Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nov-24: NC-Rando-Year-End-Pop + Party

Two rides were on offer this day:
  1. a 200k RUSAB, starting at 0700, based on the OakElmOak Permanent, and
  2. a 100 / 111 / 106 km RUSAP, starting at 1000, based on the Bunn Warmer Perm-Pop

Four people did the Brevet (two likely for R-series purposes, two doing their first brevet).
All four finished, with times of around 9h00.
Too fast!  (For me, anyway.) 
[As TimL and I "discussed" at the party:  luckily for us they didn't officially do the OakElmOak Perm -- our joint record time with Ian remains intact.  We each got a chuckle from that.] 

Several cancelled out of the Populaire, so we had only 17 starters.
We lost one along the way -- Tom (?) doing his first RUSA ride gave in to cramps.
It is my impression that everyone pretty much enjoyed the cool temps and bright, warming sunshine.

However, none of us enjoyed the headwind on the false-flat incline on Fowler Rd on the return.
I had never noticed that Fowler has that long incline on the return, and
I've done that stretch of road quite a few times (including pre/non-rando).
Of the 16 finishers, I assert that the most notable finish was by Ricochet Robert.
Upon completion of the ride AND, hem-hem, signing his card (and Alan submitting the results),
Robert became the 4th North Carolinian to qualify and apply for his RUSA Cup.
Not bad given that Robert's first bike ride as an adult, coming at age 61, was exactly 31-months prior.
[I just re-read the key section in the above link. Here is a phrase that caught my attention:
"... asked Robert how he was feeling and he stated he was not sure if the legs were going make it."
Why did that catch my attention?  Because that is what Robert says most every ride. 
Including the Party-Populaire being described (sorta') here! ]

Here is a link to few photos pre-ride and during the party by BobB.
Bob's captions tell the story better than I would.


Several hours after completion of our appointed cycling rounds,
We all met again, with some additional friends that couldn't make it to the rides,
For some rounds of another sort.
Photo courtesy of TimL.

There was also a presentation of some information about randonneurs / randonneuring in North Carolina.

Special mention of the three current or retired RBA's at the party (Richard, Alan, Tony).
2nd or 3rd oldest and consecutive SR series in the U.S. -- thanks, Alan!
[I forget which, 2nd or 3rd -- but the Raleigh series is about twice as old as RUSA.]
2nd oldest (?) and consecutive Fleche in the U.S.-- thanks Richard + Tony!

[Perhaps we need an historian to dig-out, write-up, and publish NC's pre-RUSA history.]

It is my opinion that the website of record for NC-rando is, or ought to be, "Branson's site".
(Branson hates it when someone refers to it as "his" -- so, of course, ... .)
[Hmmn -- domain name expired,]
It is my opinion that the blog of record for NC rando is Research Trailer Park.

However, at the party, after the food:

One international award was announced: 
2012-Adrian-Hands-Society-Spirit-AwardMark Thomas.
(I'll make an exception to my guideline regarding last names in this case; otherwise, who could possibly figure out who "MarkT of Seattle" was -- LOL.)
North Carolina Awards: 
  • 2012-NC-Rookie-of-the-Year:  LukeH of Asheville
  • 2012-NC-Volunteer-of-the-Year:  Raleigh RBA Fearless Leaduh' "Uncle" Alan
  • 2012-NC-Comeback-Rando-of-the-Year:  Al P of Wendell, Zebulon, (?- one of those). 
  • 2012-NC-Randonneur-of-the-Year:  Dean, aka, "Deaner", aka, the "Phun Physiologist". 
Congratulations to each!

Thanks to the organizing committee for this year's rides and the party.  I know I had a good time.  I suspect everyone did. 

According to the announcement e-mail, the committee was: 
  • Jerry
  • MikeD
  • Cap'n
  • Branson
  • Alan

Bunn Warmer Pop (not the perm-pop); 66.4 m.; 4h26 in-motion; 14.9 mph; elapsed time:  5h07.  

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
Nov tot: __7 rides; __658.8 m; _43h07; 15.3 mph; __876 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: 100 rides; 8,808.3 m; 590h39; 14.9 mph; _9595 RUSA kms.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nov-23: Quick Ride on Bahama Beach (103k Perm-Pop)

In the doldrums?
Go do a fast ride.
Sometimes it helps.

Didn't ride Wed. with Ricochet.
He wanted to start when it would still be cold, and
It turned out I just didn't care to get on the bike.

Could have ridden yesterday (Thanksgiving), but
I just didn't care to get on the the bike.

