Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dec-31: Irregular End to the Calendar Year

I had been looking forward to an excellent Irregulars group ride to cap the year.
The ride was supposed to be my New Year's Eve celebration.

I did have an enjoyable ride with guest cyclist, rando Biker Bob.

As for the group ride ...
I guess it was too hard for the other 10 to slow down 1 mph so we could all ride together.


--> PUE:  Stem-Mt.Energy 100k --> ; 72.2 m.; 4h,38m in-motion; 15.6 mph.  I had intended to ride another 10-miles so that I would end the year with career 82 rides that had been at least 82-miles long; didn't have the interest after the lack-of-a-group ride.  Oh, I set a career high in miles ridden this year:  9204+.  The 8270 RUSA credit kms make up a good portion of that total mileage. 

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: _11 rides; _707.2 m.; _47 h, 49 m; 14.8 mph. 
YTD tot: 113 rides; 9204.8 m.; 614 h, 18 m; 15.0 mph. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec-29: Allensville - Dennys Store 80-miler

Apparently, the Alamance Bicycle Club goes into semi-hibernation during the cold months.
Why is that of interest to this blog?
Because rando buddy Biker Bob usually does his non-rando riding with said club.
But, with their semi-hibernation, he thought maybe some Irregulars might be riding this mid-week.

He contacted me about doing the Mayo Lake 100-miler.
Luckily, I convinced him that the Allensville - Dennys Store 80-miler would be a better option.
More likely to get Irregulars other than Ricochet and myself, and
Given the forecast wind direction,
Only 40 miles finishing into a head wind,
Instead of 50.

Ricochet decided he was rather Ragged, or had family / house duties,
So he did not show for the ride.

Tried to get another one or two of the longer-riding IRs to come, but
No luck.

It was just Bob and me.

A frosty start.
Steam drifting up from Falls Lake as we crossed it Old Weaver Trail.
More traffic on Cash / Gate #2 Road than I can recall encountering previously;
Possibly the result of riding on a Thursday instead of a Saturday or a Sunday.

Excellent roads until Central Ave Ext. leaving northwesterly out of Butner.
Same rippled bumpiness as always.
Just that Bob didn't know the only smooth line:
On or to the right of the fog-line.

I don't like riding that far to the right.
Not as safe ... for several reasons.
But when it is a low-traffic road,
Smooth is much to be preferred to jarring.

Range "Wall" done at an easy spin.
Range and Bahama roads smooth.
Little to no traffic.
As always.

A 10-minute stop in Moriah.
Bob wanted to use their RR.
None to be found.
(I've stopped at that store before, but never tried to use the RR.)

Increasing rollers on Mt. Harmony Rd; still smooth and no traffic and reasonably scenic.
Cut over to Surl-Mt.Tirzah Rd, which changes name once or twice north of US-158.
Smooth road, gentle rollers (but more than the usual closer to Raleigh), no traffic.

At Allensville, we turned east on Dennys Store Rd.
Into the headwind.
40 miles still to ride.

Dennys Store Rd makes a slow bend to the south and becomes Old Roxboro Rd..
And we were seriously into the teeth of the headwind.
Luckily, it was only a North Carolina wind;
Not a northern Illinois wind;
Nor a Great Plains nor a Texas wind.
Still ... enough of a headwind that we enjoyed a 30-minute stop in Berea.

Then on to Culbreth, Stem, Creedmoor and points south,
30-miles into the wind.
Irregulars will appreciate this:
Zooming down Brogden Rd at 15 to 17 mph.
Not 20 to 25.

Recrossing Falls Lake, the sun was casting eerie reflections off the wind-driven rippling wavelets.
Very nice effect, actually.
We did not stop to try to capture a photo.
Almost certainly would not have "come out", anyway.

81.5-mile core ride completed in just under 6 1/2 hours.
That includes the 10 + 30 minutes stops mentioned above.
Also a couple flo-max stops.
And assorted stop-sign and a couple stop-light pauses.
5h34 actual in-motion time for the core ride.
That was Bob's time.
I finished a minute or so later.

One last thing:
It was delightfully sunny in / near Raleigh at the beginning and end of the ride.
Heavily overcast from about Mt. Harmony to at least Stem.
I didn't notice the sunlight streaming between the tree branches until we were on Dove Rd.,
Only about 12.5 miles still to ride.

The headwind coming back wore me out.
Bob ... not so much.

Good ride.
Wish there had been more sun and less wind.

--> PUE:  Allensville - Dennys Store 80-miler; 86.3 m.; est. 5h,51m in-motion; 14.7 mph; we avg'd 13.9 for the ~ 30 miles from Berea to the finish.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: _10 rides; _635.0 m.; _43 h, 11 m; 14.7 mph. 
YTD tot: 112 rides; 9132.6 m.; 609 h, 40 m; 15.0 mph. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dec-28: 9000 / 35000

Red-Rocket's Ride

Being the week between Christmas and New Year's, sometimes people can ride in the middle of the week.  Several Irregulars had indicated that they might be interested in a mid-week ride.  One rando contacted last week to indicate that he was interested in riding Irregularly (he didn't put it that -- that's the way we "insiders" refer to it --LOL) late this week.

Biker Bob is coming tomorrow to ride the Allensville / Denny's Store 80-miler (there's a link to a map on the "Route Maps" page).  Ricochet says he's riding tomorrow, too -- something about needing to learn to ride several days in a row to improve his potential at 1200's.  Bob says he is also coming back Saturday.  I must remember to ask if the Alamance Bike Club has gone into hibernation or something.

