Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb-27: Sunny, Warm and Windy

Solo for 39.

Flashing blues on Falls of the Neuse.
Take Morning Dove, then Old Deer.
(Now, looking at a map, I should have taken Running Cedar.)
Iceman standing on his driveway, putting up some yard tools.

Stop and say hello.
We chat for 20 or 25 minutes.
Event timing, and the changes in the last 20 years.
Bar codes have replaced electronic chips which replaced ... the "stone age" approach I used to do.
More female runners than male.
Reversed completely compared to 20 years ago.

7000 participants for Crispy Creme.
7000 for ... was it ... Myrtle Beach Marathon.
20 years ago, except for the Old Reliable, the Great Raleigh Road Race,
And the Charlotte Observer Marathon,
Could never approach 1000 in the Carolinas.

Remembering the old Big Ten basketball traveling partner days.
Playing on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons.
Purdue and Illinois benefiting from being traveling partners.
The year both teams went 15-3 in conference play.
See you later.

Went thru the "Y" neighborhood.
Down the "Carrington Wall."
Onto MVC.
Seems that I have more power with the saddle slid back a bit,
And saddle lowered trying to maintain the same "leg reach".
Butt fitting well on the saddle.
Those two things could be v-e-r-y nice.

Bang into the 15-25 SW wind on Carpenter Pond.
Somewhere before reaching Leesville Rd,
I found my "speed legs".

Leesville Rd NOT bang on into the wind.
Still with speed legs.

Decide to see if I can use the DocNichols downslope
To catch the guy that passed me back on CP,
Before I found my speed legs.

A little over a mile down DN, he stops.
Waits for a car going the opposite direction,
Then U-turns just before I get to him.

Decide to do Baptist to Southview.
For the tailwind.

Across Southview to NC-98 ... still with the "speed legs".
"Speed legs" seemed to disappear on Southview between 98 and Kemp.

Up Kemp to Coley.  Nice pace.  Not slow.  Certainly not fast.

On Kemp from Coley to Carpenter Pond. 
Must have been easy ... I have no recollection.

Carpenter Pond from Kemp to MVC, with a tailwind.
Powered up and thru the Wake County Line in the big chain ring.
No CP memory after that.

The turn off CP onto MVC at 20 +/- mph.
Glad there was no gravel.

Quickly across MVC to 50.  That section is falling apart.
MVC down to the creek and up to PUE,
And across to Norwood,
Then down again
And up past Leslie Dr. and all the way to Six Forks Rd.

Not much traffic on Six Forks.
Had to wait with other traffic at the light across I-540.
Had to wait for the light at Strickland.
Tried Bryan-photo's trick.
Can't verify if it would have worked.
Cars joined me waiting for the left turn signal.

Across Strickland with a tailwind.
Ease up before Falls of the Neuse.
Ease on in to the end of the ride.

Nice ride.  Sunny and warm (hi temp approx 78 F), with some wind.
Short sleeves, shorts.
No arm-warmers, no leg-warmers, no knee-warmers, no shoe covers.

--> PUE:  modified "TT" course -->; 38.9 m.; 2 hrs, 30 min in-motion; 15.5 mph. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __7 rides; __606.0 m.; _41 hrs, 18 min; 14.7 mph.
YTD tot: _16 rides; _1277.4 m.; _87 hrs, 57 min; 14.5 mph.
The end of February finds me with: 
  • 1534 RUSA credit kms so far this year,
  • M-24 (my notation for 24 straight months with at least one ride of at least 100 kms),
  • P-0 (the RUSA notation for consecutive months with a RUSA qualifying "P" ride),
  • C-12 (12 straight months of at least one ride of at least 100 miles),
  • R-7 (standard RUSA def'n -- I told Dean I wasn't counting, but ... ).


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Irregulars: Down-and-Up, Rinse, Repeat

A guest blog from IvaHawk:
Good Ride today of approximately 41 miles with the intent being that it was more hilly per mile than a "normal" ride.  Hats off to Boyce Mill and to Old Creedmore.  Those are two good hills. Attendees were:  Snapper, Tito, Ags, Mallet, BobH, Rapid Robert, IvanTheTerrible, Smitty, IvaHawk, and a lost Gyro named Sean.  Sean was a young guy and rode well usually with the lead group.  The lead group was usually those nine with me riding well, but nevertheless behind.  Harvey occasionally joined me because he threw his chain four times.  The worst was at the base of Boyce Mill where he came to an abrupt stop with Tito needing his quick reflexes to avoid a crash.
 Notice the double Ghoston at the end of the route.  One problem with that is the difficulty of turning left off Ghoston onto 98. I got stuck for two minutes.  I'm having trouble remembering much interesting things.  Lots of banter and bonhomie.  Wish you could have been there.
 I thought you would enjoy this pic of some Irregulars violating the visible color rules:
L to R:  Smitty, Snapper, Tito, IvaHawk, IvaN, Ags.
(No info available regarding accreditation.)  

Leave PUE,

R on MVC,
L on Old Creedmore,
R on Kemp,
R on 98,
R on Southview,
L on Kemp,
L on Coley,
R on 98,
R on Boyce Mill (be alert for loose gravel),
R on Old Creed,
L on Old Creed (to stay on Old Creed rather than Carp Pond),
R on Norwood,
R on Victory Church,
R on Carp Pond,
R on Old Creed,
L on Shooting Club,
R on 50 (Warning very dangerous crossing. EXTREME CAUTION !),
L on Nipper,
L on MVC,
R on Peed,
R on 98,
L on New Light,
L on Ghoston,
L on 98,
L on New Light,
L on Ghoston then Peed, MVC, back to PUE.
Robert shared his Gamin info:  click here 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Blogger Outpolls Blog Owner

Maybe I should retire from this blogging thing.

Robert's write-up of his 300k has massacred my write-ups combined in the last week.  Or ... maybe I helped massacre my own write-ups ... the title for Robert's write-up is at least somewhat interesting (his suggested title ... which I used for the subheading ... is even more interesting ... but I want to able to find that particular post a year or two from now ... and the subtitle might not have helped on that score).

I think I'll hold off on the retiring ... and try being "clever" with the title of my blog posts for awhile (but I will continue to include the date at the beginning of all my ride posts ... otherwise I'll never be able to find a particular post when I want to reference it).  AND next time Robert "guest blogs" ... a boring title.  Just to see what happens.
From my blog stats (in the last month):

"Viewers" per blog post:
"Ricochet Robert Rides 300 km" --- 42 pageviews.
"Feb-19:  'The Dragon' and the Blustery Day" --- 10 pageviews.
"Feb-20:  Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent" --- 9 pageviews.

Referring search site:
Google --- 11 referals
pingywebedition --- 7 referals  (what is "pingywebedition"?  An automatic troll?)

"Traffic sources" / keyword searches:
 irregular velo adventures --- 5
"lee rode quickly" --- 1
irreglar verbs gathered by similarity --- 1  (that seems wierd)
Several others also had 1 search each. 

... And now ... for the "top 10" (well, 3) refering blogs:
Bike Around NC --- 6
RandoBryan (Miles to go ...) --- 9

... and number one on the blog referal parade ... 
RUSA Blogs --- 97

Hmmn. I just noticed, Yahoo has more referals this last month (20) than AOL (10).  First time I've noticed that dynamic; usually it is the other way 'round.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Lost, Just Misdirected or Instant Karma

It Made Me Laugh
Maybe You, Too, Will Laugh
But it is probably too "Inside Baseball" for any but "Irregulars" to appreciate.
Maybe too "Inside Baseball" for any but me to appreciate.

