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 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dec-19-2017: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 104

Still catching up with overdue "back-fill" posts.
On Dec-01, I noted in my Excel ride log that I had a severe head cold.
On Dec-16, I noted that all symptoms of the head cold were finally gone.

In between, the North Carolina Year-End Rando rides and party were scheduled for Dec-09.
This being central NC, the threat of winter precipitation cancelled the rides, but
The party went on, with a very reduced attendance, only about 10 or 12 attendees.
The small group made for good conversation,
Mostly telling stories, rando stories, about those in attendance, or those absent. :-O

Bob got in his R-ride, R-96 (if'n I can count), on Dec-03 riding the Lake Gaston Perm with Daniel.
I was in no condition to ride a 200-km on that date, but
Figured that I'd be able to sneak in a 200 later in the month to complete a calendar year R-12.

Iva needed to get in a populaire for his NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge.
An obvious choice was for Iva to ride Bob's Ala-Orange Pop on Dec-06.
Bob rides his Pop quite often, but it was completely new to Iva. 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Ala Orange Populaire / 2082 107 2017/12/06 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77566 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:33 
RUSA-T77567 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:33 

Although the above ride put Bob into the K-Hound Kennel again,
He still needed a qualifying unique populaire for his Explorer-Challenge.
And so to, did I.

Bob and I planned to do the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" populaire on the 20th.
That way we would "use" a route that neither of us had previously counted as our Challenge Pop, and
We would "use" a route that Iva had "burned" -- Challenge-wise -- several months earlier.
However, the weather forecast for the 20th suddenly turned towards winter precipitation.  :-O

So ... a quick change in plans.
I was scheduled to get off work at 11 am on the 19th, and
If I left on time and moved quickly,
We could start the "Oxford" populaire at 12:30 pm,
Ride in 60 degree temps, and if we, er, rather, if I pushed a bit,
[Bob usually takes it somewhat easy these, but he wouldn't need to push his pace]  
We could finish before darkness descended.

In the event, we started on time, had minimal pausage time
At the crossing of NC-98 and again in Wilton,
So it only took a couple minutes longer than our 2h06 in-motion to get to the turn-around.

A slight, but noticeable, headwind on the homeward bound leg slowed us a little
As we rode the return leg in 2h16 in-motion,
Which got us back to the finish before Civil Twilight.
We were satisfied with that result.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2017/12/19 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77884 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   04:45 
RUSA-T77885 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   04:45 
The weather did turn nasty on the 20th, nasty by central NC standards.
Esp. so it seemed on the days that I had off from work for the remainder of the month.
So ... although I had reached R-11 in November, getting another R-12 isn't that important to me;
I let the R-series go.
The "Oxford" pop was my last ride of 2018. 

The story above contains all the pertinent information.
There may be other details, but they are not important.
That's my story for the year, and I'll be sticking to it. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Nov-18-2017: Tar Heel 200

Catching up with overdue "back-fill" posts, still.
Daniel #11331, had started his rando career in December-2016
By riding the Tar Heel 200 Permanent with BobB #5843 and BryanR #5746. 
[As an aside, that ride had gotten Bryan to exactly 40-thousand RUSA kms, and
He decided to end his career, or 
perhaps only put it on hiatus until his 1-year old son grew to a teenager or something.] 

Anyway, Daniel wanted to get his R-12 on the course where he began:  the Tar Heel 200.
So Bob and I agreed to ride the Tar Heel in mid/late-November.
[When Bob and I joined RUSA in 2010, there were three main / useful Permanents in NC: 
  1. Kerr Lake Loop, 
  2. Showdown in Black Creek, and 
  3. Tar Heel 200
So, of course, we had ridden each repeatedly: 
  • Bob had ridden KLL 4 times, Black Creek 6 times, Tar Heel 9 times
  • I had ridden KLL 13 times, Black Creek 14 times, Tar Heel 8 times
  • As noted above, Bob had last ridden the Tar Heel 200 in December-2016. 
  • I had last ridden the Tar Heel 200 on January-01-2012. 
  • One-and-a-half months short of six years:  the route might seem as if new.] 
We gathered in Benson, NC for a 7 am start -- just seven minutes after sunrise.
And immediately I realized that I knew the route as if I had ridden it only a month before.
I don't know if the route felt entirely familiar to Bob.
Ditto Daniel -- although I seriously doubt Daniel found the route to be a familiar friend.

