Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oct-28: Poodles, Cotton Fields + Monsters

Except for the 600k in June and the Fleche in April, this was the most rando kms I accumulated in one weekend this entire year.  Last year, I did a few back-to-back permanents, and even did a triple-double over the July Fourth holiday weekend (the first two days with Irregular and rando buddy Ricochet).

I planned a double-double, plus a perm-pop over Labor Day weekend.  But, day one on Kerr Lake Loop, I had a mechanical and decided it would be smarter to DNF and have the bike ready for the day two on the Black Creek route with newbie Karen.  That day didn't go so well for Karen, and although I completed the route with plenty of time to spare, I just didn't feel like riding on Labor Day.

Last year, I did 10 solo perms.  I like doing 200-km rides solo.
This year, my only solo attempt was the KLL DNF.
I did manage to do two entire perm-pops solo.
The first, Bahama Beach just before July 4th, left me wiped out.  Not a pleasant experience.
The second, the Benson Mule Pull on Sep-30, was a strange mix of riding well and very slow, but I enjoyed the ride -- I think.

What has all the above got to do with the ride I did on Sunday, Oct-28?
Nothing, really.

Except that by completing Egypt Mtn on Saturday and Hope Springs Eternal (HSE) on Sunday, for a combined 350-kms, I got in my third largest RUSA-credit-kms weekend of the year. 

Each ride was with one other rando.
Saturday with Ricochet, who had no legs while I had energy to spare.
Sunday with Mick, I had Ricochet's Saturday legs, and I guess Mick had energy to spare -- I'm not sure.

Poodles:  There is a poodle breeding farm between Bunn and Spring Hope.  It is amusing to watch the different personalities of the poodles in their large pens as we ride by.  One can even begin to develop favorites after a few rides.  Having now done OakElmOak (OEO) twice and HSE twice (three times ?), I have a favorite.  I won't spoil it for any NC or visiting randos that may do HSE or OEO in the next month -- you can find your own favorite.

Cotton Fields:  There were several cotton fields -- between Bunn and Spring Hope (near the poodles) -- all WHITE and apparently ready for harvest.  Cotton fields just before harvest look quite inspiring -- that's my opinion, anyway.  However, I expect that the fields will either be harvested before the next HSE or OEO ride -- OR the cotton in the unharvested fields will be abandoned.  That sometimes happens if the price of cotton plummets just before harvest.

Monsters:  Upon completion of the ride, while getting a receipt at Cameron Village (CV) near downtown Raleigh, MANY costumed runners were leaving CV.  Apparently a 5k charity run had just completed all their post-race festivities.  Didn't see anyone I know, but I suspect that one IanH may have participated (I saw a couple suspect photos on Facebook).

Anyway, Mick and I had a pleasant, if somewhat slow ride under the completely overcast clouds emanating from Hurricane Sandy.  We stayed dry and with temps between 57 and 64 F, the day was nicely cool-warm.  Oh, there were strong winds out of the north and northwest all ride.  That made some portions of the ride extra slow, and on other portions, one hardly needed to peddle.

We got lucky here in central NC.  Sandy did no damage of which I am aware.  Down east -- not so.  Up in the Bos-Wash corridor -- definitely not so.


--> Hope Springs Eternal 140-km perm -->; 105.8 m.; est. 7h20 in-motion; 14.4 mph; HSE elapsed time:  7h20 (we didn't even come close to challenging our record slow HSE time of 7h41 -- ha!).  
Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
Q-3 tot: _32 rides; 2,958.9 m.; 197h17; 15.0 mph; 2983 RUSA kms
Oct tot: _10 rides; __868.8 m.; _58h45; 14.8 mph; 1089 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _93 rides; 8,149.5 m.; 547h32; 14.9 mph; 8719 RUSA kms

FYI, after this ride, Mick is closing in on 15-thousand RUSA credit kms -- that's just insane.
And it might also be wearing him out mentally as well as physically. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oct-27: Ricochet Robert and the Blustery Perm

Unlike "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day",
We had no rain nor flood ... at least not where we rode.
"Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day".  
Robert indicated he had never heard of "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day".
"Down east" in North Carolina ... they were not so lucky.
Down south in the Caribbean ... some there were very unlucky.
Up north, and to the northeast ... I'm hoping everyone is prepared, and lucky.

