Monday, November 30, 2009

Nov-29: Pizza in Stovall, and a Mountain


Two or three months ago, I asked, via e-mail, of Randonneur Branson if he and Randonneur MikeD had ever ridden Mountain Rd south out of Stovall.  Branson replied “no, and Mike must not know about that road, or we certainly would have ridden it by now.”

Fast forward a couple months, and I told Mike, via e-mail, that I was currently “lighting challenged” and “yukky weather clothing challenged” and that I seemed to be in a bit of a slump, riding-wise, so a hilly Sauartown 200k ride did not seem a very good idea, but how about a ride to Stovall for pizza, and then we ride a mountain?  That became a deal.  Finding a time-window in Mike’s schedule was a bit tricky, but an 88-mile ride for someone who has ridden at least one 200k, one 400k and also made a one-way 115-mile trip earlier in November would likely seem a short warm-up. 


The ride started out as likely to be only MikeD and me.  With schedules and Thanksgiving and what-not, it seemed there would be little interest among the “irregulars” for the proposed ride.  And at least three that did express interest had to later un-express said interest. 

For a couple weeks, I thought the ride likely to be Smitty, MikeD and me.  However, in the end, the Mallet got another all-day kitchen pass, Iva decided to skip golf (shudder) for yet another weekend, and Iva brought along his friend, John, for the second time in four days, so we ended up six lucky cyclists headed for Stovall in what would turn out to be fantastic riding conditions. 

The ride: 

I present to you the following photo as evidence of what the group looked like on the road most of the day.  At least that’s what it looks like in my dreams.     This is such a great photo that I wouldn’t be surprised if it made multiple appearances in this blog.  For example, any time Iva and / or I need or want an excuse as to why we were dropped off the back in the last miles, we bring forth this photo, with a caption “the fast dudes sandbagged again, making us do all the work until we were exhausted, and then they left us in the dust”.

Me, Iva’s friend John, the Hawk, then MikeD, the Mallet and Smitty (taking the photo, so he is not shown).  I am thinking Smitty would have had a harder time getting that photo if the sandbagger-in-chief, Snapper, had been along for the ride. ;-)

We took the flat way to Stovall; in other words, it was the exact opposite of the finish of the first Hurdle Mills 200k and second Hurdle Mills 200k rides, will be the exact opposite of the finish of the Virginia Border Raid when next we do that ride, and was also the exact opposite of the finish of Mike’s Kerr Lake Loop 200k Permanent (except that his permanent can be ridden in reverse – I wonder if he will “change” that after he modifies his course?).  Outbound on Harold O’Brien Rd, Iva comes up along me and says “you know, we are going faster than we did on the ‘time-trial’ on Thursday.”  My response:  “I know.  If only I could get a course this flat and have a Mike, a Smitty, and a Mallet to take turns pulling, maybe I could finally finish a 100k-plus course averaging over 17 mph.”  I checked my confuser when I got to the gazebo in Stovall. 17.0 mph. 

Luckily, Mike had chosen the date for the ride really well.  Pizza in Stovall, sitting in the gazebo, sunshine on backs or sides was great.  (This made the fourth time this year for me doing “Pizza in Stovall”:  but one time – 
the Jul-03 Irregulars Kerr Lake Loop – I didn’t get any pizza, and one time – the second Hurdle Mills 200k ride – it was too cold to sit in the gazebo so we ate our pizza that day standing around a stack of seed sacks, so this was only the second “pizza in the gazebo” this year for me.  I think this made the third time for “Pizza in Stovall” for the Mallet.  Several others max out at two times.  I won’t even guess how many time Mike has ridden through Stovall this year, or if he and the rando guys/gals ever stop for pizza.)  I do foresee a “Pizza in Stovall” stop next year during Lt. Dave’s 300k ride. 

MikeD and the Gazebo
Research Trailer Park Stovall Mountain 

And a Mountain.  For those that have not yet ridden Mountain Rd south out of Stovall, I won’t spoil it for you.  All I will note is that when we got to Chewning Rd, there was a glint in Mike’s eyes best described as gleeful, with a hint of sinister as he thought ahead to the day when the rando group gets to Mountain Rd at the 100-mile point of their 200k ride.

The above photo, you know, the one showing Iva and me in the lead section of three riders, was taken early on Belltown Rd after going over the mountain.  Later, after the "delightful" headwind of a breeze and the net climbing to get to Stem slowed some of us, Iva managed to flat his rear tyre ... at the BOTTOM of the last creek valley on Belltown Rd.  At least he only had to carry the bike 30 yards to get into sunshine.  Iva is a gentleman, and when he went to remove his tyre from his rear wheel, he remained too much of a gentle man, so the human-GPS-unit ripped the tyre off.  We found two nice holes in the tyre – actually it was a cut, but when looked at from the inside of the tyre, holding it towards the bright sky, two holes.  A dollar bill made an excellent boot, and luckily the Mallet was back with trailing group when the flat occurred.  Why lucky about the Mallet, you ask.  Because he is a pretty fast tyre changer – much faster than me or Iva.  (In honor of the Mallet’s services, in this paragraph, the Brit-speak “tyre” is used instead of the Ameri-speak “tire”.)

Aack!  What happened to the rest of my outline!?  Yeah, I actually bothered to outline the write-up for once.  But I seem to have misplaced the ending.  Oh, well, I’ll just have to “wing it”.

We zoomed down the hill from Stem to I-85 and on across to Creedmoor.  Some of us zoomed up the two hill-things into Creedmoor, and some of us took those at a more leisurely pace.  But gosh, it was hard work for such a leisurely pace.  I had not breath with which to phrase a retort when Smitty asked some smart-a$$ question about which way to turn when we got to NC-56 on the edge of Creedmoor.  Did I mention that before the ride started I asked, just for the sake of asking, I guess, who had a cue sheet with them?  Hmmn, didn’t mention that, eh?  Well, you get one guess how many cue sheets were among the six of us.  You get one guess, and if you guess more than zero, you have not been paying attention to previous posts.  At least John had an excuse, as I’d never heard of John when I sent out the cue sheets last week.  But, on the other hand, there are advantages to the “fast dudes” not having a cue sheet and not being sure where they are:  they have to wait for me, and I don’t have to worry about chasing them.

