Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jun-30: IR Youngsville-Franklinton Tour

This past Tuesday and Wednesday would have been great weather days for a double-double, a 2 x 200, back-to-back 200-km permanents.  I didn't do that.

Thursday would have been a great weather day for a 100-km permanent-populaire, and a pretty darn good day the last day of a triple-double, a 3 x 200, back-to-back-to-back permanents.  I didn't do that, either.

I did do an "errand ride" on Thursday afternoon.  2 errands -- 1 ride.  The heat was okay.  The debilitating stuff didn't arrive until Friday here.

By the way, before I go on, I was reminded, during that errand-ride, why I don't like riding in the city:  too ... many ... darn ... stop ... signs ... and ... stop ... lights.
The heat wave, 105F for the high on Friday, 104F today, put paid to the fantasy of a 5 x 200 extravaganza. 5 x 100 might have still been doable -- but it didn't "grab me".

What to do?

When Irregular friend Paul "the Mallet" posted for a 6 am start for a tour of Youngsville and Franklinton, I concluded that riding with people, and being done with the core of the ride by 0900 or 0930 seemed a really good idea.  That's what I did.

Map of today's core route:

With one person off doing a brevet (registered for the 600 -- in this heat, I'm hoping he traded-down to a shorter ride), three lying low because they plan to do some mountains tomorrow or Monday, will still had a nice-sized group of seven for the start.  Mallet, BobH, LT, Red Rocket, me, JohnD and CathyD (John's better half).
The closest we came to drama on the ride today were:
  • LT apparently dropped a bottle in or just east of Youngsville, 
  • Mallet thought I was going off-the-cues when I turned onto Cedar Creek Rd on the east edge of Y'ville, 
  • the Mallet and everyone (except me) did actually go off cue, missing the turn onto College St., in Franklinton.  
There wasn't much interest in county line sprints today, even though a couple of us made faux dashes a couple times. 

There is not a single bad surface on any road of this course (other than possibly in or just east of Youngsville).  I do recall some resurfacing from a few years ago -- pre-obamulation time-period.

LT noticed the llamas at a particular corner during the return from Franklinton.  He was convinced that he'd never ridden the cross road at that corner -- Long Mill Rd.  I assured him that he had (this is just ONE example).

Red Rider Lee seemed to undertake a break-away action early on Bruce Garner Rd.  The rest of us gave him some rope, then closed that down.

That's about it, really.  We did break into two parts on Bruce Garner Rd.  John + Cathy and I finished the route at about 0915.  The others probably finished around 0900.  Mallet's time objectives were clearly achieved.

This is clearly self-serving, but ... :  somewhere on New Light Rd (or perhaps later) Cathy remarked that she had really enjoyed the course.  Nice roads; low traffic; stuff she had never seen before.  [Thanks, Cathy.  I try.]

All-in-all:  nice ride on excellent roads with pleasant company.  And we finished well before the HEAT of the day.

 --> PUE:  Cedar Creek Cruise, aka, Youngsville-Franklinton Tour --> ; 70.9 m.; est. 4h43 in-motion; 15.0 mph.  [I have been doing some serious puzting it in on the "commutes back".  LOL.] 

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __9 rides; 1,009.9 m.; _67 h, 11 m; 15.0 mph. 
YTD tot: _51 rides; 4,321.8 m.; 291 h, 29 m; 14.8 mph. 

For comparison's sake only, here is the YTD for Jun-30-2011: 
YTD tot: _53 rides; _4427.1 m.; 297 h, 27 m; 14.9 mph.  
By Jun-30-2011, I had  4,060  RUSA credit kms. 
This year: ________ 4,647  RUSA credit kms. 
The Jun-30 results seem quite similar. 

However, last year, on Jul-02/03/04, I rode  408.6-miles for  616 RUSA credit kms. 
THAT is quite unlikely, extremely unlikely, to re-occur this year. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Jun-23: IR Post-Solstice Virginia Border Raid

At least three had indicated inability to do the Pre-Solstice Border Raid,
So ... a Post-Solstice Border Raid was also planned.
Interesting thing -- none of those three made this ride. 

Luckily, unanticipated participants emerged:
Tito returned from overseas, and wanted to ride,
Ags decided he wasn't up for his R-12 ride,
IvaHawk thought finding the NC/VA granite border marker would be interesting.
Iva also anticipated a "reunion" ride as many of us had not seen each other in quite a while.
The two reasons combined got him to attempt his first "back-to-back" centuries.
Special definition of "back-to-back":  consecutive Saturdays.

