Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Apr-20: NCBC 300-km Brevet

Recollections on the day -- NOT necessarily in chronological order:
  • Since there are several references to specific roads or points along the course, here is a link to a map of this year's course:  (If you click on the link, an new tab will open -- you'll be able to keep this tab for the report, and have access to the tab with the map.) 
  • Near the start of the ride, Byron mentioned that this was the 15th consecutive year for this 300-km course.  (I heard him say the same thing, two weeks earlier, near the start of the 200-km brevet.)  So far as I can tell, no one has gotten tired of the course.  If they start to think they're tired of the course because they know everything about the roads and vistas, etc., they should do a pre-ride with RBA Alan -- last year, when I did the 300 pre-ride with him, Alan pointed out numerous things I had not previously noticed.
  • It felt quite COLD after the sunset.  I went in to Andrews Store to sit and collect some warmth before the Jack Bennett descent:  I must have dozed off in the store because Jacob was suddenly telling me I was "burning daylight."  That's what he said, even though it was already 9:20 pm or so. 
  • The heat-sink of Jordan Lake did its job -- the temperature was suddenly back above 50F, and that felt much warmer. 
  • There were about 2-dozen at the start.  I thought it strange that I didn't recognize most of them -- I thought I had mostly figured out who was whom.  
  • The start was an inconsistent, semi-aggressive event.  Half the true fast-pack seemed to put on their faux-racing faces within the first 6-miles.  Strange that although the pace of the fast-pack was clearly higher than recent rides, the inconsistency among the back half of the fast-pack and disintegration of the mid-pack resulted in covering only 16-miles in the first hour, instead of the usual 17 to 17.2 miles. 
  • Due to different plant-watering and partial disrobing stops, I re-connected with Byron, Ricochet, Phil, Wayne and Mick after the Jack Bennett climb. 
  • However, on the most scenic of the valleys on Castle Rock Farm Rd (maybe the only scenic creek-valley on CRF Rd), the other five easily dropped me.  I attempted to re-connect for another mile or more, but finally acquiesced to the separation, and tried to find my own cadence, which must have worked, because: 
  • "I found my thrill on Lin-day-ley Mill."  I.e., I found myself enjoying the ride into the light headwind, even when climbing.  As I neared the turn off Lindley Mill Rd onto the Old Greensboro Hwy, my internal smile was so big that I was sure my external smile must have resembled the ever-present smile sported by Pamela Blalock
  • The last 4.5-miles to the outbound Snow Camp control felt so good that I determined to short-stop the control.  I would have been stopped for less than 3-minutes except that the non-rando in line in front of me decided he just had to change five $20 bills for one $100, chat about who-knows-what, then change another five $20 bill for one $100 bill.  Aargh!  Oh, well. 
  • I left Snow Camp before Byron, Ricochet, etc., but I think all five caught and passed me before the Siler City control, only 12-miles later. 
  • However, I was still feeling good, so I decided to short-stop Siler City, too (except nature called while at the control, and that cost a few minutes).  
  • Byron, Ricochet and I rode all of Coleridge / Old Coleridge and the gravel Manor Rock detour together.  Such peaceful roads.  Manor Rock was EXCEEDINGLY peaceful, and then suddenly, after crossing a bridge, the road surface was crap, and I found myself thinking "WHAT THE HECK?" before I recalled "Oh, yeah, this is the gravel."  The description of getting to the gravel was spot-on.  The description of the road and gravel, however, was ... well, see the epilogue after the usual personal stats section.
  • It was a beautiful day to be outdoors and on a bike. 
  • Lindley Mill, Greensboro - Chapel Hill and Coleridge roads were their usual gorgeous Spring selves:  verdant green hillsides and lawns and dandelion covered pasteurland, with horses, dairy cattle and goats along the route.  Also a UFO or two. 
  • Coleridge, Erect and Fork Creek Mill roads also always transport me back in time to when Lynn and I would drive to the Seagrove area to go pottery hunting.  Strangely, a couple years ago, Lynn told me that pottery hunting with neither me nor her mother come to mind on the way to or from Seagrove -- maybe she has always ridden that section too-fast to notice. 
  • I arrived at the Seagrove control with only 18-minutes of stoppage time -- not bad for 150+ kms. 
  • Ian and Mary were staffing the control.  Ian taking photos and conversing with all -- thanks, Ian.  Mary was busy keeping messy Ian away from the neatly organized foodstuffs -- thanks, Mary. 

