Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Apr-26: Perseverence 300

A pre-ride of the NCBC 300 km Brevet.

The Plan:
  1. Cycle 20-miles at a comfortable pace to the start.
  2. Have a fun 300k pre-ride, riding the middle 87-miles with my friend BobB, while (in the words of RBA "Uncle" Alan) confirming that the route is still rideable (Alan and I had truck-scouted the entire 400 km route in early April) and checking the closing time of the gas station / c-store in Snow Camp. 
  3. Cycle the 20-miles back home, being showered and in bed by 12:30 or 1:00 am Sunday morning. 

What Actually Transpired

Cycle to the Start 

I left home at approx 5:36 am, 11-minutes after I planned and 6-minutes after the latest "acceptable" time.  I rode easily through Raleigh, by and through the North Hills area, to and by Cameron Village, the northwest edge of NC State and then down Hillsborough Street and Chapel Hill Rd to Morrisville, arriving at the start at approx 6:56 am, with Alan and Dr. A., aka, "The Dentist" more-or-less waiting.  Even before I began to dismount, I proclaimed to Dr. A. and Alan, "I'm riding my pace -- not yours."  Dr. A. responded that he was riding with me. 

Prologue completed as planned.

The 300

We started a bit late -- a couple miles later, Dr. A. explained that he thought Alan was riding with us.  However, Alan is still in recovery / rehabilitation mode from a stint insertion.

Even before we got to the Green Hope roads, I was worried because the pace seemed a bit much.  At one point, I asked Steven how fast we were going (my cycle confuser is currently defunct, and has been for quite some time); he replied "17 mph."  I figured that was about right and that perhaps my legs were just whining because I haven't been doing much, er ANY, speed-work or even fast rides, lately.

Things seemed about right when we got the Jack Bennett climb, except that I looked at my watch and saw that was well over an hour since we had actually started.  The average pace had been slower than two weeks earlier during the opening miles of the 200, but my legs felt worse.

I was slow on the Jack Bennett climb, perhaps partly because I was trying to let my legs recover?  Already?

We rode Andrews Store and Parker Herndon roads more-or-less together, but Hamlet Chapel / Jones Ferry Rd was not-fun for me, and Steven was repeatedly lolly-gagging / waiting for me.  I announced that I was stopping at Frosty's to remove my knee warmers, etc.; Steven was in favor of stopping, too -- he wanted a chocolate milk or something (I recall that he had to settle for something else).

Back on the bikes, the climb on Chicken Bridge Rd toward NC-87 was TOUGH; I was not recovering on the bike; my legs were getting worse.  The detour and Castle Rock Farm / Old Switcheroo RD passed with nothing of note.  Lindley Mill Rd and Greensboro - Chapel Hill Rd, esp. the latter, were NOT fun for me.  Steven was lollygagging up ahead, I struggled on every one of the 5 climbs (into a headwind, BTW).

I actually considered turning around when I got to Snow Camp.  Dead legs and an increasing headwind all the way to the turn-around in Seagrove was not an enticing combination.  However, Bob was meeting me in Snow Camp, to ride the middle 87-miles with me; I didn't want to let him down.  I also did not want to wimp out of what is likely my only chance at a 300 brevet this year.

Steven and I arrived at the Snow Camp control at 10:57 -- a full 30 minutes later than I had figured.  Being that slow / late, Ian (who had started at 8 am) pulled in only seconds after us.  (I had earlier told Dr. A. that Ian would not catch us until at least Siler City.  I remain convinced that if I had had any legs, Ian would most likely have caught us on Coleridge Rd.)  Ian made some banter "insulting" comment; I was too tired to respond.

Ian and Dr. A. left within minutes -- certainly well before I emerged from the store with my card initialed and some cold drinks in my hands.  I knew that Ian and Steven were on a speed-demon mission, Ian on a fixie-speed-demon mission, but I was quite relieved to see that they had gone.

I sat on the store bench, drank my drinks, and told Bob that we were in for a long ride, not the enjoyable trek I had anticipated.  Bob is a good egg, and we have each dragged or waited for the other many times; he was still up for the ride.  After all, the roads between Siler City and Seagrove are Bob's favorite rando roads.