For those that were on the ride, we did NOT follow the cue-sheeted course through Creedmoor.  I couldn’t bear to wait for that light at NC-56/US-15 to change.  Winding our way through the by-ways of Creedmoor, I did not look back (yeah, they were all following, again) but did hear some near panicked shouting about holes and such.  I hadn’t point them out because the holes and gravel seemed to be concentrated near the turns and my hands were busy steering.  I suppose I could have shouted out warnings, but I figured no one was close enough to hear me, especially as it was taking all my energy just to breathe and I therefore wouldn't have been able to shour very loudly.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

We swooped up and down on Dove Rd.

I almost managed to snatch the last CL of the day, but – honestly – the Mallet realized I might be up to a trick before I even thought about the CL, and he went past me to get the CL in a manner reminiscent of Snapper a few months ago (that time I was trying to sneak the CL, and was so sure I had it, that I sat up).  MikeD commented that the CL had been a peach ready for the plucking.  (I had been so good earlier in the ride; I could have had the first CL of the day with just a few quick pedal strokes; but instead I just pedaled steadily, and let whomever it was that was outside me and about two inches ahead take the first CL of the day.)  I will come clean and admit that by the time the Mallet rushed past, I had decided that if I managed to get to that last CL first, I was going to raise my arm and fist in victory – after he rushed past, I hurried up the beginning of the hill to admit to Paul that such was the case, but when I had made the turn onto Whitt, I was just looking to start a bit before the others because I knew I had nothing for that hill on Whitt.  I will also admit that it certainly would have looked the same as the tactic I used to take a 
CL on Fairport Rd (see Fourth CL) about three months ago.

I’m still wondering why Smitty and the Mallet followed Iva and me up the climbs to New Light Rd.  Oh, I forgot, look at that photo above:  They mostly followed all day (when they weren't leading).

Great ride.  Great companions.  Great day!!!  What more can a feller ask for?

Smitty provided a link to his Garmin data for this ride:
    Some of the elevation data seems funky, but the map is good and we can check to see where Smitty was in distress.


PUE: flat route to Stovall-MtnRd-Oxford-BelltownRd-Stem-Creedmoor; w/ Mallet, IvaHawk, Smitty, JohnH and special guest MikeD on his fixie; 88.2 m.; est 3940 ft climbed --> effort index = 128; 5hrs, 34min; 15.8 mph.

1Qt tot: _20 rides; _755.3 m.; _47 hrs, 31 min; 15.9 mph.
2Qt tot: _43 rides; 2124.3 m.; 134 hrs, 59 min; 15.7 mph.
3Qt tot: _36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: __9 rides; _551.4 m.; _35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: __8 rides; _372.3 m.; _23 hrs, 49 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD tot: 116 rides; 5750.7 m.; 363 hrs, 44 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 123 rides; 6060.1 m.; 382 hrs, 24 min; 15.8 mph.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nov-28: 3 Is a Good Number, Or, Easy Ride in Sunshine

A few days ago, I thought we might be five, possibly six, riders today:  me, Snapper, Duke, LT, Smitty, possibly BobH. 

But LT decided he wanted to do a mountain ride, or something going up into Virginia, or at least a hillfest.  He settled for a hillfest.  He was trying to talk BobH into hillfesting with him; I don't know if he succeeded.  Four riders.

Duke went to the mountains for part of the week and became questionable for the ride, and in the event, cancelled the night before.  Three riders.

Smitty decided the day before to avoid the morning chill and ride at noon with his daughter.  A laudable alternative.  A skeptic, however, might wonder if he was actually fabricating a "family excuse" to avoid watching the Red @ Pale-Blue football game.  (At the time I am writing this, I do not know the outcome of that game.)  Two riders. 

When confirming that he had wimped out of a Black Friday ride, Snapper informed that he was bringing his neighbor to ride on Saturday.  Three riders.  Unlikely that anyone would wimp out. 
Some things seem never to change: 

At 0814, Snapper called to let me know that he was on the way, but that his neighbor Ivan was unfamiliar with getting to PUE, so they were running late.  Flat tire on the car.  Uncooperative dumpage requirements.  Unexpected second dumpage requirements.  Neighbor choosing a poor route to get to PUE.  /:shaking-my-head:/

Since I can't feel my phone ring once I put it into my jersey pocket, I turned the phone off and finished the bike prep. 

Snapper and Ivan arrive, prep their bikes, and we are off by 0840 into the bright sunshine and very little to no breeze.  One of those two conditions would remain with us all ride long.  The other would slowly change. 

Yet another car-back call as we approached Kemp made the GPS unit temporarily forget what route we were doing, and we turned onto Kemp as if doing a shortened lake loop.  The GPS unit quickly recovered and came up with an adjustment to the route that would get us the desired 35 miles. 

Going down Coley - as opposed to across Carpenter Pond - there is a lot less traffic and we continued talking more than "seriously" riding.  At one point on Coley, while heading toward NC-98, I checked my confuser:  14.2 mph.  But we were enjoying ourselves.

After the U-turn at NC-98, we began to work a little harder.  Only a little.  Up Coley, across Carpenter Pond and Leesville roads, down Doc Nichols, down-up Olive Branch and across NC-98, we continued to be bathed in bright sunshine and a noticeable slight northerly breeze became apparent. 

Down and up the first segment of Kemp, and up Virgil, enjoying the slight tailwind, the sunshine and more conversation.  Snapper and Ivan even managed to not completely separate themselves from the slow climbing me going UP Kemp and up Virgil.

We zipped (?) across Carpenter Pond to Coley and did another entire loop down to the highway and back up.  We even managed to get Snapper to practice leading the line at a pace suitably comfortable for everyone (i.e., no rocket engines were fired).  Coming back up Coley to Carpenter Pond, Snapper regaled us with tales of his young daughter.  Always good to partake in the delights of children, and the delights of the "Shark" and the "shark-tank".

We finished our chilly but sunnily delightful ride across Carpenter Pond and MVC roads.  Nothing dramatic made an appearance in those last miles.  Nothing from which to build a humorous or "interesting" tale for the ride.  Instead, we all enjoyed the last miles of our ride in the sunshine. 

Snapper was on a tight schedule - and due to the later arrival (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) the schedule was tighter than Cheeta had planned.  I don't think I delayed them leaving -- I'll bet all readers are surprised by that!

Btw, I have to note that Ivan was incredibly predictable; he pointed out every possible obstruction - I'm confident that I didn't; he pointed before every "lane change".  We -- well, let's face it, I -- may be too slow for him, but if he shows semi-occassionally, we may have to put him in charge of the few safety comments before every ride.  