Ricochet and I rolled the dice.
Most everything came up 7's or 11's.
Everything except Robert's legs and possibly the wind.

Robert's legs ... did not appreciate any inclines.
Well, maybe they came around for one or two climbs around the 90-mile mark,
But then his legs apparently resumed their refusal to deliver any oomph on inclines. 
My thought is that Robert's legs aren't so much tired, but are instead "fatigued".
Two-and-half-years ago, at age 61, Robert did his first adult bicycle ride.
Now ... he'll qualify for a RUSA Cup on Nov-24 (weather permitting). 
The wind was mostly bang-on into our faces until Drewry,
At about the 54-mile mark.
(Don't tell anyone ... I actually looked at the cue sheet to check the mileage.)

The 10-miles from Drewry to Warrenton include my favorite vistas along the course. 
And, except for the half-mile on US-1 / US-158, we had a side-wind.
After the 54-mile headwind leg, the side-wind felt as good as a tailwind.

There are other nice vistas along the route,
But I think the best are along NC Bike Route #4 between Drewry and Warrenton.
That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Three climbs after leaving Warrenton to get to Stagecoach and Tower roads.
The first two are short ... the third is long ... none are hard.
In fact, though long, the third climb is a perfect "Martin slope".

On that long third climb mentioned above, Robert + I were so busy chatting,
That I lost track of where we were ... and thought we might have missed a turn.
We hadn't ... it was another third of a mile ahead.

Tower Rd has some nice vistas and also Jones Chapel Rd that follows it.
Most everything was muted by the deep overcast from the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy.
Things that may have looked wondrous in bright sunshine were still nice,
All yellow and harvest gold, accented by red and orange leaves, and some unharvested cotton.
[Uh-oh ... four lines instead of three!] 

Big bag lunch for each of us at the Hardee's in Warrenton.
Too much food, really.  But at a low price.
I assume Robert felt bloated for hours afterward ... I know I was.

My stomach did NOT like me getting aero until after Egypt Mtn Rd.
But with a strong tailwind most of the second half of the ride,
Who needed to be getting aero, anyway?

The short-lived veneer of oomph in Robert's legs disappeared on Egypt Mtn Rd.
I didn't realize that until I was passing Egypt Mtn Farm atop ... Egypt Mtn.
I always encourage those new to the course to "save something for Egypt Mtn Rd."

Despite a rather low average in-motion pace and a longish stop for lunch,
Robert and I finished a DRY Egypt Mtn in 10h23 officially.
Too bad we were 18 or 20 minutes late in starting.

--> Egypt Mtn 210-km perm -->; 140.3 m.; est. 9h34 in-motion; 14.7 mph; EM elapsed time:  10h23.  
Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
Q-3 tot: _32 rides; 2,958.9 m.; 197h17; 15.0 mph; 2983 RUSA kms
Oct tot: __9 rides; __763.0 m.; _51h24; 14.8 mph; _949 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _92 rides; 8,043.7 m.; 540h12; 14.9 mph; 8579 RUSA kms

FYI, after this ride, Robert has 8879 RUSA kms this year. 
"My recruit" from 2+ years ago ... has gone wayyyy beyond me, now. 

Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  97
Meaning that I have completed at least 97 different rides that were at least 97 miles long.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oct-20: "City Slickers" 204-km Perm

Ricochet Robert, Biker Bob, RickRod (better known as "Wilmington Rick" or "R^2") and I met slightly pre-dawn to ride Byron's hillfest, "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville".  R^2 was R-series-hunting; Ricochet & I were kilometer hounding; Biker Bob had the best reason of all to ride -- he was just looking for a nice bike ride with some friends.