Today -- nearly "back against the wall".
But only because I have a distance goal for the year. 
Still, I was having trouble getting interested in throwing a leg-over this morning.

Finally got around to do a Noon start.
The stop-light at the corner of Creedmoor + Norwood (the start / finish of the ride)
Was NOT cooperative at the start!
Two minutes waiting for the light to change.

Then ... ... ... I had cadence into the wind on Norwood.
And I had cadence for the 5 creek valley climbs on Victory Ch / Kemp Rd.
And ... ... I kept the cadence almost every pedal-stroke of the ride.

  • At approx. 14.9-miles, passing the Exxon on Red Mill Rd at I-85, official elapsed time  0h57 ( and the in-motion less than that). 
  • At the Bahama Info Control, 24.7-miles (39.7-kms), elapsed time  1h32. 
  • At the Stem Open Control, 37.3-miles (60.0-kms), elapsed time  2h17. 
  • At the Grissom Info Control, 51.9-miles (83.5-kms), elapsed time  3h12. 
  • At the finish, 64.5 miles (103.8-kms), elapsed time  4h00. 

Interestingly, by the time I got to Bahama, I knew that, if I could keep up the cadence, etc., I would be challenging a sub-4-hour time.  So, virtually the entire ride was an effort to keep the cadence up, stay in the right gear, stand-up just the right amount, trying to get some time-in-the-bank because I knew that from 12.6 miles to go (i.e., the Grissom Info Control) until 5.9-miles to go (i.e., the turn onto Ghoston), I would be bang-on into the wind.

Obviously, I did not get sub-4-hours, but I sure "gave it a scare", and I am stoked !!

Hope I have some legs for tomorrow's NC-rando-year-end-party-Populaire.

--> Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop -->; 74.1 m.; 4h29 in-motion; 16.5 mph; BB elapsed time:  4h00.

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
Nov tot: __6 rides; __592.4 m; _38h40; 15.3 mph; __765 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _99 rides; 8,741.9 m; 586h13; 14.9 mph; _9484 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NC Rando Math -- Part 4

414  =  Sauartown-200k  +  Carolina-Crossroads

414  =  Egypt-Mtn  +  Triple-L


Q,:  What's the point of all the "math lessons"?

A.:  Since mid-August, I've been targeting a specific RUSA km total.  Everything was planned down to the last kilometer.  Then, a few things happened:

Then, everything settled down for the November and December plan.  Until:
  • the NC-rando-year-end-party-pop got listed / credited for 111-kms, 
  • even though the Black-Knight-of-County-and-State-Line-Dashes had assured me the credit would be 100-kms. 
  • To see what that has done to my plan, click here

Lessons learned?
  • My plans never work out. 
  • Previous plans never seemed to work out; why should this one have worked out? 
  • It is good to have a multiple permanents, with similar, yet slightly different official distances. 
  • Friends are great, but they can mess you up -- don't tell them your plans. 
I WILL get to my goal for the year.
I just wish I knew for-absolutely-sure what the credit for the party-pop will be.

Sigh .....................................

NC Rando Math -- Part 3

208  =  Kerr-Lake-Loop

208  =  Yanceyville-Ramble

208  =  Bahama-Beach  +  Benson-Mule-Pull


210  =  Egypt-Mtn  (for much of the year, Egypt-Mtn was worth 221-kms credit)

210  =  Lake-Gaston-210

210  =  2  x  Benson-Mule-Pull


420  =  2  x  Egypt-Mtn

420  =  3  x  Hope-Springs-Eternal


More later?

NC Rando Math -- Part 2


413  =  Carolina-Crossroads  +  Bunn-Warmer  +  Benson-Mule-Pull
 _ _ _ _ _ (but the BW and the BMP would have been in-the-bank by now)


102  =  Capitol-Bailey

102  =  Get 'er Dunn

102  =  The "Adrian Hands"  (hmmn, maybe I need to talk to Jerry about that route) 


More later?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NC Rando Math -- Part 1

413  =  100  +  Egypt-Mtn  +  Bahama-Beach

413  =  111  +  Carolina-Crossroads  +  Capitol-Bailey

413  =  106  +  Triple-L  +  Bahama-Beach


More later?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov-17: Hope Springs Eternal 140-km Perm-Pop

Not much to type.
Headwind outbound.
At least it was sunny.
Tailwind inbound.
But high, thin, milky clouds blocked much of the heat of the sun.

