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. 

Google Search Results Can Be ... Weird

For kicks, I checked the behind-the-scenes stats for the blog this morning.
In particular, I checked the "Traffic sources" for the last "day".
One of the Google-searches that brought someone to this blog was "cyclotouring georgia".
I entered that into a Google-search just to see what would happen.
Third result listed by Google:

Google picked up on "Cyclo-Touring".
Apparently completely ignored "georgia".

Somehow, I think there is a flaw in the algorithms that ignore the location.
Because cyclo-touring is probably similar to real estate.
It is all about three things:  location, location and location.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nov-25: Badgett Sisters Adventure

A Desire

I've wanted to ride the Badgett Sisters Pkwy (or as the locals refer to it:  Old-62 (Gilbert of North Road Bicycle Imports filled me in on that a couple years ago)) for at least two, maybe three years.  Never worked out.

Another Desire

Monday, Lt. Dave, er, Capt. Dave, or as half his fire department crew calls him, Capt. LT, e-mailed to inform me that he was interested in doing an EPIC ride on Friday -- maybe mountains, maybe the Uwharries, maybe "that Warrenton ride" we once did (when Dave bonked BADLY), maybe something new -- as long as it was EPIC.  I immediately jumped on the opportunity to suggest the Badgett Sisters.

Not really.
I was quite depressed on Monday.
Had no interest in anything EPIC or even just epic.
I made some half-hearted suggestions, but mostly tried to get Dave to suggest a route.
(Look, Robert -- actual FACTS.  See what happens -- the story can become a "downer".)

As I lay not-sleeping, an idea came to me (more actual facts):

Start in Leasburg ...
No, Hurdle Mills would be better because that would mean 14 miles less driving ... each way.

Take Walnut Grove Ch Rd toward Schley Rd, but
Cut over on whatever that road is that leads to Carr Store Rd and whatever-it-changes-name-to.

Then Gunn Poole Rd.
Find out what all local rando hub-bub about the "Triplets of Belleville" is all about.
I knew they were referring to the three climbs back up from the three creek valleys,
Not the animated feature.
Although, I suppose it might be easier do stiff climbs if one is a bit animated (*) with one's pedaling.
 (*) animated -- def'n 1.,c.

Then whatever-is-that-road to get to NC-62,
62 to Badgetts Sisters into Yanceyville.
Stop and see Gilbert.
Eat lunch.

Yanceyville to Leasburg by reversing the Roxboro to Yanceyville route from April last year.
THAT was an EPIC (Dave informed that, to him, EPIC means memorable.  More later -- maybe.)

Leasburg to Hurdle Mills via the Triple-L rando route.

How many miles is that?
Skipping the mental calculations ... I estimated 70 to 75 miles.
Some flat to warm up on.
Some nice climbs.
Scenic in some places.
And I'd finally get to do The Sisters.

Tuesday morning, I drew a map: 
[Edit May 29. 2019:  the original map was done using "TrimbleOutdoors," but that has "gone away."  So, because LT and I were recalling this ride a couple days ago, I've recreated the map using "RWGPS" -- this is NOT the version we rode for the ride this blog report is about, but includes the edit that IvaHawk and I figured out in mid-December, a couple weeks after this ride.]  

Mental calculations while not-sleeping confirmed.
My dad would likely say I'm in danger of breaking my arm with that previous sentence.
I think I'm in danger of breaking my arm with that sentence.
But ... I do come up with some pretty good courses.
I'm not the only one that says that.
Of course, the others could just be laying-on-the-compliments so
That I'll keep coming up with new Irregular combinations.

Some people like doing the same courses over and over.
Maybe because they are "training".
But I don't "train", and when it is an Irregular ride, the others aren't really "training", either.
They might be "building base".
They might shoot off the front for a hot interval.
Or they might hammer in the last 6 or 12 miles.
Even I sometimes do virtual hot intervals -- not on purpose, and almost certainly not planned.
Mostly, I ride.
To enjoy the ride.

