Monday, November 29, 2010

Nov-28: Tarheel 200 km Permanent

Dean put out the rider-call with this message:

Come join the fun! If you need an excuse, here are eleventeen, ready-made:

_1) If I ride a permanent this weekend, I can eat more stuff(ing) on Thanksgiving day.
_2) I'm training for Tony's early-season brevet series, er, I mean series-es.
 _ _ _ _

_3) I need an R-ride this month.
 _ _ _ _

_4) I neeed a second, third, nth . . . permanent this month.
 _ _ _ _

_5) I'm stir crazy.
_6) I'm crazy.
_7) There's no rain in the forecast (even if "fearless leader," Alan, rides).
_8) My in-laws, whom I desparately love till death do we part, are in town; and the best part --- because they love me so much --- they've encouraged me to take a day's leave and ride . . .
_9) I want an Andy's milk shake in Stedman.
10) It is an opportunity to ride with some cool folks, gaining some off-season base miles.
11) I don't need no reason to ride --- doin' what I like doin'.

If interested, contact me ...

Let's ride!
I chose excuse #6 and signed on.

I don't what know excuses they were using, but Recumbent Lin and NC Rando 2010 Rookie of the Year Tim also signed on.  (I think Tim may have been concentrating on excuse #9, because he lamented that it was too chilly / cold for a milk shake.)

One good thing about doing this route with Dean, the route owner:  I don't have to worry about actually knowing the course or consulting the cue sheet.

One bad thing about doing this route with Dean, the route owner:  I don't learn the route (as quickly as I should - but I've almost got it down - even those turns in Dunn and Erwin - and today I even recognized where the "Get 'Er Dunn" route turns off East Denim Rd).

This was my third permanent this month.  On Kerr Lake Loop at the beginning of the month, Dean and I each set personal records for that course -- thanks largely to Jerry pulling us all the way to Boydton into the breeze that day.  On Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville last week, I set a personal record.  Today (yesterday), on the Tarheel, I got my third PR this month in three "tries".  I wasn't really "trying" to PR -- it's just that with cooler temps it has been a LOT easier than during the HEAT of the summer.  I often have trouble in the heat.

Thanks go to Dean, Lin and Tim for each taking serious pulls during the ride.  I would never have finished so quickly if it weren't for you guys.

There are lots of things I could write about the ride, including references to several more-than-annoying dogs and the great breakfast I had at Strickland's Marathon, but it is sufficient to write that I had a great day in the saddle, riding in the cool sunshine, with three great guys.

See you on the road.

Tarheel 200 km Permanent; 124.9 m.; 8 hrs, 7 min in-motion; 15.4 mph; rando time:  10 hrs, 14 min elapsed clock time. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: _10 rides; __726.4 m.; _48 hrs, _6 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 107 rides; 7,271.7 m.; 484 hrs, 34 min; 15.0 mph.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nov-27: Hester Rd and Wilton Ramble

Today, we got the bright sunshine that was missing two days ago.  But it came with a price.  Starting temp at 0815 was about 34 F -- significantly below the balmy 37 or 40 F two days ago.  And the chilly, gusting breeze from the SW was more of a nuisance than expected -- I think it was out of the SW -- it certainly felt like it on Horseshoe and Bruce Garner / New Light roads.  The strange thing is that on Patterson Rd, early-ish in the ride, it seemed like the chilly breeze had a significant north component.  And Brogden Rd from Creedmoor (the town, not the road) to Hester Rd also seemed to be mostly into the breeze -- but Brogden from Creedmoor is entirely N to NW.  Did the breeze change directions during the course of the morning?  The answer must have been ... yes.  At least we didn't get the dreaded "headwind out -- headwind back" phenomenon.  And ... except during tropical storms and hurricanes, there really isn't that much wind here in central NC ... certainly not when compared to my "homeplace" location (see here -- the very last section -- for a comparison of breezes in central NC versus WIND in northwest Illinois). 

Hester, at the corner of US-15 and Hester Rd. (Hester Rd is named for Hester x-road).
Wilton.  "Downtown" Wilton.
Grissom.  "Downtown" Grissom.  

Let's start over, shall we?

We got the sunshine we had hoped for two days ago (Thanksgiving Day), but it was decidedly chillier.  There would have been excellent scenes of very nice autumn color a week or two ago, but today, almost all the colorful leaves were on the ground.  We had an excellent ride -- well, mostly.

The cast:  Snapper, BobH, IvaHawk, Tito, Robert, guest Ken, me

Snapper kept to his "metabolic heart rate" training plan, except for the long quarter-mile on Cheek Rd across Falls Lake -- after we were all back together, I explained to Robert (who had been lamenting his inability to hold Snapper's wheel across the lake) that neither he nor I could hope to hold Snapper's wheel when he "cuts loose" for a long sprint.  Robert immediately picked up on the "big engine" issue.

BobH had an excellent ride, often setting the pace or pulling the "loose paceline" for long periods, as he once again "tested" Norris's new machine while Norris remains sidelined recovering from surgery.  I say "BobH had an excellent ride", and he did ... until the machine started to fall apart beneath him.  I wonder if Norris actually knows that Bob is testing that new bike, or if Bob only tells us that Norris asked Bob to "check it out".  Hmmn. 

IvaHawk is my most dependable cycling partner with the most consistent riding style.  But with negative body fat, being the self-proclaimed "old man" of the group, and with the pace usually being near his limit instead of well within his comfort zone, Iva seldom gets the opportunity to take any pulls.  Today, Iva got in at least one serious pull, and I think helped pull some of "lantern" sub-groups as we foolishly attempted on several occasions to bridge-up to the faster front crew.  (Btw, the pace of the group is usually near my limit, too -- that's one of the key reasons for "Irregulars" rule no. 3:  "3. No dropping the ride leader. Especially if we are operating without a cue sheet."  In case you don't quite understand:  Iva is the one partner most likely to be "off the back" or "taking it easy on Ghoston-Peed-MVC" with me.)

Tito said he enjoyed his ride today.  Usually, he goes up to ride alongside whomever is leading and to chat with that person.  Today, Tito spent most of the ride chatting with someone in the middle or near or at the back.  He did, however, ride several sections with significant panache -- especially, my spies informed me, the last 4.7 miles on G-P-MVC.)

Robert (the eponymous one from the "Robert asked ..." posts) is always enthusiastic about riding.  Before.  During.  After.  ALWAYSEnthusiastic!  ALWAYS!!  Robert's longtime friend, Lee, told me earlier this year that "[he] spent five years trying to get Robert on a bike -- now [he] can't get him off of it."  It is always a pleasure to ride with Robert.  Today, Robert seemed intent on earning a new nickname -- "Tito, Jr."  Except that is not quite correct.  Tito typically rides alongside to carry on a conversation with whomever is leading -- Robert, after repeatedly pointing out that "[he] hates to see a draft going to waste," would be off the front with ... whomever was leading / feeling it / trying to wear Robert out.  Thing is, I don't think we CAN wear Robert out.  In the middle of the ride, I told Iva that I think Robert will be the first "Irregular" to complete a 600 km brevet.  He's not even a RUSA member ... yet.  I'm working on him.  And I'd wager that Angie would enjoy a couple Saturdays or Sundays each month sans Roberts:  she told me that when Robert goes 'ariding long, that is her quiet / relaxation time.

Today was Ken's second visit ride with us.  He was in the care of Snapper (his "sponsor"), and I admit, I didn't notice much about Ken's riding style or abilities.  That is probably an indication that he passes muster on the SAFE front ("Irregular's" rule no. 2).  And he told me, early in the ride, that he enjoyed the post about my Blue Ridge Parkway ride earlier this year.  Hmmn.  Trying to make a good impression on the "ride leader"?  I doubt it.

As for me:  mostly I tried to conserve my legs a little bit so that tomorrow will not be painful.  I am confident that it will NOT be painful. 
American Gothic ??
Or, Men in Red with a Pitchfork
 We clearly need to recruit more women to this ride crew.