The afternoon before the ride, I invited Tom,
Who has been hanging around TLC-4-Bikes quite a bit lately,
To come and start with us.
He could turn around when we got to Creedmoor -- 14.5 miles into the ride.
Tom was doubtful about the 0600 start -- but he showed and rode.

Five people.
Two felt tired and were concerned about the potential pace that others might want to ride.
One getting one of his first tastes of riding on the road with some roller / climbs.
Two fast guys coming off two-week hiatus periods.

Easy pace across Pleasant Union Ch Rd and onto Six Forks, which becomes New Light Rd.

After Ags explained how he smashed one of his toes by dropping a large jar of pickles on it
At the beginning of his vacation and thus had been off the bike for 2 weeks,
He slowly drifted off the front.

"El Tito" decided to bridge to him and ... well ... I don't actually know.
Because Ags and Tito missed the turn onto Old Weaver Trail at 6.8 miles into the ride.

We yelled ... but it was too far for them to hear.
We thought about "chasing" ... but figured we'd be worn out if we caught them,
And our ride would be over ... IF ... we caught them.
We thought about just following until they stopped to wait for us.
But how many miles would it be before they stopped? 
Grissom at 11.4 miles?  Pokomoke at 15 miles?  Franklinton at 22? 
By the time they stopped, it might be too late to ride to the desired border location.
We could always just re-jigger a 100-mile route on the fly.
But Iva + I wanted to locate that granite border marker from 1887.

So we turned to follow the intended course.
Iva tried calling Tito ... voice and text messages passing in the ether for the next couple hours.

Iva, Tom and I soft-pedaled our way to Creedmoor,
Thinking Ags + Tito might catch us.
That didn't happen. 

But Tom did drop his water bottle twice.
The second time, he tried to re-start on an upslope in WAY too hard a gear.
Embarrassed he was.
Especially after he'd proclaimed the day before that he was not ever going to fall,
Particularly from forgetting to unclip before coming to a stop.
Gary + I had each assured him that he would eventually forget to unclip,
And that he would eventually take a fall.
Neither of us expected the first lesson would come within 14 hours.

Upon reaching the edge of Creedmoor,
Tom U-turned as was his plan.
Iva and I continued on at our easy-we-need-forever-to-warm-up-today pace.

We paused in Stem ... to try to connect with Ags + Tito.
And used the stop to top-up on water.

On thru Shoofly ... I didn't even see the sign -- again!  
(And I had so intended to keep an eye out for it.) 
Iva did -- and that led to a short discussion of old train tracks and "whistle-stops".

We turned at Culbreth.
And soon passed the Creech Family Farm.
Old NC / Raleigh family that Iva knows from his connections.

Across the Tar River ... and just like the week before -- no wall to climb on the other side.

About half way between the Tar River and US-158,
Tito and Iva finally connected via cell phone.
Ags + Tito were apparently at I-85 / US-158 just east of Oxford.

Options discussed.
Conclusion:  Ags + Tito would turn back and be happy with a 60+ mile ride.
Iva and I would continue on to do our second Border Raid in as many Saturdays.
Gosh, but that seems an awfully long intro ... .
AND, believe it or not, I "cut it down".
Past Lake Devin Rd (and the turn for the Shoofly Don't Bother Me course).
Across US-158  and  thru Kinton Forks.
Past Little Mountain Creek Rd (NC Bike Route #4) on the right,
Past Mountain Creek Rd (NC BR #4) on the left.
Iva + I taking turns leading or riding side-by-side, as whimsy suggested.

We obviously passed thru Cornwall,
But were so busy chatting as we drifted along at (probably) 12 or 13 mph,
That neither of us noticed Cornwall when we passed thru.
(It isn't that hard to miss Cornwall, actually.  Ride Cornwall Rd some day -- you'll see.)

We realized we had already gone thru Cornwall when we got to Jonathon X-roads.
One more down and one more up ... the border.

We spent about 20-minutes trying to find the 1887 granite border marker.
[If you follow the link immediately above, you will notice that it is labeled "1897"; 
However, every other source I've found refers to 1887.  (click here for some other sources)
I'm "going with" 1887.]

Iva + I are convinced, that if the marker has not been moved,
That we got within about 12 or 15 feet of the marker.
However, unlike in the photo (link here again), the area between that "fence" and the trees,
Was ALL tall weeds.
We decided not to chance encounters with ticks and poison ivy or other unwanted contacts.
Maybe we'll try to come back on a warm day in the winter,
When the weeds should be less of a problem.

