Sunday, July 29, 2018

Apr-22: Pre-Ride of Apr-28 Raleigh Region 300 Brevet

To the best of my recollection -- I suppose I could examine official records, or even my Excel log, to confirm, but I'm not going to do that -- this marked the third time I undertook a pre-ride of this 300.

I've also ridden this course on the day of Brevet-proper several times:
  • 2010.  (My first year of randonneuring.)   
  • 2011.  
  • 2013.  

And last year, 2017, I was DNF on this course / brevet.
  • That DNF "report" is extremely short. 
  • I'll add some useful information: 
  • As I approached the Seagrove turn-around, I could no longer keep up with the guys with whom I was riding, and looking at the clock, and figuring that I would probably be able to complete the course before 3 am Sunday, but not much before, and recognizing that I'd likely get back home around 4 am, combined with needing to be at work at 6 am Sunday, I concluded that finishing the ride in 2017 was not the wise choice.  (And when I announced that at the turn-around, I learned that my friend Harvey had already called for a rescue ride.  That made no sense to me until I learned that one of his shoes had completely fallen apart, and attempts to put it back together with duct-tape had failed -- oh, my!) 

Commute Ride to the Start

My plan for the entire brevet, morning bike ride commute and the post-brevet evening late night oh-dark-thirty early morning bike ride commute, was to soft pedal everything.  No energy on any pedal stroke, esp. no "attacking" any climb.

I set off for the almost 20-mile ride from the north side of Raleigh to the brevet start in Morrisville (which is on the southwest side of Raleigh) a few minutes later than I intended, but I would still likely arrive at the start on-time or maybe a few minutes late.  Soft pedaling the mostly flat commute route, except that Lassiter Mill Rd dives down to one of the creeks that criss-cross town, and at the bottom of that valley, the road changes name to St. Mary's Rd which becomes flattish after first climbing the other side of that creek valley.  The climb on St. Mary's is not trivial, but is easier than climbing the Lassiter Mill side (which I would have to do on the post-brevet commute ride).   

[Often when climbing the St. Mary's Rd side, which is an easier climb than the Lassiter Mill side, I recall a recreational ride that RUSA #5519 and I did a few years before either of us started this rando madness when we rode the greenway and then climbed St. Mary's -- what / where we rode after that climb that day I cannot recall:  the memory of that St. Mary's climb is a good memory, but also a bit sad because #5519 put at least two minutes into me on that climb -- I'm sure many local randos and non-rando cyclists have similar memories.  Anyway, I'm not sure if I get courage or the opposite from that memory; maybe I assure myself that "it could be worse".]  

After getting to the top of the St. Mary's climb, I zig-zag on Glenwood Ave to stay on St. Mary's to Colonial, which is only one block long and connects St. Mary's to Oberlin Drive at their closest point.  Just after turning onto Oberlin, uh-oh, lots of flashing lights just ahead   Electric utility crew were dealing with a line-down situation; a Raleigh police squad car was blocking the roadway.  I confirmed with the officer sitting in the squad car that a line was down and the road was closed.  She didn't insist / demand that I not ride further along, but did highly recommend that I not.

I returned to Colonial and then St. Mary's, hoping that I could take Craig Street (Drive, Road, whatever it is) a further one or two hundred yards along the road; Craig is about one-and-a-half blocks long where it connects St. Mary's to Oberlin.  Upon reaching the St. Mary's / Craig corner, I looked up toward Oberlin and saw that unfortunately the utility crew(s) were parked at the Craig / Oberlin corner.  I would have to continue my detour along St. Mary's. 

Just a few pedal strokes later, I recalled that there wasn't another direct connection until I would get to nearly Peace Street, about a mile from where I was.  And at that point, St. Mary's and Oberlin would be nearly a mile apart.  Seems weird to someone that grew up in an area where roads were laid out in compliance with the Northwest Territories Acts of 1785 and 1787 that "parallel" roads could go from almost touching to being nearly a mile apart that quickly, but that is the case.

Despite what is described just above, I figured that there ought to be a sinuous way through the neighborhood(s) between St. Mary's and Oberlin.  The slightly shortened end to this anecdote is this:  there is no road/street-way thru those neighborhoods, but there is a LOT of steep up and down; not long steep inclines, but steep just the same, and I was wanting to just soft-pedal everything.  Sigh.  ...  I found what seemed a promising street heading to the west (toward Oberlin, but that street, which had obviously once gone thru, was blocked by two or three large large boulders, not huge ones, but large enough to block any vehicle from trying what I did with my bike.