PUE:  DocN-Creedmoor-Hester-Wilton-Grissom-G-P-MVC; 56.7 m.; 3 hrs, 42 min in-motion; 15.3 mph. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __9 rides; __601.5 m.; _39 hrs, 59 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: 106 rides; 7,146.8 m.; 476 hrs, 27 min; 15.0 mph.
\ _ 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nov-25: Thanksgiving Day Around Falls Lake

For our "make room for turkey" ride, we planned an early-ish Thanksgiving Day morning "pedestrian-paced", short (40-ish miler) ride "around" Falls Lake, counter-clockwise so that the morning sun would be behind us and thus highlighting the remaining leaf color in front of us, especially as we crossed the lake on Old Weaver Trail between New Light Rd and NC-50.  That was the plan.  The "sun" part was integral.

As regards the sun, Mother Nature did not cooperate.  We got a completely overcast, dark gray sky.  50F degrees under a warm sun is fun -- 50F degrees under a dark gray overcast ... not as much fun. 

My day started with two unexpected and "wonderful" pieces of cycling news.  (1) My rear tyre was dead flat.  (2) My floor pump, that I carry in my car, is now useless for Presta valves.  By 7:10, two unexpected expenses.  Great! ... Not.

The tyre, still pretty new, had a small hole punched through, sort of where the sidewall meets the "tread".  I know what happened, a small, unnoticed rock had "patoi-ing'd" off the side of tyre on Wednesday's ride.  Nothing happened at the time.  The tyre was still fine at the end of the ride.  But, by next morning ... maybe I can boot the tyre with one of those thick rubber tyre-boots, and carry the tyre as the "spare" on future rides. 

Luckily, one of the guys coming to the ride, Gary, has his own bike-shop (TLC-4-Bikes).  I called him and asked if he happened to have any reasonable tyres at a reasonable price at his house or in his van, and if so, please bring one -- if not, I would just use the spare tyre I've been lugging around for "insurance" on Permanents.  Gary had a suitable tyre.

The pump has done yeoman service for about 6 years, but the "needle" in the "Presta head" has broken off or worked itself loose and fallen out.  Pump now useless for Presta valves.  Any local need a floor pump good only for Schrader valves
Even though most of us were just "milling about" as early as 5 or 8 minutes before "wheels-away" time, and even though we actually left a couple minutes late, our "leader" did a woeful job of making sure everyone knew everyone else's name, and further did a woeful job as he failed to give any "safety tip of the day".  I happen to know that "leader's safety tip of the day" are as much or more to remind himself as any other reason, but I guess he was distracted.

Today's cast:  Snapper (who stayed true to his new "metabolic heart rate training method" -- even when he perhaps ought to have been the one to jump ahead to make it easier for traffic to pass), BobH (who "decided" to graft "Strawberry" and "Pottery" loops onto our "standard" Falls Lake loop), Smitty (who EVIL-ly decided to challenge for the last CL of the day), Levi (who did nothing special all ride except keep an eye on his "better half" at the critical time), Cathrine (Levi's "better half", who hadn't done much riding lately, but did just fine, and is fun to ride with), Scott (Levi's bro-in-law ... well, technically, he's Cath's bro-in-law), the afore-mentioned Gary, Wendy (Gary's "better half" -- and of course she rode the extra 10 miles home after the ride), Robert (decked out in some new cold-weather cycling clothes), and me.

No sunshine.  No colorful leaves along the lakeshore.  I think I didn't even look at the lake as we rode across it on OWT.  Hmmn.  What was I doing?  Maybe chatting with someone(s)?  I don't recall. 

A couple months ago, one of the "Irregulars" told me of a conversation he had with his spouse when he got home from a ride -- the most germane part of the conversation went something like this: 

Spouse - "Do you guys talk to each other during the ride?"
Irregular - "Oh, yeah."
Spouse - "Did you talk to anyone on today's ride?"
Irregular - "Of course.  We talked almost the entire time"
Spouse - "What did you talk about?"
Irregular - "I don't know."
Spouse - "Sheesh!"

After turning onto Cash Rd, I was torn between zipping up to the front crew to make sure they knew where to turn and staying back with Snapper and ???.  I started to zip up to the front crew, but then decided I would stay back (in no-man's land between) and just watch to see what happened.  A mile later I learned that there was much discussion as to whether the course was supposed to continue on Cash Rd, or turn left onto Northside Rd (we were operating withOUT cue sheets on the assumption that everyone knew the "standard lake loop" -- HA -- and because everyone has previously been sent an electronic copy of the cue sheet and they can print it off for themselves -- and also because ... never mind).  BobH knew where he was -- most of the rest really did not understand where they were -- and thought we should add a little to the course to get in a full 40 miles -- so he led the way past Northside as we continued toward US-15 on "Strawberry" loop -- so-called because the loop goes past Lyon Farms on Munns Rd. 

I learned just how lost some of the crew can be when we got to US-15 -- Robert thought we should turn right onto US-15.  Uh, Robert, that's not only the wrong way, but there are no turn-offs until we would get INTO Creedmoor.  ;-)

After the short stretch on US-15, we got to do the two extra rollers on Munns Rd and also checked out the strawberry fields.  Upon reaching Northside Rd, BobH was again / still in the lead, and he decided we should do "Pottery" loop just to make sure we got in a FULL 40 miles.  "Pottery" loop is so-called because it goes past Cedar Creek Gallery on Fleming Rd.  Levi now knows where Cedar Creek Pottery / Gallery is -- I expect he and Cathrine will visit it soon (but I'm wagering that I'll get an e-mail requesting clarified directions).

BobH and Robert were a bit ahead of the main body on Will Suiit Rd as we headed for the Wake CL and Boyce Rd, so I decided to zip on up to them and perhaps sneak a CL for myself, or lead-out Robert for the CL.  But Levi saw me bridging up to the 2 Roberts, and that reminded him that there was a CL just ahead -- so he came zipping up to the front.  However, his bro-in-law Scott saw Levi bridging and decided to bridge at an even faster pace.  Actually, Scott didn't bridge to us; he just went around us as if we were standing still; Levi gave chase -- but he had no chance. 

After crossing Falls Lake on Cheek Rd, Smitty and I led the entire group up the climb at a pace which all could manage together.  As the road leveled out, I told Smitty to be on the lookout for Shaw Rd on the left.  I figured to spice up the route a bit with a paralleling trip through the well established housing development between Shaw and Little Jimmy Rodgers roads.  The whole group made the turn onto Shaw, and just before Shaw dead-ended into the lake, we turned right.  Just after that turn, Robert informed me that we had lost Levi and Cathrine somewhere back on Cheek Rd.  I was flabber-ghasted.  How?!

Scott turned back to look for his relations.  But he eventually rejoined our main group 2/3 the way through the development.  He had returned to the Cheek / Shaw corner and waited a few minutes (entirely plausible because we were just putzing along), but he hadn't seen Levi and Cath.  (We later learned that Cath was feeling nature close in around her cold feet -- Levi had shoe covers - Cath did not - how chivalrous, Levi! -- but Levi gave his shoe covers over to Cath (some chivalry recovered) and that took enough extra time that they were well back, but not lost, and ended up making their own way back to PUE).

To some, the big highlight of the ride, and of many rides, was about to occur.  Deciding that L+C would be able to make their own way back and that they were likely ahead of us given how much time we had frittered away mulling about in the housing development, we decided to continue the ride.  The "leader" turned left.  A quarter-mile later he was heard to say "we need to make a U-turn."  Robert asked why.  Answer:  "Because Martin made a mistake."

Back on course, on to Patterson and a regrouping at the corner of NC-98 and Olive Branch Rd.  Not having ridden Olive Branch Rd all the way from the highway to Carpenter Pond for at least two or three years, the "leader" said "Rather than turn onto Doc Nichols, let's take Olive Branch all the way to Carpenter Pond."  The climbs on Olive Branch are nice (a NET gain of nearly 200 ft elevation between the first creek and CP), but the road surface leaves a LOT to be desired.  Unless Olive Branch gets the "stimulated" treatment, I won't be riding Olive Branch between Doc Nichols and CP for the foreseeable future.

