Saturday, August 6, 2016

I wish I was riding as well as last year

This, from one year ago, popped up on my Facebook memories this morning.

August 6, 2015

Woohoo! 104k "Oxford" pop this morning with the usual ride partner. Seemingly virtually effortless. Started very easy, never seemed to pick it up (except for one outbound stretch when I was deep in thought and the bike picked up the pace all on its own), 2h04 in-motion outbound, 2h00 in-motion inbound for me. (The official elapsed time might look a bit slow since we started about 7 minutes late due to headlight issues and managed to time 2 outbound stop-lights wrongly, and had to wait for traffic at several spots outbound and inbound.) 
Woohoo-squared! That usual partner only put 6 minutes into me in the final 13.5-miles. (She usually puts 7 minutes into me.) Anyway, 6 minutes behind today, but I was faster on Bruce Garner / New Light than usual this year (with no effort), fastest UP Ghoston this year by a minute (with seemingly no effort), UP Peed at 7.5-8 mph instead of 5-5.5 mph (with very little effort).
Finished. Showered. Eaten. Relaxed. NOT tired. Woohoo-cubed! 

Also wish I had posted this to the blog last year.
I hope that I might have entitled the post "Aug-06:  Woohoo! 104"

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jun-30: Denny's Store Sortie 138

I went to bed on the 29th, mentally ready for several consecutive days of glorious riding.
I woke the morning of the 30th to find a tickle on the right side of my throat.
In other words, a summer head cold had found me.
"Dammit," I thought.
But a second thought came immediately, "maybe it isn't bad and a ride will chase it away."

I stepped outside just before 0530, to find water falling from the sky.
"What the heck?  It isn't supposed to rain this morning."
Rain being pretty much the opposite of what I needed to help chase off the head cold.
"Should I call off the ride," I wondered?
"Too late.  Bob will have left home 40 minutes ago.  I know he'll ride, 'cuz ... "
"I don't have Sridhar's phone number.  I wonder if he will show?"

As I walked the bike over to the rack on the back of the car, I realized it wasn't raining.
The falling water was just residual drops coming from the overhanging trees.
One "job" that trees have is to slow the progress of rain to the ground below.
Thus allowing more of the rain water to seep into the surface rather than run-off into creeks and such.

I got to the start at about 0545; Bob was already there, his bike ready to go.
I got my bike ready; we signed the waiver; I put it inside my car and locked the doors.
5 minutes before the start time, both Bob and I are raring to go.
But no Sridhar.

0559, just as I'm about to cut our chat off with the comment that it is time to go,
I see a car make the turn off Creedmoor Rd on to Norwood.
Sighing, I noted to Bob, "there's Sridhar," and started to retrieve my car keys from the saddle bag.

I retrieved the group waiver and Sridhar's card from my car,
Looked around and asked, "where has Sridhar gone?  He ought to have come around by now."
Bob replied, "he turned into the gas station across the road."
"Why would he do that!?  
"I emailed him to meet at the same place as when he did Bahama Beach 2 weeks ago," I exclaimed.

A moment later Sridhar drove around the corner of the CVS.  Probably 0601.
"You're late, Sridhar.  Sign this and here is your card," said I.
He was quick to get ready, and we rolled out at 0608.

The stoplight at NC-98 was kind on this day, changing back to green after only a couple minutes.

The only thing of note until approx the 20-mile point,
Was the amount of traffic on Cash Rd heading into Butner.
It seemed the most traffic I could recall on that road.
Perhaps we caught the shift change at the various facilities in Butner at its height.

After Butner, the route gets much more interesting.
More scenic (though one should not compare to mountain vistas), more climbing, a LOT less traffic.

The first notable climb is on Range Rd, genially (or not) referred to as the "Range Wall."
Sridhar would tell you that he cannot climb.
But on this day, he made a strong effort and joined Bob in dropping me.
I was expecting to have to catch up to Bob.
I wasn't expecting Sridhar to be ahead of me.

The several miles on Range Rd are one of my favorites on this course, maybe my favorite.
In Spring, Summer, and Fall, early morning sunlight filtering between gaps in the trees;
I can't imagine much that could be better.
I don't dawdle that section, but I do like to enjoy it, at less than maximum effort.
On this day, I chased Bob and Sridhar the entire time on Range Rd,
Making no progress toward them, missing all my favorite scenes,
And generally not enjoying the ride so much.

