Thursday, May 30, 2013

May-27: Denny's Store Sortie 138-km Perm-Pop

In Search of NC-DOT Project # B3841

Originally, this ride was going to combine the immediately above with Brad's P-4 ride.
However, Brad did Bahama Beach the day before for his P-series ride.
I think that, for Brad, this became a test to see if he could ride 100-plus-kms back-to-back,
And also a ramp-up of sorts in preparation for a RUSA 200k ride in the next couple months.

For me, the purposes were:  (a) have fun,  (2) learn if the demolition / replacement of the bridge just south of Berea, on Culbreth Rd, over the Tar River had begun yet.  I expected that work on the project had begun, after all, this is what is still on the NC-DOT website:

Project #: B-3841 Funded

Project Approximate Location

This map identifies likely corridors, not definite or final locations, and are subject to change during the planning or design process.



Budget & Schedule

Project Phase [?] Right-of-Way Construction
Date Begins 5/2012 5/2013
Budget $72,000 $1,450,000
Link to RWGPS map of Denny's Store Sortie (link opens a new page):
 _ _  

The ride dynamics were a bit different for this ride as compared to the day before.
I still started with tired, stiff, slightly sore, old-man legs.
Brad still had young, whipper-snapper legs; they were not quite as "fresh" as the day before.
But the biggest difference was that Brad brought his bike with gears (21 gears, I think),
Instead of bringing the fixie again.

The results, especially early, were much the same, though.
After about 5-kms of flat and down-slope,
Brad disappeared up the road, up the hill, way up the road / hill.

I figured that I'd catch him sooner or later.

My legs had started to come around as I zipped across the Cash Rd I-85 overpass.
Still no Brad in sight, I figured he would continue on,
Climb the "Range Wall" faster than I would,
But that I'd reel him in somewhere on Range Rd or Bahama Rd.

It didn't take that long -- Brad had stopped at the BP in Butner to wait.

I pulled in to the parking as Brad was finishing his snack.
Just as I was about to say, "let's go,"
Brad asked where he could take a pee.

I pointed to the BP (it does have the cleanest rest rooms around).

Minutes later, we were underway again.
Seems to me that in addition to navigating our way around a Memorial Day Service,
There may also have been a turtle-stop on the way out of Butner.

Maybe Brad will leave a comment clarifying where he made the several turtle-stops.
(For "rescue" and photos.)

Upon reaching the "Range Wall," I immediately geared-down, way down.
My legs weren't THAT loosened up, yet.

I watched Brad hammer up that climb,
Thinking to myself, "he's pedaling as if he is still on his fixie."
"If he keeps that up, he'll be in for a LONG second half of this ride."

It was a beautiful day to be on Range Road.
It was a beautiful day to be on Mt. Harmony Church Road.
It was a beautiful day, period.

It had been a beautiful long weekend for cycling.

Brad's young, hammering-away legs gave him the KOM point atop every climb.
He waited a couple times, including the corner at/in Allensville.
Strange though, I recall being in the lead when we passed Blalock Drive.
We commented that we should take a photo of that gravel, and
Post it to Facebook, noting the lack of snow.

We didn't take a new photo, nor did we post one on Facebook,
But if we had, it would have looked pretty much like this previous photo,
With more grass between the tyre-tracks, and otherwise, GREENER:
From the March 30 ride Brad + I did on DSS,  [Photo by Brad.]

We made quick work of the control stop at the Allensville Store,
And headed for Berea via Denny's Store Rd.
We paused en route to take another photo:
Brad at Denny's Store.  [photo by me, using Brad's camera / phone -- and nicely cropped by Brad]
Posing for the above photo seemed to have done Brad in.
After Denny's Store -- actually, come to think of it, I got there first --
Anyway, after Denny's Store, I did most of the leading,
Except after crossing the Tar River just after leaving Berea.
Brad was still hammering the inclines -- I was still sitting-down-and-gearing down.

My preferred c-store for the Open Control in Berea was closed for the holiday,
So we used the c-store noted on the cue sheet and the control cards.
I had 2 hotdogs for $2.
Brad had 2 hotdogs for $2; then he purchased a Coke.

We had a pleasant surprise when we reached the Control,
Or maybe when we left the Control:
The work on Project #: B-3841 to REPLACE BRIDGE NO. 83 OVER TAR RIVER 
Has not started yet.  
Seems awfully late in May, already, to not have started the work. 
But we did not look the gift horse in the mouth. 

We zipped through Culbreth and Shoofly, 
I didn't notice the sign for Shoofly, 
I'd wager that Brad didn't notice it either. 

Through Stem we rode and then blasted down Brogden Rd, 
Headed for Creedmoor and the Southern States to refill our water bottles. 

Yet another LARGE turtle on the road, or the "shoulder." 
I stopped and pointed for Brad. 
He stopped, took a photo, moved the turtle. 

We restarted. 
Brad indicated that his phone, upon which he was running his Strava app, 
Was down to 14% battery. 

We made a plan for the Southern States. 
Brad would refill his bottle(s) first and immediately high-tail it for the finish 16-miles away. 
I advised Brad how he might be able to pop all the bump-ups on Dove Rd, 
Except for the second-last one.

I would fill my bottles after Brad, and follow/chase him. 
I was pretty sure I would catch him. 
After all, my tired, stiff, old-man legs were no longer tired, well ..., no longer stiff, 
But his young, whipper-snapper legs had lost their snap. 

I waited for Brad at the corner of Old Weaver Trail and New Light roads, 
And since I had consumed an entire bottle in the 8.2-miles since Creedmoor, 
I asked Brad, who had only refilled one bottle, if he needed more water. 
"Not now," he called out, as he zoomed by. 

I thought, "well, I hope he doesn't change his mind in the next 8-miles, 
Because I'm not stopping again until the end." 

That's what I did. 
I forget to ask Brad if he ran out of water. 