Once on Carpenter Pond, given that we had spent the entire day putzing along averaging about 14 mph, enjoying varying conversations (and if you were paying attention above, you will know that no one has any idea what the topics of conversation were), I decided that we should end the ride with some panache.  21 mph, into the slight quartering headwind (breeze) out of the north.  Maintaining that pace on the run UP to the Wake CL, the EVIL Smitty decided to come and take the CL.  I saw him off my rear quarter and decided "it isn't going to be THAT easy, Smitty."  I think Smitty was surprised that I had a faster cadence in reserve as he saw me surge ahead.  Smitty adjusted and started catching me again -- I hit the pedals hard again -- and I think Smitty was again a bit surprised -- but he responded -- but I was out of courage and had been pulling for 3 miles and ... I did not respond a third time -- Smitty took the CL.  But then he slowed and both Robert and I went around, and then Robert thought he'd pull.  I knew Robert would reduce his pace after he completed his pass and was directly in front of me.  He did exactly that -- skipping a pedal stroke -- just as I expected.  Given the slight dip in the road at that point, I went around Robert easily.  But he and Smitty and Gary and Wendy all immediately re-passed me.  I needed a few moments "breather".

Turning onto Mt. Vernon Ch Rd, I was off the back of the above-mentioned crew, but I had had my "easy-pedal breather" and I've ridden MVC more times than the rest of them put together.  I saw that they had slowed a bit -- obviously "waiting" for me -- I went past at 24 mph and made them chase all the way to NC-50.  (Well, Gary didn't have to "chase" -- he was just happy to have another mile of a "Gary-friendly pace".)

My preferred highlight of the day:  After the ride, Smitty was telling me his version of Mt Vernon Ch Rd.  His comment to himself upon seeing me fly past:  "oh, now Martin is just playing with me." 

You just keep thinking that, buddy.  I need all the psychological advantages I can get.
Nov-25 (Thanksgiving Day): 

PUE: Falls Lake Loop, counter-clockwise, w/ modifications; 40.2 m.; 2 hrs, 46 min in-motion; 14.5 mph. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __8 rides; __544.8 m.; _36 hrs, 16 min; 15.0 mph.
YTD tot: 105 rides; 7,090.1 m.; 472 hrs, 43 min; 15.0 mph.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nov-24: Putzing About -- Seeing the Sights (or is that Sites)

"Irregular" cycling buddy Snapper e-mailed asking if I was available to ride Wed. morning.  We quickly agreed 8 am, Blue Jay Point County Park (BJP), for 35 or 40 miles to "just enjoy the day and get in some saddle time". 

Special paragraph just for Andy D., aka sagittandy:  Look, Andy, I defined "BJP".  ;-)

Highlight #1 of the ride:  We rode from BJP across to Norwood, went past LT's fire station, and on toward IvaHawk's.  Then, instead of turning onto Victory Ch Rd, I crossed Snapper up by continuing another 100 yards to Wood Valley Rd and then turned right onto Boxelder Rd.  My thinking was that I'd "spring" that road on Snapper, and "see" what comments I might get.  The joke was on me.  Why?

I had previously ridden Boxelder three times:  In July, I had to get off the bike and WALK part of the road.  In October, I had gotten as slow as 4.7 mph, but no walking.  Just a few days ago (in fact, my last ride before this one), I had managed to keep the pace at 5.0 mph or above.  Each of those previous experiences had occurred approximately 124 miles into Byron's devilish L-L-L 204 km Permanent.

Today, the encounter was after only 6.7 miles.  Without working all-that-hard, I kept my pace at 11.0 mph, until the very last few yards of the "steep slope", where I slowed to around 10.0 mph.  I started laughing.  It took a couple miles before I stopped laughing. 

(No wonder IvaHawk gives me funny looks whenever I mention that bear of a climb on Boxelder -- it apparently isn't so bad unless Byron has previously worn you out with 124 miles of hill-hill-hill ... well, if I'm going to describe the Perm as "devilish", I guess I should write "124 miles of hell-hell-hell".)

After I finally stopped laughing and caught up to Snapper, we rode leisurely on Carpenter Pond (apparently it was Snap's first experience with CP since it was "stimulated" a few months ago), recalling previous notable flo-max moments, checking out a particular parking lot for future Snapper use with Mrs. Snapper, and generally enjoying the semi-crisp, absolutely clear, sunny and still reasonably colorful scenes.

Highlight # 2 of the ride:  Upon reaching the cul-de-sac at the bottom of Baptist Rd, Snaps claimed he had never been there before.  The lake was quite picturesque.  In fact, he forced me take a snap of him.  He immediately sent a copy of the pic to either Mrs. Snapper or our friend Smitty (I'm not sure which -- he threatened mentioned both). 

After enjoying the sights at the edge of the lake, we took the short way (Southview and Kemp roads) back to BJP. 
Tomorrow:  probably another "40", with a largish contingent of "Irregulars", around the lake.  I think I'll suggest we do the loop "backward" so that the sun will be behind us when we are on Old Weaver Trail (OWT). 

Hey, Andy, look!  Two things defined in one blog post!

BJP:  Norwood-Boxelder-Ray-VctCh-DocN-Baptist-RollingView-Southview-Kemp-CP-MVC; 38.9 m.; 2 hrs, 38 min in-motion; 14.7 mph. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __7 rides; __504.6 m.; _33 hrs, 30 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 104 rides; 7,049.9 m.; 469 hrs, 57 min; 15.0 mph.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov-21: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204 km Permanent

Or, No. of "Successes" Now Equal No. of "Failures",
Or, Racing the Sun Across North-Central North Carolina

"Failure" no. 1 -- June 13th.
"Failure" no. 2 -- July 24th.

Are they really failures if you learn things?
What's the old adage?  "You only learn from failures."

"Succuss" no. 1 -- Oct 9th.
"Success" no. 2 -- "today" (well, yesterday, Nov. 21st).

Official start time -- 0700.  ("Sunrise" was 0658.)
Official finish time -- 1722.  ("Sunset" was 1702; but I was still within "Civil Twilight" ... barely.)

It was the tail-end of dusk when I went into the gas station / convenience store at the finish ... when I came out it was DARK. 

I was MUCH slower on the bike this month compared to October.  But I was faster through the controls. 

Lesson learned on this ride -- "Triple-L" is for Saturday's, when the legs are fresher. 
(I should have learned that lesson back in June -- but I chocked that experience up to the HEAT, a flat tyre, and thunderstorm, and my cycling partner - a seasoned randonnuer, btw - did not have a head light!)

Personal milestones reached or passed on this ride (other than "successes" on L-L-L catching up with the "failures"):

 - passed 3000 RUSA credit kms for the year,
 - passed 7000 total miles for the year. 

So much for cash register receipts.  The receipts from "Hollow Ridge Grocery" (atop Mt. Tirzah) are problematic.  The cash register is still on "Daylight" time, and is also 23 to 24 minutes fast.  The store clerk and I each knew that it was 10:16 a.m. when I purchased my V-8; the receipt was / is stamped 11:40 a.m..  Once again, a human was more reliable than a machine.  Btw, the outbound control closed at 11:38 a.m. E.S.T. 

The cash register at "Leasburg Grocery" is still on "Standard" time, as it was all Summer.  It is also 19 or 20, or 27, minutes slow.  The clerk and I each knew it was 12:17 p.m. when I purchased my Pepsi; the receipt is stamped either 11:50 or 11:58 a.m. -- the printer in the cash register is nearly out of ink, and even with my reading glasses and under a bright light at the end of the ride, I couldn't be sure of the time stamped on the receipt -- it just wasn't readable.

