Saturday, February 28, 2009

All day cold rain

When I used to be runner, a day like today might have been a good day for a run of 6 to 10 miles. I recall some great winter runs with temps in the 30's or 40's. No interest in riding in this stuff, though.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Feb-27th solo ride

Honeycutt Park: same route as Feb-26 + Norwood-PleasUnionChRd & back; warm, but strong SSW wind; 27.0 miles; 1hrs, 48min, 54sec; 14.8 mph avg pace. 
Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min. 
Feb tot: 11 rides, 350.4 m.; 21 hrs, 56 min. 
YTD: 13 rides, 446.4 m.; 28 hrs, 1 min. 
Yesterday I was trying to ride fairly hard on the upslopes; today I was just out for a spin; I hade to stop myself from "attacking" on several uphills / upslopes, esp. later in the ride. How strong was the wind today? On the flat of Pleasant Union Ch Rd, heading SSW towards the sharp curve, there is no "tree-tunnel" to help block the wind; on that flat, riding into the wind, repeated gusts of wind knocked my speed from 16 to 13 to 9 mph.

Another Plan ?

In response to the plan from yesterday, Snapper responded:

Notes (I speak for several here – I’ve copied those parties. Not sure Peter’s schedule but he’s doing some races as well just not sure which ones):

March 21st – Out – 2009 NCAA Basketball 1/2nd round games in Greensboro (19/21st). I have tickets.

March 28th – Out

April 4-14th – Out (of the country.. Heading to Costa Rica)

May 3rd – White Lake Sprint – BWD and I both participating.

May 16th – Surf and Turf Double Sprint – Mt. Rushmore and I will be participating. Not sure about BWD or Jack Rabbit.

June 6th – Out

June 13th – Battle at Buckhorn Sprint – Mt. Rushmore and I will be participating. Not sure about BWD or Jack Rabbit.

June 28th – Kure Beach Sprint – Mt.. Rushmore and I will be participating. Not sure about BWD or Jack Rabbit.

July 4th – Out

July 12th – Triangle Sprint - Mt. Rushmore and I will be participating. Not sure about BWD or Jack Rabbit.

August 8th – Bandits International - Mt. Rushmore and I will be participating. Not sure about BWD or Jack Rabbit.

More to come……

On Apr-13, received the following from Iva:

April 18 - Beaverdam triathlon. I guess.. not signed up yet. If not, I'll ride.
April 24 - golf trip out of town
May 2 - white lake tri
May 9 - no plans. will ride.
May 16 - golf trip out of town
May 23 - bike mountain trip. i plan on going.
May 30 - golf trip out of town

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feb-26th solo ride

Honeycutt Park: Koupela-RavenRidge-Hardee-PT-Linley-PossumTrack-BayleafChRd(down 'n up)-PT-RR-Koupela; S breeze; 17.0 miles; 1hrs, 5min, 15sec; 15.5 mph avg pace. 
Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.  
Feb tot: 10 rides, 323.4 m.; 20 hrs, 7 min. 
YTD: 12 rides, 419.4 m.; 26 hrs, 12 min. 
 Started later than hoped, so instead of an easy 35 miles, did a hill repeat for 17 miles.

A Plan ?


The mountain metrics & centuries begin in late March, and really begin to fill the calendar in April and May, and June is crowded with them.

The NC Randoneurs have their first 200k brevet of the season on April-4th. While I don't necessarily intend to ride a brevet or any organized mountain ride, I do want to ride some longer rides this year.

I forgot to check the dates of White Lake and Kerr Lake triathlons.

Dave-not-the-Wave suggests a mtn ride

Also, Dave-ntW mentioned that he thought it would be nice to get a group (including "irregulars") together to go do an "impromptu" Three Hump Ride (Pilot Mtn, Hanging Rock, Saurtown). Dave has suggested "middle of May" as a good time for such a ride. I've never ridden a mountain climb, and I think the same can be said for most of the "irregulars"; I'd like to do some without breaking the "fun budget"; this would qualify.

I expect Dave-ntW will expand on his idea, and leave it to him to lead the organizing. However, for purposes of the following discussion, I will assume that "middle of May" means either May 16th or 23rd.

Target rides

Working backward, I'd like to suggest some rides to get us somewhat prepared for a mtn ride. Some of the following rides may qualify as an adventure in and of themselves.

~ May 2nd - Mt. Tirzah (~ 74 miles; "some" climbing; if a nice day comes along before this date, I'd love to ride to Mt Tirzah even before this date.)

~ Apr 18th - Stem-LakeDevin-Oxford-BR#1 (~ 78 miles; mostly flat; the beginning and ending of the Va Border Raid route)

Apr 4th - this is the day of the first NC Randoneur brevet of the year. Something long is called for.

Mar 21 - something longish. E.g., the "bonk route" from last year's Jun-7 ride. (I've never managed to complete this 68 mile route: the first time I bonked big time; the second time, my rear derailluer cable broke and I settled for an ~ 55 mile adventure.)

Mar 7 - something longish. Perhaps an "Eaton Rd Ramble".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I didn't ride today

I should have. Sometimes I can be a wimp.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb-21st Rides


9 am: PUE: Coley-Kemp-lake loop; w/ PaulS; chilly start, slight SE breeze; 37.7 miles; 2 hrs, 18 min; 16.4 mph avg pace.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 8 rides, 285.6 m.; 17 hrs, 40 min, 57 sec.
YTD: 10 rides, 381.6 m.; 23 hrs, 45 min, 57 sec.  

I thought Paul was dragging us at a faster pace.  Oh, well.

1:45 pm: PUE: Carpenter Pond-Leesville-U turn; solo; temp ~ 50F, strong S wind; 20.8 m., 1 hr, 21 min.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 9 rides, 306.4 m.; 19 hrs, 2 min.
YTD: 11 rides, 402.4 m.; 25 hrs, 8 min.  

Not the fun ride I was expecting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feb-15th ride


PUE: DocN-Treyburn-Butner-CashRd; w/ Dave-not-the-Wave; 53.5 miles; 3 hrs, 21 min, 24 sec; 16.0 mph avg pace.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 7 rides, 247.9 m.; 15 hrs, 22 min, 57 sec.
YTD: 9 rides, 343.9 m.; 21 hrs, 27 min, 57 sec.  

I was a bit tired.  WIND on Friday, and wind on Sunday.  And it has been quite some time since I'd ridden three straight days (or two hards days consecutively, for that matter).

Three day total: 126.1 m.; 7 hrs, 55 min.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feb-14 Irregulars ride


PUE: DocN-Kemp-Virgil; w/ Snapper, PaulN, BobH, Peter, PaulS, Iva; 27.4 miles; 1 hrs, 37 min, 30 sec; 16.8 mph avg pace.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 6 rides, 194.4 m.; 12 hrs, 1 min, 33 sec.
YTD: 8 rides, 290.4 m.; 18 hrs, 6 min, 33 sec.  