Anyway, some people like doing the same courses over and over.
And, while I freely admit that I enjoy doing repeats on the various rando courses,
I like finding new roads at or just beyond the ... what is word I'm looking for?
And almost every Irregular has expressed joy at rides that have gone new places on new roads.
Most of the time those new places and new roads are within cycling distance of north Raleigh.
Only seldom do we do "remote starts".

I like having a plethora of routes to ride.
Some I like to do only once or twice a year.
Others I like to do once each season.
And some, I'll gladly do at the drop of a hat.


Having developed the route, and secured my place in Capt. LT's vehicle,
I insisted the others handle their own logistics.
Except that I did end up suggesting the following:
Leave PUE at 0700.
Arrive Hurdle Mills by 0800.
Start pedaling by 0815.
Anticipate five hours in-motion.
At least an hour for lunch, and flo-maxes, and chatting with Gilbert.

There was NO unnecessary "faff time"!
Those that were meeting at PUE were there, loaded, and ready to go ...
So we left at 0655 -- five minutes ahead of schedule!!

Dave and I arrived at Hurdle Mills at 0748.
IvaHawk was already there, and had secured permission to park in a particular location.
JohnD and Robert arrived a couple minutes later.
Tito arrived straight from Chapel Hill in a couple more minutes.

Some pre-ride chatter while putting on gloves and shoes and helmets and such.
And then we started the ride ... at 0806 ... nine minutes ahead of schedule!!

The Ride

With all that build-up and off-topic stuff above ...
Will the ride write-up be able to stand-up to it?
Will the ride write-up do justice to the ride?
Will the ride be EPIC?
Will the ride be as memorable as the last time we rode to Yanceyville?  (see above for a link)

The name of this blog is Irregular Velo Adventures.
And I named the route Badgett Sisters Adventure.
Those of us that were on the ride ... we think it was an EPIC Adventure.
Will that come across?
You'll have to decide for yourself.

The Ride - Really

With help from a friend -- here, finally, is the report: 
[Edit Nov-04-2012:   a better explanation of the line above and the following is required.  The bold, green lines were written by Robert and sent to me as his recollections of the ride; I used those as an outline.  Also, it helps to think of the dark, green as being in Robert's-voice and the normal font lines following each as being in my voice.  Sometimes I didn't agree 100% with Robert's comment; so you get a bit of back-and-forth between the voices.] 

great company, great ride, great weather.... new route, lots of hills, 

Ricochet Robert, JohnD, Tito, me, Capt. LT.  Iva behind the camera.

Frost on all the grassy surfaces at Hurdle Mills and for the first half-dozen miles. 
Little to no breeze early.  
Then a southerly wind -- that was really only a nuisance on Solomon Lea Rd.  

Climbing on Gunn Poole, Burton Chapel, Badgett Sisters, Osmond, Gordonton and Hester Store roads. 

That chip seal near the Rock of Ages Winery continues to deteriorate! 
Tito told me a story of visiting Rock of Ages, 20 years ago, in the middle of a bicycle ride. 
The purpose of the ride had been to go wine-tasting at Rock of Ages. 
Tito reported that his legs were as lead-weights after the tasting. 
He never did that again. 

Tito, Martin and LT had legs and did most pulling and helping those off back.  
I just rode. 
LT informed that he and Tito just rode up all the climbs; chatting. 
Dave did acknowledge that he "had legs".   

Robert kept expressing dismay at the downslopes. 
Especially on The Sisters. 
One time, a minute after Robert had exclaimed, not for the first time, "I don't like this" 
As we continued another descent/ 
(Robert was concerned that every foot of down meant a foot of UP.)

Anyway, a minute after Robert had exclaimed regarding more descending, 
JohnD, riding next to me, and IvaHawk just behind, pointed ahead 
Up, really, to Robert climbing away from us, and commented
"Robert was concerned about the descending?" 

3 people dropped chains going up hills, Iva was most spectacular 
I didn't see IvaHawk's incident. 
I did see the state of his tights and jersey. 
With evidence of his fall. 
Dropped his chain on one of the two STEEP sections on Gordonton Rd.  