As noted above, a great day to have been on the bike. 
This was Brad's first "double bubble." 
That's a term he came up with somewhere during the middle of the ride, 
Whilst we were chatting about ... who can recall? 
Anyway, Brad's invented term for back-to-back RUSA Perm-Pops. 
("bubble" -- "pop the bubble" -- I think that was the stream of thought) 

This my first time riding on 4 consecutive days since some time in 2011. 
I think I'm ready fitness-wise and mentally for the for the 600 brevet on June 1/2. 

--> Denny's Store Sortie 138-km perm-pop -->; 106.3 m.; 7h05 in-motion; 15.0 mph; DSS elapsed time:  6h57.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms

May tot: __7 rides; __836.3 m; _58h24; 14.3 mph; _1150 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _23 rides; _2428.1 m; 168h09; 14.4 mph; _3336 RUSA kms


Place-holding in case I want to add anything later. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May-26: Bahama Beach103-km 'Free-Route'

With the implementation by RUSA of the "wing-it" approach for 'free-route' permanents (Free-Route Permanents - A Free-Route Permanent is like a normal Permanent except that only the total creditable distance, the start and finish locations, and a number of intermediate controls are pre-defined; the exact route to be taken between controls is by agreement between the rider and organizer.  Riding Route Variants - The rider may plan out a route variant in advance, or "wing it" as he/she goes along, or vary from a pre-planned route at will. The rider may choose to ride the certifying route, or parts of it (or none of it, of course).), the 'free-route' option for a local Permanent or Permanent Populaire that one or more persons rides frequently, has appeal.

Before this ride, I'd ridden the Bahama Beach route about 30 times; MickH recently informed me that he had ridden it 31 times; Ricochet Robert had ridden the route 15 times before May-25th.  Each of us likes the route -- I think everyone that has ridden the route has liked it -- but there are excellent alternative, nearly parallel, roads that also make for good riding, maybe even preferable riding.  And, as I had increased my randonneuring at the expense of club or JRA riding, I found I was missing the visits to some of the other roads.  It seemed to me that morphing Bahama Beach into a 'free-route' would give me and others the ability to "wing-it" and do a little additional sight-seeing while rando-ing about, without the nuisance of creating and maintaining additional routes.

The verb-tense non-agreement in the previous bothers even me.  Sheesh!  Maybe I'll try to fix it -- at least some of it.

Anyway, on Saturday, five of us rode my 'Road to Hicksboro' route while Ricochet Robert was the first to ride 'Bahama Beach' under the free-route-wing-it regime.  Even though BB is one of only two routes that Ricochet can ride sans cue sheet, he was eager to try winging-it on Saturday, and early in our rides, while the two courses are on the same roads, I suggested an easy-to-follow and quite nice variant to Ricochet.  After I completed my Saturday ride, I found an e-mail from Ricochet in my inbox -- Saturday was the first time he could recall riding Hester Rd from end-to-end:  he liked it.

When I had just over 20-kms still to ride on Saturday, Brad called -- I pulled over to answer.  He informed that instead of being on duty at the NC State Vet Med School clinic, he had Sunday off, and wondered if he could join me on Bahama Beach on Sunday (as well as the previously planned Denny's Store Sortie on Monday).  Absolutely.

So ... 8 am Sunday, Brad and I set off.  This was Brad's second circuit of Bahama Beach, and a few things were a bit different:
  1. Brad was doing his first ever long ride on a fixed gear. 
  2. Brad was in better cycling shape. 
  3. It was warmer than it had been that first time. 
  4. There were no RUSA "luminaries" on the ride. 
  5. Bahama Beach was now a 'free-route," and Brad's ride partner intended to take a couple variants. 

The first variant started at the 11.7-mile mark; we turned right and head toward Creech Rd instead of turning left toward Burton Rd.  I planned to take Creech to Redwood to Geer and then get back on the standard route at Red Mill Rd.  However, Brad had fresh legs, is young and was riding fixed whereas I am nearly 30-years-older than Brad, and was bit tired and stiff and sore from the previous day's ride -- we "enjoyed" young, whipper-snapper fixie dynamics versus old-man, tired, stiff and sore dynamics for much of the ride.  I "sent" Brad up the road with the advice to stop when he got to the stop-sign.  Surprise on me!  There is no stop-sign on Redwood Rd where it intersects Geer St. -- the stop-sign is on Geer St. -- I thought I recalled that it was a 4-way-stop.  So, ... as I approached the intended left onto Geer, I saw Brad rocketing a couple hundred yards ahead, having continued straight on Redwood.  I thought about turning left anyway as the two roads come out at the same place (within about 20 yards), but figured I better follow in case Brad got concerned that he couldn't see me and stopped or circled back looking for me -- good thing I did go straight, because at the crest of the second unintended little hillock climb, Brad did exactly that. 

Back together, we rode across Red Mill Rd together (or at least as best I can recall, we rode across there together).  Then onto Old-75, headed toward, but not all the way to, the Federal Prison where, among others, currently resides one Bernie Madoff.  "Avoiding" the prison by turning onto Stagville Rd, I quickly dropped fixie-Brad off my front wheel as he hammered up the slope while I made use of a small gear to slowly continue warming up.  I "caught" Brad at the Info Control in Bahama; noting the answer to the info control question, I kept rolling whereas Brad had stopped and was eating or drinking or both.

I don't recall if Brad passed me while still on the Lake Michie Wall or while on Ellis Chapel Rd.  I definitely do recall dropping him my front wheel while he charged up one of the inclines there while I spun my way up in a low gear, swiveling my head looking deep into the woods and enjoying the sites and sights and pleasant weather.

I next saw Brad when he again passed me on Robert's Chapel Rd.  I wondered how he had gotten behind me.  I found out later:
Brad had stopped to get a photo of one of the self-propelled guns on Range Rd.  [photo courtesy Bradley J. W.]
So, ... once again, another road, another climb or two, and I dropped fixie-Brad off my front wheel.  He was waiting at Range Rd (Robert's Chapel Rd goes from Range Rd to Range Rd -- same Range Rd) because he was unsure which way to turn -- I think he had forgotten to bring his cue sheet and was therefore relying on his memory, or mine. 