I was cleaning out old e-mail and found the report below, dated Sep-19-2010.
Met up with Robert B. and John A. shortly before 7 at PUE. Robert had 3 cue sheets to choose from. One was a 60 mile route that was similar to the route they had ridden recently, the other two were 75 mile routes. We ended up picking one of the 75 mile routes. Robert commented at the time that Martin had told him that one of the cue sheets had an error on it and he hoped this was not the one.
Rolled out of PUE a little after 7 and immediately saw 4 deer cross the street ahead of us. Later in the ride we would see a wild turkey and another four deer. Nice cool temps made the riding very pleasant. At the first county line i saw John growing fast in my mirror and took off. I thought we crossed it at the same time, but when Robert said whoever got it needed to be the one to write up the ride report John quickly conceded. Noticed yellow signs on the roads and guessed that they were for Ride Without Limits. Later got confirmation that they were indeed for that and the ride was going today.
Averaged about 17 mph to Franklinton taking turns pulling and pretty much staying in line. Stopped at mile 32 for a short break at a little country store just before the turn on to Kittrell Rd. Ags sampled the local breakfast food and after a taste, i wished i had too.
About 14 miles later we stopped for a quick break at the stop sign at the end of Gray Rock Rd and while we were sitting there a rider from RWL approached from the left. Just to our right was a sign indicating that 64 mile riders should turn there. As he passed we pointed out the sign and he u turned and headed that way. After further discussion we figured out that we had probably just shorted the guys ride. Oh well, life goes on.
We consulted the cue sheet, took a right on to Cannady Mill Rd and away we go. At the next intersection approximately the distance we were looking for there was no street sign. So we take our left turn and move on thinking we are on Philo White or as Robert likes to pronounce it Feelo White. We go about 2 more miles, and don't see Flat Rock Rd. We pass Antioch Rd on the right and keep rolling up and down some nice hills. About this time we are figuring we had missed a turn or something, but keep rolling. Eventually we end up at the end of Fairport Rd at the intersection for 96.
After consulting my trusty iphone gps app i am still lost, Robert rides across the street to the store where a local with good knowledge of the area points out that the cue sheet had us turn right onto Cannady Mill instead of left. I guess the mileage we took away from the RWL guy we more than made up for. By the time we get back to the intersection where we went wrong we had 10 bonus miles. If this was a punishment loop, what did we do to earn it, Martin? At the corner of Philo White and Flat Rock we again consulted the iphone (i can see Martin rolling his eyes now) and decided to short the route by continuing straight ahead to 96 and heading in.
We pretty much stayed in a line all day taking turns at the front. By the time we got to the bottom of Ghoston we were averaging 17.5 for the day. I decided to see what I could do on the last bit and took off. I think I did the three roads in about 15 minutes, but was able to raise my average speed to 17.6.
John and Robert rolled in a few minutes later. All in all a good ride with good company. 
Why did this strike me as funny? 
Because just a month earlier, Robert and John had been on this ride -- the "Bobbitt 'n Egypt Mtn" short-cut of the "Middleburg 100-miler".  If you check out the previous ride, you'll find a discussion of an almost wrong turn at the end of Egypt Mtn Road, and you'll also find this:
At Cannady Mill Rd, we discovered a real error in the cue sheet -- who creates those things, anyway?
One would think that Robert and John would have remembered that wrong-ness on the cue sheet -- after all, it had only been four weeks since they had joined in the merriment of joshing the cue-sheet-guy about his error.
Probably just goes to show that "if you're just following ... you don't know where you've been nor where you're at."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feb-20: Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent

Wind Variable at 5 mph

Quarter-to-seven:  I sure hope Chris knows where this ride starts.  He did note that this would be his first KLL. 

Ten-to-seven:  A couple firemen arriving.  Hmmn.  Every other time I've been here at this hour, there has been no "firemen traffic" -- except at the end of the Full Moon ride when they got "called out".  I sure hope Chris is still coming -- he has the control cards. 

Seven-to-seven:  I wonder if I can use a piece of plain paper for the control card if Chris doesn't arrive?  I would have the receipts.  And I have the waiver already signed.

Six-to-seven:  I'll bet that's Chris.  No one but a cyclist would be wearing a bright yellow "jacket" like that.

Five-to-seven:  Glad to meet you, Chris.  One of the firemen tries to start his truck -- dead battery.  He goes back inside the station.

Two-to-seven:  More firemen.  Obviously a "shift change" of sorts by the volunteers.  I wonder why that has never happened at this hour before?  Chris asks if I need a cue sheet.  He chuckles when I respond "no."

One-to-seven:  I ask one of the firemen if he would do us a favor and initial these cards and write in the time.  "Sure thing," he says.  Then he adds, "do you know Dave I.?"  I respond, "sure do; I ride with him all the time!"  Fireman asks, "why the h__ isn't he out here for this ride?"  Thinking it meaningless to explain the intricacies, I responded, "he rode yesterday; I think he's supposed to do 'honey-do's' today." 

Zero-to-seven:  Chris not quite ready.  I see the front "license tag" on the big, red, pickup truck of the fireman that had initialed our cards.  I go over to re-meet Lt. Dave's captain, and introduce myself a little better.  Fireman acknowledges that he is Capt. Tom.  I think to myself "wait until I tell Dave about this chance encounter."  [Ed.:  To fill in the background information that is not obvious:  Dave is a Lieutenant at Bayleaf Fire Dept.; Kerr Lake Loop starts at a Stony Hill Fire Dept. station; both are volunteer depts. in Wake County, but in the last 10 or so years the areas have grown such that Bayleaf (and I think Stony Hill, also) have hired full-time day-time staff; the volunteers are repsonsible for the night-time and weekends; Capt. Tom is captain at Bayleaf; I don't know what his position at Stony Hill is; I was definitely surprised to see the "Bayleaf Capt." tag at Stony Hill.]
A couple minutes later and we are off.  100 yards down the road, things seem a whole lot chillier than I was expecting, so I ask Chris if he knows what the latest weather forecast for today is.  He tells me, "58 for the high in Boydton."  Yikes; I'm significantly under dressed.  "Go ahead and ride on," I tell Chris, "I'm going back to put on another jersey."  Chris calls out, "I'll just soft-pedal."

Helmet off.  Wind-vest off.  Grab my long-sleeve red jersey and put it on over top of the short-sleeve jersey and arm warmers.  Wind-vest on.  Helmet on.  Back on the road.  Cost:  0.23 miles and probably another 3 or 4 minutes.  Oh, well -- I think I'm a little faster than Chris -- I know these roads like the back of my hand (not the whole course, just the part that is in my usual stomping grounds) -- Chris will be slowing to check his cue sheet -- probably I will catch up ... before the Tar River ... at the Oxford control at the worst.
Back on the road.  This is much better.  My shoulders are warm instead of feeling like they are freezing.  Gosh, maybe I should have grabbed the long-fingers and worn them for the start of this ride.  The fingers on my left hand are really chilly cold.  That didn't make any sense to me, but I did keep periodically tucking the left hand under the wind-vest.  That seemed to help ... on all the fingers except the pinkie.  I sometimes wonder if the little fingers get an extra dose of cold coming from the metal handlebar.  I probably do hold my left hand on the bar slightly differently than I hold my right hand -- after all, it was the left hand, particularly the left index and middle fingers that suffered most from my crash a-year-and-a-half ago.

I spotted Chris when I was about 11 miles into the ride -- a mile after transiting Wilton.  Slowly closed the gap on the mostly downslope of NC-96.  I think Chris saw me and slowed just before the turn onto Cannadys Mill Rd. -- so that the "catch" would happen that little bit sooner. 

We started chatting about ... other than we each had at least one cold finger ... I'm not sure what we chatted about.  I warned Chris that the bridge over the Tar River had some rough abutments, and then, on the climb back up to the plain, I warned him, and then pointed out the house from which the dog bit me on Aug-05 last year -- even pointed out the azalea bush(es) behind which the dog hid.  No dog today.

Our cruise up to the control at US-158 continued amid much chat and seemingly little to no effort.  There did appear to be a very light breeze out of the north; the flags at the firehouse had been completely limp.
I took the lead upon leaving the control.  I knew where the route went and ... .  There was a slightly more than "light and variable" breeze as we headed due north on Tabbs Creek Rd, but as soon as we turned northeastward onto Salem Rd there was no noticeable breeze (other than the false apparent wind we were creating by riding) and it seemed warmer.

Chris got a kick out of the double-wide with the (about) six huge Rottweilers.  The owner even stepped out the door and shouted at his dogs to be quiet.  Made no difference to the dogs.  And as long as the gate on that fence around that house and yard remains locked ... no difference to me.

As we rolled up to the stop sign for the intersection with Kelly Rd, I pointed out the house on southeast corner with the huge tree ... showing every bit of its glorious architecture during this leafless season.  We continued rolling past a horse farm or two or three or four.  We rolled thru Drewry and across the Warren County Line and the Virginia State Line -- all the while chatting ... don't ask "about what?"

I pointed out the ice cream stand / shop that is between the Virginia Line and the Kerr Lake Dam; I told Chris that I've thought for years (long before I'd even heard of randonneuring) that a nice ride would be to ride up Bike Route #1 from Raleigh to get an ice cream cone there, and ride back.  Chris asked if the ride could be made into a Permanent.  I looked at my confuser and confirmed what I already knew, "from the most logical north Raleigh start location, one would end up with a 196 km Permanent Populaire; that would probably be a very unpopular distance.  Not to mention that the route would completely duplicate the KLL start except for the bit added from Raleigh to the firehouse.  Better route for 'just because', I think." 

