Monday, July 30, 2012

Jul-29: OakElmOak 209-km Perm

Ian met me at the Cameron Village McD's (open control) for the start of the relatively new OakElmOak 209-km Permament.  Having been delegated the responsibility for same by owner Mick/Mike, I duly collected Ian's signature, etc. onto the group waiver we were using.  Collected receipts and then started the ride.

OakElmOak is one of the (now) three Permanents that start from downtown Raleigh.  It will surprise no one if I write that I prefer routes that start at the edge of town -- I don't like riding through the traffic and the stop-signs and the stop-lights and the stop-signs and the stop-lights that it takes to get out of downtown, or back into at the end of rides.  Did I mention that I'm not a fan of car traffic and stop-signs and stop-lights?

Anyway, soon enough we were away from downtown and then outside the city, enjoying conversation.  Actually, I think I may have talked more than my fair share, but I did at least let Ian get in some things.  I think we were on Fowler Rd about 20-miles into the ride when, in the logical course of the conversation at the time, Ian referenced "[his] father" as if I should know his father; for  a second, I thought to myself, "am I supposed to know Ian's father / have I met Ian's father?"  I came to my senses a second later ... of course I knew who Ian's father was ... I had just forgotten with whom I was riding.  (For the non-locals, Ian's father was THE Adrian of "La Société Adrian Hands" and other fame.)  I guess it a good thing that, usually, I just think of Ian as Ian, and not as "Adrian's son".

Luckily for me, Ian had only done one 200k ride since doing the pre-ride for Alan's 600-km brevet, so his legs were a little suspect.  Further luck for as the day before Ian had done his second 200 in the last two months -- the north-of-Raleigh/Durham hillfest known as Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville.  I note that those were lucky things for me because Ian, in addition to being 29-years-younger than me, is quite a bit faster than me on the bike (clearly, the latter is the important thing).  So ... with fewer recent miles in his legs, and a hard ride the day before, there was hope for me.

Unfortunately, I had done the Bahama Beach Perm-Pop the day before at a higher in-motion pace that I usually do that ride.  So ... each of us had slightly tired legs.

Ian assured me that he was riding either "with me" or "following me" due to his concern over being slightly out-of-shape.  Um-huh; sure.

I finally did tell Ian, probably even before reaching the Spring Hope control at 43-miles, that I was done "charging up the climbs" for the day.  Luckily, although not flat, the OakElmOak route is not "hilly" -- mostly gentle rollers -- scenic in a number of spots. though.  Paul Sledge Rd goes along a ridge-top, providing views off to each side -- I liked that.  The crossing of the Tar River on NC-58 was scenic -- FLAT terrain / crossing of the river, with water perhaps backed-up from the Tar River Reservoir, making near estuary-like vistas.  (The Tar River does essentially become an estuary when it passes by Washington, North Carolina.)

I don't recall anything from the return ride from Elm City worth particular written attention, except for the following:

  • I thought there were more fast-food options in Spring Hope than there actually is, 
  • Ian found his fast-legs about 20-miles before the end of the ride, 
  • he now thinks he'll be able to handle the ToC-1200 at the end of August, 
  • more traffic coming back into Raleigh than I like to deal with. 

All-in-all, a good ride.  And, as best I can recall, the first time I've actually done an entire ride with Ian.

---> OakElmOak 209-km Permanet (with some bonus miles) --->; 141.6 m.; 9h19 in-motion; 15.2 mph; OakElmOak accounted for 133.6-miles and 8h40 in-motion w/ 10h50 elapsed time

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __9 rides; __751.5 m.; _49 h, 10 m; 15.3 mph. 
YTD tot: _60 rides; 5,073.3 m.; 340 h, 40 m; 14.9 mph.  

Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  90
Meaning that I have completed at least 90 different rides that were at least 90 miles long. 
(The next ECN-milestone will come at 93 as I have no 91 or 92 mile rides.)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jul-28: Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop

Irregular / rando friend JohnA met me for an 0700 start to the Bahama Beach permanent-populaire.

We got lucky in that an unexpected thin film of cloud protected us until about 1000.
It was still hot enough and humid enough to "satisfy" us.

Not much to type, today.
Straightforward ride.
Very little traffic.
1 car passed us on Ellis Chapel Rd -- that's slightly above the average.
0 cars on Robert's Chapel Rd -- just slightly below the average.
Hardly any cars on Brogden Rd -- that's a bit unusual.

NC-DOT is resurfacing Old-75 / whatever name that road goes by near Stem.
Looked likely to have new fog and double-yellow lines by Monday.

I worked hard.
Not entirely convinced that JohnA had to work hard.
We stuck together until the bottom of Ghoston Rd.
Then John put 6 official minutes into me in the last 9.5 kms.

My outbound commute:  9.0 m.; 0h32 in-motion; 16.6 mph. 
Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop:  64.5 m.; 3h53 in-motion; 16.6 mph; 4h26 elapsed
My inbound commute (don't ask why this is shorter):  4.6 m.; 0h19 in-motion; 14.2 mph.
Total ride:  78.1 m.; 4h44 in-motion; 16.5 mph.

Third fastest ride of the year for me. 
In the last 8 days, I've had my second, fourth and third fastest rides of the year.  