Anyway, back to today's ride.  Red-Rocket indicated that he wanted to ride at 0900, but not for more than 3 1/2 hours.  That last was probably to keep-me-in-check so I wouldn't try to trick him into a 5 or 6 hour tour or something.  Everybody always seems to think that I ride a lot, and always long.  I'll acknowledge that until the middle of November, the average length of my rides this year was ~ 85 miles; the average has fallen considerably without the usual three or four or five 200-km rides a month.  But I've never been one of those four or five (or more) times a week riders.  The most rides I ever did in one year was 126 rides -- that was in 2009 -- the year I chased getting to 10 thousand kilometers of total riding (no RUSA kms).  I didn't make it. But then, LT decided that I could not stop short.

Anyway, back to today's ride, again.  Ricochet Robert decided he'd ride, also.  That made three of us.  Lee picked a route:  Six Forks, etc. to Pokomoke; then NC-96 --> Brassfield Rd to Creedmoor; then Elm St. --> Northside Rd to Cash Rd to OWT and back to PUE.  That would include / did include some stretches on 96 that (I think) I had never ridden before -- turned out it was probably less than two miles of stuff I had never ridden.  Ricochet commented, while on 96, "hey, I don't recall ever riding past here before!"  Several miles of new road for Robert.

Typing of Robert, during most of today's ride, Ricochet was no where to be seen -- it was mostly "Ragged Robert" today.  However, Ragged did find legs once or twice; once just in time to stop for a flo-max break.

Lee was clearly fueled by rocket fuel, today.  No - no - not THAT rocket fuel!  It is just that compared to Robert and me, Red-Rocket-Lee had good form and speed today.  We rewarded him in two ways:  (1) we let him lead almost the entire ride -- and almost the entire ride was into the wind -- we got quite lucky in that the wind shifted during the ride -- usually right on cue as we turned to change out "major-axis" direction.  (2) late in the ride, with the tailwind finally in evidence, and Ragged and me wanting to save some legs for tomorrow, and Red-Rocket quickly drifting off our front, we cut the bungi-cord and told him to hammer on home ... to nap and prepare for the trip tomorrow to go see the distant grand-babies.

That about sums it up, really.  It was a pleasant day to be riding -- around 50 degrees Fahrenheit when we finished.  SUNNY the entire ride.  Ragged and I were back in PUE before noon (that's according to the clock on my cycle-confuser, which might be two or three minutes slow); R-R-L may have been back home before we got to PUE.

Oh, one more thing.  Well, two actually.  The title of today's post.

  1. 9000 -- just after leaving PUE for the core section of the ride, I crossed 9000 miles for the year.  Many thanks, previously noted, but it probably never hurts to repeat thanks ... so many thanks to those that rode with me, or volunteered, or RBA'd, or whatever.  It was definitely done "with a little help from friends". 
  2. 35000 -- about 1.4 miles after passing the 9000-miles-this-year marker, I passed the 35-thousand-lifetime-miles marker.  That's miles that I've documented starting in 2004 -- a fairly short "lifetime", but it is my adult cycling lifetime. 

--> PUE:  Pokomoke-Creedmoor-CashRd-OWT --> ; 51.2 m.; est. 3h,20m in-motion; 15.3 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: __9 rides; _548.7 m.; _37 h, 19 m; 14.7 mph. 
YTD tot: 111 rides; 9046.3 m.; 603 h, 48 m; 15.0 mph. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top-7 Adventure Moments of 2011

This accidentally published before it was supposed to.  I decided I would prefer it to be published closer to the year-end; therefore, I'm going to force it re-publish on Christmas Day Ha! -- once again blogger changes its protocol and doesn't do what it would have done a few weeks earlier.  Not much of  a present for any one but me, however, ... 

This is a cycling blog; the following are some highlight moments my cycling year.  The number applied to each moment might be meaningless, but some are meaningful, and there are other moments that could easily replace "Number 7".   Some may actually represent a larger "moment" or activity; some identified moments ostensibly represent only that moment; however, all but one of the "moments" actually seems to be a highlighted moment of camaraderie and friendship.  And after all, of the ingredients that are usually referenced as making for a great bicycle ride (weather, route, friends), only the third really matters, I think.  Hmmn, that previous sentence seems more akin to philosophy than cycling.

Number 7:  Dec-03.  Fifty head of bison on the Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville Permanent.  Twice.

Number 6:  Nov-25.  Badgett Sister's Parkway.  The moments on the actual Parkway were the highlight, but the entire ride was a pleasant sinecure.

Number 5:  Jul-04.  The feelings of triple-double success, etc. at the moment of cresting "Stovall Mountain" on the Kerr Lake Loop Permanent.

Number 4:  Jun-18.  Ten miles before completing the Youngsville-to-Youngsville 100-miler portion of the Solstice Whirligig Tour, IvaHawk "threatening" to bring his ex-Marine skills out of retirement and hurt us if we didn't slow down.

Number 3:  Jun-15.  Turning the discovery that my long-serving pale-blue "Bike Rack" water bottle had developed a hole in its side into a moment of mirth by squirting water out of the side of bottle onto Dean and Janis.  "That felt good; do it again!"

Number 2:  Aug-20.  Paused just yards after the crest of "Stovall Mountain", looking around BikerBob and seeing Fearless Leader RBA Alan flat-on-his back, as if in mid-rando-ditch-nap, clearly intent on a SERIOUS rest.