Iva finally showed for a ride!  Yet another person that is faster then me upslope / uphill.  He rode conservatively, which is a smart thing to do the first time you ride with a new / unknown group.  However, the group probably cannot be accused of riding conservatively, after we were warmed up.

Snapper arrived just before the scheduled start time, as usual.  The rest of us (except Peter) did a short warm-up loop while Snapper got ready to ride.  After the start of the "ride-proper", Peter turned back in the first three miles with a broken spoke; that is too bad since it would have been nice to have him on his "Led Zeppelin" bike later when we re-passed two riders that had passed us & tried to "put us away".

Even before Peter had his spoke problem, postscript asked "if Peter and Harvey are just going to sit in, should we stretch out the pace a bit?"  He had ridden 7 or 8 miles from home to the start of the ride, so was already well warmed up, whereas I certainly was not.  Therefore, I replied, "too early, let's wait at least until my legs are warmed up."

Just after that we lost Peter due to his spoke problem.

PaulS is a strong rider.  He rose to every increase in pace whether on the flat, upslope, or downslope.  Just imagine if he were riding something other than his "silver streak".

BobH generally rode conservatively, as he was hoping / looking to ride farther.  I had intended to ride extra with him, but the accelerations, esp. on Carpenter Pond on the way back put an end to thoughts along those lines.  BobH stuck to whatever the pace was, and did ride some extra.  Unfortunately for him, his intended extra got cut short due to a phone call from work.

PaulN is PaulN.  But maybe he better be on the alert, because I have a suspicion that he will have a much harder time "taking county line sprints" in the future.

Some of us heavier bodies do not like it when we cannot just "let the bike run" on downslopes and downhills, so some of the heavier bodies used the occasions to go around the smaller bodies and keep the pace up or increase it.  PaulS responded every time.  He is strong.

I knew from experience that I could do the 7.8 miles from the Virgil/Carpenter Pond corner back to PUE at an avg of 19 mph solo.  I was convinced the group could do better if Harvey and PaulS could be enticed into doing some serious pulls.  In the event, we were assisted by two guys that passed us like we were standing still.  However, they did not completely follow thru on the "race-style-pass" with which one tries to demoralize the passee; I think they tried, but they did not know the Snapper engine had been lying mostly dormant, nor did they know that postscript has a significant engine disguised by that silver streak (or as Harvey described it, that "Led Zeppelin" bike).

Harvey moved to catch their wheel.  PaulS moved to catch Harvey's.  I caught PaulS's.  And Iceman, BobH, and Iva followed.  I felt great pleasure when we passed those two guys after dogging them for a couple miles.  The one guy I recognized from quite a few times when he has sneered at me as he zipped past.  Revenge, complete with a guy on a "Led Zeppelin" bike and me asking a polite question as we zipped passed, was quite sweet.  The only thing I can imagine that would have made it sweeter was if Peter had still been with us and there would have been two "Led Zeppelin" bikes.

Harvey -- I forgot to look around within the group and see who had the most expensive bike today.  We must remember to check that out next time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feb-13: Honeycutt Park "TT"


Honeycutt Park: Honeycutt-Norwood-MVC-Coley-DocN-Kemp-Virgil-MVC-Norwood-Honeycutt; STRONG westerly wind; 45.2 miles; est 2073 ft climbed ---> effort index = 65; 2 hrs, 57 min; 15.3 mph avg pace.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 5 rides, 167.0 m.; 10 hrs, 24 min, 3 sec.
YTD: 7 rides, 263.0 m.; 16 hrs, 29 min, 3 sec.

Since the Saturday ride is likely only going to be 25 or 30 miles because of the weather, and just in case the Saturday weather is uncooperative, I went for a Friday ride thinking to take advantage of nice temps. Hah! The theme of the ride was: wind, wind, wind.

The wind beat the dickens out of me. The headwind heading southwest on Carpenter Pond was spirit-breaking. I had no spirit left to ride the four climbs at the end. Despite that, I think I rode the climbs just as fast as if I had had plenty of energy left. What does that indicate?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Story of the Irregulars, Chapter 3, part b

One of the most memorable (to me, anyway) "irregulars" rides of the year occurred on Jun-7th. I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because we had the most riders participate ever; which at ten riders, would be true, but that is not why it is most memorable to me. I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because, for the first time ever, some members of the fairer sex were on the ride; while that is true that is not why it is most memorable to me. I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because I rode like the wind, never dropped off the back, and that I never suffered a moment's frustration or fatigue; but that would be a complete falsehood.

The reason that the ride is so memorable to me is that, slow as I was going early on, I started seriously flaging even before the half-way point, could barely hold the wheel of the Iceman on Bruce Garner / New Light although he was only trying to pace me at about 13 or 14 mph, I had to get off the bike on second steep part of Ghoston, and after a 20 minute (maybe more) recovery period, I had to jump off the bike near the top of the steep part of Peed, and give up the hope of completing the ride when only 3 miles from PUE. Before leaving me to ride to PUE and get my car to return and collect me, the Iceman wanted assurance that I was not going to die while he was gone. Things were decidedly not good, one could even say the were BAD.

There was one moment of joy while waiting for the Iceman to cometh: I experienced my first ever "road angel". A large SUV passed by my forlorn self sitting on the shaded side of the road, and turned around to come back and ask if I would like a cold bottle of water. A defininte godsend. Maybe things were only BAD.

Sometime in May or June, the Duke asked that Dave-not-the-Wave be added to the list. He was, and it was good, and would get better once he actually joined us for a ride (even though we don't offer free beer as the CBC team does). On some ride in the autumn, with only D-ntW and I in attendance, Dave told me the story of how he actually met Snapper and BigWaveDave (sometimes known as "Dave-the-Wave"), but that is Dave's story, and if I write everything, what war stories will be left to share on future rides?

Of course, an important "irregulars" ride of particular note during 2008 was the "Virginia Border Raid"; 108 miles of mostly great fun. I started flaging even before reaching Oxford on the way back; I still claim that the effort of pulling Snapper and Dave-not-the-Wave back up to the Iceman, the Duke, and WrongWay took a lot out of me; that is my story and I am sticking to it. Canadys Mill and Philo White roads, which I looked forward to from the beginning of the ride, were no picnics for me. A long rest at Grissom, and Dave-ntW and Duke riding with me from there to PUE were deeply appreciated. At Ghoston, I took the "character building" turn and the Duke came with me; thanks. Dave-ntW stayed straight on New Light, and WrongWay was deeply appreciative of that as he had fallen off the back of the mini-group of the Iceman, Snapper, and WrongWay. The two original "irregulars" were the ones in the worst shape; but we finished: WrongWay's first ever 100-miler, my fastest ever "on-the-bike-time" 100-miler (which isn't saying much since I've only done two 100-milers). As for the others, at the finish: the Duke seemed nearly Regal, the Iceman was cool, Snapper looked dapper, and I can't think of a clever quip for not-the-Wave. All-in-all, it was good. Finally.

