Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sep-27: Cassam - Roberts Chapel


PUE: Cassam - Roberts Chapel; w/ Lt. Dave; 62.5 m.; est 3335 ft --> effort = 95; 3hrs, 54min; 16.0 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 9 rides; 505.3 m.; 32hrs, 38 min; 15.9 mph.
YTD: 99 rides; 4826.8 m.; 304 hrs, 19 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 121 rides; 5817.0 m.; 364 hrs, 10 min; 16.0 mph.

Dave called Saturday evening, asked if I wanted to ride. I said yes. Hadn't planned on a 100k ride for the "test the shoulder" ride, but it worked out okay.

Dave and I have been wanting to ride Roberts Chapel Rd for about 8 months -- we finally managed to ride it. I can't wait to do the Johnson Mill Roller Coaster Ride again, and do it as I originally envisioned it: Johnson Mill Roller Coaster, Rougemont & Hampton Rd, then Roberts Chapel Roller Coaster. I think I'd prefer to tackle THAT routing without any of the hammers along.

Anyway, back to the ride report:

Quite windy.

My shoulder was barely noticeable. My legs were tired most of the ride -- seemed to still have some "twist" left over from the crash ride. Possibly also a bit "spun-out" as I accidentally rode the first 15 miles or so in the 30 crank ("triple" for those of you from Rio Linda).

Thanks to LT for pulling almost every single mile.

Had a gas on Dove Rd.

Second fastest ever for me going up Ghoston -- 4 min, 40 seconds. My fastest ever is 4 min, 38 seconds -- the day I had to ride back to PUE from ~ 23 miles out on a 39/11 single-speed. (It was either 4:40 or 5:40. I can't believe it was 5:40 because that would have felt a lot slower than I was going. However, one would think that with 4:40 on Ghoston, that I would have at least "challenged" my fastest time ever for the combined Ghoston-Peed-MVC -- just under 19 minutes. However, I did the dreaded three in only 21 minutes +/-. I didn't think I slowed that much, but, on the other hand, I now think the shallow slope on Peed into the SW wind may well have taken a full minute out of me. As I told Dave during the ride: "I tell people that the hard part of Peed is NOT the steep, it is the shallow slope when into a SW wind." Dave was in 100% agreement, commenting that a stiff wind on that section "slaps you in the face and adds insult to injury.")

I'll be ready for 92 miles this coming Saturday. But I might not be ready for much more than 16 mph for the avg pace.

Today's route: 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sept. 26th - "Irregulars" Lost Again

[ed. note: Guest post today, mostly by Iva]

I will try to recount the ride this morning best I can.

I wish you had been riding for me the last 10 miles. I was cooked.

The day dawned in the parking lot of PUE with me spotting Bob The Duke. He and I were the only car drivers today. Shortly thereafter Lee showed on his bike and then Norris and Bob H.

Off we went about on time at 7 am.

Of course, I was concerned having to ride with these hammers, but we had a reasonable pace with the only early highlight being The Duke's early attempts to garner polka dot jersey points. But, Norris easily reeled him back in each time.

Norris and Bob were pulling and did the bulk of the work at the front of the line all day. The rest of us had brief stints at the front. So thanks to those two for that work.

We were on the correct route on Range Road but somehow missed the turn onto Red Mountain Rd , and we continued all the way to Moriah Rd. We turned right [ed. note: this has to have been a "left"] and stopped in Moriah itself. There we consulted with a local old timer asking him where Johnnie Jones Rd was. He said it was 7 miles back up the road [ed.: hmmn, the cue sheet indicates 5.3 miles].

So we went straight on to Bahama. Once there Lee and
Martin [ed.: probably BobH] worked out a plan to get the 82 miles. I recall seeing Ellis Mountain, Old Weaver, Boyce, Cheek, and Patterson in no particular order.

Norris flatted just about in front of the prison at Butner. Lee told us of the time he and Lt. Dave were nearly gunned down by guards when they stepped a few feet onto the prison property.

The Duke had not ridden in awhile but looked strong for most of the ride, but did drag (for him) about the time we got to Patterson. The big three waited for us at 98 and Patterson. The plan was to get over to Carpenter Pond. Lee, Bob H, and Norris were not going back to PUE since they had ridden. I said I was going straight home too and would get my car later. So the five of us took off on Olive Branch.

The big three turned right on Doc Nichols while Duke and I went straight on Olive Branch thinking it would be shorter. What a tough road that is when you're tired [ed.: or not tired, too]. Duke and I turned left on Carpenter Road. I said good bye to Duke as he went straight when I turned right on Hickory Grove.

I was going about 10 mph on Hickory Grove when none other than the big three came up behind me. We rode together till we got to Norwood and Ray. BobH and Norris turned right on Ray and Lee continued on to his final destination.