Byron knows about these flaws in the receipts, and I certainly do not fault him in any way.  I don't fault any NC rando, nor any RUSA rando.  I don't fault the clerks at the store ... they don't have the ability to correct the cash registers.  I just think that absolute reliance on time-stamped cash register receipts is ... sometimes misplaced.

On positive notes, the clerk in Leasburg Grocery, and both clerks at the Redmill Quick Stop, knew the routine of getting a receipt and marking the control card.  The clerk at the outbound Redmill control was outside [smoking of course :-( ], and asked about all the cyclists stopping and getting cards signed.  She didn't mind -- she was just curious.  I hope I caused no damage with my explanation that we are essentially on a bike rally, and need proof of where we've been. 

The time-stamps at Redmill and at the BP at the start/finish seemed to be accurate. 

The autumn colors are fading fast.  But the bright red trees and bushes seem to be hanging on best.  (I don't have a dawg in the UNC / NC State / ACC contests, but it seemed that the bright reds were proclaiming the Wolfpack's incredible victory over the Tarheels in Keenan Staduim the day before.)   

Btw, my alma mater won on Saturday.  You may have seen or heard of that unusual game that was played in Wrigley Field.  I'm still irritated that those silly special rules were put in place -- half the fun / point of a throw-back game in a throw-back venue is to have to deal with the limitations that most college and pro football teams used to have to deal with.  Oh, well, at least my blue and orange team won the game.

Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville Permanent; 128.8 m.; 9 hrs, 2 min in-motion; 14.2 mph; rando-time:  10 hrs, 22 min elapsed clock time. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __6 rides; __465.7 m.; _30 hrs, 52 min; 15.1 mph.
YTD tot: 103 rides; 7,011.0 m.; 467 hrs, 18 min; 15.0 mph.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nov-20: A Yearling, Two Egrets, and a Dragon

At 9 am, one expects the deer population to have "gone to ground" for the daylight hours.  Not for a yearling, clearly too young to participate in the "rut", to go bouncing across the road les than 30 yards ahead of us.  No photo -- who can anticipate the "deer passage".

A few minutes later, Gary tried to catch the first Egret just as it took off into flight.  No luck.  Oh, look, there are two of them.  Quickly screened behind the trees and too far apart to capture in a single photo, anyway.

The Dragon?  Got a "photo" of that.
Road map
[elevation profile]
Semi-interactive map here.

With luck, I'll be able to download the photos I've been sent -- but not right now.  The rain and wind this past week knocked a LOT of leaves to the ground, but there were still many colorful scenes. 

Today's crew:  BobH, Mallet, IvaHawk, TitoRobert, IvaN "the Terrible", Gary, Wendy, second time guest Suzanne, and me.

Suzanne is Iva's "spin class instructor".  Recently completed the "City of Oaks Marathon" (?), but this was her first time on the bike since July 10th.  She acquitted herself quite well, and on Mangum Dairy Rd, gained a new vision with which to instruct her "spinners".

As we regrouped at Mangum Dairy / Purnell, a large group of organized, fast-moving cyclists zoomed past on Purnell.  Combined All-Star and Simple Green racing teams training together (I think).

Everyone got their money's worth, I think.  Certainly no one asked for a refund.  Bwahaha.

I hope I still have legs for tomorrow.

PUE:  "The Dragon"; 64.2 m.; 4 hrs, 7 min in-motion; 15.6 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __5 rides; __336.9 m.; _21 hrs, 50 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 102 rides; 6,882.2 m.; 458 hrs, 16 min; 15.0 mph.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Robert asked ...

Irregular riding partner Robert, 62-years-young, who began his adult cycling career April 24th this year when he was still only 61, asked:

Martin, I would like your advice as there is still is a lot about this sport I do not know.  I know a young man that would like to try cycling and it would be good for him.  Any ideas how he could get started?  I was thinking about sending an email out to the IRs asking if anyone could loan him a bike for a few weeks or month so he could determine if he likes the sport, before he actually buys a bike and gear.  I would take him out for a couple of rides and then bring him as a guest to a couple of IR rides with your permission (and stay with him).  Any suggestions? 

"Young man"?  Guess that could be anywhere from 20 to about 55, eh?  (Robert has informed me that the "young man" is ... actually a young man -- 21 years old.)

Ok, serious now. The following are just my opinions -- probably ill-informed opinions. 

 1.  This could be a tough time of the year to "take up cycling", with the chilly and cold weather coming.  Getting the amount of clothes right can be a problem.  Not enough --> cold.  Too much --> sweaty --> too cold.  Wrong type of clothing might not block the wind -- you have likely noticed that cycling clothes are designed to have a much higher "wind-stopping-power" than running clothes.  Shorter rides starting at 12 +/- might be a good idea as one can usually avoid the chillier early morning temps (although there is usually more wind later in the day). 

 2.  Need a bike that is the correct size.  Too small or too big can be real pains.  Your bike is actually a bit too big for you -- Gary worked with you to get it comfortable, but I've heard that sometimes you've gotten a bit tired late in longer rides and I've wondered if a better fitting bike would help you on that score. 

 3.  Road bike for the road.  If you / he can, try to find / beg / borrow / steal a road bike.  The road ride from a road bike is better than from a hybrid or "comfort" bike.  Many people on some forums will say "start with a hybrid, and later upgrade to a road bike".  That just seems a waste of time to me.  If one is not ready to "bend over all the way", one can ride on the hoods (which is what most people do most of the time -- unless they are a "racer-boy" or "fighting a dreadful headwind") or on the flat section of the road handlebars.  Definitely try to stay away from a mountain bike (even with slicks) for road riding.  I started on a mtn bike, first with knobbly tyres, then with slicks.  Started with "clips", then went to SPD "clipless" pedals.  I did pretty well on that 28 or 29 lb. bike, and in the end, was almost as fast on that bike as I am on the Pilot, and, in the end, I rode almost as far (just not as often), but most people are not as satisified with just exercising and "seeing the sights" as I was. 

 4.  Helmet.  A helmet won't help (much) if a car hits you, but they are not designed for that; they are designed to keep you from breaking your head if have a small fall -- such as forgetting to unclip before stopping.  All us "older folk" grew up learning and riding without a helmet, but a borrowed or inexpensive helmet will help if you have that "oops, I forgot to take my foot out of the pedal moment".  Gary can address the studies comparing the inexpensive vs mid-range vs expensive helmets -- the inexpensive ones apparently do just as well as the expensive ones at giving protection.  One does need to wear the helmet properly. 

 5. Borrow a bike.  Definitely try e-mailing the IRs.  Also CBC -- Lee ought to be able to help you there.  Just try to get one that is the "correct" size.  Gary can probably tell from just a look what size frames are likely to fit best. 

 6.  Pick less busy roads, and try to keep the "hillwork" within reasonable bounds.  At first, anyway. 

 7.  Saddle and "sore butt".  Even with the perfect saddle for the "young man", it is likely that he may experience some "sore butt" issues when he first takes up cycling.  Proper bike fit and the perfect saddle can help reduce the "butt" issues, but ... it may take a little time to "train the butt to be happy in the saddle for long-ish periods".  Again, proper bike fit, the proper saddle, and sitting on one's "sit bones" and not on some other part of the "butt" help SIGNIFICANTLY.  Regarding saddles: the perfect saddle for one might not be even tolerable for another.  Skeleton size and amount of "padding" around the skeleton make a huge difference.  There is so much variability on how each person interacts with the saddle that ... there is no right answer.  But bike fit and sitting on the "sit bones" will help a lot. 

 8.  Shorts with a "diaper".  A chamois helps a lot.  A little with padding the tender bottom, but mostly with the sweat and "rubbing" issues.  You might not need to use a "chamois butter / cream", but the "young man" might need to.  Better to feel "slippery" than to develop an abrasion that turns into a serious saddle sore and turns him off. 

I've already written more than I know.  Good luck.
Comments / advice from readers VERY WELCOME.

