Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sep-13: NOB Lite 128 for NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge

Bob, Iva, and I decided to ride Bob's NOB Lite 128-km perm-pop 
For our September NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge ride.

Well, actually, Bob had ridden NOB Lite earlier in the month, but
This was Iva's first ever tour of the NOB Lite course, and
Although I had ridden NOB Lite on June-28, I'm not counting that as the June Explorer pop.

On the Jun-28 ride, I had taken several photographs using my flip-phone.
Each had come out pretty well (see the appropriate link above).
This ride, I wanted to get a pic of the church
Where the route turns onto NC-119 (turns off NC-119 on the return).
Sometimes it is a bit difficult to line up the lens for the desired photo, and I clearly slightly missed for this photo.  However, this mostly, or at least partially, conveys the shady scene which is a welcome sight and the resulting cooler temps are even more welcome on hot summer morning.

I don't recall much from the ride [typing this on October 12th].
It was a rather non-descript enjoyable outing.

I'm confident that I took a photo or two at Red House / of the Red House.
But said photo seems to have disappeared.
Oh, well, a reason to ride the course again.
[Edit Oct-20-2017:  I found the photo of the "Red House".] 
There is an historical marker that explains about "Red House" -- just accept that there has been a red brick Presbyterian church at that location since, well, I'm not sure, but my recollection is 1776 plus or minus.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: NOB Lite Populaire / 3285 128 2017/09/13 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T75230 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32
RUSA-T75231 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32
RUSA-T75232 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:32

Thanks to Bob and Iva for dragging me through the ride.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Aug-26: HopeSpringsEternal 140

Bob and I had already gotten in our monthly R-ride early in the month.
We had also already gotten in our monthly P-ride,
Which also qualified as our NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge ride.   

That Explorer ride was the brevet-populaire put on by the Raleigh Region
On August 19th as part of our annual rides and picnic to celebrate the birth of RUSA.
I plan to write, er, type something about that picnic-populaire
In conjunction with another ride that we did in October.

You might be wondering why we did the HopeSpringsEternal ride.
The answer(s):
  • Bob might have been trying to drag me into shape, 
  • Bob might have been trying to edge closer to K-Hound status again this year, 
  • Bob might have been trying to put an edge on his in-shapeness prior to joining the last week of the PacTour Southern Trans-continental, 
  • We might have been trying to generate some camaraderie in the NC rando peleton by advertising our ride -- advertising being something that seems to have gone out style in NC -- advertising being something I'm trying to re-invigorate, 
  • I might have been trying to get into shape, even without Bob's help, 
  • I might have been trying to edge closer to 5000 RUSA kms this year, and
  • Perhaps highest on our thoughts was that no one had ridden the route since MickH, #6109, had retired and I had adopted the route -- and a route owner is tasked with maintaining familiarity with their routes to ensure suitability for the general rando public use. 

We advertised our ride.
We got one taker, DaveM, #10234.
Dave is generally faster than Bob and me,
But he tolerated our slow pace, and
On our homeward bound leg, we stopped for lunch in Bunn.
At least I think we did -- being four months since the ride, I might be mis-remembering.

Anyway, all three of us had an enjoyable ride
On a pleasant course,
With pleasant company.

One photo on the day:  Perry's Pond.
Add caption

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NC Permanents Trivia

Originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Aug-07-2017.  

For the following, only Permanents of 200-kms or more:
  1. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "start groups," what is the most  popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (Multiple riders starting at the same time is a single "start group.")  [Hint:  it ain't flat.] 
  2. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "completed rides," what is the most popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (Each RUSA certificate equates to a single "completed ride.")  [Hint:  it is probably the flattest Perm in central NC.] 
  3. Based on the entire history of Permanents in NC, and based on the number of "different riders," what is the most popular Permanent in North Carolina?  (If you can't figure out what "different riders" means, I can't help you.)  [Hint:  "back then, that's all we had."] 
Three different ways to look at historical popularity; three different answers.


