Monday, February 27, 2012

Feb-25: Cycle-to, Get 'er Dunn, Cycle-back

A week earlier, John had inquired if people drove or rode to the start of Get 'er Dunn.
As far as I knew, everyone had always driven.
Except maybe "Smilin' Bryan", but I don't know if he's even done Get 'er Dunn.
(I checked ... he has ... twice.)

Mick (formerly MikeH -- I suspect I'll slip many times on that),
Anyway, Mick is looking for miles to train up for the SR.
(He thinks he should "taper" into the SR -- I keep telling him to just ride through it.)
Anyway, Mick is looking for miles to train up for the SR.
And, now knowing a way to get from downtown Raleigh to the start of
The Mule Pull (map) AND Get 'er Dunn (map),
We decided to meet as if starting a Carolina Crossroads (no map),
Then cycle to meet Dean and ride his Get 'er Dunn permanent-populaire;
Mostly just to ride with Dean.

It strikes me that if I had actually mapped out Carolina Crossroads
BEFORE last week's ride,
There probably wouldn't have been any "bonus miles".
At least not the 6-bonus-miles from missing the turn onto Massingil Farm Rd.

Mick and I arrived about 15 minutes before the start.
Plenty of time to exchange paperwork.
After taking a leisurely 75 minutes to cover the 17-miles from downtown.

A side-windy tailwind from the start to west of Erwin.
Sometimes a side-windy headwind.
Usually, I refer to those as "quartering", but I'm feeling "less technical" at the moment.
And a great tailwind on Old Stage Rd into Erwin,
And a great tailwind on Denim Rd, etc. from Erwin to Dunn.

We paid a high price for that tailwind.
But not until after we'd enjoyed the benefits of the open control in Dunn.

While in the control, either the wind or a person knocked over two of our steeds.
We were convinced it was a jerk walking by,
Because both bikes had been leaning pretty heavily (we thought) against the building.
However, based on later events, the culprit may well have been the wind.

I still haven't replaced the confuser on my steed,
So I had no idea at what speed I was "leading" Mick and Dean from Dunn
To the control in Erwin.
At the Erwin control, I asked if we had been going as slow as 6 mph (it had felt like it).
Mick responded, "I think we did not drop below 8 mph."

8 mph on a stretch usually done at 15 to 18 mph.
There was "some" wind.

Quick-stopped the Erwin control.
But when we went back outside ... Mick's steed had fallen or been knocked over again.
Seemed amazing since his front wheel had been inside my front wheel,
Each bike leaning against the building but facing different directions,
And my bike was again exactly where I left it.

Mick up-righted his steed, leaned it against the building again,
And was inspecting the less-than-6-month-old machine,
With 2-week-old Brooks saddle, for beausage,
When a completely unexpected thing occurred ...
The wind, deflecting off the building, blew the bike backward !!
Wide-eyed, the three of us were.

Maybe the wind had knocked over the two bikes back in Dunn.

We continued on into the wind on Old Stage Rd.
The turn onto the rough chip-seal of Crawford Rd,
With its false-flat upslope, was a relief!

A quartering tailwind (feeling "technical" now) for the first part,
But it became a quartering headwind as we got closer to Coats.
The map doesn't show it very well,
But the road does "bend" a bit from a NNE to N-by-NE direction,
And perhaps N-by-NW.
And there may be fewer trees closer to Coats.
However, that entire road is lined, both sides, by very OPEN cotton fields.
NOTHING to break the wind.

I could continue with a segment-by-segment, bend-by-bend description
Of the remainder of Get 'er Dunn.
But I'll summarize by typing that
ANYWHERE there was even a slight tilt to the westerly ...

We stopped by Dean's to check over and sign our cards.
We solved the wind knocking over the bike problem by
Laying the bikes on their sides on the lawn.

It is good to be in company of friends in those conditions.
(I am thinking that, although on the other side of the continent,
And at a higher latitude, Dr. Codfish may have appreciated some friends on Saturday, too.
Can't be sure on that, though.  Sometimes solo "victory" is quite sweet.
Dr. C had wind and hail and sleet and snow -- at least he wrote that;
We had mostly sunshine with our wind.
I guess we are still just wimps next to the good doctor.)

It was a pretty day, but no one brought a camera.
I'm not sure anyone would have wanted to repeated stop and take pics.
It was likely better just to keep-'em-spinning and Get 'er Dunn.
Anyway, the three of us had an excellent short-day on the bike.