We did the little pig-tail loop the course does into Virginia,
Then continued on our way to and thru Grassy Creek and to Stovall.

A few miles before getting to Stovall, I noticed that Iva was drifting off my front. 
I had to work pretty good to catch him. 
The self-proclaimed "old man of the 'Irregulars'" had rounded into pedaling form before me.

Our better form and better feeling legs stuck with us
And carried us the 42 miles from Stovall back to PUE.
Of course, we had wisely decided to take the "flat way" back
(Instead of the "mountain way" or the "NC BR #4 way").
There may also have been a bit of a tailwind.

We diverted from the mapped version of the Border Raid
By taking a left turn onto Philo White Rd,
Another left onto Conyers Rd
And then right on NC-56 for half-a-mile to get into Wilton.
Fewer cars on Philo White (and an extra climb).
[When one turns off Cannady Mill Rd onto Philo White, 
After climbing up the near-wall from the Tar River, 
One immediately drops down almost as far as the river to a tiny creek, 
Then immediately climbs back up to the top of the plain. 
That climb used to be a major-hill for me. 
Then, last year, or maybe the year before, I discovered I could overpower that climb. 
This time, partially / mostly by accident, I did that climb with a decently high cadence, 
Standing, in the 39/11.  
I was amazed. 
I was pleasantly surprised to find Iva right on my wheel as the steepest part of the climb ended. 
IvaHawk is like an Energizer-Bunny -- he just keeps coming and coming and coming. 
I imagine that is how he did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell this year and last.]

I convinced Iva to turn onto Conyers Rd to keep intact my record of
Never having done the same exact Virginia Border Raid course twice.
[Some day I may run out of logical alternatives ... .]
Also, the first time I did the Border Raid,
I stopped at the store at the corner of Conyers and NC-56.
I expected that store was going out of business a few years back.
But it seemed to be thriving when we cycled past.
Probably a benefit of the more strategically located Citgo gas station / c'store
That was located AT the Wilton crossroads going out of business first.

The last 17 miles of our ride were non-event filled.
The only thing that comes to mind is this:
The climb up Mt. Vernon Ch Rd to PUE is so much easier since the resurfacing of the last few weeks.
Iva commented, "it takes 20% less energy to do that climb!".

Iva + I agreed we each had a good ride.
I'm pretty sure neither of us was lying.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
We forgot to take any photos while on the ride.
We certainly should have taken at least one when we thought we were near the border marker.
Oh, well.  Them's the breaks.
Long post.  I was intending a short, "sense-of" post.
Maybe there was too much I wanted to record from the early part of the ride.

One more thing:
The "flat way" from Stovall to US-158 near Oxford,
Is not nearly as interesting as the "mountain way" or the "BR #4 way",
But it is a heck of a lot easier!

commute --> PUE:  Virginia Border Raid, version 5 --> TLC-4-Bikes (new location) --> commute; 128.4 m.; est. 9h03 in-motion; 14.2 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __7 rides; __910.7 m.; _60 h, 28 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: _49 rides; 4,222.6 m.; 284 h, 46 m; 14.8 mph. 

[The above are my stats.  For today's ride, Iva rode about 113.3-miles.  107.1-miles on the "core" Border Raid, plus a 3.1-mile commute each way.  (My commutes were longer).] 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jun-22: Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop

Alternate Title # 1:
Use It  OR  Lose It!

Alternate Title # 2:
The Heat is On!

It has been much cooler so far this June than last.
At least it seems as if it has been cooler.
But Friday, Jun-22, seemed to be trying to make up for the arrears all at once.
In a few weeks, after getting acclimatized, the same heat + humidity won't feel quite so bad.
However ...
Certain people may like starting this route at 0900 on a weekday in the summer months. 
They are welcome to continue to do so.

I, on the other hand, will be starting at 0600 or 0700 for the next few months.
I'm already looking forward to the middle of September.

commute --> Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop --> TLC-4-Bikes (new location) --> commute; 89.3 m.; est. 5h56 in-motion; 15.0 mph; BB rando elapsed time:  5h11  --  too much HEAT.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __6 rides; __782.3 m.; _51 h, 25 m; 15.2 mph. 
YTD tot: _48 rides; 4,094.2 m.; 275 h, 43 m; 14.8 mph. 

