the PM Epsom control.

I noticed that the sign for Gooch Rd has again gone missing.
Probably been replaced two or three times or more since Myself created this route,
But most of the time, the sign is missing.
"Gooch Rd" -- maybe some think that's an interesting sign to steal?

The couple climbs up to Bobbitt passed without a struggle.
Usually, especially in the last couple years, whether hot or cold,
The climb up to Bobbitt has been a bit of a struggle.

The zip south on Dick Smith Rd was easy.
Probably at least partially because I was not trying to push the pace.
The steep climb on Dick Smith Rd was quite noticeable,
Four-and-a-half miles per hour, slow cadence in the granny 30/28,
But with an overcast and temps only in the 80's,
Not debilitating.

The next couple turns came quickly,
Or at least it seemed so.

Crossing US-1 to get onto Egypt Mtn Rd was perfectly timed.
No traffic coming from either direction.

Approaching the summit on EM Rd,
I noticed the dark, dark clouds off to the south/southwest.
Also there was thunder about, which of course meant there was lightning in the area.

I may have stopped at the Farm sign for any of several reasons, but ... who cares why?
Semi-tradition to stop and take a photo here.  I texted this to Harvey.  He texted back about rescuing me.  I addressed that in the beginning of this post.  However, additionally, I think Harvey may need new glasses -- he apparently thought that Polled Hereford was a Deer!!
The turn onto Charlie Grissom Rd is only three miles after the above sign.
Just before the turn, the bottom started falling out of the sky.
That was the start of roughly three miles of HEAVY rain, Gusty wind, and nearby lightning.
But it wasn't all that bad.
After the ride, I told Harvey that it didn't even make the podium of bad weather during a rando ride.

The podium?  you ask.
Maybe I'll address that another day.
Because this post has gotten WAAAYYYY too long.

After the three miles of rough weather,
There was light rain or sprinkles for another six or so miles.
But the last 20 miles of the ride were under clearing skies and on mostly dry roads.
The roads had obviously been wet, but the breeze and some sunlight had dried most of them.

I took one more break, about 15 miles from the finish.
I stopped at the May Store, hoping to find an orange juice.
No luck on that.  I had to settle for an Arizona tea.
It sufficed to get me home.

It turned out that my in-motion average speed was still under 14-mph,
But it had felt good all day.
The first time all year that a 200 has felt reasonably good.

Better shape?  Probably not.
Cooler temps than the last few 200-plus km rides?  Yep.
Cooling rain en route a help?  Yep.
Do I feel more confident about near future 200's?  Yep. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jun-07: Bunn Wash Caper 108

The course: 

NCBob, IvaHawk, Sridhar and I rode the "renewal" Bunn Wash Caper on an unexpected Spring day in the midst of early Summer.  Unlike the only time I had previously ridden this route, it was easy to tell the direction of the wind, which wind was bringing the Spring-like conditions to central NC from the Northeast.  The cooling NE headwind was in our faces for the first 40-miles, and by the time we made the howeward turn onto Dunn Rd, the wind had transformed into an ENE tailwind, making the last 26-miles or so an easier, faster ride. 

Early on, at the 9.6-mile mark in Hopkins, I had the idea to pay homage to a Nov-11-2011 group ride on the OakElmOak perm, or at least to the photo below: 
I took a test photo (selfie) with my flip-phone to see if my idea would work.
I concluded that we could line up in a straight row and get a pic of all of us pretending to be serious.
However, I didn't explain myself very well and the next thing I knew was the others were crowding in to get close to the camera. 
L to R:  me, Sridhar, IvaHawk, Bob.
That ended up being the last photo on the day.  Sad sigh.  
The reason?
Sridhar, despite multiple denials, must be training for SOMETHING.
He kept dragging the pace up at every opportunity.
[I'm all for riding faster than I have been, but I'd rather look around and enjoy the sights, etc..]

We got to "The Farmer's Kitchen" in Bunn too late for breakfast, and
Had to settle for lunch food.
Good it was, but I think each of us would have preferred to have gotten a country breakfast.
[May have to start this route at 6 am next time to ensure arriving in time for breakfast.]

The several dogs that plagued this route in 2014 all seem to have disappeared.
The first several miles were a bit trafficky.
But probably the traffic was such that cyclists from metropolitan areas would think there was no traffic.
Fowler Rd and Pilot-Riley Rd seemed to be lined with many well-kept homesteads.
And that creates a nice feeling when cycling by.

Frazier Rd and W. Old Spring Hope Rd give a taste of the flat-flat terrain to the east.
Interrupted by the easy crossing of the Tar River.

After a natural break and refueling stop in Spring Hope, we hit Seven Paths Road,
Which wiggles about and is a mild roller-coaster,
And the first half or two-thirds of 7-Paths was quite nice, but
The last third or half was less interesting.

The eight miles of Dunn and Mort Harris roads and NC-39 are nothing special,
But that may be an illusion as one might be trying to hurry along to Bunn
For breakfast or lunch.

The 18 miles after the ONE HOUR lunch stop went by quickly.
Perhaps I was too stuffed with food to think otherwise.