Then Mick and I headed out once again to return to Raleigh.
We had some easterly roads to get around Lake Benson (Lake Garner ?),
But Raleigh is north of Garner, so most of our post-populaire ride was
Just the same as the last half of the populaire:
"Against the Wind".

As I said to Mick, "it is a good thing I've thought of this ride as ...
Cycle to meet Dean, do Get 'er Dunn, cycle back,
Else this would have been a LONG ride."

--> downtown Raleigh --> Get 'er Dunn 102-km Perm-Pop --> downtown Raleigh -->; est. 105.2 m.; est. 7h50 in-motion; 13.4 mph; official rando time -- 5h37 (for the populaire only).  

Jan tot: __6 rides; __426.2 m.; _28 h, 52 m; 14.8 mph. 
Feb tot: __6 rides; __591.0 m.; _40 h, 15 m; 14.7 mph. 
YTD tot: _12 rides; 1,017.2 m.; _69 h, 07 m; 14.7 mph. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Genesis of a Route -- Egypt Mtn

First, a disclaimer:  all links embedded in the following are probably for slef-promotion purposes only. 

I thought it would be interesting to have a permanent that started just north of Raleigh, went north to pick up NC Bike Route #4 for a non-trivial distance, then came back south to Raleigh, making a loop.  I also thought it would be nice to get further east than MikeD’s “Kerr Lake Loop” route, thus opening some new territory of north-central North Carolina for “’permanent’ riding pleasure”.  The process has been convoluted and has led me, at least temporarily, to a totally unexpected conclusion.

To begin evaluation of a permanent route, I mapped using US BR #1 from Bay Leaf to Drewry, with the intent of taking NC BR #4 east from Drewry until … a point to be determined.  An immediate “problem”  popped up – it is 53 miles on BR #1 to get to Drewry à that wouldn’t leave very much distance / time for BR #4.  Further, only 9 of those 53 miles are not on MikeD’s Kerr Lake Loop start.  Two things were obvious:  (1) I needed a different routing to get to Drewry and that might mean a different start location; (2) if the route started from the north edge of Raleigh, there wasn’t going to be much new NC BR #4 on the route.

As anyone that has done “Irregular” rides knows – I certainly know an alternative routing to get to Drewry (or Ridgeway, or Warrenton).  I had intended to use that alternative routing to return from Warrenton – or from some point east or southeast of Warrenton.  The alternative routing would also work from an alternative start location – namely, Wakefield McD’s (the start of MikeD’s “Showdown in Black Creek” route).  One issue with the Wakefield McD’s start / finish location is that getting there from north Raleigh on a bicycle is … a bit dangerous.  Narrow, over-used road being moved and widened à too much traffic in too much of a hurry (some of the  traffic being teen-aged drivers and passengers on their way to high school, too many construction / hazard barrels lining the road, too much road construction / destruction. 

Despite the issues with using the Wakefield McD’s as the start, it would be easier to open “new territory”, and I mapped out – I don’t know how many routes – I lost count.  At least one or two of those routes has merit, but I didn’t get a “warm and fuzzy” feeling.  I mapped routes heading east from Wake Forest through Rolesville and onto Fowler Road and continuing over to Spring Hope Rd, up to Spring Hope and then Centerville and Warrenton and returning on my preferred alternative routing to get from north Raleigh to Drewry – good thing a loop route can be ridden in reverse.  I mapped out other “eastern side” alternatives to a loop route, always combined with my preferred alternative routing to get from north Raleigh to Drewry.

Finally, I decided “dang it, I want to be able to cycle to the start and return afterward … safely!”  I returned to thinking of the Bay Leaf location for the prospective start / finish. 

By this time I had given up on starting from the north edge of Raleigh AND including Warrenton and more than just a few miles on BR #4.  Bay Leaf to Warrenton via the alternative routing to Drewry turned out to be 62.4 miles.  Many might have just done that as an out-and-back route; however, I was stubbornly still looking for a loop route (two routes in one) AND the out-and-back routing would need a control at … Drewry … because of the definite “L” shape of the route.  Drewry – sometimes there is what almost looks like a store there – most of the time it appears to be “out of business”, or at least “closed” – and when not one of those two … it still looks awfully “suspect”.  Rando-Dean had told me that Crista wouldn’t allow out-and-back duel info controls; I haven’t inquired of Crista on that score – after all, I wanted a loop route. 

