Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Small, Inter-locked Cycling World

Date:  Monday, April 5, 2010, 4:32 PM
Memo:  to Hans (whom I'd never met)

Are you the Hans I met last week in Gary's basement?
Building up an all-black bike?

What was I doing there? Must have something to do with trying out a shorter stem.
Sent:  Mon, Apr 5, 2010 7:15 pm
Memo:  from Hans (whom, it turns out, I had met)

yes, that was me. life is too funny and the gyrating ... adds to the humor!

that was my "zamboni" we were building up. a "poor man's pinarello."
yeah, I think you were getting a stem.

Gary has a great thing going. all he needs is an espresso machine in his shop.

ride safe!
Date:  Monday, April 5, 2010, 8:00 PM

Memo:  to Hans 

I went by Gary's today to pick up a new pair of goggles, and he mentioned you.
And the way he mentioned you made a light "click" in my brain that you might be . . . you.

It is quite funny. Or a small world.
Small world story: 

Friday, 5 buddies and I drove to Roxboro to ride to Yanceyville and back.  I had previously contacted Gilbert Anderson who has a bike shop in Yanceyville, and has done a lot of randonneuring in his time.  Anyway, I had never met Gilbert.  We planned to stop by to meet and greet.

A funny thing happened:

Into Yanceyville And Into Gilbert's Shop. The Yanceyville Court House Square made for a nice place to stop -- it looks like it would be awfully HOT in 90+ temps.  Bicycle racks outside Gilbert's shop. Park bike, enter shop and call out for Gilbert.  (Gilbert and I had never met, although we had exchanged e-mails.) 

Emerging from the depths of the store, came Burl Ives, er, Gilbert Anderson. 

As Gilbert and I are chatting, Tito walks past me, goes up to Gilbert "shoulder-to-shoulder" and gives Gilbert a one-arm "shoulder-to-shoulder-hug" saying "Gilbert, it has been a long time since you painted my bike."

"You've been holding out on us, Tito!" 

Tito claimed he didn't know it was the SAME Gilbert Anderson from . . . when they were both much younger. Weren't all of us -- younger, that is.

How funny is that?
Sent:  Mon, Apr 5, 2010 8:34 pm 
Memo:  from Hans is a small world. I've know Gilbert for years but then he disappeared from his last store downtown I didn't know where he went. Cool guy, was always able to locate that bike part nobody else had.
Sent:  Tue, Apr 6, 2010 7:18 am

Memo:  to Hans, copy Gilbert

Gilbert said that the Moulton and Pashley importation business is doing better than ever.  Fewer walk-in distractions in Yanceyville.

The store . . . looks to be one mass disorganized back storage room that no one ever enters or straightens up.  I'd bet that Gilbert knows where everything is.

I'm sure he would be glad to receive an e-mail from you (his e-mail address is on is website), or welcome you if you dropped by while on a ride.

I'm beginning to think that the cycling world is a real world example of the five interlocked Olympic rings; every circle of cyclists interlocks with other circles of cyclists, often in ways one never imagined.
Sent:  Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 9:21 AM 
Memo:  from Gilbert to Hans, copy to me and Yo-Adrian
I thought you got the memo about our move; In fact I thought you helped move us to Yanceyville. Oh well, I always said I have forgotten more than I ever leaned.

Monday, April 26, 2010

300k - Why?

Two Irregulars have asked the question that is the title of this post.  (Well, actually, one asked "400 - Why?")

The following is my response:

I think the best (non)answer I can give to that question/wonderment is "turn it around on one's own self". Why are you doing the tough athletic things that you do? The answer you give yourself is very likely similar to the answer that another gives to themself as to why they do what they do. 

But, I think that if you consider my case, you will agree that since I can't swim, that since my leg issues that sometimes bother on the bike are worse when I run, and that I am clearly more suited physically and mentally to marathon-like events than shorter events, the rando series becomes almost logical. 

See you on the flip side,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Apr-24: Morrisville 300 km Brevet

I completed the Morrisville 300 km Brevet a few minutes before 11 pm. 

Except for a tiny bit at the beginning (I got dropped by the stop light at Davis Rd about a mile into the ride), and
except for about three or four snatches of conversation spread over the first 210 km,
it was a solo effort.
I certainly never got any "draft" to follow.

"Biking Around NC" Bob snapped me arriving at Snow Camp.

I certainly enjoyed, appreciated, and must mention control conversations with Al P., JayJay, Andy and Nancy(?) D., Chloe (Seagrove, Siler City, Snow Camp), and two snatches of conversation with some guy named Matt -- later found out (due to "sagitandy's" photos) that Matt was Matt Settle.
And also roving rando volunteer Bob of near Graham, who was a friendly face and an insightful help at the Andrews Store.  The two clerks at the Andrews Store also were friendly faces.  They clearly had learned of the 190-mile ride from earlier rando-folk that had stopped ... they were quite impressed with the idea of the ride and those of us engaging in the activity. 
Thanks to all. (Especially to JayJay for the inside dope on the IvaHawk.) 

"Sagittandy" snapped JayJay waiting for me to produce my control card.  

At about 145 miles into the ride, I thought "NO WAY am I EVER going to try the 400 km; this is going to be a major struggle to finish this ride".
But around 155-160 miles into the ride, with darkness closing in or maybe having fallen, and
no longer riding wet roads, but riding in a cooling rain,
I thought "man, you can do this".

I told that to Alan, the local "Regional Brevet Administrator".
He told me that last week, when he pre-rode the route, he was similarly dispirited at around the 130 mile mark. 
But after the 137 mile mark, all was well. 
Anyway, when I left his house at about 11:20, Alan asked "see you in two weeks?"
I replied, "see you in two weeks." 

I thought about calling two or three of the "Irregulars" at about 11:30 - mostly to be obnoxious - but ... common decency got the better of me. 

I did call and leave Lt. Dave and Laurie a message. 
But I knew that they would be in Asheville, so no harm could be done. 

The night riding was quite interesting.

The night riding in the light rain was more interesting.
The sounds of the rain falling on the "crops" at the landscape nursery on Martha's Chapel Rd was soothing.
The sounds of the many frogs calling out for companionship through the falling rain made for a nice serenade.
Little frogs sitting on the road were unexpected.
Itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny juvenile frogs jumping about on the roadway was amusing. 

Seeing my shadow thrown up against the trees on the side of the road was informative.
I sit very upright on the bike (fat gut), but I'm not as upright as I thought. 

Only about 3 jerks in vehicles all day.
One of those had bike racks mounted to the top of the car.
Go figure. 

East and southeast winds all day meant tailwinds at the start.
I left the Siler City 100 km control earlier than I had arrived for the midpoint of the 200 km.
The increasing in size rollers heading west had cut the avg to 15.1 mph when I left Siler City.
The tougher rollers between Siler City and Seagrove, and the climb into Seagrove, conspired to cut my avg to 14.7 mph at the 150 km control in Seagrove.
I didn't realize just how much climbing there was to get into Seagrove until I left, headed back towards Siler City.
I coasted for miles. 

I think my avg pace upon leaving Snow Camp, after having ridden ~ 137 miles, was 14.7 mph. 

I struggled for 10 or 15 miles after Snow Camp.
But, the easing of the "terrain", the closing in of the darkness, the damp roads, and finally the rain,
Eventually worked to make me feel better -- cooling effect of the rain, I think. 

Spinning in a no resistence gear when the road (mostly) felt upslope / uphill (couldn't always SEE), and
Controlling the downslope / downhill speed (because I couldn't see potholes THAT far ahead),
Seemed to combine to keep me going. 

I felt fast the last 30 or so miles.
I felt really good and fast the last 22 miles.
But I couldn't see the confuser read-out after about 7:45 pm,
So who knows if I was moving quickly or not. 

I'm using the official distance of the brevet,
Because I would anyway -- who am I to argue with "official-dom",
But also, the distance display on my confuser did not change one iota after leaving Andrews Store
At the corner of Andrews Store Rd and US-15/501. 