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __8 rides; __609.9 m.; _39 h, 51 m; 15.3 mph. 
YTD tot: _59 rides; 4,931.7 m.; 331 h, 20 m; 14.9 mph. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jul-26: A Pleasant Loop of Falls Lake

Met my friend IvaHawk for a short ride around Falls Lake.

At the corner of Carpenter Pond and Kemp, I forgot what route we were doing,
And continued on Kemp instead of taking the flatter Carpenter Pond Rd.

A very pleasant ride it was,
Taking no effort to zip along Cheek Rd at 18-mph or better.
Just the kind of ride one likes.

Speaking of Cheek Rd:
Falls Lake, on either side of the Cheek Rd causeway,
Made for refreshing viewing.
A full lake, few ripples, not much haze, and the sun reflecting off the water.

The first house on the right on Old Weaver Trail after turning off Boyce Rd.,
Is definitely a welcome sight to one's eyes.
Neat, tidy, well cared for -- it looks "clean".
We made sure to turn off Old Weaver Trail onto Stool Tree Rd.
I swear it used to be labeled "Old Stool Tree Rd."

Stool Tree becomes Munns Rd (at the the county line, of course).
Just after that, there is that very nice farm-house on the left,
With the well kept grounds (mostly grass under the trees).
I always recall when it was all undergrowth and brambles under those trees.

Little traffic on Cash Rd today.
Helped make it more enjoyable to check out all the houses along the way.
Most are quite neatly kept.

Iva dropped his chain at the turn off Cash Rd onto Old Weaver Trail.
He proclaimed it was definitely user-error.

I needed a pit-stop at Shinleaf -- then finished the ride without the usual G-P-MVC climbs.

Commute:  6.6 m.; 0h24 in-motion. 
modified Falls Lake Loop:  36.2 m.; 2h15 in-motion
Total ride:  42.8 m.; 2h39 in-motion; 16.1 mph.

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __7 rides; __531.8 m.; _35 h, 06 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: _58 rides; 4,853.6 m.; 328 h, 36 m; 14.9 mph. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lightning, Thunder, Rain -- No, Thank-You

I was supposed to do the "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville" 204-km permanent today.
But as the 0500 alarm sounded, barely audible through the ground-shaking thunder,
I turned it off, thought for about 2 seconds, decided "nope",
And lay me back down.
Not to sleep though, as the THUNDER continued on for awhile longer.

I heard the 0535 alarm on my watch, and shut it off.
No longer was the sky filled with WILD LIGHTNING,
No longer was the ground shaking from the loudest THUNDER I can recall in quite some time,
I don't recall if is was still raining or not,
But I had already decided.

At 0620, which is when I would have started pedaling to the L-L-L start,
The roads were still so wet that, being fender-less as I am,
I would have been soaked in minutes, and
Miserable for hours after.

The others doing the ride are all be-fendered.
At least one is training for the Taste of Carolina 1200 at the end of August. 
All are faster than me and I would have likely dropped them within in few miles of the start.
That is ... dropped them off my front.

I'm not training for anything. 
And I already have my R-24 ride this month.

I can afford to pick my days and my rides.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jul-21: IR No-Cars 100k

Seven cyclists.  No cars.
Everyone cycled to the start.

As I arrived first at 0626, I was mildly surprised by the lack of cars at the meeting spot.
But then quickly realized that:

  • the Mallet always cycles the 7+ miles to and from PUE for the rides, 
  • that IvaHawk often pedals the 5-kms to and from the rides, and 
  • that Ricochet sometimes rides the 7 or so miles to and from PUE. 

At 0627, Red Rocket arrived.
He had not indicated that he was going to do the ride.
He always cycles the 2.2 miles to the start.
He asked, "where is everybody?"
I replied confidently (even although I wasn't entirely convinced), "they're all riding here."

0629, the Mallet pulled in.
He did not seem confused by the paucity of other riders nor the lack of cars.

And a minute or so later, four cyclists were visible on the road heading for the start.
I recognized all from the combination of their jerseys and positions on their bikes.

BobH and Norris (who had not indicated they were riding -- which is usually the case), and
IvaHawk and Ricochet all arrived at about 0631.

We got underway at 0635.

I remember darn little of the first 14.5-miles of the ride,
Except that I noted to Iva that Lee didn't have the same
Problem that Ags + Tito had had on Jun-23
Iva agreed, "yeah, Lee obviously knows the course."

I also recall a conversation with BobH.
We noted that the pace was higher than usual.
We estimated about 17-mph based on the distance covered in the first 40 minutes.
We attributed the higher to Lee -- he seemed in a hurry or something.

Between Creedmoor and Stem,
The Mallet commented that it had been so long since he had ridden the previous and current roads
In the direction we were riding, that he wasn't recognizing anything.
He in particular commented on one downhill just as we began the descent.
He admitted he recalled it from the other direction, but not the direction we were riding.

Next thing I recall is that we were pulling into the convenience store in Stem.
21.5-miles in 75-minutes in-motion and elapsed time.
17.1 mph.  A couple miles per hour than usual for getting to Stem on that route.

After about 10 minutes in Stem to eat a little, refill water bottles, and to faff a little,
We resumed our ride.