Shortly after that, I asked Chris if he was willing to take a quick break to eat some nibbles; he was agreeable.  (I thought we were still a couple miles short of the dam.)  We stopped and each ate something -- then remounted and headed for the dam.  Turned out the causeway and the lake were literally just around the curve -- if we had ridden another mile, we could have taken our quick-break overlooking the lake.  Oh, well. 

Turn left coming off the dam.  Then onto Phyllis Rd ... all the way into Boydton ... noting for the second time in three weeks that the house on that one 90-degree curve/corner at the top of that short, but annoying steep, where a whole pack of dogs had been riled up during the Full Moon Ride ... that house is burned out.  Not completely to the ground ... but close enough.  No annoying dogs there. 

We stopped in the square in Boydton to carefully check out the writing on the statue.  The time was 12:10.  Hmmn; a little disappointing since it had seemed that we'd gotten from Oxford to Boydton in no-time-at-all.  I never seem to get to Boydton before noon. 

I noticed the flag in the square was now indicating a significant breeze from the WSW.  Darn.  I was thinking we'd have a bit of tail-breeze from Boydton to Skipwith and on to Clarksville, then Shiney Rock and Grassy Creek and then the whole way home.

Oh, well.  If the breeze / wind doesn't pick up, and continues from the WSW, the terrain from Clarksville to the state border would break up the breeze close to the ground, and then we'd have a semi-quartering tail-breeze from Grassy Creek to Stovall; after that ... we'd be homebound.

The "light and variable" breeze did NOT increase in force.  It seemed to calm down again after Boydton.  However, it did not remain a WSW breeze -- it backed around to SSW breeze.  Giving the story line away ... we managed to have a real head-breeze all day.  Not much of one; but it would have been nice to have had some tail-breeze. 

Not long after Clarksville, going up that one steepish, but not too long climb, the three dogs came out to the road.  Chris was on the verge of turning his pump into a club when the last of the three turned aside.

Three llamas in the same field near Shiney Rock.  One standing and grazing; one sitting with head held high; one flat on its side; all three enjoying the sunshine.  It could have been my Jan-30 KLL ride (don't feel like making a link). 

There is a young, black pup (looks to be a lab-cross to me) that is probably developing into a pain by next year.  Lives at that corner where Dave Winston Rd becomes Grassy Creek Rd (or maybe you think of it as a "slight-bear-to-the-left" -- I don't know what the cue sheet says -- I have hard and soft-copy of the cue sheet, but I've never looked at it ... 'cause I would hate to let Rico Rob down by appearing to not know the way.  The pup usually has a longggg way to run to get to the road, but he can make it to the road in time to be a problem if he has been paying attention.  Maybe the pup will get a good lesson delivered soon, and stop its progression toward becoming dangerous.

Grassy Creek to Stovall ... I recall nothing ... except that Chris and I were chatting.  Don't ask "what about?"  Because I don't know.

We stopped in Stovall to top off water.  Then on to Mountain Road.  Most interesting thing about the mountain today was:  the dog that I managed to kick in the head three weeks prior did not come out into the road!!!  It sat with its pelvis turned sideways as dogs sometimes often do, it barked continuously, even after we were well past it, but he never betrayed a single impulse to come into the road.  Maybe he did learn something on Jan-30 (see the last full paragraph).

I'll add that I was not dreading the mountain today, nor was I cursing the fool that showed said mountain to Mike.  I don't recall what Chris thought.  He certainly could have climbed something much longer and much steeper -- he has mountain bike gearing on his blue Surly Long Haul Trucker -- with a 24 crank that can be used with a 34 pie plate cog if needed.

On to Oxford.  Cross the Tar River.  Climb up to Grissom on Lawrence Rd.  Plenty of energy; plenty of daylight; we had good luck with the firemen this morning -- let's keep going till we get to the firehouse.

Back on home roads, I was leading at 18 or 19 mph.  Suddenly, I was crawling at 10 or 11 or 12.  I mini-bonked.  I'm not stopping when we are just two miles from the finish.

17:36 at the firehouse.  No answer to the polite knock on the door.  I never have noticed a doorbell.  Chris and I, at my instigation, initialed each other's cards.  It might not have been wise to listen to the advice of a mini-bonker; but I hope that will suffice.

I think I remembered to thank Chris for the ride.  If not:  THANKS, Chris, it was fun riding with you.
I experienced an unexpected side-effect of the mini-bonking:  I was cold and shivering almost as soon as we stopped.  Even when I got my slightly damp tops off and replace with dry and slightly warm tops.  Even after risking ... something ... and getting out of the slightly damp bottoms and into dry sweat-pants ... I was still cold and shivering.  I immediately started eating a chocolate brownie Cliff bar and got underway to get some heat into the car and complete the transition out of the cold. 

When I had gotten warm enough that I was no longer shivering, I called Lt. Dave, planning to tell him about my meeting Capt. Tom that morning.  Surprise was on me!  Dave and Tom had seen each other earlier when called out to respond to yet another bushfire emergency, and Tom had already told Dave that he met a couple bicyclists at the Stony Hill station that morning that claimed to know him.  Dang!
This has been a very long and boring report full of trivial minutia.  Andy has been suggesting that I make a blog post explaining how I can remember details of rides from years ago.  (Believe it or not, Andy, I left out some stuff that I remembered.)  I suspect that Andy is "taking a Micky", but he says he is not ... anyway, even after I realized I was writing wayyyy too much and it was wayyy too boring, I decided to keep writing.  Maybe I'll do a post as Andy suggests, maybe I won't.  I've been harassing him the last several days with tidbits.  But here is something I just realized:  to remember trivial minutia years later ... do a write-up of the ride including much trivial minutia.  Even before I started this blog, I would write up summaries of Irregular rides (some / many weren't so much a summary as a pedal-stroke-by-pedal-stroke description).  I try not to do that so much anymore, believing that "less is more", but sometimes ... .  I also have an Excel log that records every ride since 2004 -- that is how I know that I have 547 rides (145 of which can count as "Irregular") since/iincluding my first adult road-ride on May-09-2004.  The Excel file helps, but as I think about it ... write it once ... remember it forever.

For the non-locals and/or Irregulars that may still be reading, you may be wondering who "Andy" is.  Here are three hints:
 _ _ sag,
 _ _ _ _ sagittandy, and
 _ _ _ _ _ _ RUSA Blogs.

Oh, and Andy is the creator of RUSA's new Permanent Locations Map.
 _ _ I am lucky enough to call him "friend" ... or at least "fellow NC randonneur."

Kerr Lake Loop 208 km Permanent; 131.5 m.; 9 hrs, 5 min in-motion; 14.5 mph; rando time:  10 hrs, 36 min. elapsed clock time.

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __6 rides; __567.1 m.; _38 hrs, 48 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _15 rides; _1238.5 m.; _85 hrs, 26 min; 14.5 mph.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ricochet Robert Rides 300 km

A 300k ride adventure with spooky eyes and noises... 

As background, Robert's friend Lee says that he spent 20 years trying to get Robert onto a bicycle ... and now he can't get him off of it.

Robert's first bike ride as an adult was on Apr-24-2010 (the date of Alan's 300 km brevet last year).  Robert was 61 years young; he rode about 36 miles with some of the Irregulars.  I met Robert the next weekend on our Irregulars May-01-2010 ride; Robert rode about 71 miles that day, which included about 5 or 6 bonus miles; he also got separated from the entire group, and managed to forget to unclip while / before stopping and landed on the ground (twice).  [You aren't a real "clipless" rider until you've forgotten at least twice to unclip.]

Within a short time, I knew that Robert had the ability and the stamina and the ATTITUDE to ride long -- rando long.  How quickly did I recognize that?  Read the green text of the third paragraph of this previous blog post where Robert explains in his own words when I first suggested he might try randonneuring.