The above is pretty lame, but it is my story for the day, and I'll be sticking to it.
Except to add this:
If Bob and I weren't on a quest to accomplish a NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge,
We might not have endeavored to renew the Bunn Wash Caper.
And that would have been sad, because
The BWC is quite a pleasant ride

Monday, June 5, 2017

Jun-04: Denny's Store 138

(Click here to open a new tab with a RWGPS map of the route.)
I usually say that this is my favorite among my routes.
I think that is true.
Corner of Range and Ellis Chapel Roads, after one has climbed the "Range Wall."  There are several photos of this demobilized self-propelled artillery piece on this blog, several with people posed on its flanks.  Seems there have been some plantings made fronting the gun - plantings that are maturing quickly, and if not kept trimmed, it might not be possible to take this photo in the near future.  Next time I do a photo essay of this route, I need to remember to skip this location, skip the next artillery piece at the Cassam Rd corner, and get a pic of the ack-ack gun further along Range Road.  Oh, since there might be some non-locals reading this, Range Road essentially encircles Camp Butner, a National Guard training facility, with a history more interesting than that.
This was the 28th time I've completed the rando Denny's Store Sortie.  I've also ridden essentially this same course pre-rando at least two or three times.  And I've done the non-rando Range Road Rover about 12 times.  In other words, I have ridden past this location at least 40, and perhaps 45, different times - yet, this was the first time I ever noticed this little cemetery on the west side of the western side of the Range Road loop.  Maybe I've never noticed this because there is a more attractive scene just before this; I almost stopped this day to photograph that prior scene but ... didn't.  This photo didn't come out very well because of the bright, bright sunshine making it impossible to read the words on that large headstone.  Those words indicate that this is a "Duke Cemetery" - which branch of the Dukes I do not know.
The gas station / c-store at Moriah.  I hadn't stopped here in slightly over seven years, but on this day, I decided I wanted a fresh COLD beverage.  I was delighted to find an "Arizona Sweet Tea" and a much more pleasant clerk than there was seven years ago.  They also have the usual fizzy drinks and a good array of Gatorade and similar.  They also have a large selection of beer, however I doubt they had a single beer that Mark Thomas would want to drink.  That thought came to me while searching for the Tea.  I took this photo and proceeded up the road, going south to north, before realizing that Mark had ridden past this store about a month earlier, going west to east on the first day of the Carolina Spring 1200, but he almost certainly did not stop here since there was a control in Timberlake only about 10 miles before.
I probably should discard this photo since it is SOOOO badly framed -- proof that, without my magnifiers, I can't really see what is in the camera viewer on my flip-phone.  However, I include this lousy photo because it is taken atop "Mt. Harmony" and I want to indicate that I keep thinking that someday I'll stop in that shady area in the background and have a picnic of sorts -- probably while doing the "Road to Hicksboro" 205k perm since this spot comes a bit too early on the Denny's Store route -- maybe a picnic here would make sense if I did Denny's Store reversed (which is approved, but has only been ridden reversed one time).  Maybe I'll better frame the photo next time.

I forgot to take a photo, probably of the "peep benches," at the Allensville control.
(Click here if you want to see those benches in action.)

Iconic location for photo for this route.  Since this ride consisted of only me and my steed, you get a photo of the sign, the top of my steed, the house across the road, all slightly off-kilter, and nothing else.

I took a photo at the Berea control, but I definitely do NOT like it.
Therefore, it went straight to the trash bin.

I thought about stopping at Culbreth to take a photo of the burned down house, etc.,
The bright sunshine and shade trees might have made for a nice pic,
If taken from the correct location,
But I decided to ride on.

It was an enjoyable break to stop in the shade and take this photo.  I finished off the last of the COLD beverage that I had gotten at the control in Berea before it became too hot.  I was looking forward to getting some COLD water at the Southern States in Creedmoor; I did refill my bottles there, but the water was tepid cold instead of the usual COLD.
I thought about taking a photo in Stem.
Of the location where we one cold February day found a BBQ sandwich vendor,
But I had just stopped in the shade to take the one at Shoofly, and decided to ride on.

The Denny's Store route is the one that was ridden when
My friend NCBob first attained K-Hound status.
It is also the route that was ridden, the only time ridden reversed,
When LynnL became the first NC female to get to Hound-and-a-Half.
We took a photo of Bob and company that ended up on Facebook,
And Lynn took a selfie that might be on the K-Hound blog.
I decided to stop and take a photo of the backdrop for both those photos:
See the ripples on the surface.  The not too bad headwind since leaving Allensville is pushing the surface of the lake against the current.  I started to get dizzy just after taking this photo because the moving water messed with my sense of equilibrium.
Ride done, steed secured to bike-rack, time to go home.
Placeholding in case I decide to add some stats here.
Don't hold your breath waiting. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May-29: Egypt Mtn, with Detour 210

What to do when you're out of shape and you've DNF'd your intended R-ride?
Do your "go-to" Perm.
Well, with a detour because a key bridge is still out