After this ride:  89. 
Meaning that I have completed at least 89 different rides that were at least 89 miles long. 
As the Eddington Cycling Number rolled over to 89, two 88-mile rides "fell off the list": 

I had forgotten the 2011 ride -- until I looked up the post -- and chuckled at Branson's fixie comment. 
The 2009 ride ... I get a reminder of that every time I do MikeD's Kerr Lake Loop.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Unexpected "Planning" for a Post-Solstice VA Border Raider

The Border Raid route:

Looking for some Google-street-views of back-roads near the point where the route reaches the border, I found this:

And that started an internet search.  So far, I've come across the following:

I've copied the links into here, and published, because I don't have time to sift the wheat from the chaff, and don't want to go thru the process of finding the above from scratch, again.  I'm sure there are other, more useful ways to cache these links, but ... 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jun-16: IR Pre-Solstice Virginia Border Raid

Irregulars Summer Solstice Rides

The Irregulars have been doing Summer Solstice rides for a few years, now.
As best I can figure looking at my records,

You might think that we jumped-the-gun a bit this year, doing the Solstice ride the Saturday BEFORE the solstice, instead of waiting for next Saturday, which will be closer to the actual solstice, but Ricochet is doing a Tony-mountain-600-brevet on the 30th (link to a Trimble map), and he thinks he should take it easy next weekend, and limit himself to a 40 or 50 mile ride next Saturday.  There were or may have been additional reasons for doing the ride this weekend, but the top of the list was Ricochet Robert's desire(s). 

[Another comment on possibly jumping-the-gun:  I just happened to see the sunrise times for the week between Jun-16 and Jun-23 -- sunrise on Jun-16 was 5:58 am EDT -- sunrise on Jun-23 will be 6:00 EDT. The mornings are already getting shorter; the afternoons will continue to get slightly longer for another week or two.] 

Previous Virginia Border Raids

As best I can figure from looking at my records,
this Pre-Solstice Ride made only the fourth time I've done the "Virginia Border Raid".
  • the first time was Sep-29-2007 -- my first ever 100-miler.  A solo effort as few / none of the IRs were interested in doing a 100-miler -- my, how things have changed !! -- and my then spouse, who had done what we thought at the time was quite a few centuries, was on a bus headed for West Jefferson and the week-long Cycle North Carolina mountains to the beach tour.  (There are some interesting tid-bits about that first Border Raid that are included at the beginning of the 2009-Solstice blog post (see above link); there is also some insight into why the cue sheet no longer matches the map -- basically, I just don't feel like changing the cue sheet to match the map.) 
  • the second time I did this route was Aug-23-2008.  It was the first ever Irregulars 100-miler.  We didn't do Tump Wilkins Rd; we didn't do Belltown Rd; we stuck to the cue sheet except for a 1-mile round trip detour to Nelson, VA for an additional refueling stop.  I was suffering off the back on the climb up from the Tar River on Cannady Mill Rd -- I did not want to turn onto Philo White Rd (because of the immediate additional descending and climbing required), but I was too far back to yell ahead -- the other five made the turn and I followed.  Gosh, but I suffered at the end of that ride. 
  • the third time I did this route was aforementioned 2010 Summer Solstice Ride.  We did NOT detour into Nelson.  We stayed on Cannady Mill Rd and did NOT turn off onto Philo White Rd; i.e., we followed the map (not the cue sheet). 
  • three previous rides on this route.  You may have noticed that I've never ridden the exact same course twice.  One can do that on a non-RUSA ride. 

This Ride
The Gathering

Interest in doing the ride / availability to do the ride, was mixed -- expected crew was 6 to 8 riders.

Rando Byron was a late addition:  he contacted Ricochet and me (and others ?) about doing his "L-L-L" route, but Ricochet and I each replied that we were committed to the Irregulars Virginia Border Raid and each of us extended Byron an invite.  Byron chose the "party-ride" over a solo ride in "L-L-L-land".

An unexpected (to me) addition was JohnD's friend Craig.  Turns out Craig lives near the intersection of Old Stage and Rock Service Station roads south of Raleigh / Garner.  Local randos may recognize that location.

JohnD brought information that BobH (and Norris) had decided to do a shorter ride, and would therefore not be joining us.

Craig would have won the prize for longest trip to get to the start, except that Rando Biker Bob drove over from Graham to join the ride and continue his testing of his right Achilles and to build-up a bit in anticipation of an "insurance" 200k next weekend, and the Tony-mountain-600-brevet mentioned above the following weekend.

Shortest trip to the start?  IvaHawk took that prize with a 5-km cycle from home to start.

Ricochet and Byron cycled to the start -- collecting IvaHawk on the way.  I also cycled to the start.  Longest cycle-commute to the start?  Byron -- by about half a mile. 

