Saturday, May 31, 2014

May-31: Denny's Store 138

Placeholding because I really want to blog this ride / these rides, and
I want May rides to show as May blog post.
I may be obsessive on that point.

[Edit March 3, 2017:  
It is obvious that I did NOT get back to fill out the above non-post.   
And now, I recall NOTHING about this ride.   
My Excel log indicates that I rode solo that day, and  
The RUSA website indicates that I completed the route in 5h57, 
Which was a personal record for me (at the time), 
Replacing the PR from six days earlier.  

I do recall that on each of the May-25th and this May-31st ride, 
That I was trying to be quick, trying to better a 5h45 time. 
I never did accomplish that. 

Also strange is that 
On the 25th, I cycled to the start and cycled back home, 
But on the 31st, I cycled to the start, but must have hitched a ride home. 
Can't imagine with whom I caught that ride. 

Records reveal that I rode the Denny's Store route four times in May 2014. 
Also that I DNF'd the route once. 
Work called when I was part way into the ride on the 13th, and long story short, 
I earned that DNF by turning around and going in to work. 
I did the Denny's Store route the next day, May 14th, solo, in 6h26. 

Interesting thing about that May 14 ride, 
It was the first half, the long first half, 
Of doing two perm-pops, back-to-back, solo.  

I obviously enjoyed riding the Denny's Store route in that month of May. 
I still do, but I haven't ever done the route four times again since then. 
However, one never knows what the future may hold.]  

May-25: Denny's Store 138

Placeholding because I really want to blog this ride / these rides, and
I want May rides to show as May blog post.
I may be obsessive on that point.

[Edit March 3, 2017:  
It is obvious that I did NOT get back to fill out the above non-post.   
And now, I recall NOTHING about this ride.   
My Excel log indicates that I rode solo that day, and  
The RUSA website indicates that I completed the route in 6h08, 
Which was a personal record for me (at the time).  

Records also reveal that I rode the Denny's Store route four times in May 2014. 
Also that I DNF'd the route once. 
Work called when I was part way into the ride, and long story short, 
I earned that DNF by turning around and going in to work. 

I obviously enjoyed riding the Denny's Store route in that month of May. 
I still do, but I haven't ever done the route four times again since then. 
However, one never knows what the future may hold.] 

May-17: Late Afternoon Bahama Beach 103

Placeholding because I really want to blog this ride / these rides, and
I want May rides to show as May blog post.
I may be obsessive on that point.


[Edit Apr-04-2015:  
It is obvious that I did NOT get back to fill out the above non-post. 
And now, I recall NOTHING about this ride. 
My Excel log indicates that I rode the "standard" route that day with Biker Bob, and
Completed the route in 4h49. 

Oh, wait, now I recall: 
Bob was in Raleigh, I think to do a short version of the Tour de Cure, and 
Decided he'd rather do a late afternoon Bahama Beach with me, 
Rather than a longer Tour de Cure option. 

My recollection is that I got off from work at about 3 pm, with aching legs. 
The first half of the ride was a struggle for me. 
We paused on Cassam Rd because I needed a moment to regroup, and 
Nibble a bit and take a good drink. 

After the pause, I decided to go "all out," regardless how much it hurt my legs. 
In particular, on Bruce Garner / New Light Rd, I went into "time trial mode." 
At one point, I called back to Bob that I hoped the TT was hurting his legs, 
Because I was inflicting significant pain on mine.  ;-/

My legs felt better after the ride than before. 
A lesson I need to recall this year.] 

May-14: Two Pops Ride

In addition to my usual goal of HAVE FUN, I have three "real" cycling goals this year:
  1. K-Hound,
  2. Mondial, and 
  3. I'm not sayin'. 
I'm WAAY behind a K-Hound pace.

So, rather than just doing a long populaire, or even a 200k perm,
I decided to take a page from "Scary" GaryG's playbook,
And double up on populaires (I have seen that GaryG has done three pops on the same day).
Doing 'Denny's Store Sortie' starting at 0600,
And 'Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf' starting at 1300.