We headed for Siler City.  Bob leading; me trying to stay close enough to get a draft.  That's about all I can recall of the 12-miles to Siler City.

After Siler City is Coleridge Rd -- everyone's favorite road on Alan's route(s).  The pastures and lawns and trees and shrubs are in their finest greenery in early Spring; flowers are popping all around; from several places atop "the ridge" one can see far away to distant ridges -- ridges higher than Coleridge Rd..

After passing through the old mill town of Coleridge, located along the Deep River, the route continues onto increasing rollers, headed in a twisty way for Erect and then Seagrove.  [I mention Erect because there is a store there, and Alan told me that the route uses Erect Rd and goes through Erect simply because of the name.]  

Fork Creek Mill Rd was a labor -- for me, not Bob.  I climbed the mile up into Seagrove using my 30/23 -- the 30/25 seemed too easy -- I had some hope that perhaps my legs were recovering during the ride.

We took a LONG lunch break in Seagrove.  I ate the entire Big Bag Lunch and was playing for leg-recovery time.  We finally left the control and headed back toward Siler City.  Bob was riding easy.  It was all I could do to keep the pedals turning.

There was one bright spot for me -- on the last half-dozen miles on Snow Camp Rd, heading toward Snow Camp, I found cadence and zip and caught up to and passed Bob and led all the way to the control.  The mostly tailwind may have helped; the easy slopes certainly are always to my liking.

Bob and I chatted and ate and drank a bit at Snow Camp; then he headed for home (about 15 miles from Snow Camp) and I headed back along the route toward Morrisville.  I will now turn the story over to an email [with just a few edits] that I sent Bob (and Alan) a day or two after the ride.

Hey, Bob (& Alan) -- now for the rest of the story

I left Snow Camp @ 8:15.  The excellent cadence that I had managed the last six miles into Snow Camp did not re-emerge.  The steep rollers on the Old Greensboro Highway took care of that, and the following roads of the course are not as "Martin friendly" as Snow Camp Rd is.  

I had to keep stopping to check my tail-light.  I would stop at every stop sign to check to see if it was still on.  Mostly, it wasn't.  It is bright, but is prone to jiggling loose "inside;" an adjustment to the cover brings it back on, but ... .  Luckily. my secondary tail-light, combined with that EN-1150 visibility vest resulted in very respectful traffic all the way back.  I did finally get the main tail-light adjusted more or less perfectly as it stayed on continuously from Farrington Point to Alan's (and again from Alan's to north Raleigh).  

I don't know what time I got to Frosty's, but I stopped there to put on knee warmers, glove liners, and my shell.  I had been cold for quite some time.  The additional clothes helped.  I thought about swapping to the clean jersey, but I had so much stuff in the jersey pockets that I didn't want to have to deal with getting everything into place, so I stayed with the somewhat sweaty faded blaze orange jersey.  I left Frosty's thinking I might still finish at around 1 am. 

However, the wobbling about on the bike, which had been evident ever since Snow Camp, got much worse before I got to Farrington Point; therefore, I tried to take a 30-min "Martin nap" on the picnic table.  I doubt that I ever fell asleep as I could not get comfortable due to the slight, chilly breeze funneling between those two stores at Farrington. 

I left Farrington at approx 12:30 am, and had good vigor and cadence for about 100 yards.  Maybe I kept up a decent cadence all the way down to the lake to Martha's Chapel Rd.  The route from Farrington to Alan's is gentle slopes that I can usually do with little to no reduction in my speed; however, Saturday night (or Sunday morning, if you prefer), it was all I could do just to keep the pedals turning.  Hmmn, I did seem to be able to force some cadence  while on NC-55; I wanted to get that short mile DONE (even though there was not much traffic). 

I rolled up to Alan's and wrote "0152" on my card for my finish time.  I was writing in the closing time of the store in Snow Camp, or signing the card, I forget which (and I doubt I could have told you two minutes later which I was doing), when Dorothy opened the door, asked how I was doing, and then if I'd like to come in for a bit.  (I told D that I was very tired, and that going inside to sit "would be nice.")  Alan emerged a few minutes later; I think he had gone to bed; I think D has a tendency to stay up VERY LATE.  I chatted with Dorothy and mostly Alan for about 40 minutes, and then left their place at approx 2:35 am to climb up to Cary & Raleigh. 

