Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Dec-26-2018: Holiday Range Road Rover -- NOT

The Irregulars used to do a Holiday Range Road Rover every Christmas / New Year's season.
Well, most years.
Range Road Rover course embed:

For previous Holiday Range Road Rover reports, click here.

However, the "tradition" has been becoming weaker in recent years.
I had the 26th and the 29th off.
An informal and probably not very well "attended" poll of the Irregulars
Revealed that more people could attend / would attend a Wednesday-the-26th ride,
So that became the plan.

Ride would start from Pleasant Union Elementary (PUE) at 10 am.
In the event, two or three that had indicated they preferred the 26th, cancelled.
The ride became IvaHawk, Harvey, and me.
Three of the four Irregulars that are also active RUSA members.
I wonder if there is more than just a correlation there.

According to weather almanac sources,
The temperature for the ride we did was approximately 50F the entire ride.
I also looked up the wind report, but I didn't write it down and have forgotten
What I saw just three or four minutes ago.

50F at the end of December,
Following all the absolutely crappy weather that we had almost the entirety of December,
Was very nice.

Iva, Harvey, and I agreed to do a ride shorter than the Range Rover.
But I recall that we never agreed on exactly what.

Harvey had a plan, and that is what we started riding.
But I thought he had described something else,
And when I realized how short Harvey's idea was,
I started nudging for a bit longer -- I had in my mind doing my old "'TT' / cadence" course.
Embed of that route:

Harvey complained, but ... we ended up doing the "TT" course.
Except that we started from PUE,
Which is about 2.4-miles from the start indicated in the embedded map,
Thus the route was only approximately 24.1-miles.

Turned out Harvey had also made an appointment to see his dad on the 26th,
And the two events were close to overlapping.

We finished the shortened TT route in plenty of time for Harvey to make it to his dad's.
He may have set a record for getting his bike on his car's bike rack on skedaddling.

Iva and I spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting in the warm sunshine of the PUE parking lot.
Warm sunshine, and protected from the wind.

That's my short story, typed 5+ months after the fact, and I'll be sticking to it.

[For all previous blog reports on Range Road Rover rides, click here.]

Monday, June 3, 2019

RUSA Perms Program Suspended -- Reaction in North Carolina

Nov-27-2018:  word received that the RUSA Permanents program is suspended after Nov-30 due to liability insurance non-renewal.

Immediately there was much gnashing of teeth and people from all over the country started looking about to figure out where they might be able to pick up a RUSA 200+ km Brevet, or a RUSA 100-199 km Brevet-Populaire. 

The Board announced that there would be a mitigation program for people pursuing R-series, people pursuing P-series, people pursuing K-Hound.  Not sure when the mitigation plans were published, but it was soon after the suspension.

Two people in North Carolina particularly caught my attention:
  • BobB, looking to K-Hound and get R-108. and
  • McDave looking to K-Hound and get R-48. 
Each was looking at brevet options in nearby areas,
Essentially not wanting to put their eggs in the mitigation basket. 

I was also interested in the P-ride and R-ride issues, but
I wasn't going to travel to find rides. 

I needed a December R-ride AND
To submit my July R-ride paperwork AND get that approved
To have a calendar year R-12,
Which would have been my fourth R-12.

Sometimes, by which I mean "all the time,"
It is good to have a good relationship with the RBA.

That allowed me to call Alan with an idea.
If I would do the work, or the lion's share of it,
How about we put on some suddenly scheduled brevets and brevet-pops.
But not the usual Raleigh Region routes that start in Morrisville.
But instead create a couple new routes that would be easier for me to get to. 
Alan was amenable.

So, I took the "Badgett Sisters Parkway" 208-km perm
To make a 200+ km brevet.
[Getting permission from the owner of that route was easy -- I'm the route-owner.]

Then I figured out a 100+ km brevet-pop that started from the same location as the BSP.
The Populaire was a bit more work as there was not an existing perm-pop that fit the bill.
However, there is an Irregulars approx 75-miler route that could be modified.
That route also my invention. 

Made cue sheets and RWGPS maps as needed.
Emailed both sets to Alan for his review.
And arranged to ride the 20-miles to Alan's on December 2nd to jointly review.
I did that, with the review happening during the half-time of a
UNC Women's Soccer match.

We, by which I mean, Alan, filed the two routes.
We hoped that the routes would get approved in time for
BobB and me to pre-ride the Dec-15th "200k" on Wed, Dec-12th.

Then, on the 15th, probably with Bob's help,
I'd send the 200k brevet and 100k brevet-pop riders on their way.
And BobB and I would pre-ride the Dec-16th simultaneously with the Dec-15th brevet-pop riders.
Thus Bob and I would have our R-rides and our P-rides.

And on the 16th, I would send the 200k and 100k brevet-pop riders on their way.
Everybody in central NC would have the opportunity to get an R-ride on either of those two days.
Likewise, everyone would have the opportunity to get a P-ride on either of those two days.

However, a couple things happened.

First, I thought I was riding quite fast on the return 20-mile ride from Alan's to my hovel.
But when finished, I found I had ridden significantly slower than I thought I was riding.
Okay, so my perception was off -- no big deal.

Except that later than night, December 2nd, I noticed the start of those tell-tale signals of
"Uh-oh, I think I've got a cold."

It turned out that I did have a cold.
It would become one of the worst I can recall.

We didn't get approval for the new routes until the evening of December 12th.
I.e., too late for the only possible pre-ride date:  first thing in the day, December 12th.
But we, by which I mean Alan and me, had already decided to use the usual Morrisville routes.

It didn't really matter, because coincident with me coming down with the cold symptoms,
The weather in central NC turned absolutely LOUSY.

Backing up a bit, the RUSA Perms Program was reinstated on Dec-07.
Meaning the brevets and brevet-pops were no longer "necessary."

The reinstatement of the Perms Program,
Combined with the atrocious weather expected for December 15th and 16th,
Combined with only one person had actually committed any of the four rides,
Combined with my worst ever head cold,
I called the one committed person, McDave, to suggest he not do the brevet.
McDave agreed that it made more sense to wait for a better weather day
To ride a Perm for his R-48, and whatever else he needed to K-Hound.