The Denny's Store ride would be solo.
MickH scheduled to join me for the Oxford ride.
Denny's Store 138-km

I like this route.
And once one gets into and beyond Butner, there's NO traffic.

Range Road starts with what is often referred to as "Range Wall,"
Which many would laugh at, but ... it's intimidating to flatlanders. 

My favorite part of Range Road is a few miles later.
Early on a Spring, Summer or Fall sunny morning,
The sunlight dapples the road between leaf shadows,
Making for a pleasant minute or two.

After Range Rd, Bahama / Mt. Harmony Ch Road has a couple climbs that slow me down.
There are also a couple scenic places.
The hillside with the several old tobacco drying barns comes to mind.

After passing Mt. Harmony Church, Johnnie Jones Rd has a lot of soap-box-derby potential.
And a popper or two.
A nice pastureland scene, and some views of distant hill ridges.

From Surl to Allensville, I'm usually just concentrating on pedaling,
Hoping to get to the control sooner than usual.
It's only 13-miles from the Allensville Store control to the open control in Berea.

It takes me about 19-minutes to get to the Denny's Store corner from the Allensville control.
If riding with others, I usually try to stop at the Denny's Store sign and take a photo.
I even sometimes do that when solo, or take a photo at the cemetery just before the crossroads.
But this day, I had another photo plan. 
So I "sped" on toward Berea.

I can "speed" toward Berea after cresting the climb just after Denny's Store,
As there are no noteable climbs and (I think) it is generally a slight downslope.

I always like it when I arrive at the Berea control an hour or less after arriving at Allensville.
This day, after the above mentioned crest, the bike was moving at a fast pace,
But it seemed as if I was putting no effort into the pedaling.
The effortless pace continued after the short stop at the Berea control.
(I took advantage of the 2 soda cans for $1 special.
I got Pepsi's and poured most of the liquid into the empty water bottle.)

I arrived at Culbreth (crossroads) in what seemed to be no-time.
I stopped to take some photos of the farm-house at the corner.
Or rather, what used to be the farm-house.
View more-or-less from the corner.
Taken from under the tree seen in the prior photo.  (I think that's from where I took this one.)
Three chimneys and part of the "front garden".
After taking 5 or 8 minutes for the above photos,
I remounted and found that the effortless quick pace was still happening.  :-)

Past Shoofly, through Stem, down Brogden Rd to and into Creedmoor,
Effortless pace still.  :-)  :-)

I stopped at the Southern States in Creedmoor to get cold water in my bottles.
I also called Mick to let him know that I would certainly be on time for a 1 pm Oxford start.

Upon leaving Creedmoor, I decided to purposefully pull back on the pace / effort.
(Certainly you know that the "effortless" pace had required some effort.)
The idea was to conserve some energy for ride #2 -- i.e., the Oxford route.

I finished the ride with an official completion time of 1226.
6 hours, 26 minutes elapsed time officially.
Given the 4 minute late start and the ease-off-the-pace the last 16-miles,
I was quite pleased and stoked for the second "half" of the adventure.
Oxford 104-km

Still to be written.

May-09: Hicksboro 205

I had Friday off, decided to do the 'Road to Hicksboro,'
Advertised on the NC-rando-list-serve, expecting no responses.  Instead, got two: 
  1. TomD, with whom I had ridden about 300-kms of the 2013 NCBC 600 brevet, and 
  2. StevenB, who is a NC-2010-rando-rookie, but a person who I had never met. 
Also, eventually, Ricochet Robert decided to join the ride.

Tom indicated that he was looking for an easy ride.
If he stuck with me, he would get what would qualify as an easy ride (for him).

Steven indicated he was just looking for a ride.
Tall, thin, and I think he had shaved legs -- NOT a recipe for an easy Martin pace.

Ricochet Robert is in very good shape and getting faster, maybe is now nearly-fast.
I think I need to find a way to inflict a difficulty on him in order to slow him down.
I decided to use my "Lynn tactic" on them.
Get in the lead to slow them down.
It didn't work.
Especially when the climbs on St. Mary's Rd began.