I stopped on a business drive turn-out on Chapel Hill Rd, just before the Raleigh water tower west of NC State, I estimate about 8 miles after leaving Alan's, to slowly eat a Cliff Bar and wash it down with water.  That was the only time all day that I thought I might be getting "bonky." 
I noted that the time was 3:39 am when I rode past Hogan's house.  The cars looked to parked in exactly the same place as they had at 6:16 am Saturday morning.  

I had just turned onto Everett St (next to the Raleigh Little Theater) when this guy on a bike came whizzing around the corner and passed me on my right -- there was not a lot of extra room between me and the curb!  I yelped, and then the guy made a U-turn while saying that he was riding with me, and that was not a comforting thing.  He circled around behind me and was coming up alongside me, on my right, his breathe REEKED of alcohol as commented "peleton, now that's a French word."  The next moment he crashed, falling to his left; luckily I was just far enough ahead and going just fast enough that he did NOT fall into me!  Sprawled on the road, the drunk says "I'm not coming with you."  Thank goodness!! 

I was about a third of the way up the steep part of the climb on Lassiter Mill Rd when I decided it would be easier and safer to walk up the rest of the climb, so I did.  I then got back on my bike and continued the slow spin-slog home.  Once in Raleigh, I had chosen my route to eliminate any climbing other than Lassiter Mill Rd (which cannot be avoided unless one adds a LOT of other, nearly as tough climbs) -- my route was also the shortest route.  On major city streets.  NO traffic.  Some may wonder if I stopped for all the stop lights; let them wonder. 

I got to my front door-step at 4:35 am.  Four to 4.5 hours later than I had expected to get home.  I was worried I might fall over carrying the bike up the steps, but I did not fall.  Started the electric kettle, changed from my cycling togs into my house-robe, poured the HOT water into the mug with a tea bag, then sat down to chill out for a couple minutes while the tea cooled a bit.  The plan was to drink the tea and then shower.  That was a minutes or two before 5 am.  

Next thing I knew, it was 6:15.  I had fallen asleep sitting in the chair.  I drank the now tepid tea, took my shower, and got into bed at approx 6:30 am, having set the alarm on my watch for 10:30 so that I would have time to get dressed and get to work at 11:30.  I woke without the alarm at about 10 and got up. 

Cycle Home

See above.
I still had one more duty to perform:  A pre-ride report to the NC-rando-list-serve -- I sent the following email on Tuesday morning.

Since I had an EPIC adventure with many hours riding after it got dark, I'm concentrating on things that other dark-finishers might benefit from: 
  1. The traditional store at Snow Camp closes at 9 pm [Alan had given me an assignment to verify the store's closing time].  If you should get to Snow Camp after the store closes, but need some supplies, there is now a "Dollar General" just west of the traditional gas station / c-store, also on Greensboro - Chapel Hill Rd; the DG is on the north side of G - CH Rd.  However, because I was T-I-R-E-D, I did not check out the hours for the Dollar General. 
  2. The tiny bugs came out in force at about 8:15 pm, sorta' between Civil and Nautical Twilight.  But by 8:45 or 9:00 pm, the bug storm was over.  Adjust for the difference in daylight for the one-week difference  &  maybe the bug storm I experienced was a one-off thing. 
  3. About half-way between Snow Camp and the turn onto Lindley Mill Rd, a black dog suddenly appeared at my right side.  I did not hear it coming, and I certainly didn't see it until after it barked when only a foot or so away from me.  A few shouts and the dog stopped -- probably because I had left its territory. 
  4. Finding the detour routing onto Pete Thomas Rd (from Castle Rock Farm Rd) was easy.  Pete Thomas is the first left AFTER you get to the 'road work' / 'road closed' signs.  If you start to worry that you've missed the turn in the dark -- stop worrying -- you haven't.  I KNOW. 
  5. There was a "pack" of dogs at one residence on Pete Thomas Rd -- it would be on your left during the homeward bound leg -- I couldn't determine how many dogs, or if they were serious or not.  At least one of the dogs was black, blacker than the night; it seemed more like a shadow than anything else.  But it, and its pack mates, were real.  I never got around to hallucinating during the ride (I was physically tired all ride, not mentally tired). 
  6. Finding Bowman Bare Rd, the next turn in the detour, is also easy.  It is the ONLY right turn off Pete Thomas Rd, about 2-miles after getting onto Pete Thomas, and should be obvious a couple hundred yards before you get to it.  The road-signs showed up nicely in my head-lamp beam. 
  7. The turn from Bowman Bare onto NC-87 is obvious.  You cannot continue straight.  And if you turn left, well ... you may end up with a "story to tell." 
  8. The final turn of the detour routing ought to be rather easy to recognize -- Chicken Bridge Rd is the first left off NC-87.  If you are riding as late as I was, you'll be quite glad to see the signage, etc. for Chicken Bridge Rd.  Make sure you tail-light(s) are working when you get to NC-87  &  that you have good reflective clothing -- I will note that those wind-vests sometimes identified as EN-1150 compliant and which many obtained around the time of the 2011-PBP work great!!  My main tail-light was prone to going out as things jiggled-about, but either my secondary tail-light or my NC-Rando EN-1150 hi-visibility vest did the job!!  Everyone gave me the entire lane. 
  9. After the turn onto Chicken Bridge Rd, the detour is done. 
  10. BTW, Jones Ferry Rd was a lot easier to ride UP and down in the dark than I recalled from previous rides.  The resurfacing helps a LOT.  (Hamlet Chapel Rd, on the other hand, still has its holes and such.)   
EVERYTHING on the course was GREEN !!!! 
The vistas, etc. along Coleridge Rd looked great! 