Early Miles 

As everyone was accounted for and eager to get underway, we did, perhaps a minute early.  Civilized pace across Pleasant Union Church Rd and on the rollers of Six Forks / New Light Rd and Old Weaver Trail and Whitt and Dove roads into Creedmoor.

We hadn't plan a stop after only 15-miles (Creedmoor Southern States), but sometimes one's bodily functions get off-schedule.

The civilized pace continued up Brogden Rd toward Stem.  Byron was willing to check out the promised rollers on Tump Wilkins Rd (not on the route, and a long-cut), but we couldn't convince Ricochet to go with him -- I could have gone with Byron, but then the main crew would not have known how to detour from the course in Stem to meet back up with Byron and whomever.

Thru Stem and on to Culbreth Rd.  I don't recall anything from Culbreth Rd -- not the sign for "Shoofly", not the rollers that used to seem to be near-mountains, not the conversations, not nothing.

Just after the turn off Culbreth Rd onto Enon Rd, Byron asked about lunch.  Huh?  I told him I like to do lunch on this route in Stovall, at about 60 miles (64-miles would have been a better estimate), but the first intended refueling stop was only another 8 miles or so.

There are a couple nice farmsteads / houses in that 8 miles.  And also a 3-mile trek up a shallow-ish slope after crossing the Tar River.  [IvaHawk asked about a possible "wall" after crossing the Tar River -- not on Enon Rd -- at least not when headed north.  I can't recall ever doing that stretch of Enon Rd headed south, but I think there is no "wall" when headed south, either.  Culbreth Rd near Berea, however, may seem more wall-like.]  No "wall" on this crossing of the Tar River -- however, the northerly / northeasterly wind was starting to wake up.

Have you ever noticed that there is no consistent style or voice to these blog posts?  If you have noticed that, and it bothers you -- read something else.

Past Lake Devin Rd and into the gas station / convenience store at the corner of Enon Rd and US-158.  While at the refueling depot, JohnD told us that he and Craig had decided to do the alternative "Shoofly Don't Bother Me" 75-mile course.  Iva, upon hearing that John and Craig were doing the short route, lamented that they were leaving him on his own to deal with four Super Randonneurs.  :-O

My guess, which I did not voice, because I think Craig could have done the 106-mile Border Raid in style, was that Craig had decided that John had bitten off more than Craig wanted to chew.  [Even if my guess is wrong, is still makes for a good one-liner.]  John got out his two cue sheets; I showed him when to switch back from the Shoofly to the Border Raid cues to eliminate some climbing; I also suggested they might prefer to stay on Cannady Mill Rd all the way to NC-96, rather than turning onto Philo White Rd.  We haven't heard from John, but their cars were not at the finish, so we assumed they got back okay, and we hoped that each had enjoyed the slightly shorter ride.

The Assault on the Virginia Line

Crossing US-158, we were suddenly on Cornwall Rd.  Back / side-roads in North Carolina have a way of changing name at county lines (count on it) and at other unpredictable times.  This name change would be better categorized in the unpredictable category.

It had been a couple years since I had last been on Cornwall Rd -- probably the 2010 Solstice Ride was the previous time.  I had forgotten how nice a road that is -- the surface is excellent, there are easy rollers (that get a bit taller as one gets closer to Virginia) which makes for good cycling, and there are some decent vistas along the way -- maybe you wouldn't try to make a picture-postcard, but nice.  The lush green rural scenes were making the ride definitely a doubly worthwhile experience.  Admittedly, the enjoyment for four of us may have been enhanced by Bob taking a 40-minute pull into the increasing headwind and increasing in size rollers.

I used the last downslope to catapult myself from last in the line to the front; then kept a good cadence, possibly increasing my effort when I saw the warning signs for the curve in the road as we went up the last upslope to Virginia.  The crew all think that I had made a calculated move to take the State Line Sprint.  I don't want to disabuse them of that idea, but I didn't realize we were "at" the state line until I saw the warning signs for the curve.  I hit the pedals hard and kept hitting them harder because I knew that if Byron realized what I was doing ... he would get into Virginia first.

Once the "North Carolina double-yellow center-line" ended, I signaled to slow and stop.  Byron, Ricochet and Bob went rocketing past me, asking what was up.  Once they had stopped, I suggested they turn around and look at the signage.  "Oh, we are in Virginia."