The three drifted off my front wheel,
Leaving me alone to ride past the historical St. Mary's School, etc..

I arrived at the first control, Underwood Grocery, 33.2-miles into the ride, at 0911.
As we had left 3-minutes late and I had about 1-minute of "pausage" en route,
I had taken 2h07 in-motion --> an avg of 15.7-mph in-motion.
If I had had a working confuser, I might have been worried.
We left the control at 0919, and I used the downslope to get ahead of the guys again.
Again, to try to slow them down for a bit.
It didn't work, again.
They unceremoniously dropped me on the climb on New Sharon Ch Rd.
At least that left me on my own on the subsequent, mostly-Martin-friendly rollers.
I arrived at the Timberlake control, 46.1- miles (yes, those controls are rather close together),
Anyway, I arrived at 1010, with 50-minutes in motion --> avg 15.4 in-motion for that segment.

One nice thing about that segment:
That dang yellow dawg that was a nuisance every ride last year,
Did NOT make an appearance on this ride.
We left the Timberlake control at 1025 after a 15-minute stop.
We had picked up a SW tailwind, but the temps were climbing fast.
I grabbed the lead on the downslope out of Timberlake,
Hoping to stick with the guys for awhile.

Either I stuck with them, or they took it somewhat easy,
Until the first non-trivial climb on Jim Latta Rd.
If I recall correctly, I did not see the others until the non-control lunch stop in Stovall.

I guessed that Ricochet had told the other two that I would likely re-catch them on a downslope
After the bigger climbs.
Robert likely recalls that from previous rides, and
Especially from last year's NCBC 300 + 400 brevets,
Where I caught Robert and Byron on Coleridge Rd at the same spot on the two rides.

Robert may think I can catch people on downslopes, but
Robert is in the best (fastest) shape of his three-year cycling career,
Whereas I am decidedly NOT.
I can still ride fast downslope, but I labor upslope and the gaps become to big to bridge.

My "pausage" time in Stovall was 23-minutes.
Most of that time, no one was giving any indication of wanting to get going.

Leaving Stovall, again a downslope, and I got in front,
To again try to slow the guys and stick with them for awhile.
That worked for the 6 or so miles to the Hicksboro Info Control,
But soon thereafter, on "Ricochet's Ridge," the guys drifted off my front wheel, again.
I admit I was cussing the guys by this time.
Ride "with" -- ha.

I got to the Dabney control (89.3-miles) at 1336,
Just in time to get behind several lottery players.
I had cover the distance from Timberlake to Dabney at an avg 15.4 mph in-motion. 

Robert was anxious to leave the instant I got away from the cashier.
He apparently was feeling well rested from the extra time he had been there,
And failed to see the line of lottery players that had taken up my time at the control.
I "saluted" Robert's impatience with a possibly appropriate gesture.
Since the turn at the Hicksboro Info Control,
We had been riding head-on into the southerly headwind.
And it had been quite hot for the middle of May.
Several of us were showing some effects from the heat.

Leaving the Dabney control, I did NOT attempt to get in front to slow the guys.
I knew that after three miles of more-or-less flat roads,
We would have several miles of mostly downslope to creek.
I figured I could hang with the guys until the bridge, but
I knew I would lose them on the climb away from the creek.
Also, I needed to take a "natural break."

Therefore, I bid the guys adieu, and urged them to leave their cards with Robert.
I stopped for my pee, 1-minute, and could still see the three in the distance.
However, I had no intention of trying to catch them (or even hold the separation).

The heat had continued to build.
The headwind had also continued to build.
I thought the headwind a bigger issue.

I will note that the tar-snakes on Pokomoke Rd were a bit disconcerting.
The tar was hot enough that I felt my rear wheel slide sideways on the tar.
I may need to come up with a different 200+ Perm,
One that does NOT finish coming in on Pokomoke / Bruce Garner / New Light Rd.
[That road is also a bit of a problem in the winter, 
Because one is riding straight into the late-day setting sun. 
NOT a good thing.]