On our Irregulars rides, Robert is prone to breaking into song.  We tease Robert over his choice for his inspirational song.  I have never actually heard Robert singing on an Irregulars ride; however, every time he does break into song, it gets reported immediately.  That allows immediate teasing.  Because he knew I had never heard him singing his song on a ride, on one of his two Permanents so far (Jan-15 or Feb-01), Robert rode alongside me purposefully at one point just to sing his song -- he doesn't sing very well ;-)

After he sang his song, I asked Robert if he knew that he was also prone to start whistling while riding; I can't recall if he knew that he did that or not.  (I like his whistling better than his song.)  I told him that the first time I ever heard whistling on an Irregulars ride, I was leading the line, couldn't see anyone's face, but instantly knew it was him.  Robert asked how I could have known it was him.  My response:  I don't know; I just knew.  (Robert is not the only Irregular that is prone to breaking into sing-song or to start humming aloud; but the only other perpetrator of that within the group {that I know of} makes up his tune and words ... but usually not for very long at a time.)

Robert does NOT like riding solo.  I keep telling him that he ought to practice riding solo some, because when you show up at a rando ride, you need to be mentally prepared to do the entire ride solo; you probably won't have to do the entire ride solo ... but you might have to.

I received the following from Robert ... so, without edit, I am glad to share:
Martin, a little trip report to share with our IR team..... thanks for letting me know about this RUSA stuff....
A 300k ride adventure with spooky eyes and noises...
(photo by permission from BikerBob)
It was time for another riding adventure…..Saturday 2/19/11 a 300k RUSA brevet starting in Lumberton. Lots of questions in my mind prior to Sat morning:
This was my first out of town travel to ride… would I be prepared?
316k (196 miles) can I do it?
Can I finish with dignity (vs crawling home with mind and body shot)?
Can I ride a long distance by myself?
Can I ride and navigate at night?
As a lot of longer ride, we are faced with challenges…. Will I be prepared and able to handle them?
I did two 200k brevets in 2010 and finished both totally spent, crawling in at a snails pace and without a functioning mind. The two 200k in 2011 have gone well…. More relaxed pace, finished with legs and could think.
I arrived Friday at Lumberton to see 40 to 50 riders from 5 or 6 different states. There were about 40 riders signed up for the series of 200, 300, 400 plus 5 to 10 signed up for the 600 or 1000k. We started at 7am Sat with everyone riding out together. We had a strong head wind for the first 60 miles with flat terrain so I stayed with the big pack with the fast guys pulling for 25 miles. I knew I could not maintain that and had 175 miles to go. Jack and I dropped off and worked about 15 miles together until we hit the hills and he backed off. The remaining 160 miles I got to enjoy my own company. 
The strategy was to ride hard while the sun shines, cover as much distance as possible and try to join up with others for night riding. I have never ridden at night so needed to learn the tricks of the trade. 
Murphy and his law joined me. My cyclocomputer was not recording the correct distance and speeds. I missed a turn in Pinehurst with the wind at my back, on a slight down hill plus my legs feeling great. By the time I realized my mistake I was 5 to 7 miles down the road. After getting directions from a local, I back tracked up the hill and into the wind…. Nothing like adding 10 to 15 bonus miles to a 200 mile ride. Feeling like a fool continued. On that 2 lane busy road, I realized the railroad tracks I was crossing were at an angle to the road….no way I could get perpendicular to them. The wheel went into the track and down I went. The bike and I got up and off the road quickly and the knuckle head spent the next 10 miles spitting out sand. 
Some random observations. Down town Fayetteville on Sat night… too much traffic, and lights, really hard trying to read the cue sheet and needed to focus.
Pine Hurst / Southern Pines miles and miles of horse farms, just a gorgeous ride. We rode thru parts of Fort Bragg…. 15 to 20 miles thru pine forest with nothing else, like I was isolated from the world.
And yes, there are animals in the dark… heard the frogs cheering me on, saw foxes and my lights would hit spooky eyes close to the road. And talk about an adrenaline rush…I had 2 sneak dog attacks … could not see them at all…. One came barking and growling and at another location, middle of no where…all I heard were sprinting toe nails on the pavement. Very scary but all part of the adventure.
On Night traffic…. I must have had enough lights and reflective gear…. Most all of the on coming traffic dimmed their lights and cars passing gave me room. It was very peaceful out on the country road alone with the moon, my lights, the soothing sound of my tires on the road…. Makes a guy feel like whistling or singing…
Were the goals accomplished?
The preparation was fine as nothing was lacking. And yes I can do 200 miles with 160 on my own, 60 at night and even with a little detour and couple of additional challenges make it to the final destination on time. (total time 15.5 hours). I knew with 30 miles to go I still had strong legs so continued to push… great feeling.
A special thanks for all the help and advice from my IRs team members as I develop and enjoy these riding adventures with your assistance. 
Edit Feb-22-2011:  A bit more information from Robert:
My running GPS does not have the battery capacity for 15 hrs and I decided to save it for the last leg and I am glad I did.  ...  This last leg included riding thru Fayetteville. 
Robert's garmin stats -- last leg only 
Edit Feb-21-2011:  Link to "Doc on a bike", aka, Keith S.  Same brevet.  Some photos.  

Link to "Biking Around NC" with "Biker Bob".  Same start time.  Same start location.  Same finish location.  Different brevet.  Ricochet figures prominently in one photo (of the two on the post).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feb-19: "The Dragon" and the Blustery Day

"The Dragon" and the Blustery Day

I created the Dragon by accident.  The accident part is that after I traced the route out on on-line electronic mapping software to get the distances to the turns, I realized that the result looked like the outline of a Dragon in flight (maybe I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and that put me in the mode of being ready to see a dragon).  At the time, I wanted to see if I could come up with a semi-reasonable 100k ride, based on the 38-mile Falls Lake Loop which would:
  • add some semi-scenic roads (e.g., Southview),
  • add some climbs (esp. Mangum Dairy Rd),
  • allow one to stay closer to home in case poor weather was closing in, and
  • consistent with the immediately above, have many opportunities to short the route.
Because of the twists and turns (including one complete circle within the "belly" of the beast) it also has appeal on a day where the wind is strong ... because there is never an elongated stretch where one must ride into the wind getting beaten up by same.  That was the appeal of the route today.

A nice sized crew was gathered, and looked to be ready for wheels-away only a minute or so late.  Then Tito came thundering in ... has he taken Snappers old place?  Anyway, Tito came in zooming and stopped his car a little bit later than he intended ... bouncing into the curb pretty hard.  I hope the left front tyre on his car is still in good shape. 

We made jokes at Tito's expense while he finished the prep of his bike and pumped up both tyres.  I'm pretty sure I saw him trying very hard to suppress a grin regarding one or two of the jokes.  Can't repeat them here ... not fit for a G or PG-rating.  Not as scatological as some of the stuff I've read about the Lone Star Randos, but a "fail" on other front. 

A few extra minutes late ... and we were underway.  I took a bit of a pull as I often do at the start to try to keep the pace to one where I can gently warm up my tendinitis prone legs.  Long before I would usually surrender the lead, I handed off to Gary (or he took control, I can't remember which) ... anyway, he set a very nice pace for another 4 or so miles.  Then BobH went to the front and finished off the last couple miles to the turn onto Doc Nichols Rd.  At that point, we had a quartering tail-wind going downslope, instead of the head-on head-wind we had been experiencing prior to that.

I'm unsure what happened as we turned off NC-98 and onto Baptist Rd.  I had been looking to zipping along for the two miles on Baptist with a complete tailwind, but the rear echelon sent Ags up to ask the Mallet and me to back off the pace.  I like Paul's retort:  "does it look like we're pedaling?"  We were doing 14 to 17 mph, soft-pedaling while being blown along, waiting for the tail to catch up.  They never did.  I later heard that there was at least some flo-max action going on. 

The group, save the two with the longest flo-max stops, regrouped on Southview at the re-crossing of NC-98.  As the now four in the lead pack (Mallet, Ags, Snapper, me) approached that crossing, I pointed at that we would be sure to come to complete stops in respect for the Wake County Deputy Sheriff sitting in his car at the crossing.  As I had just about completed my crossing, I heard someone from the group call out "clear" ... I shook my head ... hadn't they seen the reason to make sure to come to a complete and obvious stop, in which case "clear" becomes superfluous.  Apparently the Deputy was satisfied ... no one was stopped. 

We completed the next mile of Southview, and at the turn onto Kemp, I got out of the saddle to get a good cadence and momentum for the climb up to Virgil.  (A major, maybe THE major point of the ride for me today was to practice climbing ... too much easy-pedaling on rando routes has meant I've lost some speed and climbing ability.)  I heard Wendy yell my name and more sounds after, but I decided that whatever was the issue, the group did not need me to solve it, and since I was in an excellent hill-climbing cadence, I was going to do the darn climb.  I waited about 3 1/2 miles up the road at the CVS at the corner of NC-98 and Patterson.  I had time to eat half a peanut butter and jam sandwich (I probably could have eaten the whole sandwich, but decided to save the second half for later) ... and still no sign of the crew. 