The day was cool and damp. The pace was reasonable but still a bit much for me where I was totally cooked near the end.

We did have a few times with BobH and Norris at the front (maybe Lee too. I can't remember; it was all a fog by that time) pushing it to 25 and one time I thought I saw 32 which must have been on an incline (obviously?).

We missed you and your navigation ability, but we had a great ride. I hope u r well soon. I finished with just about 82 on the button.


Comments from the peloton:

The ride was a good one, the weather almost cool. Iva did a good job with the description. We did have to tweak the distance and our location a couple of times, but by putting all of our knowledge together we came out with a fine ride. It was Norris that decided to hump it along at 32 mph. My turbos were wound out and I was glad when he finally backed off a tad. I ended with 89.75 miles, which was a good distance for me.


Iva was too modest in his blog.

I think the reason we missed the turn onto Red Mountain road was because Iva was pulling the train. We had only gone a couple of miles on Range Road when Iva came to the front and stated it was time to let the "old man" pull for a while.

The next thing I knew Norris had dropped of the back, my heart rate jumped 10 points and the dashed lines turned solid as the scenery blurred. If it wasn't for an ill-place stop sign we would have made Tennessee by noon. At the stop sign Norris told Iva it was such a great pull that he had set up his hammock and was just about to pull out the ice tea !

I did not get the detail level stats that Martin usually gets but here is what I had:
after 1 hour (ride time) we averaged 16 mph
after 2 hours (ride time) we averaged 16.2 mph
after 3 hours (ride time) we averaged 16.4 mph
after 4 hours (ride time) we averaged 16.6 mph
at the finish (Norris and I had 93.3 miles) we averaged 16.8 mph)

Everyone did an outstanding job and despite having to ask for directions from the locals at Moriah it was a great ride.


Comments from outside the peloton:

It was raining late last night and i assumed that it was going to be raining in the morning and didn't get up in time to get to PUE. Harvey called me at 6:35 saying he had changed his mind and was going to try to get to PUE in time to ride. Guess he didn't make it...

I rode solo on the course you outlined (nice route BTW), I know how they missed that turn. There is no street sign at that intersection. If i hadn't been paying attention to the mileage i would have missed it also.

I find the cue sheets very helpful and appreciate you taking the time to put them together.


Comment from the absent "cue-sheet guy":

I've never noticed that there is no road sign at Range / Red Mtn. I just know that is Red Mtn Rd from previous riding / scouting (some in a car). An acquaintance from another riding group confirmed that there is no sign there, and they have to "watch the mileage from Hampton Rd". I look for the distinctive landmarks and terrain, and for the place where the parallel Range and Bahama Roads are spitting distance apart, with a third road (Red Mtn) connecting them.

I also just LOVE the sense of direction exhibited by the crew!

Iva writes that they turned "right" onto Moriah Rd and took it to Moriah. But, if they had turned "right", they would have ended up in Berea -- not Moriah.

BobH writes that without that stop-sign at Moriah Rd, Iva would have likely dragged them all to Tennessee. Interesting, because they were heading almost due NORTH on Range Rd.
Tennessee is West. Virginia is North.

Recently, I mentioned to a non-"irregular" that I often plan routes that go from point A to point B on a given road, and later go from point B to point C on the same road. That person commented "that's clever, does your group recognize that when it happens?" My dead-pan reply was "No. Most of the time they are just lost."

Truer words were never spoken.


Monday, September 21, 2009

I Am a Lucky Man, or Blessed, or Both

My cycling friend, "Duke", sent me an e-mail message after he saw the "crash" post: 

Glad you’re ok and thank God for helmets! 

He thinks I sent him back a "well put" response; maybe it is "well put". 

I am thankful for helmets because of a fall from a few years ago. 

This fall is unusual as well as "lucky" (because it could have been a LOT worse).  Unusual because my helmet never hit pavement.  My shoulder, knee, and those two fingers took virtually all the impact.  There is a tiny bit of "road rash" (more like "carpet burn") on my left elbow, but no hip abrasions, no other places on the leg or foot or ankle. 

Those two "bloody" fingers, though, were quite dislocated when I looked down at them immediately after the sliding around stopped.  If zero (0) degrees indicates the fingers pointing straight ahead like they are supposed to, and 90 degrees indicates pointing at the next finger via an unnatural sideways bend at the second joint from the finger-tip, each of those fingers were pointing at about 60 to 70 degrees. 