Two down-and-ups, then left onto Belltown Rd,
For the stair-step rollers down to the Tar River.
Lee off the front of the rest of us the entire time we were on Belltown Rd.

I found the climb up to Bryan's Hill Rd after crossing the Tar River so mild,
That I thought the river had just been a creek.
I was surprised when Lee made the right turn.
For a moment I was sure he was making a wrong turn.
But luckily I saw the road-sign before I said anything.

Bryan's Hill Rd has the word "hill" in its name, and that might scare some, but
The down-and-up valley is not so special.
I've sometimes wondered where "Bryan's Hill" is.

Upon reaching US-15, there seemed some confusion among the lead riders as to which way to turn.
I seized the lead and zoomed up the initial little slope to get to the level ground,
And then we all turned onto Sam Usry Rd.

Sam Usry Rd has two notable down-and-ups.
I particularly like the first up.
Not because it is a challenge nor that it is easy.
No, what makes it interesting, or like-able, to me is that
The road makes a slow S-curve climbing and as a result,
There are multiple nice scenes presented for one's viewing pleasure.
Added bonus today:  the house on the south side of the road
Had a Model-T or A in the carport.
A little far, and a modern vehicle was in the way, to get a really good view.

Left onto NC-96 at Corinth.
Right onto Eaton Rd.
Eaton Rd has a serious plunge to a creek, and
A stiff-ish climb back up on the other side.
Not comparable to Flint Hill Rd, but still a serious plunge and climb.
26-months ago, on his second ride as an adult,
Ricochet dropped his chain on that stiff-ish up.

A little bit on Cannadys Mill Rd.
The Hawk did much enjoy my mis-speakment at the turn onto Cannadys Mill.
It all had to do with "I" versus "me" usage.

Then left onto Gray Rock Rd.
Gray Rock Rd slowly drifts down to another plunge to a creek,
Then quickly climbs back up from same.
After the road has mostly leveled out ... a County Line.
I'm not sure if Red Rocket and the Mallet contested it or not.

A right turn onto Charlie Grissom Rd.
Lee and Ricochet seemed glad that we were not headed for "Charlie Grissom Mtn."
That's how Lee usually refers to the "Grissom Wall".
Ricochet may also have been glad we weren't headed for Egypt Mtn Rd.

Instead, we headed for the Tar River.
The Mallet and I were trying to up the pace sufficiently that no one would be tempted to attack.
I think Red Rocket Lee heard me saying that to Paul,
And promptly launched his attack.

I was in the wrong gear for a rapid acceleration.
The Mallet misunderstood where the "finish line" was, and
Lee easily claimed the CL.
(That's my story, to which I sticking, and the Mallet's story, to which he is sticking.)

Re-crossed the Tar River and the creek another 0.4 miles later.
Then a STEEP climb away from the Tar River, but only for a short distance.
Followed by three or four miles of a more-or-less continuous upslope.

[Interesting side-note:  this elevation of the bridge at this second crossing of the Tar River 
Is 100 feet lower than the elevation at the first crossing (on Belltown Rd). 
If you look at the embedded map, and click to get to the "details", 
You should be able to figure out the two Tar River crossings, and confirm this.]

As we were NOT doing the "Warrenton + Egypt Mtn" permanent,
We followed the cue sheet (and map) for this Stem-EatonRd-GrayRockRd route.
[What a concept!  Following the cue sheet on an Irregulars ride!]
Meaning a right onto NC-56, and then a relatively quick left onto Gordon Moore Rd.
Gordon Moore Rd follows a ridge-line all the way to Pokomoke ... gentle upslope.
Long Mill Rd on the Egypt Mtn route has a major down-and-up, and
Upon reaching Pokomoke Rd, there are two more non-trivial down-and-ups
To get to the metropolis of Pokomoke.
Gordon Moore Rd bypasses all three down-and-ups.
But crossing straight across NC-56 is a bit safer, and
Less confusing to unknowing randonneurs.

Lee and Norris and BobH and the Mallet were intent on "time-trialing"
In on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd.
I often / usually like doing that.
But today, I dropped out of the line after a couple miles.
I'm riding the "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville" perm tomorrow, and
I'll need some legs for that.

Robert joined me and we let the other five drift off our front.
Robert and I came in BG / NL Rd at 16 to 18 or 19 mph.
[Previous two lines crafted especially for IvaHawk's enjoyment.]
I'm guessing the others were likely moving at 21-23 mph.
I have no idea whether Lee and Paul contested the Wake County Line,
But my guess is that they did.
However, I have no guess as to whom may have gotten the point there.

Ricochet and I found the front-five near the top of Ghoston Rd.
There was some glass on Ghoston, and the Mallet had gotten a flat.
Quick tire change by Paul, and we all finished our ride(s).
Norris and BobH and Lee disappeared quickly up the road.
Robert and Paul and Iva and I stayed loosely together all the to PUE and a bit beyond.

Gosh, I wanted to do an "essence-of" report.
Highlighting and concentrating on "seven cyclist, and everyone commuted via bicycle."
But my fingers of feeble mind went in another direction.
Oh well.
We all had a good ride.