JohnD's dropped chain did not lead to a fall. 
I think the other dropper was Robert -- nothing bad must have happened (?). 

nice visit with Gilbert, 
What are you looking at, Gilbert?
L to R:  IvaHawk, JohnD, Robert, Gilbert, Tito, LT. 
Almost the same photo, but Gilbert's attention has been diverted from the bike in front of him.
And JohnD and I have switched places. 

splitting subway's subs 
Out of order here. 
We got to Gilbert's North Road Bicycle Imports shop at 10:50. 
He wasn't there. 

We rode across Yanceyville to the Subway. 
Split 3 foot-longs among the six of us. 
Then, as we were leaving the Subway, someone asked: 
"Are we going to see if Gilbert is in?" 
My response:  "Well, it's not like it's out of the way." 

11:40.  Gilbert was in. 
Tito and Gilbert first met 20 or more years ago.  Gilbert painted Tito's bike. 
IvaHawk bought 3 tubes and a tyre about 18 months ago. 
Robert bought his Carradice bag (for P-B-P) from Gilbert in early August. 
Me?  I just trade occasional e-mails with him. 
First directed toward Gilbert by one Adrian. 
I never met Adrian -- just swapped some e-mails several years before I considered "going rando". 
lots of spirited sections of ride, attacking hills, fast pulls on flats, 
I don't know who Robert thinks was attacking hills. 
(The emboldened-green text came from Robert. 
I'm using his suggestions as an outline.) 
I know I didn't attack any climbs. 
I did try to carry as much momentum as far as I could.  

I will admit to taking a longish pull on NC-62 with a bit of gusto, 
There was a mostly-tailwind, 
And it is quite flat for that part of the state. 
Tito came to the front on 62 to finish off that section. 
Not sure if he thought I was starting to "flag", 
Or he was trying to back it down a notch.  

I'm not sure how fast we rode across 62 north of Yanceyville. 
But I thought we ought to try to make up a bit of time, 
After I'd talked too-long to Gilbert about the virtually new, blue Surly Long-Haul Trucker he currently has in shop:  If I recall correctly, $850 price tag. 
Iva and Tito - demonstration 
IvaHawk and Tito have gotten the idea to try to get on "The Amazing Race". 
They recently drove down to Wilmington for an open casting call. 
To give their 1-minute skit / presentation to impress the producers. 
They reprized their skit for us in front of Gilbert's shop, 
Just before we left Yanceyville.

Ran out of Robert-text to use as an "outline".

What more is there that needs to be said than the following?

great company, great ride, great weather.... new route, lots of hills, 
Tito, Martin and LT had legs and did most pulling and helping those off back.  
3 people dropped chains going up hills, Iva was most spectacular
nice visit with Gilbert,
splitting subways subs 
lots of spirited sections of ride, attacking hills, fast pulls on flats,

Iva and Tito - demonstration  

Maybe only this: 
Let's do it AGAIN !!
[Edit, Dec-16-2011:  JohnD sent a link to his Garmin report:] 
[Looks like I might have shorted myself a mile or so on the ride length. 
My confuser wasn't working at the start of the ride.] 
[Edit, May-29-2019:  John's Garmin link has "gone away," so I'm removing the blank space.] 

Hurdle Mills:  Badgett Sisters Adventure; 75.2 m.; 4h,50m in-motion; 15.5 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: __8 rides; _462.2 m.; _30 h, 31 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: 100 rides; 8292.5 m.; 552 h, 59 m; 15.0 mph.  

You may notice that this was my 100th ride this year. 
100 adventures.  Mostly enjoyable.  Some were slogs.  

I'm not going to get to one, mostly not-admitted, goal. 
But as my rando friend JohnO, who did get to that goal, noted: 
"I [JohnO] got you in RUSA kilometers, but you [Martin] are way ahead on total miles."  