I felt some extra sensations (PAIN) in my fingers, and looked down, and immediately thought "great, I've broken and ruined those two fingers for the rest of my life."  Still in the semi-shock, I reached over with my right hand to the left index finger to test what I might feel, and the finger immediately snapped back into position.  So I tried the second finger -- same result.  I bent / curled and uncurled them even before beginning to "sit-slide-shuffle" on my butt off the road.  It didn't phase me at the time.  Several hours later, however, the thought of how those fingers looked in that state of dislocation made me shudder.  Makes me shudder just to write this.  But, perhaps having written it once, I'll not have quite the shuddering reaction the next time that picture pops into my head.

All in all, I came off VERY lucky or blessed.  My injuries are nothing compared to Snapper's "scratches" from a few weeks ago.  And no one in my life has needed heart surgery lately.  Mother and brother, previously, yes.  Wife, ever, no. 

Another brother has just completed his first, and hopefully last, LONG series of chemo treatments for testicular cancer; he has twin sons aged about 12 or 13 (it is hard to keep track from 1000 miles away).

And my baby sister lost her husband 2+ years ago after a nearly four year fight against cancer during which neither Cathy nor Al ever complained about their situation, except to each other; they obviously decided to give their two kids, aged 4 months and the other 3 years when the cancer was found, as near a normal life as possible for as long as possible.  Two nicer kids one cannot find.  And Al and Cathy were the perfectly matched couple in a thousand.  If you are are lucky enough to know such a couple, you will understand all that the previous sentence means.

So, as you can see, I am personally very lucky or very blessed.  Or both. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sep-19: First "Irregulars" Crash


PUE: Ruin Wall - Bearpond - Bobbitt - Franklinton; w/ Smitty + (LeeD, NT, BobH for ~ 39 m.); 72.2 m.; est 3125 ft ---> effort = 103; 4hrs, 30min; 16.1 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 8 rides; 442.8 m.; 27hrs, 44 min; 15.9 mph.
YTD: 98 rides; 4764.3 m.; 300 hrs, 25 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 122 rides; 5864.5 m.; 366 hrs, 47 min; 16.0 mph.

The impact from Friday's ride on this ride was non-existant, as best I could tell.

However, there was an "impact" on today's ride.

The first 31.9 miles of the ride were great -- even climbing the Ruin Wall was okay.

The last 40.3 miles of the ride were pretty good, considering.

The 17 yards in between, however, were not so good.
I received an e-mail from one of the female "Irregulars" -- a real stretch to categorize her as an "Irregular". Core text of her e-mail follows. Sent Oct-13-2009:
I can’t believe you would still be able to ride like that after the crash. Maybe you were still in shock! Your speed was fast, too for that length of time. You have been doing some pretty serious mileage considering your crash. You are crazy! AND you did the Ghoston-Peed MVC route back to PUE! Yikes! That’s hard even on the best days! I don’t think I would have done it, I think I would have resorted to the phone call for help!

Anyway, I’m glad you are still back in the saddle!

Response: Oct-13-2009:
What's the old poem?

Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.
Boys are made of snails and puppy dog tails.

Or something like that.

I would expect that you would have made a call. As would have many if not most others.

But nothing was broken. The shoulder was not dislocated. I did an analysis of what hurt and why. Put the two fingers back in place (probably still in a bit of shock when I did that). Took stock of everything, and everything still worked. As usual, those not hurt were more worried about the superficial damage just below the knee. Why were they worried about that? Because there was blood. I sometimes have trouble dealing with the blood of others, but I seem to do pretty well about not over-reacting to my own blood coming from superficial cuts and scrapes.

Making the legs work was a good way to get the muscles to recover and not allow them to stiffen up unnecessarily.

I basically rode in an easy gear (39/19) that I couldn't shift out of, and pedaled along in a combination soft-pedal / spinning action. Many times I was topped out in speed, but my downslope gravity advantage, hard work downslope is pretty much a waste of e ffort for me -- i.e., my downslope speeds were barely impacted.

I started out really easily. Going 12, 13, 14 mph for the first four miles or so. And gradually going a bit faster between Gill and Bobbitt, but that is a false flat downslope, so it is easy to carry more speed than one is pedaling. But I must have averaged better than 17 from Bobbitt back to PUE in order to average 15.9 for the entire post-crash mileage.

The upslopes on the 35 miles from Floytan Crossroads to the bottom of Ghoston are not bad -- or at least I can do them without going to the 25 tooth gear in the back if I decide to keep the cadence up (unfortunately, since I have a 25-tooth gear, I am prone to using it when I would probably do better in the long run to use the 21 or 19). The climb from the Sims Bridge Tar River crossing up to West River Rd is a climb that I would likely have done in the 39/19 anyway. The rollers on Pokomoke Rd are not that bad, although sometimes I seem to make them seem bad, and I am glad it was not a hot day in July or August when I crashed -- because that would have made a fair bit of the ride back HOT due to lack of shade and lots of sun.