Robert thinks I'm an "expert" about cycling, but that is only because he is so new to the (for lack of a better word) sport.  Those that know me, be they a long-time Irregular or a Randonneur or my mechanic, know better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Robert asked ...

Irregular riding partner Robert, 62-years-young, who began his adult cycling career on April 24th this year (when he was still only 61), asked:

"Do you ride every Sunday?"
Here is some data from my Excel ride log from the last two years:

 _ ____rides miles _Hours ave mph m/ride _ _____rides miles _Hours ave mph m/ride

 2010 ___101 _6,818.2 455.2 15.0 __67.5 ___2009 ___126 6,216.7 393.8 15.8 __49.3

Saturday _40 _3,793.7 252.1 15.0 __94.8 __Saturday _42 2,566.2 162.1 15.8 __61.1
Sunday ___25 _1,527.0 101.7 15.0 __61.1 __Sunday ___38 1,966.1 126.8 15.5 __51.7
Monday ____4 ___205.1 _14.2 14.4 __51.3 __Monday ____3 __123.3 __7.7 16.0 __41.1
Tuesday ___6 ___196.7 _13.4 14.7 __32.8 __Tuesday ___9 __285.7 _17.7 16.1 __31.7
Wednesday _9 ___371.4 _25.0 14.9 __41.3 __Wednesday 10 __388.6 _23.8 16.3 __38.9
Thursday __9 ___309.3 _20.4 15.1 __34.4 __Thursday _11 __425.5 _26.5 16.1 __38.7
Friday ____8 ___415.0 _28.3 14.7 __51.9 __Friday ___13 __461.3 _29.2 15.8 __35.5
balance ___0 _____0.0 __0.0 _0.0 ___0.0 __balance ___0 ____0.0 __0.0 _0.0 ___0.0

So, no, I don't ride every Sunday.  Just most of them. 

This year's # of ride stats are skewed relative to last year because: 

 1) I did not ride the day after I did the 300 km brevet in April. 
 2) I finished the 400 km brevet in May at 7:35 am on Sunday, but counted all of the ride as one Saturday ride. 
 3) I stopped riding the 600 km brevet in May after 300.3 miles. Approx 187 were on Saturday. 113 on Sunday (between 1 am and 1+ pm). I counted all of the ride as one Saturday ride. 
 4) There were some hard Saturday rides during the HOT, HOT summer this year that led to me not riding the next day (Sunday).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov-14: Oversleeping Does Not a 200 Make

Alarm at 5:30.  Shut off.  Close eyes for a "second".  Wake up at 6:24.  Panic

No way to get to Benson and ready to ride by 7:00.  Panic

Could just start late. Still panic'd
Hold on a minute.  You were tired from yesterday's ride anyway.  Just call Dean and let him know you'll not make it.  Calm

Dean's cell phone went straight to "this phone number has not been set up to accept messages." 

Try Alan.  His number is at the bottom of these hard-copy brevet cue sheets. 
Five or six rings.  No answer.  No rollover to "answering machine mode".  Hang up. 

6:51.  Phone rings. 
I didn't understand what the guy said, but that soft-spoken voice had to be Alan. 
"Is this Alan?" 
"Alan, this is Martin.  Would you let Dean know that I won't make it today." 
"Thanks, Alan".  

I went much shorter.  Okay ride.  At least it was BEAUTIFUL. 
Hope the Tarheel 200 crew had a great ride. 
Act 1 -- "Tourist" Ride.  36.6 miles, 2hrs, 22 min in-motion. 

Went to BJP to do a shorter solo ride.
The "other" MikeD was there.  I decided to join his Sunday morning "Tourist" ride.
("Tourists" -- a mix of near-beginners and folks who just want a 35-ish mile ride at 14 to 16 mph.) 
Eight of us, total.  Did the "Marina" route. 

I was reminded again how much I enjoy our "Irregular" rides. 
The Tourist ride stayed in a single paceline all ride.  Not much conversation.
Echo-ing Tito's comment regarding the Gyro-A-fragment from early in yesterday's IR ride. 

Was some conversation.  Just not up to "IR standards".
One young guy, who has four metric centuries under his belt, and is hoping to do some Cat-5 racing next year, actually knew what randonneuring was.  Knew about P-B-P and "the great book".
I hadn't mentioned randonneuring, just (when asked how far I had ridden in a single ride) that I had planned to ride 200 km, but overslept.  "Small" Dave then asked if had done any randonneuring.  I responded that the ride I missed was a randonneuring ride.  

One incredibly ego-centric comment:  it was nice being able to out-ride everyone in the group (except Mike) for once.  Just once.
Act 2.  Chile cook-off in the BJP parking lot. 

Apparently Mike and some of his Tourist regulars are in the midst of a "chile cook-off".  Mike presented his entry last week.  Vote of the group was that his entry was disallowed for being Brunswick Stew instead of chile.  I asked Mike if intended to make a second entry -- one that was actually "chile".  His response:  I AM the LEADER of this ride. 

Seems to me I've heard comments similar to that before.
Act 3.  "Time-Trial" course.  Too slow to count as a "TT", or even as cadence practice. 

Just saddle time. 

The breeze had picked up significantly during the "lunch hour".
Luckily, it was BEAUTIFUL!!

Act 1:  BJP: "Tourists" "Marina" Route; 36.6 m.; 2 hrs, 22 min in-motion; 15.4 mph.
 _ Act 2:  It's Chile Cook-off Time.
 _ _ Act 3:  BJP:  "TT" route; 29.6 m.; 1 hr, 56 min in motion; 15.2 mph.
 _ _ _ Total:  66.2 m.; 4 hrs, 18 min. in-motion; 15.4 mph.

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __4 rides; __272.7 m.; _17 hrs, 43 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 101 rides; 6,818.0 m.; 454 hrs, 09 min; 15.0 mph. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nov-13: Colorful "Long Assault on Flat Rock"

Today's "Irregular" crew:  Mallet, Tito, Robert, Gary, Wendy, guest Dennis, me.

We were almost joined by local Super Randonneur and double-RAAM-qualified Lynn.  (She apparently pulled into PUE looking for me, saw what she thought was a bunch of people from a certain north Raleigh group, and went on her way.  However, we crossed paths with her when we were only a mile or so into our ride; I thought she would turn around and join us -- after all, she had told me she was looking to ride only about 60 miles, slowly; her riding with me would have qualified as "slowly" for her.  She called just as I finished my ride.  She didn't know why she hadn't turned around.  Insert Sridhar's nickname for Lynn here.)

The course:
Edit, Nov-15:  I just realized that the above map is NOT what we actually rode.  This map shows us taking Graham Sherron and Woodland Ch roads to Jonah Davis Rd.  And also shows us taking Evans Rd --> Tom Wright Rd to Gordon Moore Rd to Pokomoke Rd --> Bruce Garner Rd.  We actually took Lawrence Rd to Bold Run Hill Rd to Purnell and Camp Kanata roads to Woodland Ch to Jonah Davis roads.  And later we actually took Old Franklinton Rd (opposite direction from Evans) to Suitt's Store to NC-96 to Wayside Farm to Bruce Garner roads.  Oh, well, the map and elevation profile still give a pretty good idea of what we did.  And, heck, one of my favorite rides is "Shoofly Don't Bother Me," but each of the 3 times I've ridden that route, there has been a modification.  [Click here for map of actual route.] 

I am supposedly going to receive quite a few photos taken on the ride today.  I hope so.  The colors were spectacular, vibrant, and vivid.  Especially the reds.  If / when I get them, I will make this a more interesting post.  I decided to make this "skeleton" post now because if I don't do so now, by the time I can make a post, I'll have at least one more ride to blog, and that just makes things clumsy.  In case you haven't noticed, I record all my rides.  Boring or interesting.  Long or short.  RUSA, JRA, "serious" Irregular, or even vacation rides (e.g., Blue Ridge Parkway).

A bit brisk at 8 am.  Within just a few miles, every body part was warm -- even my uncovered ears.