Finally, Gary, Wendy, IvaHawk and BobH came into view.  I asked where the others (Tito, Snapper, Mallet, Ags) were.  "Oh," said Hawk, "Tito had a flat and they went back to help him."  That's what Wendy had attempted to shout to me; next time, maybe one of the guys will shout; guys voices carry better because they are at a lower octave.  However, even if I had heard, I think I might have kept climbing as I hate to give up my cadence for anybody once the flywheel is fully wound up and engaged.  At least the four tyre-changers were four thoroughbreds, and they'd be able to catch us lead five.

Iva commented several times how smooooth his bike was riding.  He'd gotten a new bottom bracket this past week ... maybe some other minor stuff (probably mostly a really good cleaning and check-up).  I have to admit, Iva seemed to be riding a bit easier today.

Approaching Creedmoor, several of the lead crew started wondering where the four horses were.  I commented that it probably took them 20 minutes to change the tyre, and at a minute a mile, it would take 20 miles for them to catch us; I mentioned, particularly to IvaHawk, that in January, it had taken 20 miles for Dean and me to catch Janis -- Iva understood completely -- Janis used to work with / for Iva -- and they used to talk some about cycling and randonneuring.  

The lead pack had only been stopped at the planned stop in Creedmoor for about 5 minutes, maybe a bit less, when the four horses rode into view.  Three turned to join us at the BP; Harvey turned toward Dove Rd and to head for the barn (PUE) -- he had to keep on schedule ... something about UNC playing roundball.

Before saddling up to leave Creedmoor, we confirmed that IvaHawk and Tito were also shorting the ride.  Again, because UNC was playing roundball ... and Iva has season tickets to the Temple.  (As I write this, the game is over, UNC 48, Boston College 46 -- I'm not sure UNC should be allowed to count the game as a victory.) 

The remaining six of us (BobH, Mallet, Ags, Gary, Wendy, me) continued up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Rd.  I knew I couldn't outsprint the Mallet no matter how late I left the acceleration ... so I decided to make him work for the Granville CL.  (Oh, Ags had previously snuck the Wake CL just after the turn onto Whitt from Dove by aggressively cutting the corner and accelerating when no one else was even feigning interest -- I have taken that CL in the same type circumstances, so I can't complain.)  (Aah, I now recall the dash from Wake into Granville county ... I thought the CL was about 200 yards closer than it actually was ... so my sneak attack was for naught ... Gary ran me down and went around.)

I rode up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Rd much better than I had done the last time on that road.  That alone would have made the ride worthwhile for me.  We regrouped at the church opposite Rock Springs Ch Rd, and headed for Grissom and Mangum Dairy Rd.

On Lawrence Rd, I was trying to coax Wendy to sprint for the CL when the time came.  I was giving suggestions loudly enough that Paul, riding next to me, certainly heard, and should have deduced my "plan".  But no; Paul decided to see if he could induce Gary to chase, thus finding out just how fast Gary is / can be.  Gary let him go.

I was looking forward to the pain that the steep on Mangum Dairy would inflict on me.  Not really.  But I wasn't dreading it -- I knew it was a fact of life.  In the event, I was slow on the steep, falling below 6 mph on the steepest part -- but there was no undue pain.  After topping the steep and riding on the flatter slope approaching Purnell Rd, I asked Wendy how she would like to ride up something that steep for 12 miles without respite.  She wanted to know WHERE would there be a 12-mile climb that steep.  Answer:  Blue Ridge Parkway.  (And the roads off either side of the BRP are significantly steeper than the "tame" 5 and 6 per cent BRP grades.) 

While going up Beaver Dam / Rock Springs Ch Rd, Paul "the Mallet" had explained about changing Tito's flat.  Apparently the first flat was changed by ... Paul never actually said ... but I will assume it was Tito.  They got 50 yards and phhtttt.  Apparently a pinch flat caused by improper installation.  Paul said he kicked the others out of his way and got another tube from Ags; but when he put a little air in that tube to test it and make it easier to install / seat properly, he discovered a big hole in the supposedly new tube.  Third tube did the trick. 

I describe the above because, just at the top of the steep part of Woodlief, the other four guys were pulled of the side of the road, where Gary was fixing Paul's flat.  At least Gary was happy ... he got to change one of the flats on the ride today.  (Paul was waiting at PUE to say thanks or such to Gary, but we had allowed Wendy to get dropped on New Light and further allowed her fall wayyyy back.  Gary + Wendy were sufficiently delayed that, looking at his watch, Paul mentioned that he better get going toward home. 

I know I enjoyed my ride today, and I was able to actually believe I was accomplishing some training; you might not think so when you look at my average stats below.  I think I was averaged about 14.3 mph on my 7.2 mile ride to PUE.  Upon completing "The Dragon" and returning to PUE, my average was 15.1 mph.  That seems consistent with BobH telling me that he avg'd 15.3 mph on the Dragon.  I still had a 15.1 average after completing my 7.2 mile post-ride ride. 

As I noted, you might not think that that was very much work ... but with the winds and the extra portion of hills ... it was a good workout.  I'm confident that I won't be fast tomorrow, but I am also confident that working harder will help on my rando rides in the long run.

A boring, only the facts post, but ... that's today's story and I'm sticking to it.

See you on the road ... .
Oh, Irregular Ricochet Robert is doing his first ever 300 km ride today.  One of Tony Goodnight's brevets starting / finishing in Lumberton.  You can find Tony's rando website listed as "Western NC Rando Brevets" on the right-hand side of this blog, under "Some Links".  If Robert writes up his ride, and is interested, I will publish on this blog as a "guest post".  He says he can't write, but I draw your attention to the green colored text in this post.  Those of us that know Robert, can "hear" him in that green text.

--> PUE:  "The Dragon" --> return; 78.6 m.; 5 hrs, 11 min in-motion; 15.1 mph.
 _ _ (my predicted time, based on the previous two / three years riding, was 5 hrs, 0 min)
 _ _ _ _ ("The Dragon" is 64.2 miles.)

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __5 rides; __435.6 m.; _29 hrs, 43 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _14 rides; _1107.0 m.; _76 hrs, 21 min; 14.5 mph.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb-18: Jus' Ridin' Aroun'

Enjoying the Warm Sunshine and Doing an Errand or Two

High temp about 70 Fahrenheit with breezy sunshine.  Warm enough that the fluids in the water bottles got warmer, not COLDER (as has been happening the last 2 1/2 months or more).  A nice taste of Spring ... it will probably turn cold again in a couple days.

Dropped off some control cards from last weekend that I forgot to mail earlier in the week.  Oops.

Was just tooling around when I developed a bump-thump in the rear tyre.  At first I thought maybe my rear wheel was out-of-round, so I headed toward TLC-4-Bikes.  But I soon thought I must have picked up a pebble and it was embedded in the tyre ... I stopped to look ... DANG! ... rear tyre bulging out in two locations.

Some guy in a big pick-up honked at me when I arrived at TLC's parking lot ... it was Lt. Dave and his dog Zeke.   Dave had just dropped off his bike for ... I dunno, really.  Dave said he was coming back in about a few hours to retrieve his bike ... so it couldn't have been anything too much.  Saw Dave's bike in the shop ... it looked great!

Anyway ... a nice day to tool around for a bit.

Just Riding Around; 29.7 m.; 2 hrs, 12 min in-motion; 13.4 mph. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __4 rides; __357.0 m.; _24 hrs, 32 min; 14.5 mph.
YTD tot: _13 rides; _1028.4 m.; _71 hrs, 10 min; 14.5 mph.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rummaging About

While rummaging through some old papers yesterday, I found a hard-copy cue sheet for Alan's 400 km brevet route ... complete with website identified in the left-side-footer and the date in the right-side-footer.  The route has changed only slightly ... due to destruction / construction / re-routing of certain roads ... AND  one or two roads have been renamed.  But after the first 13 kms, the route is exactly the same. 

However, the route being the same is not what I found interesting -- I understand that Alan has been doing those same friends for nearly 30 years -- and that is interesting -- but not the point, today.  What I did find interesting (solely in a personal context) was the date:  December-20-2006.  I knew I had been aware of randonneuring for a couple or a few years, but I had no recollection of when I may have first thought about trying to do a rando ride.