Number-1:  3:30 am, May-15.  Robert waking me from a fantastic sleep on the floor of the Currie, NC post office lobby; seeing the quintessential I-can't-wait-for-the-next-adventure look on Robert's face.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dec-24: 4th Annual IR Holiday RRR

2008 - pre-dating this blog.  Dec-27th.  Lt. Dave and me.  First time doing the entire Range Road "loop" for each of us.  (In 2008, we did the ENTIRE length of Range Road.  Since then, we have almost always turned onto Little Mountain Rd  to get into Stem.  Shorter, flatter, safer, and we can claim we went for a "little mountain ride".)

2009 - Dec-24th, it was cold.  Lt. Dave, Red Rocket, IvaHawk, me.  Funny thing, on today's ride, Lt. Dave could only remember the fun parts.

2010 - Dec-24th, I think it was mild.  Biggish group for us.  I'd have to look at the blog post to recall everyone; but I'm pretty sure the cast included Lt. Dave, Red Rocket, IvaHawk, Gary, Levi, Robert, me.  As this is now a memory test -- I guess I'll now have to check and discover ... the facts.

2011 - Reasonable temps.  Maybe around 38-F when we started at 0800; about 50-F when we finished at about 1230.

The cast:

  • short-cutters:  Mallet and Tito.  Each had family obligations, with dire consequences if they were late.  They took  the Robert's Chapel cut-off.  No subsequent information available at this time. 
  • full course:  Lt. Dave, Red Rocket, IvaHawk, his guest Shane, Ricochet Robert, BobH, Norris, me

A reasonable ride, I think.  However, as I type this, I can't recall much.  I may have to come back later and turn this into a "story".  Wonder if I'll recall enough FACTS to write a story, or if I'd have to mostly FABRICATE.

In the meantime:
Merry Christmas to all, and to all A Goodnight.

--> PUE:  Range Road Rover --> ; 73.8 m.; est. 4h,53m in-motion; 15.1 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: __7 rides; _468.2 m.; _32 h, 01 m; 14.6 mph. 
YTD tot: 109 rides; 8965.8 m.; 598 h, 30 m; 15.0 mph.  

Friday, December 23, 2011


Just before 10 this morning, I opened an e-mail with a "sent" time-stamp of 9:01 this morning.  The e-mail was informing that the author would meet me at PUE at 10 to ride.  

Here's the thing:  I never indicated that I was definitely riding at 10 or so today.  I had indicated that I could imagine riding at 10 am today.  No one indicated that they had an interest in riding this morning, and as no one had indicated an interest, I certainly did not feel committed to doing something I had only imagined I might do.  

Even if I had intended to ride solo at 10 this morning:  when I'm riding with just-me-and-my-shadow, and not on a on-the-clock ride, I may leave late or early (more likely late) and I may change the route on a whim -- that's assuming I even have an intended route.  Therefore, even if you KNOW that I'm going to ride solo (and that is problematic as I have "cancelled" three or four intended solo rides recently -- mostly on Sundays), but if I don't know that you want to ride with me (at least 12 hours in advance) ... don't count on seeing me where and when you thought you knew I would be.  

Maybe Robert will do an amusing blog post about not finding me where he was certain I would be. 

I will see some of you Saturday morning, to ride the Holiday RRR from PUE at 0800.  

Merry Christmas to all, especially those I will not be seeing on the 24th, 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rabies in Orange County

And since newspaper links have a way of disappearing faster than ice in summer ...

Two cases of rabies have been confirmed in Orange County.

Orange County Animal Services received two positive rabies results for a skunk and a racoon on Dec. 20.The skunk was found dead in the pen of a dog at a residence on N.C. 57 north of Hillsborough. The other was submitted because two household dogs had a deceased raccoon in their mouths at a Hurdle Mills residence near Hawkins Road and Highway 86.
In the skunk case, the dog was not vaccinated and surrendered by the owner for euthanasia.In the case of the raccoon, both dogs were currently vaccinated and only need to receive a booster shot within the next five days.These are the 10th and 11th positive rabies results for Orange County in 2011. There were a total of 11 positive cases for Orange County in 2010. The number of rabies cases in 2010 and 2009, where there were 12 cases, are far fewer than in preceding years.

Hurdle Mills ... near Hawkins Rd and NC-86 is awfully close to the route of the two recent Hurdle Mills Irregulars rides. 

NC-57 north of Hillsborough.  That could encompass at least as far as Schley.  

More reasons to keep one's eyes peeled for loose dogs. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dec-18: Horses, Ponds, Ducks, Geese

Bahama Beach cut short
With 2011-NC-Randonneuse-of-the-Year Janis.

She'll want to hit me for mentioning her award, again.
But I have no problem trumpeting someone else's achievements. 

A couple months ago, Janis had indicated that she wanted to do "Bahama Beach". 
Once she got to 6000+ RUSA kms for the year, 
With R-33 safely in the bank, 
And having gotten her P-12, 
She regained her interest in "going to the beach". 

And sent a mid-to-late-week message suggesting she'd like to ride "Bahama Beach",  
Or part of it anyway. 
She had learned the trick from her usual pedal-pal, Andy, 
Of testing out new, possibly challenging routes, a bit at a time. 
And that is what she wanted to do. 

I, on the other hand, am absolutely convinced that JJ could do / can do "BB", 
If properly advised on the location, number, and severity of the climbs. 
And, more importantly, I knew that a ride with JJ on BB 
Would be fun and camaraderie filled. 
And she would be less likely to try to "reverse-dump" me on unfamiliar terrain. 