Rick brought a camera, and used it quite extensively -- after his fingers "thawed out".
Early on, he mentioned that it was about 10 degrees warmer in Wilmington.
It got down to about 43 F.
I can imagine the northern tier randos laughing.
But Rick was dressed for 53 F.

Rick made his photos available to Bob and me.
I'm looking forward to seeing and reading Bob's take on the ride.
In the meantime, some pics courtesy of R^2:
A view from just off Stagville Rd, near Bahama.
Duck or Swan Pond, just below where the previous pic was taken.  "JJ's horses" were on the other side of the road.
Moores Mills Rd (?), heading to Mt. Tirzah.
Leaf color developing nicely.
Hollow Ridge Grocery atop Mt. Tirzah.  Favorite control of many.  Favorite store for many others when JRA.
L to R:  R^2, Biker Bob.  Ricochet behind the camera.  I don't know where I was.
Just west of Timberlake.  I think R^2 wanted a good pic of the long grasses.
Gordonton Rd (?) -- from the angle of the shadows:  outbound.
Apparently no photos from Leasburg -- the turn-around.
Hester Store Rd, inbound just before dropping down into the first deep creek valley on Hester Store Rd.  The scene and colors are/were more impressive in person.
Bison.  As seen from Hester Store Rd.
Ghostbusters.  Between Hester Store Rd and Hurdle Mills.
Just after crossing the Flat River near Hurdle Mills -- parked alongside the road.  1936.  Ford (?).
Some of us were looking forward to BBQ lunch at the afternoon control at Hollow Ridge Grocery.  Here I am, confirming that they ran out of food before we got back from Leasburg.  Aargh!
View from Hollow Ridge Grocery.  Looking to the southeast.  I don't know where / what that hump in the distance is located.
Back in Raleigh on Ray Rd, we were joined by a local female cyclist.  I heartily endorse her choice of jersey. 
All finished.  L to R:  R^2, Sandbagging Bob, Ricochet, me. 

For more pics from the ride and from other rides + more, try Rick's Flick'r.


--> Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville 204-km perm -->; 140.0 m.; 9h21 in-motion; 15.0 mph; Triple-L elapsed time:  10h21.  
Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
Q-3 tot: _32 rides; 2,958.9 m.; 197h17; 15.0 mph; 2983 RUSA kms
Oct tot: __7 rides; __545.5 m.; _36h47; 14.8 mph; _636 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _90 rides; 7,826.3 m.; 525h35; 14.9 mph; 8266 RUSA kms.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sinclair Dinosaur

NC randonneuse MaryF is / was in Tulsa on business (and maybe some pleasure activity, too).  She posted a photo on Facebook of a truck-stop-gas-station sign, noting the $3.10 per gallon price of gasoline (currently in the $3.70 range in central NC). 

I picked up on something else on the sign, and commented:  "WOW -- a Sinclair station!".

I hadn't seen one of those, in person or via photo, for decades.
In response, Mary e-mailed me three pics she must have taken, but, at last report, had not posted to Facebook.  Made me smile.

Here are the pics, slightly edited -- and I hope they come out "right-side-up" -- and the files are rather large, so I may have to condense them if they make uploading the blog too slow.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oct-06: Jackass 200

Cycling partner Byron named the ride and blog post during the ride.
The big interweb has some information regarding the term "jackass".
[See the first line of the wiki-web link.]

Excluding the two RUSA members, we saw 5 jackasses on the day.
Well, Byron saw five -- I missed the last one.
And, in interest of full disclosure, we did not verify if the donkeys were male or female.
Hmmn, just realized that in the 36 days ending with this ride,
I started six permanents, and completed five of them.
Of the five completed, three included wet roads or significant rain events.
Only two have been sunny and dry (and warm).