My outbound commute:  8.9 m.; 0h31 in-motion (also elapsed time); 17.0 mph. 
Stem-EatonRd-GrayRockRd Route:  64.3 m.; 3h50 in-motion; 16.7 mph; 4h07 elapsed
My inbound ommute (which included an "errand-stop"):  11.6 m.; 0h48 in-motion; 14.4 mph.
Total ride:  84.8 m.; 5h07 in-motion; 16.5 mph.

Second fastest ride of the year for me.  I clearly need to do more rides at the above avg pace.

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __6 rides; __489.0 m.; _32 h, 27 m; 15.1 mph. 
YTD tot: _57 rides; 4,810.8 m.; 323 h, 56 m; 14.9 mph. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jul-14: Warrenton + Egypt Mtn 221-kms Perm

The temperatures had abated considerably since two weekends ago.
A couple, short, relatively high-cadence rides had helped me get some form back.
A couple weeks of reduced mileage likely also contributed on that score.

Biker Bob, continuing his search for 600k brevets,
To make up for the three he missed while nursing his right Achilles,
And also building up for the 2012 version of the Taste of Carolina 1200,
Was looking for early-month R-series insurance,
Lest the 600 on tap for the end of the month come to naught.

Karen, a cycling acquaintance of three years or more,
Claimed she was tired of fast-fast-fast all the time,
Became interested in the R-12 challenge.

So, 0700 on the 14th, the three of us set off for a rando adventure.
The Warrenton + Egypt Mtn "detoured" route.
The detour necessitated by the Sims Bridge over the Tar River being replaced.

One hour into the ride:  Pokomoke.
A bit faster than I usually ride the first hour.
When I'm setting the pace.
If I'm sucking the wheels of the fast-crew, then faster is easier and definitely okay.

Two hours into the ride:  re-grouping on Lynnbank Rd,
After having climbed the "Charlie Grissom" / "Ruin Wall".
Not sure it should really qualify as a "Wall",
But people refer to it as a "Wall".

Two-and-a-half hours:  Bearpond.
Info control there.

Less than three hours:  Epsom.
Store control there.

Four hours:  re-grouping at the info control in / at Drewry.

Five hours:  lunch at the Warrenton open control.
We chose the Hardees.
It is first and easiest to find.

Karen, new to RUSA,
And not having her usual complement of rides and distance in her legs this year,
Was starting to feel the effects of the constant rollers and heat and humidity.

A struggle to Epsom, for a second store control visit.
Karen decided the store was too cold,
So she refused to hang around inside to cool off.
I'm not sure that was the best decision.
But each must find their own way.

10-miles to the info control on Chavis Rd.
A STRUGGLE for Karen.
Bob and I offering encouragement.
Hoping Karen is only going through a low point,
And that she'll start to feel better.

Towards Kittrell.
The route doesn't go into Kittrell,
But there are stores there.
I always figured those gas stations / c'stores could be useful one day.

That day came on Jul-14-2012.
Bob and I rode with Karen into Kittrell,
Where she set up camp at the newer gas station / c'store.
It looked to have food options.
And there is a Dollar General (or Family Dollar) store next door.

Bob and I continued on.
Drifting downslope away from Kittrell,
Across US-1 and plunging down to the low elevation on Egypt Mtn Rd.
Then ... we had fun zipping across Egypt Mtn Rd.

A snack break at the corner.
Then checked out the info control just after the turn,
And on to cross the Tar River (not via the Sims Bridge).

A short steep to get away from the river,
Then three or four miles of (almost continuously) unremitting shallow upslope.
Irregulars might refer to that 4-mile slope as a "Martin slope".
(Sorry, randos, NC and especially those from elsewhere, some things have to be "inside".)

Bob didn't enjoy that upslope as much as I did.
One of his legs started a "conversation" about cramping.

Past the "Llama House".
Through Pokomoke and onto Bruce Garner and then New Light roads.

A break at the store approximately 1-mile south of Grissom.
I'd never stopped at that store, before.
It may be better stocked than the store at Grissom.
Bob certainly enjoyed the Gatoraid.

Past the Stony Hill Fire Station at the New Light / Purnell corner.
Down to and across Falls Lake.
One could be forgiven for thinking it's a river, instead of a lake.
Actually, it is a river -- the Neuse River, flooded, to make Falls Lake.

Up Ghoston, Peed, and MVC with panache to finish the ride at Bay Leaf.
Figure out how to put my bike on Karen's bike rack.
Figure out where the ignition key is hidden and how to get it out of its container.
Bob figured out those things -- I was "defeated" on all counts.

Bob heads for home.
I drive Karen's car to Kittrell to collect her.
I got to Kittrell at just before 8:30 pm.
Karen was stretch out on a picnic table.
Having acquired non-cycling shorts and shirt at the aforementioned Dollar General store.
Better to pass the approx 4-hours in non-cycling clothes than to stay in her cycling kit.

Karen's bike loaded on the rack.
Karen drives us back to Raleigh.

A much longer day than anticipated.
But them's the breaks sometimes.

The above is my stream of consciousness typing.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
[Edit, Jul-17: 
For a slightly different take on the ride, 
Check out Karen's report.]