Beyond the boulders was a fence and then a STEEP incline (no road, just weeds) that was obviously man-made.  Above the STEEP, there appeared to be an open space.  I was convinced that Oberlin Rd would be on the other side of that clearing.  So, I lifted the bike over the boulder(s), shimmied myself over or around the boulder(s), then lifted the bike over the short fence and slow motion scissored myself over the fence; then I hefted the bike onto my shoulder and scaled the STEEP.  [I have wished that I had taken a photo, but I was losing time on getting to Morrisville, and stopping to take a photo was not going to help me get to Morrisville.]  The open field at the top of the STEEP was a man-made very level lot, covered with weeds and vines that tried to trap my feet.  I carried the bike across the lot to the road on the other side:  it was not Oberlin Rd.  Sigh.  ...  However, I quickly figured out how to continue my ride toward Cameron Village and then on toward NC State University and then the NC State Fairgrounds, heading toward Cary and Morrisville.

Somewhere after passing through most of Cary, I pulled over to call RBA Alan to let him know I would be about 10 minutes or bit more late arriving for the scheduled start of the pre-ride.  Alan responded that that was okay as the other two pre-riders (RUSA #1609 and #1484, except Alan used their names, but I'm leaving that detective work to the readers) were going to be at least 15 minutes late.  That was the first I heard that others were pre-riding.  However, that made no difference to me because I knew I would not be able to keep up with the two others and had no intention of doing so.

Finally, I zoomed down the decline on NC-54 from Cary to Morrisville, and then to Alan's house, which is where the pre-ride was starting from (the proper starts of the scheduled brevets are about a quarter mile from Alan's; starting from Alan's would add that insignificant distance to the brevet).  Number 1609 and 1484 were already at Alan's when I arrived, but they appeared to still be putting the final touches on getting their bikes, kit, and themselves ready for the ride.  I didn't check my watch when we left, but #1484 indicated in his blog report that we started nearly 30 minutes late -- I'll accept that estimate as fact.

The Brevet (and post-brevet commute)

Before we started riding, Mike asked if I was riding the brevet with them.  I guffawed and said that I would be dropping them off my front wheel at the first reasonable opportunity.

Luckily for me, the Cap'n did all the work leading in the early miles, and I mostly followed behind him and Mike.  One slightly humorous moment:  about 4-miles into the route, as the Cap'n started to prepare to make a left turn onto NC-55, Mike and I each corrected John, "we're going straight across."  The Cap'n commented that Alan needed to change the RWGPS route link on his website.  I responded, "... [Alan] didn't tell his map-maker guy about the route change until about 20 minutes ago."  That appeared to slightly amuse the Cap'n and was taken as an acceptable reason why the RWGPS had not been updated for 2018.

Anyway, as I was typing, luckily the Cap'n set a pace that was good for me, around 15-mph, from the start until the bottom of the Jack Bennett climb, approx 17 miles into the route.  I stuck with the other two until that climb, and then slowly dropped them off my front wheel.  They were still within eyesight when they turned onto US-15/501, about 50 seconds before I got to that intersection.  I had to wait a bit for traffic and/or the stop-light, and I was about 75 seconds behind when the other two turned off US-15/501 a short mile later.  The distance / time between them and me slowly increased on the rollers of Parker Herndon and Hamlet Chapel / Jones Ferry roads.  Further good luck for me, I caught my last glimpse of the other two somewhere on Jones Ferry Rd, and I was glad that by the time I got to "Frosty's" that they were out of sight; lucky for me because if I couldn't see them, there would be no chance that I would be tempted to try to chase across the divide to them.  In other words, before I reached the 30-mile mark there were no longer any temptations to possibly violate my soft-pedal all the time / put no energy into any single pedal stroke plan for riding the brevet.

I should have noted prior to this that I was decidedly not in shape to ride a 300 with any kind of panache.  I actually wasn't in shape to be doing a 300, period.  I had only done nine, count 'em, nine, bike rides since November 18th, the longest of which was only 104-miles.  Nine rides in five months totalling only 693-miles.  Um, yeah, I had no business riding a 300 km brevet.  

Except that I knew the course like the back of my hand.  I knew the friendly places and the tough climbs.  I was completely at mental peace with what I needed to do complete the ride.  It turned out I would never consult the cue sheet (even though, as insurance, I did carry a cue sheet with me). 

I'm typing this and the above on July 29th -- three and a half months after the ride I'm supposedly documenting.  I didn't realize just how little riding I had done prior to this 300 pre-ride.  Good grief!  No wonder it took more than three days for my legs to stop aching.

Anyway, I now recall almost no details from the brevet.  I am quite confident that I didn't recall any details even the day after completing the brevet (nor even as the ride occurred).  Things I do recall:
  • crossing paths with the Cap'n and Mike some 8 to 12 miles before I got to the turn-around in Seagrove, 
  • taking a LONG, calm time to eat "lunch" at the Seagrove control, 
  • the c'store crew at Snow Camp was in shutting-'er-down mode almost as soon as I reached that penultimate control, and 
  • leaving Snow Camp later than I've ever left that control on the 300 course, heading into the gathering darkness (or was it already completely dark?). 