In September or October, Snapper asked for Peter Rabbit to be added to the list, and he was, and it was good. Rabbit didn't "show" for a ride until the Saturday after Thanksgiving; but that day I showed up to tell the group I was not riding because I had a cold, Dave-ntW failed to show, and Snapper's car had a flat tire. I would try to make a clever comment about flat tires here, but karma might strike me down, so I won't. Anyway, no one other than the Rabbit showed to ride, and since it was cold, he went home. Oh, well, next year things will be better.

So ended the third year of the "irregulars". Some riders, for example, "postscript" (aka PaulS), we will have to await the completion of chapter 4 (2009) before we read about their exploits.

Oh, one last thing: is anyone sure that Iva actually exists, and has a bike? We still haven't seen him even though the Duke got him on the list early in 2008.

Story of the Irregulars, Chpt 2, vignettes

Have you ever noticed in novels or non-fiction historical works that the initial steps are described in almost painstaking detail, but later events go by as in a whirlwind? Part of the reason for that is the author is establishing the foundations early on; a second reason may well be that memories after the first all-important ones become fuzzy and begin to merge.

Have you noticed that sometimes this "story" is in first person and sometimes in third? Have you noticed that sometimes it is written in present tense and sometimes in past, sometimes in the same sentence? Have you noticed that some of this is written quite informally and that some is not quite so informal? Have you noticed that sometimes the intended audience appears to be the "irregulars", sometimes it seems to be an unknown undefined amorphous general audience, and sometimes it seems to written with the author as the intended audience?

I'm writing as I'm thinking; sometimes I am "in the moment" in my memory, and sometimes not. I am not going to worry about tense agreement or a consistent voice -- as long I smile when I proof/re-read it, it goes.

Moments I recall (mostly with pleasure or humor) from season two:

First ride of the season, I wake in plenty of time, but fall prey to "just let me put my head back on the pillow for a moment", and re-awaken an hour or more later, only 3 minutes before the ride is supposed to start. I call Frank, apologize, tell him I'm on my way, and suggest he and Doug ride from PUE across Pleasant Union Ch Rd to BJP and back to help fill the time until I get there. "Wrong-way" Frank takes the suggestion about riding to fill the time, but rides Mt Vernon Ch Rd instead. What's the difference between the two roads? One is flat; one is not. Leave it to the Columbian mtn goat to fill time by riding the one that is not flat.

I finally arrived and we started only 30 or 35 minutes late. We decided to shorten the ride due to the late start. We ride MVC Rd (again for Frank & Doug) and then take Old Creedmoor / Carpenter Pond heading for Kemp Rd. The mtn goat in the lead. As we approach Kemp Rd, I realize that "Wrong-Way" Frank is not turning, point out the turn to Doug and suggest he ride "easy" until we catch back up, and then I tear out after Wrong-Way. Luckily, I can yell loudly even if I can't ride as fast as "WW". Frank hears me, turns around, and then we go to catch Doug. Doug has gotten worried because he doesn't know where he is (just moved to the Triangle from Dallas) and decides to wait for us -- at the bottom of the valley on Kemp between Coley and Virgil roads.

Weeks later, there are five or six of us in the group including WrongWay(?), Harvey, BigWaveDave,the Duke(?), Barry, and me. As we approach NC-98 on Olive Branch Rd, I was leading and Harvey was at the rear. There is traffic coming from both directions, so I stopped, put my foot/feet on the ground and am taking a good drink; Harvey apparently did not realize we were stopped for traffic, started to make a move to pass all of us at the stop sign and the next thing we know -- viola -- Snapper is on his back still clipped in with the bike now above him and all the liquid in his tri drinky thing all over him. Thus was Harvey christened "Snapper" by Barry and baptised as such by his own drink.

Some weeks later, again about five of us in the group (BWD(?), the Duke, Snapper(?), Barry, me), and Barry is struggling. After we cross the lake on Cheek Rd and make the turn for the little "loop" we do, Barry gets confused where he is, tells the Duke to go on without him, and heads straight down to the lake and marina on Olive Grove Ch Rd instead of turning onto Boyce Rd. The Duke arrives at the corner of Boyce and Old Weaver Trail where the rest of are waiting and informs us that Barry went straight because he was bailing out early / short and that the road going straight would take him back to New Light Rd more directly. "Well", I said, "Barry will be along shortly as that road is a dead end once it gets down to the lake / marina. He must have been confused as to where he was."

We waited for several minutes, and just as we decided to go looking for him, Barry comes riding up to us, admitting that he was confused and when he went straight he thought he was Old Weaver Trail. Even Barry likely thinks it is funny. Now.

This may have been the same ride that I mentioned in the vignettes for Chpt 1 -- the one where I could not keep up on Bruce Garner / New Light roads. I was so far behind when I got to Ghoston Rd, I decided to take the easier way back to PUE -- i.e., New Light / Six Forks instead of Ghoston-Peed-MVC. It never dawned on me that the rest of the group would wait for me at the Peed Store. Maybe everyone else laughs at that, now. Since then, I always finish G-P-MVC. It builds character.

One ride I was expecting Barry to show, but no one else. That was typical of season two. However, Barry did not show, so I rode solo. After I had completed my ride and wiped down my bike and changed my clothes and shoes all that, I got into the car to drive off. Then I notice that some jerk had stuck a candy bar wrapper under my driver's side windshield wiper. What the heck? I remove the wrapper and go on my way.

Next week, Barry asks "did you get my calling card?"
"What" I asked?
"I left a wrapper under your windshield wiper" he responded.
"Oh", I replied, "I thought someone was being a jerk and leaving their trash for me to deal with."
"Didn't you realize it was a wrapper from the type of energy bars I use", asked Barry.
"Barry", I replied, "I'm lucky if I notice the color of somebody's bike, let alone the food they eat."

Story of the Irregulars, Chapter 3, part a

Unlike the previous winter, over the winter of 2007/8, Martin did very little riding: 3 rides spread over 4 1/2 months is not enough to stay in shape, esp. if you aren't doing any other strenous acitivty. The omens were not good.

The "irregulars" rode once in March. Barry & I struggled to hold onto BobH & Norris, both of whom were in excellent shape. Funny thing, Barry & I each thought that Bob & Norris had been breaking the wind for us during the first 10+ miles of the ride; we learned just how mistaken we were when we headed northeast on Carpenter Pond Rd back towards PUE. The five or so miles on CP from Virgil to MVC Rd were not fun. It was bad.

I had ridden only once more in March and twice in April before sending out the "invite" for the "irregulars" to restart the season with a virgin start location and many virgin roads. So virgin were the roads that I snuck in a pre-ride of the course on Thursday; working as hard as I could I avg'd 14.1 mph on the 37 1/2 mile course; but at least I had verified the view from the side road was worth the little detour; however, things did not bode well for Saturday.