Weather conditions est. from the weatherunderground historical report for Fayetteville, NC.
The low temp we encountered would have been roughly 32F.
The high temp around 70F -- yep, 70F, nearly a 40 degree swing in the temperature.
Sustained wind from the SSE felt much stronger than 8 mph, more on the order of 15mph, 
Was a pain by even before the last 17 southbound miles -- from Cedar Creek to Tar Heel. 
I know there were several miles when I hated bicycle riding and wanted to quit.
On the homeward bound trip, Bob told me that there were times when he wanted to quit. 
At least that southerly wind made for a honking tailwind on the homeward leg of the ride. 

My Excel log indicates 4h41 in-motion for the outbound, nearly due south, first half of the route,
And 4h09 in-motion for the homeward bound, nearly due north, second half of the route.

The only photos we took on the day were just north of Stedman,
Where the new Hwy-24 Bypass interferes with the historic path of Wade-Stedman Road.
There, the Tar Heel 200 uses the route of Raleigh Region 600-km brevet course.
In June-2017, everyone, theoretically including cyclist, had to turn onto the highway,
Drive or ride a quarter-mile or so, make a U-turn and then turn to again get onto W-S Rd.

However, between June and November, a modification to the "road furniture"
Including implementation of "bike lanes" so that cyclists, and only cyclists,
Can ride straight across the highway.
That information was dutifully forwarded to Raleigh RBA AlanJ #306.
Northbound on Wade-Stedman Rd approaching Hwy 24 Bypass.  The southbound side of the intersection is identical.  That's Bob immediately ahead.  If one looks carefully, Daniel can be spied 100 yards or so on the other side of the intersection.
Northbound bike lane striping crossing the highway.  Southbound stripping is identical, except perhaps the error seen here might not be duplicated on the southbound bike lane. 
One thing I learned early on in my rando blogging career is this:
Some things are better left on the road, on the route.
And with that partially in mind,
And the fact that I've actually mentioned all the important things about this ride,
Particularly the honking southerly wind,
I end this blog report with a line that I've often, but not always, used:

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

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Tar Heel 200 / 589 200 2017/11/18 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77168 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   11:02 
RUSA-T77169 11331 R__, Daniel B Greensboro Velo Club / 933001   11:02 
RUSA-T77170 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   11:01 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nov-16-2017: BB 103 Meets Triple-L

Another "back-fill" post.
JohnP #2375, RBA South Florida, and his wife, Juliet #8986, were in town for family reasons.
They arranged to do Byron's "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville" 205-km perm on a Thursday, and
Advertised on the local list-serve and Facebook group, or maybe only on the Facebook group,
For others to join them.

Hard for anyone with a "regular" "9 to 5" work schedule to ride all day on a Thursday.
The previous day, Bob, who is retired, mentioned that he had thought about joining the Triple-L ride,
But when he checked out the results of the two aforementioned,
Bob concluded he likely wouldn't be able to keep up.

Quite a few local randonneurs had met and ridden with John, apparently even my ex-wife.
However, I had never met him.

I concluded that although I didn't have time for a 200 km perm, and
I certainly could not have kept up with John and Juliet on their tandem,
That it would be nice if someone local could ride at least a little with them.

My workday that Thursday wouldn't start until 3 pm.
If I could finish a ride no later than 1 pm, I could intercept John and Juliet and ride together for a bit.

The "Bahama Beach" 'free-route' perm-pop was the perfect route for that purpose.
BB starts from a different location than Triple-L, but
The two routes share approximately 24.4-miles of roads near the respective starts:
Beginning approximately 2.1-miles from the BB start and 4.8-miles from the Triple-L start.

I figured that if I started at the same time as the tandem, they would catch me up
Before we reached their first control on Red Mill Rd (approx 17.5-miles into the Triple-L route).

In the event, I started about 10-minutes late, the tandem started on time, and
If all had gone well with John and Juliet, I probably never would have caught them.
However, they stopped at the bottom of the first creek valley on Victory Church Rd
To adjust their equipment, and that allowed me to catch them.