Ian snapped photos as riders arrived at the Seagrove control.  This is me.

Although I dislike Ian's favorite photo face -- I'm old enough I think it is rude -- I knew Ian would appreciate the above.  He obviously did -- he snapped the photo.
Geof in Seagrove.  Apparently confused, possibly because we were at a control, 150-kms into the ride, at the same time.
Ricochet Robert also seemed confused, or flabberghasted.  Neat, organized Mary in the background -- keeping Ian away from messing with the foodstuffs.
This is what Ian and the "clown bike" might have looked like when did the pre-ride.  (The "clown bike" is actually a Moulton that Ian acquired from Gilbert Anderson of North Road Bicycles after someone stole his previous rando-bike -- which had belonged to his dad Adrian -- sliimy thieves.)

  • My legs were a bit "tight" when I got to Seagrove, so I took a longish "lunch" break of 33-minutes before starting back for Siler City. 
  • I think I enjoyed the ride back to Siler City, esp. riding Coleridge Rd with Jacob, but I was riding with a lot less panache than I did in 2011.  Can't rightly recall 2010, and last year I did a pre-ride of the 300 with RBA and Fearless Leader "Uncle" Alan -- I think I got all the nick-names with which I am acquainted into that phrase -- and the only thing I can recall from that 50-kms is that I was going to stop short of the Chatham County Line and wait for Alan, but that CL is on an incline, and I decided to heck with stopping before the crest.  I waited for Alan at the crest. 
  • I arrived at the 200k Siler City control with only 1-additional-minute of stoppage (for some cars just before  reaching Coleridge -- the "village," not the road). 
  • Jerry was staffing the control in fine "Jerry" fashion.  That is, organized and neat.  Organized from experience of staffing controls -- at least that is my suspicion.  Neat because Jerry is always neat and always seems to be put-together (so much so that he takes a lot of teasing on the subject.) 
  • Jerry was NOT taking photos at the control. 
  • I lost track of stoppage time while in Siler City. 
Since I had pics of Ian + Mary and Bob, it only seemed fair to include a photo of JP.  This is what Jerry might have looked like on the pre-ride ... IF Clyde's Critters in Bynum were on the 300 course.  Oh, well, that's a better photo than the other Jerry-pic I have (click-here to see what I mean -- well, wouldn't you know it -- I can't locate the photo -- I'm positive I used it somewhere in this blog).