There was "some" pollen in the air.  I saw it streaming past in my headlamp beam at night.  However, it was no where close the pollen-storm that some may recall from the 400 brevet in 2010. 

Eddington Cycling Number:
After this ride:  111.
Meaning that I have completed at least 111 different rides that were at least 111 miles long.

Apr-12: NCBC 200 km Brevet

A few days before the brevet, my friend BobB indicated that he'd do the ride with me, IF I didn't drop him in the first "15-miles," by which he meant the start of the Jack Bennett climb (click here for RWGPS course map). 

My strategy for the NCBC brevets that start in Morrisville is to grab the wheel of one of a particular few of the fast-crew.  One that starts at a reasonable pace.  A pace that I can hang on to and reach the bottom of the Jack Bennet climb, at approx 17-miles, in an hour (or less), having expended only the energy equivalent to maintaining 15-mph.  (Bob sometimes loses the fast-crew before the Jack Bennett climb.)  When the climb begins in earnest, I drop the fast-crew off my front wheel, find my own pace up the climb, and then try to "get it together" and find the "magic cadence" that will carry me the rest of the ride.

Finding the "magic cadence" is difficult, if not impossible, for me until after the 35-mile mark as the rollers crossing many little creeks and also the Haw River play havoc with my rhythm.  Typically, if Bob doesn't catch me by that point, we won't be doing the rest of the ride together. 

So ... on this date:  I found it to be quite a bit of work to stick to the fast-crew peleton, which all seemed to be sticking together for the first 17-miles.  The peleton reached the approx 17.2-mile mark only 59-minutes after Alan released us at the start.  I let the peleton go, got passed by the other mid-to-back-of-the-pack that had used the fast-crew to get to Jack Bennett, and looked back to see if Bob was there.  He wasn't.

I struggled up the steeper part of the climb, but got a decent cadence back when the incline lessened (that's what usually / always happens).  I re-passed, or at least re-caught, some of the other mid-to-back-packers that had passed me, and started "looking" for the "magic cadence," or at least a near-magic one.

Fast forwarding a bit, I was on Chicken Bridge Rd, after having crossed the Chicken Bridge over the Haw River, climbing toward NV-87 when I saw another rider, one I did not know, wobbling about as he struggled up the climb ahead of me.  At the time, I was on the verge of going "on a mission" of completing the brevet as fast as I could; but as I passed the unknown rider, he seemed to catch my wheel, and soon I had an unspoken alliance with Ray from Virginia as we turned north on NC-87 for the detour in use this 16th year that Alan has used this mostly-same brevet course.