Okay, so the route will start at Bay Leaf, and use the alternative routing to get to Drewry via Franklinton, Epsom and Middleburg, share a few miles of US BR #1 with the Kerr Lake Loop, and then take NC BR #4 into Warrenton.  Then what?

Darn good question. 

Baltimore Road looks interesting.  A road so named in North Carolina, with no “Baltimore” near at hand might even amuse someone that lives in Maryland.    

Lick Skillet Road has an interesting name.  That could be useful for a short conversation or two – once or twice, anyway.  The only problem with Lick Skillet road is that it doesn’t go anywhere “useful” from a rando route perspective, and if included would lead to a couple info controls and besides, I don’t actually KNOW if I’d like cycling on the road.

Okay, then – Baltimore Rd to Park Town Rd to NC-58.  There’s no traffic over there.  NC-58 to Centerville.  Probably an info control in Centerville.  Besides, I did grades 1-7 in Centerville School – in NW Illinois, not NC – but if Dean can find an Orange Street or Road on most every one of his routes (because he was born in Orange County, NC ?), I can put in Centerville for personal kicks.

NC-561 from Centerville to Louisburg.  There’s no traffic over there.   Once back to Louisburg, I know the roads from personal experience.  Can use either Dyking Rd or Peach Orchard Rd, and choose the finish accordingly.  I chose Peach Orchard Rd, then through Youngsville on a bit of NC BR #2, then continue on a couple more down-and-up roads to get to Bruce Garner Rd, then to Grissom where US BR #1 comes in from northerly side, and retrace the start to get back to Bay Leaf.

That route would work. 

Wish there wasn’t that 30-mile “hole” in my knowledge, though.

Check out the Google-street-view.  The little yellow man hasn’t traversed MOST of Baltimore Road – hmmn – the ends look good though.  Park Town Rd – appears mostly flat, but okay.  NC-58 mostly flat, narrow (but there is no traffic – the little yellow man only encountered one or two vehicles in his trip down the 6-miles the route would use).  NC-561 – uh,oh – “tar snakes” galore – perhaps 2 or 3 miles when the street-view pics were taken.  Wonder if the road has been Obamulated, and no longer has “tar snakes”.

When can I do a ride to check out those 30-miles?  Tar-snakes ... 

Am I sure I want to do those unknown 30-miles over and over?

Rando-Dean always suggests that one take a favorite training route, or just a route that one likes, and tweak it a bit to make a permanent, or a permanent-populaire.  Am I going to be able to tolerate NC-58 and NC-561? 

Tolerate?  How about something I can enjoy! 

When can I check out that 30-mile hole?  From Raleigh, it would require almost a 200k bicycle ride to get to and check out that “hole”.  Might as well just ride the potential 213-km route.


The solution came to me in the night.  A bit twisted, figure-eight looking, combining parts of three of my existing "Irregulars" routes:  Middleburg Century (map), VGCC-Warrenton loop (map), Bobbitt - Egypt Mtn (map).  ALL on roads that I know – and like.  Not too much climbing – after all, east of US-1, the rollers are not as “interesting” as they are west of US-1.

The solution comes with a bonus!  First was Stovall Mtn – for which I am credited / blamed for introducing to MikeD (see 2nd section).  (Really, though, Branson should get the credit -- the first paragraph fully explains.)  Second, Little Mtn Rd – which is already on my Bahama Beach populaire.  Egypt Mtn Rd – for this prospective permanent.  Trifecta!

Oh, in case you are still reading this, and interested – I have NOT given up on a permanent starting from north Raleigh and using quite a few miles on NC BR #4.  After all, there are three roads with the word “Mountain” in their name – all east of Roxboro, all within easy cycling distance of north Raleigh -- and I already know how to get two of them into a decent ride!  

The “Warrenton – Egypt Mtn” permanent has been approved since mid-February.  I’m going to “open” the route on March 3rd (for those not going to Tony’s mini-brevet-fest from Harrisburg).

Come and I hope you will enjoy – I know I will.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feb-18: Carolina Crossroads 200-km Perm

JohnA needed a February R-ride.  He lives "near" downtown Raleigh and wanted to have a go at the new Carolina Crossroads (CC) perm that MikeD and Dean cooked up for the NC-rando-year-end party this past November (click here for Mike's perspective on the route -- ride-with-gps map seems screwed up).  John asked if I'd do the route / ride with him.  I agreed.  At the time, I had no idea what roads the route traversed.