The group consisted of Snapper, BigWaveDave, the "Iceman" PaulN, and me. Snapper had to change his flat rear tire before the ride could start. About 10 miles into the ride, we had to stop and pump up Snapper's rear tire again. And when we stopped to appreciate the view from the side road, part of one of Snapper's pedals came off; what is it BigWaveDave says about Snapper -- "there's always a drama with Harvey". After that there were no more problems except my lagging further and further behind and the strong headwind on the long homestretch was still blowing. With a mile to go, I had to stop for a break; thankfully, the Iceman stuck with me, I finished the ride avg'ing 14.9 mph. Things were still looking bleak.

In late April or early May, Snapper asked for Mt Rushmore to be added to the list and the Duke asked for Iva to be added to the group list. And it was getting better.

During May, there were a few "irregular" group rides. The theme of each was pretty much the same. BobH puts up with the slow pace from the author and drags the two of through a 55 mile slow ride -- but at least we explored some new roads. Frank and BobH put up with the slow pace of the author. The Iceman and Mt Rushmore put up with the slow pace of the author; but at least I was able to sneak in one quick assault on a steep climb on the Mount. Some of those memories must be from June instead of May. But maybe things were still trending towards being good.

In mid-May, the author met two "lost" souls, preparing for their first "north Raleigh" ride, in the BJP parking lot. Jess & Mel started their ride before I had completed kitting myself out and prepping the bike. However, I was back from my slow, 30-mile ride well before J & M completed their much faster-paced 32-mile ride; I even had had time to get out of the swamp-butt clothes and write a note for them. As I was leaving the note on the windshield of one of their cars, J & M returned -- quite wide-eyed and shaken and with "white knuckles". They had naively chosen a route by chance from the NCBC web site cue sheets, and had just ridden Purnell Rd during "rush hour". I suggested they strike that route off their potential list and e-mail me for some better options. A day or so later, Jess e-mailed me, and to shorten the story somewhat, the first females were added to the list, and a "behave yourselves - control your testosterone" rule was added.

A former co-worker once told me something he learned from his 19 years as a navigator on B-47's and B-52's with the Strategic Air Command (SAC): "all men are ugly, all women are beautiful". In that vein, things were definitely looking good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb-10: "time-trial" route

BJP: DocNichols-Kemp-Virgil; 29.6 m.; est 1359 ft climbed ---> effort index = 42; 1hrs, 45min, 48sec; avg pace 16.7 mph.  
Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min. Feb tot: 4 rides, 121.8 m.; 7 hrs, 27 min, 3 sec. YTD: 6 rides, 217.8 m.; 13 hrs, 32 min, 3 sec. 
Strong wind from the SW. Avg @ turn on to DocNichols (12.4 m. mark) was 15.0 mph. Last 10.25 miles (from corner of Virgil / Carpenter Pond) in 31 min, 14 sec.

Story of the Irregulars, Chpt 1, vignettes, part b

A few weeks later, Frank brings Sean. And Sean's signature phrase "how far on this road" surfaces almost instantly. Along with a propensity to zip ahead of the other two of us. I never realized until the moment of typing this, but Sean's "protege", Snapper, suffered the same affliction when he surfaced the following year (Snapper claims that he is afraid he still suffers from the affliction, and prefers to avoid leading the "irregulars" line; his concern over leading out too fast is perhaps a contributing cause of his "Cheeta" penalty problem in triathlons; hmmn).

Anyway, Sean informed that he had never done more than 30 or 35 miles in a single ride; we cured him of that on his first ride with Frank and me, as we did the Creedmoor-Grissom loop (but cut across on Olive Chapel or perhaps Kemp Rd rather than going across to Doc Nichols Rd as we do now, so the ride was 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 miles shorter then). By that time, the Columbian mtn goat, aka, Frank, had found his climbing legs, and Sean was fast, and the two of them beat the crap out of me. I recall telling Sean as we trudged up Lawrence Rd toward Grissom that "I used to think Frank ran out of gas on this climb and that was why I could reel him by the end; now I know that he slows down to wait".

As I noted, they had ridden me into the ground instead of the other way round. I had ridden from home to the meeting place at PUE, and as we headed to Peed Rd from Ghoston Rd, I begged a ride home from PUE. Ugh.

The next week, I figured that if I couldn't keep up speed-wise, maybe I could make them climb so many hills they would be the ones coming home hurting. Katrina had hit, and gas prices had gone above $3 a gallon for the first time. I suggested we start the ride from my place just south of Ravenscroft as a money-saving device. But I knew I how tough the climbs on Honeycutt, Six Forks, Raven Ridge and Norwood were -- oh, maybe not so tough at the start of a ride, but at the end of ride, when one is tired and hot and sweaty and HOT. Oh, yeah!

So, I tricked Frank and Sean into their first ever 100k rides. The Columbian mtn goat had his climbing down pat by then, and on that ride Sean learned to seduce the climbs instead of trying to overpower them. And all three of us came out on the short end of the stick from the "Revenge Ride". Sean may have come out the shortest, though, as I think I got him in trouble with his better half. Uh, oh.

A couple weeks later, I went to be "spousal support" at the MS-150. Frank and Sean rode from Finley Y with a cue sheet I had provided. If you want a chuckle, get Frank to describe and re-enact their actions at each turn. If Sean ever makes another appearance, maybe he can recall the ride and add his own take to the story.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Story of the Irregulars, Chpt 1, vignettes, part a

Since our first ride together had proved that Frank was quite strong, I made the second ride tougher.  We went up into Creedmoor and then took Stem Rd to Hester Rd to the "three Hayes roads" and then over to Grissom via Horseshoe and Lawrence Rds.  Not an easy course.

As we left Creedmoor, Frank asked "HOW MANY HILLS ARE THERE ON THIS RIDE?"  I replied that I only recognized about 7 1/2 "hills" worthy of noting.  Frank sputtered that he thought we'd already done 30 hills.  I acknowledged that a year earlier I would have "noted" a lot more "hills" including the one we had just ridden up, but that I could no longer treat that first little climb out of Creedmoor as a hill since I had just done it my big crank / small cog combination.  (Remember, I was on the "purple beast" at the time, so I was using mtn bike gearing.)  But I think the main thing that allowed me to go up that little climb in the biggest gear I had was that I was engaged in conversation and failed to recognize where I was / what I was doing.

Our next ride together was a week or two later.  Frank had figured out how to ride the rolling climbs which make up most of the terrain north of Raleigh, and I found it impossible to keep close to the Colombian mtn goat going upslope.  Also, with those powerful pistons, I could not and cannot match his acceleration on the flat, or upslope, or anywhere.  However, I knew how to use my downslope gravity advantage (bike and body weight combining for the advantage) to good effect.  We did the Creedmoor-Grissom loop and as we neared Grissom, Frank realized his time window was tight.  Since (I admit it, I still hoped to be able to keep up speedwise when Frank was tired) I wanted to try to tire Frank, er, give him a work-free leadout on Bruce Garner / New Light so he would be fresh when we got to Ghoston, I turned the leg from Grissom to Ghoston Rd into a 6.6 mile "time-trial", asking no quarter and giving none as I tried to keep him from overtaking me.  I wasn't entirely successful as the mtn goat passed me on one of the bumps -- I don't remember which one, it could be the last one before Purnell or more likely one of the two between Old Weaver and Holly Point -- but I immediately hit the pedals hard and re-took the lead going over the crest.  When we turned onto Ghoston, Frank slid effortlessly past and disappeared up the hill.  He was in his car and leaving PUE when I turned into the parking lot, exhausted.