Curious llamas at the "Llama House," 18.8-miles into the course.  Usually, it is better to stay upwind of that enclosure, but on this morning, with no discernible breeze, there was also no discernible odor.  (I should have moved a few feet to the left; that would have resulted in a better photo, but, you know ....
Just a ranchstead on West River Rd (east of Franklinton).  About 25-miles into the course.  (This might look better if I cropped the photo removing the road and the heavily shaded foreground ditch.  Maybe later.)
Cokesbury Church.  44.7-miles into the course.
Surprise!  On Jacksontown Rd, 52-miles into the course.  Traversed via a lift from a pickup truck.  Once across, another vehicle, perhaps a small van, tried to cross, but too fast, created a bow wave, raising the level of the water around the vehicle, and causing to stall out.  Luckily for that van driver, a couple of young boys were able to push the vehicle out of the flood.  Vehicle was still stalled, though; and I imagine that driver had quite a day of it.  (If anyone had undertake ye old Kerr Lake Loop on this date, they would have certainly first encountered a much higher flood on Nutbush Creek Rd, and getting around that flood might well have ended such a ride.)
It seems a good idea to stop here once in awhile and take a photo (and maybe take a pee).  No other reason to stop here.
Most of the traditional directional (and sometimes direction with distance) signs have disappeared, probably whenever road re-surfacing or widening occur.  This sign has seen better days.  Approx 16.5-miles from the finish (also the start) of the route.  (There used to be a directional sign with distances across from the Bay Leaf CVS, the start / finish of this route (and a few others); that signage indicated that Creedmoor was 14 miles to the north on NC-50 AND that Raleigh was 14 miles to the south on NC-50.  These days, most would say / think that Bay Leaf, and the site of that former signage, was on the edge of northern Raleigh.)
Oh, yeah:
I slogged out this ride, completing the "Warrenton & Egypt Mtn" permanent for the 29th time.
Official rando elapsed time:  12h00.  Time-in-motion:  10h01.
My third slowest passage on this route ever.
Fastest passage on this route this year.  LOL.

May-17: Badgett Sisters 208 -- NOT for Me

BobB, Daniel, and I set out to capture our respective R-rides.
Gilbert had "threatened" to ride out from his shop in Yanceyville to meet us.
Gilbert was good to his word.
We encountered him on Oak View Loop, about half-a-mile before Badgett Sisters Parkway.

Gilbert, Daniel, Bob.  Corner of Oakview Loop and Badgett Sisters Parkway.

We rode up into Yanceyville, where Daniel, Bob, and I had lunch at the Subway, and Gilbert returned staight-away to his shop where some chores or business needed to be attended.

Post-lunch, it was quite a bit warmer.
We tackled in reverse the rollers on Badgett Sisters and Oakview Loop, and
Then the five sharp creek drops and sharp climbs back out, to get to the control at Corbett.

Bob is in great shape and just pedaled along all day.
Daniel is in good shape, though he tends to push to big a gear when climbing.
I'm in lousy shape, but early in the ride, it was as if there was no chain / no resistance to pedaling.

I definitely felt the 10 sharp creek crossing between am-Corbett and pm-Corbett,
But thought I was in decent shape, and I was looking forward to the next 20-miles,
Which had seem flat in the morning.
The only concern I had was that we would be mostly into the wind for much of the remaining ride.

I should have been more concerned about the heat.
Fat, out-of-cycling-shape, not acclimated to the heat.
I told the other two to continue ride ahead regardless of me.

I finally made the "call of shame" at the 97.2-mile mark,
Agreeing to meet my rescue ride at Underwood Grocery (the pm intermediate control).

"Call of shame" or "call of intelligence" ?
I think intelligence.
After all, it took 48 hours for me to feel recovered.

After completing her business,
Lynn and her dog Lincoln came to Underwood Grocery to rescue me.
She brought some home-made ice tea; Lincoln brought a happy attitude.

L & L dropped me off at the finish a quarter hour or so before Bob finished.
Daniel was another 10 minutes or so further behind.

R-89 for Bob.
Must be about R-6 for Daniel, but I always suggest not counting until getting to at least R-9.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Apr-29: 4-F Morrisville 300

Far outa' shape.
Frickin' hot.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Apr-22: Shoofly Don't Bother Iva

Seven years ago, we did a ride to celebrate Iva's 63rd birthday.
Four did a 66-miler -- a modified Range Road Rover, if I recall correctly.
Two did an 80-miler -- a modified Allensville - Denny's Store, if I recall correctly.
Four did a 100-miler -- the Mayo Lake 100.
(RWGPS maps for each of the above-mentioned routes on the "IR Routes" page.)

Hmmn.  April 17, 2010.
One week after I had done my first ever rando ride -- the Raleigh Region 200k brevet.
One week before I would do my first ever 300k.
On the day I did that 300, April 24th, Ricochet Robert did his first ride as an adult, 

Much has changed since then.
  • The aforementioned 80-miler has been morphed into a 138-km RUSA perm-pop. 
  • I've ridden nearly 50-thousand RUSA kms. 
  • Robert has ridden just over 45-thousand RUSA kms and completed PBP in 2015. 
  • Iva joined RUSA and rides 2 to 4 pops a year with me -- either as training or just to ride with me. 
  • I met BobB / NCBob (though technically, I probably met Bob on April 10, 2010) and Bob has ridden in excess of 60-thousand RUSA kms and also ridden x-continent with PacTour.  
  • Harvey, aka Snapper, aka Cheeta', recently joined RUSA. 
  • The Mallet has ridden at least two or three brevets and/or brevet-pops as a non-member. 
  • And the aforementioned 80-miler -- I morphed that into a 138-km RUSA perm-pop.  It is my favorite perm route, though it only ranks 3rd or 4th on my list of most ridden perm routes. 
  • And the Irregulars have become VERY irregular indeed, doing only two to four rides a year instead of riding most every Saturday. 
The central theme of the 2010 ride was to get Iva a county line sprint.
Every rider except Iva was in on the conspiracy to accomplish that.
It was the only way -- a previous attempt where only three had been in the conspiracy had failed.