I wish I had double-checked the battery type for the Fenix flashlight.
It needs AA.
All I had were AAA.
The roving rando volunteer, Bob from near Graham, spotted the problem.
We each thought he was likely fresher in the brain cell area than me.
If I had had AA's, I would have saved at least 15 minutes at the Andrew's store.
Saying that I finished just after 10:30 would look more impressive than saying just before 11:00. 

But as I told the RBA, Alan Johnson, the plan was for a 10:00 pm finish.
The hope was for a 9:00 pm finish.
But anything would have been acceptable.
Alan corrected me. "You mean anything before 3:00 am, right?"
"Yes, anything before 3:00 am." 

The in-motion time when I finished the ride showed on the confuser as 13hh02mm (and change).
That time makes sense for the whole ride -- not the first 167.7 m. that my confuser recorded to Andrews Store.
I'm thinking the rain "got to" the odometer display.
The 13hh02mm makes sense for the entire ride if my avg was 14.5 mph. 

Although I felt fast in the darkness, I suspect that some of that "feel" is because it was dark.
So I'm using the time and the 14.5 mph for the entire ride. 

So, yes, I rode on and on and on and on.
But I didn't slow noticeably -- except for the darkness.
The fact that the "terrain" south of Chapel Hill and between Jordan Lake and Morrisville is a lot easier
Than the "terrain" futher west probably helped keep the pace from dropping.
Also, the plan was to "soft pedal" from the beginning and every moment until I reached the finish.
I may have actually pedalled, due to the feeling causing the smile on my face, while on Morrisville-Carpenter Rd.
I admit I also actually pedalled the last 8 or 9 of the 12 miles from Siler City to Snow Camp. My kind of terrain.

The above is but one story from the brevet.
But it is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

For some other views:
 Bob's "Biking Around NC" Pre-Ride one week earlier
 "Biking Around NC" Bob caught some action on the 24th (good photos here)
 sagitandy volunteers and plays with trains (more good photos)
 Branson captures the start (interesting start video)
 MikeD's mostly photo essay (more photos)
 Doc on Bike (more photos here too, I think)
 Bob O. - Tidewater Rando


Morrisville 300 km Brevet: Morrisville to Seagrove and back; 189.5 m.; 13hrs, 02min in-motion time; 14.5 mph; Rando time: _start time 0700; finish time 2256; total elasped clock time 15 hrs, 56 min.

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: 10 rides; __717.9 m.; _45 hrs, 24 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 26 rides; 1,656.1 m.; 108 hrs, 03 min; 15.3 mph.

Oh, it might be appropriate to mention that this ride set a distance record for a single ride for me.  My previous long-ride record was the "Irregulars" 200k ride last October.

April-24 -- The Mountain Boys

On Saturday, Apr-24, the "Irregulars" were much like horse manure. That is, we were spread thinly all over central and north-central North Carolina. I don't think we were stinking it up, anywhere, though.

One group of six were spreading it north of Raleigh. (The PUE crew.)

One group of six were spreading it about Hanging Rock, Pilot Mtn and Sauartown Mtn. (The Mtn Boys.)

And one group of one was spreading it from Morrisville to Seagrove.  

I received a guest write-up about the Mtn Boys from Snapper.

It was a cool, cloudy and breezy morning as the 3 Hump crew gathered in North
Hills loading up the Silver Surfer with five bikes; three carbon and two
aluminum. Interestingly, all but one had something in common - gearing for a
Mountain adventure. The black cat? Standard double 53/39 with a rear 12-26 - was
this an omen for bad times ahead? Only time and seven percent grades would tell. 

After racking three bikes on the rear and stuffing two more of them in the belly
of the beast the crew was off only 30 minutes later than anticipated. With Ivan
the Great riding shotgun, The Mallet, Smitty and the Good Doctor riding rear and
The Cheetah commanding the wheel the Silver Surfer set sail for a 3 Hump Tour
(no Ginger or Maryanne unfortunately). 

Just as in the old Gilligan story the weather did start getting rough. Rain fell
on us between Raleigh and Winston and the Crew of the USS Silver Surfer began to
second guess their decision. With windshield wipers sweeping the increasing
water from their vision the beast of the three humps came in to view - Pilot
reared its ugly head and at that point we all knew that it wouldn't be long
before we would be cursing its wicked ascent. 

 Click here for an elevation profile and a simple map.
 . . (Click on "irregulars" next to "route" at the top of the above link to go to a google-earth map.)

First though we had to find our way to Hanging Rock State Park. We pulled in to
the parking lot just before 10am. The rain had stopped. The breeze was warm
(really?) and there were even signs of clearing towards the west (for real?).
What omen? 

Lt. Dave appeared out of nowhere. He and Laurie had arrived earlier but waited
patiently on the Silver Surfer. He was going nowhere alright - at least not
without us - said he had three friends he wanted to introduce us to. Said they
were old, really old and big too. The reality of what lay ahead was starting to
set in. With the crew now six we stopped for one quick picture and then allowed the Hanging Rock descent to show us the way to the three old friends...

  The before photo.
(L to R:  the Good Doctor, IvaN, Smitty, LT, Mallet, Snapper)

Cue sheets are wonderful traveling partners. Down to the 10th of a mile they
tell us everything that lies ahead. The distance to the next turn, which
direction to turn, how far you've got and how far you've been. The thing cue
sheets don't share however is the difficulty of riding on mountain roads really
is. Mountain roads take you home but not before they knock the snot out of you
first. Conversation varied between the riders but early on it centered on the
quality of the roads, the beauty of the countryside and toughness of the
terrain. Funny, toughness of the terrain, we had only been several miles, most
of us had no idea how tough that terrain was going to get.

On the way to Pilot our six-man crew shared pulls. Snapper on the flats pulling
hard and Smitty and The Mallet doing likewise on the hills. Smitty and The
Mallet pulled a lot. It was a beautiful ride. There were six very happy souls.
Everyone felt great. There were no issues. We had obviously not met any of the 3
old friends. 

Approaching the entrance to Pilot, just under the bridge of I40 [ed.:  prob US-52], we came across
a group of horses and their riders. They were all talking about this and that
and then noticed the six of us as we pedaled by quietly, trying not to spook
their rides. One of their group, the blond with the red boots noticed Lt. Dave
and gave a shout out "we should be riding bikes...look at those legs". I think
LT got a little spark from that as he increased his cadence slightly and then
led us to the front door of old friend number one. 

Mountain roads - the cue sheets say nothing of the terrain. One can only ride
them to fully understand how different they are from North Raleigh. 

Pilot Mountain road - the cue sheet didn't even say how far it was from the gate
to the summit - damn cue sheet!

Damn double crank.

Damn 12-26. 

Damn hill. 

Damn The Mallet. 

The FIVE of us made our way up, and up, and up, and up. There were no more gears
to find. What we had was all we had. The sweat began to bead and then began to
pour. The heart rate increased and then doubled. Tough was easy. This was way
harder than tough. Half way up Lt. Dave called a meeting. Thank God. We rested.
The five of us. Damn The Mallet. Dave say's "okay, we're half way up. Just
around this corner the road opens up and it get easier. Really, its only like
150 more yards around this next corner. It will get much easier. Seriously.
Believe me." Damn Lt. Dave. It was not easier and it sure wasn't a 150 yards
before the road opened up. Smitty pulled the Snapper...Snapper didn't notice if
he pulled anyone at all. He could only think about getting to the top. It was a
helluva lot further than 150 yards. 

Funny thing those cue sheets. They didn't say how beautiful the view was from
the top of Old Friend number one. Especially a clear one with barely a cloud in
sight. Rain, thunderstorms? Today? Someone got that forecast wrong. We all
shared a great sense of accomplishment. Well deserved. After a nice break we
were off to top off the water bottles before we bombed down our Old Friend on
our way to number Two. Funny things those cue sheets - they didn't mention a
thing about the remodeling of the bathrooms. Water would have to wait. Down we
all went. 

Feather those brakes. Don't go too fast. Watch the turns. Stay in your lane.
Don't let your wheels heat up too much. ..... BANG! Ivan the Great blows up!!!!!
Luckily for him it happened almost at the bottom and disaster was diverted.
While the rest of us filled our empty bottles Ivan filled an empty tube. Was
this an omen of things to come? Only time and more ascents would tell. 