Several people offered answers or comments 

      -- I took some liberties with the order of responses to make things "flow" better: 

From Chris G:
1. LLL
3. ??
From me: 
1.  yes.
2.  nope. 
3.  ___
From LinO:
3. KLL (???)   
From me:
Lin, one might expect that those who joined RUSA after 2012 would have to guess, but those whose main RUSA days were prior to 2010 would assert that answer, esp. if the should-be-asserter was one of the first dozen to get credit for that course. 
However, yes, KLL has had the most different riders get credit for completing at least one circuit of the route. 
So, that just leaves the second question. 
From LinO:
Now I feel guilty for having answered.  :)

FWIW, I drew blanks on 1 & 2. The KLL surmise was predicated on the "back then, it was all we had" hint.  Indeed, NC Randos are to be commended for having fairly rapidly developed a large selection of routes.

Re:  "...whose main RUSA days were prior to 2010...." Working to alter the timeline. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see some of these "new to me" routes.
From me: 
Don't feel guilty, Lin:  I admit that I decided to have a little extra fun sorta' at your expense -- perhaps rather like a certain county line "sprint" on the Tar Heel route, circa 2011, when I took off mid-sentence, got to the CL before you, and then picked up mid-sentence once we had come back together.  But you cut me off after only a word or two, berating me for having emulated a particular NC-rando that was known for contesting county lines.  Good memories, seemingly forgotten, now recalled, at least for a day.  
From Cyndy, RUSA #608:
Gee're making me feel bad...I joined RUSA in '99 and the answers aren't readily apparent to me.  I think it's more a case of a particular subset of NC Randos--the cool kids-- that would automatically know the answers to your trivia questions...  
From me:
1.  All randonneurs are "cool kids."  Otherwise, I loathe that elitist term.
2. What would be the point of readily apparent trivia questions? 
From BobB:
2. Tar Heel 200  


From me -- the answers, originally posted to the list-serve on Aug-08: 
Bob didn't need the extra hint. 
Correct answers: 
  1. Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville (L-L-L), aka, Triple-L
  2. Tar Heel 200
  3. Kerr Lake Loop, aka, KLL 
I hope this chart will copy correctly (it looks okay as I copy it in). 
The chart is in order of the questions. 
   I've included LOMBD for kicks or whatever.
Route NameRoute #Start GroupsCompleted RidesDifferent Riders
Triple-L #83113226231
Tar Heel 200#58912232150
Kerr Lake Loop#1437424256


[Note that if one asked the same three questions, but limited the time period to only 2013 & subsequent, the answers would be significantly different.]  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Raleigh RUSA Region Brevet Trivia

Originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Jun-10-2016.

In anticipation of tomorrow's 600, here's some numerical trivia questions to contemplate: 
  • Who has ridden at least one RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire in the most different years? 
  • Hint: someone has ridden in 16 different years. 
  • Who has ridden the in the second most different years? 
  • Hint:  15 different years. 

  • Who has ridden the most RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire events? 
  • Hint:  55 events, and it isn't either of the above two answers. 
  • Who are the two people that have ridden the second most different events. 
  • Hint:  46 events, and one is the same as one of the above. 
  • What is the lowest RUSA member number to have ever completed at least one RUSA Raleigh Region event? 
  • And the name? 
Note:  if the International Randonneurs era (1983 - 1999, and yes, I have it on good authority that IR & RUSA overlapped) rides and years were included, I'd be willing to wager that the person with the most years & most events would be Alan (his first year was 1984), but the IR era information is not readily available.  
Note:  the lowest RUSA member number to have completed at least one Raleigh Region event, IR era or RUSA era, is likely #12, which belongs to Pamela Blalock.  (Pamela has completed a RUSA Highpoint Region event, but never a RUSA Raleigh Region event.  [Edit Aug-27-2017:  However, Pamela began her rando career in the 1980's doing IR Raleigh Region brevets.  Further, she was apparently the IR RBA, or whatever the "title" was then, for 1989, or maybe co-RBA -- I'm taking Pamela's word on that. (I knew this "RBA" information when I originally wrote the above, but forgot to include the information.)])