We rode together from there until their control on Red Mill Rd.
"Together" mind you includes the fact that they were on a tandem and I was not.
Anyone that has ever ridden a single rider steed with a tandem
Knows that combination is often not the best combination.

Tandems are typically faster on declines and flats.
Singles are typically faster on inclines.
However, John and Juliet were faster on all slopes, if they wanted to be.
Despite that, we were mostly together with a lot of chatting until that Red Mill control.
You certainly understand that means that the tandem backed off their pace to accommodate me.
John, Juliet and me.  Group selfie by John inside the Red Mill control gas station / convenience store. We spent more time there chatting than if we had been doing Triple-L and since that location is not a control on BB, it was certainly more time than I have ever spent there while doing Bahama Beach; maybe 15 minutes total.  On the other hand, John and Juliet may have been willing to take a couple extra minutes there to warm up.  The temperatures were colder than the cycling clothing they had brought with them from Florida.  Truth be told, my toes had gotten quite cold those first 21 miles (including the cycle commute to the BB start), and I took time to put some bread bags between my feet and socks to block additional cold wind penetrating my shoes. So, cold day for all three of us.
Leaving the Red Mill Exxon, Red Mill Rd is not too lumpy, and we managed to ride across that road more-or-less together.  The togetherness ended shortly thereafter.  I thought I might be able to catch the tandem on two of the steeper parts of Stagville Rd -- Ha!  I also thought I might be able to catch them climbing the "Michie Wall" -- but they had pulled even further ahead on the descent from Bahama to Lake Michie, and I didn't close climbing the "Wall."

I was, however, close enough when I got to Hall Road that they were able to see me waving just before and as I turned off Bahama Road to go my own way:  they waved back.
Bahama Beach 'free-route' ridden on Nov16-2017.

Thereafter, I kept a more controlled pace.
After all, as I recall, this marked the first time in all of 2017 that I had ridden consecutive days.
I could check my Excel log to verify that, but I choose not to.

I took almost no time at the only intermediate store control in Stem.
And that helped keep the elapsed time to a reasonable amount.
Given the approx 10-minute late start and the 15 or so minutes at the Red Mill Exxon,
I was happy with the 5h30 elapsed time for my ride (4h45 in-motion for the populaire).
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bahama Beach / 1404 103 2017/11/16 1 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76980 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:30 

John and Juliet reported on Facebook that they had a mostly enjoyable ride,
Though they would have appreciated warmer temperatures.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville (L-L-L) / 831 205 2017/11/16 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77200 2375 P__, John South Florida Randonneurs / 909014  11:25 
RUSA-T77201 8986 P__, Juliet South Florida Randonneurs / 909014  11:25 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nov-15-2017: Denny's Store Sortie 138

Another "back-fill" post.
Continuing our pursuit of the NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge,
Iva #7702, Bob #5843, and I did Denny's Store Sortie 138-km perm-pop for our November Pop.

Gosh, I just realized that I recall nothing from this ride.
Weather conditions estimated from the weatherunderground historical report for RDU.
The low temp we encountered would have been roughly 32F.
The high temp around 50F.
Breeze / wind from the NNE would suggest a mostly headwind outbound, and
A crosswind / somewhat tailwind homebound. 

This is the important item from that ride:
Iva and Bob posing at the Denny's Store sign.  The timestamp indicates we were there at 11:54 am.  That suggests that we started our ride at 8 am.  [Photo by me.]
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2017/11/15 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76973 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09
RUSA-T76974 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09
RUSA-T76975 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09

Monday, March 19, 2018

Aug + Oct 2017: In Which We Meet Clyde Twice

I've been very bad about making timely blog entries.
This is another "back-fill" post. 
August 9th, 2017
Raleigh Region RUSA Birthday Brevet-Pop and Picnic

Bob and I agreed to pre-ride the Brevet-Pop starting at 6 am
So that we'd be able to help RBA Alan with setting up the picnic stuff
Before the 200-km Brevet riders finished (they started at 6 am), and
Also before any riders doing the Brevet-Pop at the official start time (9 am ? or was it 10)
Returned to the picnic grounds.