Maybe it was the free bananas? I don't know but on our way to see Old Friend
number two the ride got a little slippy. Dead mans curve nearly claimed another
life; its second one in as many weeks. Luckily the motorcycle had just passed
and they were no cars or trucks. Had there been, little Elizabeth would have only
memories and pictures of her Big Cheetah. Omen? What omen. 

"Here lies Martin."

Old friend number two was a Sour one. Lt. Dave called it a day and bid us
farewell but not before telling us "this three mile ride will be so much easier
than was Pilot. Its a straight up route with only one switchback. In fact you're
riding a ridge, it will be much easier than Pilot". Sure, it was easier than
Pilot but that ain't saying much. At the switchback it was just four of us -
damn The Mallet. We rested. We drank. We sweated. We waited for our decreasing
heartbeats. We didn't talk as much. We waited. Finally, click, click, on so on,
we were off for the summit. The Good Doctor, 'Cheetah, how much further'
Cheetah, "how far is a 500 yards, one mile?" The Good Doctor, "I think a mile is
something like 5000 yards"...yep, the sun was out, full force, and we were all
hot and not thinking straight. Smitty pulled the rest of us to the summit.
Waiting in the shade was The Mallet cursing his phone. No bars. 

Feather those brakes, don't heat up those wheels, stay in your lane.......great
thing about riding up a ridge is you also ride down the same ridge. With the
exception of the one switchback it was three miles straight downhill. Screw
those brakes. BOMB baby Bomb. I'm pretty sure Smitty had a hard-on. 

Thank you old friend for not breaking our will. We had one more friend to meet
and by this time we were ready. 

Funny thing those cue sheets. They tell you how far you have to go or how far
you've been. They show you direction right and left and keep you on track. They
don't however tell you about the terrain. Smitty will though. He'll tell you how
just five or six miles can seem an eternity when both your thighs burn like hell
every time you stand to get over that gear so you can make it up the last of the
hill on that mountain road. The Good Doctor will tell you how the back screams
while sitting still during an easy cadence. Snapper will tell you to never ride
the mountains with a standard double unless you just like pain. Ivan the Great
and The Mallet will tell you when ........ or maybe they won't. Who knows what
they were going through? They kept it to themselves. Pain. It's in all of us.
Some more than others. Others more than some. 

The entrance to Old Friend number three was at the bottom of the road, just to
our right. We BOMBED down the LAST hill trying to get whatever inertia there
might be in order to help us up that last glorious ascent. Only one problem. Red
car from Pennsylvania was in our way. Certainly they saw the crew of five
BOMBING down the last hill. Certainly they knew the pain we all were feeling.
Certainly they know that we had just one more small hill to conquer. No? Must
not have. Five braking screaming tired souls let them know however. Bet they'll
never pull that stunt again. 

Hanging Rock is appropriately named. Big gigantic rocks hang over the landscape
like tombstones in an empty graveyard. You can't help but notice them. Hanging
Rock was the last but not the least. No, Hanging Rock would prove to be very
tough. Hanging Rock spread out the crew and dealt with each of us on its own
terms. The Mallet, all day the beast of the hills took his time. Was he tired?
Did he just want to enjoy the beauty? Don't know. I would have asked him but he
was not within earshot distance. Smitty? Was he tired of using his right hand to push
down his right leg just trying to get one more revolution from his new Compact?
Don't know. I wasn't in earshot distance. Ivan the Great? Was he okay? Did he
feel pain? Was he even human? I don't know. I couldn't even see him. And the
Good Doctor? Was he going to make it? All that talk of just stopping and waiting
on us to pick him up on the way down. Did he really mean it? I don't know. I
shouted out to Smitty, "how much further?" Smitty, "a half mile". . . I crumbled
back on the seat, barely able to maintain 3mph....... and rounded the LAST curve
...... and saw the entrance to the parking lot......

Damn that Smitty!

The Mallet, Smitty, Cheetah, Ivan and the Good Doctor did make it to the third
summit. This time with no rest. All the way up with no stopping. No 'Hanging'
around on this Old Friend. We had made it. We reveled in the accomplishment. In
the beautiful April afternoon of sunny skies, cue sheets and good omens.... we
were brothers in arms. 

Oh, and for some of us brothers, there were hot showers before our ride home....
Damn those Cue Sheets!!!!

Snapper, aka, Cheetah

April-24 -- The PUE Crew

On Saturday, Apr-24, the "Irregulars" were much like horse manure.  That is, we were spread thinly all over central and north-central North Carolina.  I don't think we were stinking it up, anywhere, though.

One group of six were spreading it north of Raleigh.  (The PUE crew.)

One group of six were spreading it about Hanging Rock, Pilot Mtn and Sauartown Mtn.  (The Mtn Boys.)

And one group of one was spreading it from Morrisville to Seagrove.  (Hey, it's my blog and I can write pretty much what I want.)  There was some smelly manure on this ride:  two locations on Lindley Mill Rd near Snow Camp, and one location on Coleridge Rd (I think that's where it was) between Siler City and Coleridge. 

I received a guest write-up about the PUE crew from the IvaHawk.  So ... : 

PUE Crew Trip Report - The Three Bob's, Lee, And Then There were Two

I'll have to concede to the Mountain Boys that I overestimated the weather threat and, just based on that, should have gone. However, six of us had quite an adventure today.

The six were Bob H, Bob S, NewBob, LeeD (ride leader), Tito, and me. The plan was to ride up New Light to Pokomoke, left on Gordon Moore, right on hwy 56, and left on Mt Olivet Church. I'm sure you're familiar with the route. The plan was 70 miles.
Once we got on New Light and hit the hills going up to NC 98 and after that, I dropped further and further behind. The rest were riding well. My legs were burning uphill and headwind.
Sometime before we got to Pokomoke, I was swept up by a nice group of people who invited me to sit in. That made it much easier.
They asked me who I rode with. I said the Irregulars with Martin the leader. Most of them either knew you or had heard of you. One of them said, "well you know my ex-husband, Dave". It didn't click right away and she said Dave I. And, said, of course ! Lt Dave.
Once we caught the five, who had slowed down looking for me, and who were surprised to see me with my new friends, we all stayed together.
After the right turn onto Hwy 56, an accident. Bob S ran off the road with a nasty shoulder drop off. He corrected trying to get back but hit the curb and down he went. I was in perfect position to see the whole thing. I'll not soon forget Bob's helmet (with his head in it) skidding across the pavement. If there ever was an advertisement for bicycle safety helmets, that was it.
Bob got up to survey the damage. His left little finger appeared to be broken. But, everything else intact. 
After everyone convened and discussed what to do, Bob called his wife to come get him. There was much discussion about what to do. Bob S insisted he was fine and for us to continue. Tito was the most compassionate and lobbied for us to stay.
BobH and NewBob had to be at a baptism and had to leave. So they turned around and left.
Further discussions concluded that Lee go on ahead alone and try to get his 70 while Tito and I would wait some more and go shorter.
Tito and I stayed awhile longer and decided with Bob insisting that we would go on down Mt Olivet about five miles to give us 25 and turn around and go back through the intersection where Bob was to make sure he was gone. He was gone by the time we got back.
We went on down Fred Wilder Rd to Pokomoke Rd and turned right. Then I started to get worried that I had turned the wrong way. We passed the Llama House. I knew we had passed it on our left many times, but I couldn't remember if that was outbound or inbound.
We saw his next door neighbor blowing leaves in his drive way and stopped to ask. We met a delightful man named Wilton or Wilbur and talked to him awhile. He was 85 years old and very interested in our bikes. He confirmed we were on the right path.
We finally made it back to PUE without incident and 55 miles.
We proceeded to Tropical Smoothies where I called Bob and learned that his finger was not broken, but only dislocated ! Great news. He'll be back in the pack before long.

I received additional information from BobH:

Glad to hear that BobS only had a dislocated finger and a little road rash. It was definitely a scary moment. I remembered checking my rearview mirror and seeing several cars right behind us. I yelled "cars" and Bob S. reiterated that there were cars so that we would not venture from the right side of the road even though our left turn onto Olivet Church Road was ahead. The next sound was the one we all don't want to hear - bike, helmet and body hitting pavement. It took me most of the day to get that sick feeling out of my stomach.