I know I had decided prior to Thanksgiving 2009 to have a go at Alan's series in 2010.  I actually joined RUSA in April 2010.  Therefore, the hard-copy cue sheet dates from three years before I decided to try randonneuring. 
December-2006.  At that time, my lifetime long rides included only nine metric centuries and a further thirteen rides that had been at least 50-miles in length.  ["Lifetime" starts in 2004.]  Total miles in 2006  =  2485.  Total miles 2004-06  =  4927.

In 2007, I did my first ever 100-miler (a solo 109-mile version of the Virginia Border Raid), eleven additional 100+ km rides, and a further fifteen rides that were at least 50-milers.  I also increased my total miles ridden in 2007 to  3530. 

I cannot imagine what a 200k ride would have done to me "back then". 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feb-13: Showdown in Black Creek 204 km Permanent

Sunny Day on North Carolina Bike Routes #2 and #7

JP put out a call to ride TL's Whirligig Permanent Populaire, but the early crew that had signed on (Jerry, Geof, Tim, MikeD(?), JohnO(?)) made me think I'd be off-the-back in nothing flat.  I was otherwise in e-mail contact with BryanR for I-forget-why, and he expressed a similar concern about getting gapped immediately and spending half-a-day chasing, so we decided to do MikeD's Showdown in Black Creek at a reasonable pace and enjoy the expected warmer temperatures (and "deal with" the homebound headwind when it materialized).  We are sticking to the "no chase" story, even though some may think that we rode 200k just to collect the extra kms.

Bryan and I have known each other digitally for a couple years, but had never ridden together except for a short stint last June on "Byron's Full Moon KLL" ("photo non-proof":  Kerr Lake Dam obligatory photo; why "non-proof"?  because Bryan was behind the camera).  Last year, Bryan was one of the not-quite-incredibly-fast-NC-randos; this year, he claims he is backing off chasing the fast-"guys" and planning to enjoy his rides more.  I hope so ... because it was a great day on the bike Sunday ... mostly because Bryan was great company. 

Prior to starting to ride, Bryan asked me if I needed a cue sheet.  Nope.  This was only Bryan's second time doing the Black Creek ride; my fifth.  And I am fully familiar with the first ~ 46 miles of the course because of riding in my pre-rando days (and current "Irregular" rides); i.e., much of the Black Creek course is on the edge / barely inside my usual riding grounds.  A slightly amusing moment occurred when, at the turn off Tarboro Rd onto NC-98, Bryan said he needed to flip his cue sheet -- I told him not to worry about it as I wouldn't / couldn't drop him.  He replied that he wasn't so sure about that.  [Ha!]  Two miles later when we turned off 98, Bryan groused "I flipped my cue sheet too early." 

As we were arriving at the Kountry Kwik Pik control, Bryan commented that there was something wrong with Mike's cue sheet; namely, that there had been no left turn two miles previously as noted on the cue sheet.  I made a mental note.  [I hope I remember to close the circle on the previous sentence.]

For those of you that know me ... I hope you are sitting down ... Bryan out-talked me during the ride ... especially for the first 40+ miles from the start to the control at the Kountry Kwik Pik.  That first 40+ miles went by in a flash because of the conversation (and there was no wind, yet).  Whereas I contribute very little to the local cycling scene, Bryan is a co-captain of one of the largest MS-150 teams in the area, and checks all their prospective routes (from the saddle of his bike) and develops the cue sheets and gps-feeds for those that need such things.  That subject area provided much grist for the conversation mill.  Bryan has also been riding brevets in the cold and rain of January and early February, and now needs only the 400 to complete his first SR of the year.  That provided more grist for the mill. 

I hope we didn't cover ALL that we might have to talk about, because that might make the next ride awfully boring.  Aah, we can probably fill an entire 200k with discussions of the nuances of the various hills on Byron's torture hill fest.

Upon arriving at the Kwik Pik control, Bryan used his new Verizon iPhone to check some ludicrous thing called "Facebook"; he found posts from several people doing the Whirligig (I presume Mike or Jerry or Geof may put up a post about visiting the Whirligig Farm, so I won't try to connect to any photos or the video I've seen).  There was no noticeable wind when we arrived at the Kwik Pik control (clock in the cash register on Daylight Time), but upon leaving the control I noticed there was now a west-southwesterly wind.  Shortly after the control, when the route turned due south ... oh, yes, there is wind. 

The store in Black Creek was not open, so we filled in the alternative Info Control question while talking to the proprietor of the shop next door.  (He had come out when he saw a couple cyclists milling about, to ask if we were trying to use the store.  Bryan informed him that since the store was closed, we were writing down the name and address of his establishment.  Cheerful momentary conversation followed.)

17 miles, mostly north, mostly with a tailwind.  Left turn off NC BR #7 onto NC BR #2.  Aah, time to toughen up ... 35 miles into the increasing WSW wind.

Two miles after the post-mid-day Kwik Pik control, when we turned onto Frazier Rd, I remembered to point out to Bryan that this was the left turn that he had claimed we had not encountered in the morning [I have now closed the circle mentioned above].  Brian immediately acknowledged that he hadn't realized that we'd made that turn ... it is a "bear to the left" type turn, and the only logical thing to do at that point.  Frazier Rd was the only section from Hornes Church to Youngsville where the WSW wind was not a complete hindrance; however, the wind was not nearly as much help as it had been a month earlier.

Our avg pace for the entire ride slowly decreased as the 35 miles wore on.  We stopped in Youngsville for a few moments:  me to stretch my shoulders and back (maybe I should slide my saddle back a couple mms, or maybe I had been hunched up riding into the wind, or both) and Bryan got a soft drink.  For some reason, I mentioned that there was a Sheetz a further two miles up the road -- Bryan was disappointed to learn THAT after he had purchased his soft drink -- because his favorite drink is a "Mountain Dew Slushy" from Sheetz.  Local knowledge -- I love it -- when I have it, and the stronger rider does not.

We each commented that the short steep up to the highway just west of Wake Forest had made our legs and/or buttocks "burn" [for those that may be reading that are not familiar with NC -- Wake Forest University used to be located in "the village of Wake Forest" just north of Raleigh; but in the 1950's, Reynold's Tobacco "bought" the university, built a beautiful campus in Winston-Salem, and WFU is now located in W-S, not WF].  I noted that I had had to "get angry" to make myself complete the steep.  Bryan noted the same for him.

A couple miles later, we got our cards signed at 17:28 (and got receipts stamped 17:30).  That was not an error.  The McDonald's clerk signed our cards before we ordered a bit of food. 

A nice, enjoyable, sunny, windy day on the bike with good company (and only one truly annoying dog -- that apparently learned nothing when I managed to kick his head in the morning -- because he repeated his annoying behavior in the afternoon).

Click here to go to Byran's report.

Showdown in Black Creek 204 km Permanent; 127.0 m.; 8 hrs, 35 min in-motion; 14.8 mph; rando-time:  10 hrs, 28 min. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 38 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __3 rides; __327.3 m.; _22 hrs, 20 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _12 rides; __998.7 m.; _68 hrs, 58 min; 14.5 mph.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feb-12: Rollin', Rollin', Rollin', Keep Them Roads a'Rollin'

As far as I can determine, the last time I rode Ellis Chapel Rd, was Oct-25-2009.  Prior to that ... I rode Ellis Chapel Rd for the first time EVER on Apr-26-2008 (as a "test" ride) and on Apr-28-2008 with Iceman, Snapper, and BigWaveDave.  [Note to Mallet:  I did remember mostly correctly when I told you about riding that road and getting badly dropped by an Irregular crew including Wave; I was, however, "off" on the time of year.  I remember Wave trashing Snapper and Iceman, as well as me.  I now recall some of the "why".  Reason(s) better left in the past.  They had nothing to do with cycling.]