Left onto Range Rd and ... surprise ... old-man legs are starting to come around while the young-fixie-man legs are starting to feel the toll of not-quite-in-shape and being on the longest, hilliest fixie excursion they'd been on.  :-)

Little Mountain Rd, Old-75, into Stem.  We took a long time in Stem -- mostly, I think, because I wanted to -- but, maybe, partly because Brad needed a bit of a break.

We zoomed down Brogden Rd -- definitely a geared-bike favorable road, Brad trailing.  :-)

Just after crossing over I-85, at what would be the 39.7-mile mark of the standard route, we made the left turn onto Hester Rd.  [Btw, if you've read about Hester Store Rd on Byron's Triple-L route on this or another blog -- that's a completely different road, probably 20 miles or more distant.]  Hester Rd is always "essentially flat" in my mind -- people keep telling me that it is not -- my legs occasionally remind me that it is not -- but I ignore such input regarding the first half of Hester Rd because the last half is definitely geared-bike friendly -- Brad claimed it was not fixie-friendly as the "entire" road felt like a shallow incline, making him work hard.  I waited for Brad at NC-56.  :-)

56 into Wilton is mostly flat.  I used to think there was a frickin' hill in the way.  The same bump is still there.  And maybe on another day it will feel like a frickin' hill, but 2 weeks after having ridden through the Uwharries on Alan's 400k brevet, not having a useful front derailleur and therefore being stuck in the 39T and also afraid to put any pressure on the pedals during the 400 because of cassette / chain slippage, that bump on 56 seemed flat.  I waited in Wilson.  :-)

The variant then continued on US Bike Route #1 [wonder if Branson will read this?] back onto the standard course.  The best thing about the rest of the variant, and the rest of the standard route (except for Lawrence Rd and the closing Ghoston-Peed-MVC climbs)?  Very friendly to bikes with gears, not so much to fixies.  I.e., flat and fast.  Brad was with me on Bruce Garner Rd every time I checked, except the last time.  I kept going on BG --> New Light Rd, and went up Ghoston and waited in the shade on Peed Rd.  :-)

When Brad got the shade on Peed Rd, he needed to eat some nibbles, and then we rode more or less together the last few miles.  I must have started my warm-down and saving some legs for the next day because I see that Brad got credit for finishing before I did.  ["Warm-down" is my story, and I'm sticking to it.]

It was a lot of fun.  Brad completed his first ever 100k-plus on a fixie (on the climbingest 100k rando route in the area), preserved his P-12 quest and concluded that he had adequate legs to go for another 100+ kms the next day, on the Denny's Store Sortie.  But, ... the DSS story is one for another day -- maybe tomorrow?

[In the above, I made a lot of the leap-frog dynamics, but there was a lot of riding WITH; all the ride was fun.  There was also quite a bit of conversation about stuff -- as for what stuff -- you'll never know.]


--> Bahama Beach 103-km 'free-route' perm-pop (actual distance, 111-kms) -->; 89.6 m.; 5h57 in-motion; 15.0 mph; BB elapsed time:  6h05.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms

May tot: __6 rides; __730.0 m; _51h18; 14.2 mph; _1012 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _22 rides; _2321.8 m; 161h04; 14.4 mph; _3198 RUSA kms


Place-holding in case I want to add anything later. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May-25: The 'Road to Hicksboro' 205-km Perm

Ricochet Robert and I rode this route for the first time on Apr-13, just two days after Crista had approved it, thinking it would be a nice addition to the north Raleigh Permanents Stable, which was seemingly getting low on options because of bridges being replaced, c-stores closing, and what-not -- "low on options" -- HA -- at one point, it seemed we might not have ANY north Raleigh perms on the board for awhile, except for "Showdown in Black Creek," and although that start is a "north Raleigh" location, the route is really a go-east-young-man affair. 

At about mile-71 of the route, Robert and I were on the receiving end of a little surprise:  a bridge was closed, being torn dorn and then replaced.  Bridge likely out until October or November.  Robert and I walked across the mostly still intact bridge, and continued the route as conceived.  Not long after crossing that bridge, I started struggling; Robert, on the other, just got stronger and stronger that day.

Anyway, before I get off topic, I wanted to check out what seemed to be the logical detour.  Although I have requested rides on short notice, I prefer to request with a decent lead time; therefore, operating on the "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" concept, on May-18, I posted the following to the NC-rando-list-serve:  
I'm planning a second tour of the "Road to Hicksboro" next Saturday, May 25th, to check out the bridge destruction and confirm the detour while said bridge is non-existent. 

If anyone would care to come along, send me your vitals by 9 pm, Wednesday, the 22nd. 
Here's a link to the RWGPS map:
(Although not a control, the best option for eats on the route is in Stovall -- "hunka' pizza" and a decent deli, eaten in the gazebo.)
I actually got a response! -- within a day (if I recall correctly) -- from the JanetF + MikeF, now of western North Carolina (but they started their rando careers a couple years ago in Texas -- more on that later?).  I'd met Janet + Mike during Alan's 200 brevet in early April, so I figured riding to Hicksboro with them would be fun.

Then they threw me for a loop:  did I have a motel suggestion?  Driving 4-hours and staying in a motel/hotel to ride a Permanent -- that just wasn't in my thought process.  I consulted other randos living in or near north Raleigh -- that wasn't much help -- maybe I should have consulted the Boone randos -- at least they have the drive + stay for Alan's brevet experience.

Luckily, Janet + Mike came up with a good solution on their own.  I guess it was a good solution -- they each appeared fully rested at the start.

I had tried to interest Ricochet in a second tour of "his ridge," but he thought that doing a 200 perm the week before doing the 600 brevet was a high-risk move.  I'll not mention this elsewhere, but what turned out to be a high-risk move was Robert riding a 103-km perm-pop, then doing yard work -- he did something to his back, and last I heard, could walk only if bent-over double -- but that reportedly was an improvement as earlier he had been unable to walk.

MikeD responded, either to the list-serve of the Facebook thing, in the middle of the week.  He managed to recruit Turbo Tim.  Just thought of this:  we didn't have a crew representing "Murphy to Manteo," but "'Asheville' to Wilson" still covers most of the east-west of this state.