Robert and I reversed our course and headed back to PUE with the only deviation being Ghoston/Peed. The ride back was smooth and fairly quick (must have been the wind at our backs). I asked Robert how he was feeling and he stated he was not sure if the legs were going make it. I told him I wouldn't leave him. We started slowly at about 14-15 mph but were soon cruising along at 19-20 mph and Robert was hanging right there about 20 yards back. On we went for about 5-7 miles before I noticed Robert falling back. I slowed down and he quickly came along side. I asked him how he was doing. His response " You want me to lead so you can draft and rest a while?" At that point I knew he was going to make the trip back home with no issues.

Before we reached New Light I told him about the bad pavement and the 3 hills at the finish, so conserve when you can. I quickly dropped him on New Light but waited at the bottom of Ghoston.  From that point Robert was right on my tail all the way to PUE. Looks like we have another rider to add to the team. Congratulations Robert on a strong first ride with the Irregulars. 

I also received a concise summary from Lee: 

As for myself, I had an uneventful 71 mile ride. My gearing change allowed me to ride up Tommy Snead hill in the saddle, so I can't wait to see how it does on the 3 Mt ride.

I'll make my comment on Lee getting a gearing change making it easier for him to ride hills here instead of in the comments:  Great!  His only (almost) weak spot is now going to be yet another strong point.  Ugh.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apr-22: Spin Out The Legs

My quads seemed to be fatiguing rather quickly.  It seemed the saddle was a bit too low. 
At 21.65 miles (corner of DocN + OliveBranch), I raised the saddle a few mms.
Immediately felt better and more comfortable.
Different, anyway.

Q:  What is the difference between "spinning out the legs" and a "time trial"?
Especially when the course is the same.
Especially when the "spin out the legs" ride turns out to be the 3rd fastest ride so far this year.

A:  The mental approach.
For those that would like a little more quantitative analysis to go with that touchy-feely answer,
How about this:  it took 33 minutes to cover the last 10.3 miles instead of 31 and change.

BJP:  Coley-DocN-Kemp-Virgil; 37.0 m.; 2hrs, 14min in-motion; 16.5 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _9 rides; __528.4 m.; 34 hrs, 22 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 25 rides; 1,466.6 m.; 95 hrs, 01 min; 15.4 mph.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Apr-17: Mayo Lake 100

Or, Some Guys Make It Really Difficult to Give Them a Gift

On Thursday, Tito sent me a "private note" e-mail that IvaHawk's birthday would be on Saturday, the day of the ride.  Tito thought it would be nice to give Iva something -- maybe a county line. 

I wrote back that Iva would have to ride more than the 50 miles he had expressed interest in, because there would be no contestable county lines if Iva turned on cue for the 50-mile route.  Maybe, I suggested, Tito should convince Iva that he ought to ride at least as many miles as his age for his birthday present to himself, and if Iva would commit to ride the Range Road Rover 66-miler, then he would exceed his age by 3, and there would be two contestable county lines. 

Eventually, Tito wrote back that he had finally just "informed" Iva that they were riding the 66 mile course, and Iva had no choice.

I informed the other five known riders of the plan.  After climbing the Range Wall, which would almost certainly leave me "off the back", I would purposefully ride slowly to catch up to the group while the group putzed along whining about how I needed to learn to climb (I was later informed that that is what the "crew" does anyway - just as I figured); meanwhile, Tito would pull Iva (who was likely to be the second-to-last up the Wall) quickly back to the group, and say to Iva "let's just pass the guys and keep going; they'll catch up in a mile or so."  That would get Iva and Tito clear of the entire group headed for the Granville-Durham County Line, and Tito could just wave Iva around.  Everyone agreed.

Two additional riders showed for the ride - we eventually clued them into the plan.  I told BobH that I was counting on him being one of the riders, that if Tito and Iva were not too far ahead as they neared the CL, to give a faux rush to try to catch Iva before the CL, and use the excuse that they decided it would take to much energy which would be better used over the duration of the 80 or 100 mile ride the rest of us were planning. 

Things started to "come apart" when the others did not drop me as badly on the Range Wall as they usually do - perhaps they started the "putzing" too early.  A further and significantly more important complication developed when Norris and then ??? and then Iva and then more pulled over to admire the flora.  I adapted and called out "we'll regroup at Roberts Chapel". 

I rode ahead to catch the hopefully putzing Smitty and JohnA.  Luckily they had independently decided to stop at Roberts Chapel to regroup.  Then JohnA decided to admire the flora.  A couple additional riders straggled in to the Range / Roberts Chapel corner.  Then came a fast-moving four-man train including BobH, Tito, Lt. Dave, and Iva on the back.  Fantastic I thought -- those guys have adapted and improvised a new plan -- the four would get free and they could wave Iva around.

And then Iva dropped off the back of the line and came to a virtual stop.  We had to practically shove him back on the road. 

"It is really difficult to give that guy a gift" I mumbled.  Someone commented, "I figured you gave up when everyone stopped for the flo-max."  I replied, "I don't give up that easy."  Then we, too, got underway.

Luckily, the other three of the would-be four-man line realized what had happened, and slowed down.  Iva, and perhaps a couple others, caught up.  In time for Iva to outsprint Lt. Dave to the line.  (Tito tried to explain to me just before we got to Moriah what had happened at the first CL -- but I told him he needed to write it up and send me an e-mail -- I am still waiting -- probably because, as Iva had said shortly after the beginning of the ride, Tito has been too busy "farting" around.)

After the Durham CL, I had dropped off the back of the lead 8 - only Gary was back with me.  I commented to Gary that I needed to catch up to the group so that they didn't miss the next turn.  Why is it that when I mention something like that to one of the fast guys - Lee also comes to mind - they think I want to catch the group in 100 yards?  Half or three-quarters of mile would do just fine, and fit my diesel engine much better.  Gary took off, too quickly.  But he slowed back down so I could re-catch his wheel and got me up to the group within a long quarter-mile.  In keeping with not giving up the flywheel momentum once I get it wound up, I went around the main body of the group and joined BobH and Iva off the front of the other 7.  The other 7 continued to slightly putz along while Bob, Iva and I kept "at pace".

Iva clearly wanted to come alongside me and chat - the two of us following Bob.  I told Iva to grab Bob's wheel and hang on for a while - I grabbed Iva's wheel.  I thought it would only be another mile to the Person County Line.  I was wrong. 

The turns onto Red Mountain and Bahama roads came BEFORE the CL.  Therefore, I jumped around Iva and Bob, telling them to follow me on the turns, and "don't slow down".  After the chicane (sp?) of Red Mtn Rd, I intended to get back on Iva's wheel and help him go around Bob when we spotted the Person CL.  However, discretion suddenly seemed the better part of valor, and I let the two of them go.

Bob continued to set a nice pace - Iva holding his wheel.  At Moriah, Iva explained what happened from his view:  He saw the CL sign and jumped around Bob, going for all he was worth, he looked back to check on Bob, and thought Bob's cadence was a LOT less than his - he thought there might be some Marco Pantinni / Lance Armstrong action going on.  Bob described things from his point of view:  Iva had clearly noticed the CL and jumped past Bob before Bob had noticed the CL - then Bob chased, but Iva had jumped too soon (Tito told me a couple months ago that "Iva only has one or two hundred yards of sprint in him on any day"), and Bob had to "moderate" his chase.  "It was really difficult to give that guy a gift."

We stopped at Moriah for several legitimate cycling reasons, but also so that Tito could present Iva his double-sprint trophy, and acknowledge on behalf of the whole group, "Happy 63rd, 'Old Man'".  I know that at least a few of us aspire to still have your ability when we reach your current age.  (At least one of us is nine years younger, and wishes that his current ability matched your current ability.)

Before the 66-milers split off, I told Iva the following:  "Iva, a couple months ago there were only three in on the conspiracy to get you a County Line or two, and it didn't work.  Today, nine of us were in on the conspiracy - you were the only one not 'in on it', and it was still nearly impossible to give you these little birthday presents." 