Each mile contributed to an adventure. 
If not on the ride in which it was ridden, then on a following ride.  

Many friends, both Irregular and rando, have contributed to my adventures this year. 
Thanks to each of you. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nov-24: Make Room For Turkey

Virtually the same route as on Thanksgiving morning last year.

Fewer partants this year as only Ricochet Robert, BobH and I "signed up".

Bob and Robert had met at about 0730 and ridden to the start together.
With only the three of us expected, and everyone present and ready to ride,
We started the ride about 10 minutes early.

Robt and Bob immediately resumed the deep conversation(s) they had started on the way to PUE.
I concluded that they didn't a third party messing up the conversation dynamics,
So I rode ahead and sang songs as I made them up,
Or sang the notes as I made them up, or borrowed from unknown songs.

Eventually, I backed off my pace, and the three of us rode the last 15-miles or so together.
We continued the guy-conversations.
However, I could not tell you one single thing that we talked about.
Not because they are forbidden topics,
But because I simply do not recall.

I doubt that Robert or BobH recalls any of their subjects, either.

Great day for a ride around the lake.
Early on, crossing the lake on Old Weaver Trail Rd,
The lake was as a mirror.
Too bad all the leaves were already off the trees.

Later, crossing the lake on Cheek Rd,
There were ripples on the surface,
Too small to refer to it as a "chop".

Great quickie ride.

PUE:  Falls Lake Loop, counter-clockwise, + Pottery Loop and the "Shaw 'Shortcut'"; 40.7 m.; 2h,31m in-motion; 16.1 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. 

Oct tot: _10 rides; _924.0 m.; _61 h, 54 m; 14.9 mph. 
Nov tot: __7 rides; _387.0 m.; _25 h, 40 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: _99 rides; 8217.3 m.; 548 h, 08 m; 15.0 mph. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov-19 + 20: Choices Made and Unmade

Saturday, Nov-19, was the NC Randonneur year-end party.  This year it was here in Raleigh, at Natty Green's, instead of in Greensboro at Natty Green's (as per the previous two years).

Choices to ride Saturday:
  1. 200k Carolina Crossroads Permanent -- part of the rando party extravaganza (many attending the party would be there, and at least one person had e-mailed to ask if would be doing the ride); 
  2. 105k Benson Mule Pull Permanent-Populaire -- part of the rando party extravaganza (a dozen or so chose the friendlier start time and the lesser time commitment, and at least one, maybe two or three inquired as to whether I would be doing the ride); 
  3. Irregulars 45-mile "Shadow Ride" at 0830 -- no takers :-( 
  4. Ricochet decided he and Ags needed at least a 60-miler, so they would need to start at 0730 because Ags had a hard back-end time limit (in order to make it the NC State vs Clemson football game).  I reluctantly signed on for the 0730 ride -- and people think I dictate the rides and times -- but then had a bit of a coughing fit, so 
  5. I wrangled a breakfast invite with Capt. LT and then we'd ride something -- probably about 4 hours worth, probably starting around 0930. 
When I figured to ride with Ricochet and Ags, I'd suggested an easy-ish 60-miler:  NC US BR #1 out to US-158, turn-around without stopping at a particular KLL control, and ride NC US BR #1 straight back to the start.  We used to do that a couple times a year.  Not too hilly, simple and straightforward.  But with quite a few options to mix-it-up / add distance (with climbs, of course).  Ricochet and Ags were game.

After I dropped out of riding at 0730, Ricochet sent me an e-mail:  "what is the hilliest approx 60-miler we have?"  Meaning what Irregular's route.  Immediate response:  "Bahama Beach (+ a Little Mtn Rd)" for 103k.  A few minutes after sending that response, I followed up with "Long Assault on Flat Rock" for 55 miles.  (The LAFR has more climbing per mile according to Trimble (a whole 0.1 foot per mile more climbing).)  Ricochet chose Bahama Beach, and dragged Ags along with him.