Finally:  two rides in three days, and to each ride an "irregular" has brought a guest -- or, put another way, yet another rider with whom I will be dropping off my front, but not off my back wheel.  I foresee many more "reverse break-aways" (as Tito christened them).

PUE: Kemp-Coley-ShadyGr-DocN-Kemp-Virgil-Coley; w/ Snapper, and his neighbor Ivan; 37.0 m.; est 1665 ft climbed --> effort index = 54; 2hrs, 33min; 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 7 rides; 284.1m.; 18 hrs, 15 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD: 115 rides; 5662.5 m.; 358 hrs, 14 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 122 rides; 5971.9 m.; 376 hrs, 50 min; 15.8 mph 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nov-26: 7 is a Good Number, Or, A Foggy Time Was Had By All

A few days before, I thought the Thanksgiving morning ride would be me, LT, maybe Smitty.

Then Iva e-mailed indicating that the $30 Turkey Trot entry fee was unreasonably high -- but it wasn't entirely clear that he intended to ride Thursday morning.  But Lt. Dave assured me that Iva intended to ride.

Next, BobH e-mailed that he would join the crew for the 30-mile ride.  That made me. LT, Iva, BobH, maybe Smitty.

Somewhere along the line, Smitty assured me that he was definitely in for Thursday morning . . . probably.  Or so it seemed in my memory. 
Thursday morning, I shut my cell phone off at 0751.  Either people are coming and will be there on time, or they aren't coming or maybe they won't be on time, but I'm going to be ready on time. It is quite foggy.

0753, Smitty arrives.  Eventually he gets out of his warm Durango and informs me that Snapper is likely coming to ride.  So that will likely make 6 riders. It is quite foggy.

A few minutes later, Snapper comes roaring into the parking lot and slams to a stop next to me, on the side of my vehicle where my bike is leaning against the car.  After the relief that I'm okay, my vehicle is okay, my bike is okay, I hear this gawd-awful LOUD music coming from Snapper's car.  What makes it gawd-awful?  Although I ride early, I don't do "loud or happy or party" early -- I'm more like "I'll come fully awake some time after the ride starts", and until then, I'm into quiet.  Snapper turned the volume down and finally shut the music off.  Aah, more peaceful again. And the heavy fog contributes to the peaceful impression.

Sometime just after Snapper's ARRIVAL, some guy pulls his vehicle in on the side opposite Snapper.  I'm likely giving him the "evil eye" wondering who this likely Gyro is.  He stares back, and when he emerges from his vehicle says "I'm a friend of Iva's."  Oh.  "I'm Martin.  This will make seven -- assuming all three of Iva, BobH and LT are cycling to the ride and show up. It is still quite foggy.

Iva and BobH (in no particular order) arrive via bicycle.  And LT arrives at about 0810 to find everyone ready to ride.  Luckily the shock of everyone being ready early did not bring on a medical disorder. And, guess what, it is still quite foggy.

We are introducing around and bantering a bit.  A guy pulls in on the far side of Smitty.  I knew his face and knew he was there for the Gyro ride -- maybe he thought we were there for the Gyro ride. Maybe he couldn't see through fog condensing on his glasses.

While I'm explaining the main point of the day's ride -- getting LT back early so that I did not get in trouble with Mrs. Lt. Dave -- another cyclist arrives and comments "you're not here for the Gyros ride."  It wasn't really a question.  Dave later claimed that he thought about telling the guy that we were there to follow behind the Gyros and catch the pile-up when they crashed, but he apparently though better of it.  Instead, we simply started our ride -- before any more of the horde could arrive. We headed out into the heavy fog.

The point of the ride, in addition to getting Dave home on time, was for me to get in a short, fast "TT" ride.  So that's how I started -- admittedly a bit faster than I usually do. Sad thing, though, my legs started feeling as if they were working a lot harder than the speeds that were resulting.  Some tried to take turns leading at a pace that would help me, but during warm-up mode time that is hard because I don't ride anything near a steady pace during warm up (and others probably think I'm not making a steady or slowly increasing effort) because my gravity-gut really cuts into the upslope speeds and definitely contributes to faster downslope speeds.  I suppose it must be a bit difficult to figure out what hair-brained riding I'm doing. There were few cars for the first miles on Carpenter Pond Rd, which was just as well because there was a heavy enough fog, that at corners and stop-signs, we were not "looking" for oncoming traffic, instead we were listening for it.

Someone -- I won't say who - Cheeta -- was foolish enough to mention the lack of traffic.  That jinxed us.  Immediately the stream of cars coming out of the fog from both fore and aft commenced.  Near the intersection with Olive Branch Rd, the sun tried to make an appearance, but the fog emerged victorious.

We were on pace when we got to the top of Doc Nichols Rd -- just below 16 mph.  That was the first time I looked at the confuser.  The next was just before turning onto Carpenter Pond Rd from Virgil Rd -- a disappointing 16.0 mph.  "Man," I said inside my head, "Ive been working a LOT harder than that." But I get ahead of the story . . .

The fog on NC-98 between Olive Branch and Baptist roads was heavy enough that I was thinking we'd have to roll to a stop on the right-hand edge of  NC-98 and listen for cars before attempting to turn across the highway and onto Baptist Rd.  In the event, although it was still quite foggy, the only traffic was a cyclist headed west on NC-98.  Snapper said something about there being a large group emerging out of the fog just as we turned of the highway. but I never saw them.

Just after the turn onto Baptist, LT told me needed a pee.  I suggested the porta-potty on the golf course.  We were practically on top of the blue box with its yellow top before Dave could see the ediface.  LT and, surprise, Iva each visited the blue box, but the rest of us hammered down the road looking for Southview Rd.  It was lucky that some of us knew approximately where Southview Rd was because the fog was increasing in intensity as we rode down Baptist.  Five of us pulled around the corner and waited.  Soon, came a charging two-man line:  LT in front, Iva following.  It was a good thing Iva was with him and saw us, because LT was hell-bent-for-leather and apparently didn't see us -- through the fog.

We rode across the dark, new asphault of Southview Rd, still shrouded in thick fog.  My "TT" effort was beginning to fall apart as my legs became increasingly fatigued.  I had a LOT less zip going up Kemp Rd from Southview to Virgil Rd than I was expecting to have.  The fog was still heavy, and as Iva, Snapper and I approached the turn onto Virgil, Snapper urged "let's pick it up and get around that turn before some car comes out of the fog and hits us: -- we could hear a car approaching from behind.