In exchange for signed waivers, Mike sent the cue sheet and control cards for us to print.  Looking over the cue sheet, I suspected that the entire route would be new roads for John (once out of downtown), but I also noticed that 6 1/2 or 7 miles into the CC route, we would literally ride through the start of the Mule Pull,  AND  follow the Mule Pull route to the Grocery Boy control (which is in the middle of no-where).  I'd done the Mule Pull twice last year; each time I was exhausted from the day before and essentially "just followed", but I had some familiarity.

After the Grocery Boy, CC route diverges from the Mule Pull route to Old Stage Rd (perhaps more on that later), but rejoins the Mule Pull on thumpa-thumpa Piney Grove Ch Rd, and then follows the Mule Pull routing to Benson.  However, CC route sneaks into Benson on a side-road paralleling the Mule Pull route.  Smoother(?), less traffic, more stop-signs.

CC route leaves Benson by crossing over I-95, and then more-or-less paralleling the interstate on FLAT backroads for another 22 or so miles to Crossroads Grocery (also in the middle of no-where).  CC, being an out-and-back course, then reverses itself.
In January, John had done only his third different permanent -- completing the "north Raleigh trifecta" of (west to east) Triple-L, Kerr Lake, and Black Creek.  I.e., John was completely unfamiliar with any of the "south Raleigh" permanents.  I figured that pointing out the starts, overlaps and controls of the Mule Pull, Get 'er Dunn and the Tar Heel 200 would provide some things to talk about.  I did point them all out to John, but there were plenty of other things to talk about.

Because of 7-am open-business realities, we had to ride about a half-mile from our meeting place to the cue-sheeted official start/finish of the course.  That half-mile combined with John forgetting to reset his confuser before we started the ride (he still had the 1.99 miles from his house to the McD's on Peace Street) led to John having to struggle to figure out some of the upcoming turns.  I was useless at helping him -- I had gotten a new battery for my confuser specifically so that I'd be able to get good mileage readings for this unknown CC course -- but the problem turned out to not be the battery, but instead the confuser itself seems non-functional -- except for the time-of-day read-out -- at least I had that; it would prove useful.

John had printed the cue sheet out in LARGE print, taking 4 pages.  I had reformatted and had the entire cue sheet on one side of an "8.5 x 11" piece of paper.  Mistake -- my eyes can't read type that small while in motion on the bike.  But John has younger and better eyes than I do -- and he had that LARGE print and a working confuser.

Given that the two of us usually ride on roads very lightly traveled through rural north-central NC, we each found Garner Rd a bit disconcerting in the morning.  Broken glass on the road AND passing cars running over "junk" in the roadway.  Garner Rd more-or-less parallels the railroad, and is old US-Hwy-70, I think.  At least one gets a glimpse of what car travel may have been like before the modern routing of US-70 and before interstates.

I was quite glad to get to Vandora Springs Rd.  Why?  Because, after crossing over the RR and modern US-70, we would be turning onto Fifth Avenue in Garner and ride through the start of the Benson Mull Pull at Swift Creek Shopping Center.  After that, I knew the route would get progressively more remote and rural.

At the turn onto Rock Service Station Rd, I pointed out to John that Dean's Get 'er Dunn started only about 1.2 miles to the north.  John asked some questions about Get 'er Dunn -- mostly wondering if people cycled or drove to the start.

Eight-tenths of a mile later, we turned onto Barber Bridge Rd, and John finally felt that we were getting away from busy roads.  Everything was going swimmingly as we arrived at about 9 o'clock (an hour-and-a-half after our start) at the control at the Grocery Boy.  Then things took a turn in the wrong direction.  John had lost his card.  Deep-sigh.

I suggested he use mine since I already had my February R-ride.  Then a better idea -- call Mike and see if he had another, better solution.  He did.  We implemented Mike's solution.

John has been learning via the school-of-hard-knocks about some things rando.  He forgot to sign his card after one perm, and had to make a special trip to rectify that.  He's also had one or two other "lessons" that I won't go into.  However, unlike me, he has yet to DNF anything -- give it time.