Dave and I started our ride at 0930 +/-.  MUCH warmer than it was at 0730.  My throat was thankful.  Not a single cough during the ride -- I wasn't expecting any.  And quick application of large mugs of hot tea at the finish led to no coughing fit after the ride, nor any time later during the day or evening.  Dave and I covered 65.2 hilly miles in 4h04 in-motion, 4h20 total elapsed time.  (Dave had wanted to take a long break at the corner of Range and Robert's Chapel roads, but I knew that if we did, I would have a coughing fit; we only took long enough for Dave to maintain his 12 miles per pee average.  Funny thing:  after that point, Dave didn't need another pee break.  Guess he finally got the contents of the pre-ride pot of coffee discharged.)

The "Shadow Ride" that Dave and I did wasn't quite as hilly as the Bahama Beach route, but as we shared several of the same roads, you can guess that our route was not flat.  Saturday evening, at the NC rando party, I learned that Ricochet and Ags had shorted the Bahama Beach route -- Robert informed that they needed the 16 or so minutes thus saved to ensure they stayed within John's time-limit.

I dunno' though.  I'm not sure that it is quite kosher for the guy that was to be named "2011-NC-rando-rookie-of-the-year" a few hours later to be short-cutting a route. 
Choices to ride Sunday: 
  1. Get 'er Dunn Permanent Populaire to be on-hand for the second year running when Dean would pass his 10k RUSA kilometer mark, or 
  2. Shadow Ride with IvaHawk. 
I told Dean that I'd already agreed to ride with Iva on Sunday morning.  I do not like backing out of such commitments.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, er, to the ride with Iva:  (1) I was late and (2) Iva waited at the wrong rendezvous point.  That is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Iva went on to do a 40-miler around Falls Lake.  I wasn't feeling much if any love for the bike, so after trying to ride past Iva's (I'm not actually sure where he lives, but I can get close), I decided to just ride back "home" and call it a day.  I must have started to enjoy my ride though, because I went out of my way to ride the "Carrington Wall" in the 39/15 gear in which I had done the entire ride.  That seems to be the perfect gear with which to loosen the legs early a the ride, and I was bound and determined to get up that short, but steep road in that gear.  Standing on the pedals, pulling up as well as letting gravity pull my weight down on the pedals, I am confident that I was NOT doing a "Jerry impersonation".  But I got up it, and enjoyed the next half-mile upslope on Whitestone Rd, too.

Just as I was putting things up (at about 0930), the clouds disappeared and warm sunshine became the order of the day for hours and hours.  I could have remounted, but I had made the choice to stop. 
After Nov-20:

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: __5 rides; _328.3 m.; _21 h, 57 m; 15.0 mph. 
YTD tot: _97 rides; 8158.6 m.; 544 h, 25 m; 15.0 mph. 

Q:  So why did I bother to pseudo-blog these rides at all? 
A:  So I would be able remember them some day in future.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Excellent Cycling Companions, etc.

Two Excellent Cycling Companions
Thanks to "sag" (usual Permanent pedal-pal of the one in mostly-blue) for use of the photo. 
The above photo, with an interesting comparison of the two subjects (I'm admittedly occasionally biased in favor of the author of the comparison -- on the other hand, I frequently think the stuff from that author is just pure dreck -- is that a word?), appeared on this blog just a month ago.  I believe that the two subjects had met for the first time just minutes before the photo was taken.

Last night, at the NC Randonneurs year-end party, I was honored to be in the audience when the guy in the yellow jersey was named 2011-NC-Rookie of the Year, and the gal in the mostly-blue was named 2011-NC-Randonneuse of the Year.

Robert was on-hand to accept his award and congratulations from all.  One word to describe Robert (other than "Ricochet", I mean):  exuberant.