The cast: 

A) 66-milers:  1) IvaHawk (the self-proclaimed "Old Man'), 2) Tito, 3) Wave, 4) JohnA.
B) 80-milers:  5) BobH, 6) Norris.
C) 100-milers:  7) Lt. Dave, 8) Smitty, 9) Gary, 10) me.

The rest of our 100-miler was a very nice ride.  Lots of details with which one could fill a blog post, but it seems sufficient to say that we had tailwinds on the homeward bound 50 miles and the sun came out and it became a very nice day.  We found a great place to stop at Gentry's Store.  We had an excellent lunch stop in Berea.  We all finished our 104-mile ride and were pleased with our ride and our companions for the day.

I hope the 66-milers enjoyed the Range Road Rover, and that the 80-milers also enjoyed Denny's Store Rd and Old Roxboro Rd and the scenery that we saw an hour-and-a-half later. 

Elevation graph and simple map here.  Semi-interactive map here.

Smitty sent a link to his gps stats:  Smitty's stats  (Yikes - Smitty had 20 minutes of "wait for Martin time".)
Oh, to be complete on my ride, I rode 6.4 miles starting at 6 am to test out lighting for my ride next week.  The stats below include those early miles.

PUE:  Act 1:  Night Rider; 6.4 m.; 23+ min; ~ 15.4 mph.
 . . . . .Act 2:  Mayo Lake 100; 104.0 m.; 6hrs, 47+min in-motion time; ~ 15.4 mph.
 . . . . . .Total:  110.4 m.; 7hrs, 10min in-motion; 15.4 mph.

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _8 rides; __491.4 m.; 32 hrs, 08 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 24 rides; 1,429.6 m.; 91 hrs, 47 min; 15.4 mph. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Apr-16: Test 300k Package and Spin-Out-the-Legs

Seemed like I was wearing out the legs into a more-than-annoying-wind, not spinning them out, so I decided to save the legs for tomorrow and U-turned early.

At the U-turn at CP/Kemp, I re-adjusted the handlebar twist, again, and lowered the little handlebar bag.  The bag now may swing about a bit, but at least it is not in the "comfort" way when I put my hands on the straight part of the bar.  And it may not swing about at all. 

I have yet to test the lighting.

BJP: MVC-CarpenterPond to Kemp - U-turn; 15.7 m.; 1hrs, 03min in-motion time; 15.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _7 rides; __381.0 m.; 24 hrs, 58 min; 15.2 mph.
YTD tot: 23 rides; 1,319.2 m.; 84 hrs, 37 min; 15.4 mph. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apr-11: This is a Recovery Ride?

I started about 9:15-9:20 from BJP. When I turned onto MVC, I had ~ 2.5 miles @ 12.4 mph. I laughed.
I saw "the Mallet" climbing out-of-the-saddle while I was descending MVC. "Hey, Paul!" "Hey, Martin!"

Lynn intersected me just after I turned off MVC onto Old Creedmoor. I told her I was VERY slow.
She stayed hooked on until the first little bump, and said "I'll ride ahead and either wait or circle back."
I called back "I may be too slow all day to be of any help -- just ride on if you need to."
When I turned off Leesville onto Doc Nichols, I had 12.4 miles @ 13.2 avg mph. I really laughed at that. 

My legs started feeling better on the DocNichols downslope.
When I got to Olive Branch, Lynn looked to be having a feast. She had about 64 miles at that point. 

We made a plan. I tried to block the wind for her. 
Lynn would stay in my slipstream until a "serious" climb, then she would slide past and turn back at the next stop sign.
I was gradually able to find a higher cadence and pace.

I had a good (Martin) cadence, even on upslopes / uphills, but not a lot pressure on the pedals.
At Old Weaver / New Light, I had 48.1 miles @ 15.0 avg.
Lynn did not want to do Ghoston - Peed - MVC to BJP.
But did want to drop quite a few "6 am" clothes with me instead of carrying them for another 68 miles.
So I finished New Light - Six Forks. Total: 53.4 miles @ 15.0 avg mph. 

300 km in thirteen days. 

BJP:  DocN-BapMarina-Southview-Kemp-Patterson - lake loop - NL/6F finish; 53.4 m.; 3hrs, 33min in-motion time; 15.0 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _6 rides; __365.3 m.; 23 hrs, 55 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 22 rides; 1,303.5 m.; 83 hrs, 34 min; 15.4 mph.  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apr-10: Morrisville 200 km brevet

I arrived about 5:45 am for the 6 am registration.  No one else was there.  I was not entirely sure I was at the correct location.  A few minutes later, I saw someone else arive -- it was obvious that the driver was wearing reflective and very visible gear.  Good sign, I thought.

I went over to introduce myself, confirm that this was the correct location.  Turned out it was "sagitandy".  Good, I thought, this has to be the correct location.  Turned out Andy had never been there, either.  (Btw, Andy admitted to knowing "irregular" IvaHawk -- he didn't say anything detrimental.)  At 6 am, with no one else there, we decided to do a couple "scout-arounds" in our respecitve vehicles.  I arrived back at the shopping center at about 6:15 -- registration now in full swing. 

7 am start.  Within a quarter or half-a-mile, whoosh, the "lead" pack was gone.  I guessed that at least 3/4 (maybe more) of the riders were ahead of me.  I accepted the notion that I would be doing a 200 km ride solo.  It wasn't that big of a notion to accept -- after all, I did my first ever century, a 109-mile version of the Virginia Border Raid solo (and my previous longest ride EVER before that had only been 78 miles -- the week before). 

However, soon Bob (a veteran randonneur with multiple series and at least one Fleche under his belt) was back with me.  I thought that was good -- he knew the course.  We soon passed a guy on the side of the road fixing a flat.  Several miles down the road, FlatTire caught me (his name was Don), and he decided to ride and chat with me for awhile.  That was nice.  Neither of us knew the course, and we consulted our cue sheets frequently.  We chatted all the way to the first control in Snow Camp (about 50.5 miles into the course).

Sridhar arrived at Snow Camp after Don and me, but was ready to head out for Siler City when we were ready to leave.  The nice thing about that -- Sridhar knows the course.  It is ~ 12 miles from Snow Camp to Siler City -- it seemed that ALL of it was downslope.

I needed to take a bit longer at Siler City than Don did -- so he took off.  I started back with Sridhar -- a well seasoned randonneur, but prone to cramps and a self-admitted "not-a-good-climber".  I waited along the road a couple times between Siler City and Snow Camp -- I was enjoying the upslope from Siler City to Snow -- it was definitely a "Martin kind of slope" -- at least some of the "Irregulars" will understand that.  At times I was zipping along as fast as 19+ mph upslope, into the wind -- it was great.

I arrived at Snow Camp, again, just after Bob (mentioned above) started searching for his control card.  I heard him say "oh, no".  "Control card", I asked?  "Yes."  "Sridhar found a spare in Siler City."  Bob philosophically went to use the head.  Sridhar arrived a few minutes later -- he had Bob's control card.  Bob was delighted.

I figured to ride back to Morrisville with Sridhar and Bob, waiting after climbs.  After 4.66 miles (according to the official cue sheet), I waited @ Lindley Mill Rd 3 1/2 minutes for Bob -- Sridhar was no where in sight.  I quickly calculated that would equate to an additional 40 or 50 minutes to complete the route.  I decided that as I had a cue sheet, I could navigate back on my own.  After all, in its purest sense, brevets are not really "group rides" -- that's what audax rides are for.

Procedure became "stop at stop sign -- check cue sheet for the next two or three roads -- go to the next memorized stop sign -- rinse, repeat".  I only was worried about being off course once.  I figured that this was helping me learn the course.

At around 103 miles into the course, I came upon a group of five, three of whom had gotten ahead of me by doing quicker control stops, fidgeting with one guy's bike.  As I came to a stop, I saw that only one person was actually fidgeting with the bike, with a nice packaged set of tools laid out and trying to repair / re-string another guy's rear derailleur cable as he invoked the name of "Lon Haldeman".  Eventually, Charles, Coho frame-builder, managed to tie-off the rear cable to one of the water bottle cages, giving Steve a single useable rear cog in the middling-easy range.