She did try to "reverse-dump" me -- 
The day before the ride, 
Before we began riding, and
Her last attempt was on Old Weaver Trail, just after crossing NC-50. 
I was having none of it!   

Early-ish in the ride, Janis commented that the two reasons 
That she seems to prefer the Mule Pull over Get 'er Dunn are: 
_ _(1)  all but one of her Mule Pulls have been solo, and 
_ _(2) there are a lot of ponds with ducks and geese and also pastures with horses ... and mules. 

Hmmn.  I had an idea ... to add at least a scenic vista. 
But crossing the RR tracks just before the store on Red Mill, next to I-85, 
It became painfully obvious to Janis that her rear tyre had gone completely flat. 
Luckily, we were only 80 yards from that store. 

I was a completely superfluous and useless person as concerns changing JJ's flat. 
We could find nothing wrong with the tyre, inside nor out. 
We could find nothing wrong on the rim or rim-tape, and 
We could not find the leak in the tube, 
But it clearly did have a slow leak. 

Janis decided to use a fresh tube, and 
Try to find the problem with the tube when she got home. 

Her tyre and new tube performed to an excellent standard the rest of the day. 

Horses.  A GREAT Pond, with Geese and Ducks. 

Given JJ's comment on enjoying the sights on a ride when they exist, 
I decided to detour off Stagville Rd and onto Wiley Mangum Rd. 
There is a nice vista from the corner of Wiley Mangum and Joe Ellis roads. 
Looks good to great in the Spring, 
Nice in the Summer, 
Can be GREAT in the Autumn, and 
Still interesting in the Winter. 

(Special note to Irregulars, especially Snapper + IvaHawk:  neither of us lost a cleat or a pedal.)

JJ spotted some horses just a bit further down from the corner. 
I couldn't see them because the trees were blocking my view. 
Some of the horses were keeping a keen watch on a flock of vultures. 
Never did figure out what was attracting the vultures.  

I followed JJ, drifting down to the horses. 
Several standard horses, and one Shire horse (I don't know the specific breed), 
Were interested in JJ almost as much as the vultures. 
Janis figured the horses were hoping she had some apples for them. 

When I had drifted down to JJ, 
I had seen an interesting pond well back from the left side of the road. 
The horse pasture was on the right. 
I asked Janis if she had noticed the pond on the other side of the road. 
No, she had been giving full attention to the horses. 

We had to go back some 30 or 40 yards up the slope to get a good view of the pond. 
Domestic geese and wild ducks and perhaps some wild Canadian geese, too, 

Most swimming in the pond, 
Also keeping a keen watch on the vultures. 

No fake ducks in that pond.  

We eventually continued our ride. 
Pausing in Bahama, 
So Janis could check out the hysterical marker, and 
I could check out a particular headstone in the cemetery
Same last name as a prominent local randonneuse. 

Down to Lake Michie (Flat River), 
Across the bridge, the Beach hidden beneath the surface of the lake. 
(Janis thinks I should change the name of the route to "Bahama Bridge". 
But I dunno' -- that might not confuse non-locals as much as "Bahama Beach, + a Little Mtn Rd".) 

Janis climbed back up from Lake Michie (up "the wall") in style, 
Or at least she wasn't breathing all that hard when she reached the turn onto Ellis Chpl Rd. 
Ellis Chapel Rd had a pond or two, and more horses. 
Janis reported that she saw none of them. 

She did see the large open pastures on the left, with cattle, 
Just before reaching Cassam Rd.

We decided to short the "BB" route, 

Taking Range Rd down the "wall", and 
Then thru Butner, to Cash Rd. and Old Weaver Trail. 

I was making sure to point out all the ponds. 
Even ones I had never noticed before. 

I think the only pond Janis claimed to have noticed was the really large one ...  
Falls Lake. 

OWT to New Light, 
Up Ghoston.  (Janis didn't mind the climbing -- but was not too pleased with one or two cars.) 
Over to and onto Peed Rd. 
JJ remarked that she thought the steep part of Peed was tougher than the Michie-Wall. 
MVC to finish at PUE with exactly 54.00 miles, round trip (not out-and-back). 

Janis accomplished her mission:  
Some climbing, checking out part of a new route, seeing new places, having FUN on the bike. 

--> PUE:  Bahama Beach, short-cut --> ; 63.4 m.; est. 4h,50m in-motion; 13.1 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: __6 rides; _394.4 m.; _27 h, 08 m; 14.5 mph. 
YTD tot: 108 rides; 8892.0 m.; 596 h, 37 m; 15.0 mph. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec-15: Gone 'Splorin'

A few weeks ago, a coupla' guys I know didn't like riding on NC-62 from Burton Chapel Rd to Overview Loop Rd.  Something about going up a hill, into the sun, and noticing that two of their buddies just 100 yards or so ahead of them disappeared in the shadows -- the jersey colors and the deep shadows resulting from bright sun -- and riding more or less right into the sun -- made them think that finding an alternative routing to get from Gunn Poole Rd to the Badgett Sisters Parkway before the next Irregulars outing that direction would be a good idea.  [I'm pretty sure we'll be doing that route again.  Nice rollers across creek valleys and up actual hills; no traffic; smooth roads (for the most part).  And maybe we'll do lunch at Yoder's instead of Subway.]