That "time-trial" started a tradition.  That ride, on that heavy mtn bike, remained the fastest I had ever done that stretch until nearly two years later.  I had tried, but never could match the determined effort of that day.

A year later, the group included "the Duke", Wave, Frank, me, and someone else (maybe the Duke's nephew).  I tried to keep up, initially surrendering to just hoping to keep Frank in my sights, and then letting go of that forlorn hope.  Meanwhile, Frank was struggling to do the same relative to Wave and the Duke.  Crushed, we were.

Feb-08: Touring Group Ride

aka, Young Tim Runs Out of Gas


BJP: Dalton Touring Group; lake loop; 34.9 m.; 2hrs, 12min; avg pace 15.7 mph.

Jan tot: 2, rides 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 3 rides, 92.2 m.; 5 hrs, 41 min, 15sec.
YTD: 5 rides, 188.2 m.; 11 hrs, 46 min, 15 sec..

Spent most of first half of ride chatting with JimW. Took a turn on Peterson in the lead. Then dropped to tail-end-Charlie. With about six miles to go, as we were on Old Weaver Trail climbing from the lake up to New Light, 12-year-old Tim from Stovall ran out of gas and drifted dangerously across the lane to the double yellow. JimW and I shepharded the youngster in from there - one leading and the other usually riding alongside. Some loss of pace as a result.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Feb-7th ride


PUE:  modified lake loop w/ Joe Peed Rd into Creedmoor; w/ Snapper, BigWaveDave, Peter (Rabbit), PaulS; 45.0 miles; 2hrs, 43min, 45 sec; avg pace 16.4 mph.

Jan tot: 2 rides, 96.0 m.; 6 hrs, 5 min.
Feb tot: 2 rides, 57.3 m.; 3hrs, 29min, 15sec.
YTD: 4 rides, 153.3 m.; 9 hrs, 34 min, 15 sec.

Starting a few minutes after 9 am, temp was prob around 42F.  By the finish, it was well above 50F.

The group did a lot of social riding formation and rode to have fun with several hard intervals caused by one member going hard for a bit, then reeled back in by the group, or the person sat up to get all back together.  Fun, but not the best way to conserve energy and dole it out "equal" portions to get the fastest time for the energy expended.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Solo vs. Group riding

Advantages of solo
  • you ride at your pace
  • you ride when you want to
  • you ride where you want to
  • if you are feeling great and want to go long or exploring, you can
  • if you are feeling lousy and want to go short, you can
  • your breaks are exactly as long as you want
  • you don't get dropped off the back
  • you don't have an embarrassment factor as the group waits at every corner
  • you don't get dropped off the front
  • you don't have to constantly re-start/re-warm-up after waiting at every corner
  • there is no sudden surging alongside you
  • there is no sudden braking in front of you
  • there is no sudden swerving in front of you
  • there is no danger of wheel overlap
  • it is quieter

Disadvantages of solo
  • you are alone

October 2008

cycling north of Raleigh vs. cycling in NW Illinois

I have been in NW Illinois the last two weekends. Here are some observations comparing central NC riding (north of Raleigh) with NW Illinois.

North of Raleigh, the roads go down and up, down and up, down and up, crossing numerous creek and stream valleys.

In NW Illinois, between the Rock River and I-80 / the Hennepin Canal (aka, the Illinois - Mississippi Canal). the roads are F-L-A-T, with an occasional burp up which usually barely impacts one's speed (however, some of the burps can be steep and provide no ability to see what may lie only 50 yards ahead).

In central North Carolina, the corn crop always looks pathetic.

In NW Illinois, the corn is TALL and straight and looks great this year. Some fields are completely harvested, some partially, and some have yet to be introduced to the combine this year. The advantage of the harvested fields is that one can see x-country "forever" -- several miles, anyway. If the fields on both sides of the road are unharvested, then one rides through a "corn tunnel" similar to riding through a "tree tunnel" in Carolina. The advantage of the unharvested fields is that they provide a bit of a wind-break.

North of Raleigh, wildlife likely to be seen during a bike ride include deer, turkeys, hawks, an eagle, turtles, vultures, and once this year I saw a mallard as it took flight.

In NW Illinois, wildlife seen on the last two weekend rides include numerous red-brown with black on each end "wooly" caterpillars inching across the road near my front wheel, many grasshoppers sunning (?) themselves on the roadway, 1 beetle or cricket crawling across the road, 1 squirrel on each ride.

North of Raleigh, road kill likely to be seen each ride include several deer, many squirrels, a few rabbits, an occasional turkey, 'possums, raccoons, and too many turtles.

In NW Illinois road kill seen on the last two Saturday rides combined: 1 skunk. Luckily it was downwind.

North of Raleigh, all the paved roads are maintained by the State, and have a white fog line and a center yellow line.

In NW Illinois, the smoothest roads for cycling are "township" roads and have neither a center line nor any fog lines. Some of these get quite narrow becoming barely wider than a single lane -- which can become quite interesting if the "single-wide" section coincides with going over one the aforementioned "burps".

North of Raleigh, the road net on a map looks like a haphazard wandering "spaghetti" splatter.

In Illinois, the secondary and tertiary roads are a square mile grid going true north-south or east-west, with exceptions for certain roads that date back to the stage coach era, and Indian and / or deer or bison trails before that. The non-grid roads tend to follow ridge-lines, keeping above the surrounding ground, but some of those ridge-lines are virtually imperceptible, even to a cyclist. Also, the compass direction roads will sometimes disappear for a mile or two (or more), necessitating a "detour".

Central NC is the birthplace on one US President. Raleigh: Andrew Johnson. (Look for the historical marker near the state capitol area.)

NW Illinois is the birthplace of one US President. Tampico: Ronald Reagan. I saw no historical marker when I rode through Tampico last weekend; only a hand-written sign on a "museum" door directing one three doors down the street. If you are ever touring the Midwest, I think you will find the Lincoln, Grant, Hoover, and Eisenhower stuff more interesting.

Central North Carolina occasionally has wind.

This time of year, NW Illinois has WIND, the kind of wind one gets in New Bern when the hurricane is about three days from making landfall (think New Bern MS ride three years ago).

One more comment based on yesterday's ride: I stopped to take a good drink and stretch my right leg after I had ridden about 25 miles, and realized that I had crossed paths with only ONE vehicle. Gotta love those tertiary roads!