As there was no sign for Virginia:
Four "Super Randonneurs" at the Virginia / North Carolina state-line on an Irregulars ride.
Only two of us have "refreshed" our SR status so far in 2012.
L to R:  Bob, Ricochet, Byron, me. 
IvaHawk in Virginia (too bad his face is in deep shadow).
Iva, not an SR, but he was the only ONE in the group that did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell this year.
Last year, too.
We decided that he could handle anything the 4 SR's might have thrown at him. 

To Stovall and Lunch

When I created this route, I decided "if I'm going to ride to Virginia, I'm going to ride IN Virginia."  So ... the route does a 3 or 4 mile stint in Virginia, coming to within half-a-mile of Nelson, Virginia.  There is a store in Nelson (and not much more).  That store can be useful on a hot day.  The store might also have been useful when Virginia had a lottery and North Carolina did not -- informal "Lotto Centuries" were somewhat popular then -- ask MikeD if you don't believe me.

Anyway, Byron and Bob and Ricochet got up to speed before Iva and me; Iva and I spent most of the time in Virginia at least one or two hundred yards in arrears.  [Snapper -- no farmer was spreading sewage water on the Virginia roads ... this time.]  However, the lead-three slowed just early enough so that Iva and I caught up just before the little nothing of a bump before the route returned to North Carolina.  If I were looking to celebrate hollow victories, I would mention that I managed to take advantage of the three at their reduced pace to go around and complete the State Line Sprint perfecta.  Good thing I decided not to mention it.  :-O

We turned southeastward onto Grassy Creek - Virgilina Rd (which seemingly becomes "just" Grassy Creek Rd at the corner that is Grassy Creek) expecting a nice tailwind.  We were, after all, heading in what we thought was almost the opposite direction as compared to when we had been on Cornwall Rd.  Examination of the map, however, reveals that until transiting Grassy Creek, we were headed mostly due east; since the wind was out of the northeast, a headwind on that section made sense.

However, despite the fact that between Grassy Creek and Stovall the road runs southeast-by-south, we STILL had a headwind !!!  That was disappointing, to say the least.

The gas station / convenience store / deli in Stovall, and the gazebo next to the church across US-15 from the store were welcome sights.

Three Choice Routes -- Which One to Select?

There are three excellent cycling routes from Stovall to hook up with US Bike Route #1 just east of Oxford.

  • The "Flat Way".  Which is what the map and cue sheet for this route indicate.  Which is also the original routing of MikeD's "Kerr Lake Loop". 
  • The "Mountain Way".  Which we had all ridden at least once previously, includes Mountain Rd which has a couple nice mountain-esque vistas AND goes up "Peace Mtn" (often referred to as "Stovall Mtn").  Road gets steep, but not for long, and I suppose not THAT steep, but steep enough.  Search this blog for "Stovall and a Mountain" -- you should be able to find a map.  Alternatively, ride MikeD's Kerr Lake Loop, and experience the mountain at the 100-mile point of that ride. 
  • The "NC Bike Route #4 Way".  None of us had ever ridden BR #4 from Stovall all the way to BR #1.  [I was going to type that none of had ever ridden BR #4 east of Dexter Rd, but Byron related a story about reaching Hicksboro once when doing the rando Kerr Lake Loop and ... it's his story ... maybe he will tell you about it some day if it is appropriate.]  We agreed to try this third way since none of had ever ridden it.  Conclusion(s):  quite a few nice rollers; adds about 5 miles to the route versus the-flat-way; may be tougher than the-mountain-way, if one rides non-conservatively; definitely worth riding again. 

Bringing It Home

We stopped at US-158 (at the "other" store) to top off water bottles, etc. since the water and "etc." options at the gas station in Stovall had not been that good.  Then headed for Raleigh following US Bike Route #1.  We did not make the cue-sheeted turn onto Philo White Rd.  Except for the climb back up from the Tar River on Cannady Mill Rd, the climb on Lawrence Rd, and the Ghoston-Peed-MVC finish, the last 30+ miles were flat and fast (by our standards).

As we approached Ghoston Rd, Byron said something about "racing up Ghoston".  We made the turn and whoosh!!  Byron raced past me and up the hill.  Ricochet came up and also passed me as he seemed to be barely working; however, Ricochet was repeating in his amazement at Byron:  "how does he do that?  How does he do that?"

Here's the answer, Robert:  Byron is 23-years younger than you, and has been riding a bicycle for at least 23 years longer than you.


Byron and Ricochet Robert were waiting in the PUE parking lot for Bob, Iva and me.  They may well have been waiting for about 10 minutes as, by my watch, Bob, Iva and I putzed in the last 4.7-miles on Ghoston-Peed-MVC in 25 minutes.  Bob still reported that his cycle confuser showed 111.05 miles in 7h03m15s of in-motion time.  Pretty good results for us, especially considering that about 64 of those miles were into a headwind. 