My left shoulder did hurt whenever I moved my left hand on the handlebar -- which I try to move every few minutes to minimize the possiblilty of numbnes s and long-term carpel tunnel type damage. The shoulder really hurt whenever I had to stop -- because during the last bit before stopping and as one stops, one is no longer balancing the bike, but holding the bike up with one's arm and shoulder muscles. (If you don't believe the previous sentence, I can describe an experiment that will convince you -- unfortunately, the preparation for the experiment entails some likelihood of a broken collar bone or dislocated shoulder, or at least a badly bruised shoulder. ) The shoulder also hurt when I would re-start after a stop-sign or stop-light -- but by the time we got back to PUE, I had gotten much better about instantly balancing the bike upon restarting and the last couple restarts caused no extra pain. And although I think I got better in my stopping motion, stopping hurt every time that day.

When Smitty and I got back to PUE, except for my shoulder, I felt like I could have ridden another 30 miles no problem. The result of pedaling an easy gear, I think.

Here is an interresing tidbit. Although I landed on the back-top of my shoulder (see the photo on the blog), and never had any pain in the front shoulder / chest area, I got some really nice bruising that left me with a purple pectoral for about a wee k. The discoloriing is in rapid retreat now, but there is still a lot of purple around my pectoral area.

There was one time when the front of the shoulder / upper left chest area did hurt. Sunday a week later, when Lt. Dave dragged me through a 100k, I stood out of the saddle -- possibly there was a good cycling reason for standing, but mostly I stood (which I seldom do) simply to find out what the shoulder, etc. would feel like / do. There was obviously some muscle damage in that front left chest area because there was an instant sensation of pain. A sharp pain, not a dull ache. But the pain was mild, if that makes sense. Perhaps better described as a mild, localized pain, not an ache.

I have now written about this once or twice or thrice too often. Time to put it into the blog and be done with it.

Don't be surprised if an edited version of the above shows up as part of the main text for the crash ride blog entry.

Ride fast, but more importantly, ride safely.

Friday, September 18, 2009

China's Got Talent

16 Girls + 1 Bicycle = Awesome

Sep-18: Spin out the legs Friday


BJP: Leesville Rd U-turn; 25.4 m.; est 988 ft ---> effort = 35; 1hrs, 30min; 17.0 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 7 rides; 370.6 m.; 23hrs, 14 min; 15.9 mph.
YTD: 97 rides; 4692.1 m.; 295 hrs, 55 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 121 rides; 5792.3 m.; 362 hrs, 17 min; 16.0 mph.

Last Friday, on underinflated tyres (~95 lbs instead of 120) because I forgot to pump them up, I rode what felt glorious and somewhat easily on the same course I rode today -- but last week I finished 1 min, 54 seconds "faster" than today -- 17.3 mph last week on under-inflated tyres versus 17.0 mph on fully inflated tyres. Further, today's ride was WORK.

What will be the impact on tomorrow's ride? Time will tell. My suspicion is that there will be little to no impact.

I've got to get some mid-week rides to spin out the legs!

Cue Sheet Lament

I've looked at a fair number of cue sheets from quite a number of different sources.  My conclusion is that most people make cue sheets that just plain SUCK. 


Road names are often wrong.  E.g., this week, I saw a cue sheet that calls for the rider to turn off Fletcher Chapel Road in Durham County onto Northside Road and take that into Creedmoor.  Apparently the cue sheet was automatically generated by some web-based whiz-bang software that is . . . WRONG. 

Turn directions are confusing.  The above-mentioned cue sheet appeared to tell you to turn "direction" and go toward some "whoever noticed that little road unless they live in the little housing development served by that" road, and the next line would tell you to go straight on that road, or not.

Directions are often written out in "long-hand" instead of a "short-hand" code.  Hey, we're riding bicycles and glancing at the cues.  We don't want to wade through "War and Peace" to find the one bit of useful information!

I defy anyone to follow the directions immediately below, and only those directions and get to Creedmoor.  (I copied this from the web-based cue sheet; the only "edits" were to put the mileages on the same line as the turn/road info as the copy function from the web to this put in a carriage return not apparent on the web, and also to put in some "connecting" underscores to make the result more readable and to separate the overwhelming and extra text verbiage from the mileage info.)  I also point out the interesting thing that one is instructed to turn, and then, as an apparent afterthought, oh, the cumulative mileage where you just made that turn was X miles.  How about putting the mileage info first, since that will act as a cue - how about that! - a cue! - to the rider as to when / where to be on the lookout for named road. 