The central theme(s) of this 2017 ride was very simple:  ride, and enjoy it, and celebrate Iva's 70th.
That we did accomplish on a favorite Irregulars route -- the "Shoofly Don't Bother Me."
"We" = IvaHawk, Snapper, Ricochet, NCBob, Mallet, me.
On Antioch Rd, homeward bound, just south of Oxford.  L to R -- Ricochet, Mallet, Snapper, me, IvaHawk.  Photo by NCBob.

IvaHawk, sandbagging on Antioch Rd.  I note that he was sandbagging because, for the first time that I can recall, on the finishing run on New Light Rd, he came around me and left me in the dust.  He'll be leading when next he and I do a perm-pop together.  [Photo by NCBob.]

Post-ride festivities in the PUE parking lot.  L to R -- Snapper, Mallet, Ricochet, IvaHawk.  I'm either off-camera or hadn't finished.  Photo by NCBob.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Apr-08: Morrisville 200k Brevet

Prior to the start, maybe during a previous ride,
BobB and I had explained to Daniel that Bob and I would be dropping most of the peloton
Off our front wheels quite early, maybe even before hitting 2-miles.

Due to an uncooperative stoplight at Davis Drive, approx 1-mile into the course,
It was more on the order of 3 or 4 miles before we let them go.

Not much to mention about this ride.

I indicated three iconic photo locations that Daniel might want to capture for his new blog:
  1. the "cow" on Castle Rock Farm / Old Switchboro Rd, 
  2. the dam just south of Snow Camp, and 
  3. the "UFO" on Snow Camp - Siler City Rd.  
I know Daniel stopped to take some photos, but
I don't know if any of them came out blog-worthy or if Daniel blogged the ride.

I think Daniel felt left out of the conversation at Siler City
Where MikeO (#215) was manning the control. 

Other than that, Bob and I probably bored Daniel to death,
'Cuz most of the conversation that Bob and I engaged in was regarding
Prior (mostly) mishaps scattered along the course.
Flat tyres, mechanicals, bonks, naps, bad cramps, and what-not.
Although I can recall each when I ride by the spot,
Sitting here typing, I can recall almost none of them.

We finished in under 11 hours, barely.
And this year (and last), that is about as fast as I've been able to cover 200 kms.


Raleigh 200 km Brevet: Morrisville to Siler City and back; 124.7 m.;  9h13 in-motion; 13.5 mph; elasped clock time 10h51.

Leaving room to enter ytd stats later. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mar-25: Mountain Creek Bridge 205

The initial advertisement, seven days before the ride, on the NC-rando-list-serve and in the NC-Randonneurs Facebook group (did I post anything on FB? -- I checked, I did) wasn't very successful as only Hans (#4793) and Tim (#6016) signed on for the ride.

So, two-and-a-half days before the ride, I sent a reminder advert to the list-serve, and that prompted "count me in" responses from five additional riders.

Since one of the five additional riders was Wilmington-Rick (#6985) and another was Ricochet Robert (#6628), my mind was cast back to the very first ride on "Ricochet's Ridge 205"  and in particular to the exchange documented as:
After crossing NC-57 ... Ricochet comment[ed]:  "We made a mistake."  Me:  "Oh."  R:  "We should have invited Wilmington-Rick on this ride and then there would be a photo documentary of the scenery around here."  Me:  "Oh well; maybe next time."
That memory prompted me to request that Rick bring his camera and take some photos.  NC-Bob (#5843), one of those that found they were able to ride despite "life," also chimed in that he would bring his camera.  I don't know if Rick has been using his camera much on bike rides recently, and I do have a fuzzy recollection of some part of his camera malfunctioning a couple years ago.  On the other hand, I do know that Bob has been making extensive use of his camera on bike rides and while driving to and from bike rides, in the last nine months:  e.g., a PacTour Northern Tour last year and a PacTour Desert Week earlier in March.  

Rick and Bob did each bring their respective cameras, and each took a fair number of photos.  Bob posted his to the NC-Randonneurs Facebook page whereas Rick sent me an email with a link to his photos.  I have permission to use any that I want.  However, the day was not the bright sunshiny ride that I had expected.  More sunshine would have helped the photos "pop," that is, look more interesting.  Therefore, I'm scaling back the hoped-for photo essay.  That's my explanation and I'll be sticking to it.

The Cast
Byron, #621.  (And a keen eye might discern a cyclist on Byron's right.)  [Photo by R^2.]

Byron 621, me 6218.  [Photo by R^2.]
Hmmn, the next photos of individual riders near the start, by Rick, are all rather fuzzy.
The 0700 starters, front to back:  Byron (hidden), me, TimL 6016, Robert 6628, Daniel 11331, BobB 5843, and Rick's right foot 6985.  [Photo by R^2.]
Rick half-selfie with group trailing behind, on Kemp Rd approaching Virgil Rd (not part of the course).

Hans 4793 started at 0800.  No photo of him.

Intermediate photos
On St. Mary's Rd, nearing the turn onto Schley Rd.  I was sorely tempted to take a detour on that road to the right -- Lipscomb Grove Church Rd -- as it comes out onto Schley Rd, adding just a touch of distance.  However, taking that detour might have confused the half of the group that was already up the road IF they had chosen to stop and wait.  Also, taking Lipscomb would have by-passed the next photo.  [Pic credit R^2]
No explanation needed.  [Photo credit to BobB.]