Anyway, these two guys wanted to find and check-out an alternative routing.
You might call it "exploring".
In Cedar Grove.  Going or coming?  Yes.
Can you imagine the locals, having come to town for business, taking a sit on that green bench?

Two alternatives in mind.
The first turned out so well that they didn't check the second one.
Rumor is that someone used to work for Corbett.
Sign before and after Gunn Poole Rd. 

No NC-62, climbing into the sun.
And the alternative is flat, or so I heard.
Excess clothing was removed at the turn-around under the watchful eyes of the local beasts.
Note the white mule.
Note the flat terrain in the background. 

I heard that the one guy might have taken some photos.
If so, and IF he makes a post ...
I'll take this one down.  ;-)
[Edit Dec-18-2011:  Turned out there were some photos -- but ... the guy that took them claimed he liked this post, and the photos should just be woven into the above.]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec-10: IR Falls Lake Loop + Dragon's-Head

Almost had a ride perfect for a repetitious title:
Rule #3, Rule #3, Rule #3.

Thinking to entice some Irregulars that haven't ridden for awhile,
The suggested routes were:
  • Basic Falls Lake Loop, 38-miles, and
  • Falls Loop, plus the Dragon's-head, for about 50-miles.

It was also requested that the crew advise regarding the start time:
  • 1 suggestion for 8:00 or 8:30,
  • 5 suggestions for 8:00.

Nine of us met at PUE prepared for an 0800 wheels-away.
Seven Irregulars + 2 guests repeating from last week.
Those that it was hoped might come out for a quick 40-miler?
None of those came out.
Better mention those that did come out, now,
Because who knows if they'll get mentioned otherwise?

IvaHawk + guest Shane (this Shane "came back"),
Tito, Ags, Ricochet, me.

Also Snapper + guest Ken, and BobH.
But regarding those three ... I think a previously unheard of corollary to Rule #3 applies:
If you don't REALLY know the course, or which course we're doing,
Don't fall behind by over a mile,
To do an interval time-trial (or whatever).

I cycled to the ride, and found the other 8 mostly-ready to ride.
I had my yellow shell on over a short-sleeved and a long-sleeved jersey.
IvaHawk directed my attention to something about the other eight:
All were in yellow jackets or shells.
Resulting in nine cyclists in bright yellow tops.
Might have made an interesting peloton-in-motion pic.
We certainly had to be VISIBLE.

We started on time
According to the clock on my cycle-confuser, which might be two minutes slow.

Ags, eager to finish the ride ... yeah, that's the best description ...
Eager to finish the ride before it even started,
Led the way out of PUE.
Left onto Pleasant Union Ch Rd, but
Instead of the usual swoop-down Mt. Vernon Ch Rd ,
We continued to Norwood Rd and took that across to Leesville Rd,
Then right on Hickory Grove Ch Rd to get back on the usual course.
Darn -- just realized -- I better check the actual mileage.
This alternate start not only has fewer noticeable climbs,
It MAY be about 0.2 miles shorter.
[It was actually 0.4 miles shorter.  Sigh.]

One thing I do know about Hickory Grove Ch Rd.,
Although it is flat, that stretch traversed the high elevation for the day.

On Doc Nichols Rd, Snapper and Ken scooted ahead
To the CVS at NC-98 and Patterson,
While the rest of us moderated our pace
So we would not be standing around in the cold at the CVS
Waiting for the completion of certain business inside.

Nondescript crossing of Patterson and Cheek and the "loop" back up to OWT.
Except Ricochet tried to stir the pot crossing the causeway to the CL at the bridge.
The pot did get stirred.

Ags commented on the yard in front of that particular house on Stool Tree / Munns Rd.
Which is a reason I like taking Stool Tree across to Northside Rd.
I remember that yard when the lawn under those trees
Was an incredible tangle of scrub-brush.

Across Northside to Cash Rd (btw, we found NO money).
Three riders gone missing.
IvaHawk informed that Harv + Ken wanted to do a "time-trial" on Northside,
So were planning to wait for the rest of us to clear from their path ahead.
Hawk also mentioned that he had heard BobH tell Harv + Ken to continue straight
Once they got to the stop-sign.

With that information, I decided I wasn't waiting, nor was I going to worry about the three.
Hawk and I concluded that there certainly must be an unwritten corollary to Rule #3
That deals with miscreants that purposefully fall off the back to do something "special"
And then follow a different course.

After crossing NC-50, I found I was up-front with Ricochet.
He asked where the next turn was.
We were operating sans cue-sheet,
Even though it had been pointed out that the Basic Falls Loop was available ... on-line to IRs.

Ricochet and I got to the turn ... no one else in sight.
Turned out they had stopped or turned back to try to take some photos of a fox
In a field west of NC-50.
I'll note here that it was Ricochet that had pointed out the fox
Visible in daylight, crouching in a field, and causing havoc among the nearby birds.

Wonder if I will get a photo of the fox?

Six re-grouped and cruising up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Ch Rd.
At the top (corner with Bruce Garner Rd), the unanimous response was in favor of
53-miles rather than 50.
Okay ... we're adding the "Horn" to the Dragon's-Head.
[To see the Dragon's Neck and Head -- click here
Nothing available for the "Horn", though.]

I figured to give oral directions once we turned onto Lawrence Rd.,
But Ags and Tito seemed intent on riding a pace in which I was not interested (today).
Ricochet set out after them with information to turn onto Bold Run Hill Rd..
[Before starting his "chase", Ricochet asked "which way on Bold Run?" 
My answer:  "there is only one way to turn onto Bold Run Hill."]
Shane pursued and bridged to Ricochet.
IvaHawk and I enjoyed a more leisurely 17 to 20 mph drift down Lawrence to BRH.