Because I led us to miss a turn, Ray and I combined with Byron and Janet roughly where Bowman Bare and Pete Thomas roads intersect (approx the 37.5-mile mark) to make a new temporary alliance.  However, there was another, very temporary, member of our alliance -- one of the fastest randonneurs in North Carolina, one of the fastest age-60-plus Ultra-cyclists in the world -- namely, Tom Florian. After we got over our surprise at finding Tom back with us, and his inability make his usual pace, we realized he had a legitimate reason -- as Tom had written to the NC rando community earlier in the week: 

The Heart of the South ride report, Suffering and euphoria:

The heart of the south is one of the hardest ultra distance races on Ultra distance circuit. The race is 511 miles long and has 38,000 feet of climbing. It starts in Birmingham Alabama and goes through the Southern Appalacian Mountains of Alabama and Georgia.

I started this race at 8:00 o’clock Friday night and did not finish until 9:41 Sunday night

The first 200 miles at this race are not  too bad.  The climbs not excessively steep or long but are continuous. I felt good and did well for the first 200 miles. I took my first break and had some food and liquid after 200 miles. I kept the time off the bike to less than 5 minutes.
After leaving Resaca Georgia the route takes the rider Over Fort Mountain with more than 2500 feet of elevation gain. Somewhere around mile 240 my stomach went into full rebellian. I was unable to eat or drink for the next 150 miles. I vomited probably 10 times.

There were several steep short climbs. Finally by the time I got to Cheaha I was reduced to walking the bike on the steep sections due to dehydration. During Sunday morning at approximately 8:00 was joined by 375 riders who were doing the Cheaha challenge a local popular Birmingham ride. By this time I had been riding 36 hours straight. I was encouraged because was able to keep up with the slower riders.

At the top of Cheaha my support team was worried about me . I was having difficulty even walking. We were worried I would not finish by the 48 hour cut off. I was determined that in spite of the difficulties I would continue.

I was very fortunate at this point to be able to start eating  oranges. The sag support for the Cheaha challenge gave me a bag of orange wedges.I ate them for the next 100 miles.

I rode on through the second night without sleep. It felt good  and I kept the pace steady . There was torrential rain. Around mile 500 a car in front of me swerved. I swerved to avoid the car and hit pothole and crashed. The bike was fine I was fine. Someone saw the crash and thought that a car hit me. He called the police and the EMTs and they were on the scene in minutes. I had To persuade the police that I have not been hit by a car. I had to persuade the ambulance driver that  I was fine.

At this point I hadn't slept for approximately 60 hours. I was very lucky to have had experience has a medical intern because this allowed me to remain clear minded in spite of sleep deprivation.

Fortunately the adventure wasn't quite over. It had  been raining most of the time the previous 8 hours but suddenly the sky opened up and sheets of rain fell. I felt like a kid who was allowed to go outside and play in the rain!

With only four or five miles to go I came up to a car that had just crashed due to too much speed on a winding country road in the rain. My medical instincts kicked in. I did a quick mental status exam “What is your name? Where are you? What day is it? Who is the president?”and I looked for injuries. He answered the questions correctly.  There was no blood or bruises. I asked the driver  if he had any damage thinking only of his body and health. He replied,”Yes ,the whole side of my car is caved in” At that point I knew this young man was in safe and did not need medical attention.

I pedaled to the finish. Even though I did not make a 48 hour cut off time I felt great sense of accomplishment.

I am thankful to Tony, Janet ,Joe and Mary my always cheerful and pleasant support team and to God for my good health.

Living the dream!

Byron, Ray and I were destined to stay together the rest of the ride (about 90-miles).  Janet would catch us at the three intermediate controls, but we would leave about as she was arriving (Janet later teamed up with some of the "Chair City Cyclists" whom she credited with bringing her to the finish).  Tom disappeared off our back wheels -- that is still difficult for me to fathom -- and eventually sagged in from the turn-around in Siler City.

Byron, Ray and I worked reasonably well together.  Each had strong periods and each and periods of not-so-strong.  Miles passed quickly on the return with the mostly tail-wind and the warm temps until we neared Frosty's (which is at approx mile-97) at which time all of us opted for an extra stop.  Some fluids for all, and I had an ice cream thing, Byron almost certainly got some solid food-like stuff of some sort, but I don't recall if Ray added some solid food-like stuff.