What I did on Sunday, OR, My unintended Single Speed experience

I intended a leisurely 70-ish mile ride on Sunday (Nov-9th), checking out the scenery as I went. The first hour was good -- I rode to Bold Run Hill Rd via a different route than the Dalton touring group, and then detoured down past Camp Kanata to look for some little orange markings. The scenery beyond the golf course on the west side of Kanata Rd was great. The scenery through the valley on Bold Run Hill Rd was good -- I'm confident it would have been great if I had been riding away from the sun instead of into it at that point.

Most of the second hour was good. But I don't remember too much of scenery, etc. Except that I did not see any of the (more than a dozen) llamas at the corner of Long Mill and Pokomoke Rds. Still well within the second hour, I had just crossed NC-56 and was headed north and downslope on Mt. Olivet Ch Rd, looking forward to the tree tunnel I would be in for the next several miles as it would protect me from the increasing northerly breeze, when, as I tried to shift from the 50/12 to 50/11, Snap!, the rear gear cable broke.

Suddenly I was in 50/11 whether I liked it or not. I got the chain ring from the 50 back to the 39 and then turned around. I had 30.3 miles @ 16.3 mph on the confuser. I estimated a bit over 20 miles to get "straight" back.

During the previous two rides, I had been having to "help" the drive chain when I would shift from the 39 to the 50, probably due to staying with the chain too long (only 7000 miles :-) ). Therefore, I was pretty sure I would not be able to get back into the 50. Later, I would find that I could not get into the 30, either. So, I had 20 + mile ride on a 39/11 single speed ahead of me.

First thing I had to do after turning around was go a mile back "up" Mt. Olivet to NC-56, where I then cut 1/4 mile across to Gordon Moore Rd and then had another 3 miles almost entirely upslope to get to Pokomoke Rd (about a 1/4 mile from Pokomoke - i.e., NC-96).

I stopped at the corner of Gordon Moore & Pokomoke Rd for a minute to take a good drink and get my right heel onto the ground. I think the confuser showed 34.6 miles @ 16.9 avg pace. I calc that I rode those 4.3 miles at an avg of 22.8 mph.

I do NOT ride that fast, esp. with so much "up" -- not steep, just 4 miles of it. However, since I was now on a singe speed with an 11 tooth cog, the only way I could keep the cadence high was to keep the effort high. The result of the high cadence using the 11 was that I was flying faster than I could have imagined.

The next section was mostly flattish, actually a net downslope, but there are a couple little bumps on Pokomoke / Bruce Garner / New Light Rd, esp near the Franklin Cnty line. I got to the New Light / Ghoston corner with 45.4 miles @ 17.1 avg. I had ridden the 8.8 miles after leaving Gordon Moore Rd avg'ing 18 mph.

Because I was going so well, and I had a fear of falling over in front of traffic on New Light or Six Forks Rd near NC-98, I decided to take on my usual Ghoston-Peed-Mt Vernon Ch Rd finish. I climbed the 1.1 mile Ghoston Rd in 4:37. A full 38 seconds faster than I ever had done before.

I don't typically note the time to cover Peed Rd, and today was no exception to that. However, I noticed that when I turned onto Mt Vernon Ch Rd from Peed Rd, my avg for the entire trip, as reported by the confuser, was 17.2 mph. I had held 9 1/2 mph on the steep of Peed, and then zoomed across the false flat upslope from the sharp corner to Mt Vernon Ch., and I guess the net result was fast (for me).

The 39/11 may have limited my speed on the downslope section of Mt Vernon Ch, and the efforts on Ghoston and Peed had definitely taken a toll. Even so, I held on to a min of 9 1/2 mph on the steepest part of MVC. The confuser reported 17.0 or 17.1 mph avg when I turned off Mt Vernon onto Pleasant Union Ch Rd.

The slight northerly breeze was a nuisance going across Pleasant Union Ch Rd. So was the stop sign at Six Forks. I finished in the BJP parking lot with a shortened 52.5 mile ride @ 17.1 mph avg for the whole ride.

My calculations indicate that I avg'd 18.3 mph for that last 22.2 miles. I deem that excellent for me, esp given the G-P-MVC finish.

I don't recall any of the scenery that last 22.2 miles -- I was concentrating on pedaling. It is kind of amazing what one can do when one has to, and I think I learned that I have more "go" in me than I realized. Also, that with practice, our "hills" just north of Raleigh are little more than what Karen's friend Andy refers to as speed bumps.

My legs were a bit tired after the ride and for a few hours afterward, but not unduly so. I would still have rather done 70 miles at 16 1/2 mph or so. I love the sensation of going fast. But I'd rather see more -- which happens when I slow just that tad, and go longer.

Story of the Irregulars, Chapter 2

Over the winter of 2006/7, Martin acquired a slightly better bike:  a Trek Pilot 5.0 weighing only 22.4 pounds.  He managed to ride through most of the winter, solo, and was in decent riding shape when Frank and Sean returned with the warm weather.  Second ride of the year, Sean invited along his co-worker, the yet to be christened "Snapper".  Now there were four, and it was good.

During the next week, Snapper asked if he could invite BigWaveDave.  Rules of character and SAFEty were developed, but Snapper never answered them regarding BigWaveDave.  Next day, BigWaveDave asked if he could invite his friend "the Duke".  An interesting thing occurred:  BWD actually responded to the character and SAFEty questionaire -- the only time anyone has actually responded.

So that next Saturday, (I think) we were five:  Frank, Snapper, BigWaveDave, Duke, me.  We haven't seen Sean on an Irregulars ride since.  That ride was a seminal ride in the story of the irregulars for two reasons:
  1. it was the first time the ride split into "short" and "long" groups as all but Frank & me turned back upon reaching Stem, whereas Frank & I went on to explore several roads including Eaton Rd.  Unfortunately, I think that was also the last time I rode the Eaton Rd circuit -- that needs to be changed [ed.  the previous sentence is no longer true];
  2. Snapper apparently rode so hard on the downslope from Stem to Creedmoor that he hurt himself, and it took more than a year to get him ride that hard again.
The week following the above ride, Duke invited Barry, and four of us (Frank, Duke, Barry, me) explored Gordon Moore, Wes Sandling, and Grove Hill roads.  Once again the group split into "short" and "long" as the Duke accompanied Barry back when we reached Philo White Rd, while Frank & I rode up to US-158 on Bike Route #1 before turning around.  Now there were seven, but the average number of riders joining the author on any given Saturday was less than 1.0.  So the author determined that the only way he could continue to have fun was to plan rides for himself, and not care if anyone else showed. And it was good.

As that summer of 2007 came to a close, the author met PaulN ["Iceman"] at the MS-150 in New Bern.  Paul was in charge of delivering ice to the rest stops; the author was a late volunteering recruit to assist with the ice delivery.  And PaulN was invited to join, making eight, and it was good.