Lest a reader think that I was riding way-out-there with no rescue plan, well, I didn't have a rescue plan.  Having one might have been a sign that I thought I might fail, and I had no intention of failing.  And after all, when used to go on the BikeForums (dot) net Rando, etc. sub-forum (no comments from people that I didn't use the correct Latin term), I used to post / comment "don't TRY to do the brevet, just do it," so having a bail-out plan might have seemed hypocritical.

However, I'm not a complete idiot:  I did keep several people informed of my progress through the brevet.  I sent texts at each control indicating where I was, when I had gotten there, how long it had taken in-motion between controls -- the latter for myself since I record in-motion and elapsed in my Excel ride log (though I'm not rigorous on the elapsed time in my Excel log -- after all, the RUSA website shows the total elapsed time for each rando rodeo).  So, here is a summary of the controls, distances, times-in-motion, and avg in-motion pace between each control (note that the distances are taken from the official cue sheet, except the commute segments are obviously not):

 Segment  Miles
 commute to Morrisville 20.7 1.30
to Frosty's 29.1 1.60
to Snow Camp 21.3 1.42
to Siler City 12.0 0.58
to Seagrove 31.9 2.39
to Siler City 31.7 2.37
to Snow Camp 12.0 0.55
to Finish 51.1 4.27
commute back "home" 19.7 1.56

As can be seen in the chart above, except for the early section of the brevet ("to Frosty's") when I was mostly following the Cap'n for the first 17+ generally downslope miles to Jordan Lake, I basically averaged 12 to 13 mph while in-motion all day (and night).  I obviously started getting tired late in the brevet, averaging 11.5-mph for the last 51-miles of the brevet -- or maybe that was just the usual slowing when riding in darkness.  The "commute back 'home'" was just a matter of keeping the pedals going around.  [One thing I noticed on that post-ride commute is this:  there was not a single outdoors soda vending machine anywhere along the route.  There used to be gas stations and even a grocery store or two that had outdoor soda vending machines.  I'm thinking that an era has passed.]

I mentioned the climb on Lassiter Mill Rd in the pre-brevet commute:  Lassiter Mill was a RAPID decline on the pre-brevet commute; it was (as always) a tough climb on the post-brevet commute.  I may have walked up part of that incline -- better to walk at 2-mph than ride at 3-mph-and-fall-over.  

I had left my residence at approx 5:30 am Sunday morning.  I got home at 3:40 am Monday.  I went in to work as scheduled at 3:00 pm Monday.  And as hinted above, the ache in my legs didn't stop until about 10 am Thursday.

The total 229-miles proved to me that I could do the Raleigh Region 400-km brevet which was a month after the above described 300 pre-ride.  However, as the date for the 400 approached, I didn't want to go through another three to four or more days of deep aches in my legs, and wimped out on doing the 400.


just in case I decide to add some other ride statistics later

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Apr-11: Lillington Lilliput 123

To complete our respective NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenges,
Iva and I each needed one more unique Populaire.
[Bob had completed his Explorer Challenge the previous month.]

We had two possible routes in mind:
  • DaveG's "Buckhorn Boonies" route [I had noticed a sign pointed toward Buckhorn when we had done "The Whirligig" route in March], and 
  • Deaner's "Lillington Lilliput" route.  

We chose Dean's route because we were confident that midweek traffic would be acceptable,
Whereas, even though Dave had opined that traffic would likely not be an issue,
We were unfamiliar with the traffic situation near the start/finish of the "Boonies" route.
["Lillington Lilliput" shares its start with a couple other Perms with which we are familiar.]

[Hmmn, after I type the above, it does seem that we perhaps did not adhere to the Explorer concept. 
I expect that we'll give the "Boonies" route a try on a Saturday sometime in the next year. 
I hope so. 
The schedule does sometimes get crowded. 
Heck, for nearly two years, 
I've been trying to take Crista up on an invite to come ride her 4-state-perm or 3-state-pop, 
But local rides, riding them or volunteering, combined with "life" has repeated gotten in the way.]

The following is a copy of Dean's RWGPS map of the route:
[Come to think of it, I think I may have made that map for Dean; 
Maybe I should ask him about that.]
Anyway, a RWGPS map, embedded:

We didn't take any photos.
I recall that a couple of us were struggling a bit all ride long.
More likely, it was just me that was struggling.
So taking time for photos, with the need to rewind the legs, etc. back to cycling rythum,
Was not on the agenda.

It was a bit chilly with a slight wind out of the west or northwest.
[I wanted to get the facts by referencing "weather underground," but it was so slow to load, ... .]
We spent some extra time at the turn-around control in Lillington,
Standing in the sunshine, out of the breeze, gently warming ourselves before beginning the return.
We also loitered at the indoor seating at the control in Erwin,
Probably for the gentle warming in addition to just chatting,
But it could have been that one or two of us were playing for some extra recovery time. 