Absolutely clear and sunny, with clean air.  All ride.

The scenery / colors along Bold Run Hill Rd were not as stunning as I had hoped, but we were riding directly into the sun at the time, and that makes it difficult to get stunning views.   Most of Bold Run Hill Rd, or at least the parts that were previously rather sketchy, have been repaved.  So recently that one could still smell the asphalt.  I now understand what Iva wrote about regarding last week's aborted IR ride on the course we successfully completed today.
Cattle on one side of BRH Rd staring at the pond on the other side of the road. 
Or maybe they were trying to figure out what we were.  

I don't recall ANYTHING from Purnell or Camp Kanata or Woodland Church roads.  The faster part of the crew was waiting at the turn onto Jonah Davis Rd.  The only thing I recall from Jonah Davis Rd is that Robert was riding at my side.  I had to explain that the CL that he thought he "won" at the turn from Woodland Ch Rd onto Jonah Davis didn't count -- county lines that are at stop signs CANNOT be contested.  Robert lamented that his all-time CL count therefore stood at three.  I suggested to him how he might be able to "sneak" some CLs in the future.  I won't give the strategy away.  Robert replied that the suggested strategy only would work if he already knew where the CLs were. 

Green Rd.  Down and up.  Gary and Wendy and Tito falling off the back.  Gary because he was supposedly taking many photos and because he was otherwise riding with Wendy; W because she's been a bit under the weather and is a bit off her game; Tito because ... who knows ... I guess he was regaling Wendy and Gary with stories of his many overseas adventures.  I did hear Wendy ask Tito "where have you been in South America?"  I thought:  a)  "that ought to take the rest of this ride and all the rides for the rest of the year", and b) "where is Iva when you need him?"

Long Mill Rd before the refueling stop.  Some apparently stopped to take more photos before the RS, and others started removing layers of clothing.

Long Mill Rd after the refueling stop.  A LOT more interesting.  We stopped at the Llama House.  I counted one llama on the southeast side and twelve (12) on the southwest side.  I'm looking forward to the photos -- and wondering how many llamas will be in the pics.  The llamas were quite as interested in us as we were in them.  I'm hoping the pics will show that. 
Tito seemed to be "talking to the animals".  (That's a line for local 10k RUSA km hound Jerry -- if he reads this, he should understand why.)

Long Mill Rd after the Llama House.  A nice scene across Pokomoke Rd from the Llama House -- but the photo came out B-O-R-I-N-G -- them's the breaks.  The little pond behind its dam at the bottom of the next valley was okay, but it seemed there were too many dead trees at the edged of the pond and in front of likely colorful trees. 

Wes Sandling Rd.  Aah.  Now this is the type scenery we were looking for.  Hope I get a pic.  I encouraged Robert to try to "sneak" off the front on the climb up to the Granville CL.  The other climbers, Tito and the Mallet, didn't realize what was up.  Well, the Mallet did; but not until it was too late.  Four lifetime county lines for Robert. 

Grove Hill Rd down and up to the stop sign on Grove Hill Rd.  The Mallet really enjoyed sucking my wheel on the downhill.  I actually got into the big chain ring (50T) and worked the downslope.  Paul enjoyed it because, for once, I was the one doing the pedaling and he was doing the coasting; usually, it is the other way 'round, and I can coast down faster than he can pedal.  Turn about -- fair play. 

There was a group of hunters gathered at the bridge at the bottom of Grove Hill.  I recall Paul and I traded chit-chat about that; he claimed he had slowed and gotten behind me so that he'd be protected in case someone starting shooting.  That led to a quick discussion of my ride from last Sunday.  And then we were at the top of the Grove Hill climb.  How did that happen?

While waiting at the Grove Hill stop sign for G, W, T:  conversation included me mentioning to Robert that I had ridden 200k with his August-brevet-buddy, Jerry, the previous Saturday.  Robert wondered how I managed to stay with Jerry.  Short answer:  I didn't; I just stayed with Dean, and Jerry stayed with Dean because Jerry wanted to ride with Dean when Dean got his 10 thousandth RUSA km for the year. 

The Mallet, originally from Epsom Downs, England, UK, exclaimed "10 thousand kms -- that's a long way". 

I wonder what Paul, et al, would have said if I had told them about the e-mail Lynn sent me after she completed Tony's Coastal 600 km brevet a month ago.  Subject line of that e-mail:  "13217 miles this year".  Text of that e-mail:  there wasn't any; with a subject line like that, who needs additonal text?

I wonder what the crew would have said if I had mentioned TimL of Wilson:  JohnO of Rocky Mount told me a few weeks ago that one of Tim's goals for this year is:  15000 miles. 
Tito CLAIMED this was a yoga exercise.  Or something.  

G, W, and T rejoined those of us waiting at the Grove Hill stop sign.  We continued on to Flat Rock Rd.  1.4 miles down.  1.4 miles up.  Robert has learned to suck the wheel of the fastest downhiller -- Robert has a significant downhill gravity disadvantage.  Other than that, I don't recall much of Flat Rock today.  I certainly recall NOTHING of the upslope section.  Selective memory?
Into the valley of the Flat Rock rode the ... one?  

Making away across Grove Hill Rd (I love including the name of the road BEFORE Flat Rock Rd AND the name of the road AFTER Flat Rock Rd -- it confuses people -- LOL) and then Suitt's Store Rd to the Western Wear Store.  WOW!!  Repeated vibrant, vivid, deep reds.  Also oranges and yellows.  But the reds took the day.  
Even the scrub-brush was colorful.

Zip-ity-do-dah and we were on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd headed for "the barn".  At a very nice highish speed.  Until the so-called "ride leader" decided to have a go at the Wake CL.  Dang it!  I thought no one was chasing me, so I sat up.  Just in time for Tito to zip past the Mallet and me and -- apparently for the first time ever -- best the Mallet at a CL.  Why-oh-why did I sit up!!  Oh, well ... it is all about the fun.  Yeah, right.

After the sprint, I needed a space to recover.  Robert, who did not participate in the CL chase, did not.  Dennis did not.  Paul and Tito did not.  I was suddenly gapped off the back.  I tried to slow and wait for Gary and Wendy.  Never saw Gary until PUE (W apparently added miles and rode the extra 10 miles to get home, so I never saw her again). 

I did manage to get caught by the "flag-man" for the fog-line-painting crew.  At least three or four minutes.  Robert, Tito, Paul, Dennis apparently got to the flag-man just as he was putting up the "STOP". 

Good ride for me.  I'm pretty sure Robert and Tito enjoyed their rides.  Gary proclaimed that Wendy and he had enjoyed the ride.  I assume the same for Paul and Dennis.

PUE:  Long Assault on Flat Rock; 54.9 m.; 3 hr, 33 min in-motion; 15.4 mph. 

Q-1 tot: _16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: _31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: _13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: __3 rides; __206.5 m.; _13 hrs, 25 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 100 rides; 6,751.8 m.; 449 hrs, 51 min; 15.0 mph.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nov-06 + 07: "Irregulars", Three Hounds KLL + JRA

Usually, I do one post per ride.  This weekend, one post for three rides, and I was only on two of them!

The ride I wasn't on may have been the most "epic" ... in classic rando terms anyway.  Except for one thing, which I'm sure the rando readers will recognize.
Nov-06 -- Irregulars "Long Assault on Flat Rock" (Aborted), OR "Freezing in the Rain" 

Check the "map roll" on the right.  At 56 miles, the "Long AFR" is near the bottom of the list, but it is one of the most scenic rides "near north Raleigh" ... esp. when leaves are turning. 

Early in the KLL, I told Dean that Iva (known to the local rando world by JayJay's description as her former boss and "Mr. Nice Guy") might be leading 10 "Irregulars" on the morning ride.  I mentioned that I hoped the weather "behind" us was better than what we were experiencing, because Iva and I had jointly chosen the route in anticipation of sunny skies and sunlight dancing on turning leaves. 