Turn right at Leesville Rd/NC-1539/NC-1839 _____________________________________1.0 miles
Head northwest on Leesville Rd/NC-1539/NC-1839 toward Doc Nichols Rd/NC-1908 ___1.6 miles
Take the 1st right onto Doc Nichols Rd/NC-1908 _________________________________2.4 miles
Head north on Doc Nichols Rd/NC-1908 toward Kinard Rd __________________________2.8 miles
Turn right at NC-1905/Olive Branch Rd __________________________________________4.3 miles
Head north on NC-1905/Olive Branch Rd toward Doc Nichols Rd/NC-1908 ____________4.3 miles
Turn left at NC-98/Wake Forest Rd ______________________________________________5.3 miles
Take the 1st right onto NC-1811/NC-1899/Patterson Rd ___________________________5.7 miles
Take the 1st left onto NC-1814/Stallings Rd ____________________________________5.7 miles
Head northwest on NC-1814/Stallings Rd toward Armitage Dr ______________________6.3 miles
Continue on Fletchers Chapel Rd ________________________________________________7.6 miles
Take the 1st right onto NC-1724/Northside Rd __________________________________16.2 miles
Head northeast on NC-1724/Northside Rd toward Cash Rd/NC-1728 _________________16.9 miles
Turn right at W Church St _____________________________________________________19.9 miles
Head east on W Church St toward S Main St/NC-50 _______________________________19.9 miles 

There is often too much information on the cue sheet.  It gets in the way of being able to find the important information.  I have to admit that sometimes I have fallen prey to this flaw.  But then I over-react and perhaps don't provide enough information.  But here is an example of too much information:

 6.7  11.9  LT  on New Light Rd/Bruce Garner to Lawrence Road
 1.7  13.6  LT  on Lawrence Road to Horseshoe Road
 6.5  20.1  RT  on Horseshoe Road/Hwy96 to Cannadys Mill Road 

Notice how each road is listed twice.  The first time at the end of the line giving information for the previous road, and the second time at the beginning of the line giving information for the road in question.  The extra stuff at the end of the first line just clutters up the view, making it difficult for a quick glance / check to confirm one's course. 

One design thing that irritates me because it makes the cue sheet unreadable for me, is when someone makes every other line a dark background.  The claim being that the alternating clear and dark backgrounds makes it easier for people with certain eye afflictions to follow a single line across the page.  Well, for me, it makes it impossible for me to read the text obscured by that dark background.  How about trying a heavy dividing line every third or fourth line.  Then both types of eye afflictions are dealt with in a way that disadvantages neither.  (I tried to copy in a cue sheet with every other line shaded, but the shading did not copy.  Send me a message and I can direct you to some examples.)

A similar problem occurs when the organizers of a ride prepare "colorful" cue sheets.  Often coded to markings painted on the road or on temporary directional signs along the route.  Unless the paper is white, pale yellow, or very pale green or very pale blue, I can't read the text because my eyes are not so young as they once were and the dark backgrounds obscure the text.  Luckily, whenever I have encountered cue sheets printed on paper too dark, the route markings were such that I didn't need the cue sheet. 

Lastly, I will mention the cue sheets where the mileage from point A to point B is shown on the line for the directions for point B to point C.  (The above 3-line sample - red text - may suffer from this curse.) The following also appears to suffer from this curse.

0.0  0.0 R MD355 Urbana Pike
0.3  0.3 X New Technology Way

0.9  0.6 X bridge over Monocacy River
1.2  0.3 R Araby Church Rd
1.7  0.5 R Baker Valley Rd

3.9  2.2 R MD80 Fingerboard Rd @T/SS 

I'm not saying that I make perfect cue sheets, but gosh there is a lot of junk out there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sep-13: Denny's Store Rd


PUE: Butner-Moriah-Surl-Denny'sStore-Berea-Stem-Creedmoor-NL/6F; 78.2 m.; est 4019 ft ---> effort = 118; 5hrs, 3min; 15.5 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 6 rides; 345.2 m.; 21hrs, 44 min; 15.8 mph.
YTD: 96 rides; 4666.7 m.; 294 hrs, 20 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 121 rides; 5841.9 m.; 365 hrs, 41 min; 16.0 mph.

Great ride in nice weather. I have to admit that the nuisance that was the North breeze did help keep me cool.

On Old Weaver, early in the ride, before much hint of a breeze, I saw a canoe crossing a very quiet Falls Lake -- surface of the water was like glass -- one could see the wake-trail of the canoe across most of the narrow lake.

15 minute stop in Moriah to replenish Gatoraide and drink a 20 oz. Pepsi.

20 minute stop in Berea to replenish Gatoraide and drink a 20 oz. Sierra Mist.

Yes, I know the sodas don't really help hydrate one, but the caffeine may be useful. And when I stopped in Moriah, I was considering a much longer ride, so I was choosing drinks & food to help keep me "happy" for the longer ride. But the north wind eventually was more than I wanted to continue to deal with, so at the key decision point, when turning toward Goshen would have meant more miles with a strengthening headwind, I opted to just head straight back thru Berea, Culbreth, Stem, and Creedmoor. Strange, I did not even notice the sign for Shoofly today. Maybe because I was riding pretty well and zipped by too fast to notice.