Scene opposite the immediately above pic.  [Photo by BobB.]

First intermediate control, Underwood Grocery.  [Photo credit to R^2.]
No photo for the second intermediate control, Timberlake, corner of Dick Holeman Rd and US-501.  Too bad, really, as the Carolina Spring 1200 will be using that Timberlake control.  BTW, Byron's Triple-L perm also uses that same Timberlake control.  The clerks there seem to appreciate us, or at least they appreciate Robert and Byron.

Roxboro Dragway.  Approx mile 57 of the course.  The dragway does not appear to get very much action.  Certainly not enough to discourage riding a bicycle by the site.  (Compare that to the Virginia International Raceway; that circuit gets used every weekend from March or April through October; I had to revise the intended course for my 300k perm, revised BEFORE submission to the permanista.)  [Photo credit to BobB.]

I chose to not post a photo from the usual lunch stop, Stovall.
Interesting thing happened at Stovall, this ride:  Hans caught to slow 0700 crew.
Glad he was to catch us there -- he had lost his cue sheet and his GPS unit battery had died.

No photo for the Hicksboro Information Control.

No photo for the final intermediate control near Dabney.  (Thought there was one; hmmn.)

Cornwall Rd bridge over Mountain Creek -- changing over the "years".
First time ever doing the Hicksboro route, April 13, 2013, Robert and I encountered a bit of a surprise.  We walked across the bridge which was undergoing destruction.  [Photo by Robert.]

April 13, 2013.  [Photo by Robert.]

April 13, 2013.  [Photo by me.]
May 25, 2013.  L to R:  me, MikeF 7290.  [Photo by JanetF 7196.]
Aug 24, 2013.  L to R:  BobB, Robert, Mick 6169.  [Photo by me.]

November 16, 2013.  Fresh, smooth asphalt over the new bridge.  [Photo by me.]

Nov 16, 2013.  Alternate angle.  [Photo by me.]

Today:  asphalt still smooth, but three-and-a-half years have grayed it some; not to mention the clumps of mud on the road this day.    Interesting thing:  the timestamps on the Nov-2013 photos indicate 1221 and 1222; the timestamp on this photo is 1234.  In other words, approx. only 13 minutes slower this ride than in late 2013.  However, in Nov-2013, IanH 6176 and I finished in under 10 hours, whereas on this March-2017 ride, BobB, Daniel and I took over 11 hours.  :-O  [Photo credit to me.] 

And that will suffice for the story about this ride, except for embedding the route map: 


Road to Hicksboro 205k perm; 126.7 m;  11h02 elapsed;  9h30 in-mot; 13.3 mph.

Leaving room to later insert year-to-date stats.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mar-05: Down Coley and Up, 4+ times

I got off work at 11 and arranged to meet a friend at 1:30 for a short ride.
I intended to cycle 10.2-miles to the meeting place,
But I dozed off sitting in the chair while waiting for the electric kettle.

When I woke, it was too late to cycle to meeting place and be on time.
And since I was still in civilian clothing, I was probably going to be late even driving.

The timing of my arrival was pretty good.
I arrived at the intersection of Kemp and Coley roads just as friend rode through.
Friend continued down Coley as I parked and got ready to ride.

Toward NC-98 from Kemp is basically a downslope affair.
However, on this day, with legs tired from work, the saddle seeming too high, and into the wind,
I was convinced that the first mile-plus was all up a slight incline.

I met friend about 0.4 miles short of the "bottom" of Coley Rd,
Said "bottom" being the T-intersection at NC-98.
Joining friend heading upslope, into the bright sun, with a tailwind,
I immediately commented that I was a bit over-dressed for the upslope.

We mostly rode side-by-side on the no-traffic road.
But I would follow at the U-turns at the "bottom" and "top" of Coley.

Also, the first three times going up, there was one location when I faded back each time.
The legs did not like the slight increase in the incline there,
Combined with the apparent bounce-back headwind along that stretch,
I could not hold the pace needed to stay alongside friend.

After the first hour, my lower back, esp. on the left side, began to giving off pain signals.
Pain there is always a sign that I've been pushing too big a gear,
Or pushing the "correct" gear too hard.
I mentioned that, although my legs might be starting to feel better, I needed to back of the pace a bit.

Friend mentioned that her knees were bothering.
THAT is definitely NOT good.
I urged changing to an easier gear / a larger cog.
I doubt that was done.

Although I did back off the effort as mentioned above,
My legs started feeling better,
Or perhaps they were past feeling pain.
The "fast" cadence seemed to become easier.
I may have changed to a smaller cog / harder gear / faster gear.
The cadence may have increased.
Whatever, I started riding faster.

The last six or seven miles, the legs felt fine.
I could push the pace.
The back did not complain.
I seemed to have pushed through a pain barrier.

That has happened before, but not too often.

Maybe the next ride with friend, I'll have already passed through the pain barrier,
And it will be easier to ride friend's higher pace.

I certainly hope so, because riding with friend is likely to get tougher and tougher.
Previous outdoor ride this year, February 28th, was a 30-miler.
The ride, the third (?) outdoor ride of the year for friend, was a 41-or-so-miler.
Next week is likely to be a 50-miler.
The week after that, 60.
And the pace will not reduce.