On to Benson via repeated down-and-ups on Old Stage Rd and Benson-Hardee Rd; in my now-foggy memory, the other roads seem to be essentially flat-ish.  I didn't much notice the down-and-ups on Old Stage Rd in the morning -- there were several cars, though.  We got to the Burger King control in Benson at about 10:35; that BK is slow enough without having to also deal with the breakfast-to-lunch menu change.  We need to talk to Mike about making Benson an "open control" -- that BK is SLOW -- always.

I don't know what time we left the BK, but it must have been nearly 11:00 -- my hopes(?) that we might make the turn-around by 12:00 had evaporated.  There was also the headwind to slow us the 22 miles to Crossroads Grocery (in the middle of no-where); but the biggest time-coster was missing the turn onto Massingil Farm Rd.

NC-242 was smooth and flat, and with John leading, the headwind wasn't bothering me too much; and it seemed to have little impact on John.  After enjoying many minutes of the smooth-flat, I asked John about the turn (I had looked over the cue sheet, but not really studied it while in Benson).  John's folding-over of his 4-page-cue-sheet was perfect -- Massingil Farm Rd was unreadable due to being smack dab on the fold, AND the right-hand column of comments was folded inside and hidden completely.  Since we were going up a slight rise, and we could see that there was a cross-road at the crest, we continued to the corner (there wasn't really anywhere else to have pulled over, safely, anyway).  Drag Strip Rd -- not Massingil Farm Rd.

John took his cue-sheet out the plastic protection, and learned that we should have turned after only 0.8 miles on NC-242, AND he grinned at me and read aloud the comment:  "sign may be missing".  I grinned back at him and chuckled.  What to do?  Research after the ride indicates that 1.1-miles west of NC-242, "Drag Strip Rd" has a different name -- "Jonesboro Rd" -- and is part of the CC course.  Apparently Audax-UK permanent rules are about getting from control to control without regard to the actual route ridden; RUSA permanent rules require tracing out the prescribed course.  We U-turned and headed back whence we had come, looking for Massingil Farm Rd; we found it -- 3.0 miles after we turned around.  Sigh.

6-bonus miles:  My previous (admittedly short) career TOTAL bonus-miles was only 4 miles (two miles twice).  At least 20-minutes, likely closer to 24, had ... evaporated.  But at least it had been a good road, smooth, flat, with some interesting topiary and other sights to appreciate (if one is of a mind to do so).

After that, John would call out the distance-to and name-of the next turn.  I would look at the clock on my mostly-useless confuser and make a mental note of the current time and estimate when it would make sense to start looking for the next turn / road.

As noted above, John has younger and better eyes than I do (also younger and more fit legs, and generally is a better athlete than me), but once or twice, I called out the turn to John as he was seemingly about ready to ride past the turn -- outbound James Barefoot Rd comes to mind.

I had earlier told John that I was counting on him to do the lion's share of the leading on the day (see previous paragraph for why), but we shared the work leading on Green Path and Autry Mills roads (not in any systematic way -- just that whichever was behind would come around when they felt rested and the one leading seemed not to be).  Just after turning onto Green Path Rd, John called out "5.3-miles to Autry Mills Rd on the left".  I noted the time was 11:58, and figured to start looking for Autry Mills at around 12:15.  John was leading as we approached Autry Mills, again possibly intent on missing the turn, I saw that it was 12:17 and called out to John "this is probably our turn" -- I couldn't read the words on the little green sign ... John could and announced "6-miles to the turn-around".  I figured to start looking for the turn-around at about 12:37; I also wondered if the store at the control would be open; I was worried that if it wasn't open, we might ride past without realizing.

12:38, right on cue, John called out "I'll bet this is our control."  Open.  Name on store:  "Crossroads Grocery" -- if that wasn't the control ... someone was playing an awful hoax.  Off the bike at 12:40.  Five-hours-and-ten-minutes after our official start.  A sub-10-hour time was not impossible; after all, there would be a nice tailwind for much of the return.
We left Crossroads Grocery at 1:00 precisely.  Perhaps we had taken a bit too long, but I had needed a sit-down to rest my legs.  Anyway, I figured it wouldn't matter ... the southerly breeze was likely to be building and waiting a few minutes might actually not cost any net time ... as the breeze would move us along faster.  The 11-miles to Timothy Rd (the turn off of Green Path) zipped by without effort.  It was so enjoyable that we managed to miss the turn onto Moulton Rd.  As we approached the stop-sign for ??? semi-major back-road, I said, "John, I don't recall this stop-sign."  There is an advantage to out-and-back courses ... if you are paying attention.  Sure enough ... we should have turned ... "back there".  [Post-ride map analysis indicates that we collected another 0.9-miles in the "bonus" category.]