The following, unedited, is the "report" that I received from Iva.

I was surprised when I looked outside about 8:20 to see it raining.  About that time my cell phone rang with the caller id announcing Tito.  It's raining, he said.  I'm on 540 and it's pretty heavy.  Well, dam.  It is here too.  Wait.  It's stopping.  After looking at the radar, I say well, let's go over to PUE and assess the situation.

Tito and I were the only ones there from the Irregulars.  Then a large contingent of young men began to arrive with the look of an A-group about them.  Apparently, they had a 9:00 AM push off.  There was a lot of banter among them as to how bad it could get.  About that time The Mallet rides up on his bike.  He says it isn't cold and begins shedding layers.  He had his two tone shorts on, no leggings.  Then Ags pulls up full of vim and vigor.  He says he loves to ride in the rain; it makes him feel alive !  So, by the end of the day, he must have been feeling really not dead.

The ride, as our rides go, was uneventful except for the weather.  It started cold, but not freezing cold.  But, the problem is we haven't really ridden in very cold weather yet and are still used to the weather of a month ago.  I'm not willing to break out ALL the cold weather gear yet, much less the cold, wet weather gear.  That was a mistake today.

My hands and feet were the usual blocks of ice by the time we got to Bold Hill Run.  I didn't notice the scenery because it was shrouded by mist.  Mallet and Ags mentioned how nice the road was.  We kept noticing the dark and ominous clouds to the west naively thinking they would "go around us".  We had one minor mis-navigation on Sid Mitchell riding on by Green Road.  We realized our error about half mile down the road and turned around. At the rest stop on Long Mill and 96, it was drizzling to lightly raining on us and feeling colder.  Mallet said, according to Martin, we can short this by about 10 miles by turning left on Pocomoke rather than going all the way to Fred Wilder. Yes, we said.  Let's do it!  

Then the rain/sleet started.  What was cold before became icy cold.  Maybe it wasn't sleet but it felt like sleet.  My natural tendency to suck wheel off my fellow riders was tempered by the rear wheel spray into my face whenever I got within five feet of the bike in front.  Adding to that, the smell of the barn and the desire to end this quickly prompted the others to pick up the pace.  Ags went to the front on Bruce Gordon.  I saw 23 mph from time to time.  My desperate gulps for air while getting a face full of road water added to my misery.  My socks (no booties or winter socks) were soaked with a 20 mph wind flowing through the air vents of my shoes.  Mallet took his turn.  29 on only a slight down hill.  No where were his previous week's struggles in evidence.  Tito surged to front and off they go.  Mallet went straight at Ghoston.  Tito and Ags waited for me to get there.  By this time, the rain had stopped somewhat, but still cold.  Those two hung around with me about half way up Ghoston before deciding to make it on back.  I was so glad to see the stop sign at the top of MVC.  The Type A's who were there before had long gone; no trace of them.

It was literally painful getting out of my wet gear and into dry togs.  My feet felt as if they had been injected with novocaine and then beat with a fire stick.  The three of us decided to go to breakfast.  We were visibly
shivering when we walked in the restaurant.  Our teeth were chattering; our bodies desperately attempting to restore normal body temperature.  The hostess noticed us and brought us hot coffee even before our waitress came to our table.  Slowly, we came back to normalcy.  I think I'll tend to over dress next time.

How did your 200K go !!??  I thought of you being in that mess for 7 hours.

One comment:  It must have been nasty ... Ags took a serious pull !!
Nov-06:  Three Hounds Kerr Lake Loop
First, just let me note that every important aspect of this ride has been documented by MikeD over on Research Trailer Park, or by Jerry also over on RTP

I can add nothing important, but here are a few things some of us learned on the ride:
Jerry doesn't want me to suggest any more alternative routings for the KLL, esp. if there are climbs involved.
Jerry's wife, Beth, was born in Moline, and later lived in Sterling.  (Both are in NW Illinois.)
I was born in Sterling.
Dean knows to refer to the Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Davenport, Bettendorf area as the "Quad-Cities".
When I got to the info control in Boydton, it suddenly came to me that Mike had been awfully keen to distribute those cue sheets back at the start ... what if he wasn't using the usual question?  Better check.  Mike hadn't been devious. 
Dean loves Mountain Road from near Stovall to the top of Peace Mountain.
Peace Mtn was much steeper for longer on this ride than it was two weeks ago.
Although he looks to be just coasting along while I'm working my butt off, Dean claims he is also working his behind off.

Dean used to participate in the Sunday Touring ride from BJP, led by the "other" MikeD.
Still no independent verification that Dean's fizzy, caramel-colored refill is Diet Coke.
Jerry says he'd like to help organize the road-bike "bicycle hash" that LeeD and I are "planning".  (I think that's what he said.  I'll be trying to hold him to that.  Knowledgeable brain-power always welcome.)
Two of us set personal best-time records on KLL. 
Thanks to Dean for inviting me and putting up with for 130 miles.
Thanks to MikeD for the route and control card.
Thanks to Jerry for pulling almost all the way to Boydton ... into the increasing wind.
Oh, yeah, almost forgot.  Three hounds?  Yes.  Three 10k RUSA km hounds.
MikeD got his 10,000 at Alan's Oct-02 brevet.
Dean got his 10,000 on this ride.
Jerry ... I know his plan ... but not my right to reveal it.
Nov-07:  JRA
Usually, I at least outline the course I rode.  But ... not today.  Of course you are wondering "why?"
I don't want freak out any other north Raleigh cyclists, so I won't describe WHERE something unusual happened today.  But I will describe it here - just to get it off my chest.
A saw a man trotting across a yard, carrying his rifle.  At first I thought it was a hunter hurrying to a pickup to go after a dog's signal (from a signal collar) or to hurry after a wounded deer.  But there was no orange blaze cap or orange blaze anything else ... and isn't it still only bow-hunting season?  Then I heard a lot of angry shouting.  I noticed a car heading away from me, but stopped ahead on the road, in the wrong lane.  And the car immediately in front of me slowed and then stopped.  More shouting.  A blue pickup backing really quickly out the drive of the house across the road from where the trotting rifleman had first come to my notice.  More shouting.  The rifleman took aim and tried to shoot out the left rear tyre of the blue pickup just as it acclerated away.  Whether he missed or whether the tyre was hit but mostly undamaged, I don't know.  The blue pickup sped off down the road.  The rifleman trotted back across the road.  The two cars that were stopped on the road hesitated a few moments, but then drove on.  I ... stunned ... decided to give in to my tired legs, turned around, and rode back to my car ... thinking "that kind of thing only happens in the movies or on TV." 
I did notice that a woman was on the front porch of the house of the yard where I first noticed the rifleman.  She was clearly talking on the phone. 
Crazy people are everywhere.  Some of them shout things at cyclists.  Some of them throw things.  Some are "too busy" to notice cyclists on the road.  Some actually try to hit us.  All those people are crazy.  But only the ones in the last category are the same quality of crazy as in the scene described above.
Nov-06:  Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent; 131.4 m.; 8 hrs, 27 min in-motion; 15.5 mph; official rando time:  9 hrs, 38 min. 
Nov-07:  JRA; 20.2 m.; 1 hr, 23 min in-motion; 14.5 mph.  

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: 31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: 13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
Nov tot: _2 rides; __151.6 m.; __9 hrs, 51 min; 15.4 mph.
YTD tot: 99 rides; 6,696.9 m.; 446 hrs, 16 min; 15.0 mph. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oct-31: Tarheel 200 km Halloween Permanent

I had planned to do my "Middleburg 100-miler" (you can find a map in the "map roll" on the right on the "Route Maps" page), but I didn't care to finish with 50 miles into a headwind.  So ... I called Dean Saturday evening to see if there was still time to be included with the crew doing the Tarheel 200 on Sunday.  "Yes." 