As we rode up Virgil, the fog finally started to clear enough so that one could an almost reasonable distance. 

At the Virgil / Carpenter Pond intersection, I explained the rest of the 30-mile course, and explained how I hoped Snapper and Smitty would come to the front and pull at a pace I could hold until we got to PUE, and that I figured we should average about 21 mph from Virgil to the bottom of MVC Rd.

We made the two-mile loop, and then Snapper hit the after-burners.  Smitty and LT went with him.  I waved good-bye.  BobH tried to come around and pull me at a pace to get back up to the threesome (which, as it turned out, I wouldn't have been able to do even if I had had good, fresh legs -- Snapper hit a pace that drained all the energy out of LT and Smitty --  subsequent investigation revealed that when Snapper finally pulled out of the lead, LT immediately dropped the pace some 5 mph -- so, Snapper, while riding third is a lot easier than leading the line, it is also easier going 20 mph than 25 or 30 mph).  BobH and Iva's friend tried to close to the lead threesome -- it has been reported that Iva's friend caught the threesome, but I suspect BobH did not, because he paused at Kemp Rd for Iva to join him and then the two of them headed straight for home.  There was almost no fog during all this time, but the only thing the lack of fog accomplished was that the trailing riders were able to watch the lead riders zoom away from us, and then confirm that they had to be at least half a mile or more ahead because we couldn't see the leaders even through the mostl clear conditions.

Candidates for quote of the day:

When Iva caught me after Snapper's afterburners had dragged the leaders well clear, Iva's siimple comment was "those guys didn't do a useful pull."  (Or something along those lines.)

I later learned that while Snapper, LT and Smitty were stopped at the CP / MVC corner, Snapper asked LT if he was going to stop by the school.  After Dave reported that he was heading straight home, Snapper apparently lamented that there would only be he and Smitty to face the "wrath of Martin."  (I had already decided to let them off the hook because, as I told Iva, "they're having fun."  I did, however, tell Iva's friend not to stop when coming around the corner off CP onto MVC.  You might be wondering how Iva's friend got from catching the three leaders and then ended up with me when I got to the stopped, waiting leaders -- well, I do know how that came to pass, but I'll let you ask Iva's friend in person.)

My "TT" ride ended up being quite disappointing.  I worked hard and certainly deserved an avg pace of at last 17.0 mph, maybe even 17.5 mph.  But in fact, the ride came in only at 16.45 mph.  I'm blaming the slow pace on the 1/2 inch wide flat profile of my rear tire.  I plan on getting a new rear tire BEFORE riding Sunday. 
Btw, Iva's friend:  his name is John (or Jon), not Bob.

PUE: DocN-Baptist-Southview-Virgil-ShadyGroveLoop; w/ LT, Iva, Smitty, Snapper, BobH, Iva's friend, aka, John; 30.0 m.; est 1350 ft climbed --> effort index = 44; 1hrs, 49min; 16.5 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 6 rides; 247.1m.; 15 hrs, 42 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD: 114 rides; 5625.5 m.; 355 hrs, 46 min; 15.8 mph. 

Rolling 12-mos.: 123 rides; 6027.2 m.; 380 hrs, 10 min; 15.9 mph
A year ago on Thanksgiving morning, Lt. Dave and I rode a lake loop plus some extra bits.  42.4 miles @ 16.6 mph pace.  And it was not nearly as hard as the ride described above.  I was sooo much faster late last year than I am this year.  Sigh.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nov-21: Kemp Kut-off Lake Loop

I've had a mild head cold/chest cold all week; symptoms are going away; OTC drugs have done a great job of controlling the symptoms.  I figured I could still do 40 miles today, so sent out a "rider-call".  Eventually three responses:  LT: "let's do 60."  IvaHawk:  "I need to be back to PUE by 1030 or 1045."  Smitty:  "I need to go short." 

That would work out -- two shorts and two longs, but I was concerned about how my body would feel / react to real exercise.  Answer?  Not that great actually.  The cold may be / may have been mild, but it still leaves a mark.  By 21 miles I knew that 60 would not be fun.  LT suggested we just finish with Iva and Smitty -- it's a deal!

I think the other guys must have slowed down and "waited going slow" even more times than I noticed.  As we approached the bottom of Ghoston, I checked the avg pace so far for the ride:  15.1 mph!  Man, I had been working much harder than that! 
The start at 0830 was rather chilly, but only until we got to the bottom of MVC.  LT later allowed as how he was glad I was going slow down MVC, and by staying behind me, he was getting a break from the wind-chill.  I was soooo grateful to find that I'd been of use at some point during the ride. 

After that first "fall" down MVC, and maybe a little bit of the first "fall" on Kemp, conditions seemed reasonable.  Warm enough that my jersey was quite damp with sweat. 

Smitty asked what was the typical low temp limit for an "irregulars" ride.  I said:  "this."  I think we were doing the initial MVC "fall" when he asked. 

Post ride thoughts on the chill:  I was no where near my cold gear limit this morning, so it seems I can go below 41F no problem.  But please ask me again when we start and it is even chillier.  Early chill is not bad if the sun is shining and one expects it warm up, as long as the wind is not too bad.  Ask me again when it is chiller and the wind is "up".

Smitty inquired later during the ride what would be the temp cut-off for the Stovall-Mountain ride with Mike D..  I said I didn't know, but it certainly wouldn't be because Mike didn't like the temps, as he has ridden in snow, sleet, ice, and every other nasty condition one could think of for winter in NC.  94 consecutive months with at least one ride of at least 100 miles each month, and closing in on 48 months with at least one 200k ride each month, we figured he could handle a lot more "conditions" than we could.  I think Smitty said "hard core."  I heard the others discussing riding 200k in January, but as I was probably falling off the pace, I'm not sure what they concluded; probably that January 200k's would likely be uncomfortable. 

PUE:  Kemp Kut-off lake loop; w/ LT, Iva, Smitty; 32.7 m.; est 1568 ft climbed --> effort index = 38; 2hrs, 11min; 14.9 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 5 rides; 217.1m.; 13 hrs, 53 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD: 113 rides; 5595.5 m.; 353 hrs, 55 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 124 rides; 6043.5 m.; 380 hrs, 60 min; 15.9 mph
Oh, I forgot:
p.s. to Karen:  No one got lost at the top of Ghoston.  But we are going to have to remember to wait at the top of Ghoston instead of out of sight in the driveway into the Peed Store -- at least in the winter until we are confident no one will turn the wrong way. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sometimes, it is a small world

Sometimes the lead news stories are far away. Somtimes they are close at hand. And sometimes they are somewhere in between.