Back on course on Moulton and James Barefoot and ... I don't recall and I'm not going to look it up.  Over I-95 into Benson.  John didn't want to chance getting DNF'd by assuming that Benson was an open control, so I went to BK to get a receipt while he went to the Subway to order a 12-inch sandwich to split, and some drinks.  I'm not sure, but I think it was 2:35 when I got the receipt from BK -- and then I waited ... and waited ... and waited.

By the time I got the little snack(s) and walked my bike across the road to the Subway, John had almost completed his sandwich.  I sat down and ate mine at a reasonable pace.  Upon leaving the interior to go back outside to warm up ... yes, it was COLD in the Subway ... John made a real effort to appear to be patient while I put on short-fingers over liners (which I wore all day) ... John wore only short-fingers all day. And, I admit, we were not only "Mutt and Jeff" as far as height goes, we were also "Mutt and Jeff" as far as clothing went.  I kept my knee-warmers on all day; John had only shorts all day.  John had only his short-sleeved jersey with arm-warmers early and late in the day; I had ... twice as much clothing on my top half.  One thing to note, though:  on the homeward bound half of the ride, John was still zipped all the way up the entire 100k; I, on the other hamd, was completely unzipped the entire 100k.

Anyway, by the time I threw my leg over, it was exactly 3:02 according to the clock on my mostly useless confuser.  We had a strong ride from Benson to the Grocery Boy, covering the 19.1-miles in exactly 1-hour-flat elapsed clock time.  Covering that repeating down-and-up section in that 1-hour ... gave us a shot at still getting in under 10-hours for the whole ride.

[HOW we covered that 19.1-miles in one-hour-flat ... I do not understand -- it seems to me entirely likely that Mike and Dean have been secretly contracting with mega-earth-mover types to make the valleys on Benson-Hardee Rd DEEPER, and making the crest of that shallow upslope on Benson-Hardee Rd returning from Benson HIGHER.  And I swear they've added a valley or two on Benson-Hardee that was not there the first time I rode the Mule Pull.  I also KNOW that on Saturday afternoon there were at least five or six DEEP valleys on Old Stage Rd coming back -- yet a Google-earth / terrain type map indicates only two!?]

8-minutes for the stop at the Grocery Boy.  We left still toying with sub-10 in our minds and conversation.  At the turn off Rock Service Station Rd onto Pagan I told John that a sub-10 hour ride was ... problematic.  He asked why.  "It is nearly 10-miles from here to the start / finish of the Mule Pull, and then we will have 7-miles to get to the McD's on Peace Street, and the last 2 or 3 of those will be stop-and-go, stop-and-go through downtown."  We didn't back off our efforts -- although I got awfully slow on two or three or more upslopes -- but ... I was grateful when we turned onto Aversboro Rd because I knew there were no more tough climbs.

Writing of Aversboro Rd reminds me:  as John and I were headed north on said road, "hammering" for Raleigh, I noticed a cyclist paused on the southbound sidewalk, straddling his mount -- too late I realized it was Bryan "Smiley" R.  If we hadn't been racing the dark-monster, if we hadn't already been a minute or two after the expiration of John's "kitchen pass", if I had earlier realized who that bushy-bearded soul was, we might have paused and chatted for a minute.  (Click here for the story of Bryan's most recent rando adventure.)

We did get one incredibly lucky break!  Just as we were crossing the RR tracks at the end of Vandora Springs Rd, next to the turn onto Garner Rd, the RR-crossing-guard signal / alarm started sounding and the gate-arms started to descend a few seconds after that.  We beat the crossing-guard-arms by only a few seconds ... as Garner Rd parallels the RR-tracks for quite a while, we were able to discern that the train was  a LONGGGG one.  We took great pleasure from that small (not-quite-a) victory.

We managed to catch every single stop-light in downtown Raleigh on red.  Downtown traffic lights are designed for rapid north-south traffic; east-west be damned.  We caught EVERY stop-light encountered on RED.