Clearly, the 200-crew would have two sub-sections:  (1) MikeD and Tim as the fast-crew;  (2) Janet + MikeF and me as the not-so-fast-crew.  Robert's perm-pop 103k route shares the start and the same first 18.7-miles as the Hicksboro perm, and Robert seemed to stick with the fast-crew -- though I can't be sure of that because Janet + MikeF and I dropped MikeD and Turbo off our front wheels long before the perm and perm-pop routes diverged -- we got confirmation at the penultimate control that Mike and Tim were at least 65-minutes ahead of us at that control.  (I think they may have been taking it a bit easy since they were planning to do Tim's "Lake Gaston" 210k perm the next day -- something about training for a 1200 -- and they may have been riding a bit conservatively because they didn't know the roads -- certainly Tim didn't know the roads -- Dayton may well have been on many of them sometime previous.  ----  Strange ... as I typed the previous sentence, it seemed that Mike has likely ridden everything nearby in the last 4 decades of uninterrupted cycling, but ... I recall he didn't know about Mountain Road just south of Stovall.  Maybe Mike did ride a fair bit on new-to-him roads.  A mystery likely to go unsolved.)

Okay, this has been wandering around long enough.  Time to get to the meat of the matter.

At the first control, about 33-miles into the ride, Janet, who is not fond of climbing, asked me if "the first section was harder, easier, or similar to the rest of the route?"  I answered, "yes."  Janet didn't think that was very informative, but I'd never thought about it that way.  I know I think that my "Egypt Mtn" perm starts rather gently and with some nice vistas (as long as one doesn't try to compare to mountains or some such nonsense) and then gets a little more interesting with some nice vistas, and then more gentle stuff with vistas, and then some more interesting stuff generally in a tree tunnel; but I had not thought much about the musical-tempo of the Hicksboro route.  There are some boring roads -- I pointedly remarked so to Janet + MikeF after completing one such chip-seal tree tunnel.  There are some nice homestead and farmsteads.  There are donkeys and goats, and of course, the llamas at the llama house, in addition to the normal complement of horses and some cattle and sheep.  And the two steepest climbs are after the first control, but ... I think I would say the route is similar throughout.  [If Jerry reads this, he'll likely think I typed a lot words to "say" not much -- my defense is:  I didn't plan this, I just type what comes into my head.]

At the second control at about 47-miles, in context of other conversations, Janet -- remember, she started her rando career in Houston, TX, and still lists the Houston Randonneurs as her home-club -- asked if I knew BobR, Houston RBA; I said, "no, but I know who he is, sorta'."  Then Janet asked if I knew DanD, Lone Star RBA.  I replied, "no, but I 10-K-Hounded last year and am in e-mail contact with Dan."  ...  Janet's replied:  "Dan says to say 'hello' to you and MikeD, so ... 'hello'."  ...  "Well," said I, "tell Dan 'hello back at ya'."

Between the 2nd control and bridge out (at approx 71-miles), MikeF told me that double-D had ridden with Janet on her first 600, and had gotten her through the night.  Aah -- connections.

When we got to the bridge that is being replaced, Janet took two photos:
The first photo to show the destruction (and, I guess, me talking with my hands).
And the 2nd was "for Dan."  Just about every group photo I've seen that includes DanD, he is pulling the old "rabbit ears" prank.  [Clearly, I have not developed the "r. e'" skill -- my hand is visible.]

I'd never ridden on Davis Chapel Rd, but was reasonably confident because of previous Virginia Border Raids and Kerr Lake Loops that it went through (and wasn't gravel).  It did go through.  It is a reasonable road.  Little Mountain Creek Rd is better -- and not just because it has a more alluring name.

Well, that's the highlights that Janet + MikeF and I had.  We finished the ride in mostly fine fettle.  Wait -- I suddenly recalled something:

I had drifted off the front of Janet + Mike, saving at least some portion of their ear-drums for future useful conversations, when I received a phone call when I still had about 12.7-miles to complete the route.  It was Brad, telling me that he had realized that he had the entire weekend off, and wanted to join me in doing the Bahama Beach 103k perm-pop the next day.  Brad claims that he thought I said, in the opening moments of the phone conversation, that I had finished my ride.  After about 6-minutes, I finally had to cut him off, saying, "I've still got 20-kms to ride; tell me tomorrow."

I wouldn't include the above, but until the phone rang, I had been riding really well,  Afterward, I got a little bonky -- I'm blaming Brad, and had to stop at the bottom of Ghoston Rd to consume some nibbles -- probably dried mangoes.  Janet + Mike, who had passed me while I was on the phone with Brad, were also stopped at the bottom of Ghoston.  So, we more-or-less the last 10-kms together.

[Janet + MikeF and I all got the same elapsed time.  ...  Oh, Turbo Tim and MikeD apparently finished 1h27 before we did -- at least that is what the documentation indicated.  ...  I think the others all enjoyed their first trip on the 'Road to Hicksboro'; I enjoyed this, my second circuit of the route, in large part, I think, because Janet + MikeF made the day enjoyable.]


--> the 'Road to Hicksboro' 205-km Perm -->; 148.9 m.; 9h59 in-motion; 14.9 mph; Hicksboro elapsed time:  10h57.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms

May tot: __5 rides; __640.4 m; _45h20; 14.1 mph; __909 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _21 rides; _2232.2 m; 155h05; 14.4 mph; _3095 RUSA kms


Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  104
Meaning that I have completed at least 104 different rides that were at least 104 miles long. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

May-24: Test Ride + Errand(s)

Errand(s) ride mixed with a test ride.

Errand(s) completed.

The tests?
  1. Has the cassette gotten over its forced separation from the previous chain?  Can I stand and pedal?  Can I stand and climb?  Can I apply pressure to the pedals without the chain skipping past the cassette?  Can I accelerate quickly (well ... that's always been debatable). 
  2. Will the front derailleur function properly?  Can I go the 30T with confidence?  To the 50T?  Back and forth? 
The apparent answers:
  1. Yes.  Yes to all the sub-questions. 
  2. Yes.  Yes to all the sub-questions. 
But, gosh it was WINDY this afternoon.
Felt more like mid-May in northwest Illinois.
Sunny.  Warm in the sun.  Cool to chilly in the shadows.
With the WIND gusting from undecipherable directions,
Shoving me one way, then another, often opposite of the previous. 