Chloe pushed off.  I followed and passed on the next uphill.  Some 10 or 12 miles down the road, though, Charles, Eric (from SIR), and Chloe caught and passed me.  I couldn't hang onto their wheels, but they didn't pull more than a couple hundred yards ahead.  That allowed me to follow their turns.  A well placed stop-light on red allowed me to catch them up, but I couldn't hold their wheels on the next little up -- aargh.  Another well placed red stop-light ... and that time I was in the clover.  Also the urbanized roads were basically flat -- so the last 3 1/2 miles I was usefully "with a group" for the first time since Siler City.

Official finish time at 5:13 pm.  Greeted by applause from the assembled and a congratulatory handshake from MikeD (he's the one in the L-E-L jersey), then handshakes with more of the "names" in NC Randonneuring.
The route:  Morrisville 200 km Brevet - outbound
 _(There is a mistake on the map -- "veloroutes" did not stay on US-15/501 when it was supposed to --
 __I didn't notice the mistake until AFTER I'd saved the route.)
Best comment of the day:  going toward Siler City from Snow Camp, we encountered the lead group headed in the opposite direction, Sridhar said "there they go, being pulled by Lynn 'Insane' L."  (He actually used Lynn's last names, but I leave last names out of this blog -- unless the person is really well known and their name is already plastered all over the big interweb, e.g., Lon.)  [I saw Lynn on Sunday, and told her what Shridar had said -- she laughed.]

"Doc on a Bike", whom I did NOT meet (as far as I know), has put up his blog post -- of pictures -- here.
More pics on RTP by MikeD here.

Morrisville 200 km Brevet:  Morrisville to Siler City and back; 125.3 m.; 8hrs, 26min in-motion time; 14.8 mph; Rando time: _start time 0700; finish time 1713; total elasped clock time 10 hrs, 13 min.

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _5 rides; __311.9 m.; 20 hrs, 22 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 21 rides; 1,250.1 m.; 80 hrs, 01 min; 15.5 mph.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Apr-6: Bapview - Spin-out-the-Legs

I thought my legs were completely recovered from Friday-Saturday-Sunday.  But I found out that was not true, esp. regarding my right leg, well before I reached Six Forks Rd.  Sitting and strolling about clearly does not provide insight into fatigue or lack thereof. 

Strong south-southwest wind.  Slow start into the wind, trying to warm up the leg.
Decided to do the "Bapview" course so I wouldn't be tempted to think I was doing a "TT". 

Pedaling was a lot easier downslope and/or with a tailwind -- esp. when downslope and with a tailwind.

Lots of yellow.  In the air.  On the ground.  On trees, bushes, grass.  Collecting on the forward facing surfaces of the handle-bars and the entire bike in general.  Also on me, Ebenezer's Nightcap, and my new goggles. 

BJP: DocN-Baptist-Soutview-Virgil; 33.0 m.; 2hrs, 05min in-motion time; 15.8 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _4 rides; __186.6 m.; 11 hrs, 56 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD tot: 20 rides; 1,124.8 m.; 72 hrs, 35 min; 15.5 mph. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Apr-4: BeaverDam Tri Recon - Deja vu

Serendipitous pick-up with two cyclists (MikeD - no, not that one, the other one- and Phil - not Dr. Phil) led to a recon mission of next week's Beaver Dam Tri cycling course. I have a definite feeling that I've done this before.

Only one loop of the course from NC-50 to New Light Rd this time.  And no one was encountered who was on their third "Ghoston-Peed-MVC" loop.

Nice, hilly ride.  I got faster as the ride went along.  Kicked Ghoston, Peed and MVC in the butt.  That sometimes happens when my legs are too tired to feel any more pain.

BJP: 6F/NL-OWT to NC50-U turn-BeaverDam-BG-Woodleif-Purnell-NL-G-P-MVC; 33.2 m.; 2hrs, 03min in-motion time; 16.2 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _3 rides; __153.6 m.; _9 hrs, 51 min; 15.6 mph.
YTD tot: 19 rides; 1,091.8 m.; 70 hrs, 30 min; 15.5 mph.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Apr-3: The Pine Pollen Appeareth

The pine pollen may have been obvious to those cycling about the Triangle on Thursday or Friday . . . but I wasn't cycling about the Triangle on either of those day.  The skies and the air from and between Roxboro and Yanceyville was crystal clear yesterday. 

I thought I noted a hint of pine pollen in the air during the ride today, but I wasn't sure.  However, when I got back to my car, it was easy to see yellow pollen wherever oily human fingers had contacted the car's surface in recent days, and there was a palpable dusty yellow sheen on the rear bumper.  Then I noticed that my black cycling shorts had a definite yellow tinge.  By next week, maybe tomorrow, we will be ingesting a continuous diet of pine pollen as we cycle down the road.

BobH, Levi, me, and guests Gary + Wendy left PUE at 7:35 for our ride (I was NOT the late one(s)).  For me, the ride was a long exercise in "no resistance - soft-pedaling"; BobH and Levi did some accelerations off the front; G+W rode somewhere in betwixt (not between, betwixt -- if you are unclear as to what I mean -- ask when you see me).

BobH and Levi decided to do the Rock Springs / Beaver Dam detour in order to add a few miles to their ride.  G+W and I rode straight in on Bruce Garner / New Light, then Ghoston-Peed-MVC.  I thought G+W might have decided to finish New Light / Six Forks - Pleasant Union Ch Rd because once on Ghoston, I never caught a glimpse of them in the rear view mirror.  I kept expecting them to overtake me because Wendy had been going up the steep bits faster than me.  But appartently, doing Ghoston, the highway, and Peed (2.9 miles) in 14 minutes and change put some distance between us.  (Maybe Wendy slowed down a bit because she decided to ride the extra 10 miles home.)

Turned out I was glad I hadn't stopped and waited for G+W, because if I had, BobH and Levi would have likely caught me before I got into the PUE parking lot.  Doing 10.7 miles in the same time they did 13.1 miles would not have looked or felt good (although I sometimes claim to have no ego regarding riding -- I do); but since I was standing in the parking lot, off my bike, helmet, gloves and "Ebenezer's nightcap" already off, and could see the moment that BobH pulled up alongside Wendy, I can rest safe in the knowledge that they didn't catch ME.

I believe everyone had an enjoyable ride.  My avg pace was a bit slow, but as I told BobH at one point, "today is an exercise in soft-pedaling -- the irritating thing is that the difference between working my butt off and soft-pedaling seems to be about 1 mph."  Bob replied that that seemed like a good thing.  Well, maybe it allows me to go longer more easily without slowing much.

One (other) good thing about the "no-resistance soft-pedaling" approach to today's ride -- I was not exhausted at the end.  Yesterday, I was so tired from the bigger hills, HOTTER temps, faster overall avg pace, that I was falling asleep while trying to compose the blog post.  Today, while I don't feel like "a million bucks", I am not nearly so tired.
Btw, I do know that this post is "all about me".  That might be an indication that nothing too special happened, or it could just mean that I was tired from yesterday -- and didn't really notice anything much.  I do suddenly recall BobH and Levi nearly stopped in the road on Cheek, apparently undecided if they should proceed downslope to the lake or turn onto Hereford Rd; let's just say that I could modify the "rules" post to include a more recent YELLING incident.

PUE: Stem-Hester-Mt.Energy-Grissom 100k; w/ BobH, Levi, G+W; 63.0 m.; 4hrs, 08min in-motion time; 15.2 mph.

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _2 rides; __120.4 m.; _7 hrs, 48 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 18 rides; 1,058.6 m.; 68 hrs, 27 min; 15.5 mph.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Apr-2: Bicycle Repairman

Few of the Irregular Rides actually qualify as an "adventure".
Today's ride, however, certainly qualifies as an adventure.
Therefore, "Irregular Velo Adventures" is proud to present the following true-life adventure.

But first, while riding WAY off the back of the hammering foursome, while riding along like Terry Gilliam in the Monty Python skit, taking in the scenery and trying to ride for the enjoyment, the idea for today's post came to me.  For your education, please be sure to check out the video immediately below.  Then go to the text below the video.

If I were a fan of the television show "MacGyver", I would perhaps put a post from that show here.  However, I never got "into" that show, so ... no post.