Here's hoping that the I can copy in the chart of the rides we did to complete our Challenges:

Rider Name  /  Explorer-Challenge-Pop Ridden
Month Bob, #5843 Iva, #7702 Martin, #6218
Apr-2017 Ala Orange  -------------   ------------- 
May-2017 Get 'er Dunn Get 'er Dunn Get 'er Dunn
Jun-2017 Bunn Wash Caper Bunn Wash Caper Bunn Wash Caper
Jul-2017 3M Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 3M
Aug-2017 NCBC 100 NCBC 100 NCBC 100
Sep-2017 NOB Lite NOB Lite NOB Lite
Oct-2017 7-Cs Bahama Beach 7-Cs
Nov-2017 Denny's Store Denny's Store Denny's Store
Dec-2017 Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf Ala Orange Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf
Jan-2018 Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh
Feb-2018 The Whirligig The Whirligig The Whirligig
Mar-2018 Taylor's Gin Taylor's Gin Taylor's Gin
Apr-2018 Lillington Lilliput Lillington Lilliput Lillington Lilliput
[It appears the chart copied in from Excel more-or-less as intended.]  
Routes not previously ridden by each respective rider are in red.
Routes shown in black were previously ridden by the rider.

I had the fewest "new to me" routes.
Iva the most -- which makes sense since Iva has many fewer RUSA rides than Bob or me.

During the thirteen months shown above, we did manage to get a few other riders to respond to advertisements of the rides:

Month other riders



Jun-2017 BWC:  Sridah

Jul-2017 3M:  Sridah

Aug-2017 Hope Springs Eternal:  Dave McD


Oct-2017 7-Cs:  Brad W



Jan-2018 RBR:  Daniel R

Feb-2018 The Whirligig:  Bridget J

Mar-2018 TG:  Bridget J


We didn't get a lot of takers, but each route was new to the rider that joined us.
[Note:  I've included McDave on the the "Hope Springs Eternal," even though HSE was not counted by any of us as one of our Explorer rides, because I want to recognize those that responded to advertising of a ride.]

Some may think that I'll stop with this Explorer-Challenge foolishness now that Bob, Iva, and I have completed one Challenge -- that would be wrong thinking.
  • I will continue to encourage advertising rides, Perm-Pops and 200+ km Perms. 
  • I will continue to encourage camaraderie rides with others not one's usual partners.  

Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Lillington Lilliput / 20091232018/04/1130
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T805087702A__, Iva CRandonneurs USA / 93309506:43
RUSA-T805095843B__, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309506:43
RUSA-T805106218S__, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309506:43

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Mar-17: Seven Cs 108

Clyde's Curious Critters Chatham County Cycling Circuit
Owner:  Raleigh RBA Alan Johnson

Thinking it a good idea to celebrate Alan's 75th birthday,
I put out a call / invite on the NC Rando list-serve and Facebook group,
To ride Alan's Perm-Pop and then share a low-key meal with Alan and the other riders.

Riders on the day:
  • BobB, #5843, 
  • me, #6218, and 
  • MikeO, #215. 

The three of us had a fun ride on a nice weather day in the middle of March.
I don't recall much from the ride.
I didn't recall much from the ride even just moments after we finished.
That's because nothing epic or similar happened all ride.
It was just a pleasant time riding.
And, in the end, don't we all hope that all our rides are NOT filled with "epic" moments,
But instead, are simply enjoyable outings on a decent day and course with friendly companions.
That's what I think, and I'll be sticking to that.

After the ride, we joined Alan at the Mexican food joint in the shopping center where the route starts/ends.
We talked about several things.
Of most interest to the readers of this blog (all one or two of them),
Would likely have been our respective plans to prepare our individual selves
For the upcoming Raleigh Region 200k Brevet.

Bob was in shape, of course,
I was in shape to get into shape.
Mike had a ramp-it-up plan for the three weeks to the brevet.
Each of us knew that we would finish the 200, even though two of us were not int the best of shape.
[Fast-forwarding:  the weather for the 200 was atrocious (by central NC standards),  
And none of rode the brevet, each figuring it was just a ride, and we didn't need 
To risk hypothermia, nor did any of us need to prove anything to anyone, 
Most especially to our individual selves.]

Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Clyde's Curious Critter Chatham County Cycling Circuit / 18611082018/03/1730
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T79841215O__, MichaelNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304505:43
RUSA-T798425843B__, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309505:43
RUSA-T798436218S__, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309505:43

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mar-10: Hope Springs Eternal 140

The route starts and finishes at Cameron Village in Raleigh (route map). 
Goes east/northeast out of downtown to Bunn and then east to Spring Hope, 
Where the route reverses to return to Raleigh via Bunn.  
140 kms. 

One of these times when I do this ride, or one of the others mentioned below, 
I need to remember to take a photo or two of the temple complex just south of Wake Xroads. 
When this route was created, the "complex" consisted of the original house and a statue or two. 
Now, well, only a photo would suffice to explain, and I don't have one. 