More importantly, all had a good day on their respective bikes on a good course with good people.

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

commute --> PUE:  Virginia Border Raid --> commute; 129.8 m.; 8h22 in-motion; 15.5 mph.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __5 rides; __693.0 m.; _45 h, 28 m; 15.2 mph. 
YTD tot: _47 rides; 4,004.9 m.; 269 h, 46 m; 14.8 mph. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jun-09: Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop

Rando-friend BobB had a plan to complete three SR's by this weekend.
Then his right Achilles tendon flared up.
Result:  no Natchez Trace 600; no NCBC 600; no New Jersey 600.
That had been his plan:  three 600's ... on three consecutive weekends.

To ease back into action, he inquired about doing Bahama Beach permanent-populaire.
So ... Saturday morning, Bob and I were joined by Ricochet Robert and IvaHawk,
For a pleasant spin around the BB course.

Bob was fresh off three of four weeks of short, easy rides (or no rides at all).
Ricochet and I were one week removed from completing the NCBC 600 brevet.
IvahHawk ... too many triathlons and duathlons and what-not to keep straight:
So he was re-starting his P-series,
While his former work colleague, JayJay, was snaring her R-39 riding south of Raleigh.

My favorite part of the ride:
When I asked Bob, late in the ride, if he knew where he was,
He responded, "No, but I like the road."

My second favorite part of the ride:
On Ellis Chapel Rd, Bob noted that the terrain seemed reminiscent of certain parts
Of a typical Matt Settle brevet.
Obviously, Bob was referring to the easy parts of Matt's brevets.

My least favorite part of the ride:
The "knee complaints" that manifested the weekend before during the NCBC 600,
Made their re-appearance during the latter half of the ride.
I foresee many miles of staying in the middle chain ring,
And spinning / nearly soft-pedaling the climbs.

It may take some effort on my part to stay in an easy gear.
After the "knee complaints" returned, I intended to stay in a 39/15 or easier combination.
However, at one point late in the ride, I looked down to check what gear I was in:
Now I ask you:  What is the difference between 39/13 and 50/17?
The 39/13 is actually a "bigger" / harder gear.

Bob had plenty of gusto on display the last 9 miles or so of the ride.
So too did Ricochet.
I understand that each intends to do Tony's upcoming mountain 600 brevet.
I am confident that each will have an excellent adventure.

IvaHawk never seemed to be under duress at any point during the ride.
And I appreciated him staying with me as I putzed in the finish on Ghoston, Peed and MVC.

Excellent ride with excellent people.
What more could one ask for?

commute to --> Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop --> commute back; 74.0 m.; 4h55 in-motion; 15.0 mph; BB rando elapsed time:  5h00.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
A-M tot: _20 rides; 1,701.6 m.; 115 h, 24 m; 14.7 mph. 
Jun tot: __2 rides; __451.4 m.; _29 h, 22 m; 15.4 mph. 
YTD tot: _42 rides; 3,763.3 m.; 253 h, 39 m; 14.8 mph.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jun-02/03: NCBC 600-km Brevet

With the non-brevet-like weather,
This almost turned into an event with no notable things about which to type ...
[Note: all photos are thanks to RickR, unless noted otherwise.]

MikeD has a nice summary over on Research Trailer Park.
KeithS has an even shorter, yet comprehensive report on Doc-on-a-bike.

Notable things (from my perspective):

Mild temps.
Mild humidity.
Pack of 15 still together after 38 miles.
Wrong turn onto "Rawls Club Rd".

Front-wheel magnet and sensor mis-aligned.
Attemtped re-alignment in Angier.
"TICK-TICK-TICK" as the magnet hit the sensor every time by.
Stopped again; adjusted again.
Foolish me ... I tried to bridge.

Ricochet and Byron in Erwin, Tar Heel control.
Fleche Team, minus Dean, plus JohnO + Geof.
Cyndy headed the wrong way from Godwin corner.
Geof + Byron following.
Geof, Byron and Cyndy tacked on,
Geof and Cyndy drifting off the front.
Founder's Day Parade in Wade.
Quick, early lunch at Strickland's Marathon.

The anticipated and much feared Turnbull Rd toward Ammon.
... had been chip-sealed within the last year.
Not smooth by any imagination, but not "Bump-ass Rd" (this year).

Ammon.  Blueberry Festival.