Bob also waited for better weather, got his R and P rides, and
Actually got to K-Hound before McDave (who had been ahead all year).

I didn't get over my head cold until at least December 23rd, probably December-24th.
I did get in a P-ride on the 29th.
But, due to work, and worrying whether I was actually over the head cold,
Combined with it looked as if the route-owner of my July R-ride might not renew with RUSA,
And what is the point of R-12 if you don't have R-7,
I didn't do an R-ride in December.

So, to summarize:
  • Perms program suspended, 
  • New brevet and brevet-pop routes created, 
  • Perms program reinstated, 
  • New routes approved, 
  • But we were going to end up using the "usual" routes, 
  • All four brevet / brevet-pop events cancelled because of the weather, and 
  • Everyone that was interested got their K-Hound, R-ride, P-ride before month's end, 
  • Using Perm / Perm-Pop routes. . 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Nov-2018: "Irregular" Thanksgiving Ride(s)

Some years, but apparently not in the last five or so,
We've done a Thanksgiving morning ride around Falls Lake.

Sometimes clockwise, but the preferred Thanksgiving morning ride
Would be in the counter-clockwise direction.
Because, if it is a sunny day, and there are still leaves on the trees,
One can get a very nice view of colorful trees across the lake.

"Usual" Thanksgiving morning route.
Or, at least the core route from which some small deviations might be made.


Thanksgiving Morning, Nov-22 

I expected to have to work the afternoon or evening hours of Thanksgiving Day.
So I put out a call for a possible Irregulars Thanksgiving morning ride.
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of interest except for Lt. Dave and his friend Rich.
[As far as I can recall, I had never met Rich. 
However, if I recall LT's "story" correctly, 
LT and Rich kept meeting each other on their individual solo rides near Falls Lake. 
Finally, they decided to ride together, and have been doing so for a few years.]
A further unexpected development:
I was asked to work the night before Thanksgiving Day,
From 10 pm the night before until 7 am Thanksgiving morning.
The trade-off?  I would get all Thanksgiving Day off!

So, to get to the point(s):
I worked from 10 pm until 7 am, and then cycled the 1.1-mile commute to my place,
Ate some food, changed into cycling kit, and
Cycled the 5.6-miles from my housing to PUE - the usual Irregular ride gathering spot  --
[For more information on "PUE" -- see the abbreviations page.]  
To meet LT and Rich for a counter-clockwise ride around Falls Lake beginning at 9 am.

Although I rode over 4500 miles in 2018 (over 6500 RUSA kms),
I never really got into what I would refer to as "decent cycling shape."

And not being in "decent cycling shape,"
Combined with having just spent 9 hours on my feet, doing physical work,
I was significantly slower than LT and Rich.

Although they were clearly riding slower than they would have done without me along,
Early in the ride, I had to ask them to slow down "half-a-mile-an-hour."
And later, on Patterson Road, which used to have serious climbs,
But since taking up randonneuring (in 2010), the climbs have seemed less serious,
But on Thanksgiving morning, I had to soft-pedal / spin my way up the climbs in a small gear.
I'm pretty sure that I had to use the same technique on Cheek Rd, climbing away from Falls Lake,
But the moments I can still see in my mind are from the two biggest inclines on Patterson Rd.

I don't recall the exact route we took after we got south of NC-98,
But I'm embedding the standard Irregulars lake loop (clockwise -- U can reverse in your mind).
I do imagine that I must have been pretty slow on Kemp Rd and Mt Vernon Church Rd.
Because Rich INSISTED that I let him give me a lift back to my place.
(I had intended to cycle the 5.6-miles back on my own.)

Anyway, three Irregulars completed a Thanksgiving morning ride around Falls Lake.
But I don't recall if there was much in the way of sunshine.
I doubt I even noticed during the ride -- let's face it, I was rather tired from the overnight shift.
I do recall that there was not-much in the way of colorful leaves still on the trees.

Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov-25

Harvey couldn't join the Thanksgiving morning ride.
But he was planning to qualify for, and go to, PBP, in 2019,
As such, he was interested in starting to get back into cycling shape for some Jan + Feb brevets.
So, the two of us agreed to a re-do of the Thanksgiving morning ride.

One thing though:
The weather, especially the wind, was different than the ride three days before.
So, being somewhat intelligent, we decide to ride clockwise
In order to minimize the souring effects of the headwind.
[If you look at the embedded map regarding this Sunday ride, 
You won't have to reverse the course in your mind.  LOL.]

Other than that, the only thing I can recall from that Sunday ride is this:
Harvey had driven the incredibly long three-and-a-half miles from his house to PUE,
So, when we finished the ride, he had to collect his car, etc.,
While I started my post-ride cycle-commute back to my place.

Usually, I take the longer, but safer, 6.7-mile route after a ride,
Instead of using the more direct 5.6-mile routing I usually use before a ride.
[The 5.6-miles is safe early in the day, but becomes less so after people start driving around.]

But this day, I decided to see how far I would get on the 5.6-mile route
Before Harvey caught me.
Answer:  almost all the way to Six Forks Rd.
[Meaningless to non-locals, but "Irregulars" and other locals will understand.]  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Nov-03-2018: Neuse River Trail 201

Consistent with the relatively new "start at any timed control" protocol, Bob and I decided to request approval to do the relatively new "Wilson to Falls Lake via Neuse River Trail" Permanent starting from the Falls Lake "turn-around" instead of driving all the way to Wilson just to ride back to approximately 5-miles from where I rest my head at night.  Starting from Falls Lake was a benefit for each of us:  5-miles for me to the turn-around, and a 55-mile drive for Bob instead of a 100-mile drive to Wilson.  Mutual agreement reached. 

Route owner Tim suggested we use Electronic Proof of Passage (EPP), taking photos with our phones and texting same to him from each control.  Mutual agreement reached.  