Learned that Wayne + I have one cycling friend in common.
Due to past MS-150 experiences.
We chatted about MS-150 experiences for quite a while / distance.  
(Probably know more than one person from MS experiences, but we didn't go into it.)

Don't know what Wayne + Mick might have chatted about.
Couldn't really hear through the wind.
Don't recall what Mick + I chatted about.
Well ... I do recall Mick mentioning the traffic.

55 minute stop in Spring Hope.

The view from the Fowler Rd ridge-line was nice. 
Perry's Pond looked good.
Next week, the Party-Pop riders will have the opportunity to see both -- twice.
My favorite spot for views remains along Paul Sledge Rd.
Next week, the Party-Brevet riders will have the opportunity to see -- twice.
(They'll also see the same things the Party-Pop riders see.) 

We set a new record for longest elapsed time on this course. 

I seem to be losing what little "edge" of fitness and speed that I had. 
I think I need more rides that are about doing the ride.
Rather than riding somewhere to eat.

--> Hope Springs Eternal 140-km Perm-Pop -->; 105.1 m.; est. 6h57 in-motion; 15.1 mph; HSE elapsed time:  7h45.

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
Nov tot: __5 rides; __518.3 m; _34h11; 15.2 mph; __662 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _98 rides; 8,667.8 m; 581h43; 14.9 mph; _9381 RUSA kms

After this ride, I have 99 career rides that are / were at least 100-miles long.  I'll get one more 100-plus-miler this year (if'n I stay alive, my equipment doesn't fail, etc., etc., etc.).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nov-11: Three Steps OEO 209-km Perm

I'll skip how a ride went from 2 riders to possibly only 1 to 6 plus another doing Hope Springs Eternal and yet another doing the Bunn Warmer plus a late addition for OakElmOak to 7 doing OEO and 1 doing BW.  I'll just note it was an impressive crowd:  everyone except the route owner and me have done multiple 1200's and/or 1000's.  Mick and I have not gone beyond 600.  And Mick and I are also the slowest.

Three Steps:

1.  MaryF reaches 10-thousand RUSA kms for the year.  Adding to her impressive list of randonneuring and RAAM and other UltraMarathonCycling accomplishments, about 40-kms into the ride, Mary reached the 10-thousand RUSA credit kms for the year (all she needed was to then complete the ride and get credit).  It was decided that Hopkins was close enough to the 10K point; we stopped and took a pic to commemorate the first NC randonneuse to become a 10K-Hound:
L to R:  IanH, StevenA, me, Mary, BryanR, TimL, MickH.  Interestingly, all the current and past 10K-Hounds are on one side of Mary, and those not are on the other side.  Serendiptious grouping.  WayneC behind the camera.  (Photo originally on Mary's Facebook page.)
2.  BryanR mixed it up with TimL for the CL sprints, and later paid the price.  I think Bryan may have snuck the first one; after that, and being on his home turf, Tim allowed no more such silliness as he picked it up from way out -- e.g., half-a-mile or more before the CLs -- and deterred any save the most foolish to contest the issue.  Bryan was the only one foolish enough.  He posted on Facebook that he couldn't keep up with the rest of the crew in the later 1/3 of the ride.  I thought he was unable to keep up with himself.  On the other hand, he has been trying to convince me that he is slower than me this year.  This was the second ride in 8 weeks where he made his statement on the road, drifting backward.  I will need more evidence before I am convinced.

3.  Getting back into the environs of Raleigh, Ian was behind me on one of the climbs on Buffaloe Rd.  As we crested the ridge, he told me he was going to "bomb the descent" and came around.  I decided to change gears from 39/15 to 50/11, try to grab Ian's wheel, and see what would happen.  Well, in about 7 pedal strokes, I had his wheel, and then had to sit up and use the air-brake and also feathered the front brake once.  Coming to the bottom of the decline, I did NOT waste my momentum and hit the pedals hard, and passed Ian on the immediately following incline.  Where was the "bomb" part, Ian?

4.  Okay, so I need more than three easy steps.  At the finish, Mick revealed that he had crossed the 15-thousand RUSA credit kilometer mark late in the ride.  That makes Mick (this year) and TimL (last year) the only two North Carolinians to exceed 15K kms in a single calendar year.