JayJay was out-of-town; in-person congratulations to her will have to wait until she gets back to North Carolina.  In the mean time:  Congratulations!  (I might have to find a way to do a Permanent or a Perm-Populaire with her to deliver the in-person congrats; either that or it may be awhile before I see JayJay.)  Two phrases to describe JayJay:  filled with rando tough spirit, and Dr. Codfish has nothing on her, neither speed-wise nor humor-wise (but you'll have to ride with JayJay to experience her humor).
I don't have photos of the 2011-NC-Volunteer of the Year (TonyG) nor 2011-NC-Comeback Randonneur of the Year (JoelL) nor 2011-NC-Randonneur of the Year (Ian).  [Three bad jokes redacted.]

Tony, maybe I'll make it to one of your brevet-fests this coming year, or maybe the Fleche.

Joel, anyone that rides a 1200 within two months of breaking their hip, and follows that up a month later with a 1000 ... is way too crazy.

Ian, you are just plain crazy.

Thank-you and congratulations as seems more appropriate to each of you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today in the Raleigh News and Observer

On-line anyway (I haven't had a chance to check the hard-copy rag, yet.)

A few weeks ago, fellow Irregular cycling buddy IvaHawk, contacted the N&O columnist behind the "Who's Got Game" column, regarding another fellow Irregular (+ rando) cycling buddy Ricochet Robert.

Iva (who has a nice list of recent cycling accomplishments, btw -- many from the last three years can be found on this blog) was quite impressed with Robert's cycling progress from never having done a bicycle ride as an adult prior to Apr-24-2010 to attempting P-B-P this past August.  As noted, Iva contacted the columnist regarding Robert, and ... after some back-and-forth ... Robert and one MikeD (a local rando with "some" national and international connections) met with Teri Saylor with the following result:

"Who's Got Game" -- Nov-15 or 16-2011

Well done to Robert and MikeD.


Since on-line "newspaper" links have a tendency to disappear rather quickly ...

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011

Local cyclists pedal across France in historic excursion

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If Robert Bergeron had ever dreamed of a big adventure, even a vivid imagination could not have topped reality when he experienced a bicycle ride across France.
"Randonnee" is a French word that translates into "a mighty long bike ride," and if adventure was what Bergeron sought when he signed up for the historic, 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris excursion, he got his money's worth.
Never mind that he didn't quite make it to the end.
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Bergeron and fellow cyclist Mike Dayton sat in a Raleigh coffee shop recently, swapping stories about their epic, late-August cycling journey.
More than a month after stopping 62 miles from the finish line, Bergeron was still recovering from repetitive motion injuries he suffered after his bike went out of alignment in a minor accident.
Bergeron would later turn disappointment into inspiration and discover the true spirit of the adventure.
The PBP, as the race is known, started in 1891 as a 750-mile race, but over the years, it evolved into a recreational excursion, strictly limited to amateur cyclists, according to the event website. The ride, every four years, is an out-and-back course starting and ending near Versailles. The turnaround point is at Brest, near the French coast.
Riders must finish in 90 hours.
"Sleep is optional," Bergeron said.
Dayton agreed.
"You don't stop the clock to take a nap," he said. "Sleeping and eating times all count toward your goals."
Along the way, cyclists stop at 15 check points or controls, where course monitors stamp cards that resemble passports. Each control is timed to keep track of the riders and to make sure they stay on schedule.
Bergeron reckons he slept three hours in four days.
Dayton, who completed the entire distance in just more than 88 hours, managed to snag 10 or 11 hours of shut-eye.
Riders may sleep at shelters set up along the route, but they often nap by the side of the road or wherever they can find a comfortable spot.
Bergeron even curled up in a gravel pit for much-needed rest.
A longtime marathon runner, he had just completed the 2010 Boston Marathon when a friend convinced him to take up cycling. Less than a year later, he was looking at registration materials for the August PBP ride.
"I had never ridden farther than 125 miles, and thought, 'Well this is a little farther than that,' " he said. "I thought the PBP would be fun to do in the future, but I saw that it takes place just every four years, and then I considered my age."
Bergeron is 63.
Dayton, 55, is a lifelong cyclist who owns a dozen bicycles.
"I have been riding 40 years," he said.
He has ridden the PBP three times and is active in the Randonneurs USA distance cycling organization.
In December, he will celebrate 10 years of completing at least one century ride each month. A century is 100 miles.
To qualify for a spot in the PBP, cyclists must complete a series of four distance rides, from 125 miles up to 375 miles, in the months leading up to the excursion.
Besides bragging rights, cyclists return home with stories of adventure and scores of new friends.
French people living along the route have been rolling out their own special brand of hospitality for generations.
"The people set up food stations and rest stops," Dayton said. "It is a huge celebration along the route, and the meals they serve are always memorable."
Bergeron remembers a Russian family that picked him up as he limped along the side of the road after dismounting from his bike for the last time.
"They took me to a train station and waited to make sure I got on a train back to Versailles," he said.
Dejected over not going the distance, he concluded his journey, but when he arrived at the finish line, he could not believe his eyes.
He described the scene that greeted him in a report he wrote about his adventure.
"A smile came to my face; my world just changed. How could this be? My Russian friends were waiting outside the gate just to ensure I made it back. I was overwhelmed," he wrote. "What a way to end the ride."
Dayton is already planning his next big adventure, lining up a 125-mile ride. In the coffee shop, he tried to convince Bergeron to join him. Dayton can't help himself. He loves cycling. 
"Even after all these years, I feel the same enthusiasm and excitement when I get on a bike today as I did as a kid," he said.  
[For Robert's report on the adventure, click ... here.] 