The route, from Wilson, has the advantage of finishing heading east; i.e., finishing with the setting sun behind you instead of in your eyes, and more to the point, not in the eyes of any vehicular traffic on the same roads.  

Neither the setting sun nor the rising sun is an issue if one starts from the Falls Lake end of the out-and-back course ... because ... one starts and finishes with approx 50-kms on the Neuse River Trial:  no vehicular traffic and lots of trees blocking early and/or late day sunshine

There is another advantage for everyone that starts from Falls Lake.  After 50-kms on the greenway multiple use path, one has to climb a very-non-trivial climb to get up to the control in / near Clayton and then connecting to the roads of the next 50-kms.  If one starts in Wilson, that climb comes after 150-kms.  Need I type more about that climb and why it is easier to do after only 50-kms as opposed to doing it after 150-kms? 

Bob had previously done the route twice.  Once with route owner Tim; once with rando Daniel.  Each of those rides had started in Wilson.  Therefore, although I have not encountered the above referenced climb after 150-kms of otherwise quite flat riding, Bob has, and he confirmed that not only did he prefer the shorter drive(s), he also preferred doing that climb earlier in the ride. 

I might insert a link or an embed of the route here, if I can locate either Tim's original RWGPS map or the copy that Bob made so that he could study the route and produce an alternative route cue sheet that fits Bob's style better than that which may fit Tim's style.  I might insert a link or embed.  Or not. 

As all the regular readers of this blog, all one of you, will know, 200+ km Perms were quite a struggle for me all of 2018, and this ride was no exception.  

Also as the regular readers will know, Bob has been patiently slowing and waiting for me all year (since he's been staying good shape so that he could enjoy several one-week PacTour events the last couple years).  One of these days, I HAVE GOT TO FIND MY CYCLING MOJO, and turn the tables back such that sometimes I'll have to be the patient one, sometimes each of us will feel good on the same ride, and only occasionally will Bob have to be the patient one. 

One more thing about starting the route from Falls Lake, and perhaps the only thing in this report that is actually about this particular ride:  if anyone starts from Falls Lake in the Autumn, wait until at least 7:30 am to start; there were places early in the ride that we could barely make out where the path was and where it wasn't, because the entire surface of the path and surrounding grassy grounds were completely covered in leaves.  We concluded that if we had started at 0700 (as originally planned), we would likely have had to stop for about half-an-hour to wait for enough daylight to be able to discern the edge of the pathway. 

Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Wilson to Falls Lake via Neuse River Trail / 35802012018/11/0320
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T855375843B, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309511:13
RUSA-T855386218S, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309511:13

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

September-2018: More Fun on Some Pops

A day or two after completing the Denny's Store ride (see previous post), Hurricane Florence made landfall in southeastern North Carolina / eastern South Carolina as a Cat 1 hurricane.  [For any cyclist that might read this and is not familiar with hurricane ratings, hurricanes are categorized according to the sustained winds of the storm.  Unlike racing cyclists, Cat 1 is the lowest ranking and Cat 5 is the highest ranking.]

Usually, once a hurricane makes landfall, or comes near the coast but remains offshore, the steering currents of the jet stream and associated weather patterns quickly accelerate the hurricane and within a couple or three days the storm is leaving Maine or even Newfoundland behind.  However, Florence made landfall and stalled out, wandering in a small circle, bringing rain, rain, RAIN and MORE RAIN to southeastern North Carolina and nearby areas.  The Cat 1 storm brought so much rain that SIGNIFICANT flooding resulted which inflicted more damage than Cat 3 storms and even some Cat 4 hurricanes.

Florence finally moved out of southeast NC on about September 17th.  Rando buddy BobB, #5843, and I undertook the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km perm-pop on the 19th.  My Excel log includes a note "check roads after hurricane."  I wonder if I actually thought that was one of the purposes of the ride.

We started the ride at 0600, and rode a passably camaraderie pace, taking 2h15 in-motion for the outbound / northbound leg.  Sorry, but neither Bob nor I use a GPS device; we do not record / keep track of our rides on RWGPS nor Strava nor anywhere other than the RUSA database and our personal logs -- actually, I'm not sure that Bob keeps any personal log records.  My personal log is an Excel workbook where I record total distance, time in-motion, perhaps a comment or two, and often note the rando elapsed time (but that last is not really necessary as the elapsed time is what RUSA keeps).  Neither Bob nor I keep our control cards as souvenirs or whatever -- the result of each of us having attained RUSA Mondial status (and K-Hound status) -- in other words, we've done so many RUSA rides that keeping the paper would be ridiculous.  So, since we do not keep our control cards, I can't be sure how much elapsed time it took to get to the outbound control (which is just east of Oxford, NC).

[Let me be clear:  although I have been the beneficiary of being allowed to use EPP (in the form of pics taken at the controls and immediately texted to the route-owner), I prefer the paper control cards to the EPP methods for proof of passage.  Using the paper, signed or initialed by store clerks, or obtaining store receipts, forces one to get off one's steed and interact with the locals -- clerks and visitors -- becoming an ambassador for all cyclists, and possibly forming a type of acquaintanceship with the clerk(s) and / or locals (click here for an example).  I just don't keep the paper after the ride -- neither does Bob.]

The return leg took 2h13 for a total in-motion time of 4h28.  The RUSA website indicates a total elapsed time of 4h57.  Most of the 29-minutes of stoppage / pausage time was almost certainly time taken at the turn-around control; the remainder of the stoppage time would have been from the several stop-lights and stop-signs en route.

Not much of a story, but it is mine, and I'll stick to it.  After all, I reckon that Bob and I had an enjoyable half-day on our respective steeds.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2018/09/19 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T84355 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:57
RUSA-T84356 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:57


Bunn Wash Caper 108-km 'free route' on the 22nd  

Bob, IvaHawk, and I had done the "Bunn Wash Caper" earlier in the year,
July 18th to be exact.
Amazing, I thought I had written a blog post about that July ride.
But, no.