Anyway, I passed through Pokomoke and ...
As I approached the c-store at May Store Rd,
(BTW, said store is NOT noted on the cue sheet -- that store has been mostly-closed recently)
I saw Ricochet Robert, astride his steed, ready to leave the store.
I pulled in and learned (from Robert) that Tom and Steven were taking a bit of break,
But that Robert needed to finish the ride as quickly as possible.
I'll also note that Robert looked quite fresh.

Tom was looking the worse for wear, and
Steven indicated that he was "floating."
I concluded that neither minded waiting an additional 20+ min. for me at that non-control stop.
[Although the following photo did not exist at the time of our prolonged stop at the May Store, I imagine that each of Tom, Steven and I would have appreciated just a little bit of what this photo "hints" at.]
Photo credit to John Lee Ellis, Colorado RBA.  His back yard after a May-12 snow storm.

Upon leaving, I took the lead, not to slow the guys down, but to do an honest pull.
I led for about a mile-and-a-half (or maybe less), then rotated to the rear of the line.
Tom took the lead for perhaps two-and-a-half miles and rotated to the rear.
Steven took over and led then rest of the distance on BG / NL Rd.
It seemed that the pace slowly ramped up, Steven's legs ahead of me becoming a blur.

Tom and Steven may have expected me to drop them off my front wheel.
However, Bruce Garner / New Light is "my road."
Just ask any Irregular or Biker Bob.

I've done parts of that finish perhaps 600 or more times.
[There are only two safe ways across Falls Lake to north Raleigh.]
I know that stretch of road better than the back of my hand.
Tom had ridden it last Fall, and perhaps on other rides.
However, I'm reasonably confident that it was Steven's first time seeing that road.

I passed Steven twice:
The first time after the last bump before the lake.
The second time just as / after the turn off New Light Rd onto Ghoston Rd.
I know how to carry my speed around that corner and onto the first climb on Ghoston, and
I refused to give up my speed / momentum / cadence for anybody.
It only took Steven and Tom 50 or 100 yards to re-pass me.

I took it easy on Ghoston, Peed and MVC roads.
That's a familiar refrain from my rides and posts.

I arrived at the finish Bay Leaf Open Control at 1704,
Having averaged 13.4-mph in-motion since Dabney.
It had been hot, but I think the headwind had a bigger impact on me.

I didn't learn whether Tom and Steven had suffered more from the heat or the headwind.
All four of had ridden to the start / finish.
Robert and I had ridden from our respective homes.
Steven had stayed the previous night at Umstead park.
Tom had driven to Gorman, which is on the course, at approx the 15-mile point.
My guess is that, at the finish, he wished he had driven to the start,
Rather than force himself to do a 160-mile bike ride. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May-07: Denny's Store 138

Sunny and delightful for the 0715 start (click here for RWGPS map link).
Filtered sunlight crossing Falls Lake on New Light Rd.
Delightful filtered sunlight with mirror-like lake surface alongside Old Weaver Trail.
Early morning sun on green expanses and flowers, with absolutely calm ponds along Cash Rd.
Through Butner and up the "Range Wall," still in early morning sun.
Passing Robert's Chapel Rd in morning sun,
Looking forward to heavily filtered light dappling through the tree tunnel on Range Road.

But a funny thing happened on the way into Durham County:
The sunny day gave way to a light overcast.
And by time I reached Person County, while riding on Bahama / Moriah Rd, increasing overcast.

I was disappointed that my cool, sunny ride had turned into an overcast day.
Later, I realized that I'd been lucky.
The overcast had kept the temps in the 60's, allowing me stay cool all ride.

Somewhere on Range Road, or perhaps on Bahama / Moriah / Mt. Harmony Church Rd,
I realized that I had "settled in" on the bike,
Riding along at a nice pace, seemingly without effort.
Without effort, except when climbing, that is.