There was some back and forth as a few people guessed (or knew) the answers, but I'm currently unable to locate the appropriate emails.


Answers originally posted to the NC-rando-list-serve on Jun-16-2016.

Who has ridden at least one RUSA Raleigh Region Brevet / Brevet-Populaire in the most different years?  

Answer:  Cyndy.  At least one event in 16 different years. 
Second most different years? 
Answer:  Mike O'C.  15 different years.  
Mike has been busy this year with more important stuff, and chose to ride no Raleigh brevets so far this year. 
Who has ridden the most RUSA Raleigh Region Brevets? 
Answer:  MikeD.  55 events, in 14 different years. 
Second most events? 
Answer:  Tie between Cyndy & Jerry.  47 events. 
Lowest RUSA # to have completed at least one RUSA Raleigh Region event? 
Answer:  # 25.  I'll let you look that # up on the RUSA website. 
Highest RUSA #? 
Answer:  # 11071.  I'll let you look that one up, too.  

Aug-02: Egypt Mtn No Detours 210

First ride on this route since last October with NO detours.
During last November's ride, we encountered a "bridge gone" situation.
I had eventually learned that the bridge replacement was planned maintenance activity.  However, the requisite information was never on the NCDOT website.  Strange.  [Photo by DaveG.]
After the above mentioned November ride, I had figured out a pretty good detour,
Which included a slight retracing from Warrenton to get to "No Bottom Rd."
Who could resist a road so named?

We, or I, used the "No Bottom detour" in January, May, and June.
The January ride had been quite tough, but provided a dividend.
The dividend being that I was able to give High Point Region RBA TonyG
A heads-up about the bridge being out, and suggested the "No Bottom detour"
To get into Warrenton for the Carolina Spring 1200.

This was also the second ever August 2nd ride on the Egypt Mtn perm.
On Aug-01-2014, LynnL and I had done the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" perm-pop,
Getting our respective P-rides in on the first likely possible date.
No blog post, but my Excel log indicates a tough outbound leg on that Oxford route,
Followed by a wind-blown homebound leg.

My Excel ride log: 
Aug 1 8448 --> Oxford 104 --> 8448   --   Oxford in-motion:  2:08:30 out, 1:54:30 back  6 am start, w/ Lynn    --    Oxford   4h15
    (That copying from the Excel log didn't work as nicely as I had hoped.)

RUSA website looks something like this:

2014/08/01 finishers=2 DNF=0
RUSA-T43248 5519 L__, Lynn Randonneurs USA / 933095 4:12
RUSA-T43249 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 4:15

We decided to do the Egypt Mtn course the next day and thus get our R-rides for the month.
No blog report, but I can assure you that we were having a great ride,
Taking advantage of overcast and some sprinkles.
Until just as we got to Bobbitt, when the bottom fell out of the sky.

Solo, I likely would have continued after the storm had passed.
But Lynn comes with nearly 0% body fat, and she was cold, and wanted to bail.
We managed to get a friend to come collect us. 

My Excel ride log:
Aug 2 8448 --> Egypt Mtn 210 --> DNF @ Bobbitt after 95.4-miles w/ Lynn, we DNF'd due to 66F & COLD rain

RUSA website looks something like this:
2014/08/02 finishers=0 DNF=2

You may be wondering what the above has to do with the Aug-02-2017 ride.
Answer:  not much.
But I felt like writing it.  Or typing it.  One of those.

Okay, then, I'll type something about the August 2nd ride:
Biker Bob, or more recently known, at least in PacTour circles, as NC-Bob, 
And I set out on time, 0600.

Wait, I just had a thought:
In PacTour circles, Bob might be better known as "Retta's other half."

Bob told me, late last year I think it was,
That when he and Retta registered for a week at the 2017 Arizona Desert Camp,
Susan had sent the monthly PacTour email with a particular prominent heading:
"Retta Is Coming!"

I've teased Bob a couple times that it seems, PacTour wise, he is superfluous.
He laughs, or least smiles, when I do that. 