This week, two news stories struck me not because of personal involvement.  They weren't all that close to "home", if truth be told, but they did feel like it. One was local; the other international.

After a year of looking, authorities found the remains of Kelly Morris of Stem near / along Sam Moss Hayes Rd.  Stem and Sam Moss Hayes Rd are familiar to all "irregulars", or would be if you rode "irregularly" more frequently (or at all).  If you know anyone that lives or previously lived in Stem or Creedmoor, you have likely been at least slightly touched by this story in ways unrelated to cycling thru Stem or on Sam Moss Hayes Rd.

The second story that struck home to me is the one about possibly moving the prisoners in Guantanamo to Thompson, Illinois.  Thompson is a small, small town (not much bigger than Stem) on the Mississippi River north of . . . well, the Quad-Cities are the big nearby entity.  (Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa are the large towns of the Quad-Cities -- and, yes, I know I listed five cities -- the world is full of quirks.)  Thompson is close enough to my home town (Prophetstown, Illinois) that last year I explored a cycling route from P-town across / up to the Mississippi / Thompson.  The route I found was FLAT with one exception all the way from P-town on the Rock River to Thompson on the Mississippi, and at Thompson turned due east to climb up stair-steps into the lower hills of northwest Illinois -- at the time I thought "this would make a great 'irregulars' route: flat for nearly 30 miles, then repeated climbing of the five steps -- and from each false summit one could look back and see the mightly Mississipp" (that is an intentional "misspelling").  I didn't get to ride the route, but the roads will still be there the next time I visit home for any length of time.  I hope.  I write "I hope" because the shiny, new, barely used State of Illinois prison is within sight (maybe closer) of the route I found.  That prison is being considered as the new detention center for terrorist types now in Guantanamo.  Would transferring those detainees to Thompson change the area?  Would al-Queida (sp?) and their friends make that prison a "target"? 

Sometimes the world is too small.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov-15: "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom"

I parked at BJP thinkng the PUE lot would be filled due to another activity.  Went for a warm-up spin and discovered a PUE parking lot mostly empty of cars but full of sunshine.  I decided to move my car to PUE. 

LT rode to PUE and we started our ride a bit before noon.  We were immediately passed by a Wake County Sheriff's vehicle that was obviously responding to the same call as the EMT vehicle that we had seen just before we started our ride.  Interesting thing about the Sheriff's vehicle was that shortly after passing us on the downslope of MVC, the vehicle stopped, turned on its Mars lights, and proceeded to back up towards us -- he had overshot his destination.  Being clever cyclists, we slowed significantly until the Sheriff's vehicle turned off the road. 

After turning onto Old Creedmoor / Carpenter Pond, LT just kept pushing me faster and faster.  On Carpenter Pond Rd, just before Olive Branch Rd, I managed to slow LT and get him to stop as I decided to rescue two turtles before some passing vehicle did them in.  Each was trying to get to the souteasterly side of the road -- I guess the pond on that side of the road seemed more attractive.  The first turtle was quite a bit larger than one normally sees on the roads; LT warned me avoid its mouth, but it "turtled" and its tail, head and all four feet withdrew inside the safety of its shell.  I quickly picked it up and carried it the 2/3 of the way across the road that it had not yet traversed. 

I approached the second turtle, a bit smaller than on usually sees.  As I got behind it and bent over to pick it up, something unusual happened.  The turtle had apparently decided I was a danger, and it started to sprint, there is no other word for it, away from my footfalls.  Okay.  I decided to just "chase" the little guy by successively making footfalls behind him.  He scooted quickly off into the ditch.  LT said something about the first turtle; I looked and saw he had just about completed the crossing of the ditch on that side of the road.  I glanced back at the second turtle -- it was continuing to scurry away from the road.  I got back on my bike, and LT was soon pushing me on as fast or faster than before.

We covered the initial stretch to Plainview Church much more quickly than we usually do.  At one point, while going up the easier (easiest) climb on Patterson, I thought, "man, this hurts."  I looked at my confuser.  "No wonder it hurts, 16.9 mph uphill."  

The fast pace continued across Cheek Rd, and I have to admit that I almost practiced my "catch Snapper and ride by in style" move down to the lake.  Almost.  Once we got across the lake and started up the hill, LT relented a bit and did not push me up the climbs.  This luxery lasted all the way to Grissom.  But after Grissom, actually, after just past Rock Springs Rd, LT went "back" to pushing me hard.  We covered the 6.6 miles from Grissom to the bottom of Ghoston at an average of approximately 20.8 mph -- a piece of cake for many -- a pretty-dang-near full-out effort for me. 

LT relented again on Ghoston, Peed, and MVC and did not "push" me along.  Even so, I did the last 4.7 miles quickly enough to hold onto a decent pace for the ride (taking into account the opening 7.6 miles at 14.9 mph). 

LT pointed out that all the pecans seemed to have fallen from the Pecan tree on the place at the corner of Peed and MVC. 

All in all, a very enjoyable and useful sunny-day ride. 

p.s. to Karen:  no one got lost at the top of Ghoston.    

1) BJP: to fire station and back 7.6 miles, 2) PUE: Creedmoor-Grissom 47.3 miles, w/ LT; 54.9 m.; est 2216 ft climbed --> effort index = 77; 3hrs, 24min; 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 4 rides; 184.4m.; 11 hrs, 42 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD: 112 rides; 5562.8 m.; 351 hrs, 44 min; 15.8 mph. 

Rolling 12-mos.: 124 rides; 6061.8 m.; 381 hrs, 51 min; 15.9 mph

Saturday, November 14, 2009

back to the future

Before the 200k ride(s), I had been thinking that we "irregulars" ought to do a century or an "epic" ride on the equinoxes and for the summer solstice. Perhaps centuries on the equinoxes and 200k for the solstice (after all, a lot of people do double centuries to celebrate "Mid-Summer's Day"). Certainly I / we have the courses to allow such fun and not duplicate ourselves. For example: the Virginia Border Raid beckons, the Middleburg (Solstice) Century is worth a second ride, the Hurdle Mills 200k course was good, and the Kerr Lake Loop was fun (either the 84 miles version we did Jul-3rd would likely be fun again, or the longer version from which the Jul-3rd version was . . . "ripped" would likely be interesting). Btw, the nominations for best ride of the year are heavily favoring the Jul-3rd Kerr Lake Loop -- we could do that course on a winter Saturday and compare the scenery to that encountered on Jul-3rd. 