When I turned off Mollie Moonie Rd onto Denny's Store Rd, @ ~ 38 and a quarter miles, I was avg'ing 14.4 mph. By Berea, @ 50 and change, the avg was 14.9. By Stem, @ 58, the avg was 15.2. Leaving Creadmoor, @ ~ 65 miles, the avg was 15.4. From there, on the rollers on Dove Rd and the climb on Old Weaver Trail up from the lake to New Light, and then straight in on New Light / Six Forks, I maintained the 15.4 (15.5 with rounding). So, I avg'd about 16.6 mph for most of the "return" part of the ride. Even though that avg was assisted by the N breeze, I am pleased.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sep-12: Too many reverse break-aways


PUE: MtOlivetChRd-GrayRockRd-EatonRd, etc.-Stem; 62.8 m.; est 3100 ft ---> effort = 93; 3hrs, 54min; 16.1 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 5 rides; 267.0 m.; 16hrs, 41 min; 16.0 mph.
YTD: 95 rides; 4588.5 m.; 289 hrs, 17 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 121 rides; 5857.2 m.; 366 hrs, 45 min; 16.0 mph.

Did I truly ride "with" anyone today?

Iva for quite a bit on New Light / Bruce Garner -- thanks, Iva -- I don't think the others ever understood that we stopped to fix your saddle bag -- the peloton "piled up" behind us does not count as riding with -- one or more of those stronger riders should have come to the front to set a pace that we ALL would benefit from.

Lt. Dave for some on Mt. Olivet Ch and Green Hill roads.

Snapper on Bryans Hill Rd and most of Belltown Rd -- thanks, Snaps, I really needed the company through there.

Other than that, I was basically dropped, repeatedly. With little to no "waiting". And "waiting" until just before someone gets to the corner where the faster climbers have been waiting for 30 seconds, a minute, maybe more, is NOT waiting -- that is "rubbing it in one's nose". That slower rider or climber probably needs a 30 second "blow" more than the faster riders.

If the slower rider / climber comes up to the corner where everyone is waiting, and the slower rider just slides by without stopping, that is acceptable. But the faster riders leaving 20 to 50 yards before the slower rider actually gets to the corner -- that is an indication that the fast set doesn't want that slower rider riding with them.

Well, if that is the case, don't ride with me.

Was I riding too slow? My avg pace when I stopped for Wave's cut tire was 16.5 mph. That is about as good as I am going to get, so I don't think I was all that slow.

Do I think my pace was impacted by yesterday's 25-miler? Given my avg pace through 52.3 miles, i.e., Wave's cut tire, I don't think so.
Other riders that left PUE at the same time I did today, were:
Snapper, Wave, NT, BobH, Lt. Dave, Iva.
If you have read this, and think I was a bit ticked off today, you have read correctly.

If you are thinking that I probably should wait a day until writing the "story" for today's ride: maybe.

If you are wondering if I need a short break from riding -- that is something I am also wondering. I note, however, that quite a few people, both within the "irregulars" and outside, seem to think that I ride "every day". In response to that notion, I point you to this blog: every ride since Feb-1 is noted -- and other than an occassional walk, there are no other "workouts" that I am doing. Note also the totals for the "rolling-12-months": 121 rides in 365 days works out to 1 ride every three days, or roughly 3 per week. Am I riding every day?

If you are thinking that I am too slow for the "body" of the "irregulars" -- that is what I am thinking, too.

I know the easy way to solve that: just don't send out any more invites and go back to riding truly solo. It is a lot more fun to ride solo when one is intending to ride solo as compared to being repeatedly dropped and no "waiting" and riding most of the ride as if I were alone. I don't ever recall feeling "alone" when I've ridden solo; but I have certainly felt "alone" off the back of the "irregulars" peloton.

On the other hand, I have noticed that with 80 (+) mile rides, I don't get dropped so much. My pace for 80 is no slower than my pace for 63.
I need to stop writing now so that I can go find my rose-colored glasses.
Should I post this? Maybe not.

Am I going to post this? Yes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sep-11: "Sprint" out the legs Friday


BJP: Leesville Rd U-turn; 25.4 m.; est 988 ft ---> effort = 35; 1hrs, 27min; 17.3 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 4 rides; 204.2 m.; 12hrs, 47 min; 15.9 mph.
YTD: 94 rides; 4525.7 m.; 285 hrs, 23 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 120 rides; 5794.4 m.; 361 hrs, 50 min; 16.0 mph.