5.  Some of us left immediately on completing the ride.  Tim to drive back to Wilson (he had noted earlier in the day that Elm City, the turn-around for this perm, is only about 5-miles from where he lives); Wayne to drive to Durham; I had another 9-mile commute to ride, and didn't want to do ALL of it in the dark (only had to do 83% of it in the dark).  The others waited for Bryan and got another group photo at the finish:
This photo also was originally published on Mary's Facebook page, with a caption explaining that Bryan, Mick, Mary and Ian were in the photo, but that Wayne and Tim had to leave before the photo.  I was not mentioned.  I guess I didn't "count", even though I was the one that had advised Mary of the ride; sniff, sniff.  (StevenA only did the 108-km Bunn Warmer, so he obviously didn't "count" -- Steven did capture and post on Facebook a couple of my favorite parts of the BW/HSE/OEO course.)
Summary:  beautiful mid-November day with great companions on a pretty darn nice route.  What more could one ask for?

--> OakElmOak 209-km Perm -->; 148.1 m.; 9h39 in-motion; 15.3 mph; OEO elapsed time:  10h15.
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
Nov tot: __3 rides; __339.1 m; _22h19; 15.2 mph; __419 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _96 rides; 8,488.6 m; 569h51; 14.9 mph; _9138 RUSA kms.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Return of Iva "the Hawk"

Since mid-August, Iva has been on a reduced athletic programme.
Today was perfect for his second outdoors ride in nearly three months.

Iva, "Mallet", Iva's spin class friend ShaneB and I met at PUE at 1000.
Actually, we need to talk to Shane.
We leave at the designated time -- NOT we arrive at the designated time.
However, with the temp nearly 60F by 1000, it mattered not.

The parking lot at PUE is protected from most winds by trees and burms.
In autumn temps, early morning breezes, and plenty of sunshine,
It is almost perfect -- as in "I don't need to move from here for HOURS" perfect.

We did a standard route of many groups and individuals that gather and start their rides from PUE.
To "the marina" via Carpenter Pond, Doc Nichols and of course Baptist roads.

The Mallet and I led most of the way to "the marina".
I noticed no climbs nor any negative stuff.
The chatting overwhelmed all.

Iva and Shane were likewise engaged in "serious" conversation just behind us.
Perhaps they noticed no climbs nor any negative stuff.

It was a glorious day!
Especially if one was in the direct sunlight.
The sunshine was stronger than the slight breezes that occasionally were in our face.
The sunshine and warmth overpowered any chilly moments in shaded places.

We took a break at the edge of Falls Lake, deep into the state recreational area. 
Surrounded on three side by the water.
The lake looked good, but no one wanted to take a swim.
Something about the likely chill in the water.

I should mention that another cyclist was stopped at the same vantage point when we arrived.
I-pod ear-plugs in place and in his own little world.
I tried to attract his attention as we approached the picnic table at which he sat.
Apparently the music was too loud or his concentration too great.
He heard not our "hello's".
But a minute or two later, he was quite startled to find four others standing within a few feet.

After several minutes, we started our trip back to PUE, intending to retrace out path exactly.
But on the incline on Carpenter Pond, approaching Hickory Grove Rd,
Iva acknowledged that he'd like to back off the pace a bit.
And when I suggested we take the alternate route back, and remove a couple climbs,
He jumped on the idea.

Iva ended up leading the line on Norwood Rd.
I think because the Mallet and Shane, esp. the Mallet, were intent on making a wrong turn.
Settled in behind Iva, I noticed that he seemed to be working a bit harder than seemed necessary.
So I went around, telling him to suck my wheel.

And of course, suffering from short-term memory loss, or having a short attention span,
I forgot why I had taken the lead, and immediately upped the pace.
I watched the shadow beside / behind me, and kept hoping that it was Iva.
I'm reasonably confident that Paul and Shane would have backed off their paces
And stayed with Iva had I drifted off the front.
But we all stayed together, getting in a good loosening up of the legs on Norwood Rd.

That is my story, anyway.  I'll be sticking to it.

--> PUE:  "the marina" and back -->; 50.7 m.; 3h04 in-motion; 16.5 mph.  
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
Nov tot: __2 rides; __156.5 m; _12h38; 15.1 mph; __210 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _95 rides; 8,340.5 m; 560h10; 14.9 mph; _8929 RUSA kms.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Dark Monster

According to the US Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications, Raleigh, NC: 

Sunrise Sunday, Nov-11 -- 6:47 am.  Civil twilight -- 6:20 am.  
Sunset Sunday, Nov-11 -- 5:10 pm.  Civil twilight -- 5:37 pm.

Yes, it is definitely the time of the year that, when doing a 200+ km ride, I, and many others in the NC-rando community, race "the dark monster" from the first pedal stroke.  Just keep pedaling, and no messing around at controls.