Anyway, I was mulling these thoughts around. Considering even doing more century rides in addition to the "official" "irregulars" rides -- that had been part of my plan for 2009, but you guys tired me out on most occasions when I was planning to do more after the return to PUE -- only once during the warm months did I extend the "irregular" route to sneak in a century. We now have quite a few 70+ and 80+ mile courses from which it ought to be easy to extend oneself to 100 miles. (I wonder how many times the Mallet was "extended" to 100 miles because he rode the 14 mile round trip from his home to-and-from the ride -- probably they mostly came up a few miles short.)

Anyway, I was mulling the above thoughts around. Also wondering how to train-up for and do a 300k ride. I was looking at the Hurdle Mills 200k course, and the Mayo-naisse 100-miler (which I've figured out, but which we've never done) and beginning to chart out a 300k course.

Then, out-of-the-blue, and completely unsolicited (and I don't recall ever mentioning my thoughts about going beyond 200k to him), Lt. Dave e-mailed me with information that he'd like to do a 300k next year.

That settled it: 2010 -- more long rides. But for those not wanting to go THAT far, don't worry. You know my routes usually come with "bailout" options. Have you ever looked at the maps of most of our 70+ and 80+ routes? They are not circles. More go north on one road, cut over a few miles, and come back on the next road over. The Middleburg Century route is like that. The Stagecoach route. Community House Rd route, also. And, of course, up one road, back on the next is a pretty good description of the Mt. Harmony-Berea and Allensville-Berea and Mayo Lake routes. Even the Virginia Border Raid fits that description. 

I still want to ride NC BR #2 farther east than I have so far (I made it to within a mile of I-95. For the "knowledgeable" reading this, I made a small loop where NC BR #7 starts, and then hi-tailed it back to Youngsville on NC BR #2). Seems like that might be a good ride to do on the first weekend of the month. Huh? Lt. Dave does his fireman thing on those weekends, thus the anti-out-and-back rider is "not a problem" those weekends.

So, what am I writing other than a bunch of jibberish? If / when a long ride / route is "announced", but you want to go shorter, consider e-mail responding to the whole group, maybe someone else is thinking the same thing. And by now you should know that I almost always have a short-cut option I can cue-sheet for you. And even if there is not a shot-cut, Lt. Dave is the only one I've heard denigrating an out-and-back course. 

Riding long and longer does seem to indicate the likelihood that I'm not likely to get any faster. 16 mph for 50 miles seems to have morphed to 16 mph for 100 miles. Perhaps I can get the 200k pace up to 16 mph, also (after all, I avg'd 15.5 mph for my first 100-miler, and that's not so different from 15.4 for 200k). 

I looked at the NC Randonneurs "Raleigh" brevet series web-site. Raleigh Brevet Series The Raleigh series starts with a 200k early in April, and finishes with a 600k before the end of May. That may seem early in the year, may be early in the year, but there is less heat and humidity in April and May than June, July, August. (For some of us, the Raleigh Brevet Series may be a good place to ride 200k or 300k or more; but Lt. Dave is almost psychotic in his abhorrence of out-and-back courses.) 

I also looked at the "western NC brevet series". ("western NC brevet series") Seems to be almost year-round. Some of those brevets are . . . very hilly. And it is often cooler in the hills and mountains than here.  The series also seems to be not just in "western" NC next year.  Some mtn brevets, some Piedmont brevets, some "coastal" (?) brevets, too. 

I understand that brevets can be entered without joining Randonneuring-USA (RUSA), but that "Permanents" are "members only". We all (well, 6 of us) have experienced the "meat" of one near-by 200k Permanent course (the Kerr Lake Loop), and I'm pretty sure that several randonneurs (MikeD prominent among them -- after all, it is his course) ride that course several times a year. There are also some Permanents that start from or near Raleigh that are out-and-back courses. RUSA (I wonder if RUSA spells permanent with an "e" on the end, after all, it is probably another French or semi-French term.)

You didn't actually expect me to come to a conclusion about anything, did you?
For more information: 

Stay in touch. Eventually a long-ride program will develop. And it will have short-cuts. And be interspersed with some shorter rides so that the "long-ride crew" can keep in touch with the "are you guys crazy!, aka, shorter-ride crew".

Nov-14: W-E-T roads

I was on-time. 
But I needed to "sit down". 
So I drove over to BJP. 
"Sat down." 
Got caught in a "5 minute" conversation. 
Great, now I'm likely late. 

Decided to start my ride from BJP and just cycle to PUE. 
Skipped pumping up the rear tyre. 
Still late. 
"Sprint" (ha) to PUE. 
No one there. 

BobH's truck was there. 
Didn't know to expect him. 
Did Iva ride from home to PUE and then do a ride with Bob? 

Called Harvey. 
No answer. 
Hadn't expected one. 

Called LT. 
He answered ! 
Let's try riding at 10-ish if the wind dries these roads out some. 
He'll call me a bit before 10. 
Good plan. 
I need to pump up the rear tyre anyway. 

Back to BJP. 
Rear had slightly under 100 pounds pressure. 
I usually pump up to 120 so I can ride on 110. 

Gosh, the bike is wet and filthy. 
Wiped down the bike. 
Got most the junk (or is that gunk ?) off. 

Revisit the facilities. 
Read book waiting for LT to call. 
Decided to eat the apple I had with me. 

Big pickup rumbles into the lot. 
Wonder who that is? 
I see the front tag. 
Oh, it's LT. 
Unusual looking "phone". 

LT parks. 
I figure he'll hop out of truck. 
Then I see that Zeke is with him. 
I get out of my vehicle and get into LT's. 

I finish my apple. 
Zeke is very interested in the apple after I put the remains in a plastic "garbage" bag. 
Zeke scampers over and settles himself into the crook of my arm
so he can survey the outdoors and take advantage of my body heat. 

LT and I complain about the wet roads. 
We talk about respective cycling and / or "old-man" injuries. 
We pick a route to ride tomorrow. 
Encourage Zeke to go to his "papa". 
See you noon tomorrow.