Dean sent out a post-7 p.m. e-mail with the usual information and some additional stuff about ghouls and ghosts and goblins (or some such) ... I didn't check my e-mail after 7-ish Saturday evening, so the e-mail was waiting for me this morning.  Now I understand about Dean and his Halloween "Rat Fink" jersey. 

Dean's version of the ride, with PHOTOS, can be seen here!

Luckily I didn't need the usual information as I still had the hard copy cue sheet from Sep-04, and had decided to wear my long-sleeve bright orange (blaze ?) jersey.  I claimed the orange was for Halloween pumpkins -- Dean made his usual "Tennessee Orange" joke (dang Univ. of Kentucky people, anyway) -- but UT jokes don't phase me -- I went to Illinois where our colors are blue and orange -- I did suggest, again, that he try out his joke on UT alum LynnL, if he can catch up to her.

I'm not sure that LinO got the "boo" message -- he showed up in a Randonneur USA jersey.  Off thread, I have read many "CrazyGuyOnABike" journals where the recumbent bike and cyclist attract much attention while the accompanying diamomd frames go unnoticed.  This was the first time I had ever ridden in a group with a recumbent ... Lin's bike got a lot of attention.  People would just stop whatever they were doing and ... LOOK.

I don't think Al P. got the "boo" message, either.  He showed up attired normally, with plenty of cargo space, but he was moving with a noticeable hitch in his get-along -- a reminder of his Sep-08 crash.  Al had gotten back on the bike for the first time, following rehab, on Oct-20.  He was, perhaps, pushing the envelope.

Cool to chilly morning.  Warming fast.  Even before the 8 a.m. official start time, people started changing their costumes, er, clothing choices.  We didn't push off until 8:18.  (An aside for the "Irregulars" that may read this:  I was ready before 8, and I did not participate in the costume changing -- yes, that's right, I was ready to go on time.)

Lin, Al, and I let Dean lead the way out of Benson ... after all, it is his route, and none of us actually have the course memorized.  Letting Dean lead also allowed him to break the wind ... but he was first to the first CL of the day ... no one challenged his lead of the paceline.

No evidence of Roscoe between Benson and Dunn.

The constantly reforming conversations were put on hold as we again let Dean lead through the maze in Dunn / Erwin ... maybe not ... because it seemed that Lin and Al were first to pull into the "Informational Control" in Erwin.

Out of Erwin and onto NC-82 (?) and to and thru the Aversboro Battlefield.  Somehow I had gotten dropped off the front (perhaps Dean and Lin were doing a better job, at that point, of trying to keep a pace suitable for Al?).  Lin would probably like me to claim that I had gotten ahead in order to carefully recon the county line that bisects the Battlefield, but I didn't.  Just after passing into Cumberland (?) County, we saw the overnight campground of the re-enactors.  There didn't seem to be much activity going on -- maybe this afternoon?

Clipping the edge of Wade, crossing over I-95, Dean, Lin and I ended up in some conversation that apparently got our adreniline flowing because we picked up the pace mightily and lost contact with Al, who had been just behind us, and regrouping (or nearly so) repeatedly on the road.  Al didn't see us or know to stop at Strickland's Marathon -- we found him at the old 600 km control in Stedman.  He told us to go on, because he "didn't know ... ."

We next saw Al between Tarheel and the bridge over the Cape Fear (?) River -- meaning he was staying pretty even with us.  That was the last time we saw Al (on the route).

Back-tracking, while at the Marathon Open Control stop, Dean had eaten some sweet potatoes and rice, and refilled his bottle with some unknown, caramel colored fluid.  Lin had eaten chicken legs or wings and had a Coke.  Between Stedman and Cedar Creek, Lin's food intake suddenly seemed to fuel him a little extra and we were suddenly flying down the road a lot faster than previously.  However, Lin's perfect storm of energy only last a few miles, and we returned to a more touristy pace.  At the touristy pace, Lin and I were chatting when suddenly Dean went flying past -- you'd think it was Fearless Leadah Alan charging for a county line -- oh, wait, Dean IS charging for the Bladen (?) CL.  Lin and then I gave chase -- Lin caught and passed Dean, I caught and passed Dean, I realized it was futile to attempt to catch Lin, so I sat up.

At the Tarheel control, I don't know what Lin ate but I think he may have had another Coke, and I don't know what Dean ate but he again refilled with that fizzy, caramel-colored liquid.  I ate a banana and drank a V-8 and mixed up some eLoad.

Back on River Rd, we were again doing touristy pace and having genial conversation when again Dean suddenly took off.  Sugar high?  Nope.  Same dang CL -- only from the other direction.  Lin caught and passed Dean; I'm not sure, but I don't think I even bothered to attempt to "sprint".  The pace on Tabor Ch Rd all the way to Cedar Creek remained high, and we made a quick stop there remove some more articles of clothing -- arm warmers, knee / leg warmers, wind vests that hadn't already been removed / adjusted.

Dean AGAIN refilled with the fizzy, caramel-colored fluid.  This time, his choice of drink became a matter for conversation.  The long-and-short of it is that Dean, the well-known Research Trailer Park physiologist, CLAIMED that he was refilling with Diet Coke.  However, this was not independently verified.  Perhaps those refills were the real thing -- real sugar-filled Coke.  If it was the real thing, it brings into questions those ill-fated charges for the county lines -- were those actually attempts to take the CL points, or were they just sudden, short-lived infusions of sugar into his system?  I know there is a post on the RTP blog about Dean drinking real Coke on a hot day down near Atlanta -- "linky here".  We report; you decide.

Dean's possible sugar-high efforts appeared to be leaving him somewhat drained.  He kept falling off the back on the way to the Aversboro Battlefield ... and the last contestable CL of the day.  I, too, was feeling the effects of the faster return pace and hanging on to Lin.  On one valley bump-up as we neared the Battlefield, I told Lin that if he was making a move for the CL -- he was welcome to it.  He remarked he was only trying to finesse the recumbent up the little climbs.  A bit further on, I commented that we seemed to have lost Dean again, and Lin suggested we reduce the pace while we waited for Dean; agreed.  Putzing along, me leading, my head at least a foot (maybe two) higher off the ground because of the difference between bent and diamond frames, I saw the change in the road surface that signalled the Harnett (?) County Line only 50 or 75 yards ahead -- zip, zip, zip, about three hard pedal strokes and Lin did not have time to react.  Lin claimed I had played him for a sucker.  Maybe.  The ensuing "sucker chat" helped pass a couple miles.

Injecting a mostly serious note, see this article about hydration for the endurance athlete, by Dean. 

Control at Erwin.  Denim Dr. to Dunn.  Fairgound Rd -- with a nice sunset view -- most of the way to Benson.  Finished off with a rush through town to end of the ride.

Dinner at the Subway.  Conversation.  Lin headed home.  I waited with Dean while he waited for Al.  Al finished about 75 minutes after we had finished.

Tough guy award for the day goes to ... Al.

Tarheel 200 km Permanent; 125.3 m.; 8 hrs, 10 min in-motion; 15.3 mph; official rando time:  10 hrs, 57 min. 

Q-1 tot: 16 rides; __938.2 m.; _60 hrs, 39 min; 15.5 mph.
Q-2 tot: 31 rides; 2,263.3 m.; 151 hrs, 29 min; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: 37 rides; 2,293.2 m.; 156 hrs, 31 min; 14.7 mph.
Oct tot: 13 rides; 1,050.6 m.; _58 hrs, 44 min; 15.3 mph.
YTD tot: 97 rides; 6,545.3 m.; 437 hrs, 26 min; 15.0 mph. 
Personal mile-stones achieved this month:

 1.  10k kms for the year -- second consecutive year with 10k+ kms.  (all riding, not RUSA credit kms)
 2.  1300+ RUSA credit kms for the month.  One 200k brevet, five 200k perms, one perm populaire.
 3.  First ever 1000+ mile month.
 4.  On Oct-30, passed 40k lifetime kms (it is a short "lifetime").
 5.  First November ride, I'll pass 25k lifetime miles.