Well, then, just a few words about July 18th.
Bob, IvaHawk, and Sridhar had enjoyed riding the Bunn Wash Caper on Jun-07-2017.
So, Bob and IvaHawk and I decided to do the route again.
In 2017, we had ridden on a Wednesday morning, with an 0700 start.
We thought there had been just a bit more traffic early on that we would have preferred. 

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bunn Wash Caper / 2122 108 2018/07/18 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T82874 7702 A, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:42
RUSA-T82875 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:42
RUSA-T82876 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:42
So, for the July-2018 ride, we started at 0600.
That earlier start led to a significant decrease in the traffic for those first half-dozen miles.
A lesson learned. 
[Btw, the traffic in 2017 -- I'm confident that those from more urban regions 
Would have thought there was next to no traffic. 
But our routes here, or most of them, are quite rural with VERY little traffic, and
That is what we like.] 

When Mick, #6109, and I created the Bunn Wash Caper route,
I recall mentioning that I had never ridden Pilot-Riley Rd, and
Looking at the map, we judged that taking Pilot-Riley would give the
Same distance as taking Johnsontown Rd,
So we routed the Bunn Wash Caper standard route on Pilot-Riley
To NC-39 to Maille Pearce Rd and thence onto Pine Ridge Rd.

However, I'm quite sure that each of the previous times that I had done the BWC,
That I had not turned onto Pilot-Riley, but had continued on to Pearces Rd,
Then onto Johnsontown Rd, then straight across NC-98, and
Then onto Pine Ridge Rd.

After doing the above referenced July-2018 ride,
I looked carefully at the standard documents, cue sheet and the RWGPS map, and
Discovered I had recalled the route incorrectly.
[I had thought that Johnsontown Rd was the standard routing, and 
I had never bothered to check the cue sheet to confirm.]

Not only was I incorrect in recalling the correct standard route,
It turned out that the Johnsontown Rd routing is shorter than the Pilot-Riley routing.

However, I get ahead of myself.
Bob and I did this ride with several purposes,
One of which was to ride Pilot-Riley Rd and see what it offered.
Another was to thus to ride NC-39 on a Saturday and see what the traffic was like.
[The immediate above because on the July-2018 ride, a Wednesday ride,
It had taken several minutes to cross NC-39 because the morning rush hour traffic 
Had "ping-ponged" us, coming first from one direction, then the other, repeatedly.]
We may also have been riding for P-12 purposes, and / or K-Hound accumulation.

The Saturday morning traffic onNC-39 was okay, but
I concluded that I'd rather just worry about crossing straight across,
Especially on a weekday.

So, I traded a flatter Pilot-Riley Rd with some quite nice homesteads
For Johnsontown Rd with a noticeable valley crossing,
Reducing the official length of the route.

Another reason for riding was to find out if the detour due to bridge re-destruction
On Seven Paths Rd just north of Spring Hope was still in effect.
It was.
So, once again, we rode the Spring Hill Rd detour around the 7-Paths bridge out.

And when checking the RWGPS maps after this September ride,
I definitely concluded that Spring Hill Rd is shorter than staying on Seven Paths.
So, I changed the routing of the standard course to use Spring Hill Rd.

The combined changes have reduced the official distance for
The Bunn Wash Caper 'free-route' from 108 to 105 kms.

However, next time I ride the BWC,
I figure I'll ride Seven Paths the entire distance, and
I'll recommend the same to others that decide to give the course a go.

Oh, just a word about the ride that Bob and I had:
It was an enjoyable ride.
I recommend the Bunn Wash Caper to everyone looking for a fun half-day on the bike.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bunn Wash Caper / 2122 108 2018/09/22 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T84415 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:07
RUSA-T84416 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:07

Sep-23rd "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km Ride. 

I was feeling good after the Bunn Wash Caper on the 22nd,
So I did a solo "Oxford" ride the next day.

Solo, except that I picked up a local serendipity rider for some of the ride.

I recall NOTHING from the ride,
Except that lights and reflective gear were needed for the 6 am start, and
That I enjoyed the ride.

Recalling NOTHING is why I need to get back to blogging my rides immediately afterward.

My Excel log indicates:
  • 2h12 in-motion time outbound, and 
  • 2h01 in-motion time on the return, and 
  • a total rando elapsed time of 4h24, 
  • Meaning only 11 minutes of control and other stoppage time. 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2018/09/23 1 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T84454 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:24

I enjoyed these three late September rides.
One might expect that October would filled with more / similar rides.
However, I didn't do another rando ride until October 29th.
A "Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh" 109-km ride that I started at 0445.
I recall that almost the entire outbound 54.5-kms were in darkness,
Which was fine, even interesting.

And then I snuck in a reversed "Road to Hicksboro" 205-km ride on the 31st.
I just can't get comfortable with doing Hicksboro reversed.
And that is all I'm going to type about that ride.

The next ride I will blog about is the November 3rd reversed Neuse River 201-km
Ride that Bob #5843 and I did.
How long before I get around to typing that?
I dunno'.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sep-09-2018: Denny's Store 138

I have written in emails and mentioned in person that the Denny's Store Sortie, 138-km perm-pop, is my favorite route.  Not too hilly, but not flat.  A couple non-trivial climbs in the first half (riding clock-wise), but nothing devastating.

In 2018, I rode the Denny's Store route five times.
  • Feb-24, "Party of Seven" -- see blog report
  • There are no blog reports for the next three Denny's Store rides.  The following information is taken from the RUSA website, my Excel ride log, or my possibly faulty memory. 
  • Jun-04, solo.  6h34 elapsed, 5h56 in-motion, i.e., 38 minutes stopped en route
  • Jun-27, with Bob #5843.  7h19 elapse, 5h53 in-motion, i.e., 1h26 stopped en route.  I know that Bob and I actually stopped at the better place in Berea to get some lunch as opposed to me just grabbing a quick snack at the lesser food / restful place on Jun-04, but that still leaves an hour of not advancing.  Why?  That's a good question.  
  • Jul-04, with Bob #5843 and Harvey #11802.  7h12 elapsed, 5h44 in-motion, i.e., 1h28 stopped en route.  I know we had to go the "snack place" in Berea as opposed to the "lunch place," so that should have saved some time as compared to Jun-27.  We also stopped at Moriah to refresh our supplies of cool beverages -- I recall that Bob and I also did that on Jun-27 -- so that shouldn't have added that much stoppage time as compared to the previous ride.  Typing the prior, I recall that we ended up wasting a lot of time at the Allensville store:  I had indicated that I wanted a camaraderie ride, which to me means a pace at which it was comfortable to do some chatting as rode, but which Harvey and Bob (?) interpreted to mean "take our time at controls."  Aargh.  