White Lake.  200k.  7h47.  A personal best.
Wilmington volunteer BobB at the control.
White Lake volunteer (and High Point RBA) TonyG at the control.

Fleche Team, minus Dean, plus JohnO across NC-53 and then NC-210 towards Rocky Point.
Battery in sensor dies.
Left calf cramp a mile before the control at Rocky Point.
Ease into Rocky Point.
A baked potato at the Wendy's,
Loaded with lots of mustard, butter, sour cream, ketchup, pepper, salt, more salt, more salt.

Keeping the legs and feet super relaxed from Rocky Point into Wilmington
Pat and Curt (the "Bee Team -- see MikeD's post for Pat's big excitement of the ride) joined us.
Pat took the lead, while Curt rode next to me.
Curt asked about Alan.
Response:  "as I understand it, he did his first series in 1983 or 84.
"And ... , and ... , and ... , and ... , and he has great 'war stories' from brevets past."

Wilmington control.  13h04.  A 300-km record.
My legs better, but still not great.
Byron understands all the unwritten rules.
E.g., sit instead of stand; lie down  rather than sit.
I didn't feel as bad as I looked.  Really. 
Robert looked cool, calm and collected.  Maybe too cool?
The Bee Team.
Pat and Curt. 

Volunteers RickR and BobB.

JohnO contemplated abandoning.

BobB quietly getting me to try to encourage John.
I did try, but without much success.
Ricochet took over:  deciding John was continuing -- period.
Robert, Byron, Curt, Mick/Mike - ready to leave. 
Me, JohnO - ready to leave.
BobB supervises. 
JohnO, guided by two lights, did continue.
Gotta' get that moonshot in the blog somehow.
Well ... it looks like the moon over his head, but I don't understand how it could be.
As we exited Wilmington, the rising near-full moon was a large, orange ball on the horizon. 

Al P and "Tidewater" Jacob arrived just as we left.
Almost certainly a 300 PR for each.
The half-way point of Jacob's first ever 600.
He looked to us as if he was still smiling -- he later informed that it was a grimace.

Daylight for half the trip back to Rocky Point.  Woohoo!!
The Bee Team gone off the front.
But not for long.
They missed the turn onto Dairy Farm / Blue Clay Rd.

All together into and through and out-of Rocky Point.
Several miles after Rocky Point, the Bee Team picked up the pace.
Byron and Mick/Mike went with them.
I did not.
JohnO did not.
Ricochet did not.

JohnO, Ricochet and I paused at the Currie Post Office.
Old times remembered.
Robert + me. Currie Post Office.
Backlit by the site of the best sleeping quarters in 2011.
Photo thanks to Ricochet, JohnO napped the pic. 
Benches in front of that convenience store across from the Kelly Post Office.
Somewhere on NC-53, an close encounter with a doe on the road.

Into the White Lake control at approx 1:35 am.  19h35 for a 400k.
Another personal record.
Byron and Mick/Mike had gotten there about 1 am.
The next control -- Strickland's Marathon -- store doesn't open until 7 am.
Can deal with with "open" control at a closed store, but
We want to eat breakfast there.
Might as well sleep here in White Lake.

[No one took any photos in White Lake. 
And there were a couple great opportunities. 
BTW, TonyG looked more tired than I felt -- he likely thought the opposite.]

4:35 -- leave White Lake:  on to Strickland's, minus JohnO.
We arrive around 8.
Keith joins us when we leave around 9.
Fleche Team, minus Dean, plus Keith.

Definitely a headwind before Erwin.
We pause in Erwin, at the Get 'er Dunn control.
600 meets 100 as
Dean pulls in to use the Get 'er Dunn control.

On to Angier.
Mick/Mike having increasing difficulties.
His body leaning further and further to the left.
Bike stays upright, but drifts to the left.

We split in Angier.
Byron and Ricochet and Keith in one group.
Mick/Mike and me as the second group.
Increasing struggles for Mick/Mike.
We have plenty of time in the bank.
We use the time to deal with and overcome struggles.

We finish.
First ACP SR for Ricochet Robert.  Congratulations!
[I guess I can no longer tease him that I have an ACP SR, but he doesn't.  Sigh...]

First SR for Mick/Mike.  Well done!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

With Friends Like This ...

One friend captured a certain photo Saturday, about 7:30 pm.
Another friend suggested I use that photo as the banner for this blog.

Then ... that second friend "threatened" another use of that certain photo:

I'm confident I won't be using the above photo (without the special text overlay) for my banner,
but ...