Anyway, nothing special about/during the ride for the first half.
No flats, no long waits for traffic lights, no nothing special.
The loaner bike and I seemed to be getting along pretty well.
Loaner bike:  all the components are mine from the Trek Pilot 5.0;
The only loaner parts being used are the frame and fork -- but that's the main parts, right?

We went to the Subway in Warrenton for lunch, 'cuz that's where Bob wanted to stop.
Similar to other recent rides, we took quite a long time for lunch.
35 or 40 minutes during which we solved all the great problems of the world.
RUSA world, that is.
Well, maybe just North Carolina rando world.
Some may laugh / will laugh at characterizing 35 or 40 minutes as a long time,
But I suspect that they ride faster than I do. 

Leaving Warrenton, there was no detour.
I don't recall what happened on the long climb on MLK, Jr. Blvd,
But by the time we got to Vicksboro, about nine miles after Warrenton,
I know I was lagging behind on climbs.

The lagging got worse after the afternoon Epsom control.
On the steep climb on Dick Smith Rd,
The end of the derailleur cable was brushing my calf on every pedal stroke.
Very annoying!
I toughed it out until the climb was completed,
Then stopped and bent the cable so that it would not make contact with me
When it in the 30-tooth chain-ring.
The derailleur cable brushing / hitting my calf is not unique to the loaner bike,
It happened every time a new cable was installed on the Pilot. 

Before this ride, I had NEVER walked up any part of the steep climb
On Green Rd after crossing the Tar River.
But on this ride, I did.

I don't know if heat had gotten to me, or
If the loaner bike isn't quite set up correctly and prematurely wears out my legs, or
If I'm just too far out of shape --
[Probably the latter is the main cause]
I struggled to finish the ride.

Bob just pedaled on as if on a 30-mile around the park ride.
Of course.

Whatever -- we finished the ride.
That's my story, and I think I'll be sticking to it.
Respective R-series intact if:
  1. Dean approves Bob's July "Lookin' Out My Back Door," and 
  2. Mike approves my July "Showdown in Black Creek."  
Rando results:
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Warrenton & Egypt Mountain / 1444 210 2017/08/02 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T74031 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  12:00
RUSA-T74032 6985 R__, Richard A Cape Fear Cyclists / 933040  09:21
RUSA-T74033 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  12:00

Oh, yeah, Wilmington Rick started with us,
But he rode off into the rising sun somewhere in the first 3-miles.
[I know nothing about how his ride went, except his finish time.]

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jul-26: Black Creek 201

In June, a Facebook memory from 2-years prior popped up.
I had posted on FB about Bob and I bailing on doing BC when the high temp was forecast to be ~ 100.
When the memory thing popped up, I commented that I wouldn't do BC in June,
But maybe in July.

After the FB memory popped up, I had a couple good rides (consult previous posts), but
More importantly, the mostly stripped threads on the rear derailleur hanger gave out.

So, blah, blah, blah (see posts since July 9th), I'd be doing Black Creek on a loaner bike.
I decided I'd rather tackle the route solo than have to deal with others,
Probably not riding at the pace I'd need to ride,
Probably not wanting to pause for tweaks to the steed.

I had not done the Black Creek route since August-2014 -- that's 35 months.
Neither had anyone else done the route in that time-frame.
Partially because people prefer some of the newer routes,
Partially because of life and LIFE surrounding the route-owner.

Anyway, the route-owner and I arranged a paperwork exchange
And scheduled my solo adventure for a 6 am start on the 26th.

I didn't get the loaner bike back from my wrench until the day before the ride,
So there were still some tweaks I needed to make that night / the next morning.
One of those being getting the headlamp that had worked perfectly the night before
To work the morning of the ride.

So, as has often been the situation on this course, I started late.
Approximately 35 minutes late.

Forty-five or fifty minutes into the ride, approx 19 or 20 kms,
I was transiting Youngsville.

But I need to back up a bit.
The big traffic contributor between US-1 and Youngsville used to be
The huge church complex on Holden Rd.
However, now, or at least in the near future,
The main traffic originator is or will be the several housing developments
Already partially developed on Holden Rd.