  • I don't recall the 12-miles from Siler City to the Snow Camp control -- except that it was into a quartering headwind. 
  • BobB was staffing the Snow Camp control.  He was organized with foodstuffs and drinks and Dove dark chocolates.  He noted that no one was interested in his peanut butter sandwiches, but everyone seemed to want a Dove dark chocolate.  I explained that Ian + Mary had peanut butter with honey sandwiches, and Jerry had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches -- so everyone was probably tired of peanut butter sandwiches.  The V-8's and Cokes were quite welcome, though. 
  • Bob was busy taking photos -- apparently doing walkabout photos when no one was at the control. 
The empty road up to the control in/at Snow Camp.  (Bob clearly had some lulls between storms of arriving cyclists.)
Volunteer Bob, Byron in green wool, Geof in NC-Rando wool.  I suspect Ricochet insisted on taking this photo (with Bob's camera.)
Bob caught me sitting on his tailgate.  Sridhar might be proud -- he's a perfectionist on the "don't stand when you can sit" unwritten rule of randonneuring.
While I sat, Bob staged and took this photo of the favorite snack at his Snow Camp control.
Bob apparently also snapped a photo of my bike. (He took quite a few bike-photos, actually.)
For the rest of Bob's Snow Camp photos, click-here
  • The remains of a bad 2-vehicle crash were on Old Greensboro Hwy, about halfway between Snow Camp and Lindley Mill Rd.  The non-ambulance emergency vehicles were still on site as were the crashed vehicles.  I shouldered my bike through the crash area. 
  • Otherwise, I think I enjoyed my ride to NC-87.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't fast, but it was a happy time. 
  • I made it all the way onto NC-87 before I stopped to light-up and reflectorize.  Then, the only real disappointment of the day appeared:  despite newish batteries in the main tail-blinkie, and a goodly supply of appropriate pretty new and unused batteries, the rear blinkie would not "fire-up" -- the back-up was also useless.  
  • I figuratively scratched my head for a minute or two, then came up with a road-side "fix."  I re-purposed the headlamp I had borrowed from Byron into a tail-light.  When Jacob and TomP caught me some miles later, Jacob confirmed that the light was very visible from a long distance back. 
  • I've never been to France, I may never get to France, but I think I appreciate the supposedly dim French lights more and more.  If I have a bright head-light on my bike, or I'm riding with someone that does, my eyes are drawn to the bright spot of light, and I soon get sleepy.  If I can get ahead or well behind bright head-lights, my eyes look well up the road into the near or total dark, and I don't get sleepy, or not nearly as sleepy, anyway. 
  • I have a similar problem with BRIGHT tail-lights.  That's all I'll type on that. 
  • I mentioned the COLD already. 
  • After the sit-doze-off and slight warm-up at Andrews Store, I finished the last 20-miles with some panache, setting a PR for this course, by a whole 2-minutes -- actually, upon checking my stats on the RUSA website, I ended up with the exact same time as the first 300 brevet I did in 2010.  (For much of the day, despite having pooh-poohed the idea when Byron had suggested it, I thought I might finish around 9:30 pm.  That slipped to 10:00 and then 10:30.  And in the end, I didn't really care.  I finished -- that's all that counts -- finishing well within the time limit is just a bonus.) 
Thanks to Alan and Dorothy for organizing the ride and post-ride snacks.  Thanks to Ian + Mary, Jerry, and Bob for staffing the turn-around and inbound controls.
I don't have a photo of Alan AND Dorothy.  I probably have other photos of Alan (or I could acquire one), but Alan on his bike, with a smile, can't do better than that.


NCBC Morrisville 200-km Brevet;; 190.1 m.; 13h27 in-motion; 14.1 mph; 15h54 elapsed.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __3 rides; __477.4 m; _33h39; 14.2 mph; __705 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _14 rides; _1417.7 m; _98h22; 14.4 mph; _1980 RUSA kms

"Epilogue," originally posted on Facebook: 

[We] encountered what was described as "hard-packed-dirt."

I don't know where Alan and Jerry learned their gravel-road-nomenclature, but I grew up cycling on gravel roads in NW Illinois corn/soybean/hog country with some dairy and feed-lot cattle, and I definitely would describe that section of Manor Rock Rd as "loose pebbles cov
ering hard-packed 'something'." Some of the "something" included some sort of "dirt", but it also seemed to include hard-packed boulders that had reached the surface.

There are no boulders reaching the surface where I grew up. More like 4 to 6 feet of black-black-black soil -- some of the richest soil in the world -- on top of an almost infinitely thick layer of clay and other soft earthy stuff -- no rocks or boulders to be found -- I do admit, however, that one could find rock and boulder outcroppings within 20 miles to the northwest and northeast.

Anyway, that soil ate gravel every year, and that gravel never returned to the surface. Most places I've been in central North Carolina, there seems to be about 1 to 3 inches of sandy-clay-excuse-for-dirt on top of rock. Gravel-sized pebbles constantly percolate to the surface.

Driving gravel roads in NW Illinois was always an experience in the March / April thaw and planting seasons -- no one rode bicycles on those roads at that time of the year. Many of the gravel roads would have been re-graveled and graded the previous Summer and Fall such that there was a thick layer of gravel pebbles spread across the entire road-way. But during the next Spring, the roads became mud quagmires, with gravel pebbles ground below the surface by the huge tractors and other farm implements and trucks.

However, by the middle of May, many roads were truly hard-packed dirt -- no pebbles strewn about in the path of a bicycle -- and often smoother than the smoothest asphalt roads nearby. THAT's what I think of when I hear "hard-packed-dirt."

The best I can say of Alan and Jerry's description is:  it was clearly an RBA deception operation to make up for the almost flawless weather we experienced.