About the same time, the author met Norris and BobH while riding.  And they were added to the list, making ten.  And it was good.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Story of the Irregulars, Chapter 1

Once upon a time, Martin rode solo on his circa 1991 made-in-Taiwan, purple, steel Cygnal Zanzibar mountain bike that weighed about 29 pounds.  He was slow, but he enjoyed his rides.  It was good.

Then his wife, Lynn, and her friend, Larisa, started suggesting that he ought to try riding with a group from Finley Y.  But that group usually didn't start until around 9 am, and Martin usually started around 6 am.  He didn't want to wait until the day got quite that hot before starting his ride, and he didn't want to have to deal with people possibly snearing at his bike; besides, riding solo was his contemplation time.  So, he ignored the suggestions.  And it was good.

Then in 2006, a guy named Frank purchased a used Trek 1500.  After a few rides on the greenway, he knew he wanted to get out on the road, but he didn't know where to ride.  Frank mentioned this one day after Spin Class to the instructor, Larisa, and one of the other members of the class, Lynn.  Larisa suggested that Frank ride with Martin to learn the roads.

So, on Jul-22nd of 2006, Frank met Martin at PUE, and they rode 32 or so miles together.  At 15.6 avg mph, it was the fastest ride Martin had ever done.  Within a few weeks, Frank had brought his friend Sean to ride with them, and they soon were riding even faster.  And it was good.


Hello and welcome, Newbie.

S___ has suggested that you might like to come along with The Irregulars cycling crew for a ride or two or "permanently".  I refer to the crew as The Irregulars because almost no one shows up often enough to count as "regular".

Every person that has been added to the list has been told a few basic rules which go something like this:

1. Must be a decent human being.  There is room for only one jerk in the group, and I will fill that role.
2. Must absolutely be a SAFE rider.
3. No dropping the ride leader.  Especially if we are operating without a cue sheet.
4. If the women show, no unnecessary displays of testosterone.

If it turns out that you fail on rule # 1, #2, or #4, you and your sponsor will pay dearly.
If you fail on rule # 3, on your own head be it.

The above is the bit on the rules. The following is gibberish about the rules, pace and other protocols and expectations.

It has been suggested that the order of rules #1 and #2 should be switched.  SAFE.  Dammit.  I have quietly mentioned to a rider that they were making me nervous because of something they were doing on the ride (e.g., riding wrong side of double yellow while going up a hill).  I have also been known to shout loudly and angrily, but that was probably because Frank had scared the bleep out of me because he almost hit me.

If I do something unsafe, I fully expect to hear about it.  Immediately.  Probably loudly.  As I am only human, I may get defensive for a bit, but I hope I would get over it.

If you are a reasonable human being, we can help you become safer and more comfortable on your bicycle.  If you are not a reasonable human being, ... go away.

The ride is "invitation only."  You must be invited by an existing Irregular.  There is a "probationary test period" during which your sponsor must invite you and be present when you are.  Also, during the undefined probationary period, your sponsor is completely responsible for you.  If you cannot keep the pace for the distance, that is a problem for you and your sponsor -- not for me or anyone else.  If, during the "probationary period", you determine that we are not for you -- no hard feelings.  Similarly, if we determine you are not for us, I expect no hard feelings to be exhibited.

The ride is semi-no-drop.  If you have a problem during the probationary period, see above.  However, if a "regular" Irregular is having a bad day, I expect one or more other Irregulars to stick with the struggling rider and help them "get home".  If it turns out that repeatedly I am the only one helping struggling riders home, expect to hear about it.  Almost everyone has had a day where they had to be helped.  I expect that everyone will eventually be there to help someone else get home.  (However, if someone has repeatedly shown complete indifference and unwillingness to help any other get home, ... I have a long memory.)

We generally do not ride tight pace lines, but do ride loose pace lines (or what I sometimes refer to as "follow-the-rotating-leader") and definitely ride social formations where the road and traffic and pace allow.  The reason we don't do tight pace lines is that some of us are triathletes who should not become dependent upon following, and also because I like to see the sights as I ride and not have to concentrate on the tire in front of me.  Since we do not ride tight pace lines, we likely are a bit slower than we could be if we did.

As a group, we are not all that fast, usually avg between 16 and 17 mph for the ride.  That said, the leader usually starts slower than that in order to warm up his right leg really well before naturally rounding into a faster pace for the remainder of the ride.  Sometimes the leader rides faster from the get-go, not because he is trying to go fast, but because on some days the body and the right leg seemed to be warmed-up even before mounting the bike.

The courses all tend to be typical of the north of Raleigh riding, which means they go down-and-up, down-and-up. A lot.  I am the second slowest climber among the "group", and if everyone were in shape and intending to ride the same distance, I am very likely the slowest on the flat.  So, rule # 3 is very important.

If you are unfamiliar with riding north of Raleigh, the repeated rollers north of Raleigh (and in north Raleigh) means that the avg pace of a ride will be slower for the same effort than if we were a group riding south out of Garner or Clayton.

Sometimes there are cue sheets; sometimes not.  Most of the time, even if cue sheets have been prepared and e-mailed to everyone, it seems that no one remembers to bring one to the ride.  This has often led to the leader wondering “what was the point, anyway?”

The leader never brings a cue sheet; he knows where he is going; don't count on him to have a spare to give you -- he won't have one.

Sometimes we do familiar routes; sometimes not.  If it is an unfamiliar route and there is no cue sheet and you don't know where you are, see rule # 3 above.  (If it is an unfamiliar route, and you see me with a cue sheet, beware:  normal expectations regarding getting lost and/or knowing alternative routes may not apply.)

The crew sometimes has mini-crews, by which I mean some are going long (e.g., 100 k) and some are going short (e.g., 40 miles).  In those cases, it is my intent that the entire ride be at a pace appropriate for the longer crew since it is not good to get wiped out early on a long ride.  The short crew can always pick up the pace after they turn off.

Finally, you may wonder why I am the "leader".

Two reasons: 

1.  I do not get lost.  And I can usually figure a short cut if mechanicals have cut into the allotted ride time.  Ditto if someone is having a bad day and unexpectedly needs to go short. 

2.  This was (and still sometimes is) my solo Saturday ride.

Ride safely,


First Post

I am starting this blog so that I can keep track of my cycling data, even when my computer breaks down. I'll see how this goes.


PUE: lake loop + Strawberries; w/ Snapper, BigWaveDave, PaulN, Heath, Peter, Jason, me; 40.0 m.; 2hrs, 29min; 16.05 mph.

Ytd: 1 ride, 40.o miles; 2hrs, 29min.

To Heath:

Today's ride of 40 miles produced an avg speed for me of 16.05 mph. My avg for all rides during all of last year was 16.05 mph. Today's ride was actually a teensy bit slower according the info I recorded on my log, but the difference is less than the tolerance of the data I record. So ... the same.

However, compared to all my rides August thru December, '08 in which (removing the two MS-150 rides where Bike Marshal duties and the record heat resulted in SLOW riding), I avg'd 16.5 mph, on an avg ride distance of 47.5 miles, I can safely say that today's ride was slower than what I had been avg'ing lately.