Into the valley of the Bold Run Hill we rode, just the two of us.
Although Iva was certain he had seen a glimpse of the other four, well up the road.
Despite that, I figured the foursome would go all the way to Purnell Rd.,
Thus missing the turn onto Powell Rd..

Hawk and I discussed whether he could/should call Tito.
"Mr. Nice Guy" opined that if they missed the turn,
"It will be the really good Rule #3 lesson that they need".
Iva and I were plotting the blog post we could write.
Unfortunately, the foursome was waiting at Powell Rd.

Across Powell and Garffe Sherron, back to Mangum Dairy Rd.,
Just in time to do the nice climb on Mangum Dairy.

Iva missed a shift just at the bottom of the climb.
He thought he had somehow thrown his chain,
Despite installing an anti-chain-throwing device on Friday.
But, turned out it was completely an operator error -- no mechanical problem at all.

Across to Woodlief Rd..
The other five raced up the Woodlief climb up to New Light Rd..
I took it easy as my lower back was bothering me.
Always a sure sign that I had pushed too hard earlier.
Strange when one compares the effort today to my recent rides on Triple-L.
That rando course has many more climbs, and tougher, than anything we did today.
And I had not one moment of lower back discomfort on any of the recent Triple-L trips.
In fact, I can't recall any lower back issues since ... I can't recall.

New Light, Ghoston, etc., and Robert "skutches me out".

Ricochet Robert decided to try to tire the fast three-some still with us,
Tito, Ags, Shane,
AND build a lead on New Light that he might be able to carry to the top of Ghoston.

I was still resting my lower back as we started on New Light, and
IvaHawk and I were soon further back from the fasties than Robert was ahead.
Robert did build quite a lead.

I told Iva, that after half-a-mile or so, my back would be fine, and
"We'll go get 'em."
Iva was game.

That's what we did.
I pulled Iva up and past the kibitzing fasties,
Closed to and went around Robert without a problem.
Robert weighs 135 lbs.  I weigh just under 160 lbs.
The road on that stretch is mostly down-slope (heading for the river / lake).
I generate more power that Robert.
So, it was not difficult to make up the (nearly) quarter-mile to Robert.

The problem, in Robert's view, was me passing the fasties.
Because they picked up their pace from putz-kibitz to grab Iva's wheel.
And the six-some was all back together well before reaching Ghoston.

Robert can climb.
But Ags, Tito and Shane can climb the little hills around here faster than Robert.

Robert enjoyed skutching me out when we all got back to PUE.

My defense?
Everyone knows it is indeed a rare day that I fail to time-trial in on Bruce Garner / New Light.
This was supposed to be a short post.
Not a blow-by-blow retelling of the entire 53-miles of the core ride.
Deep sigh.

--> PUE:  Norwood - basic Falls Lake Loop - Dragon's Head + Horn --> ; 61.8 m.; est. 4h,01m in-motion; 15.4 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: __2 rides; _188.9 m.; _12 h, 47 m; 14.8 mph. 
YTD tot: 104 rides; 8686.5 m.; 577 h, 16 m; 15.0 mph. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dec-03: Bison 204km Permanent

Just after the turn off Howard onto Ray, half-a-mile into the course, John said "see you next weekend" as he waved and took off.

Being an out-and-back course, we knew we would see him at least once later in the day.  We did.  On Gordonton Rd., but much closer to Hester Store Rd than we had expected.

Of course, we had stopped to take some photos:
I counted 50 head. 
Since Robert foolishly refused to be in a photo outbound ... when the bison were still in the field (or had returned to it) inbound:
Robert insisted on a "group shot":
While taking the inbound photos, a small commercial van with the slogan "Eat More Buffalo" went by.  I suspect that a restaurant in Roxboro may be getting their buffalo-burgers locally. 
R-6 for John.  R-4 for Robert.  R-17 for me.

Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204 km Permanent; w/ Ragged Robert - he had "no legs" after having spent the previous day helping his son move ; 127.1 m.; est. 8h,46m in-motion; 14.5 mph; 10h55 official rando time -- JohnA finished in 9h16.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

O-N tot: _20 rides; 1591.3 m.; 105 h, 56 m; 15.0 mph. 
Dec tot: __1 rides; _127.1 m.; __8 h, 46 m; 14.5 mph. 
YTD tot: 103 rides; 8624.7 m.; 573 h, 15 m; 15.0 mph. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dec 3 -- Brogden Rd Freight Train or The Case of the Missing Glove

Everyone was on time just about for 8 AM wheels away. Irregular members: Harvey, BobH, Tito, JohnD, Norris, IvaHawk. Guests: for Harvey – Lou and Ken triathlete buddies. For Iva – Shane from Australia O2 fitness and spinning buddy. 35 degrees or so at the start gave way to warm temps the last half of the ride. Many wanted to finish by 11:30 AM to watch the Heels play UK at noon.

Plan was modified Range Road Rover with the modification being to turn right on Robert’s Chapel. It was a mostly uneventful ride until we got to Stem and Creedmore. Outbound the buddies kept up with the Irregular climbers up the Range Road Wall. IvaHawk brought up the rear. Norris kept me company part of the time because he was executing a training plan that required him to stay aerobic.