BTW, I enjoyed the gravel bit; therefore you obviously will know that the purpose of this post is just to ... well, I suppose I'm picking on Alan and Jerry instead of saying thanks for the first gravel road I've ridden since I was a child, even if it was loose pebbles strewn about rather than truly hard-packed dirt.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Memories -- Three Years Ago

Three Years Ago on this date (Apr-17), a group of ten had some fun:
 _ _

This came to mind because Iva and I were hoping to sneak in a ride together, today.
Stuff got in the way.
Oh, well.

Happy 66th, Iva.


BTW, calling Ricochet -- this past Saturday, after I "mentioned" that I was worse off this year than three years ago when I first started randonneuring, you asked what I had done on the weekend between the 200 and 300 brevets "back then."  The answer, of course, is I did the ride linked to above.

Further, you asked what I did on the weekend between the 300 and the 400.  The answer, you may recall, was that I met you  :-O   [One Went Bonus Miles]

I think you've learned a thing or two since then, my RUSA Cup holding friend.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Apr-13: Ricochet's Ridge 205-km Perm

Last Fall, Ricochet Robert inquired if I could make a route that included "that ridge we rode that one time."  Yeah, with a description like that ... but I knew he meant the one we did on the Virginia Border Raid last June-16th.

Actually, I'd been thinking of the "ridge" finish we did for last year's Summer pre-Solstice ride since before doing the Irregular's Hurdle Mills 200k route in October 2009 -- which we did twice.  Well, actually, no one did the entire route twice:  I came up 10-miles short the first time and one week later Smitty came up about 55-miles short.

I was thinking of the "ridge" to Dabney to Green Hill Rd finish in 2009 because I had done US Bike Route #1 so many times that year that I was getting tired of it, or so I thought.  I've since done a "mountain" or a "flat" finish from Stovall quite a few times, and I didn't get tired of it in 2010 or 2011 (and, sadly, in 2012, the only times I rode to or through Stovall were on the pre- and post- Summer Solstice rides, so I haven't had a chance to get tired of US Bike Route #1, lately).  [BTW, fixed-gear aficionado, Super-Randonneur and PBP ancien Branson likes me to mention US Bike Route #1 as many times as I can -- whether legitimate references or not.]  

I even thought about turning the Irregular's route into a Permanent, possibly with the finish to take in "Ricochet's Ridge" and Dabney, etc. for the last "third" of the route.  However, I decided to keep the Hurdle Mills route as just an Irregular's route, thinking some of the crew would be interested in a 200k ride again some day.  So far, that has not happened.  We have, however, done the "100-mile bailout" version, in August-2010 with a simple modification, and in April-2011, with a bail-out of the "bailout"[hmmn, not sure I can use "we" in regards to that ride as I wasn't there.]

Some of crew think I got lost about 3/4 of the way through the simple modification in the Aug-2010 ride.  I admit that I didn't know exactly where I was, and I further admit that I was getting ready to turn the wrong direction, but I was never LOST.  I would have made it back home; the ride might have been more than 110-miles, and there might have been some grousing from some of the crew if that had happened, but I wasn't ... LOST.

Anyway, back to the supposed point of this blog post:  Riding the Ricochet's Ridge 205-km Permanent.

With two of the four "north Raleigh" perms (temporarily) off-the-board due to control stores closing and/or general tweaking, and a third endangered by some NC-DOT bridge replacement action, I was motivated to get this new route submitted and approved.  The only thing holding me up was creating the reversed cue sheet.  However, with all the dang road name changes, and with cues for controls and such just not "flowing" nicely (and I may have been trying to be too clever), I got frustrated with reversing the loop and decided to forgo filing the for the reversed -- I doubt I'll ever ride it reversed, anyway.  [If anyone wants to do it reversed, I'll make a deal:  pay triple, and take your chances on me submitting and Crista approving in time; if not approved in time, I keep the tripled fee, and you do the route the normal clock-wise direction.  Sounds fair to me.  :-) ]

So ... route submitted ... and approved.

Then, in course of the usual "what are you thinking of riding this coming weekend" discussion,
Ricochet notes that he might have to travel for business, and
The trip would extend over both the weekend of the 20th (the date of the local 300 brevet),
And the 27th, which would have been Robert's "insurance" weekend.

So ... two days after approval,
Ricochet Robert and I did the new "Ricochet's Ridge" 205-km Permanent,
For Robert's R-series "insurance" in case he has to skip the 300.
RWGPS map link:

About now, you're probably thinking:  "enough with overlong introduction -- get to the ride report!"