Obviously, the fifth time I rode the Denny's Store route in 2018 was on Sep-09.  A solo ride, perhaps with some serendipitous company for part of the ride.

Often / usually, the clerk at the Allensville store control will ask about "[my] ex-wife," whom she recalls riding with me on quite a few Denny's Store rides -- others, even reasonably close friends, have been surprised when the clerk asks about Lynn.  However, on this trip, the clerk at Allensville was the "other one" that does not recall Lynn -- the "other one" is not on duty as often as the clerk that inquires about Lynn, so that explains the difference in the clerks' interest in Lynn.  I'll just note, as I have previously in this blog, that if one will get off one's bike at the controls and talk, er, make that chat with the locals, one can make friends on one's favorite rando routes -- being an ambassador for all cycling is definitely a worthwhile activity, and worth a few minutes delay and few pennies expenses in creating and using control cards.  That is my opinion, and I will definitely be sticking to that opinion.

I grabbed a quick snack for the Berea control, and got on with the ride.

I don't recall anything from the ride.  I apparently took no photos, or at least, if I did take some, I've misplaced them.  I'm confident that I enjoyed my ride.

6h20 elapsed, 5h52 in-motion, i.e., only 28 minutes stopped en route.
Looking back at the last four Denny's Store rides during 2018,
There was very little variation in the in-motion times, but
The stoppage time varied hugely.
Keeping the stoppage time to a minimum makes a large difference in the total ride time.
Sometimes it is preferable to take one's time at the controls,
Other times, get back on the bike and get going ought to be the plan.
That, too, is my opinion, and I'll be sticking to it.

2018/02/24 finishers=7 DNF=0
RUSA-T79354 6628 B, Robert Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:55
RUSA-T79355 621 M, Byron Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:55
RUSA-T79356 11802 H, Harvey Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 6:55
RUSA-T79357 8423 P, Stephen Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 6:48
RUSA-T79358 12439 S, Deanna Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 6:48
RUSA-T79359 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:48
RUSA-T79360 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:59
2018/06/04 finishers=1 DNF=0
RUSA-T81634 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:34
2018/06/27 finishers=2 DNF=0
RUSA-T82204 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:19
RUSA-T82205 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:19
2018/07/04 finishers=3 DNF=0
RUSA-T82435 5843 B, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:12
RUSA-T82436 11802 H, Harvey Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 7:12
RUSA-T82437 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 7:12
2018/09/09 finishers=1 DNF=0
RUSA-T84102 6218 S, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 6:20

Comment having nothing to do with this ride:
On Feb-19-2016, Bob #5843 and I did the "Fish Pop" out of Lumberton, NC.
I took a lot of time on that ride.
Not because I needed the rest, but
Instead, as I mentioned to Bob that day,
Almost always when I do a 100 to 110 km perm-pop,
I'm under significant time pressure because I'm due to work in the afternoon, but
On that 2016 "Fish Pop," it was a sunny day and I was not under time-pressure,
So I was intent on enjoying every moment of the day that I could. 


Sep-06-2018: Egypt Mtn 210

Keeping Bob's (#5843) R-streak alive,
Mine I no longer worry about,
We did my "Egypt Mtn" 210-km Perm for Bob's R-ride.

This made Bob's 12th time doing EM.
My 33rd time.
So we know the route; we are comfortable with and on the route.

I don't bother to carry a cue sheet; I also do not use a GPS unit.
Bob almost always carries a cue sheet, but he might forego that when with me on the EM route.
I'm not sure, because I don't look all that carefully at the paraphernalia on his bike.
Except maybe to see if he is on the bike with the magic air horn (anti-dawg defense).

The only major decision that usually faces us is this:
Do we lunch at the Hardee's in Warrenton, or at the Subway.
This ride, we chose the Subway.

I was struggling, again, again, again!
Bob was just putzing along, be patient with my lack of pace.

I finally got frustrated enough that my saddle was just far enough off being straight,
That I stopped a mile or so before getting to Egypt Mtn Rd,
To straighten the darn thing -- the saddle, I mean.

And then, I found out that the saddle having been just a few degrees off-kilter,
Had clearly been throwing my body position off just enough
That I had been throwing away power.

Egypt Mtn Rd is about 5 miles long.
My friend Lynn used to comment that sometimes it seemed interminable:
There was always another curve ahead, another incline to ride.
Sometimes I find Egypt Mtn Rd interminable,
But only because I'm wanting to get to the west end already.

This ride, just after turning off Egypt Mtn Rd onto Charlie Grissom Rd,
I noticed an extra bump-bump coming from the rear tyre.
So, I pulled over at Wilton / Gray Rock Rd, there's a picnic table under a shelter there,
To look at the rear tyre.
And that led to swapping out the tyre.
Somewhere I have a photo of the bad places on that tyre,
But I'm choosing to publish without the photo.
If I find it in the next couple days, maybe I'll insert it into this.

That tyre, that I carried with me to the end of the ride in order to properly dispose of it,
Was the tyre I had put on the bike during the July 14 "OakElmOak" perm.
That tyre was a well used spare, but I don't know how many miles were on it when put on in July.
My Excel records show that I got an estimated 832-miles out of the used "OakElmOak" spare.

That's the only memories I have of this "Egypt Mtn" ride.
Except that, at the end, Bob did note that we had managed to keep the elapsed time under 13 hours.