It is good to "spin out the legs" with some gusto. I just hope I haven't left too much out on the road this evening. Pretty much got faster as the ride progressed -- except the last 4.3 miles the avg was the same as the avg for the first 21.1 miles -- i.e., I wasn't able or willing to push hard enough on the flat finish to increase the ride avg mph any further -- had to save somethng for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Irregulars" Awards Nominations

The Most, The Biggest, or Whatever:

The biggest sandbagger. Snapper.

The most ferocious looking calves. BobH, Phil.

He’s trying to get in shape enough to fake his way through one, very flat Tri, and has decided we aren’t doing enough flat courses, so he’s riding loops on Pleasant Union Church Rd until he gets tired. Or dizzy. Ba-room.

We never see them. Frank, Jessica, Melissa.

Gets out of shape and is slow; then gets in shape and is fast; but we never see them again. Rushmore.

Most likely to attack a hill just because it is there, or he is foolish. The Duke, Levi.

Most likely to “defend” a hill just because someone else attacked it. Lt. Dave.

Is young and prone to attacking off the front until he blows up. Levi, SteveK.

We don’t know enough about them to nominate them for any category. Smitty.

Enigma. BigWaveDave.

Is suspected of being prone to going off the front or dragging the pace up. Norris, LeeD. (With honorable mentions to the Mallet and Tito for their performances at the Solstice Century.)

He's in the Galapagos. Tito.

The most dependable for taking long pulls at a useful pace. The Mallet, the Iceman.

Most dependable partner with the most consistent riding style. Iva.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sep-7: Let's ride 74 miles, er, make that 47 !


PUE: modified lake loop, incl Redwood and Joe Peed roads; w/ BobH; 47.1 m.; est 2071 ft ---> effort = 67; 3hrs, 6min; 15.2 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 3 rides; 175.2 m.; 11hrs, 20 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD: 93 rides; 4500.3 m.; 283 hrs, 56 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 119 rides; 5769.0 m.; 361 hrs, 22 min; 16.0 mph.

I had visions of 75 miles or so. Bob was game. My body was tired. Need I say more?

Bob barely broke a sweat. I looked as if I'd been ridden hard and put up wet after only a few miles.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sep-6: BR #1 to US-158 'n back


PUE: BR #1 to US-158 'n back -- w/ "bonus" miles because I missed the turn @ Grissom; w/ "serendipity" Nancy, i.e., Becky's neighbor; 64.1 m.; est 2599 ft ---> effort = 90; 3hrs, 56min; 16.3 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 2 ride; 131.1 m.; 8hrs, 14 min; 16.0 mph.
YTD: 92 rides; 4453.2 m.; 280 hrs, 50 min; 15.9 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 119 rides; 5761.4 m.; 360 hrs, 37 min; 16.0 mph.

Lynn had told me that two "Y groups" were leaving from PUE @ 7:00. One was doing 100 miles @ a "Lynn pace"; the other 50 or 60 @ an unknown pace. The 60 mile group turned out to be 3 women.

I managed to ingratiate myself by pointing out to both groups that the intended turn off NC-96 on Philo White Rd would put them on top of the recent "chip", i.e., "gravel". The work-around? Just stay on NC-96 (BR #1) all the way to Cannady Mill Rd.

One woman in the 60-mile group, Nancy, aka, "Becky's neighbor" regarding whom Becky had asked me the day before "Do you know Nancy Last-name?" "Nope." Well, as of today, the answer would be "Yep".

The other two women in the 60-mile group were faster climbers and just all-around faster than Nancy, or me. Nancy "let" the other two "go" on the climb from Falls Lake up to Purnell Rd when she realized they were too fast for her. When I caught up to Nancy, I asked "Have the climbers left us behind?" "Yep."

So, I took the lead pulling Nancy along as we started conversing regarding a number of subjects. Paying more attention to the conversation than where we were, I didn't realize that we'd missed the turn onto Lawrence Rd @ Grissom until we were passing the store at Mays Store Rd. Oops. Bouns miles. About 3.1 bonus miles. We reversed to Wayside Farm Rd to NC-96 and at the Brassfield / Horseshoe Rd intersection, where NC-96 took a 90 degree right hand turn, we were back on course.

Nice ride outbound. Into the slowly awakening breeze, which then built itself all the way to a wind. 15.6 mph when we got to US-158.
The turn-around helped our average pace considerably, and we were soon clicking miles off, often at speeds of 18, 19, or even 20 mph.

Climbing back up from the Tar River took something out of our avg pace, as did climbing back up from the creek on Lawrence Rd. Even so, when we passed Ghoston Rd (we finished New Light / Six Forks as that was the original route of the "Y group"), the avg pace was 16.4 mph. We had avg'd 17.6 mph from US-158 to New Light / Ghoston.