Some of the conversations on the day.
After crossing NC-57 (which is three miles after crossing NC-157 -- don't get confused), New Sharron Ch Rd changes its name to Holly Ridge Rd, and Ricochet comments:  "We made a mistake."  Me:  "Oh."  R:  "We should have invited Wilmington-Rick on this ride and then there would be a photo documentary of the scenery around here."  Me:  "Oh well; maybe next time."  Local cyclists (esp. those from Durham and Chapel Hill) will know that Schley and New Sharron Ch roads offer plenty of nice vistas and well-kept home-and-farmsteads.

Nearing Timberlake, Ricochet exclaimed, "there's Trixie's Hairstyling!"  (This new route re-intersects/joins Byron's Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville route near Timberlake for a few miles.)  Me:  "Oh, yeah."  [I'd never noticed the sign for "Trixie's."]

On Jim Latta Rd, after Ricochet had given up on convincing me to climb up to Mt. Tirzah to check on the status of Hollow Ridge Grocery, he asked, "when was the last time you were on these roads?"  Me:  "At least two years for most of them."  R:  "How much of this course is new roads for you?"  Me:  "About four miles."  R:  "Where?"  Me:  "Oh, we've done them already.  Today was the first time I've cycled on Hall Dairy and Gray roads, and that first bit on Dick Holeman Rd.  I did drive those in a car about five years ago, though."  R:  "Oh."  [Looking at the map, Robert would have ridden about 26 new miles; however, and Robert would admit this, I doubt he recalls having done another 19-miles of the route previously.  He did those early 19-miles on a ride when the current banner photo on this blog was taken.  Since I might change the banner photo some day, I insert here.]
That's Ricochet Robert in the blue Gerolsteiner jersey.  I happen to be in front in the orange jersey.  I'm only in front because I knew where I was going.  Well, this was on the ride mentioned above, where several of the Irregulars insist I was lost.

Road Quality.
I knew there was some chip-seal on this course, but there was more than I recalled.  After all, it had been at least two years since I'd ridden most of the course between mile markers 19 and 76.  Not much in the way of pot-holes or breaking surfaces to worry about. 

It goes down-and-up.  Some of it even goes up-and-down.  [If you don't understand the difference, come do the route:  you should catch on.]  Many pleasant vistas alongside or from atop ridge lines -- just don't expect anything comparable to mountains.  There are some flatter sections where one could recover from the climbing if needed.  [Didn't help me any, though, late in the ride.] 

Navigation difficulty.
I'm obviously not the best judge of this.  Ricochet did try to confuse himself once or twice, esp. at the control at Underwood Grocery.  To help him not get lost, I asked, "what does the cue sheet indicate?'  Robert tried to claim that he might turn left out of Underwood, reversing himself on the road he'd just ridden.  My comment:  "THAT is Schley Rd.  You just read to me that the cue sheet indicates to take New Sharron Ch Rd."  Robert acquiesced.  I have a hard time imagining that anyone would get lost there (it's only 33-miles into the ride), and with all the GPS devices and smart-phones, etc. ... .
Of course there were dogs -- this is North Carolina.  Only one came out into the road -- he gave the impression that he was just going to run alongside an be a happy dog, then he suddenly cut in front of me -- the yellow cur -- but he never made as if he wanted to get a taste of either of us.

One other dog came to the very edge of the road.

Three or four stopped in the ditch.  They had initially acted interested enough that Robert got his water bottle ready to spray water, or iced tea, at them.  I've got to add the water bottle thing to my bag of tricks -- I know of the trick, but it never pops into my mind.

No apparent dawg-problems worth worrying about. 

Underwood Grocery reminds me of Black Creek Grocery on MikeD's "Showdown in Black Creek" route.  More empty space than filled space.  Adequate / typical remote rando receipt options.  Don't expect a cash register receipt -- store also reminds me of the Skipwith control on MikeD's other north of Raleigh perm.  If you somehow manage to get a cash register receipt, expect it to have the wrong time on it.  Get the clerk to initial the card and write-in the correct time.
All photos complement of Ricochet Robert.  His photos came out better than mine.  At least that's my story.