IvaHawk came along as a "ride-along" rider.
This would make the second time that Iva and I did a pre-ride of this Picnic-Pop.
The first time was a few years ago when we rode the Wednesday before the Birthday Picnic.
[Note:  the photos embedded in the link just above are more interesting 
Than those immediately below.  
I.e., it's worth checking out that blog report (from 2014).] 

All three of us would be counting the Brevet-Pop as our
Unique August NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge populaire.

Before we started our ride, RBA Alan agreed that it was reasonable
To make the one block detour off the Brevet-Pop route to check out
The main attraction in Bynum:  Clyde's Curious Critters.

The early part of the ride was rather non-descript.
All the 200 Brevet riders were fast bas, er, dudes,
So we quickly dropped them off our front wheels.

The first control on the Brevet-Pop is at Andrew's Store,
At the corner of US-15/501 and Andrew's Store Rd., about 20 miles into the ride.
Which is just after completing the climb on Jack Bennett Rd.
The Jack Bennett climb is the toughest climb on the Brevet-Pop,
Probably the toughest on the 200 brevet,
But certainly NOT the toughest on the 300 nor especially the 400 brevet. 

During the late Spring Raleigh Region Series, some of the 200/300/400 riders will stop
At Andrew's Store outbound, even though it is not a control for any of those routes.
[Many riders will stop on the homeward bound leg of the 200/300 in Spring, 
A higher percentage will stop on the homeward leg of the Picnic Brevet, 
Because it is often so dang HOT and HUMID in mid-August. 
There's a August 200k pre-ride report on this blog somewhere; 
Randonnesia has not erased the bad portion of that ride from my mind, 
But I'd need to search a bit to find that report
(So okay, it didn't take that much searching to find the report.)]
We took more time at the Andrew's Store control than we should have.
My recollection is that we were discussing the great problems of the world,
Or the issues facing local randonneuring or RUSA,
Or maybe about nothing of much importance at all.
It is only about five-and-a-half miles from the control to Clyde's Critter Country.
With only two climbs; both on Parker Herndon Rd; the second being the more "interesting."

There is a longish, steepish decline to get to into Bynum,
Nestled as it is next to a deep portion of the Haw River and its valley.
However, to get to Critter Crossing, one turns off the decline onto Bynum Hill Rd,
Which immediately pops back up -- easy if you know what to expect.

I was leading, and the moment I made the turn,
I spied someone on the road driving a riding lawn mower.
It had to be Clyde.
It was.

As I slid past him on my bike, I quietly said, "good morning, Clyde."
I probably caught him a bit off guard.

Bob, IvaHawk, and I stopped our steeds in front of Critter Crossing Country;
Clyde brought his machine to a stop and shut off the engine.

I decided that since we knew Clyde's name, it would only be fair if he knew ours,
So we introduced ourselves.
Clyde noted, somewhat wistfully, I thought, that everyone knows him.
Clyde, sitting on his usual transportation machine, explaining something.  [Photo by IvaHawk.]
Bob in the orange helmet, me in the orange jersey, Clyde on his machine.  Clyde is admiring Bob's RUSA reflective triangle; we are hatching a plot.  [Photo by IvaHawk.] 
Front yard of Critter Crossing Country HQ.  [Photo by IvaHawk.]  Nicely done photo, Iva; I think you got the sun and shade angles just right. 
Now, between the overlong Andrew's Store control stop, and
Spending waaaay too much time talking with Clyde,
We didn't have much, if any, time in the bank.

Leaving Bynum can be a chore as the climb back up, away from the Haw River,
Looks, and can be, rather intimidating.
That climb certainly did not help on the "time in the bank" front.

We did, or least attempted to do, a short stop at then next store control in Pittsboro.
Nothing much interesting about a gas station / convenience store.
Except that upon leaving, one is again confronted by a non-trivial climb.
Who designed this course?
Oh, yeah, Alan.

Pittsboro-Moncure Rd, or is Moncure-Pittsboro Rd?
Regardless, it always seems there is an annoying breeze in one's face on that road,
Turning what ought to be mostly simple rollers into hills,
And the couple noteworthy climbs into HILLS.
All accompanied by tar snakes the whole distance.