Okay, back to transiting Youngsville,
I was surprised by the west-bound backed-up traffic in downtown Youngsville.
All the way from the light at US-1A to the light where NC-96 turns south.

The unexpected level of traffic continued for most of the next seven miles on Tarboro Rd.
The vast majority of the traffic was headed west whereas I was eastbound, but
The westbound traffic volume frequently / always affected
The ability of eastbound motor vehicle traffic to pass me.

All in all, I concluded that I can no longer recommend the Black Creek route
For a weekday 6 or 7 am start.
[Starting at 8 on weekdays has previously been a bit problematic 
Because of Wakefield High School located 1-km from the start.]

After Tarboro Rd and the two miles on NC-98, meaning after the turn onto Strickland Rd,
Traffic was in-line with what I recalled from the fourteen previous rides on this route.
After all, the route does pretty much go through "no where,"
With some nice-looking farms and homesteads,
But also some that have seen better days, and
Some that have been abandoned.

I may have mentioned above that I've never needed the cue sheet on this route,
Since the first time I rode it.
I know the roads and the turn when I get to them, but
I don't pay much attention to the name(s) of the road(s).

This ride, at approx the 60.5-mile-mark, about 2-miles before the turn-around,
I had to stop at the T-intersection and wait for traffic.
Only a few seconds, but for the first time that I can recall,
I actually noticed the name of the road onto which I was about to turn.
I decided to take a photo.
I never heard of, nor met, "Fixie Pixie" until 2013.  So, the only time I might have looked at the cue sheet for this turn, my first "Black Creek" ride in October-2010, the name of the road would not have popped-out at me.  But waiting for traffic, I noticed the name of the road and decided to take a photo -- hey, sometimes when riding solo, one doesn't need much of an excuse to pause and take a photo.  That Blalock family must have been quite prodigious -- there are Blalock Roads seemingly everywhere in central and eastern North Carolina.  To complete the vignette, the Mangums were also apparently prodigious as there are also Mangum Roads everywhere.  [Photo by me.] 

1.3-miles on the above-noted Blalock Rd, and a "zig" on US-117:   
Welcome to the Town of Black Creek, which has been around for quite awhile, by USA standards.  The town has seen better days economy-wise, and downtown (no pic) is pretty much a ghost-town these days.  (I think MikeD wrote about that once on "Research Trailer Park," or at least commented on it -- okay, I took a few minutes to search out a couple Black Creek ghost references -- click here for the other one, and skim the article, but definitely read the second comment to the blog post.)  [Photo by me.] 

Speaking of ghost towns and more or less abandoned storefronts:
Crappy, up-close photo of the door of the "business" previously known as "Black Creek Grocery."  The ownership has changed since MikeD created the route, the name of the store may have changed but I'm not sure 'cuz I didn't see any business name on the storefront.  Apparently the store is still in business, but was closed this day.  Also, looking through the window(s) at the insides, a dozen randonneurs might well completely clean this place out of merchandise.  I got my card signed at the City Hall -- the clerk told me that this store definitely seems to be on its last legs, but there is a Family Dollar store that is supposed to be coming to Black Creek the Fall.  Based on where the clerk indicated the Dollar store is supposedly to be located, the route might lose a half a kilometer each way, maybe a bit more, if one controlled there.  [Photo by me.] 

There had been no noticeable breeze the first three or more hours of my ride.
And after that, all the way to Black Creek, there may have been a very slight, mostly headwind.
I expected the breeze to pick up on the way back and to be a mostly tailwind.
The breeze did pick up, seemingly both variable and mostly a headwind.

I don't recall exactly where I encountered the immediately below, but 
Clearly, some folks were not having the best day.
Required turn appears to have been somewhat tighter than someone was expecting.  [Photo by me.]

The day was the least hot day in more than a week,
But even so, I may have become a bit over-warm,
Or maybe the loaner bike is a bit heavier and sluggish than my bike was,
And/or the fit needs some tweaking,
And/or I'm just not in good shape,
Perhaps aggravated by a breeze that was mostly in my face.

Anyway, my average in-motion pace slowly declined during the afternoon.