Three times previously on Ellis Chapel Rd ... yet it lived in my mind as a great road for cycling.  And after today's ride, I better understand why rando Byron told me that Ellis Chapel Rd is his favorite road to cycle.  Good scenery, decent road surface, nice repeating rollers.  And today, it was about the only road on the entire route where it seemed we actually had a tailwind.  THAT seems a preposterous claim given the shape of the route (see map).  
"Trimble Outdoors" (see the map immediately above) reports the "gross climbing" on this route at ~ 1940 ft.  (For comparison, Trimble reports ~ 4475 ft of climbing on Byron's L-L-L which can also be compared to the climbing estimate on the RUSA website.  I think Trimble under-reports the climbing, but it is as useful as any other consistent source for comparing routes.)  Ricochet Robert sent me a link to his Garmin data from the "core / Irregular" portion of the ride; that reports 2270 ft of climbing (compare that to the ~ 1940 from Trimble).  Robert's data includes the de tour onto Wiley Mangum, which would account for about 50 ft of the difference between his Garmin and Trimble, but that still leaves nearly a 300 ft difference, that is, nearly a 15% difference.  As I have said before, and as one North Carolina randonneuse blogged about last year -- none of the elevation reports appear to actually be absolutely correct.  However, that does not take away from the chatter / banter potential -- as long as it does not get out of hand. 
A large crew today:  nine plus me (BobH, IvaHawk, LT, Mallet, Tito, Ags, Ricochet, Gary + Wendy).  Two expected riders did not show.  We stayed together quite well for the first 16 or 17 miles; then seven stopped at the store on Red Mill Rd just after the I-85 underpass.  The other three of us continued on because that store was not a scheduled stop; we three shook our collective heads.

A mile or two down the road, Ricochet Robert once again dropped his chain.  Being unable to use the chain guide to get the chain back on the ring while in motion, he pulled over to effectuate "repairs".  The Mallet and I continued on for another short mile; then we pulled over to allow regrouping.  BobH soon joined as (he had left the store crew after just a couple minutes ... but reported the other six were showing no signs of leaving the store when he had left).  Another couple moments, and Ricochet, chain properly aligned, joined us.  We had time for Robert and me to split a banana.  Finally, we saw the other six coming up the road. 

Back underway, we were soon climbing up Stagville Rd.  I caught up to the Mallet leading the line to tell him to de tour onto Wiley Mangum Rd just as the climb was ending.  Since we were on a club ride, not a rando ride, we could modify the ride if we wanted.  Everyone except IvaHawk and BobH got the word to take the de tour.  They "motored" on while the rest of us enjoyed the view from the top of the rise on Wiley Mangum (sorry, no photo). 

Before we left the above described impromptu stop, Lt. Dave asked if I planned to stop at the "Bahama control".  I answered yes, because I needed to verify the distance of the historical marker from the corner.  As I approached the center of Bahama, Dave and five others suddenly turned left to go to the store in Bahama.  Huh?  Thought I:  the control, clearly marked on the draft cue sheet, is to the right.  I didn't really need to stop at the historical marker, but since I had said I would, I did.  Gary and Wendy joined me.  After a few minutes noting the grave markers (we were next to the cemetery), we started waving to some of the crew back at the Bahama store to come our direction.  When they didn't, I said to Gary and Wendy, "let's go; all those guys climb faster than Wendy and me, anyway."

Down to Lake Michie.  Up the other side.  Onto Ellis Chapel Rd (discussed above).  Then on to Roberts Chapel Rd ... Mallet and I discussing the last time the two of us had ridden that road.  Roberts Chapel Rd is also a very nice road for cycling, including a couple creek crossings and a lake crossing.

Into Stem, for the scheduled stop.  Group camaraderie.  I have no idea what was being talked about.

Now I remember why it took so long for me to able to ask the Mayor a few key questions about the "A&W Grocery and Grill". 

Before leaving Stem, IvaHawk informed me that he'd be taking the Dove Rd short-cut from Creedmoor back to PUE so that he could catch most of "the game" (UNC playing roundball at Clemson -- I think).  Boom!  The lead seven were hauling it down Brogden Rd; having caught me very slightly on the hop, I still could not make up the distance even though I had a gravity advantage over most everyone ahead of me.  Wendy does NOT have a downslope gravity advantage; she and Gary slowly slipped off my wheel. 

I got onto NC-56 in time to see the lead seven take a "Martin short-cut" in Creedmoor.  Wendy, Gary and I stayed on the published course, but W + G slipped off my wheel again while going through downtown Creedmoor.  When I turned onto Church St. (which becomes Brassfield Rd), there was no sign of the lead seven.  I figured all seven had decided to short the route.  However, a mile or two later, Ricochet Robert was on my wheel and explaining that all the rest had gone short.  Perhaps they all had family or other commitments (one or two have small children, after all), but Robert and I agreed that the others just were not "rando tough".  Okay ... okay ... Robert didn't actually agree with my suggestion ... but it did make for a joke ... a pretty bad one ... and not funny.  But that is our story ... and we are sticking to it. 

I can't remember ever riding Brassfield, Horseshoe and Lawrence roads with as much gusto as I rode them today.  "Rando tough" or simply many, many miles in my legs the last couple years?

Robert and I took a break at Lawrence and Bruce Garner roads; Gary and Wendy rode up a few minutes later.  Then the four of us headed in on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd -- smack dab into the teeth of the wind.  The only respites from the headwind were the occasional strong gusts from the sides that threw us about on the road.  Certainly no hammering in on BG/NL today; it was find a cadence, make yourself as small as possible, and keep that cadence, keep that cadence, keep that cadence.

I finished the route at 14:08.  Five hours, eight minutes for 64.5 hilly miles, with a tough headwind.  Pretty good for me.  Ricochet, weighing nearly nothing, climbed ahead on the last climbs and finished a few minutes earlier.  Gary and Wendy came in a few minutes later. 

The four of us all enjoyed our rides.  At this moment in time ... I don't actually know if the short-cutters enjoyed their individual rides ... but I'm confident that they did.

No humor, nor much of anything interesting in today's post.  But just as I began writing this post, I got an e-mail from another randonneur, asking me to write up a dawg incident on the Tar Heel 200 dating from December.  We first thought the incident was on Jan-01 this year; then we thought there were two different incidents.  But reviewing the posts on this blog refreshed my memory, and confirmed that there was one incident, on Dec-22-2010.  There is value to writing up every ride shortly after it occurred.  Even when there is nothing within the post particularly interesting.

See you on the road.

PUE:  Bahama Beach + a Little Mountain (Rd), plus some riding around before and after; 73.0 m.; 4 hrs, 47 min in-motion; 15.2 mph. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 35 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __2 rides; __200.3 m.; _13 hrs, 54 min; 14.6 mph.
YTD tot: _10 rides; __798.7 m.; _55 hrs, 32 min; 14.4 mph.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rides Remembered -- A Ride To Do

"Long Mill 'Bonk' Route"

Long before Byron's Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville (L-L-L) got the better of me twice before I finally successfully completed it within the time limits ... long before I even considered randonneuring ... there was another route that gave me trouble ... and it also took three attempts for me to successfully complete the ride ... originally called "A Long Mill Ride", it became "Irregularly" known as ... the "Long Mill 'Bonk' Route".  (link to route map)

I had done longer rides (not many), and had even done a century (one); but the "Long Mill 'Bonk' Route" was a true nemesis.  The first time we set out to do that route, weather and personal circumstances conspired with the somewhat hilly terrain to do me in.  The second time, I was solo, had been riding well, but the route raised itself in defiance and, much as they talk about golf courses "defending themselves", the route, with considerable help from the neglect of the author, defended itself.

First Attempt:

Year MM DD __ start / course ____________________________ __ comment _____________________  _mi. avg
2008 Jun 7   PUE: BoldRun-LongMill-Fairport-FlatRock-SuittsStore w/ Paul, Bob H, Norris, 6 others; I bonked 65.3 4.22 14.9  

Here is a synopsis, leaving out many intriguing details of interactions with others because some things are better left on the ride, copied from one of the early posts on this blog:
"One of the most memorable (to me, anyway) "irregulars" rides of the year occurred on Jun-7th.  I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because we had the most riders participate ever; which at ten riders, would be true, but that is not why it is most memorable to me.  I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because, for the first time ever, some members of the fairer sex were on the ride; while that is true, that is not why it is most memorable to me.  I would like to be able to say that it was memorable because I rode like the wind, never dropped off the back, and that I never suffered a moment's frustration or fatigue; but that would be a complete falsehood.

"The reason that the ride is so memorable to me is that, slow as I was going early on, I started seriously flagging even before the half-way point, could barely hold the wheel of the Iceman on Bruce Garner / New Light although he was only trying to pace me at [only] about 13 or 14 mph, I had to get off the bike on second steep part of Ghoston, and after a 20 minute (maybe more) recovery period, I had to jump off the bike near the top of the steep part of Peed, and give up the hope of completing the ride when only 3 miles from PUE.  Before leaving me to ride to PUE and get my car to return and collect me, the Iceman wanted assurance that I was not going to die while he was gone.  Things were decidedly not good, one could even say the were [very] BAD.