My Excel log indicates 10-hours in-motion.
12h59 elapsed, 10h00 in-motion -- WHY did we have 3 hours of stoppage time??
Okay, why did I inflict 3 hours of stoppage time on Bob?

August-2018: Fun on Some Pops

My first ride of August 2018 was the worker's pre-ride of the RUSA Birthday Brevet + Picnic observation.  I managed to get through that ride with the help, really the PATIENCE of rando buddy BobB #5843.

The remainder of August, I did several perm-pop rides, and also volunteered at the RUSA Birthday Brevets + Picnic.  The rides of August were enjoyable; but I can recall little in the way of details; I probably couldn't have told another much in the way of details if I had spoken with someone the day after each ride.  I guess one could assume that I did each ride "in the moment," enjoying each ride as it came.  Not a bad way to do some bicycling about:  "enjoy the moment," "enjoy the ride."

During the summer of 2018, I did quite a few "Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh" 109-km perm-pops.  Most of them I started at 0430, 0500, 0530, or thereabouts.  That meant at least an hour of riding in darkness.  However, in the middle of the summer, the time in darkness was not quite an hour, which proved nice -- not so much because riding in daylight is better (which it probably is), but because the summer early daylight allowed me to watch the gradual construction of a couple houses / homes on Dove Rd.  I could also see the houses / homes on the return legs (which were obviously always in daylight), but the dynamics of the terrain meant it was much easier to glance over at the houses-under-construction outbound while going up slight inclines than it was to look over those houses when rocketing down the return declines.  That's my opinion, and I'll be sticking to it.

On a couple of the August perm-pops, I serendipitiously crossed paths with the same friend, and rode at least some together.  On the August 12th "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km ride, with pedaling along chatting with serendipity, Paul "the Mallet" caught up to us, and then slowed for a few minutes to chat, before he powered off with the intent of completing his 100-mile training ride before noon.  I recall Paul mentioning that the 100-miler was his long-ride training for the upcoming August 18th Brevet.

The other perm-pop I did in August 2018 was the "Bahama Beach" 103-km 'free-route.'  My first ever route, and one that has been quite popular over the years.  Partially because, for quite a while, it was the only north of Raleigh perm-pop.  Partially because there were several active RUSA members pursuing K-Hound awards that liked the route.  Partially because "Bahama Beach" is a good half-day hill training exercise.  And finally, partially because it is a nice ride.

Anyway, the only thing I recall from the August 22nd "Bahama Beach" ride is that IvaHawk #7702 expressed the desire to do the standard route instead of "winging-it" on one of the popular variants.  IvaHawk wanted to keep the ride a bit shorter than any variant versions would have been, and the standard route has less climbing than the variant we would have done.

The above outlines the memories I do have of my August 2018 perm-pops.  Other than I enjoyed my rides, that is.  Although I recall next to nothing, the rides are noted in my Excel log (with almost no annotation) and of course the rides are recorded on the RUSA website:  two rides on my "Oxford" route, one ride on my "Bahama Beach" route, and two rides on "Lynn's" "RBR" route.

RUSA-T83518RUSAT 104 2018/08/12 NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 04:40
RUSA-T83590 RUSAT 109 2018/08/17 NC: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh 04:57

RUSA-T83694 RUSAT 103 2018/08/22 NC: Bahama Beach 05:13
RUSA-T83736 RUSAT 109 2018/08/25 NC: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh 05:06
RUSA-T83779 RUSAT 104 2018/08/26 NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 04:38

August was an enjoyable month -- well, at least the perm-pops were enjoyable.
Did I mention that before? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Aug-18-2018: Raleigh Region RUSA 20th Anniversary Rides + Picnic -- Part 3

For Part 2, see the previous post.
For Part 1, see the post before that, but it isn't really worth the read. 

Under RBA Alan's (RUSA #306) leadership, probably instigated by MikeD (RUSA #1609), but I don't actually know, I'm just guessing, the Raleigh Region has been doing annual RUSA Anniversary Brevets + Picnics since RUSA's 10th birthday in 2008.  In PBP years, the Anniversary rides have been pushed back into September or October, and they've been RUSA brevets instead of ACP/BRM brevets, but any way one cuts it, 2018 was the eleventh consecutive year that Alan has put on a RUSA Anniversary ride + picnic.

Interregnum #1.

The 200 riders were off.
Another two or three hours before the 100 was to start.
What to do in the meantime?

Alan cleverly arranges for his brevets to start only a quarter-mile from his house.
Alan went home.
Maybe to eat breakfast.
I never asked.

I live roughly 20-miles by road from the starts.
A "crow-fly" distance estimate is 14 or so miles,
But there's an airport and / or large state park in the direct path.
I decided to go up the road a mile
[To the shopping ctr where Alan's one perm-pop starts. 
A couple other perm-pops also start at that shopping ctr. 
But these pieces of information add nothing to this story, 
And there is no useful reason to include them here, but ... ] 

To the McD's to grab something from the $1 menu.

However, it seemed everything on the $1 menu was priced well above one dollar.
And / or nothing on the menu seemed appetizing.
[Hmmn, breaking another composition rule? 
One sentence split between two paragraphs.] 

So I walked around the shopping ctr, checking out the potential eateries.
None of which were open.
Well, the doughnut shop was open,
But that didn't appeal, dollar-wise or appetite-wise.

So I checked out the shelves of the large retailer in said shopping ctr.
Boring, so I walked around for a bit,
Then headed to the start location of the 100,
Where I hung out until Alan and then the riders began to arrive.

100 check-in and start.

I recall nothing interesting during the check-in and prior to the start,
Except for this:
Joel, #692, former Highpoint RBA,
Though you won't find his name on the list, 
As officially Richard, #174, was listed as the RBA,
Has a history, almost a reputation, for showing up late for brevets.

So, trying to inject some humor in the lead-up to the picnic rides,
I asked, on the list-serve and / or Facegroup group,
What was the over / under on Joel arriving for the picnic 200.

Joel was pre-registered for the 200, but
If you look at the previous post, in particular the list of those that rode the 200, 
You won't find Joel's name.