T.S.Eliot's Advice for Randos + Bloggers

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

The above has obvious application to randonneuring.
And life.

"Let's not be narrow, nasty, and negative."

The above is applicable to the blogger.
Not everything needs to be recorded.
Some things are better left on the road, or in the ride.

"People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events."

The above seems to describe the evolution of a blogger.
Also maybe the evolution of a randonneur.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nov-12: Irregulars on Robert's Chapel Rd

I have a bit of head cold as I begin to type the following. 
My "humor" may be a bit "off".  
Likely more acerbic than usual. 

I must be more out-of-it than I thought. 
I originally dated this post "Jun-12" !! 
No map -- the route is a short-cut of the Range Road Rover.
(There is a cue sheet ... somewhere.)
Robert's Chapel Rd is probably more scenic than Range Road.
But each is a great cycling road with little to no traffic.

0800 start.  A bit chilly at around 32F.
I noticed frost on the long grass near Falls Lake as we crossed on Old Weaver Trail.
Frost, but no ice.

I arrived about 7 minutes prior to wheels-away.
Plenty of time for introductions, etc. -- especially as IvaHawk was bringing a guest.

BobH was already at PUE and ready to ride.
JohnD was there and ready to ride.
IvaHawk was nearly ready to ride.
But his guest had cancelled.
Too cold.

Robert arrived a minute or two later, possibly looking under-dressed.
But he has a high metabolism and had on a base layer of wool that rando Byron had passed along.

The Mallet came zooming in about 30 seconds before wheels-away.
Apologizing for being late.
He'd had to change a flat tyre before leaving home.

For the safety tip, I got Robert to sorta' explain my "incredible move" from last Saturday.
Incredibly stupid.
Alive only because I stayed calm and extricated myself, calmly,
Rather than panicking and exacerbating the situation.

Ready to go ... Tito arrives.
"Tito, we're going to ride down the road a mile,
And come back and pick you up in 7 or 8 minutes"
tactic used once before on an habitual late-arrival.
I had a quiet chat with Tito after the ride.
Crossing Falls Lake on Old Weaver Trail ... calm water.

Cash Rd, etc. into Butner ...
Only thing I recall is the Mallet pointing out the building / parking lot
Used for those that did the "mud run" at the National Guard post, "Camp Butner".
Paul's comment was that the mud-run was the only time he's seen that new-ish building
Actually USED for somethiing.

His other comment was that there weren't enough shuttle buses to handle the participants.

My comment:  five miles from the parking lot to the event's actual location is ... a bit.
Up the Range Wall.
Some groups only ride down that section.
Seems to be a waste.
We usually ride it UP.
Sometimes down.