It will likely feel as if training.
For me, I mean.
Friend will likely just zip along with no noticeable change in effort, or breathing, or pedaling.

Lame story, I know; but it is mine, and I'll be sticking to it.


~ 4 1/2 loops on Coley Rd, with she-who-must-not-be-named; 32.5 m;  2h09 in-mot; 15.0 mph.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _4 rides;  _357.8 m;  25h28;  14.0 mph; _509 RUSA kms
Mar tot:  _1 rides;  __32.3 m;  _2h09;  14.0 mph; ___0 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _9 rides;  _704.8 m;  51h25;  13.6 mph; _960 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Feb-18: Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 Brevet

Highpoint Region.
Fourth weekend of Tony's January/February Winter Series, plus.
Second weekend doing routes out of Lumberton (the previous having been Jan-28).
Second time doing the Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 (and companion routes) this season.
[As usual for Highpoint Region RWGPS maps, the above link is a Tony creation, 
But since he once warned me that he sometimes re-purposes routes, I made a copy. 
Now all I have to worry about is that I re-purpose or delete it.]

Leading up to the 2013 Taste of Carolina, for which I served as one of the roving volunteers,
Dan Driscoll asked me, via email, if I had done many of Tony's brevets.
The answer at that time was:  Nope; never done any of Tony's brevets.
[The other question Dan asked was what would the roads of the 1200 be like. 
I answered that by sending him this link:  report with some pics of typical NC roads.]

If asked that question now, the answer would be:  Not really, only three 200's and one 300.
  • Jan-2015, Lumberton-Ammon-Whiteville 200, no blog report, 
  • Feb-2017, Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200. 
There were about eleven riders, including Tony, for the 200,
None for 300, none for 400, and
Five fast-dudes for the 600.

Five of the 200 riders set out with the five 600 riders.
Six of us 200 riders had more sense than that.

However, even the six of us increased our pace early on,
Trying to generate some body warmth which would penetrate to our fingers and toes.
Most of us were dressed for a 45 degree start temp;
However, 40 would be a better estimate of what we experienced.

Five degrees may not sound like much:
Is 85 much different than 80?
Probably not.
But when the 5 degrees is the difference between 45 and 40,
It can make a noticeable difference.

I'm quite sure I was the weakest link in the six rational paced 200 riders,
However, I managed to somehow get in the lead on Tar Heel Rd.
A false flat ever so slight decline headed toward Tar Heel and the Cape Fear River.
[Btw, don't confuse Tar Heel with Tarheel -- those are two different towns.  LOL.]

Anyway, Tar Heel Rd, a seven-and-a-half mile false flat with a slight tailwind,
It seemed reasonable to ride at about 17-mph,
A pace that I have ridden for entire 200-km rides a few years ago,
But not a pace I can maintain for that distance nowadays.

Tar Heel Rd had sufficient early-morning traffic that everyone appreciated
The repeated "car back" shout outs coming from Juliet.
However, after awhile, I heard no more shout outs, and
Around the time I began to wonder about that,
The rider fourth in line, probably Daniel, shouted-out that we had lost a couple riders.

The two were no where to be seen, but I wasn't worried.
I knew that TomD was a strong rider, and
Could handle any problem that he or his sister Juliet might encounter.
[We later learned that the pace was a bit much for Juliet. 
And that she and Tom had stopped at the diner in White Oak, 
21.4-miles into the ride, to eat the breakfast they hadn't had before the start. 
(They thought the ride started at 7 am, and were just heading to breakfast, 
When we intercepted them at about 5:50, to inform them that the ride started at 6.) 
Juliet and Tom reported that they had a pleasant experience at the White Oak diner. 
That surprised me because the White Oak c-store is a smoker's haven. 
I'll have to remember that the diner is a universe apart from the c-store, 
Even though they are each part of what appears to be one long building.]

After crossing NC-87 at Tar Heel, the road drops 80 feet, and
The temperature must have dropped another 5 degrees.
Everyone exclaimed at the drop.
After all, we each had likely gotten used to the temperature situation, but
Suddenly, we were in a new chill.
A chill that would last all the way to Roseboro,
The first intermediate control, some 44.3-miles into the course.
Typical scenery on the day.  [photo credit to BobB]

One notable thing happened between Ammon and the Roseboro control:
The four of us, BobB #5843, Daniel #11661, Harvey #11802, and me #6218,
Caught Geof #5350 and TimL #6016.
[They had apparently started with the 600 fast-dudes, but had decided to let them go.]

The six of got to the Roseboro control together,
Did our business at said control, taking time to warm ourselves,
And then we all left together.

Almost immediately, or even sooner, Turbo-Tim started drifting off the front.
Geof took a mile or so and then he moved to catch Tim.
[photo credit to BobB]

And somewhere along the road toward Garland, into the quartering headwind,
I began drifting off the rear.

I managed to hold Bob, Harvey, and Daniel at a cross-able distance,
IF I put in a big effort.
I must have done that at some point to let Bob know that I was going to stop in Garland.
Ostensibly to remove some clothes,
But I may also have mentioned that I needed to get some electrolytes into my system.
And by the time we got to the main crossroad in Garland,
Where there is a Subway and convenience store more-or-less in one,
I had managed to drift off the back again.