Robert and I stopped at the gas station / c'store at US-501 for the Timberlake control.  Adequate / usual remote rando receipt options.  They can print a cash register receipt -- it seems to have the mostly correct time on it.  You might appreciate the bench in front of the store -- no indoor seating -- they have a grill with chicken and what not (except not on Sunday's, and timing on other days of the week may be important -- I didn't really check).

Robert thought the control question at / in Hicksboro was adequately specific.  I'll go with that question for awhile.  You'll have to do the route to find out the question.

The gas station / c'store near Dabney (the clerk mentioned that the store is in Henderson -- no, not IN Henderson, by a long shot -- and I suspect the clerk doesn't even know where Dabney-proper is located) is perhaps the best stocked of the controls.  They have a grill -- but I forgot to check what hours and days of operation (of the grill) might actually be.

Non-control stores, in particular Stovall. 
There are some non-control stores indicated on the cue sheet.  Most important of them is the gas station / c'store in Stovall.  They have a deli, and make pretty good sandwiches.  Robert and I split as 12-inch sub; it was a lot of food.  They also have the usual Hunt Bros. (?) hunk-a-pizza.  Some locals will know Stovall for the "Pizza in Stovall" rides.  Some should know it from MikeD's Kerr Lake Loop perm.  Some will recall and appreciate the gazebo across from the c'store.  Biker-Bob will likely mostly recall a hole into which his front wheel fell when trying to ride across the "lawn" to the gazebo.  Here's a suggestion:  walk your bike to the gazebo.  BTW, the gazebo in part of the church grounds there, so don't expect to be able to enjoy cooling breezes on a Sunday (esp. if you are a fast rider).

If you are looking for a route with food options at sit-down establishments, this will not be your route. 

Believe it or not, Ricochet and I each took some.  With luck, we'll figure out how to get them to a medium where I can insert them into this now way-too-long post.
I thought Robert said that he wanted to get pics of the llamas, so I rode on.  When he caught up to me, he explained he had always wanted to some pics of himself with the llamas.  Sorry, R, I was too tired to hear and think correctly.

One of the reasons I bowed to Ricochet's urging and submitted this route was because, as noted above, other routes are currently endangered from control store closures and bridge destruction/replacement.  Guess what Robert and I found at mile-71?  Yep, the bridge on Cornwall Rd over Mountain Creek, the bridge on the 150 yards of Cornwall Rd that is needed to connect Mountain Creek Rd to Little Mountain Creek Rd -- it is being demolished and replaced.  ... ...  Deep sigh.


However, I think I know the detour, and Davis Chapel Rd looks to be almost as sinuous and down-and-up as Little Mountain Creek Rd.
Overall conclusion.
I'm reserving final judgement until after I can do the route without struggling the last 45-miles.  I'd also like to understand how a nearly circular route managed to have a headwind the entire way.  Perhaps Mother Nature was repaying us (me) for the Irregulars Oct-10-2009 ride which was on a route very similar to this one.  

Something(s) about our specific first ride on this new permanent.
It was an absolutely fabulous day for a bike ride.  I had a great riding companion.  No mechanicals.  Dogs okay.  Roads okay.  I just wish I had had some oomph the last 45-miles. 

Oh, the actual name of the route, as on the RUSA Perm database:  "Road to Hicksboro"

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

(1) commute; 9.2 m.; 0h35 in-motion;  (2) The Road to Hicksboro 205-km perm;; 148.2 m.; 9h31 in-motion; 13.7 mph; 11h19 elapsed;  (3) commute; 9.2 m.; 0h43 in-motion; 12.7 mph [somebody was tired, esp. on any incline];  Total:  146.6 m.; 10h39 in-motion; 13.8 mph.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __2 rides; __287.3 m; _20h12; 14.2 mph; __405 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _13 rides; _1227.6 m; _84h54; 14.5 mph; _1680 RUSA kms

Gosh, I hope I have some legs for the 300 brevet on the 20th

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apr-06: Morrisville 200-km Brevet

 1.  A 15-mile cycle to the start.
 2.  Enjoy doing the brevet with a decent cadence, finish in under 10-hours.
 3.  Socialize a little at the finish.
 4.  Cycle 15-miles back to whence I started. 
 5.  All totaling 250-kms of pleasant riding, and being instant 300k training. 