"There was one moment of joy while waiting for the Iceman to cometh: I experienced my first ever "road angel". A large SUV passed by my forlorn self sitting on the shaded side of the road, and turned around to come back and ask if I would like a cold bottle of water. A defininte [sic] godsend.  Maybe things were only [just] BAD."  
I had always thought that "the Iceman" was just being over-dramatic or some such thing when he asked for assurances that I was not going to die; however, about a year later, on some other ride, when to pass the miles, I was relating the story to someone, Paul explained that he had been deadly serious when he asked for that assurance.  He said he "knew" I was going to be dead when he returned to me, and then he'd have a heck-of-a-time explaining to authorities how it was that he was in control of my car.

As alluded to in the original text:  three riders (including the two females) only rode about 32 miles that day; three rode only about 50+ miles; four of us tackled the entire route.  However, BobH and Norris were trying to squeeze in a 100-miler that day by riding before and after the "Irregulars" ride, so Iceman and I had sent them to ride on at their own pace while Paul tried to nurse me in; BobH and Norris also had to call for a rescue ride that day as Norris had had a problem at approximately the same location I was to later raise my white flag.

In our defense, that June Saturday marked the beginning of the HOTTEST week of the year.  I was further suffering from just a touch of diarrhea from the night before.  

Second Attempt:

Year MM DD __ start / course ____________________________ __ comment ______________________ _ mi. avg 
2008 Nov 9  BJP: BoldRun-LongMIll-Olivet - broke rear gear cable - GM-Pok-G-P-MVC (Ghoston in 4:38) ____ 52.5 3.04 17.1

As noted above, the second time I set out to this route, I was solo.  I added on a slight de tour when I got to Camp Kanata Rd -- to check out where Camp Kanata was actually located.  I think I was interested in actually seeing where all the "Ride Without Limits" rides for that weekend were starting and ending.  Anyway, I was expecting to have a great time on the bike.  I did end up with a great time, but with a different meaning.

Here is a link to a copy what I wrote at the time on a different medium; this text is a "bit" longer than the extract reproduced above, but the story might be interesting, or informative.   This copy is true to the original, complete with spelling errors and bad grammar and everything else which usually slips into this blog.  Link to second attempt, my unintended single-speed experience.

That ride is my proof that I can ride 18+ mph, on not-the-easiest course(s), after I am warmed up.  It is just that I usually don't care to ride that fast.  (Given how SLOW I've been lately ... I wonder if I CAN still ride that fast?)

Third Attempt:

By the third attempt, Apr-18-2009, this blog was in existence.  Therefore, follow the link.  (I don't know why that ride ended up being being nearly 73 miles instead of the mapped 68.)

Interesting.  I see that the very next day was my first ever mountain ride. 
Why do I bring this up?  Although this route is somewhat "tame" given that it doesn't include "Charlie Grissom Mtn" or Community House Rd or Egypt Mtn Rd, this is the "mother route" of other routes out that way.  Therefore, I think I'd like to do the "Bonk" route again.  In the near future.  Perhaps on Feb-26th, "Irregularly", if the wind isn't howling out of the southwest, and if I'm NOT riding with "BikerBob" as he comes off recovery from surgery to attempt to maintain his R-streak.
Timing suggestions from "Irregulars", via comment or e-mail, are welcome.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feb-06: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204 km Perm

A Hard Day's Ride

Route owner Byron and Irregular buddy Ricochet Robert rode to the start.  I drove.

Byron filled the early part of the ride with stories from brevets past.  Made the first 17 miles go by in nothing flat with seemingly little to no effort. 

I was ready to leave the "Red Mill / Gorman" control, but saw that Byron was still in the middle of his feast.  I rode on telling B & R that they'd probably catch me on Stagville Rd or certainly on the Michie Wall.  The latter was a better guess.  I was about half-way up when I heard voices, but I could not see them in my mirror (and I certainly did not hazard a look over my shoulder).  They caught me just after passing Ellis Chapel Rd. 

Hampton rollers up to Red Mtn Rd and on to Moores Mill Rd.  Byron pointed out Red Mountain.  Having had it pointed out to me, I now see that its pyramid rises uniquely above the ridge of which (I think) it is part.  Somewhere along here, Ricochet pointed out that I'd be in trouble today ... riding with two "tiny bodies".  Ricochet weighs in at 135 lbs.; Byron similarly.  Because of my fat gut, I make about 150% of either of them.  Gives me a downhill gravity advantage.  I made use of that advantage repeatedly all day.  I particularly made use of that advantage to practice a CL-sneak-attack; I think I may have figured out a plan to spring on the Irregulars.

At Hollow Ridge Grocery atop Mt. Tirzah, I told Ricochet, "the hard part is done now, Robert."  I heard Byron chuckle-gasp under his breathe that sounded something like "sheesh."  (Just previously, out of Robert's earshot -- because he was too far ahead -- Byron and I had been discussing the hills on the course as we rode the final approaches up to Mt. Tirzah:  Byron was of the opinion that Gordonton Rd was harder than Moores Mills Rd; I had agreed, adding that I thought one of the climbs on Hester Store Rd might also be harder.)  But Byron played along with my comment to Robert and said nothing.  Unfortunately, Robert voiced that he thought I was pulling his leg.

Upon arriving at Leasburg Grocery (the turn-around control), I raised my saddle two or three mms.  But it was too late -- my quads were past rescuing.  (Click here for a short discussion of my recent saddle-height saga.)

B & R's upslope gravity advantage really became noticeable the further we got on the homebound leg.  Usually, I could use the next downslope and a wound up flywheel combined with their putzing along to re-catch and often pass (sometimes even pass while going up shallow upslopes).  They pulled ahead on the road to US-501 at Timberlake, but the light stopped them.  Luckily for me, the light turned green just before I got there, and I zipped past while they were still trying to click in or find their seat.  When they caught me a mile or two later, I asked Robert -- who is known for "not allowing a draft to go to waste" why he hadn't caught me wheel back at the light.  His responded that he wasn't clicked in.  While that was true, I thought it might also have had something to do with the fact that I was rolling at 23 mph and he was doing about 6 mph as he tried to click in. 

Leaving Mt. Tirzah, Red Mountain was prominent straight ahead.  I still wouldn't have realized it EXCEPT that Byron mentioned it again. 

B & R took it easy on the Hampton rollers and I used the last downslope to Bahama Rd to catch them.  They allowed me to lead the entire way to the beach at Lake Michie.  As he passed at the bottom of the climb up to Bahama, Byron said, "we'll see you at the top."  They weren't at the top, nor anywhere in Bahama.  Nor were they anywhere on Stagville Rd.  I figured they had decided to ride to the control.  I found them the first turn on to Red Mill Rd.

Robert asked if I wanted to take a break.  "Just long enough to take a good drink; the control is only 3 or 4 miles on."  They putzed, I rode slowly up the upslopes; we arrived at the penultimate control together.  We left together.

They continued to putz.  I continued to ride slowly whenever the road tilted up.  I caught them, for the last time, as they waited at the light at Patterson and NC-98. 

Slowly, but calmly, I did the 5 climbs (each after its corresponding descent) on Kemp / Victory Ch Rd.  The last climb up to Norwood Rd is always the hardest for me.  But that climb is NOTHING compared to the pain in the butt -- literally on this ride -- that is the climb on Boxelder.  Pain in my quads; pain in the muscles at the top of each buttock; I remembered riding up this slope with Snapper the day before Thanksgiving at 11 mph, albeit much earlier in a much shorter ride; I almost wanted to cry.

The last "up" on Ray Rd leading to the turn on to Howard brought on the same pain in the butt as had Boxelder.  Tired.

Got to the finish.  Byron and Ricochet were waiting.  Signed and checked over my control card.  Handed same to Byron.  Ricochet said something about his legs wanting to explode in the last 30 miles (something which I certainly did NOT understand (see comments below)) AND he was excited to be riding home from the ride. 

L-L-L 204 km Permanent; w/ Byron and Ricochet Robert; 127.3 m.; 8 hrs, 57 min in-motion; 14.2 mph; rando-time: 10 hrs, 41 min elapsed on the clock. 

Jan tot: __9 rides; __671.4 m.; _46 hrs, 35 min; 14.4 mph.
Feb tot: __1 rides; __127.3 m.; __8 hrs, 57 min; 14.2 mph.
YTD tot: _10 rides; __798.7 m.; _55 hrs, 32 min; 14.4 mph.