Irregular Velo True-Life Adventure

The Trouble Began on Monday past when LT went out to ask his secretary WHY there was nothing on his schedule for Friday (Good Friday).  His secretary quickly informed LT that "we get Good Friday OFF, you slave-driver!"

The Trouble Escalated when LT suggested a Good Friday ride from VGCC, looping Kerr Lake.  My response was "Great Idea".  Funny thing, though -- despite the fact that I was concerned enough about potential high water / flooding on Kerr Lake a month or more ago to have contacted MikeD about means to find out about possible flooding on Nutbush Creek and Anderson Creek roads in advance of a possible Middleburg 100-miler for the Spring Equinox, no such wise thoughts entered my head upon receipt of Dave's e-mail.  I therefore put out an e-mail to the "Irregulars" informing that we were planning a repeat of the Jul-03-2009 ride.

Some Trouble Was Avoided when, for who knows what reason, I e-mailed randonneur Branson that I thought I'd be doing the Morrisville 200k brevet next week, if an 84-mile Kerr Lake Loop ride this week went well.  That turned out to be a lucky e-mail.  Why?  Because Branson was able to inform me that Nutbush, Anderson Creek, and Jacksontown Rd were all closed due to Kerr Lake flooding.  We scrapped doing a loop of Kerr Lake.  But what ride would we do?

A Glimmer Of Hope appeared when Dave said "how about that Roxboro ride you wanted to do?"  Ah, day saved.  Except I could not find hide nor hair of a cue sheet or a map of the never-to-happen Roxboro 93-miler.  So ... instead of taking a previously planned course, and carving out a few miles to get a shorter, 75-mile route ... I had to create a ride from scratch ... on roads I'd never ridden ... or seen.

Luckily, Yanceyville is 30 miles or so West of Roxboro, and that was to be the intermediate destination of the ride.  And, more luck, I had a cue sheet for the upcoming Summer Solstice Irregulars 300k that went through Yanceyville, and looped around, generally heading North of Roxboro.  Soon I had a map of a 75.2 mile ride that fit the bill.  By mid-day on Thursday, I had e-mailed the enrolled suspects (LT, IvaHawk, Tito, LeeD, JohnA) a cue sheet.  We were set to ride. 

I Was At PUE And Ready To Transfer to one of the transporting vehicles by 6:50 for the supposed "leaving PUE at 7:00".  At 6:55, I thought to myself "somebody should be here by now".  At 6:57, I thought "where the eff is everyone?"  At 6:58, IvaHawk and Tito pull into the parking lot and see me across the way, leaning against my car, arms folded.  They pull up and Iva asks "are you tapping your foot?  I told Tito that it looked like you were tapping your foot."  About a minute later, JohnA arrives.  And then LT and Lee.  We load up and are underway at about 7:06.

It was a pleasant ride up to Roxboro.  We pulled into a parking lot by the Sherrif's Office, and just across the street from a Roxboro Fire Department firehouse.  We started unloading and doing final prep on our bikes.

Iva Casually Commented "I Think My Front Tire Is Flat".  Definitely was.  Started trying to pump up the tire; it would not hold air.

JohnA walked between the two vehicles a couple times, looking for something, then announced "I Have No Shoes."  Oh, great!

Tito completed the change on Iva's tire.  Pumped up the tire.  Good -- all we need to worry about is John's lack of his cycling shoes.

Maybe we can borrow some duct tape from the firemen to make faux toe clips for John -- BANG ! Iva's replacement tube had exploded. Sigh.

Bicycle Repair Man, aka, Lt. Dave, completed the duct tape toe clips about the same time we got the second blown tube out of Iva's tire.  We tried my spare tube, but the valve-stem was too short for Iva's fairly deep dish rims.  Oh, Dave has a long-valve-stem tube -- I know because we traded tubes last year after he had a flat and we found that his rims required a longer stem tube, which I had, but he didn't.  Knock on wood.  Neither Dave nor I have had a flat in over a year.

The initial duct tape toe clips in Roxboro.

Great, the little twisty open and close to let in / let out air on Dave's tube just fell off. It wasn't the entire valve assembly such as Snapper and I have each separately managed to unscrew with our hamfisted approaches to changing flats / putting air into our tires.  No, it was just that teeny tiny little bitty thing that you loosen or tighten to put more air in the tire -- or let it out.  Sharper eyes than mine found that incredibly tiny item on the parking lot.  Dave used the pliers in my multi-tool (not a cycling multi-tool, but a faux "Swiss Army Knife" mutli-tool) to hold the very thin valve thing upon which the teeny tiny little bitty loosy-tighty thing screws onto; eventually I realized that I was trying to put the teeny tiny little bitty loosy-tighty thingy on backwards; flipped around, we had an operable valve and tube in just a few seconds.

So, for the third time, Iva's front tire was pumped up.  Okay, now we can get going.  BANG !!!

Increduously, we all looked at Iva's tire.  What had we done wrong?  Dave is really good at changing flats.  Iva was ready to call it a day and call his wife, Tracy, to come get him (we needed his vehicle to transport at least three bikes and two people -- so if he went home, at least two others had to also go home -- or change their ride to being Roxboro to PUE).  Maybe We Should Actually Check That The Tire Is Okay; no one has checked to see if there is wire on the inside of the tube, or if the inside of the rim has a problem. Aha!  Look at this!  This nearly brand-new tire (the burr on the center of the tire- "where the rubber meets the road") was still visible.  But the side-wall, right on the bead, had a gash about three inches long.  Must be a defective tire.  Later, we thought that the problem might have been that the tire had been in Iva's SUV for the last couple days, and if he had parked in direct sunlight, the inside of the vehicle might have gotten really, really HOT and THAT will cause tires to blow.

Can we fix this with duct tape?  Someone came up with the game-saving idea:  Iva would drive to Yanceyville, and find Gilbert and his bike shop, North Road Bicycle Imports, get a new tire and three new tubes (one to use, one for his spare, and one to replace Dave's spare).  Then Iva would ride the course backwards looking to meet us, and . . . we would have ride.  We decided we would figure out how to get Iva's car back into the mix later.

Iva left for Yanceyville.  The rest of us left for Yanceyville -- at least we were finally riding at about 8:53 -- nearly an hour after the hoped for start.

The Duct Tape Toe Clips Worked Well, at least for a few miles. Waaaayyy before we got to Ceffo (7.4 miles into the ride), one of the duct tape toe clips fell off onto the road.  John continued soldiering on.  Luckily, he has "Look" pedals, and those do provide somewhat of a platform for stomping as if on a flat pedal.  He still had the other duct tape toe clip.

I Turned At (In) Ceffo, the others immediately stopped at the Ceffo Fire Station.  Half-a-mile down the road, I realized that no one was following.  I turned around -- now thinking that perhaps I turned onto the wrong road.  When I got to the firehouse, I told Lee that I thought I had turned onto the wrong road.  Lee told me that David had said we had been on the wrong road for several miles.  I looked at the cue sheet.  No, we had been on the correct road, it was just that the little green roadsigns did not match what the google-maps had for the name of the road.  The name that google had WAS the name that pointed the opposite direction when we had turned left some miles back -- so I was confident we were only -- maybe -- a 100 yards off course.  I went to scout-about.  Turned out I was not wrong.  We were supposed to turn back there at the "Ceffo" sign.  We were on the correct course.

Now, What The Heck Is Dave Doing In The Firehouse?  Somebody said he went in hoping to find a piece of wire to improve the faux toe-clip(s).  Is he having to bribe them or something -- he's been in there an awfully long time.  Dave FINALLY emerged and said "I had to fix the toilet so I could take a crap!" Figures.  This adventure just kept piling on.  Let's go.

Dave Sees The Guy That Lives Next Door is in his front yard, and said "I'm going to see if that guy has a wire we can have." If there had been time, this would have been a good point for Lee to have have told the "Dave and the Glass Truck" story.  But that story never came out.

Wire toe clip.

The guy next door re-emerged from the double-wide with a clothes-hanger.  Bicycle Repairman was again in business. With his brute strength and bloody hand (from the original duct tape toe-clip construction) and the pliers from my multi-tool, Dave made a simple cage for John.  As we prepared to get onto the road again, Dave asked all of us to be on the lookout for those little surveyor flags, as they would be attached to a better quality wire than the clothes-hanger was.