 --> Warrenton + Egypt Mtn 221-km Perm; 148.6 m.; 9h44 in-motion; 15.3 mph; EM rando elapsed time:  12h20

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __5 rides; __404.2 m.; _27 h, 19 m; 14.8 mph. 
YTD tot: _56 rides; 4,726.0 m.; 318 h, 49 m; 14.8 mph. 

This ride made R-31 for Bob and R-24 for me. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A 600K bicycling adventure to remember!

NC randonneuse MaryF published the following on the NC-rando-list-serve.  I laughed hard enough at several points that I thought I'd like to re-publish the story so that I could easily find it again on a day when I might need a good laugh or two.  So ... with the additional information that the high temperatures in the mountains and foothills might have a few degrees cooler, the high in Raleigh on Jun-30 was 105F and the high on Sunday in Raleigh was 104F, and with Mary's permission:   

Tom and I, plus about a dozen other hearty souls signed up for Tony Goodnight's Salisbury RUSA/ACP June 30/July 1  600K brevet.  When we arrived for the 4:00 am start, we learned that ALL the riders except for Tom, Ed Boltz and myself had changed their minds and were riding either the 200K or the 300K. "Hmm", I thought.  "These randonneurs are generally a pretty savvy, tough group of cyclists.  Why did they switch to shorter rides?  Did they suddenly become wimps?  No, I doubt that.  Are they concerned about the forecast temps of over 100 degrees?  No, surely not."  Several told me they didn't really need another 600K because they had completed Alan's recently, also, some cited family obligations, July 4 related get-togethers and so on.  The old expression "Fools Rush in, Where Angels Fear to Tread", might be appropriate here.  
  A large group of us began--around 20 or so.  I was glad to see the sun come up after a couple of hours.  Our first control stop was Union Grove.  The weather was still cool and pleasant.  At about mile 40 or 50 Tony G and I had completed a pull on the front and rotated off.  I noticed a gap had developed behind the front group.  I started to tuck in behind the 4th or 5th rider, but  the people who had rotated to the front were from out of state and they were picking up the pace.  From experience, I've learned that it is real easy to get lost when blindly following the wheel in front of me, and I figured the chances of missing a turn would be high in this situation.  I rotated further back, staying near enough to Tony that I could hear him call out turns.  Good thing for me!  Within a mile or so, Tony yelled out "Right Turn, Right Turn!!"  -- but the riders in front did not hear and kept on going.  After awhile I became concerned that they might be lost forever, and BTW, my husband Tom was with them, but he caught up with us before the next control and then the others showed up.  I think they got extra credit for "bonus miles".  The 200K riders were still with us but their route split from ours around mile 60-64. 
  At mile 70.2 we 600K and 400K riders turned onto Oklahoma Road, which includes the featured climb of the "Hurt, Pain and Agony" ride.  It lived up to its reputation.  We crossed into VA around mile 90 and headed towards the New River and Austinville.  After we crossed the New River Bridge at about mile 128 there was a climb of 11-14% grade, which was steeper (but shorter) than the Oklahoma climb was, if I'm correct.  The weather was hot by then and alot of sweating, as well as perhaps some cussing, happened on that little surprise of a climb.  We bid goodbye to the 400K riders at the Austinville, VA control, at mile 132.  At that point, Ed's GPS said we had already climbed 12,000 feet.  
  We rode on through some very scenic and mountainous areas, on into the night.  As we began a descent which had all sorts of warning signs saying "WARNING, next 6 miles are 9% grade!", etc, there was some thunder.  As we continued, it started to rain and the wind picked up.  By the time we reached the bottom, it was raining hard, cold rain.  Then the pea-size hail began to pelt us.  Thank goodness, a gas station provided shelter for us.  Although it was closed, there was a porch/shed attached to it and some hay and tarps were inside.  We sat on a hay bale, leaned back against a wall, covered ourselves with tarps and sat out the storm.  Hail continued pelting the roof and windows.  Cars pulled in under the awning at the pumps for protection.  I was glad the wind was no higher, because it could have torn off the roof or broken the windows if it had been.  From their breathing sounds, I don't believe Tom or Ed were very worried, as they were asleep. 
  Finally the storm stopped and we rode on.  We found a little roadside grill open and got some breakfast.  One of the customers good naturedly teased me, complimenting my "purse", which is a ziplock bag with yellow duct tape on it.  I proudly told him, "I made it myself, can you tell?" 
  At a store after Greensboro, it got hot early and we stopped at a store for drinks.  As we were about to leave, a scowling woman with a scowling child in tow said, as she passed me on the steps to enter the store, "It's too hot for all of THAT!", in a disapproving tone.  After she'd gone inside I told Ed what she'd said to me and he replied, "She's right!" 
  Tony G was a welcome face at the Salem Fork Dairy Queen/Subway control @ mile 305.  After getting some food and cold things to drink we headed for Jonesville.  We missed the turn onto Greenhill Road (mile 350.2) and ended up going almost 5 extra miles because of it.  The turn was well marked, we just were not being attentive enough and missed it. 
  There were no more storms and no more drama on the ride and we were very thankful for that!  Tom and Ed were great riding companions and I'm grateful that our guardian angels were riding with us too, especially during the hailstorm.  The location of the place where we found shelter could not have been better! 
  Although I was not using my Garmin and Tom's ran out of batteries before the ride was complete, from what we can tell, it looks like there was about 24,000 feet of climbing, total on the 600K, but that is an estimate.  My computer says I rode 380.2 miles, which is enough, I think.  The next 2 days Tom and I did some fun, easy recovery type activities in the Blowing Rock area.  We did the zipline at Hawksnest and then did a little hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I'll see if I can attach the photos taken at Hawksnest.  No photos were taken of the hot, sweaty ride or under the shed during the hailstorm, wrapped in plastic and covered with tarps.  (I don't need THAT kind of stuff out circulating on the internet!) 
Mary Florian