At least it wasn't anything similar to John Lee has been posting from Colorado lately:

Errand(s) + a Test Ride; 28.3 m.; 2h10 in-motion; 13.3 mph.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms. 

May tot: __4 rides; __491.5 m; _35h20; 13.9 mph; __704 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _20 rides; _2083.3 m; 145h06; 14.4 mph; _2890 RUSA kms

Place-holding in case I want to add anything later. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May-18: Bahama Beach 103-km Perm-Pop

Ricochet Robert and I had an enjoyable ride today.
Robert, still with residuals of the head cold that first manifested symptoms during last weekend's 400, and feeling it in his legs, was not interested in "hammering."
I was not interested in "hammering," either.
So ... we didn't hammer; but we didn't dawdle, either.
The result was a pleasant ride in 63 to 76 degree weather, with very little breeze.
And we beat the rain.

P-9 for Robert.
P-17 for me.

Permanent Route Name Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bahama Beach 103 2013/05/18 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T32372   6628 B__, Robert D Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:53
RUSA-T32373   6218 S__, J Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 04:53

It appears some other central NC randonneurs also marked off their P-rides, today;
Or, maybe just had a fun ride.
Permanent Route Name Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Get 'er Dunn 102 2013/05/18 5 1
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T32367   5646 C__, Wayne North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 04:45
RUSA-T32368   1609 D__, Michael J North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 04:45
RUSA-T32369   4070 F__, Dean North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 05:05
RUSA-T32370   6713 H__, Phillip North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 04:55
RUSA-T32371   6169 H__, Michael A North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 04:55

Permanent Route Name Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Eureka 100 101 2013/05/18 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T32375   3732 P__, Albert R Cape Fear Cyclists / 933040 04:56
RUSA-T32376   8433 E__, Greg M Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:38

Permanent Route Name Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Howling Grits Populaire 103 2013/05/18 1 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T32374   3525 P__, Jerry L North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 04:37

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May-11: Mud Pit + Possum 400-km Brevet

First, a link to the RWGPS map:
[Maybe I'll soon figure out how to EMBED the map, 
but I'm not going to worry about it.] 


I have only been doing this randonneuring thing for three years, and
The basic advice I give to anyone foolish enough to ask is:
  • Relax.  Regardless how fast you're going, regardless how steep the climb, regardless how steep and fast the descent, regardless of what is happening near you, or about to happen to you:  keep your feet and legs relaxed, keep your hands and arms relaxed, keep your entire body relaxed.  [That is also one piece of advice I have given to help stave off cramps -- it seems to help.]
  • Stay calm.  Regardless of what is happening around you or to you or about to happen to you, stay calm.  That will help you react more appropriately and may help you think more correctly. 

On this brevet, I had plenty of opportunity to practice "Relax."  You may think that I refer to the fact that 400-kms (250-miles) is a long way.  While that is true, that is not what I mean.

Instead, I refer to how I had to approach shifting and pedaling because my cassette was not entirely happy to meet the new chain that had been installed the previous afternoon.  I failed to test the cassette with the new chain after installation, so ... in the future, I won't fail to test.  The cassette only had 3248-miles on it; all had been with the same chain.  I didn't think I was all that far over the recommended distance to change the chain, but apparently the 3248-miles was enough for at least partial consummation of a marriage.

I could shift among the various cogs without a problem, but I could not suddenly apply extra pressure.  I could not accelerate quickly from a stop or change pace quickly; I could not stand and pedal.  In the last couple years, I've gotten so that I'll sometimes get out of the saddle and stand to pedal on flat sections:  that gives my bottom a rest and gives the leg muscles an opportunity to work slightly differently.  Before I did the north-to-south tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I would almost never stand for any climbing; after that tour, during which I did almost no standing to pedal, I started standing on some climbs or parts of climbs (often without realizing that I had gotten out of the saddle).  That gives an extra "cadence" or two, and gives my bottom a break, and the leg muscles get used differently.  Because I couldn't risk standing to pedal, ..., well, I couldn't stand-up and pedal, period!  Unfortunately, this was a course where one would like to sometimes stand for some climbing, and other times sit-down-and-gear-down.  My only choice on the day was to sit-down-and-gear-down.

EXCEPT that since the cassette and its original chain-partner had been installed 3248-miles earlier, the front derailleur had not been quite right.  During those miles, I had to be EXTREMELY careful whenever I would shift from the middle chain-ring (39T) to the big chain-ring (50T).  If I wasn't careful enough, the chain would end up on my foot or wrapping around the crank.  On the positive side, at least when that happened, I could use the chain-guide trick and get the chain back onto the middle ring without stopping, etc..

When the new chain was installed the afternoon prior to the brevet, my mechanic made an adjustment to the front derailleur intended to eliminate the over-shifting in the direction of the 50T.  I didn't test the effect of that adjustment just after installation, either.  I discovered both problems, chain/cassette slipping past each other, and the front derailleur over-shifting when trying to go to the small chain-ring (30T) when I rode a few circles in the parking lot prior to the start.  The chain got caught between the frame and the small chain-ring once in the parking lot; I had to manually unstick the chain and put it back on the chain-rings.  I had to manually unstick and replace the chain twice (I think it was twice) during the ride.

From previous rides on this course, I knew that most of the time / distance outbound I could use the 39T chain-ring; however, given the steep climbs between the 150 and 250 km points, I wanted to take it easy and use the 30T in a couple places.  Basically, I couldn't.  I am thankful that somehow, miraculously, the chain moved perfectly onto the 30T for the climb up into Seagrove (the 150-km control and high elevation of the route).  Glad to be in the 30, the mile-long climb into Seagrove was effortless; upon nearing the top of the steep, I was shocked to find that I had done the climb in the 30/19 -- the pedaling had been so effortless that I thought I was surely in the 30/23, or at least the 30/21.  Finding that I'd been in the 30/19 filled me joy and gave hope that the remaining 250-kms would be fun (and only fun).