From the start to the Allensville Store control (@ 42.3-miles) with only 3-minutes of "pausage."
Two minutes for various lights and stop signs and traffic.
One minute for a nuisance dawg at the turn off Mt. Harmony Ch Rd onto Johnnie Jones Rd.

[I'd never seen that dawg before, 
And probably wouldn't have on this ride, 
Except that the two small pickups from some local contractor, 
Had caught and passed me just as I reached that turn. 
I pulled over to the right to let them pass, 
The dawg and its companion (a non-nuisance dog) seemed attracted by the pickups, 
And the dawg stayed around to harass me. 
I actually dismounted, mostly kept the bike between me and the dawg, 
And managed to shoo the dawg back home with a combination of angry shouts 
And a faux chase move (when the dawg showed signs of retreating). 
Do you approve of that dawg-handling, TonyG?]

Anyway, I arrived at the Allensville Store Control at 1006.
2h51 after the start.
2:48 in-motion, that works out to 15.1-avg-mph-in-motion.
I was pleased -- I hadn't been riding that fast, esp. with some climbs, for awhile.

Seven minutes at the control.
More than I wanted, but I got stuck behind a serial lottery ticket buyer.
Even the store clerk expressed some annoyance (after the lottery player had left).

For some reason, the very first time I rode on Denny's Store Road,
I got the impression that the road was mostly flat.
It's not.

I paused for two minutes to take a semi-obligatory photo at Denny's Store.
It appears it'll be a tobacco field, this year.  [The Fearless Leaduh', Raleigh RBA "Uncle" Alan, assures me that there was once an actual store at the Denny's Store crossroads.  I believe him -- after all, north central North Carolina is "littered" with remnants of old country stores -- a few of them still exist.] 

I proceeded on my way to the second control, an open control, in Berea.
I opted to stop at the "suggested" store, arriving at 1106.
[It is the "suggested" store only because my "preferred" store is not open on Sundays.]
I always like it when I can get to Berea an hour or less after arriving at the Allensville Store.
51-minutes in-motion from Allensville to Berea.
That works out to 15.0-avg-mph-in-motion.
Given the several rollers (i.e., non-trivial climbs for me) and the quartering headwind, I like it.

I was planning to be in Berea only long enough to acquire and eat the 2-hotdog-special.
However, I ended up in conversation with the store owner.
Maintaining cordial relations is a good thing, too, ya' know.

I pulled onto Culbreth Rd at 1124, wondering what the rest of my ride would be like.
I'd had a couple HARD + not-enjoyable rides in the previous weeks;
I was worried that this mostly enjoyable ride would come crashing down around my legs.

Down to the Tar River, and up.  That was okay.
Continuing along the top of the plain to Culbreth into the quartering head windwind. Okay.
Uh-oh -- looks like the old farmhouse at Culbreth crossroads has burnt down.
[I didn't stop to take a photo.]

Continuing on some mostly-easy rollers, past Shoofly, toward Stem.  All okay.
Through Stem, down Brogden Rd, up the two non-trivial roller climbs,
And down into Creedmoor.  All okay.
Through Creedmoor, some pizzazz on Dove Rd, up the Whitt Rd climb.  Still all okay.

Across Old Weaver Trail -- the mirror surface of the lake now replaced with ripples.
Swoop down New Light Rd, across the main channel of Falls Lake / Neuse River, and
Onto Ghoston and Peed and then Mt. Vernon Church roads,
Back up to the top of the plain, across Norwood Rd to the finish.
Arrival time 1329.
Only 3-minutes of "pausage" for traffic, etc.,
Meaning 2:02 in-motion for the final 30.7-miles of the ride.
A 15.0-avg-mph-in-motion.  I'll take it.

15.0-avg-mph for the whole ride.
I still felt fresh.

I must have still felt fresh -- I did the 6.7-mile commute home in 33-minutes;
That's roughly a 15.4-mph average. 
Perhaps I'd "banished" the bad effects of the 300-pre-ride?