The penultimate control is at Ray's Supermarket.
Two table outside, under the eaves giving some protection from rain.
There is also a notable pole next to the tables.
We again took too much time at a control, mostly sitting at the tables.
And I may have talked Iva into reprising his human half-flag moment from 2014.
[Photo near the bottom of the 2014 blog report, but none this time.]

Leaving Ray's, there remained 25 or slightly more miles still to ride.
Probably slogging it in.
Well, Iva my not have been slogging.
Bob almost certainly was not.
But I recall not having much gusto in my pedaling.

We finished the ride, returning to the picnic area, and
 Found that Alan had already brought over all the picnic supplies.
There was very little still to do to set up for other riders.

So ... Bob and I cleaned up a bit in the park's rest room, and
Then we mostly sat around and chatted.
Don't ask about what.

Iva, on the other hand, having completed his ride-along duties headed for home.

RegionClub Type Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Raleigh North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 RUSAP 100 2017/08/19 4 1
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time Medal
RUSA-P13114 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
RUSA-P13115 215 O__, Michael North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045  05:42
RUSA-P13116 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
RUSA-P13117 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
[Note that MikeO, #215, did the brevet-pop starting at the regular event time. 
He did not see Clyde en route.  The "DNF" had mechanical trouble.]

October 21st, 2017
"Clyde's Currious Critters Chatham County Cycling Circuit"
108-km perm-pop

IvaHawk couldn't join this ride because he had life conflict, 
So he had done the Bahama Beach 103k 'free-route' for his October P-12-Challenge ride.
Bob and I had ridden the Bahama Beach route with Iva;
So he would have some company, and
Let's face it:  Bahama Beach is a great route.
Even if I do say so, myself.
[Do check out the above link; I think someone else indicated the route was a good one.]

[In case you are curious:  yes, the 7-Cs route is based on the above discussed Brevet-Pop, 
But the start and finish are in a different location, and 
The 7-Cs officially passes in front of Critter Country HQ.]  
[Therefore, the two routes are different, and each counts as a unique monthly P-route. 
At least that's the conclusion unless the Commissioner of the P-Challenge rules differently, and 
I seriously doubt that will happen, because him is me.] 

[Additionally, if it were necessary, neither Bob nor I have "burned" BB for our respective challenges.]

The ride advertisement on the NC-rando-list-serve and NC-rando-Facebook group
Had produced one additional rider:  BradW, #8218.

We started on time (as far as I can recall), and soon
We were crossing the very low Jordan Lake, and then
Bob riding the causeway / bridge across a branch of Jordan Lake.  Note the old, old roadway emerging from the water -- that roadway is usually well below the water level.  [Photo by Brad.] 

We were arriving and soon thereafter 
Leaving the first control at Andrew's Store.

Five-and-a-half miles later, we arrived at the official-on-the-7Cs Info Control.
With a little help from a neighbor, we rousted Clyde from inside his house.
Brad snapped a photo of his bike in front of Critter Country HQ.  One can see that Clyde's porch is well-stocked for heating his house during the winter.
We presented Clyde with this little document certifying his honorary membership as a North Carolina Randonneur.  Clyde promised to tack up the certificate on his porch (and we confirmed on March 17, 2018 that he had in fact done that.  [Photo by Brad.] 
Clyde with his certificate, the RUSA safety triangle that Bob had affixed to Clyde's mower, Bob, and me.  [Photo by Brad.]  I should have advertised this ride more drastically, mentioning the certificate plan and, more importantly, the RUSA triangle, soliciting additional contributors to the funds for said triangle.  If you are local and interested, give Bob some money.
Brad and I switched positions, sorta'.  [Photo by me using Brad's smart-phone.]
Brad snapped another photo of Critter Crossing HQ as we were about to leave. 
Bob on the pedestrian bridge over the Haw River -- bridge is the original US-15/501 bridge crossing the river at Bynum.  [Photo by Brad.] 
Brad insisted on a group selfie.  [Photo obviously by Brad.] 
Looking up the Haw River from the Bynum pedestrian bridge.  Modern US-15/501 bridge in the distance.  [Photo by Brad.] 
After the above, the rest of the ride was rather anti-climatic.
It is enough to note that we had accomplished our mission re:  Clyde,
It was a good day, or rather, given that this report is about two rides,
Each day was a good day for a bike ride with good people, and
We got credit for the perm-pop.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Clyde's Curious Critter Chatham County Cycling Circuit / 1861 108 2017/10/21 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76258 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   06:13
RUSA-T76259 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   06:13
RUSA-T76260 8218 W__, Bradley J. North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045   06:13

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Oct-18-2017: Bahama Beach 103

Bob and I were planning to do the "7-Cs" perm-pop on the 21st for our
NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge ride for October.