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Jul-07: Falls Lake Loop

Falls Lake Loop, not Kerr Lake Loop.
38.3-miles, not 208-rando-credit-kms.

After Wednesday's dispiriting ride, I announced a much shorter ride for me for today.
Fellow rando Biker Bob was the only one interested in such a short outing.
I have no idea what his motive(s) may have been,
But I definitely appreciated the company.

34+ minutes to get to the start.
A definite improvement compared to Wednesday.
Bob was at PUE -- ready and waiting.
We chatted for a few minutes, then started. 

Immediately, I knew that Bob was likely interested in riding a bit faster than I thought I was. 
As he had driven a long way to get there, I decided to suck-it-up and ride the slightly faster pace. 

Temps still somewhat cool (73F), but the humidity was much higher than last weekend. 
At least it was Bob's judgment that the humidity at the Jun-30 Tony brevet-fest had been lower. 
Bob described some of his 200 adventure from the week before. 
I told him I was not jealous of anyone that did any of Tony's rides last week. 

Soon we were zipping across a body of water. 
Bob asked if it was Falls Lake. 
Yep -- perhaps the widest part of the man-made flood of the Neuse River. 

Across the lake on Cheek Rd, turn right. 
Most groups stay straight on Old Weaver Trail, 
But I like making the turn because: 

  • I only have to climb back up from the lake once, instead of three times, 
  • there is less traffic, and
  • the scenery is better (at certain times of the year, anyway). 
On the flat of Boyce Rd near Old Weaver Trail again, 
We saw BobH and Norris heading the opposite direction. 
"Hullo's" and waves as we all kept riding.

Stool Tree / Munns Rd ... Northside Rd ... Cash Rd ... back onto Old Weaver Trail again. 
A largish group going the opposite direction. 
I suspect it was a GSK MS-150 training ride.

Lots of groups of one and two and three on the day. 
Comfort bikes.  Mountain bikes.  Relaxed geometry road bikes.  Aggressive geometry road bikes. 
Everyone trying to beat the heat. 
And I suspect a lot of MS-150 training rides as the New Bern extravaganza is in about 2 months.

Zipping across another part of Falls Lake
Little ripples had become more noticeable on the water's previously calm surface.

We backed off our respective cadences slightly on the two-mile mostly-climbing 
From the lake to New Light Rd. 
Only time I recall backing-off on the effort all day, except as noted below.

Onto New Light, and soon onto Ghoston Rd. 
Aah ... some panache climbing Ghoston. 
The shorter distance ride certainly much of the reason, 
But generally better rested legs likely responsible for a portion of the improvement. 
Also, a different attitude.

We pushed the pace on the steep part of Peed Rd, 
But started our respective cool-downs on the mile-long shallow slope part. 
We continued the cool-down mode on MVC up to, and into PUE.

An enjoyable ride, done at better pace than I've been doing lately. 
Finished at about 0905. 
Thanks, Bob.

Lest you think that all we did was ride - ride - ride, 
We did a fair bit of chatting ... just don't ask me what we chatted about as I have no idea. 
Some discussion of plans, or something, at PUE, then we each headed home.

Well ... I was going to ride easily about and wait for Byron and Ricochet. 
They had started the Bahama Beach 103-km permanent-populaire at 0600. 
However, I quickly decided to just go camp-out at the picnic table at the BP.

I thought I could keep an eye on the finish, and intercept the two of them to collect their cards. 
In the event, a large Ford SUV blocked my sight-line at a critical time, 
And I may have dozed off.

Luckily, at 1030, I decided to check to see if B + R were on premises. 
Good decision on my part. 
They had completed the route at 1025 and had just signed their cards as I snuck up on them.

Their results were posted just before I started typing this now overly-long report. 
BTW, Ricochet looked like he had been ridden hard and put-up wet. 
Byron, on the other hand, still looked fresh as a daisy. 
I refilled all 4 of my bottles with ice cold water from the Bay Leaf Station #2 fountain, 
And because of the increasing heat, 
And because I wanted to test the traffic, etc., situation, 
I "hammered" down Six Forks Rd to my destination -- which I reached well before noon. 
37-minutes to retrace my morning commute. 
That's a LOT better than the 45 or 50 minutes it would have taken to do the usual post-commute. 
Interestingly, I now think that I have just been taking it too easy on the cadence / effort. 
My legs are a bit tired / sore from the total 57-ish mile effort today. 
I'm thinking I need to do some faux-"TT" / cadence rides to try to recover certain abilites. 