BJP:  to PUE and back; 5.0 m.; est 213 ft climbed --> effort index = 7; 0hrs, 19min; 15.4 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 3 rides; 129.5m.; 8 hrs, 18 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD: 111 rides; 5507.9 m.; 348 hrs, 20 min; 15.8 mph. 

Rolling 12-mos.: 123 rides; 6006.9 m.; 378 hrs, 27 min; 15.9 mph  

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Days of the Week

Recently, Lee expressed surprise that I would ride on Saturday if I was going to ride on Sunday.  
I guess he didn't quite understand. 

But it got me to wondering about my number of rides this year on the various days of the week.
Primarily I was wondering about Saturday and Sunday. 
So I looked at my Excel log, and with a few minor edits,
I was able to automatically categorize the rides by day of the week
(in addition to month of the year, and "riding group"). 
Here is what I found: 

Total Rides:

Through Sunday, Nov-8, I have:
110 rides totalling 5502.9 miles, which is 50.0 miles per ride, at an avg pace of 15.8 mph
Five (5) of those rides were "mountain rides"; removing them from the database gives: 
105 rides, 5358.3 miles (avg 51.0 miles per ride) at 15.9 mph avg

"Irregulars" Rides:

Of the 105, twenty-nine (29) have been "irregulars" rides, 
totalling 1994.9 miles (68.8 miles per ride) at 16.1 mph avg
(These are my stats, which include times that I rode "more" after the group ride was over.)
All "irregulars" rides except the "Kerr Lake Loop" were on Saturdays.
Kerr Lake was Jul-3rd, a Friday.

There are also twelve (12) "DntW" rides, 
for 672.8 miles (avg 56.1 m. per ride) at 15.6 mph
(What is a "DntWLT" ride? 
Well, last year I found that I counted quite a few rides that were only LT and me as "irregular" rides;
I even counted Sunday rides and a Thanksgiving ride as "irregular". 
At the start of this year, I decided that two person rides with one other "irregular" (usually Dave) that had not been "announced" or "advertised" to the "irregulars" shouldn't really be categorized as "irregular" rides . . . so I made a new category . . . for non-"irregular" rides with one or two other "irregulars" on days or times that were not "announced" "irregular" rides. 
Perfectly clear, eh? 
Oh, and just to make it even more confused, if it was a "mountain ride", that overrides the fact that the ride would have otherwise been categorized as "DntWLT".
Absolutely clear, eh?
Oh, I also have a category for "other groups".)

Saturday and Sunday:

Of the 105 rides:
36 have been on Saturdays, totalling 2349.6 miles (65.3 m. per ride) at 16.0 mph.
Sundays, 30 rides, 1593.2 miles (53.1 m. per ride), 15.6 mph.

So, on average, I am less likely to ride on a Sunday than I am on a Saturday. 
And on Saturday I ride farther and faster. 
As an aside, those 36 Saturday rides occured on only 34 Saturdays,
because twice I did two rides on the same day. 

Two (2) of the mountain rides were on Saturdays, and
two (2) of the mountain rides were on Sundays. 
(The fifth mountain ride was on a Friday.)

The rest of the week:

Mondays, 2 rides (Memorial Labor Days, actually), 93.7 miles (46.9 m. per ride), 15.8 mph.
Tuesdays, 8 rides, 223.3 miles (27.9 m. per ride), 16.3 mph.
Wednesdays, 8 rides, 329.6 miles (41.2 m. per ride), 16.5 mph.
Thursdays, 8 rides, 294.2 miles (36.8 m. per ride), 16.3 mph.
Fridays, 13 rides, 474.7 miles (36.5 m. per ride), 15.9 mph.

When I do a Tuesday ride, it is usually a short recovery / speed combo ride.
Wednesday rides tend to be "all out" and a bit longer as I'm not worried about saving legs for the weekend.
Thursday are supposed also "all out" usually, but sometimes I worry about saving the legs. 
Fridays are usually "spin-out-the-legs" rides, but sometimes they are "all out".
Apparently, I only ride on Mondays if it is a legal holiday. 

Previous years:

I wonder. Hmmn.  (You'll be relieved to know that I had to "re-create" some data points for previous years.  The total rides, miles, and time is correct, but not necessarily the individual ride stats.  Sigh.)

Climbing data:

Well, I have been using "veloroutes" to estimate the amount of climbing on the rides. 
I won't break it out, but on average, I do more climbing per mile on Saturdays than on Sundays.
I.e, I go farther, faster, and more uphill on Saturdays than on Sundays. 
Despite that, I can think of two Sundays off the top of my head where I rode farther on Sunday after a Saturday "irregulars" ride than I did on Saturday -- and one of those times, the Sunday ride had more climbing (but it was "civilized" climbing, not pointless up-and-downs.  

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nov-8: Only 52 Miles

Placeholder text until I write something . . . something.

It was a good day for a ride.  Warmer than I expected -- but apparently it wasn't all that warm at the bottom of the "hollow" -- Lee reported it was still only 38F there when he left for the ride.

Sunny, not much wind.  Tired legs from the ride the day before, but with partners that were "fresh".  What more could one ask for?

72 miles instead of 52. 

BJP: --> PUE:  Creedmoor-Grissom loop --> BJP, w/ G-P-MVC finish, of course; w/ Iceman, LeeD; 52.0 m.; est 2156 ft climbed --> effort index = 74; 3hrs, 19min; 15.6 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 2 ride; 124.5m.; 7 hrs, 59 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD: 110 rides; 5502.9 m.; 348 hrs, 1 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 123 rides; 6054.4 m.; 381 hrs, 11 min; 15.9 mph

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beach 2 Battleship Half-Iron

If I have my information correct, today, 4 "irregulars" participated in the B2B Half-Iron:  Snapper, BigWaveDave, Little Jessie and Melissa. 

As of this posting, we have no information on their respective races.  When we have some info, this blog will "embarrass" them a little and post their results here. 

Currently, I am predicting that Snapper, Wave and Jessie swam like fish. 
And Melissa put in an heroic effort in the water. 

One question comes to mind: 
Did Snapper accomplish his year-long goal of 20+ mph on the bike leg? 
I know I did my part -- I promised I'd "dedicate" three rides to helping make him faster, or stronger. 