Both Nancy and I had good rides. I had gotten in the distance & effort & pace I had hoped for. I think having Nancy there with the conversation and just being there to help keep me focused had kept me pedaling. Nancy set a distance PR (per previous distance PR was 48 miles). Nancy is training for the Beach to Battleship Half Iron. Good luck to her. Good luck also to Becky from yesterday; Becky is also training for Beach to Battleship.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sep-5: Not a 3 Act Play


PUE: Act 1: Y'ville-F'ton; w/ BobH, Iva, Becky + Mallet, Steve 21m + Lt. 11m + Barry 2m; 49.23 m.; est 2250 ft; 3hrs, 1min, 15 sec; 16.3 mph.
- - - - Act 2: Raven Ridge errand; 18.37 m.; est 1235 ft climbed; 1hr, 17min, 25sec; 14.2 mph;
- - - - - Total Ride: 67.6 miles; est 3485 ft climbed ---> effort index = 102; 4hrs, 18min; 15.7 mph.

1st Qt. tot: 20 rides; 755.3 m.; 47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2nd Qt. tot: 43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
Jul tot: 16 rides; 732.2 m.; 45 hrs, 3 min; 16.2 mph.
Aug tot: 11 rides; 709.7 m.; 45 hrs, 0 min; 15.8 mph.
Sep tot: 1 ride; 67.6 m.; 4hrs, 18 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD: 91 rides; 4389.1. m.; 276 hrs, 54 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 118 rides; 5697.3 m.; 356 hrs, 41 min; 16.0 mph.

Act 1:

We picked Becky up en route today. Actually, more like she picked us up. She saw us going past the entrance to her "housing development", and decided to see if she could ride with us. She fit in very well, both speed-wise and CL fun-wise, thank you very much. She does need to start carrying her spare inner tube and tools, though.

Steve reported that he saw Becky running on Pleasant Union Ch Rd as he came in to finish his ride.

Should it count as someone rode "with" us if they started FAST out of the gate, dropped us immediately, and we never saw him again except after he had U-turned after 2 miles. Apparently Ba-room decided to stay entirely on the "flat" today.

Near the end of the ride, after I put in 7-mile "time trial" pull on Bruce Garner / New Light (Frank - it would have brought back memories, or nightmares), I expected Bob to come around and zip past me once we turned onto Ghoston. Instead, it was Iva. (If I had his body and my legs, boy, then maybe I could climb. Seems to me I 've heard that before.)

Steve finished his ride at about 10:39. Well after Bob had headed for home and after I had dumped. Apparently, Steve could no longer hold on to the Mallet even before entering Franklinton, missed the turn onto College St., tried to use his I-pod to chart his way back to PUE, and rode NC-56 from the middle of Franklinton to Gordon Moore Rd. That wouldn't have been soooo bad, but once he got Pokomoke Rd, Steve apparently felt honor bound to try to replicate the mess that Snapper / Wave had led Levi and him into a couple months ago.

I had figured the Mallet would eventually exhaust Steve, but I figured that would happen on Bruce Garner Rd, and Steve might be waiting for us at Grissom. Instead, he spent about 20 minutes in downtown Franklinton at the gas station / convenience store waiting for us / trying to plot a new route home.

Here's the funny part of the above: Steve described that he could no longer hang on to the Mallet after 8 miles. The funny part -- Cedar Creek Rd is only 6.4 miles long. (I didn't mention that to Steve.) (When I originally wrote the preceeding sentence, I thought and wrote that Cedar Creek Rd was only 4 miles long.  The "funny part" is MUCH funnier if Steve's 8-mile road is only 4-miles long.)

Lesson to all, there: print and bring the cue sheet. And don't rely on those I-pod or Blackberry things to find a route home -- they will invariably try to put you on Capital Blvd (Steve, today) or some other high traffic road (Rushmore, a few months ago, on the OMV).
I have threatened to change the course after dropping someone off the front -- but the above is not what I envisioned, nor what I "planned" for today.
Act 2:

Raven Ridge has a LOT of UP. The UP that really got me was the part after Koupela. It just sucked the life out of my cadence and my avg pace. (After checking "veloroutes" for estimated climbing on the two segments: no wonder Act 2, especially the first half of it, felt so debilitating -- 658 ft climbing in the first half of Act 2. 1235 ft climbing 1n 18.4 miles for all of Act 2. The amount of climbing per mile during Act 1 appears as nothing compared to Act 2 per mle.)
Act 3:

The plan had been to ride another 33 miles and sneak in a century. But with Raven Ridge and Possum Track having sucked the gitty-up out of my pace, and the "diaper sores" that were trying to make themselves evident, and the plan to ride the next two days, I decided to skip Act 3 and save the energy for those next two days.
And I noticed that for the first time this year, my YTD avg pace has fallen below last year's YTD avg pace.