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.
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,
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?
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.