We got back on the road "enjoying" the inbound rollers on Jones Ferry / Hamlet Chapel Rd.  Then the bouncy chip-seal of Parker Herndon Rd., and onto Andrew's Store Rd..  As we approached the store (at the intersection with US-15/501), Byron indicated a desire for another stop.  We found an very tired looking Wilmington Rick sprawled / sitting outside the store, and seemingly glad to see us.  A 10-minute break and we pushed off to complete the final 20+ miles of the ride, now a group of four.

We finished the brevet in an official time of 9h37 -- and found BobB among the crowd enjoying the post-ride banter.  Bob had finished the brevet in 8h20.  So much for me possibly dropping him during the "first 15-miles."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For Whom Do I Write, er, Type

I've thought about this before.
I've written, er, commented on this before.
But the ClustrMap list of recent visitors made me pause. 

Sunday, April 20 @ 3:50 : Nahariya, IL
Saturday, April 19 @ 11:22 : Germany, DE
Saturday, April 19 @ 11:20 : Menlo Park, California, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 11:20 : Ukiah, California, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 9:25 : Ithaca, New York, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 9:07 : Boone, North Carolina, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 8:06 : Beaumont, Texas, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 6:25 : Troutdale, Oregon, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 6:12 : Nomans Land, Massachusetts, US
Saturday, April 19 @ 6:10 : Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, US

A new, obvious answer to the question in the title of this post is:
For no one that I've met. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Apr-09: Oxford 104

10 days after the ride, and now I'm gonna' finally write something?

My friend Lynn wanted to get in a populaire before the 10th.
I wanted to get in back-to-back rides (I'd ridden the 'Bunn Wash Caper' the day before).
We did the 'Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf' perm-pop.

Let me explain something about Lynn:
She is a faster rider than me.
Much faster.

To help keep the pace under control for the first part of the ride,
I took the lead and didn't drop out of leading.
Lynn was reasonably accepting of that.
After all, we were riding into a headwind.

After crossing the Tar River outbound, Lynn took the lead.
I think it was on Antioch Rd when I suggested that I was going to send an email to our friend Ian,
Noting that every time I got comfortable with the pace, she seemed to increase it.

Lynn didn't want me to do that,
Claiming that I was referencing stuff from a couple years ago.
I wasn't able to dispute the point as I had to drop her off my front wheel
In order that I not to go into oxygen debt.

At the turn-around, I pointed out that maybe Lynn wasn't the tornado from a few years ago,
But that she is still a strong and fast rider.
[I saw her trying to hide a smile.] 

Trying to keep her under control on the homeward bound leg,
I led for the first 10-miles.
Ten, flat, wind-aided miles.

But as we started the climb back up the steep slope after crossing the Tar River,
Lynn came around me as if I were standing still (I wasn't going very fast),
And seemingly without pedaling hard, she disappeared up and away.

I next saw Lynn 22-miles later, at the finish control.
Officially, she finished 13-minutes before me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Apr-08: Inaugural Bunn Wash Caper 108

The course:  (

Mick and I rode the inaugural Bunn Wash Caper on a pleasant, though mostly overcast, Spring day.
The wind must not have been much of an issue, because as I type this I cannot recall the wind effects.
However, I do seem to have a slight recollection of riding up the incline on Dunn Rd into a small headwind.
That would suggest a westerly wind on the day.

Checking the weather Almanac for Raleigh:

Just a bit of up-and-down climbing in the early miles on Mitchell Mill Rd -- wake-up, legs!
Then mostly flat with a slight loss of elevation as one joins NC Bike Route #2 for several miles.
The route leaves NC Bike Route #2 upon reaching "W. Old Spring Hope Rd."
Which occurs at a cross-roads community (of about three houses).
Or at least there is an NC-DOT green sign for a community there.
Can't recall the name of the crossroads community.
Or maybe that is a potential Info Control question.

One thing we did notice at that turn is this:
The only nuisance dawg on the whole route lives on the "inside" of the turn there.
Sort of a pug / boxer mix.
Not too tall, but tall enough to possibly nip one just above the ankle.
And fast enough, given its "inside" position, to possibly get in the way. 
Mick tried to administer some "training" -- I doubt it took.