I kicked his ass on the return on BR # 2 back to Youngsville. 
I like repeating this feat because . . . let's be serious . . . how often do you think I can figure on "putting a hurting on him" in the future? 
(Gosh, I was sure I had written up the incident where I was able to "put a hurtin'" on Snapper and the Iceman simultaneously, but I guess I haven't put a version of that story on the blog.  Oh, well, just ask me sometime, I give you a thrilling description -- well, a description.)

Hurdle Mills 200k.  To make him stronger. 
(I didn't promise to lead him on fast rides.)

Eaton Rd 100k:  A hilly little tester.  With front-loaded hills. 
(Again, I didn't promise to lead, or go fast, did I?)

A short, fast (for me) ride in which I gave Snapper and the Mallet the opportunity to lead us all at a fast pace through the chilly temps. 

Hmmn.  At least 4 efforts.  I would make another obnoxious statement here, but that might be overkill. 

A second question comes to mind: 
How can BigWaveDave expect "irregular" rides to help him set personal speed or strength records. 
We all know I don't ride fast enough for "speed practice", and
Wave never showed for any "epic" 80 or 100-mile nor for a 200k rides? 
What to do with him? 

Not to leave out the women: 
Other than to note that they NEVER deign to ride with us, and
that Little Jessie is an expert cue sheet mooch,
I just can't bring myself to harass them. 
It would help if I had any ammunition.

Fearsome Foursome:  Let us know your results. 

Nov-7: Sunny, Cool, Breezy and We Lost A Rider !?

Sunny and Cool:

The kind of weather one might like for this time of the year.  Most of leaves seemed to have turned to shades of brown.  Too bad it was so wet last weekend.  Wet and/or windy some times since.  Very little color left on the trees.

But Falls Lake from Cheek Rd looked scenic.  Good light reflecting off the small chop on the surface.  Sea gulls on the sandbar. 

Breezy (or, was that "Windy"):

Out of the south-southwest.  I swear the weather bureau and WRAL always, repeat always, underestimate the speed of the wind.  After Wes Sandling, Grove Hill and Flat Rock roads knocked the avg pace down a bit, the SSW wind coming home certainly did not allow for much "recovery of the overall avg pace". 


Seems all his prior "irregular" rides were "epics", with most / all covering new roads each time.  Today, however, was same-old, same-old.  Except Smitty had never done "my" standard "lake loop", so did not know how far we would take Carpenter Pond Rd; nor did he know we would do Leesville and DocNichols roads.  Gotta' love it when there is no cue sheet and the fast guy in the group doesn't know where we are going and has to keep himself under "some" control. 

Smitty also had not done any part of the "Queen Section" of the Assault on Flat Rock.  I made sure to point out that at the corner of Wes Sandling / Grove Hill / John Sandling / Grove Hill that we could get onto Grove Hill Rd either by continuing straight or by turning left.  Later, just before we turned onto Flat Rock Rd, I made sure to point out the road sign so Smitty would be reminded of the name of the road we were then cycling. 

2.8 miles later, I again pointed to the little green road signs, so that he could note the name of the road we were about to turn onto.  A confused look came momentarily onto his face -- but he quickly surmised the situation. 

Thanks to Smitty for doing more than a pro-rata share of the work today.  Esp. into the wind.


Wolfie, sometimes known as Karen, has been put onto the "irregulars" list.  Two guest appearances from Aug-08 and May-09, and today, she makes an appearance on the list.  I'll have to take some time and update the "rider #'s". 

Wolfie had not done 70+ miles for a couple months.  As she said, sometimes the eyes are bigger than the legs, and the legs were not that crazy about riding the 70+ miles.  Her butt was even less enthused.  I'm sure she will come around to longer rides soon.  And then, once again, there will be an "irregular" with whom I cannot keep up.  Except on the steep hills !!  I can climb steep faster than Wolfie.  Woo-hoo !!

We Lost a Rider

We swooped down New Light Rd to the "lake" crossing and made the hard right turn onto Ghoston.  I was in the lead.  But only for a moment because Smitty soon came around just as I knew he would.  I looked in my mirror to see how far back Karen was.  No Karen.  Since it is still a struggle to look back over my left shoulder, I did not try to turn and look and confirm her non-presence.  Instead, I just assumed she had decided to skip the torture on Ghoston-Peed-MVC and had continued straight on New Light to Six Forks and then to BJP.  That would have taken 4 miles out of the ride distance, so it seemed logical to me.

I got to the top of Ghoston -- no Smitty.  I took that as further confirmation that Karen had not turned onto Ghoston - why that should "count" as confirmation is beyond me - and continued on to Peed Rd where I found Smitty waiting in the drive of the Peed Rd Store.  That's when Smitty informed that Karen had turned onto Ghoston in front of him turning onto Ghoston.  I shared that I had looked in my mirror and had not seen her, "maybe she U-turned and took New Light / Six Forks?"  We waited.  No Karen.  We went to the corner where we could be seen from the Ghoston corner.  No Karen.

Smitty agreed to ride back down Ghoston and then finish his ride on New Light / Six Forks.  As an aside, this was a mistake on my part.  Why?  I gave Smitty the shorter finish route.

When I got to the BJP parking lot, I was at first content.  There was Smitty's jersey and . . . I don't see Karen's jersey. 

"Smitty! You didn't find Karen!?"
"Nope," said Smitty, with a worried look. 

We decided I would stay at BJP and Smitty would go searching in his Durango.  I think he did not quite make it to Six Forks Rd, because within a couple minutes of his leaving, in comes Karen, followed by Smitty in his Durango.  At least we were all now accounted for. 

For a different account of the ride, and the "lost" incident, see Long, Windy, Got Left By the Guys .

Wolfie # 2

Why is Karen "Wolfie"?  One reason might be that she roots for the same college football team as Smitty.

BJP:  "lake loop" + Assault on Flat Rock, w/ G-P-MVC finish, of course; w/ Smitty, Wolfie; 72.5 m.; est 3263 ft climbed --> effort index = 105; 4hrs, 40min; 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.
3rd Qt tot: 36 rides; 1947.2 m.; 121 hrs, 48 min; 16.0 mph.
Oct tot: 9 rides; 551.4m.; 35 hrs, 41 min; 15.4 mph.
Nov tot: 1 ride; 72.5m.; 4 hrs, 40 min; 15.5 mph.
YTD: 109 rides; 5430.9 m.; 344 hrs, 42 min; 15.8 mph.

Rolling 12-mos.: 122 rides; 6002.4 m.; 377 hrs, 52 min; 15.9 mph