My reasons for riding were:   
(1) to help get into shape, or 
(2) to meet route-owner requirements to maintain familiarity and assure appropriateness, or 
(3) both. 

BradW's (#8218) reasons for riding:  
I'm not sure. 
Maybe to get back into shape for riding non-flat routes?

There was more traffic between Bunn and Lake Royale outbound than I expected / more than I recall previously experiencing. Forestville Rd inbound had more traffic than I would have liked / perhaps more than Buffaloe Rd, which is usually the road with the annoying traffic. 
Route appropriateness conclusion:  Hope Springs Eternal is a useful route on weekends (also Bunn Warmer, Yellow Dog Lope to Spring Hope, Yellow Dog Run to Bunn - they are all the same route, they just start in different locations and/or turn around in different locations). 
Some photos taken en route follow.  
All were snapped by Brad -- I took one or two, but Brad's are better.

Well, there are several decent and informative photos, but every one of them insists on loading sideways and I cannot get them to stand upright (even though I did the necessary edits to the photos).  I blame iPhone (or whatever so-called "smart phone" that Brad uses; I don't blame Brad.

So ... a few words:

Brad started out like a house a'fire.
Storming up every incline (while I just spun my way up).
I did find that I was putting more effort into the inclines, small though they are, than I wanted.
So, finally, on one incline, I sped up to tell Brad that he was going to wear me out,
Zooming up the inclines as he was doing.

At 29.2-miles into the route, one passes Perry's Pond, and
Then one immediately rides up what may be the biggest climb of the day.
I took my time going up, whereas Brad predictably sped ahead.
However, luckily for Brad, the incline eases nearing the top, and
I was able to close the distance between us.
I got close enough that I was able YELL to Brad that he had missed the turn.

Interestingly enough, that was the last climb where Brad was quicker than me.
You might be thinking that he was concerned about missing future turns.
But that would be wrong thinking.
He had worn himself out with all the premature climbing attacks.

The unfortunate thing about that for Brad was that later in the ride,
I realized that I needed to slow my pace to keep the two of us together.
I recalled a comment once made by TimL #6016:
"Martin slows down when he talks."
As a result, Brad was on the receiving end of a monologue
Of my high school athletic endeavors.

We finished, taking longer than I had anticipated, but we did not set a course record. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mar-07: "Taylor's Gin"

On the verge of completing our NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenges,
We let Bob choose among two or three logical options.
He chose "Taylor's Gin" because it seemed the easiest for him to drive to,
Even though not the closest.

This ride/route would complete Bob's Explorer Challenge.
And be the 11th month for Iva and me.

Below is a copy of route-owner Tim's RWGPS map:  

In response to advertising, BridgetJ #12462 joined us for the ride.
Who is "us"?
Bob #5843, Iva #7702, me #6218.

Bob and I were each somewhat familiar with the route,
Because "Taylor's Gin" is essentially a shortened version of the Lake Gaston Perm.
I've done LKG once; Bob probably twice;
And some of the roads have made multiple appearances on Taste of Carolina or
Carolina Spring 1200 grand randonnees -- events for which each Bob and I have volunteered.

In fact, on the homeward bound leg, I stopped to take the pic below,
Simply because it was in front of that abandoned house where
I tried to put a cheap rain cape over RickB's (#2806) head the previous October,
During the second day of the Taste of Carolina, 2017 edition.
It was rather amusing in the heavy-ish rain and wind and the plastic trying to choke off Rick's air supply.
Ricky did ask if I was trying to kill him.  

Back to the Taylor's Gin ride:
The weather was a bit chillier than we expected,
And perhaps the outbound leg was into a slight headwind.

Either that, or I forgot to bring some warm-ish hand-gear.
As a result, I purchased some cotton brown jersey work gloves at the "Dollar Store"
Across from the turn-around control,
To use as long-finger "liners" under my short-finger cycling gloves.

Everyone was somewhat warmly dressed.
Remember, this was north-central North Carolina in early March;
Not Maine, not Massachussetts, not Michigan, not Minnesota, not Montana.
I don't know why I listed states starting with "M",
I probably should have used states starting with "N", so:  
Not North Dakota, not Nebraska, not New Jersey, not New York, not New Hampshire.
Not any northern USA location, nor anywhere in Canada for that matter. 
So the definitions of "chilly" and "warm clothing" should be adjusted accordingly.

An unposed pic from the finish will suffice to finish this blog post:
Bridget in white.  Bob in orange.  Iva in red.  [Photo by me.]

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Feb-24: Party of Seven 138

NCBob, #5843, and I decided to ride the "Denny's Store Sortie."