Onto Robert's Chapel Rd.
Making the turn, I notice that we're short 3 people.
Flo-max break back there somewhere, I am informed.

We stopped on a sunniest section of Robert's Chapel Rd we could find.
Feasting ensued.
The laggards arrived.
More feasting.

Rolling again, we passed a house with a pond,
Said pond lined with vibrant red leafed trees.
The water so calm it was a mirror.
All seven of us lamented the lack of a camera.
I took a mental picture.
I'm confident that others can do the same within the next week or two.
Some lobbying for a stop in Stem.
The Mallet pointed out that we'd just stopped a few minutes previously.
Two votes for continuing. 
Two out of seven carried the day.

Something about a dictatorship.
I remarked that the group is more of a democracy.
Robert quipped "only when the dictator allows it."
IvaHawk inquired as to how I would characterize the operation of the crew.
"Consultative dictatorship."
I intended to not try to stick to BobH when he made his patented Brogden Rd run.
Bob didn't seem to have as much thrust in his engine as he usually does.
I credit the headwind.
Bob and Tito took turns pulling us, mostly downslope, from Stem to Creedmoor,
Into the headwind.
Robert, who had earlier commented that he had "no legs" for the 2nd consecutive Saturday,
Found his legs, and transformed into Ricochet, noted
"I love going uphill at 20 mph!"

I'll add:  especially into a headwind, and barely pedaling!
Rationale roller-coasting on Dove Rd headed south out of Creedmoor.
Rather than hell-bent-for-leather roller-coasting.
Still ended up with a split in the crew, though.

Back together at the turn onto Old Weaver Trail.
Hawk commented that we were entering Robert's favorite section.
Robert asked, "where are we?"
Hawk:  "Turning onto Old Weaver, headed for New Light, with that long uphill."
Ricochet:  "Oh, I love that climb."

Half-way up to New Light (the hard half done),
Mallet leading, I-forget-who second, me third, Ricochet fourth.
I couldn't get into a comfortable gear/cadence combination.
I finally noticed the speed.
I asked the Mallet if he was taking it easy on us, or was he tired.
The unexpected answer:  "I'm a bit tired."
(There is / are reasons -- but I didn't hear the entire anecdote.)

I went to the front, and then Ricochet passed me.
But I decided that he wasn't just going to ride-away.
We ended up playing leap-frog as neither of us would relent to the other.

I semi-paused at New Light to semi-wait for the others.
Ricochet had the bit between his teeth.
So I followed on.
No interest in catching him.
That lasted all of about 100 yards.

With the almost all downslope from New Light to the Neuse River / Falls Lake,
I decided to "go get him."
Eventually, I went to the 50T big-chain ring for the first time all day,
Doing 30 mph as I passed Ricochet.
I may have shed 48 pounds, but I still have a 24-lb. downslope advantage over Robert.

Of course, he has a 24-lb. upslope advantage over me.
And he used it to fine affect on Ghoston, Peed, and Mt. Vernon Church roads.
Back at PUE by 11:40 (I didn't actually check -- I'm guessing).
Thanks and good-byes all around.
Some cycle for home.
Some drive.
I de toured to Bay Leaf Fire Station #2.
To harass Capt. LT (if he were on duty).
And to make use of the scales there.

Shoes off.  Helmet off.  Some clothes off.  Pockets emptied.
Set scales to 160 pounds.
Step on.
Hmmn ... I weigh less than that.
Turned out to be 159 pounds.
LT and I hatched a plan to ride on Sunday.
But I clearly have a bit of a head cold.
I've decided to forego cycling today.
Hope someone decided to ride with Dave, today.
Nov-12:  ---> PUE:  Robert's Chapel 50-miler --->; 63.1 m.; 4h,01m in-motion; 15.7 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: __3 rides; _246.8 m.; _16 h, 44 m; 14.7 mph. 
YTD tot: _95 rides; 8077.1 m.; 539 h, 12 m; 15.0 mph.