Outbound, just after Seagrove, riding with Robert + Byron + Geof, I decided to shift to the 30T, again.  No go!  Chain got trapped between the frame and chain-rings.  I said good-bye to the other three and got off to deal with my chain and derailleur.  Chain back on -- maybe 50 yards later, I decided that I needed to truly test the front derailleur to find out if I would have a 30T when needed -- NOPE -- chain trapped, again.  Off again; manually coerce the chain from its trap, and then continue.  A few yards later, I found myself thinking, "why did you think you needed the 30T here?  This is not a steep slope."  At least I knew I could not depend on getting to the 30T.

Do you know what I needed to do to climb after that?  Stay in the 39T (because of the front derailleur), and apply not-much-pressure to the pedals (because of the cassette/chain slipping past each other).  Look at the profile (see RWGPS map-link at the top of this blog post) between 150-kms and 250-kms (93 to 155-miles); that is not a place where soft-pedaling would be one's preferred approach.  Several places, I had to exert enough pressure that my right groin muscles complained vigorously, begging for an easier gear.  The right groin never cramped during the ride (nor after, as it sometimes does), but I still had a noticeable limp 60 hours after I stopped riding.

Relax and soft-pedal because I can't put any pressure on the pedals and can't get to the 30T.
Relax to fight off cramps.
Sometimes pedal virtually one-legged, even up-hill, to give the right groin a chance to calm down.
Of course, on a couple occasions, parts of the left leg wanted to cramp.
I managed to also stave those off.

I also had a couple chances to practice "Stay calm."  The first opportunity came when inbound on Flint Hill Rd..  For the non-locals, some people will put special chain-rings and / or cassettes on their steeds just to get up the two steep parts of inbound Flint Hill Rd..  Some make sure to have a cog with more teeth than their small chain-ring.  I use my same setup, regardless.  50/39/30 up front.  11-25 on the cassette.

Outbound, the climbing on Flint Hill Rd is not so bad / steep (Ophir -- pronounced, at least by some, as "Oh-Fear" -- I wish Maria had not deleted her blog -- anyway, Ophir Rd is worse outbound than is Flint Hill Rd -- and although I got up the first outbound Ophir climb in the 39/25, I may have tried to shift to the 30T on the second -- I'm not sure, actually -- I can't recall if I toughed it out, damaging the right groin muscle or if I shifted, and if I shifted, I can't recall whether the chain ended up on the 30T or trapped between the frame and chain-ring).  Anyway, the "interesting section" outbound on Flint Hill Rd ends with three bridges.  The third bridge was officially closed and being replaced.  However, all but the finish road surface has been completed.  Well ... there was also that 50 or 100 yards of exposed hard-packed-orange-clay on each end of the bridge.  And, unlike the supposed hard-packed dirt detour on the 300 brevet three weeks earlier (that detour was available as an option on this 400, btw, but most, maybe all, chose to walk our bikes across the unfinished bridge on Coleridge Rd -- those with fat-enough tyres or enough hutzpa rode across that unfinished bridge), the hard-packed-surface was definitely hard-packed; it was pretty good riding.  This was not a reason to invoke "stay calm."

Ophir Rd inbound is not bad climbing -- the 39T was fine -- although I had to repeatedly convince my right groin of that.  Flint Hill Rd inbound is not bad climbing -- until after crossing the three bridges.  There was no "stay calm" required until just before the "third bridge" (that's the outbound count -- it would be "first bridge" counting inbound).

Anyway, you'll recall the hard-packed-orange-clay from above.  Between crossing the bridges outbound and crossing them inbound, a squall had blown through and dumped enough rain on that hard-packed-clay to turn it into an orange-mud-slurry-quagmire.

Approaching the mud-pit, I saw several prior bicycle tracks and figured riding through wouldn't be that bad, after all, others had obviously ridden through.  WRONG and wrong thinking -- lemming thinking.  I don't know how I kept the bike upright to the bridge, but did manage to stay calm enough to consider whether coasting through the mess or applying just a little power to the rear wheel would be a better idea -- I chose applying just a little power.  I was glad that no one was riding near me.  I managed to stop on the bridge, where I thought about walking the second half of the mud-pit, but I noticed that the left edge seem fairly firm and I figured "why get my shoes muddy and my cleats filled with this mess."  After all, the bike couldn't get any worse. 

So ... I walked the bike backward a few yards on the bridge's solid surface in order to give a better "launch," cajoled the the chain onto the small chain-ring [remember:  the front derailleur had worked properly only once previously all day to get into the small, 30T chain-ring -- every other time the chain had become trapped between frame and the the 30T], and rode with some dignity along the edge of the second half of the mud-pit.

Then, with the added excuse of the mud rubbing on the tyres, I walked with dignity up the two steep parts of Flint Hill Rd [while thinking to myself, "ya' know, you rode up this in 2010 with both legs having just cramped and likely to do so again" -- I told myself, "shut up, brain"].

The second opportunity to "Stay calm" happened somewhere between Seagrove and Erect (that's the name of the cross-roads community -- you can look it up on the map -- maybe you can look it up on the map).  Mick was riding to my left, perhaps slightly off my rear-quarter; Phil and BobB were just behind as we were in a loose 2-by-2 formation.  Suddenly, from my right came a'waddling a possum.  If you've never encountered a possum while driving or cycling, they do NOT react like squirrels nor any other animal of which I'm aware.

Squirrels will dart back-and-forth, unable to decide what to do, and that often leads to their demise.  I've never been hit by a squirrel when on a bicycle, but I've had one or two dart BETWEEN my wheels -- that is EYE-OPENING (as in "I would be really scared right now if I had noticed that squirrel earlier").