 --> PUE:  Falls Lake Loop --> Bay Leaf --> ; 57.4 m.; 3h42 in-motion; 15.5 mph

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __3 rides; __212.1 m.; _14 h, 46 m; 14.4 mph. 
YTD tot: _54 rides; 4,533.9 m.; 306 h, 16 m; 14.8 mph.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

07/04/12: Mt Tirzah

Great day for a ride.  We started at 530am from PUE with Martin, Iva, BobH, Norris, Tito, Ags and Robert and finished around 1100 before it got too hot getting in about 77 miles.   Here is a pic from Hollow Ridge one of our favorite rest stops on top of Mt Tirzah. 
L to R:  Robert, BobH, Norris, Tito, Ags (R12)


  • Outside of Stem, Bob's rear water bottle hanger flew off the back of his bike and Robert ran over it.
  • Martin after overheating the day before on BB 100k, decides to cut route short, rightly so 
  • Tito pulling crew on flat at 32 mph... his legs exploded and he could not hold them back.
  • Mr R12 Ags - Don't Talk to Me
  • Iva Hawk trying to talk sense into the group - it did not work
  • Iva Hawk beat Robert on Best Calves Award with unanimous voting (neither in the same league as Tito or Norris)
  • Norris gets center stage at Hollow Ridge in photo due to best tan and smile

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jul-03: Fire Stations + Farm Service Store 103-km

I finally got to ride my Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop SOLO.

Prior to starting at 0730, I discovered an outside picnic table at the suggested start open control.
Good deal.  Good place to wait for others to arrive.

I refilled a couple of my bottles with freshly cold water at the Bay Leaf Fire Station #2.
That station is one of the open-control possibilities, but the main thing is free cold water!
Every fire station in the area will re-supply any cyclist with water.
It is better to give them water than to have to rescue their behind from a ditch.

I didn't try to ride fast; I just tried to keep the pedals going.
That was making for good progress as I got to the Bahama Info Control at 0904,
And, upon seeing the open bay doors, went into the Bahama Fire Station (the one IN Bahama)
To refresh the cold water.

Ended up in conversation with a fireman or EMT.
So instead of a 3-minute water and nibbles break,
I got a 17-minute public relations break.
That was good.

On to Stem, still thinking I might get a reasonably quick time for the route.
Stem control at 1012.
Adjust for the public relations time, and that's a decent arrival time for me.

On to Creedmoor.
The heat started to make its impact on me.
Into the Creedmoor Southern States Farm Service Store for a complete swap to cold water.
Combined Stem and Creedmoor stop:  14 minutes.

On to and past the Grissom info control.
Heading for the Stony Hill Fire Station at New Light and Purnell roads.
Wouldn't you know it:
That darn station was closed up tight as a drum.
I still took a 16-minute shade and rinse the back of my head and neck with cold water break.
All I wanted to do was finish -- to heck with the time.

Putz on to cross Falls Lake.
25-minutes to cover the 4.6 miles of Ghoston, Peed, MVC.
All I wanted to do was finish.

At least one of the big doors at Bay Leaf Fire Station #2 was open.
I headed through that door and made a bee-line to the cold water.
Fireman that I didn't know saw me, and after the momentary shock,
He says "get what you need, take the time you need."
Name-dropping LT's name may have helped -- probably not.

I sat at the "indoor octagonal picnic table",
Drinking water and an inexpensive Coke,
Faking what Biker Bob calls a "Martin-nap" for quite a while.

The firemen offered to let me use the air-conditioned space,
But I was concerned it might be too big a shock for my system.
So I spent the whole 50-minutes in the 91-degree garage area of the fire station.
At least I was not outside in the hot sun.
And I had access to plenty of cold water to drink and wash my face and arms and neck and head.

After 50-minutes, I left the fire station and headed for a known air-conditioned refuge.
35 minutes to cover 7.4 miles, and I was wasted again.
Inside the refuge, I see the Red Rocket as he negotiated purchase of some nutrition purchase. 

After spending too much time in the refuge,
Part of it talking bikes with Gary,
I headed out for the last 5.4-mile segment.
20-minutes ride time.
Nearly 15-minutes recovery sitting time before I could start to put the bike away, etc..

At this moment in time, I am not convinced that I'll be able to do tomorrow's Irregulars ride.
At least is starts EARLY.
The 0730 Bahama Beach start today was clearly TOO LATE.

Hard to believe that last year, I did a triple-double of three different perms,
In heat just as bad as today,
And I was never phased by the heat.

Perhaps this spring and summer have just been too mild.
That is, until the last week or 10 days, anyway.

 --> Bahama Beach 103-km perm-pop --> TLC-4-Bikes (the "refuge") --> ; 86.3 m.; 5h56 in-motion; 14.5 mph; BB rando elapsed time:  5h13

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108 h, 42 m; 14.8 mph. 
q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182 h, 48 m; 14.8 mph. 
Ju1 tot: __1 rides; ___86.3 m.; __5 h, 56 m; 14.5 mph. 
YTD tot: _52 rides; 4,408.1 m.; 297 h, 26 m; 14.8 mph. 

I think this ride makes P-7 for me.  
I know it makes M-41 (i.e., 41 consecutive months with at least one ride of at least 100k). 