Each permanent from now until at least early March-2013 will be a repeat of the "race".

That's pretty much part of the deal here.  In the summer, back-off the pace to help stay cool.  In the winter, no messing around.

If I were in certain parts of the country (+ world), I wouldn't need to race the dark-monster.
There would be no way I could beat it.

In certain other parts of the country, I wouldn't need to race the dark-monster, either.
Because I wouldn't ride in the conditions prevalent in those parts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nov-03: Last Daylight Savings Ride of 2012

Egypt Mtn 210-km Permanent

I arrived about 4 minutes before the scheduled start.
Ricochet was there.  Anxious, excited, a bit bouncy.
Bob was there.  Completely calm.
R-squared was not there.

While doing cards and waivers in the dark, Rick arrived.
Funny thing:  there were no lights on in the CVS parking lot.
I hadn't noticed that the week before.
Robert assured me it had been the case.

We started at least five minutes late, maybe more.

It was daylight by 7:20 or 7:25.
It was also cold.
The thermometer in my confuser indicated 33F when an hour or more into the ride.
The low creek valleys off Sims Bridge Rd just north of the Tar River
Were bathed in frosted grass.
It was almost as riding past snow-banks,
As one felt the lower temps passing each frosted section.

My fingers and feet were cold.
I recalled that I had two bread-bags in the breast pocket of my shell.
Bread bags over jersey work gloves worked great.
The wind was immediately blocked and my fingers quickly warmed.
My feet were a different matter.
Robert mentioned that he had a couple more bread bags with him.
Nope.  I'm not stopping until I get to Epsom.

Even before Epsom, my feet were warming.
In Edwards Grocery, I took my shoes off and put my stockinged feet on the floor.
Feet and shoes were reasonably warm when we left Epsom.

During the above time-frame, R^2 remarked once or twice that he wished
That he had remembered his ear covers.

Ricochet seemed warmly encapsuled.
I later noted complete neoprine shoes covers.

I recall no remarks from Bob regarding the chill.
The 10 miles from Drewry to Warrenton is my favorite section of the ride.
Several creeks to cross.
Nice foot-hill type valleys on either side of the ridge road.
Horses, cattle, sheep in the fields.
Some very nice color on the trees, too.

Nice vistas also on Tower Rd and Jones Chapel Rd.
Also Sims Bridge Rd and Gillburg-Bobbitt Rd are nice.
Not much scenery on Dick Smith Rd, nor Egypt Mtn Rd.
Each is essentially a tree-tunnel.

The llamas at "the llama house" had been well distributed about their allotted area in the morning.
However, fewer of them were visible in the afternoon.

R^2 had legs all day, of course.
He also remembered to bring his camera with him from Wilmington.
But forgot to turn it off, and since getting run over by a car, the auto-shut-off no longer works.
Rick also admitted, late in the ride, that he forgot which ride we were doing,
Or where this one started.
He first went to the start for Byron's Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville route.
Then realized he was at the wrong place.
That explained his late arrival in the morning.
There was no explanation for my being later than planned.

Ricochet had better legs today than a week ago.
He and Rick left me well behind on Egypt Mtn and Olivet Church roads.

My legs did come around late in the ride.
I covered the last 16.2 miles in 54 minutes.
That includes the three non-trivial inclines of Ghoston, Peed + Mt. Vernon Ch Rd.
[Some think those are trivial inclines.  Foo on them.  ;-)  ]

Bob's ride can best be explained by his two comments at the end of the ride:
Even before dismounting, he said in a rather tired by determined voice, "R-35."
As he signed his card, he commented, "this route has a lot more climbs than I remembered."

--> Egypt Mtn 210-km perm -->; 140.3 m.; est. 9h34 in-motion; 14.7 mph; EM elapsed time:  10h36.  
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
Nov tot: __1 rides; __105.8 m; __9h34; 14.7 mph; __210 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _94 rides; 8,289.8 m; 557h07; 14.9 mph; _8929 RUSA kms

  • After this ride, Ricochet Robert has 9089 RUSA credit kms this year.
  • Bob has R-35.  He continues to lead the NC-2010-rookie-class on that stat.
  • I have R-28. 
  • Ricochet Robert has R-14.  I don't know if he leads the NC-2011-rookie-class on that. 
  • Rick has R-9, which he started on Egypt Mtn in March.  Nine is enough to start counting. Also, he has plans to do a perm while in Florida for the entire month of January, so ... he's counting. 

Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  98
Meaning that I have completed at least 98 different rides that were at least 98 miles long.