Deer will react differently depending on what they were doing when they notice you.  If standing still, deer might remain standing, or they may be startled and suddenly rush in (what I presume they determine) is the shortest way to safety.  That might be to turn away from the road; that might be to run parallel to the road; that might be to suddenly dart in front of you, or between you and another cyclist; or - and this is worst of all - suddenly dart smash right into you.  That last is a sure-fire way to come up with a useless thing that was previously a bicycle, and quite likely an ambulance ride for the cyclist.  If the deer were already running when they noticed you, they will usually run even faster, continuing in the same direction.  But sometimes, they'll change direction.  Come to think of it, Robert + Byron + I experienced two LARGE deer run across the road while outbound on this 400; I think it was between Snow Camp and Siler City.  If either of those two large deer had run into any of the three of us -- I don't want to think about it.  I do know one cyclist that was smashed into by a deer a number of years ago:  he lived to tell the tale.

Dawgs and dogs.  Every cyclist knows there are many and varied reactions from dogs.

On this 400, inbound, just after getting passing through Coleridge (village), I was a bit ahead of Mick, Phil and BobB.  As a result, I got an up-close view of what a fox did when spooked by the combination of me and a passing car.  He ran parallel to the road, apparently on a path I couldn't see (btw, it was dark) and then darted into a slight opening in the weeds and into a field or woods.  The entire time the fox was paralleling the road, just ahead of me, I was thinking, "please don't veer onto the road; and if you do, please don't have rabies."

Anyway, back to possums.  What will a possum do?  I've never seen a possum change its direction when it detects coming auto traffic.  I have seen one or two speed up just enough to come out the short-end in a meeting with a car / truck.  So, the possum mentioned above, suddenly appeared on my right -- I don't know that I made any speed or course change, maybe I slid a little to the left -- the possum was headed for my front wheel -- I expected to go down in a heap as it tried to run through my spokes -- I think the possum altered his track ever so slightly, and my front wheel met his mid-section, perhaps I turned the wheel ever-so-slightly before contact and perhaps that minimized the impact and also turned him a bit more so that he was now parallel with me -- I felt the rear wheel go over something, but I wasn't sure how big the something was -- I asked Mick if the possum was dead -- Mick said, "no, he walked away."  Phil was impressed, and said something -- I don't recall what -- maybe he'll read this and make a comment -- he likely had a better angle to see what actually happened; maybe Phil will comment on that.  Bob also would have had a better view -- maybe he will comment.

I had stayed calm.  Do you know why?  Because there hadn't been time for me to get scared -- that's why!

This is the second time I've had a near miss with a possum on this 400k brevet course.  The first time was in 2010 (also was the first 400 I ever did):  I came screaming down Abner Rd (inbound) after having survived Flint Hill Rd without cramping or crashing or walking; suddenly, there was a possum standing, just standing, in the middle of my lane of the new, modern bridge; I recall thinking, "great, I've survived the tough part of this course, and now I'm going to get killed because I'm going to hit a possum; at least hitting a deer would have some panache."  In the next moment, I went to the right while the possum ambled a bit to my left.

These are the only times I've ever had a close encounter with a possum while cycling.


Okay, I make the maps for Alan (our Raleigh RBA).  How that came about is a story in itself, so I'll spare you having to read through a poorly typed version of that.  But, as a result, I knew this course very well by the second time I did it in 2011.  Actually, Alan's 400 is the same as his 300, but with another 100k added on; and the 300 is the same as the 200, but with another 100k added on.  I learned the 200 navigating the inbound solo the first time I did the course in 2010.  I learned the 300 navigating the entire route solo the first time I did the 300, that was also in 2010.  And, for the trifecta, I learned the 400 navigating, perhaps entirely solo, until rando-angels SaraH and GarSchaf caught me after about 240-kms and led me home.  Making the maps has just helped keep the course fresh in my mind.  [Regarding the maps:  sometimes, Alan even manages to post the link to the new map on his website -- sorry, Alan -- I hope you laugh if you read this.]

I teamed up with BobB, Phil and Mick in Seagrove at the 250k control.  From Seagrove, the route has a lot of downslope for quite awhile, and since I usually descend faster than any of the other three, I made sure to get in the lead, and stay there.  At approximately the 164-mile mark, the course makes a 90-degree right-hand turn to stay on Fork Creek Mill Rd..  That's when the guys started cracking me up:
  • Bob and Phil apparently thought we had turned onto Coleridge when we made the 90-degree turn to stay on Fork Creek Mill Rd.  Each was concerned about the routing we would take given the bridge that was out and neither wanted to negotiate the gravel on either side of the bridge in the dark (and probably each was also concerned the gravel/dirt section might be another mud-pit).  Coleridge Rd starts at about the 173.3-mile mark; I didn't know either of the "exact" mileages referred to above, put I shouted back, "Coleridge isn't for another 10 to 15 miles." 
  • Then Mick thought that Riverside Rd (which is west and south of Coleridge) was Coleridge Rd (which is east and north of Coleridge).  I chuckled to myself and said, "we have another mile or so on this road to a stop sign, there we turn right and go about 7-tenths of a mile into the middle of Coleridge to another stop-sign, turn left and go about 7-tenths of a mile and turn right, climb a hill, and about 7-tenths of a mile after the turn make a slight left onto Coleridge."  (I know I used "7-tenths" for each mileage estimate -- they are all within 3-tenths of a mile of being correct, but I'm not going to consult the map or cue sheet to verify.)  Mick's inquiry did drive home something I knew, but sometimes forget:  it is a lot easier to do a long ride when one KNOWS where one is and what is coming.
  • Finally, I'm confident that Phil was glad that I was just behind him at the Lindley Mill / Old Switchboard corner as, until I called out to him, he was intent on missing that turn.
The difficulty of navigation when mentally and /or physically tired made for some banter.  I didn't let the guys know until Monday, a full 36-hours or so after all had gotten off their respective steeds for the last time, that despite all the confident stuff just above, I missed the outbound turn off Ether Rd onto Bandy Rd.  When that happened, I did think, almost immediately, that the road and vista did not seem quite correct (esp. the FLAT didn't seem familiar); so, when I got to Okeeweme Rd (what an interesting name), I used the "phone a friend" option.  Alan answered and told me that I had missed the turn; neither of us were not looking at a map, but we each guessed that I'd gone about an extra mile (it turned out I'd only gone an extra 1-km).  "Phone-a-friend" is one of the approved navigation aids, yes?