The three "weather" rides + the DNF ride were on courses "owned" by others.
The previous sunny and dry (and warm) ride was on my permanent, aka, "Egypt Mtn".
This ride was on a beautiful sunny and dry (and warm) day, again on "Egypt Mtn". 
Lesson there?
Neither Byron nor I brought a camera for the ride.
The most scenic part of the course is the 10 miles from Drewry to Warrenton,
Following NC Bike Route #4.
I am looking forward to that section the first weekend in November.
We did see something today which we might not see in a month:
Namely a Blue Heron gliding in to land next to one of the ponds.

Other parts of the route also make for particularly nice vistas (e.g., Tower Rd + Gillburg Rd).
Addtn'l parts of the route are not about vistas, but instead are about some interesting "rollers".
And some parts are in "tree tunnels".
All make for good cycling -- that is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

In the interest of full disclosure:  I've enjoyed each and every Permanent route I've done.
Some are flat (e.g., "Tar Heel 200").
Some are hillfests (e.g., Byron's "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville").
Some are are mix of rollers and flat-ish bits (e.g., "Kerr Lake Loop", "LOMBD", "OakElmOak").
Some are excursions through mountains (e.g., "Sauartown '200'").
My approach is "accept each route for what it is and what it offers; enjoy it."

I've enjoyed the routes solo; I've enjoyed the routes when riding with others.
I've zipped through no-effort rides solo.
I've zipped through no-effort rides with others.
I've ridden slowly when I had legs, but someone else hasn't. 
I've labored through rides when solo.
I've labored through rides on those same routes when riding with others.

As I mentioned to Byron near the end of this ride,
"I know I can do these rides, but near the end of most rides,
"There comes a point when I'm closing on the finish,
"And I am once again amazed that I'm about to complete it."

Thanks to Byron for riding with me, and providing more than half the interesting stories.
Thanks to the-powers-that-be for the gorgeous, warm but low humidity, day.
As I type this line the day after the ride,
I see that heavy rain is falling outside.
The squall line may have hit friends doing one of Tony's brevets this weekend,
(400, 600, and 1000) a couple hours ago -- or right now -- or in the next few hours.
I'm thankful that I'm NOT out in that weather.
I'm hopeful that everyone that is out in it, has the proper clothing, etc.
To handle yesterday's high temp of about 87F with no/low humidity, and
To handle today's 50F temps with intermittent squalls.

--> Egypt Mtn 221-km perm -->; 155.6 m.; 9h51 in-motion; 15.8 mph; EM elapsed time:  10h24.  [The in-motion avg did NOT drop after the EM segment.]

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
Q-3 tot: _32 rides; 2,958.9 m.; 197h17; 15.0 mph; 2983 RUSA kms
Oct tot: __2 rides; __247.8 m.; _16h15; 15.2 mph; _324 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _85 rides; 7,528.5 m.; 505h02; 14.9 mph; 7954 RUSA kms.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Perm Certificate 25000

Nearly three months ago, RUSA Permanent Certificate #25000 was issued.
Curious, I was, to learn who / where / when the certificate was issued.
Not having access to the RUSA database, and not having any HTML skills,
I had to "roll up my sleeves" and dig a little to find the answers.
It wasn't hard and didn't take very long.

By chance, I happen to know the lucky certificate holder.
[I've been "holding back" on posting this since July 18th.] 

Here are some previous milestone permanent certificate numbers: 

[last names redacted due to request of #25000, and because that is my usual practice]
Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
TX: Possum Pedal2052004/03/2014
RUSA-T00001  390  D___, Dan Lone Star Randonneurs / 94302607:48

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
TX: Covington Coaster1582006/11/244
RUSA-T01000  390  D___, Dan Lone Star Randonneurs / 94302606:24

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
PA: Schuykill to Susquehanna2002008/01/0540
RUSA-T03000 4708  F___, Matthew Pennsylvania Randonneurs / 93801710:22

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
TX: Magical Mystery Tour2042008/12/1420
RUSA-T05000 3697  P___, John Lone Star Randonneurs / 94302610:02