However, IvaHawk could not ride on the 21st;
He had a family conflict, or maybe it was just a [shudder] golf conflict.
So, to keep Iva on track for his "Martin Challenge" -- that's how Iva refers to ... see above link,
We all agreed to to do the Bahama Beach perm-pop on the 18th to keep Iva on track.
[Bob and I would still do the 7-Cs on the 21st -- the next blog post, once written, should explain.]

We started at 1030, unusually late.
Maybe we waited for some warmth, or maybe Iva had an early morning conflict; maybe both.

Bahama Beach is a 'free-route,'
Meaning that, as long as we go through the controls in the correct sequential order,
We don't have to stick to the cue sheet.

Whether we discussed the issue before the ride, during or even at all, I don't recall.
But I certainly was intending to diverge from the standard route, and
Use the favorite "3-Hayes" variant, which by-passes Creedmoor and stays on little traffic roads.

In my rather short cycling career with the Irregulars and doing rando rides,
I've experienced people forgetting to bring their water bottles (me), and/or
Leaving their water bottles at the start (me), and/or
Someone forgetting their helmet (JP, me, separately, and luckily, spare helmets were at hand) and/or
Someone forgetting their shoes (Ags), and/or 
Someone forgetting their cycling shoes and helmet (MickH), and/or
Someone forgetting to bring their front wheel (IvaHawk).
The best, however, was when someone forgot their entire bike!

This ride, as we prepped our bikes and put on our gear,
Bob realized that he had forgotten his cycling shoes!
[Although the following were actually taken at the end of the ride, 
They fit better at the beginning.]
Bob's pedal.
Bob's "driving" shoes that he was forced wear for the ride.
The bottom of Bob's shoe, showing the effects of 106-kms.

So, off we started on a cool October morning.
The first control is in Bahama, originally known as Mt. Bethel.
Mt. Bethel church at the center of what is now known as Bahama. 
Historical marker across from the church.
We took several minutes at the fire station in Bahama, just down the road from the church.
Several minutes for a nature break or two, and also to adjust / remove some clothing.

After dropping down Bahama Road to Lake Michie, and getting a good look at the lake,
I saw the impact of the dry period on Lake Michie -- the beach is reappearing.

From a standing start, up the "Michie Wall," where I found Bob and Iva waiting.

Across the rollers of Ellis Chapel Rd.
The zig-zag on Cassam and Range roads, where I thought about taking more pics, but didn't.
Then the rollers of Robert's Chapel Rd, where I again thought about taking pics, but didn't.
A bit more on the other side of Range Road, followed by LIttle Mtn Road, and then into Stem.

A somewhat quick stop at the BP in Stem.
Or maybe it was a bit longer than it could have been,
But still less time than I recall from a February 2013 stop (a better story here).

Brogden Rd at pace, in the middle of which we diverged from the standard route.
Across Hester Rd to the "3-Hayes" section.
Sam Moss Hayes Rd.
Moss Hayes Rd.
Hayes Rd.
Back onto the standard route to the control at Grissom.

Then back to the start/finish at Bay Leaf.

No recollection of the conversations on the day.
And any regular reader will know that I wouldn't have recalled the conversations
Even if I had typed up this report only hours after the ride.

All in all, a good ride with good companions on a good route on a sunny October day.
Iva notched his perm-pop for the NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge.
Bob edged closer to the goal of getting into the K-Hound Kennel for the third straight year.

That's my story, and I think I'll be sticking to it. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sep-23-2017: Road to Hicksboro 205

First, the route:

Hmmn, it appears that RWGPS has modified their embed code.
Edited the code to reduce the size of the embed a bit / more than a bit.