I could type about the four of us getting sleepy and wobbling about on the road as we rode into the wee hours, getting closer to the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), but this post is already way past being too long, so I'll cut the rest short.

Mick had battled cramps since the first of the ride.  I had battled cramps between Seagrove outbound and Seagrove inbound , but that problem had abated.  Phil just seemed to be getting stronger as the miles churned away.  I don't know what issues Bob had faced on the day or what he was facing late in the ride -- probably his usual late-in-the-400-near-bonk issues.  As indicated above, we were all sleepy and wobbling about.  Luckily, no one wobbled into anyone else.  (No bull.)

Before reaching the Seagrove 250k control, I had started having intestinal distress.  Kind of funny thinking about that now -- LeeAnne was unexpectedly at the Seagrove control, and explained that her DNF on the pre-ride had been because of intestinal distress.  I did not admit that I was having a similar problem. Cleaning the bike after the mud-pit, putting my rear blinkie back on (thank-you to Jacob for finding it on the mud-pit bridge and returning it to me), and dealing with my wanting-to-cramp right groin were more than enough issues to deal with / mention. 

After reaching Castle Rock Farm Rd inbound, the distress was worse than the sleepiness.  As we approached Frosty's (30-miles to go), I told the other three to go on without me as I needed a nap, which was true.  More true than I realized because my head-on-arm-sitting-at-a-picnic-table nap lasted an hour.  (I wish I had thought to check around the side of Frosty's for a possible port-a-john -- I note that I wish I had thought to do that because THERE IS a port-a-john around the side -- sigh.)

I got back on the bike thinking I'd feel quite refreshed.  However, intestinal distress being intestinal distress ... all I'm going to indicate here is that I now have a third piece of advice:  don't come over ill during the ride.

There are a myriad other things I wanted to type about -- you know I claim not to write (which would include editing) these things.  However, the chain and derailleur and mud-pit and possum took over this post, so this is the end of this story, except for this:
  • thanks to Alan and Dorothy for organizing the ride and for getting the results up so quickly (on the RUSA database less than 9-hours after the last finisher of the brevet-proper -- and I know exactly when the lantern rouge completed his 400-kms); 
  • thanks to PeterN for volunteering at the turn-around; 
  • thanks to LeeAnne and Scott for coming out to Seagrove; 
  • thanks to MikeD, hand still in a cast and all, for volunteering at Siler City; and 
  • thanks to MaryF for volunteering at Snow Camp.  

NCBC Morrisville 400-km Brevet; 250.0 m.; 18h51 in-motion; 13.3 mph; elapsed time:  24h18.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms. 

May tot: __2 rides; __378.2 m; _27h34; 13.7 mph; __601 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _18 rides; _1970.0 m; 137h19; 14.3 mph; _2787 RUSA kms

Place-holding in case I want to add anything later, such as, I wonder if I should get some of the Facebook photos, esp. of the bikes of those that did not find the garden hose at the control in Seagrove to wash off their steeds (and shoes).

Reading the story, I see lots of typos and missing words and grammar errors.  I am not going to correct them so many, so bad, I went back and fixed a lot of things -- I'm confident that there are still errors and incongruities. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May-04: Carthage Coffee Run 201-km Perm

JP had told warned me that Branson's route was not easy.
I wasn't worried.
I figured it couldn't be as tough as Byron's Triple-L route.
I should have been a bit more worried.

Outbound was great.
Well ... the first 34-miles were great:
Net downslope with a tailwind.
After that, there was still a 13-to-18-mph tailwind,
But the rollers got bigger and seemingly steeper.
But it was still good.
All the way to Carthage.

Short-stop the turn-around control,
And bomb back down from the hill
Upon which downtown Carthage is built.

Steep rollers into the teeth of that 13-to-18-mph headwind
Were tougher than those steep rollers with that tailwind.
At least the rolling terrain gave some protection from the wind.
And some places were protected by tree-tunnels,
Or half-tunnels (when the trees were on the windward side of the road).

Unfortunately, about half the time, the half-tree-tunnel was on the leeward side.

Lower Moncure Rd, heading mostly due north, was somewhat of a respite from the ENE wind.
Old US-1, heading nearly directly into the teeth of that wind,
On a shallow climb giving no protection from that wind,
Was definitely NOT a respite.
That section beat me up pretty good.

At least the 18-finishing-miles were again mostly due north,
And that provided somewhat of a respite, again.
But I was worn out,
And stopped attempting to push the last 5-miles.
Truth be told, I had probably stopped trying to push the pace
On any steepish incline for the previous 25-miles.

I did the route since I'd never done it,
And I did the ride, pushing the pace, as "training."
I usually don't "train," I just ride.
But, this ride, I admit, was "training."
Mother nature's wind dished out more training-effect than I had bargained for.

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

Carthage Coffee Run 201-km perm; 128.2 m.; 8h42 in-motion; 14.7 mph; elapsed time:  10h02.
Q-1 tot: _11 rides; __940.3 m; _64h42; 14.5 mph; _1275 RUSA kms. 
Apr tot: __5 rides; __651.5 m; _45h02; 14.5 mph; __911 RUSA kms

May tot: __1 rides; __128.2 m; __8h42; 14.7 mph; __201 RUSA kms
YTD tot: _17 rides; _1720.0 m; 118h27; 14.5 mph; _2387 RUSA kms


BTW, it didn't fit in the flow of the above text, but this was the first rando ride in quite a while where I actually needed to use the cue sheet, which I typically consulted every 2 or 3 turns.  Despite that, I managed to miss one turn, and gathered approximately 3-bonus-miles.  

One thing that might not be obvious from the text:  this was a solo effort.  My second solo 200 this year.  I like solo 200's, I've done a solo 300, I know I could do a solo 400, but I hope I don't have to do the 400 brevet next weekend as a solo effort.

R-34 (assuming the ride result gets approved). 


Eddington Cycling Number: 
After this ride:  103
Meaning that I have completed at least 103 different rides that were at least 103 miles long.