That was the idea / plan.
It didn't quite happen as conceived.
 1.   A 15-mile cycle to the start.

The 55-minute ride to the start might seem like it fit the plan.
Except that the second mile was UP on St. Mary's Rd, and
My legs did not like it one bit.

Oh, well, that happens sometimes.
Things should come around once I get to the top.
After all, the last 13-miles are flat(tish) and downslope to Morrisville.

However, each little bump-up seemed much more drastic than it should have.
Where-oh-where has my cadence and strength gone?
 2.  Enjoy doing the brevet with a decent cadence, finish in under 10-hours.

On this course, I try to suck the wheels of the reasonable starting pace part of the lead pack
Until the climb on Jack Bennett Road, 17-miles or bit more after the start.
I can cover 17-plus miles in an hour, save 10 or 15 minutes, and a lot of energy.
That's the theory.
It usually works.

This time, I was too close to the "start line"
And got to Morrisville-Carpenter Rd first.
And a few hundred yards later -- there was no one behind me.
Quite a reverse from what happened in April 2010, when first I did this course.

I soft-pedaled at 15.4-mph, hoping t be caught and passed.
Instead, I got through the stop-light at Davis Dr.
No one else did.
Almost the exact reverse from what happened later in April 2010, when first I did the 300 course.

I had to stop at the light at Louis Stephens Drive.
That seemed to bring things back together.
I was sure I'd be passed on Green Hope School Rd.

Morrisville Pkwy / Lewter Shop Rd?  Nope.
Well, someone did high-tail it off the front.
And also Jacob in his rolling couch -- but the tail-enders recollected him on Jack Bennett Rd.

Martha's Chapel Rd?  Nope.
Well, Hans and Wilmington-Rick and Vance and Ed B took turns riding alongside me.
Ed even came around to lead.
But then immediately slowed to 15.4-mph ... on a downslope ... with a tailwind.
That wasn't helping me try to trick my legs into finding the "magic cadence" of Spring 2011.
So, I got back in front to maintain the circa-17-mph pace.

I knew I'd go backward when the climb on Jack Bennett started for real.
I did.  It was worse than that.  It felt as if I had stopped while everyone else pedaled easily on.

I caught back up to JanetF, recently of Houston, TX, but now of Marshall, NC.
Janet, her husband Mike, Jacob and I played leapfrog and ride-together
Most of the way to Snow Camp.

Amusing moment:
Nearing the turn onto the old Greensboro Hwy, I asked Janet, who was just behind me, a question.
The answer came from Joel, who was suddenly alongside.
I instantly knew that he had started late, and was now making up time.
I didn't bother to confirm that, but instead engaged him in conversation on a different topic.
Three minutes later, Joel speed off toward Snow Camp, never did we see him again.
Except as we neared the turn-around in Siler City.

Feeling as though I had dead legs, and as if I was just barely making progress,
Even though I arrived in Siler City in 4h25, which is about as fast as I ever have.
But I knew there was 100-kms of headwind waiting for me on the return.
I took a LONGGGG time in Siler City.
Partly to rest, partly to chat with BobB about some rando issues.
I left Siler City, securely lantern rouge by 10-minutes.

I felt fine, maybe even great, everywhere.
Except for my legs.
I caught non-RUSA-member Aaron just as we arrived back at Snow Camp.
I was probably off my bike first.
I know I was in the store first.
I was also outside, sitting on the welcome bench, ready to leave, before Aaron re-emerged.

However, I decided to take a few extra minutes and see how he was doing.
Long discussion short:  he was fine, confident he would finish, and seemed okay with being solo.

I left Snow Camp.
I know I started paying more attention to the pastures along each side of the route.
I also was peering deeply into the various wooded sections.
With no leaves on the trees worth noting. and no undergrowth yet,
One could look a long way along the sunlit floor of the woods.

I stopped at one crest of the chip-seal Castle Rock Farm Rd to call Ricochet,
And tell him I would NOT be joining him on Bahama Beach the next morning at 0700.

Other than that, miles seemed to creep by.
I was never worried about finishing.
I always knew I would finish.
And repeated mental calculations of when I'd likely finish always came to 5:30 pm (10h30).