Interestingly, from my ride stats from the 19 rides that I counted as "irregulars" in 2007 and the 20 rides that I counted as "irregulars" in 2008, I find that the avg pace each year was 15.9 mph. So today's was a bit faster than those averages. However, the avg distance of the 2007 and 2008 rides was 56.6 miles and 57.2 miles, respectively.

Was today's ride slow? I am not sure; but it can't qualify as "fast"! And I am sure that when you are healthy and in better shape, I will have a lot of difficulty in hanging on to your wheel.


PUE: modified Assault on Flat Rock; w/ Dave-not-the-Wave and Paul #2; approx 56 miles; approx 15.5 avg mph --> est. 3hrs, 36min. (My Cateye was wet from last minute bike cleaning and never registered anything the entire ride. DntW reported 58 miles from and back to his front door.)

Ytd: 2 rides, 96.0 miles; 6hrs, 5min.

To Snapper:

Well, Snapper, another wheel pulling steadily ahead of me has been added to the group. On his heavy bike with "rat-cage" pdeals and fenders in place, easily leaving me behind on any flat or upslope on which he might so desire. Rule #3, don't drop the leader, continues to be important.

His reply:

What was he riding? A commuter?

My response:

Paul #2 rode a silver Specialized "something", that he informed Dave-not-the-Wave and me that he originally got to ride the greenways with his childen. I don't think it was a commuter, there where no panniers; but one could "messenger bag" everything, I guess. I hardly pay attention to anyone's bike, and the names of the Specialized hierarchy confuses me, so it was in one ear and out the other.

Dave-not-the-Wave knew the model and the two of them exchanged pleasantries, and then I coaxed Dave into relating the story about how he got a free warranty upgrade from his "Roubaix" (sp?) to his "S-works" a few months ago when one or two of the cable embrasseurs (or was it water bottle embrassers - no, I think it was cables) just fell of the bike as the bike mech touched the bike when Dave's wife took it the the bike shop for a check-up.

How unaware of other's steeds am I? I can't play the game of "snearing" at the most expensive / advanced bike in the group, which you and Big Wave Dave introduced a week ago, because I don't notice.

How unaware of other's steeds am I? I didn't realize Paul had fenders until he was taking a turn leading and I was immediately behind him.

How unaware of other's steed am I? I didn't realize Paul was using pedals with clips until some time after I comprehended the fenders.

How unaware of the steeds of the group am I? I know I ride a Trek Pilot 5.0. I know Frank rides a used Trek 1500 which is probably one size too big for him (or at least he needs a fitting to try to eliminate or at least limit his neck pain). I know Dave-not-the-Wave rides a brand new, mostly red, Specialized S-works. I know Dave-ntW's friend Phil rides a mostly blue Trek Madonne 2.0 (or whatever the bottom of line Madonne is / was a couple years ago). I know Jason rode a Trek something last week. I know your bike is black.

Very observant, hey?

Snapper's further inquiry:

Fenders would have freaked me out a little. Pedals I can comprehend.So, just the three of you? And he left the group? But you reeled him back in right?

This weekend looks very promising.

And, again, my response:

Paul never left the group, but I think he could have -- except he didn't know where he was after the first 9 miles. He was reticent to lead too much early because of prior experiences with unknown groups and unknown rides leaving him exhausted. But he was stronger than me on each climb; he and Dave-ntW were well-matched I thought -- but that could be just that they slowed to same uphill speed so they wouldn't have quite so long to wait for me.

After Green Hill and Flat Rock roads, I was wondering if I would be able to keep up, especially into the never ending headwinds. Finally, on Rock Springs / Beaver Dam Rd I got some zip back, but not much.

On the two miles from on Old Weaver from Beaver Dam to New Light, Dave started to lag a bit, but I was too worried about myself to notice.

I took off on New Light from the Old Weaver corner at a quick pace (I like to TT that section and I guess the previous week was in my mind), but I don't know what the pace was because I had gotten my Cateye damp -- well, WET -- doing additional cleaning on the bike left over from the previous Saturday, and at the end of the ride my Cateye still registered 0.00 miles and 0 hrs, 0 min, 0 seconds of ride time. After about 1/2 a mile, Paul pulls up alongside and tells me that we "are man down". I thought he meant Dave had had a mechanical or a flat or an accident, so I pulled in at that one Church with the parking lot on both sides of New Light (also with a handy cemetary), and Dave was not in sight. Then here comes Dave. We re-caught him after letting him pass and Dave told us he was bonking -- American def'n, not English.

So that gives you an idea of Paul's ability. I was flagging, and Dave definitely had a problem until he stopped into the Peed Store and got some quick energy. Paul never gave a hint of trouble.

Dave was kitted out in full length tights; I had my usual knee-warmers; Paul was in regular cycling shorts.

Oh, yes, it was just the three of us. With headwinds everywhere except on New Light / Beaver Dam / Bruce Garner / Gordon Moore in the first 20 miles and the 2 miles on Old Weaver late in the ride. Some nasty little gusts. I have experienced worse.

To DntW:

Did you enjoy the Assault route, or did the bonking near the end prejudice too much for a fair analysis?

When Paul & I were riding back towards the Peed Store to look for you, Paul noticed a rider coming our way and asked me if it was you. I replied that it didn't look like you because the rider's legs were flaring about quite a bit. About that time some sunshine lit up the shoulder markings on your jacket, and I agreed that the rider was definitely you. I told Paul that you must be feeling worse than I thought because you don't ride in a wobbly way; I do, I said, but not Dave.

I found the headwinds annoying, and I didn't enjoy the ride / route as much as I usually have. That may because I was struggling a bit from approx the time we re-crossed NC-56 headed south until a point somewhere on Rock Springs / Beaver Dam Rd. My slowness on the climbs on Grove Hill and Flat Rock neither bothered nor worried me as you and Paul are both better (faster) climbers, generally.

I think that route is more enjoyable when there is a light northerly breeze instead of the W / WSW wind we had. I usually pay quite a bit of attention to the scenery on that run down to the left curve / bridge on Grove Hill, but for some reason I didn't seem to last Saturday. Likely I was more concerned with putting on a good face than enjoying the ride.

DntW responds:

really enjoyed the ride. I should have eaten something earlier but at least I got some fuel before it was too late. I ended up at 58 miles at my front door. Great route!

I passed you Sun on Norwood. I was driving the big red fire truck.


BJP: Pleasant Union Ch Rd (twice) & over to Norwood fire station; crotch discomfort & sore butt; 12.3 miles; 45min, 30sec. (My heart was not in this ride; and my butt was sore. Guess I've lost some of the cast-iron back there by only riding 7 times since Thanksgiving.)

Feb-td: 1 ride, 12.3 miles; 45.5min.
Ytd: 3 rides, 108.3 miles; 6hrs, 50.5min.