So, when I saw Joel signing in for the 100,
I mentioned to him that no one would have picked two-and-a-half hours
For the over / under.  LOL.

Joel responded, indicating that when the alarm went off
To get up, get around, and come east to Raleigh for the 200,
He shut off the alarm, said "no way" to himself,
Rolled over and went back to sleep.

Smiles all around. 
NC: Raleigh RUSAP 100 km 2018/08/18 finishers=8 DNF=0
North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045
RUSA-P145656628B, RobertRandonneurs USA / 93309505:18
RUSA-P145667794D, ThomasNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304504:57
RUSA-P1456711802H, HarveyBicycle For Life Club / 93305705:18
RUSA-P145682618H, JoeRayCarolina Tarwheels / 93304704:57
RUSA-P14569692L, JoelNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304505:09
RUSA-P14570215O, MichaelNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304505:28
RUSA-P1457195S, PaulRandonneurs USA / 93309505:18
RUSA-P145728024T, MichaelCarolina Tarwheels / 93304704:57

Interregnum #2.

I had some more time "kill,"
So, noticing that there was some festival going on more-or-less
Across from the park where rides were to finish / where the picnic would take place,
I went exploring.

As best I can recall, the "festival" was essentially a farmer's market.
Not clear if it is a once-a-month or every-Saturday event during the warm months.

Actually, I'm not sure if I explored the "festival" between the two ride starts, or
If the exploring was done after the start of the 100.
Either way, come Picnic 2019, the "festival" could be a place to check out,
If one is volunteering and has some time on-hand between rando duties. 

I do definitely know that the important things done after the 100 start
Was going to the Harris Teeter grocery store
To get supplies for the picnic.
Followed by transporting Alan's grill to the park, and
Setting up for the post-rides picnic.

Hmmn, after typing the immediately above paragraph, 
I'm convinced that I did the festival exploring between the two ride starts. 


No photos.
No worthwhile stories - that I'm comfortable typing.

After the picnic, we cleaned up the site and returned Alan's possessions to his house.

Not my most interesting volunteer experience,
But interesting and fun enough.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Aug-18-2018: Raleigh Region RUSA 20th Anniversary Rides + Picnic -- Part 2

For Part 1, see the previous post.

Under RBA Alan's (RUSA #306) leadership, probably instigated by MikeD (RUSA #1609), but I don't actually know, I'm just guessing, the Raleigh Region has been doing annual RUSA Anniversary Brevets + Picnics since RUSA's 10th birthday in 2008.  In PBP years, the Anniversary rides have been pushed back into September or October, and they've been RUSA brevets instead of ACP/BRM brevets, but any way one cuts it, 2018 was the eleventh consecutive year that Alan has put on a RUSA Anniversary ride + picnic.

200 Check-in and Start.

Alan's second most favorite thing about being the RBA, surrounding the brevet, is checking people in before the brevet / seeing everyone before the ride.  [His most favorite thing is seeing each rider at the finish.]  Alan's wife Dorothy always serves as his most able assistant during the check-in (and gear check) process -- well, Dorothy always assists (or maybe in some moments Alan is the assistant) unless she has fallen ill -- I can recall a time or two that Dorothy was not present for the check-in process, reportedly due to nasty head colds.

Lest anyone be concerned that there might be times when additional assistance is needed during check-in, there have always been riders willing to step-up to fill the need.  The list of likely suspects to step-up when I started randonneuring [2010] included the aforementioned MikeD, Jerry (#3525), Branson (#3752), and at the risk of hurting feelings of others that might like to have a mention, I'll stop there as regards the check-in process.  These days, there are others that are also on the list of likely step-uppers.  Alan has been the Raleigh RBA since about 1995 -- three years before RUSA was founded [and four years before any rides were conducted under the auspices of RUSA].  There are quite a few of us that will do whatever Alan needs help with, whether it be planned well ahead of time or is something that suddenly arises.

I wasn't really needed for the check-in process for this ride, but having nothing else I needed to do, having completed the worker's pre-ride, and thinking that seeing and chatting with people before the start of the ride is a fun and useful thing, I arrived at the start location approximately 30 minutes before the scheduled start.  About the first thing I heard was that MikeD had shown up and signed in, and then discovered that he had left his helmet at home -- and he headed back home only a few minutes before I had arrived.  I knew that it was likely a 20-minute drive each way to Mike's house from the start, so it seemed very likely that Mike and the couple people that had committed or decided to ride with him would be starting a bit late.

As hinted above, chatting before the ride start is a good time to renew contact with friends -- and if you're at the back of the pack, it may be the ONLY time to re-connect with some.  I'm reasonably sure that I spoke or at least shared greetings with most of those present, but a couple contacts stand out:
  1. My recollection is that I was near Alan's registration table when new RUSA members Tommy and Greg checked in.  Somehow / somewhere -- almost certainly on the NC-rando-Facebook-group -- I had seen that these two had signed up for the brevet and had joined RUSA, but as of a day or two before the ride, they did not yet know their RUSA numbers.  However, by the time of registration, they did know:  12772 and 12796.  [So Greg got the prize for having the highest RUSA # on the day.  The prize? you ask.  He got picnic food with the rest of us -- well, sorta'.]  
  2. As I was wandering around chatting with people, perhaps being a nuisance (?), someone I did not recognize greeted me enthusiastically.  Uh-oh, I didn't recognize them.  I admitted I didn't recognize them.  They re-introduced themselves.  I commented that I was quite surprised that he would recognize me since I could only recall meeting him once before -- on the road at about the 85 or 90-mile mark of an "Alan 200 brevet" -- the 2010 picnic brevet.  No, said the other, "we've met several times including at check-in when you hosted those brevets in Lumberton" -- for Highpoint Region RBA Tony - that would have been 2015.  "Really," said I, "I don't recall that at all."  [Later, I looked up the results for those brevets -- yep, Doug, RUSA #876, did two of those brevets, so he certainly had to check-in with me and sign waivers in front of me.]  I asked and Doug answered my question as to how many times he had finished PBP -- see below for the answer. 