All five may have paused for a minute to wait for me,
But Tim and Geof went on.
Luckily for me, Bob, Harvey, and Daniel waited.

From Garland to Delway, in the words of "Fixie Pixie," I was really feeling good,
We were all feeling really good.
If you're not the Fixie Pixie, you might think there was a substantial tailwind.

The Delway control is just over 70-miles into the course.
From there to the finish back in Lumberton is 55-miles,
And always seems to be into a tough headwind (example) getting back to Lumberton.

Between Garland and Delway, we had crossed paths with RickR, Tony, and JohnM.
[I didn't feel like looking up their RUSA number.  Lazy me.]
Tony, JohnM.  [photo credit to BobB]
Tim and Geof left the Delway control just as Bob, Harvey, Daniel, and I arrived.

All in all, we had made pretty good time getting to that "70-mile" control.
Perhaps we arrived around five-and-a-half hours into the elapsed time.
That quick pace (for me), being roughly 15-mph while in motion,
Would not last -- I've mentioned why a couple paragraphs above.

A third or half-way back to Garland,
We crossed paths with the aforementioned Tom and Juliet.
They had pulled over at an intersection, probably for a quick breather.
We pulled over to chat a minute -- that's when we found out about their breakfast at White Oak.
Juliet, TomD.  [photo credit to BobB]

The four of us pulled into the aforementioned Garland Subway to grab some lunch.
Roughly 82.4-miles into the course.
Tim and Geof were still eating when we arrived, but they left long before we did.

Not sure what time it was when we got back on the road.
I do recall that bells (or artificial method) at the church across from the Subway
Were tolling out "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

We left Garland on Rich Road.
I didn't see much evidence of wealth.
But the road name soon changed to Helltown Road.
I didn't notice anything worrisome about or along the road.

A quick zig-zag at NC-210 to get onto Old Fayetteville Rd.
Eight miles later, Ammon -- a location I know from several rando rides / routes.
In early June, there is a Blueberry Festival centered on the large open field at Ammon.
Locally, the Raleigh Region 600 usually coincides with the Blueberry Festival.
Blueberry field near Ammon.  [photo credit to BobB]

I mis-remembered or mis-spoke or something [the first option is correct, don't tell anyone],
And told Harvey and Daniel that is was straight shot to White Oak,
Which wasn't all far away.
So those two newbies decided they could wait until White Oak to refill water bottles, etc..

It is only 10-miles from Ammon to White Oak via the route,
But straight shot it is not!
'Cuz 2.6-miles from Ammon, one must make a 90-degree right turn.

We're riding along, getting strung out,
Daniel hammering off the front into the wind, maybe 150 yards ahead of Bob and me,
Harvey about a third of the way up to Daniel,
When I realized that Bob and I were passing Gum Springs Road.

I mentioned same to Bob -- I was somewhat confused about where the route went.
Bob immediately realized that we were to turn, and
He tried to hail Harvey and Daniel, primarily with his well-known air horn.
No dice.
The air horn sound was no match for the headwind.

Bob and I considered what to do.
We were not going to attempt to chase the other two the wrong way.
We thought about waiting until they realized we weren't following.
In the end, I called each of Harvey and Daniel, leaving a message that they needed to turn around,
And Bob and I headed across Gum Springs Road for White Oak.

I was grateful for the unexpected rest at White Oak because
Bob had dragged some of the life out of me as he zipped across Gum Springs Rd..

The errant twosome arrived earlier than I expected.
And after some re-watering, etc., we four made our way across River Road,
And Tar Heel Road, across which we thought we would never reach Benny Road.

Once on Benny, though, it is just a hop, skip, and holler to Lumberton.

It had been a very sunshiny day, reasonably warm, though windy day.
All in all, a great day for a bike ride.

That's my story, and deficient though it may be, I'll be sticking to it.


Lumberton-Roseboro-Delway 200 brevet; 125.8 m;  8h43 in-mot; 14.4 mph; rando elapsed time: 11h05.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _3 rides;  _317.2 m;  22h36;  14.0 mph; _509 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _7 rides;  _631.9 m;  46h44;  13.3 mph; _960 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feb-11: 'Road to Hicksboro' 205

I hadn't done the "Road to Hicksboro" 205-km perm since June-2014.
A ride I did not blog.
And about all I can recall from the ride is that Turbo-Tim and I were glad,
Or at least pretended to be,
When Lynn rode off down the road, leaving the two of us to suffer.
Subsequent to publication of this post, I stumbled across this photo from the Jun-2014 "Road to Hicksboro" ride.  Photo obviously taken by Turbo-Tim because that is Lynn and me sitting on the benches in Stovall at approx the 75-mile-mark of the perm route.  Stovall is the usual lunch stop, and on decent weather days, lunch is eaten under the shade offered by that gazebo.  Specifically regarding this photo:  Lynn appears to be calmly resting, having been taking it easy on Tim and me.  I, on the other hand, appear to be worn out and desperately hoping for some recovery.  
Results from that Jun-2014 "Road to Hicksboro" adventure:

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Road to Hicksboro / 1938 205 2014/06/14 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T41865 5519 L___, Lynn Randonneurs USA / 933095 09:34
RUSA-T41866 6016 L___, Tim Randonneurs USA / 933095 10:58
RUSA-T41867 6218 S___, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 11:02

Okay, back to the ride this post is supposed to be about.  