I advertised on the NC-rando-list-serve (for full email, click here), extract follows:
Bob and I are doing the [Denny's Store Sortie 138-km Perm-Pop]. 
Expecting warm temps with a SW wind 10-15 on the way back; i.e., a quartering headwind.
Should still be a fun, warm time. 
I must have also advertised on the NC Rando Facebook group 'cuz ... see below. 
  • Ricochet, #6628, contacted me via email:  he and Byron, #621, wanted to join the outing. 
  • Tom, #8423, contacted me via FB:  he and Deanna, #12439, would join the ride.  
  • Finally, Harvey, #11802, who was scheduled to do the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" route, decided to switch to Denny's Store to have people to ride with, although he thought he wasn't in shape for the extra distance. 
Party of Seven -- that's a pretty big Perm group for central NC these days. 
There used to be relatively frequent large / largish groups for Perm rides, 
But that was when there were only a handful of Perm route options available in the entire State. 

Interesting combination of randonneuring experience in the seven riders: 
  • Four Mondials, and 
  • Three others whose combined RUSA kms totaled less than 1200.  
Another interesting set of experience stats:
  • Four riders "officially" Irregulars -- the group rides this blog was originally about; 
  • (there is a definition of "official," but I'm not going to explain) 
  • One additional rider that has joined one or a few Irregular rides, and 
  • Two riders I had never heard of previously.  
Riders I've never heard of is not unprecedented joining me (or not me) one one of my Perms.
Even riders doing their first ever rando ride.
The most well-known "I've never heard of" rider, who did her first ever RUSA Permanent
On the "Bahama Beach" route, was RUSA #12 (her story here).

The Party of Seven met at the start.
Everyone signed the group waiver.
And received control cards in return (and some also got cue sheets).
[Me handing out cue sheets is not the norm.] 
We started riding.

A warming up pace across Norwood Rd to Mt Vernon Ch Rd to Pleasant Union Ch Rd.
But at the turn onto Six Forks Rd,
Which is an immediate downhill to one of the arms of Falls Lake,
I took the lead because I usually descend faster than most,
And I did this ride, too.

Unfortunately, the two people whom I had never met,
Appeared to take my downslope pace as the new average pace for the ride.
Frequent regatherings en route, we mostly stayed together.

The Allensville Store was rather crowded when we arrived.
Often there are numbers of locals hanging about, usually on the benches,
But this day, there seemed to be about half a dozen locals inside the store, purchasing things.
Combined with seven randonneurs, you can imagine it was a bit crowded, and
It took a bit longer than hoped to get moving again.

Immediate return down to the creek and back up to the Allensville Methodist Church corner.
Several rollers and usually around 19-22 minutes after leaving the control,
I typically arrive at the Denny's Store corner.
[Best I can recall is that on this ride, it was more on the order of 24 minutes.]
Denny's Store, left to right:  Bob, Deanna, Tom, Ricochet Robert, Harvey, Byron.  [Photo by me -- Tom and Deanna thought we should take another photo with me in the frame -- I said, "no, I've got plenty of photos of me at this spot."] 

Immediately after Denny's Store, there is a non-trivial climb up a hill.
Note:  that's up a hill, not a climb back up from a creek.
Note #2:  that's non-trivial by my standards; your thought my differ.
After that climb, the route flattens out, but is not flat, to the second control at Berea.

We did the quicker option for the control in Berea.
Better food at the other option; but we opted for quicker.

Some wanted to be quicker than others.
Ricochet, Byron, Bob, and Harvey got underway first.

Tom and Deanna seemed to want to take a few extra minutes.
I hung back to chat with them regarding their randonneuring plans, and
Mentioned that the NC rando peloton was happy to have Tom in the mix,
But were very excited that Deanna might become a regular.
"Why?" asked Tom.
"Because we currently have very few females in the group."

I did suggest to Tom and Deanna that, as they had a cue sheet (each),
They might prefer to just ride ahead, complete the ride, and
Leave their completed control cards on the windshield of Bob's truck.
No dice -- they wanted to stick more-or-less with the group.

Harvey had been moaning a bit approaching Berea.
I figured I would catch him by Creedmoor -- roughly half way between Berea and the finish.
And although I could not hang on to Deanna and Tom,
I did almost catch Harvey.
I got within 150 yards on Dove Rd, about 3-miles south of Creedmoor.
I figured I might lose a little distance on the climb on Whitt Rd, but 
I was sure I would catch him going across Falls Lake on Old Weaver Trail.

Surprise:  when I got to Old Weaver Trail, I couldn't even see Harvey!
Oh well.  Just pedal it in and save some energy for later in the day.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2018/02/24 7 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T79354 6628 B__, Robert D Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:55
RUSA-T79355 621 M__, Byron E Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:55
RUSA-T79356 11802 H__, Harvey F Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:55
RUSA-T79357 8423 P__, Stephen Tom Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:48
RUSA-T79358 12439 S__, Deanna F Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:48
RUSA-T79359 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:48
RUSA-T79360 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:59

For anyone "concerned" that the results are not in last-name-alphabetic order.
 1.  Get over it.
 2.  One needs to rebel against strict discipline every so often.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Feb-14: "The Whirligig"

Perhaps a strange way to spend Valentine's Day, but
Bob, Iva, and I spent much of the day doing "The Whirligig" 100-km Perm-Pop in
Pursuit of our respective North Carolina Populaire Explorer Challenges.