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
TX: Wild Willie's1022010/04/1220
RUSA-T10000 3698  P___, Susan Lone Star Randonneurs / 94302604:29

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
NY: 200LR_3 (aka Women's Rights Loop)2042011/04/0220
RUSA-T15000   25  D___, Peter W Rochester Bicycling Club / 93203012:46

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
CA: Del Puerto Loop from Pleasanton2032011/12/05180
RUSA-T20000 6328  A___, Dean Davis Bike Club / 90501409:45

Permanent Route NameDistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Lookin' Out My Back Door2012012/07/1470
RUSA-T25000 5448  D___, Andy Randonneurs USA / 93309511:54

Andy isn't as well known in RUSA as some of the earlier "landmark certificate" recipients, but:
  • He created the Perm-Search-Map (I recently tested a new beta for that, and it will likely be much less susceptible to Google changing things behind the scenes on Google-Maps). 
  • He has a blog mostly about randonneuring, sagittandy
  • And you may be familiar with his other blog, RUSA Blogs

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oct-03: Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop

Humid.  Warm.
Someone else seemed to be doing the pedaling.
I failed to even glance at Lake Michie,
But I know the "beach" was under water.

Apparently too busy chatting to notice the scenery or valleys along Ellis Chapel Rd.
Apparently too busy chatting to notice anything on Roberts Chapel Rd.
I know there is an incline on Range Rd between RC Rd and Little Mountain Rd.,
But someone else was pedaling the bike and I didn't notice.

No recollection of Little Mountain Rd., either.
Neither the one particular house on the left,
Nor the valley and subsequent climb.
Clearly, someone else was pedaling the bike.

Leaving Stem, there is a two-mile whoosh downslope, then a bump-up to cross I-85,
Then another swoosh down and three climbs before Creedmoor.
At least, that's what there usually is.
But "today" it was all level ground -- someone else must have been pedaling the bike.

A stop in Creedmoor for some real food (Van's stops breakfast at 11, btw).
Digestion pace for the three-mile downslope from Creedmoor.
Two climbs to get to Pope Rd -- the second is easy -- the first is not,
Unless someone else is pedaling the bike.

There's a "sneaky" little climb on Horseshoe Rd -- it always gets the better of me.
Except when someone else is pedaling the bike.
Locals know there is a steep bit on Lawrence Rd,
But it's not steep if someone else is pedaling the bike.

Whomever was pedaling the bike
Apparently decided to fore-go a "time-trial" from Grissom to Ghoston.
Since someone else had pedaled the bike all ride,
I had plenty of legs to pedal up Ghoston, Peed, and MVC roads.

I think Mick was a little surprised when I stayed with him, or ahead,
On all three of the finishing climbs, instead of letting him go.
Oh, I let up slightly before the turn next to PUE,
But I knew I would pass Mick after the turn -- on the "Martin incline".

I had a satisfying ride.
Probably similar to the feeling Ian claims he gets after a long ride,
Even though someone else seemed to have done most of the pedaling on the day. 
I also enjoyed an extreme putz-along errand and commute ride back after the BB.

--> Bahama Beach 103-km perm-populaire --> Ricochet's -->; 92.2 m.; 6h23 in-motion; 14.4 mph; BB elapsed time:   5h22.  [That in-motion avg dropped SIGNIFICANTLY after the BB segment.]

Q-1 tot: _22 rides; 1,610.3 m.; 108h42; 14.8 mph; 1947 RUSA kms
Q-2 tot: _29 rides; 2,711.5 m.; 182h48; 14.8 mph; 2700 RUSA kms
Q-3 tot: _32 rides; 2,958.9 m.; 197h17; 15.0 mph; 2983 RUSA kms
Oct tot: __1 rides; ___92.2 m.; __6h23; 14.4 mph; _103 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _84 rides; 7,372.9 m.; 495h10; 14.9 mph; 7733 RUSA kms.