Monday, July 2, 2012

06/30/12: What Are We Missing?

June 30, 2012 Salisbury Brevet
Byron and I decided to ride the June 30 600k out of Salisbury.   This would be great prep for the Taste of Carolina 1200k in August because it has a ton of hills and covers some of the same route.  Weather forecast was for 100-105 degrees Sat and Sun.   As the week continues more of those registered for the 600k decide to not ride or switch to a 200 or 400k.  Wake up in Salisbury hotel is 2am for the 4am start…..the first thing that comes to mind when we wake up…. What Are We Missing?  Veteran randos deciding to not do the 600k with 17,000 feet of climbing over 2 days that will peak at 100-105 degrees.  Byron and I come to our senses and decide to switch to the 400k…

One of my firsts…. 2 flats in the hotel room… how does that happen?  During the prep on Friday night, I noticed a flat…valve stem leaked.   Replaced the tube and one hour later before going to sleep… flat again, but this time a hole in the tube.  Changed flat again… guess I just needed a little more practice but definitely not a good sign.

Summary of ride.
The ride started and ended in Salisbury, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway two times with a leg in Virginia.  The big factors were the relentless hills and heat.  At the end our group consisted of Tony, Vance, Byron and myself.  We started at 4am Sat, finished about 24 hours later and had to spend more time off the bike than normal. 

Late Saturday afternoon, I thought I was ready to bonk so immediately told the group and then stopped in the shade.  Took out my bonking bag then ate, took electrolytes, drank plenty, rested a few minutes and back on bike.  Later I found out I was not bonking but was over heating so focused on doing everything to cool down.   Although I made a couple more rest/cool off stops, it was well worth it as I was feeling better in a couple of hours and was able to rejoin my group. 

Local friend.
As I was resting in shade on side of road, I heard a loud noise… a farmer drove by driving his tractor and pulling a piece of equipment.  After I was on the bike I caught and passed him, as he was doing 10 to 14 mph … I waved, he waved, we both smiled.  The road then went uphill…. I was plugging away at 6 mph and the farmer passed me…..I waved, he waved, we both smiled.  The road then went down hill again.  I passed him… I waved, he waved, we both smiled.

The road turned ugly…. as warned I had reached one of the 10 to 14 % climbs and the sun was in full brightness with the temp 95 to 100 degrees.  I was in my lowest gear still feeling overheated/bonking and the legs did not respond as normal.  I was weaving across our lane….with traffic in both directions.  I dismounted and started walking up the hill at 2.5 vs the 4 mph by riding.  I heard a loud noise and then it stopped next to me.  You guessed it!  It was my local travel partner, Mr Farmer.  He asked what he could do to help me as I must have looked pitiful.  I explained what I was doing/going.  He said if he could not give me a ride, he knew a shortcut bike path I could take.  No can do I responded.  He tried his best to help me and I thanked him.  As he left, the 6 cars that he was blocking while we were talking all looked at me trying to figure out what just happened.  It is wonderful and heart warming to meet local people during our rides that truly want to give of themselves to help complete strangers passing thru their community.  

Rando Thinking
Passing a farm building, I notice a van with hood up and couple looking at it parked on the shady side of the building.  I asked if they needed help…. their response was not definite so I stopped and asked their problem.  The AC just went out in their van and they were worried the family would get hot and did not know what to do.  I paused a second before saying “that is an inconvenience and not a real problem”…open the windows, continue your journey and get AC fixed after your trip.  As I rode away, I asked myself if I really said that.   Guess I was in the rando mode of thinking.

Ride Notes
Another first for this adventure – 42 mph and yes I was a little nervous at that speed.  We were in the tuck position for so long after leaving Virginia coming down the mountain into NC that my back was hurting, but it sure was fun!

Late Saturday afternoon we rode parallel to the New River in Va.  Although still hilly, we rode in some shady spots and the river was gorgeous.  Very wide and shallow with camp sites, tents, tourists, swimmers….my favorite mental picture was of the guys in the hammocks drinking beer in the shade on the river bank cheering for us as if we were part of TDF.  What a refreshing scene!

Sometime during the night our crew of 4 stopped for a quick nap at a church.  We decided 30 minutes would work. As we dismounted, we all looked for a temporary bed.  I noticed a comfy spot on a concrete handicap ramp and with a water container as a pillow, the night animal noises, the cemetery and the stars, sleep came quickly.   The alarm went off, I shook off the cobwebs in my mind and we were back on the quiet country road again.  I bet no one coming to church a few hours later every realized the rest and peacefulness that their church provided for 4 night time travelers, but it was certainly appreciated.  

The Finish
The four weary travelers continued on their journey to Salisbury arriving about 430am.  Congrats all around to each other and then lets finish this mission.  We washed off, changed cloths, packed up bike and gear, took a short nap, had breakfast at Ihop and back on the way to Raleigh.  The decision to ride the 400 rather than the 600k was a good one as Byron and I agreed.

This was the first time I have ridden with either Tony or Vance.  Thanks to Vance for the comforting assurance that he was there for me if needed, to Tony for not having to keep a constant eye on the cue sheet and his organizational skills and to Byron for companionship for the entire adventure. 

Robert Bergeron