When needing wanting to ride a 200+ km perm, and
"Needing" to do one of my own (since June-2014) on short notice,
I had mostly been riding the "Egypt Mtn" 210-km perm.
EM has less climbing and seems to be better than Hicksboro for weekday rides.
At least that is my perception, to which I'll be sticking, at least for awhile.

But the work schedule opened up for February 11th, and
I'm trying to get back into cycling shape, and
I certainly owe it to the route and other randonneurs
To stay familiar with my own routes.
So, advertise I did.

The result of advertising, you ask?
This is how I put it on Facebook, the evening before the ride:
3 Mondials, 2 of those with a RUSA Cup, 1 of those a [PBP] Ancien, the other an Ultra Randonneur and currently at R-85.
3 rookies. Well, 2 rookies with #s greater than 11-thousand. One of those a rando virgin, but I've probably ridden [a few] thousand miles with said "virgin." The 3rd "rookie" has only four or five rando rides to his credit, yet his # is the lowest of the six riders, yes, including the 3 Mondials. 

7 am start.  A bit chilly.
But, hmmn, randonnesia has set in, I don't recall getting cold.
And I know all of us, or most of us, shed clothes as early as the first intermediate control,
At Underwood Grocery, approximately 33-miles into the course.
I'm shedding clothes.  Robert on his phone.  Hans and Harvey chatting about who-knows-what. Been 33-miles mostly with headwind to this point.  But about to embark on 47-mile tailwind section!  [photo credit to Bob]

However, I get ahead of myself.
I recall everyone else was faster than me on the climbs that are Snow Hill Road,
But I can't recall being pained about that or by the effort on Snow Hill Road.
I gather that there is a definite advantage to backing off the effort when climbing and out-of-shape.

Oh, wait, now I recall:
Robert, Hans and Harvey appeared to leave Bob, Daniel and me behind.
Daniel, Bob and I got to the stop-light at US-501 well after the other three.
I think I made a comment or two, probably including that I wondered
If they would wait at the Underwood Control.

We didn't have to wait that long.
Robert, Hans and Harvey had pulled over and waited at the next minor roadside.

All together, we each enjoyed the horse farms and associated homes along St. Mary's Road.
Somewhere after the horse farm estates, but still on St. Mary's Road,
Harvey suddenly exclaimed, "hey, my friend ___ lives there!"
[This wasn't the first time Harvey had ridden on St. Mary's Rd, 
But it may have been long enough ago that he may well have forgotten.]

Turning on to Schley Rd, one pops up a short incline and then into some easy rollers.
Harvey commented on the hills, so I mentioned that these were definitely "Martin hills,"
And a few yard later pointed to a particular sign.
[Next time, somebody needs to take a photo.] 

Leaving Underwood Grocery on New Sharon Rd,
There are a couple downs and ups that lead to the toughest climb on the route,
Cresting out at about the 37.5-mile mark.

After that, the route is some decent roads, rolling up and down,
With some of the ups sufficient for me to drop off the back.

But, in general, on this ride, we had a good enough time
That nothing in particular sticks in my mind.

Guess I'll just finish off this post by ripping-off borrowing some photos that Bob took.
Daniel.  Between Underwood Grocery and Timberlake controls.
Strung out line.  Back to front:  Hans, Harvey, Robert, and that must be me in the distance ('cuz the kit color is wrong for Daniel and Bob took the photo).  [How did I get that far ahead?  This must be a shallow incline just after a noticeable descent.]
L to R:  Harvey and Hans, with Daniel behind.  All enjoying the smooth road surface.  [photo by Bob]

Somewhere between the Timberlake control and the non-control lunch stop in Stovall, Robert tried to hang a new nickname on Bob.  I didn't understand the nick, and I certainly don't recall the proposed nick.  My recollection, refreshed at the Feb-18 Highpoint Region 200k out of Lumberton, is that Bob didn't quite understand the reasoning behind Robert's suggestion.

I can think of two appropriate new nicknames for Bob.  Both are related to his 2016 PacTour:
  • "NCBob".  As I understand it, early in the sign-up for the aforementioned PacTour, there were two Bobs, and our Bob suggested he'd go with "NCBob" on his PacTour nameplate. 
  • "Mr. Retta":  A month or so ago, Bob told me that, after he had signed up for one of the PacTour Arizona weeks, Susan had sent out the PacTour email newsletter including the headline "Retta Is Coming!"  After Bob reported that, I replied to the effect that it seemed he was almost superfluous. 
Ricochet Robert -- whose idea was responsible for the creation of the "Road to Hicksboro".  With a grimace?  [photo by NCBob]
NCBob:  "Llamas.  Best to position yourself upwind."  [photo by NCBob]

Once the Llama House is reached, it is just a straight shot on Pokomoke / Bruce Garner / New Light Rd, and then the typical Ghoston - Peed - Mt. Vernon Ch finish.

I'll close this report with a quote from Harvey:  "Great day, group, conversations."


"Road to Hicksboro" 205-km Perm; 126.7 m;  9h22 in-motion; 13.5 mph; rando elapsed time: 10h53.

Jan tot:  _4 rides;  _314.7 m;  24h08;  13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms
Feb tot:  _2 rides;  _191.4 m;  13h52;  14.0 mph; _309 RUSA kms.
YTD tot:  _6 rides;  _506.1 m;  38h00;  13.3 mph; _760 RUSA kms.