Back on the road.  Enjoying the passing scenes.  A couple crossings of long fingers of Hyco Lake resulting long climbs on the other side.  Me dropping everyone off my front -- repeatedly.  Dave and Tito seemed to be taking turns slowing or (in the case of Tito) actually turning around to ride back to me.  I wasn't worried.  I was going to ride my own pace up those hills.  And my copy of the cue sheet was at least as good as their copies.

Around 12 Miles, Dave noticed, and I had noticed, that we had ridden past Ralph Winstead Rd on our right.  Dave had looked at his copy of the cue sheet and knew we were supposed to be on Ralph Winstead Rd, but there was no way we were going to turn down a dead-end.  At least we were still headed West (in the general direction of Yanceyville), even if it was the wrong road -- we convinced ourselves that we probably were on the wrong road.  Dave, Tito and I decided that it would be nice if Lee and John (who were pretty far ahead) would stop at a cross-road so we could check the name of the road we were on and jointly decide on a course of action.  Tito took off to catch Lee and John.  Shortly thereafter, I commented to Dave, "you know, we might still be on the correct road; I recall, from the electronic map, that somewhere along here the road does a slight bend and changes its name." [editor's note: Two days later, looking at the map (see above), the road supposedly changes names twice at slight bends. Maybe one of the times was a county line, but I don't think so because I recall LT motoring ahead to the only CL I crossed (on my bike) during the entire day -- and it wasn't on that road -- I think.]

Tito caught Lee and John and everyone waited and . . . ah, there is a road sign -- we were on Ralph Winstead Rd.  So . . . twice we had been confident that we were on the wrong road, and each time we had been wrong.  That is, we were on the correct road.

At about the 23-mile mark, we paused before turning onto NC-119, and Tito got a call from Iva.  Iva was riding towards us; he was currently on NC-62.  We told him we would almost certainly meet him on Longs Mill Rd (a road that turned out to be a bit rough, but otherwise, was a great 4.2 miles of hill scenes and dairy farms and generally really scenic riding -- but I get ahead of the story).

Just as we were set to push off onto NC-119, Lee points and says, primarily to Dave, "look, a cleat." Dave looked where Lee was pointing, then turned around with a "what the bleep are you are on about" look on his face to look at Lee, and Lee pointed again and said again "a cleat".  Dave turned, looked near the bottom of the stop sign, and cottoned on.  Excitedly, Bicycle Repairman was again on the scene.  Dave untwisted the heavy-ish wire that was twisted about the stop sign post, and soon was improving the faux toe-clip.  Job completed, John commented "hey, this is great!  The wire on the underside of the pedal acts as a tensioner."

John models the newest toe clip accessory for a $5k Trek Madone.
I may, repeat may, rotate this photo -- later.

We rode on, met Iva, and then trudged into the light headwind on NC-62 headed for Yanceyville.  Well -- I trudged.  Tito was generous enough to putz along with me.  The other four (LT, Lee, IvaHawk, JohnA) hammered through Hamer and on to the outskirts of Yanceyville.

Into Yanceyville And Into Gilbert's Shop.  The Yanceyville Court House Square made for a nice place to stop -- it looks like it would be awfully HOT in 90+ temps. Bicycle racks outside Gilbert's shop.  Park bike, enter shop and call out for Gilbert.  (Gilbert and I had never met, although we had exchanged e-mails.)  Emerging from the depths of his store, came Burl Ives, er, Gilbert Anderson. As Gilbert and I are chatting, Tito walks past me, goes up to Gilbert "shoulder-to-shoulder" and gives Gilbert a one-arm "man-hug" saying "Gilbert, it has been a long time since you painted my bike." 

"You've been sandbagging on us, Tito!"  He claimed he didn't know it was the SAME Gilbert Anderson from . . . when they were both much younger.  Weren't all of us -- younger, that is.

IvaHawk had told Gilbert about the beginning of our ride from Roxboro -- Gilbert thought the duct tape toe clips were GREAT.  He also thought the self-tensioning wire "cage" was GREAT.  He claimed he always carries duct tape along on a brevet -- some 20 miles later, when Iva, JohnA and I had looped back to Yanceyville and were loading up Iva's car to drive back to Roxboro to meet the intrepid three, Gilbert regaled us with a story or two of "fixes" during brevets -- including one miserable experience in the midst of the swamps near Wilmington, trying to change a flat with mosquitos eating everyone alive, and finally using duct tape around the tire and the wheel to hold things together -- riding thump, thump, thump into Wilmington. Aah . . . adventure.

After leaving Gilbert's, things calmed down . . . mostly.  John lost / removed part of his Bicycle Repairman clips while we still in Yanceyville, but other than that it was just nice riding toward Blanch and diving down to the flood plain of the Dan River, and climbing back up to the plateau.  Our six-some split when we got back to NC-62:  LT, Lee and Tito (the intrepid three) continued on the route (but not before I had cautioned LT that once the route returned to North Carolina - after about a mile in Virginia - that they would have to be on their toes because one or two of the roads had three or four names on the electronic map, and who could possibly guess what the little green road signs would actually "say"); IvaHawk, JohnA and I closed the "Yanceyville loop" - look at the map - part of the route about 3/4 of a mile after we headed back toward Yanceyville.  We reached Yanceyville, loaded up, and returned to Roxboro without further incident.

The Intrepid Threesome Was Not So Lucky.  After they returned to NC, the left turn indicated on the cue sheet had a problem -- "Road Closed / Bridge Out" read the sign on the barricade.  So they didn't turn, and ended up in Ceffo, which was on the outbound course, 7.4 miles from Roxboro, but not on the return course.  Tito called Iva and requested a "rescue" in Ceffo -- Tito did not tell Iva what the problem was -- so John and Iva and I were left to our imaginations until Iva could return with the Intrepids.  Maybe someone broke a chain; maybe someone had another two flats; maybe they were exhausted from being lost; maybe they were just over-heated (after all, the temps had been summer-like -- we saw 93F on a "time and temperature" sign as we left Roxboro). 

After learning of the "Bridge Out" sign, I guessed the Intrepids had just basically run out of mental energy.  The day had been fun -- but one can only take overcoming so many obstacles, and then . . . .  I talked with LT on Saturday and asked if it was a situation of being drained of the last reserves of mental energy when they encountered the "Bridge Out" sign.  LT's response: "that about sums it up."

Everyone back in Roxboro, loaded up, return to PUE.  John found his shoes in his vehicle.  Everyone went their separate ways to home -- and some to later firehouse duty.

Lest anyone think that we had a bad ride -- the riding was FANTASTIC.  Very little traffic.  Sometimes more farm tractors than cars.  Some wonderful roads.  Some a bit rough.  Some little rougher than that.  NOTHING to challenge New Light Rd as pit of pits for road surfaces.

Further, lest anyone think we had a bad time -- we all had a fun time.  Very tired, but a fun ADVENTURE, for sure.

Group stats.  The stats below the break are mine.  John reported getting 56.96 miles -- I told him he could only count that as 56.9 -- no rounding up; 56.9 miles with faux duct tape and wire toe clips (that he had to borrow wire-cutters from Gilbert to remove) stomping with tennis shoes on Look "platform" pedals. IvaHawk ended with about 36 miles.  The Intrepids ended with about 72 or 73 miles by the time Iva met them on the road between Ceffo and Roxboro.

Roxboro: Ceffo-Leasburg-Hamer-Yanceyville-Blanch-Hamer-Yanceyville; w/ LT, IvaHawk, Tito, LeeD, JohnA; 57.4 m.; 3hrs, 40min in-motion time; 15.7 mph. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; 938.2 m.; 60 hrs, 38 min; 15.5 mph.
Apr tot: _1 rides; _57.4 m.; _3 hrs, 40 min; 15.7 mph.
YTD tot: 17 rides; 995.6 m.; 64 hrs, 18 min; 15.5 mph.

[edit, Apr-07-2010]:  Our adventure got picked up by Gilbert and "featured" on his North Road Blog -- mostly (I think) so that his good friend Adrian would see / read the "duct tape adventure".