Shane is an experienced mountain biker but needs some road training because he is going to France during next year’s tour for three or four weeks! I told him he should talk to The Mallet who was there last summer during Le Tour. Shane had no trouble hanging with the faster guys as I suspected he wouldn’t.

Lou and Ken rode well which one would have figured if they ride much with Harvey. I disapproved of their all black Ninja cycling clothes as I know Martin would have. The rest of us had on the de rigueur bright yellow jackets.

Up Little Mountain Road to the highest point on the course (510 feet), through Stem, and out onto BobH Road known locally as Brogden Rd/Stem Road. I saw Harvey the Steam Engine go to the front and said uh oh, here we go. Later, I found that Harvey, Tito, and BobH swapped leads on the team time trial as we sped towards Creedmore. I don’t know where, but somewhere, I dimly recollect seeing 26 mph just before I was ejected off the back like a watermelon seed at a picnic. The leaving speed reminded me of those times when motorcycles speed by us then goose the throttle.

By the time, I got to Creedmore, I was warm if not hot. I stopped at the top of Stem Rd and took off my gloves and jacket. Norris was there and went on ahead. By the time, I got up to Hwy 50, via the back way, I noticed I only had one glove. I had dropped it between Stem Rd and there. Crap. I hollered to Norris but he had on ear muffs. I saw the guys who had been waiting coming towards me on Hwy 50. I hollered at them that I was going back and not to wait. My return trip to Stem Rd was not successful. However, by the time I got into the Christmas Parade traffic on my return trip, there it was lying in the dirt having been run over a few times by cars. It was fine.

I continued on my own down Dove Rd when I saw Tito (of Amazing Race fame) coming back towards me. He and I rode on to PUE. Thanks for the comeback, Tito. We got back at 11:55 with 53.5 miles for me. 2,194 climbing feet and 3,877 calories. From there to my house for tea and scones and UNC b-ball on the tube.

An excellent day of riding. Thanks to all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nov-30: R-Series Rescued

Enjoyably sunny in Raleigh it was -- morning and afternoon.
COMPLETELY overcast in Hurdle Mills and Leasburg.

The course:  Byron's Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville Hillfest.

High temp about 50 degrees F lower than an epic ride from July-2010.
Remember that one, Bob?

High temp about 47 degrees F lower than a certain July-2011 tour.
Remember that one, Robert?
I didn't re-read the text of the recent July post, but I wonder if there is mention of a rooster?

As hinted above, Me-and-My-Shadow early on.
Then Just-Me, into the W wind from Mt. Tirzah to Leasburg.

Tailwind the entire return trip.
Though sometimes the wind seemed a bit confused.
Probably bouncing off things.

And My-Shadow rejoined Me late in the ride.

It is amazing how much the weather conditions can vary over a 102-km stretch.
And, regarding this ride, I refer only to the amount of sunshine enjoyed, or lacking.

About 6 weeks ago on this same course,
I noted that I worked hard to try to get a time of less than 10 hours.
Didn't have the legs for it.

On this ride, I didn't have much legs at the end.
Legs felt worse finishing a 200k than they've felt for a long time.
The result of working hard for most of the ride.

But ... this time ... official time under 10 hours.
And ... R-16.

Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204 km Permanent ; 127.1 m.; 8h,21m in-motion; 15.2 mph; 9h42 official rando time -- I MUST get back into the habit of starting solo perms ON-TIME.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

Oct tot: _10 rides; _924.0 m.; _61 h, 54 m; 14.9 mph. 
Nov tot: _10 rides; _667.3 m.; _44 h, 01 m; 15.2 mph. 
YTD tot: 102 rides; 8497.6 m.; 566 h, 29 m; 15.0 mph. 

For the first time in what-seems-like eons, the YTD avg pace is actually slightly MORE than 15.0. 
15.0007 mph.  Who measures to that precision? 
Certainly not me! 
But that is what 102 rides with nearly 8500 miles covered in 566h29 gives. 

Eddington Cycling Number
After this ride:  81. 
Meaning I have ridden at least 81 miles on at least 81 different occasions. 

Oh, for something completely different (at least as far as this blog is concerned): 
Next adventure: 
R-17 with Robert and JohnA on Saturday, Dec-03.  
On Triple-L. 
Will make 5 times on this course in the last 6 weeks. 
 _ Plus one more time I rode it ... just for practice ... as Andy and JayJay sometimes say. 
Will make 5 of my most recent 7 perms on this course. 
Compare that to how difficult it was for me to complete this course the first time. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nov-26: On US Bike Route #1 -- sorta'

After the Thursday and Friday rides, there wasn't much interest in a Saturday ride for 60 miles at 0800.  Just BobH, JohnA and me.  Bob and I like to ride early.  John has a young son; he likes to get his cycling done early enough to do "dad stuff" and other activities.

I had publicly suggested the Mitchener's X-roads Cruise, but I couldn't locate the cue sheet (who needs cue sheets?) and my heart + mind weren't really into that -- I don't know why -- it is a perfectly good course with some climbs and low-traffic roads and all that.  I suggested privately to John (because I mistakenly thought he was the only other person interested in a ride) that maybe it would be good to just take US Bike Route #1 from PUE to US-158, turn-around without stopping, and retrace our route for about 61 miles.  John e-mailed back that he didn't care as long as it was less than 6 hours.  I guaranteed it would be less than 6 hours.