A few minutes before start time, riders gathered in a motley shaped elliptical circle in front of the check-in table, and Alan joined the circle to make a couple announcements about the course and to remind everyone that the finish was not in the usual SR finish location, but was at the shelter in the city park.  Then, after confirming the time on his watch, Alan let the riders go.

But no one moved.

Several riders had apparently committed themselves to riding with aforementioned MikeD, but Mike had not yet returned to start location.  Everyone else, apparently without any verbal discussion, decided to wait for Mike.  Too bad no one thought to take a photo.

A quiet settled over the group of riders, volunteers, and at least one spouse and child.

I pretend to be a patient person, but I'm not. 
Looking around the oblong circle, my eyes settled on Branson who was at 9 o'clock to my 12.
"Branson," said I, "I think this would be a good time to steal an idea from Mike, and do something that we did a few years ago at a year-end party, when Mike got everyone in attendance to introduce themselves.  That was a good idea and a good time, don't you agree?"

Branson agreed.
So, starting with me, and working to my left, we each introduced ourselves and maybe mentioned something regarding our rando careers.

I do not recall where most of the people were standing relative to me (or, if you will, the "clock," and I couldn't have told you three minutes after we completed the introductions around the circle) but a few items stand out in my memory.

Somewhere around 3 o'clock stood my Irregulars friend Paul "Mallet" S.  He introduced himself, noting that he was not a RUSA member.  I added that he had done this 200k a couple times and also asked what his longest ride ever was.  I can't recall if we settled on a ride he did from Raleigh thru the Uwharries to Charlotte, or a ride from Raleigh to the beach, party at night, and ride back the next day. 

Directly opposite me, at 6 o'clock, slightly hidden behind someone (whom I do not recall) were newbies Tommy and Greg.  I called out Tommy (and Greg) to confirm that they were new RUSA members and why they had joined RUSA and were doing this ride -- the answer centered around a ride in France in late summer 2019.

At about eight-thirty on the oblong circle clock, was Doug.  I recall Doug volunteered that he had been coming to these events for 20 years.  In rejoinder (and perhaps thinking the newbies might like to know whom might have some advice for them), I asked, "and how many times have you completed PBP?"

Doug's reply came easily.  "Eight."  I recall hearing a bit of a murmur from the assembly. 

Another rider or two along the way and then it was Alan's turn.  Calling out to him, "and when did you do your first brevet?"

"1983."  Another hushed murmur.

The 11 o'clock positions were filled by Luke and his sister Misha.
I don't recall what they might have said. 

I finished the circle with something akin to "well, now everyone knows everyone else, and that should make striking up conversations on the road easier."  [What nonsense.] 

Mike's timing, returning after retrieving his helmet from his home, was good.
My recollection is that he returned to the fold just after we completed the introductions all around.
Mike thanked everyone for waiting while expressing that it hadn't been necessary. 

Everyone set off together approximately 15 minutes after the official start time.
Like a good RBA should, Alan entered the times based on the official start time.
200-km brevet riders (includes the two pre-riders (and it was a hotter day when we rode!)):
NC: Raleigh ACPB 200 km 2018/08/18 finishers=16 DNF=0
North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045
6470025843B, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309512:11
64700312772B, TommyRandonneurs USA / 93309511:07
6470041015B, ChetRandonneurs USA / 93309509:14
6470051609D, MichaelNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304509:14
64700611611G, DaveRandonneurs USA / 93309509:14
64700710597G, ChristopherRandonneurs USA / 93309509:14
6470087069H, LukeAsheville International Randonneurs / 93301109:14
6470098502H, MishaRandonneurs USA / 95109509:14
6470103752K, BransonCarolina Tarwheels / 93304709:14
647011876K, DougRandonneurs USA / 93309510:05
64701210866L, JonCarolina Tarwheels / 93304707:36
6470146218S, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309512:11
6470155350S, GeofRandonneurs USA / 93309510:12
64701612796T, GregoryRandonneurs USA / 93309511:07
6470178218W, BradleyNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304510:19
1 nonmember(s) also finished this event[, to wit, "Mallet," 7h36]

Hmmn, this is WAY too long!
Part 3 to come? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Aug-18-2018: Raleigh Region RUSA 20th Anniversary Rides + Picnic -- Part 1

Under RBA Alan's (RUSA #306) leadership, probably instigated by MikeD (RUSA #1609), but I don't actually know, I'm just guessing, the Raleigh Region has been doing annual RUSA Anniversary Brevets + Picnics since RUSA's 10th birthday in 2008.  In PBP years, the Anniversary rides have been pushed back into September or October, and they've been RUSA brevets instead of ACP/BRM brevets, but any way one cuts it, 2018 was the eleventh consecutive year that Alan has put on a RUSA Anniversary ride + picnic.

Pre-Ride Aug-07.

Bob (#5843) was slated to do the PacTour tour of New York's Finger Lakes area the week leading up to the day of the event (Aug-18).  (I'm pretty sure that) Bob has the longest active R-streak in North Carolina; he (almost reluctantly) has his eyes on getting to R-120, so we did a pre-ride on Tuesday, August 7th.  I was slated to volunteer, mostly helping to set up for the picnic (and tear down after); Bob would join me as a "ride-along" rider.  [If you don't understand the concept of "worker's ride" and "ride-along" riders, search around on the RUSA website to see for yourself -- basically, a ride-along rider's purpose is to provide "company" for the pre-riding worker(s).]

How did the actual ride go?
  • I did a conservatively paced 19.7-mile ride from my place to Alan's to meet Bob for an 0600 start to the pre-ride.  Unlike my Spring 300 pre-ride, I encountered no obstacles requiring a detour en route
  • Bob drove the 45-miles or so from his home to Alan's. 
  • Alan met us, and we exchanged the requisite paperwork. 
  • And we went on our way. 
  • How did the ride go?  
  • The same as my previous five 200+ km rides, that's how it went. 
  • So I won't bore you with any details.