We were joined by BridgetJ #12462 on her first randonneuring adventure.
She's retired and only been cycling about for three or five years, but
She's done some serious adventures on her bicycle.
Rode x-continent.  Rode northern Florida to the Keys two or three times.
Other stuff.  And planning a Natchez Trace ride.
She comes with the right mental attitude:  cycling should be fun.

Anyway, back to the point of this post:  "The Whirligig."
When Tim #6016, the main highlight of the route was the visit to the Whirligig farm.
All the gigs save one have since been moved into Wilson, but
The route is still a good ride -- if you like to ride for the sake of the ride -- which I do.
However, without the gigs en route, the popularity of the route has plummeted:
We four were the first to ride the route since mid-2016.  
[The route is mostly flat, as can be discerned from checking the listing on RUSA's website.  
I'm confident that Tim has a RWGPS map, but I didn't search for it for this post.]

We took a few photos en route and Bridget's husband took one at the finish
That she posted on Facebook, but
I didn't feel in the mood to look for and "borrow" her photo for this post, and
The ones I took -- well, yuk.

There was a sometimes helpful wind during the ride, but
Just as often, the wind was a hindrance -- a noticeable hindrance!

There was some street reconstruction in Lucama, but
The construction crew was apparently at lunch when we got there, so
We rode through to get to the control just a few yards beyond the construction zone. 

In general, the four of us had an enjoyable time.
And Bob, Iva, and I look forward to riding with Bridget in the future.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: The Whirligig / 1006 100 2018/02/14 4 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T79156 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79157 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79158 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79159 12462 J__, Bridget Ann Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
Blog posts about some prior rando Whirligig rides can be seen by "clicking-here."
And one blog post about an Irregulars Summer Solstice ride to the Whirligigs is "here."

Monday, April 9, 2018

Jan-13: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh 107

Still "back-filling" ride posts.
At least I am in the same year, now.
The quest for the NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge continued,
A different qualifying Populaire each month for twelve consecutive months.

Because I only have two weekends a month when I can ride a 200+ km Permanent, and
Because of Iva's busy schedule,
We've been doing most of the recent Populaires on Wednesdays.

Riding on Wednesdays limits the number of people that can join us.
And that is inconsistent with the advertise and ride with other people
Portion / purpose (probably should put "purpose" first) of the Populaire-Explorer-Challenge,
But LIFE schedules dictate options.

Anyway, I think we did advertise this ride on the NC-rando-list-serve and
On the NC Rando Dumbbook group.
[However, I ain't gonna' check / verify the above.]

One rider not having the Pop-Explorer-Challenge on his agenda joined us.
Daniel, # 11331.
One thing though, he likely does NOT fall into the "not the usual partners" category
As he has quite a few 200+ km Perms and at least one or two Perm-Pops with Bob and me.

Anyway, four of agreed to the ride:  January 13th, 0800 start.
NCBob, IvaHawk, Daniel, me.

"Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh" was originally designed so that RUSA #5519
Would have a route that started near her home and
A route that she wouldn't have to check with me first.
#5519 often rode a couple or three of my perm-pops for her mid-week ride.
Often, but not always, with me.
So, we looked at several possibilities, and #5519 settled on RBR.

Subsequent to the events of February 20, 2016,
#5519 decided "enough with rando" and I adopted the route,
With the agreement that if she ever decided to return to RUSA,
We would transfer route ownership back to her.  

The forecast low was 43F, with temps expected to rise somewhat quickly into the 50's.
Some cloudiness giving way to sunshine soon after sunrise was also forecast.
A westerly/north-westerly wind of about 10 mph was also forecast.

"Weather Lyers" got the wind forecast bang-on.
As for the temps and amount of sunshine:
They sorta' got it correct, but were far enough off on the timing that doubts were engendered.  

According to Iva's Garmin unit, it was 40F at the start inside Raleigh city limits.
And anyone could see that it was heavily overcast.

We were on Dove Rd, 16 or so miles into the ride, when Iva announced 38 degrees.
[That's about 26 kms for those so inclined to think in French units of measure.]

In Stem, approx 25.5 miles [41-kms], Iva announced that is was 36 degrees.
[36F is 2C, for those thinking in degrees Celsius/Centigrade.]