We pulled into the McD's on Peace Street at 5:38 pm.  I don't know what time was on the receipt -- the person/group two people/groups in front of me seemed to have trouble understanding the concept behind ordering the food and paying for it.  John and I are claiming 5:38 pm and a 10h08 200k (plus 6.9-bonus-miles) regardless of what Mike records on the RUSA database.  :-o
We had a great ride on a great day.
I had a great ride partner.
John ... was not quite as lucky on that front as me.
R-8 for John (if he is counting.)
R-19-insurance for me.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

--> Carolina Crossroads 200-km Permanent -->; 139.8 m.; est. 9h26 in-motion; 14.8 mph; official rando time -- 10h08 (for the permanent only).  

Jan tot: __6 rides; __426.2 m.; _28 h, 52 m; 14.8 mph. 
Feb tot: __4 rides; __404.3 m.; _27 h, 05 m; 15.0 mph. 
YTD tot: _10 rides; __830.5 m.; _55 h, 57 m; 14.9 mph.  

Eddington Cycling Number
After this ride:  83. 
Meaning I have ridden at least 83 miles on at least 83 different occasions.  .

Monday, February 20, 2012

No Longer part of My "Eddington Cycling Number"

One's "Eddington Cycling Number" is most easily defined as that largest integer E which makes the following statement true:  "I have at least E rides that were at least E miles long."

(Here is the link to the Wikiweb for Arthur Eddington; the cycling number is at the very bottom of the article, and mathematically speaking, the definition of one's Eddington Cycling Number is so poorly worded as to be ... wrong; however, Wiki powers continue to insist on being wrong.  Wiki may be useful, but I wouldn't rely on it for anything of value.)

My Saturday, Feb-18 rando-adventure raised my Eddington Cycling Number to 83.  The following are links to several rides, epic at the time in terms of distance and/or other reasons, that recently fell off the "contributors to my Eddington Cycling Number list":

July 25, 2009:  79.8-mile "recon" ride to check out part of the planned Irregulars 200k later in 2009.

May 31, 2009:  A short, short report on mostly solo wandering about for 81.1-miles.

August 22, 2009:  82.3-mile modified "Shoofly Don't Bother Me".

I only have one ride on my resume that is at least 83-miles, but less than 84-miles:
August 29, 2009:  Some repeating climbing, but avoided the usual G-P-MVC finish.

Chart indicating the history of my Eddington Cycling Number:
Career statistics through:  
        year         rides        miles       m / r         long       E 
2004 38 1,176.2 31.0 53.4      26
2005 75 2,441.7 32.6 75.6      33
2006 133 4,926.6 37.0 75.6      42
2007 212 8,457.1 39.9 109.0      49
2008 294 12,222.4 41.6 109.0      54
2009 420 18,439.1 43.9 126.3      63
2010 532 25,998.6 48.9 300.3      71
2011 645 35,203.4 54.6 377.2      81
current 655 36,035.1 55.0 377.2      83

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some Favorite Moments From the Past

While I'm trying to figure what and how to write whatever it is that I will ultimately type regarding the excellent rando adventure that I had with JohnA yesterday, some non-RUSA, serendipitous rides came to mind.  Maybe others will also enjoy the write-up(s).

Sunday rides are not pre-planned.

DNS of the "Showdown in Black Creek" results in a series of serendipitous moments.

Tired, and a front wheel with a mind of its own, leads to another series of serendipitous moments.

But, I have to admit that what put the burr in my saddle about recalling serendipitous or JRA rides was this:  (click here).

Ten rides so far this calendar year:
Nine RUSA rides,
One "errand ride" ... to effectuate the paperwork exchange for one of the RUSA rides.

Maybe it is time for a non-rando, non-credit, no-clock ride.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feb-15: Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop

Sunshine, Rollers, and Farm Animals.

I once wrote that I preferred Roberts Chapel Rd to Ellis Chapel Rd.
I've changed my mind.
The only thing wrong with Ellis Chapel Rd, as MikeH noted,
Is that "it isn't long enough."

I'll accept the small pleasures in whatever doses I can find them.

Sunshine, sunshine, and more clear-sky-sunshine.
On a cool, but not chilly, day.
With ponies and goats and a donkey and a mule to ride past.

Sitting on an over-long RR tie, doing service as the edge of a parking lot;
Sitting in the sunshine, sheltered from the breeze;
Munching on nibbles, drinking from the water-bottle,
60 easy kilometers into the ride;
Can it ever be any better than that?

--> Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Populaire -->; 74.0 m.; 4h54 in-motion; 15.1 mph; official rando time -- 4h48 (the populaire is only 64.5 miles (103-kms) of the total ride).  