On the way to Grissom, I had a thought that I'd like to ride Flat Rock Rd northbound as I couldn't recall ever having done that.  So ... we continued straight for another 2 1/2 miles past Grissom [note to self:  need to mention to Branson that the BR#1 sign at Grissom for the left turn onto Lawrence Rd has gone missing] to Wayside Farm Rd, then to Kelsey's Western Wear, then Suitt's Store Rd, etc. to Flat Rock Rd..  I think Flat Rock Rd may be easier northbound than southbound -- it could have been the tailwind, though.

Philo White Rd to get back to Cannady Mill Rd and BR#1, having added a little extra climbing.

Cruising along Cannady Mill, John and Bob in deep conversation(s).  It seemed like a repeat of Thursday; only with John substituting for Robert, and I wasn't singing aloud to myself.

Then ... another idea:  BR #1 to US-158 and come back is really a 60-mile TT -- not a "let's have an enjoyable time" ride.  How about ... when we get to Dickerson, we turn right onto Dorsey Rd and take that up to US-158, ride 158 for a short mile to the east, then turn south (right) onto Old Watkins / Peaces Chapel Rd to Fairport.  Then Fairport Rd to Charlie Grissom / Green Hill Rd to Olivet(?) Chpl Rd to NC-56 to Gordon Moore to Pokomoke, and then on in.  

Adds some climbing and the scenery is more interesting.  (BR #1 is a great route from Raleigh up to Oxford, but it mostly runs along a wide, flat ridge; not much in the way of vistas.  Get off a half mile or so in either direction, though, and things change dramatically -- maybe not vista-wise, but certainly down-and-up-wise.)  

Bob and John were willing to follow.  Actually, I had to follow across 158; and they didn't slow for me once on Old Watkins until they'd covered at least a mile -- maybe more.  They waited for me at a nibbles and drink and maybe something else roadside pause.  Then we continued on toward Fairport.  [It is always farther from the creek to the county line than I recall -- all upslope or some uphill.] 

Bob and I were taking all the pulls starting at that creek on Old Watkins, all the way to the Tar River, and up Olivet Chpl Rd, and then continuing on Gordon Moore Rd.  I had mentioned possibly stopping in Grissom for a break, and as we got within a long half-mile of Pokomoke, John asked "how far to Grissom?" 

Bob pulled all the way from Pokomoke to Grissom.  We stopped in Grissom for the pause that refreshes.  John was appalled or something when upon leaving I noted that we'd stopped for nearly 25 minutes.  [We'd gotten to Grissom at 12:02, and left at 12:25.]  Bob continued pulling ... all the way to the bottom of Ghoston Rd.  then John left us in the dust as Bob and I made our way up Ghoston and Peed re-passing each other several times.  [I'm sure the only reason I was staying with Bob was the 8 1/2 mile pull (with Grissom in the middle) that he took to get to Grissom.  I had sat on the back, wondering if / when John would go to the front.  He never did.  Until the climb on Grissom.  At least he didn't try to swipe the Wake CL.  I didn't either.  I did, however, consider how the dynamic would have changed if Smitty and a couple others had been along at that point.] 

Gary + Wendy + Karen(?) were just coming out of the Peed Store as Bob and I zipped off NC-98 onto Peed Rd..  We were going 20+ mph, so all I did was give them a shout-out, and we kept going.  Gary gave a shout-out back. 

I got into PUE at 1:05 pm; 5h05 elapsed clock time for what Bob reported as 69-and-change miles; well under the 6 hour limit.  John claimed to have gotten there only a couple minutes before.  I don't believe "only a couple minutes"; probably at least "a few minutes" and maybe "several minutes" as Bob and I took 20 minutes to do Ghoston-Peed-MVC; John never takes more than 16 or 17 (the latter only when he is really putzing it in). 

A little chat.  John left to go home to be a dad.  Bob and I chatted a bit more about nothing very important -- I certainly no not recall the topic(s).  Then he got in his truck to drive home and I remounted to complete my journey. 

Well ... I did have to make a necessary stop en route.  Luckily certain people live at just the right place.

--> PUE:  US BR #1 out-and-back, but with enough modifications that even LT would not have though it an out-and-back course --> ; 78.0 m.; 5h,08m in-motion; 15.2 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _23 rides; 1822.2 m.; 123 h, 05 m; 14.8 mph.
Q-2 tot: _30 rides; 2604.9 m.; 174 h, 22 m; 14.9 mph.
Q-3 tot: _29 rides; 2479.2 m.; 161 h, 05 m; 15.2 mph. 

Oct tot: _10 rides; _924.0 m.; _61 h, 54 m; 14.9 mph. 
Nov tot: __9 rides; _540.2 m.; _35 h, 40 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: 101 rides; 8370.5 m.; 558 h, 07 m; 15.0 mph. 

I was avg'ing 15.6 or better when we turned onto Ghoston, and 15.5 or so when I got to PUE.  
I've been taking it very easy all year coming back up the "other MVC climb" toward Raleigh all year.  I wonder what that extra cool-down mileage and pace has done to my annual avg pace? 

I figured out an answer to the above question.  I've been riding back from PUE in about 6 more minutes than I've been riding out to PUE prior to the rides.  Just over 1/3 of my rides this year have entailed that putz-cool-down back to town.  That 6 minutes has cut an average 0.2 to 0.3 mph off the avg pace of all those rides.  And has cut 0.1 mph off the total average mph for the entire year.  If I was starting and stopping all my rides from PUE (as in previous years), I estimate that my avg overall pace YTD would be 15.1 mph.  As MaryF alluded while on the Kerr Lake Loop near the end of September -- I'm probably faster than last year.