On Culbreth Rd, Daniel started pulling ahead of the rest of us.
But after a minute or so, Bob rode across the gap and those two continued on to Berea.
Meanwhile, I told Iva that I was not going to hurry the last few miles to Berea and warmth,
Even though my toes and feet were "freezing."
Iva decided to stick with me, even though I think he could have ridden ahead. 
[I had not figured on the temperature dropping below 43F, and 
Certainly was not thinking the temps would flirt with the freezing point, and
Riding into the wind certainly made for a windchill effect that likely was no more than 20F.  
Bad thinking / planning on my part.]

Daniel and Bob were a quarter-mile or more up the road,
Iva and I were roughly half-way between Culbreth and the Tar River,
i.e., approx 32-miles [52-kms] into the ride, 
When Iva announced that it was 33.8 degrees.
[Iva had actually announced all the temps to the tenth of a degree, but
Who could remember that much detail? 
People likely suspect that I'm making up the temps I've typed above -- I'm not.]

Within seconds of Iva announcing the 33 degree temp,
I pointed to the sky ahead of us:  CLEAR skies!
We would likely have sunny conditions plus a tailwind plus rising temps homeward bound.

It was sunny when we got to the control in Berea.
[I would steal "yippee kay ya!" from DanD #390, but I'm not sure I can spell that.] 

Several years ago, I did a January or February Tar Heel 200 Perm with Dean.
I forgot my toe covers, so there was no wind protection covering my toes.
At the ~ 36-mile intermediate control and the 100-km turn-around control,
I took my shoes off and put my feet firmly on the floor to collect warmth therefrom,
That also allow the inside of the shoes to collect warmth from the air inside the control.
And when the floor no longer felt warm to my feet, I put my shoes back on.

I've used that trick a couple or few times since that Tar Heel 200.
And that trick became part of my plan for the Berea turn-around control.

I also had not entirely ignored the possibility of cold weather in my gear I had with me.
I had at least two bread-bags with me, and
Removed my socks to put a bread-bag next to the skin of my feet,
Then put the socks back on, over the bread-bags.
My feet would be warm on the homeward bound leg regardless of the weather. 

Because of the bread-bags, I was last to be prepared to leave.
Actually, I think the others had gotten a bit impatient.  Uh-oh!

Back outside, we were greeted with bright sunshine,
Which would be low in the sky and warming our faces and front parts
The entire return trip to Raleigh.

The breeze / wind was still coming out of the WNW at about 10 mph.
There would be a slight push on the way back.

The ride back from Berea begins with a slow, then faster, drift down to the Tar River.
Followed by one the steepest climb of the ride.
[RWGPS indicates at least 5.2%.] 

Daniel powered up the climb from the Tar River, leaving the rest of us behind.
However, once back up to the more-less-flat plain,
I took the lead from Iva and Bob, and
Perhaps knowing that I produce more power than Daniel,
Or at the very least, he struggles to stick to me on flat sections of rides,
But probably my cadence had nothing to do with relative power generation,
But was instead due to my feeling better and warmer.
When we three caught up to Daniel,
I went around and kept going without slowing my cadence or easing my gearing.
I can't recall if Daniel immediatly caught on to the mini-paceline or not.
But we essentially rode as a loose group all the way back.

One thing:
If I recall correctly, I started out trying to pop the roller-coasters on Dove Rd,
But I had to give up on that, and
Daniel and Bob drifted off the front.
I can't recall if Iva also drifted off my front, or stayed with me, possibly chatting away the miles.

I recall nothing of the rest of the ride:  Whitt, Old Weaver Trail, New Light, Ghoston, Peed, etc..
I've been reminded that RBR does NOT finish at / in Bay Leaf, but
Instead finishes at the shopping center at the corner of Strickland and Falls of the Neuse roads.
Here's what really happened:
I recall nothing of Whitt Rd nor Old Weaver Trail nor New Light Rd.
Nor do I recall anything of note on Six Forks Rd.

Nothing of note, that is, until the corner / turn onto Strickland Rd.
Each of Six Forks and Strickland are 5 lane roads,
Two lanes each direction plus a center shared turn lane.

However, the turn from southbound Six Forks onto eastbound Strickland has two,
Count 'em, two designated turn lanes.
A bicyclist needs to be in the right-most turn lane.
Iva, however, got in the left-most turn lane.
I tried to shout over the sounds of traffic that he was in the wrong lane, but
He did not hear.

Instead, when the left turn light changed to green,
Iva realized he was in the wrong place.
So ... he used the crosswalk to get to the sidewalk, and rode that the 1.5-miles to the finish.
[The rest of us rode Strickland Road to the finish.] 
But after all, tThe more interesting, but not epic, part of the ride
Was the outbound leg into the wind with temperatures dropping.

Oh, btw, the high temp on the day (at RDU airport) was 56F.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh / 2818 107 2018/01/13 4 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T78381 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56 
RUSA-T78382 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56 
RUSA-T78383 11331 R__, Daniel B Greensboro Velo Club / 933001   05:56 
RUSA-T78384 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56