Jan tot: __6 rides; __426.2 m.; _28 h, 52 m; 14.8 mph. 
Feb tot: __3 rides; __264.5 m.; _17 h, 38 m; 15.0 mph. 
YTD tot: __9 rides; __690.7 m.; _46 h, 30 m; 14.9 mph. 

This will make 1000+ RUSA-kms so far this year for me and 2000+ RUSA-kms for the year for MikeH, once the results from last weekend's Lumberton 200-km brevet are official.  The results from today are already official -- a benefit of the ride owner/organizer being along for the ride. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

North Carolina Permanent Rides

Dean getting to his 100th ride on Get 'er Dunn made me wonder how many rides had been done on the various Permanents and Perm-Populaires in North Carolina.  Through the end of 2011, here is what I found (sorted by number of rides in 2011):  [edit Feb-29-2012:  I discovered that I had missed 14 rides on L-L-L; Triple-L was actually the third most ridden near-Raleigh permanent in 2011, not the fifth most ridden.  The numbers in the following chart has been corrected, but not the order.]

The Permanents:
      Thru 2011          2011          2010          prior
Name  People    Rides  People    Rides  People    Rides  People    Rides
Tar Heel 200 45 263 29 90 27 104 24 69
Kerr Lake Loop 50 222 23 51 25 60 34 111
Showdown in Black Creek 41 127 15 41 26 48 24 38
Carthage Coffee Run on US BR #1 29 47 26 36 10 11 0 0
Leesville-Leasburg-L'ville (L-L-L) 25 78 17 46 15 32 0 0
Carolina Crossroads 20 24 20 24 0 0 0 0
Yanceyville Ramble 25 49 15 21 10 11 9 17
Triple Mountain View 12 17 12 15 2 2 0 0
Lake Gaston 210K 4 8 4 8 0 0 0 0
Sauratown 200K 9 17 3 7 4 4 5 6
How I Learned ... Love the BOMB 6 6 6 6 0 0 0 0
Brushy Mountain Lassooo 5 6 5 6 0 0 0 0
Wilkes Foothills 200K 3 5 3 4 1 1 0 0
Siler City Express 33 49 3 3 11 11 24 35
Big Bike to Performance Bike 2 7 2 3 1 4 0 0
Wilkes County Rumble 5 6 1 1 4 5 0 0
Natty Greene 200 24 26 1 1 23 25 0 0
Blackbeard's Permanent 7 11 0 0 1 1 7 10
Capitols ...: Richmond & Raleigh 4 5 0 0 2 2 3 3
Danbury 205K 8 10 0 0 2 2 6 8
TOTAL 355 969 182 349 164 323 136 297

The Populaires:
      Thru 2011          2011          2010          prior
Name  People    Rides  People    Rides  People    Rides  People    Rides
Get 'er Dunn 19 192 14 141 12 51 0 0
The Whirligig 15 94 14 90 4 4 0 0
Benson Mule Pull 25 62 22 41 10 21 0 0
Howling Grits Populaire 29 85 14 30 24 55 0 0
Sauratown Lite Populaire 4 37 3 26 2 11 0 0
Clayton Coffee Jaunt 3 18 3 18 0 0 0 0
Ham and Yam ... Jam 7 16 7 16 0 0 0 0
Natty Greene Lite Populaire 17 17 0 0 17 17 0 0
State Capitol Bailey Pop ... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
L'Societe d'Adrian Hands Pop 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mt. Mitchell Short Changed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cameron-Carrboro-Cameron 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bahama Beach 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 119 521 77 362 69 159 0 0

The above indicates approximately 71-thousand kms on the permanents in 2011, and 199-thousand kms for all years combined through the end of 2011.  (Totals are approx because the official distance of some permanents has changed over time as the routes were slightly modified.)

There were also over 37-thousand kms on the permanent-populaires in 2011, and over 54-thousand kms for 2010 and 2011 combined.

The combined total, through the end of 2011, amounts to over 253-thousand RUSA credit kms.

Not obvious from the above chart is that those kilometers were ridden by 113 unique individuals.  Some were visitors from outside North Carolina, but of course the vast majority were North Carolinians or "North Carolinians".  (Why the scare quotes?  Certain RUSAns from Virginia and South Carolina think of themselves as "at least part North Carolinian" as NC is where they do most or all of their brevets.  Those of us that live in NC also think of those just referenced as "at least part North Carolinian".)