They paused at the turn onto Bahama Rd.
That gave me a chance to take a drink with both feet on the ground,
Catch my breath,
And take a photo of a location that often seems quite pleasing.
House / homestead at corner of Red Mtn + Bahama roads.  [Some mornings this looks quite nice; either the sunlight, the camera, or the photographer (me) didn't give a good pic on this date.] 

There are several inclines on Bahama / Harmony Church Rd.
Sridhar attacked every one of them.  Very unusual.
Dropped me every time.  Very unusual. 

There are several more inclines on Mollie Mooney / Old Allensville Rd.
Sridhar attacked every one of them.  Expected by now.
Dropped me every time.  Also expected by now.

At some point on the above referenced roads, Bob stopped keeping up with Sridhar on his attacks,
Choosing instead to drop back with me -- mostly. 

There were no peeps waiting on the benches outside the Allensville Store control this day.
We made good use of the benches.
But took no photo this day. 

From Allensville to Berea, there are only a couple noticeable inclines.
Sridhar must have attacked them,
Because I recall I was again off the back approaching Denny's Cemetery.
I put in a Herculean effort and got to the Denny's Store corner first.
(The real reason I got to the corner first was that Bob + Sridhar backed off their pace.
But it is true that I did pick up the pace to get to the corner.)
Sridhar + Bob.  [I have been assured by Raleigh Region RBA Alan that there used to be an actual store at that crossroads.] 

After the Denny's Store crossroads, there is an immediate noticeable climb,
But after that, the route is more-or-less flattish to the second intermediate control in Berea.

We stopped for lunch at the preferred location in Berea.
Which should not be confused with the location noted on the cue sheet and control cards.

I don't recall of the ride between Berea and Creedmoor,
Except that I again dropped Bob + Sridhar off my front wheel,
Whenever the road tilted up, esp. the last two climbs into Creedmoor.

After Creedmoor, I know the guys dropped me again,
'Cuz they were wating for me at the turn off Old Weaver Trail onto New Light Rd.

We swooped the couple miles down and across Falls Lake,
And made the turn onto Ghoston Rd, just 10 more kms to the finish.

Locals will know that Ghoston is a 1.1-mile climb.
Something very unexpected happened on that climb.
Bob and I rode up, he a bit ahead, that was expected. 
But Sridhar was no where to be seen.
He had disappeared off the back!

Bob and I waited at the turn onto Peed Rd.
Bob at the corner, me a 100 yards up the road, in the shade of several trees. 
Sridahr appeared, and we zoomed down to the creek to the steep climb on Peed.

I recall that Sridhar did not zoom down the climb.
Neither did he attack the steep part.
Bob got to the turn onto Mt. Vernon Church Rd a bit ahead of me.
He was waiting.
I made the turn, looking for another shady spot, but also looking over my shoulder for Sridhar.
He was within sight, so I forged on, zooming down MVC Rd to another creek crossing.

Bob stopped to wait atop the MVC Ch climb, at the stop sign.
I went around to finish the last 2-kms.
However, Bob must have followed me,
'Cuz I know he finished the ride half-a-minute or more before me.

Sridhar came in a minute or so later.

The route owner gave us all the same time.
It was a record time passage on the route.
A record slow time.
Permanent Route Name / #DistanceDateFinishersDNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 17951382016/06/3030
Cert#RUSA#NameClub / ACP CodeTime
RUSA-T634955843B___, BobRandonneurs USA / 93309507:55
RUSA-T634966218S___, MartinRandonneurs USA / 93309507:55
RUSA-T634971582S___, SridharNorth Carolina Bicycle Club / 93304507:55

 My head cold lastest only a few days, and it was never very much.
I failed to mention the left Achilles pain that plagued me all ride long.
Pain sufficient enough that I essentially took the entire month of July off from cycling.
I finally did another rando ride, a populaire to preserve the P-series, on July 31st.
NO Achillies pain.  Yippee!!

I type this completely overly long and boring report on August 1st.
I'm planning to do a couple or three populaires a week until later this month,
So that I'll be in shape to do a 200 with Bob in late August as he preserves his R-streak,
Which is uninterrupted since he joined RUSA in Jan-2010.
Btw, Bob and Sridhar are about half-way through their big adventure