When Bob and I reached the first control at Underwood Grocery,
I had an idea:  "Bikes on Tour" -- I'd take a photo of the bikes at each control. 
So I took the first pic of the day:
Bikes parked out of the way at Underwood Grocery.  If I didn't know where this was, I would never accept this photo as an EPP proof of passage.  [I don't figure to ever do EPP as a route-owner.  The traditional hard-copy cards force people to get off their bikes and interact with the store clerks and other locals.  Done properly, every randonneur has the opportunity to be a goodwill ambassador for cycling.]  [Photo by me.]

I find it easy to forget a "plan" while en route.
I forgot to take a photo at the second control just west of Timberlake.
I forgot to take a photo while in Stovall for lunch (Stovall is not a control).

I did remember to take a second photo.
An astute reader ought to be able to figure where this photo was taken.  Note that it "cleverly" does not include the sight of the answer to the current Info Control question.  [Photo by me.]

I forgot to take a photo at the penultimate control at/near Dabney.
I forgot to take a photo at the finish back at the Bay Leaf CVS.

At least I did remember to take my phone, with its embedded camera, with me on the ride.
A month later, Oct-25th, when I did the "Hicksboro" route reversed solo, I forgot my phone!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Aug-13-2017: "Prisoner Relief" with Double-L

I had forgotten about this ride until reviewing my 2017 Excel cycling worksheet.
Therefore, I'm blogging something so I might recall the ride in the future.
U either know who "Double-L" is or U don't.

Both her cars were off the road.
The blue Accord for some engine work.
The maroon CRV because Double-L had managed to mangle the right-rear door, while in her driveway.

She sent me a message:
"It feels the same as when I first got home after the crash."
"I'm a prisoner in my house because I can't go anywhere."
 Since the crash, Double-L is very leery of car traffic.
Including traffic between her house and good cycling roads. 

My car was in fine fettle, so we arranged to ride together.
I collected Double-L and her bike.
We drove to the CVS from whence my main rando Permanents begin.
(Being a Sunday, we couldn't park and start from Shady Grove Church.)

The route noted in the Excel worksheet indicates:
  • Bay Leaf CVS to Mt. Vernon Church Rd, 
  • to Carpenter Pond Rd, 
  • to Virgil Rd, 
  • to Southview Rd, 
  • to a full loop on Baptist Church Rd, 
  • then retrace the route back to the Bay Leaf CVS. 

A strange thing is that when I draw that on RWGPS, the route comes in at 39.1-miles,
But the Excel spreadsheet indicates 40.9-miles.
I know that my cycle confuser is more accurate than that.
I know that Double-L's cycle confuser is more accurate than that.
However, I cannot recall where we got the extra miles.

Oh, now I do recall.
Double-L wanted to get in at least 40-miles, so
When we got back to the MVC / Pleasant Union Ch Rd corner,
We rode nearly a mile the "wrong" way, to Pleasant Union Church, actually, to get the extra.

What else do I recall nearly five months later?
Not much.
Maybe nothing.
Except that I seem to recall trying to take protective positions
Just behind and slightly further away from the fog line
When we were on MVC Rd and especially Carpenter Pond Rd.

Oh, and trailing / struggling to keep up on certain inclines.
For example, the short but somewhat sharp inclines on Southview,
The climb from Southview to Virgil on the return.

On some climbs, perhaps MVC going out and coming back,
Double-L may have backed off her pace to keep us closer together.
I'm not sure about that.

That was my third ride of the year with Double-L in 2017.
She didn't want to interfere with my rando rides.
Ha ha ha ha.
She didn't understand that more rides with her would almost certainly have helped on the RUSA rides.

And clearly, she was intent on getting to a certain goal independently.
Sometimes she is a bit stubborn on that point.
40.9 miles  --  2h47 in-motion  --  14.7-mph avg in-motion

Previous ride in 2017 with Double-L. which was the 2nd of the year despite what the blog indicates:

The first ride in 2017 with Double-L was not blogged.
The Excel file indicates it was 4-times looper on Coley Rd,
With a WNW->NW wind @ 10+ mph, which is good because that's an upslope tailwind (mostly), 
And some extra to make 30-miles.