After that we dropped down to cross the Tar River, and then climbed back up.
You can see the dip in the elevation profile on the RWGPS map linked-to above.
The first Tar River crossing is at about mile 27.6.
The road climbs about 100 feet in about 1/2 a mile.
That's standard, or even a bit less than the standard,
For roads north of Raleigh.
East of Raleigh, in the area covered by the Bunn Wash Caper route,
That 100 feet in 1/2 a mile is about as difficult as it gets.

After crossing the Tar River, we turned to go up into and through the heart of Spring Hope.
The cue sheet notes a couple c-stores in Spring Hope at mile 30.6 of the route.
There are also some places where one could grab a meal in Spring Hope.
Mick and I rode through Spring Hope without stopping;
We were thinking of a quick lunch in Bunn.

After Spring Hope, we had nearly 10-miles on 7-Paths Rd.
Now that might sound boring and wearing on the mind.
However, it was anything but that.
There are two or three turns required to stay on the 7-Paths;
All of them logical and easy to make without even consulting the cue sheet.

There were also some nice little vistas scattered along 7-Paths.
Nice vistas if one is not so foolish as to attempt to compare to mountains or other such nonsense.
Accept where you are, and accept what the location has to offer, and enjoy it.

Possibly the greatest thing about 7-Paths Rd was the lack of vehicle traffic.
As best I can recall, we encountered only two pick-up trucks during our entire time on 7-Paths.

We dealt with the Info Control at the corner of 7-Paths and Dunn roads,
And proceeded on Dunn and Mort Harris roads to Ferrell Bridge Rd.

Our lunch plans took a detour when we encountered a small country diner
At the corner of Mort Harris / Sledge Rd and Ferrell Bridge Rd.

The diner has only been in operation since about December.
At least that is what the owner / cook told us.
Country cooking.
Home cooking.
Traditional Rural Southern cooking.
Made to order AFTER we put in our orders.
Filling and tasty.
50-minutes total was the stop for lunch.

Then on to Bunn.
A couple miles on Ferrell Bridge Rd (again with no traffic), and about a mile on NC-39.
39 is wide and flat.  Not too much traffic.
However, any traffic at all seemed a lot after the complete absence we'd just experienced.

Through Bunn and onto another bit of NC Bike Route #2.
But now we were headed west.

Those that have done MikeD's "Showdown at Black Creek" Permanent
May recall Brantleytown Rd -> Old Halifax Rd, and a "bear right" onto Strickland Rd.
At that "bear right," the Bunn Wash Caper instead "bears left,"
Staying on Old Halifax Rd and opening a new road to randonneuring traffic.

A short stint on NC-98 and then 8-miles on Mitchell Mill Rd rollers to get back to the start / finish.

All in all, a nice ride on a pleasant, very low traffic route.
If you are a NC-rando living in the Triangle area, and looking for a new Perm-Pop route,
I think you can't go wrong riding the Bunn Wash Caper.
Contact Mick -- you can find his contact info by following the above link.

Monday, April 7, 2014

RUSA Member Retention

I've been a bit remiss in following up on something.  So ...
In context of, and supplementary to, my Jan-01 post,

[Apr-07, 9:30 am EDT -- now 3212.] 
 - - That is up 480 members in the last two months.
 - - - - Mostly renewals?   

The key text of the Jan-01 post was / is:
[M]embership [as of approx. 10:10 am EST] is:  "2002 Matches Found". 
It might be interesting to watch that number change over the next few days / weeks / months. 

And that was followed by a series of time-stamped edits:
[Edit, 10:26 am EST -- now "2027 Matches Found".]
[Edit, Jan-02, 6:30 am EST -- now "2063 Matches Found".]
[Edit, Jan-04, 4:00 pm EST -- now 2184.]
[Edit, Jan-07, 8:00 am EST -- now 2269.]
[Edit, Jan-10, 8:00 am EST -- now 2363.]
[Edit, Jan-27, 6:30 am EST -- now 2646.]
[Edit, Feb-07, 5:00 pm EST -- now 2732.]

It might still be interesting to watch the member count change over the next few months as brevet-season hits its peak (for most of the country, anyway).