But then, an opportunity for an unplanned roadside stop appeared.
I took 15 or 20 minutes.
What difference did it make?
It was an absolutely gorgeous day.
Temps near 70F,
Feeling cooler than that because of the NNE breeze / wind.
(I suspect that Janet + Mike F -- the recent Texans -- didn't even notice the headwind.)

On the long shallow incline of Martha's Chapel Rd,
With only about 12-miles left to finish the route,
I realized that for the first time all day,
I was pedaling in a happy cadence without having to force it.
It has previously taken 80 to 90 miles before I truly "hit my stride,"
But this was the first time it took 110-plus miles.
Probably, I hadn't really hit-my-stride; it was just my kind of shallow incline.

Soon, the finishing miles were flashing by,
And I saw Alan rising from his chair to prepare to meet me with the official paperwork.
I think Alan likely made a joke -- he usually does.
I had thought of one during the ride -- namely that he'd ordered the brevet weather for the wrong day.
It had POURED the day before.
But I was more tired from this Morrisville 200 than I've ever been before,
And I forgot.

There was a platter that looked like it had probably been filled earlier with tomato sandwiches.
But they were all gone.
Luckily, however, Alan had some home-brew handily available.

The ride had NOT gone as expected,
But it had been a fine day to be outside on a bike.
 3.  Socialize a little at the finish.

Alan, Bob and I chatted about various things
While waiting for Aaron to finish.
He came in about 30-minutes after I did.

We talked him into trying some home-brew.
Then he cycled about a mile to where he lives (if I understood correctly).

So, the socializing a little came to pass.
Just a little less than I had expected. 
 4.  Cycle 15-miles back to whence I started.

I know I could have ridden the 15-miles back to Raleigh.
But I managed to talk Bob into giving me a lift.

And we snagged some dinner and some more chatting at Moe's.
Then Bob headed for home.
He was kind-of on a long leash as "Mrs. Bob" was out of town visiting her mother in Tennessee.
 5.  All totaling 250-kms of pleasant riding, and being instant 300k training.

Obviously, I didn't get in a 250-km ride.
Instead, 225-kms will have to suffice as training for the 300k in two weeks.

Maybe I can get in a hard ride next week and start to get my legs to come around.
 6.  Post-ride discovery.

Usually, I enter my distance and time stats into my Excel log immediately after completion of the ride.  Also, I will look at my avg pace on my cycle confuser during the ride.  I didn't sneak a peak during the ride, and I didn't enter the data into my Excel log until after the first version of the above had been drafted (at least it was drafted in my head).  I was in for quite a SURPRISE:

My Excel log includes an algorithm, that I developed, that will estimate my time-in-motion given the distance ridden.  The algorithm is based on my 2010 or 2011 rides (I'd have to look to verify).  That algorithm usually predicts a time within 5 or 10 minutes (even for distances of 225-kms or more).  The SURPRISE?  My in-motion time on this brevet was only 8-minutes more than the algorithm predicted.  That is one minute for every 25-kms -- that ought to be barely noticeable.

I still think that I had less power and speed climbing than usual.
And I still think that I need to get in some more rides.
And some harder efforts.

Weird though -- if one looks at the various courses I've ridden so far this year, the brevet course was in-line as far as amount of climbing per mile (according to RWGPS).

Route Name

   ft climbed         ft/m
R - NCBC Morrisville 200k Morrisville 125.2 6,731 53.8
Rp - Triple-L Raleigh 127.0 8,079 63.6
Rp - Warrenton + Egypt Mtn Raleigh 130.9 6,138 46.9
Rpp - Bahama Beach Raleigh 64.6 3,587 55.5
Rpp - Howling Grits Chatham 63.9 3,567 55.8
Rpp - Denny's Store Sortie Raleigh 85.8 4,424 51.6
IR -- Range Road Rover Raleigh 64.6 3,320 51.4


--> NCBC Morrisville 200-km Brevet; 140.7 m.; 9h32 in-motion; 14.7 mph; brevet in 10h49 elapsed. 
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __1 rides; __140.7 m; __9h32; 14.7 mph; __200 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _12 rides; _1081.0 m; _74h15; 14.6 mph; _1475 RUSA kms


Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  101
Meaning that I have completed at least 101 different rides that were at least 101 miles long.