There is at least one new store on the route:
At US-401, there is a new(ish) Family Dollar store.
I stopped there on the return to get a cold drink.
Note that most gas-station / convenience stores are better stocked for rando purposes
Than are Family Dollar stores.

I finished the route, and if Mike approves the paperwork,
This ride will mark my renewed R-7.
I expect to complete my fourth R-12 in December.
IF I stay focused.
Which focus I lost in 2014 after getting to R-10 (after missing a month after R-41).

Since 2014, I haven't given much thought to maintaining the R-series.
I know I can get through them, even when in poor shape.
But I need to commit to getting back to where I rip off three or four R-rides in a month,
Including at least back-to-back 200's ("double-double" as JayJay referred to such).
(My work schedule is unlikely to allow a repeat of my 2011 "triple-double," but
I'd like to get to the point where I believe I could do a triple-double and
Still not be completely fatigued.)

I was certainly fatigued at the end of this Black Creek ride.
Locals may well understand:
There is a short but very steep ramp to get up to NC-98 at approx the 122-mile-mark.
On this ride, I took one look at that ramp, and
Dismounted and walked up it (I've done that before).

Well, I guess I should stop here, but not until after I type the following:
That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Flashback -- Aug-06-2015

Flashback memory from Aug-06-2015 from Facebook: 

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 -- LOL.)  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!

Things were much better two years ago cycling wise for me, and just plain all-round for that usual partner.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jul-15: Test and Adjust 104

My previous ride saw the demise, at least temporarily,
Of the only road bike I've ever owned.
[Well, full disclosure, I did purchase a Pilot 1.2 in early December 2016. 
Rode that bike four times totaling 112.8-miles Dec 6th thru 15th. 
But traded that bike in the afternoon of the 15th, for the Pilot 5.0. 
First ride on the Pilot 5.0 was 56.4-miles on the 16th. 
I recall that ride, approx 50-53 degrees F all ride, NO wind. 
A little chilly when in motion, 
But when stopped in the sunshine, very nice.]  

Anyway, while I consider whether to fix the Pilot 5.0 or acquire a new (probably used) bike, 
IvaHawk has loaned me his old aluminum Raleigh R600
That was just hanging around in his garage going unused.

We met for a ride to test out the potential of the loaner bike.
Doing the easiest / flattest perm-pop in the north Raleigh stable,
The "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" 104-km.

The first several miles were definitely not pleasant.
I was using "rat-cage" pedals instead of clipless,
Which resulted in the feeling that I was pedaling with my toes
Instead of the middle (or forefront) of my feet.

The seat-post was at the wrong height,
And it took until mile ten to get that sorted out.

All-in-all, I came to fully realize the travails that a newbie adult cyclist faces.
I've been riding a bike that fits me,
With handlebars that I like and were set to a proper height.
With handlebar tape that I like, and
With brake-shifters located where I like them, and
Shift dynamics with which I was familiar.

All of that on the loaner bike was "wrong", or
At least not to my liking.

It was easy to understand why so many give up after just a couple or a few rides.

Finally, as noted above, at about the 10-mile mark,
I got the saddle to the right position, or
At least an acceptable one.

The biggest issues I had after that were:
Whenever I would come to a stop, I would try to twist my foot to unclip.
That works for clipless pedals, useless for "rat-cages".
The first time I properly pulled my foot backward out of the cage was at the turn-around.

My right heal has always come close to scraping the right crank.
In fact, if you look at that crank arm, you'll see that some material is obviously missing.
Sixty-two thousand miles, perhaps 17 to 20 million pedal-strokes,
Many, or maybe only a couple million,
Just barely brushing the side of the heal of the shoe against the crank arm.
Not enough to ever notice, but enough to create the indentation.

Wearing former running shoes with wide heal bottoms,
The shoes kept banging into the crank.
Annoying.  Irritating. 
I finally was able to modify my position or my stroke to stop that, but
That may have contributed to my discomforts. 

Despite the difficulties and many pauses to make saddle adjustments outbound,
At some point on the homeward bound leg,
I realized that I had gotten things adjusted to the point where
I was comfortable and enjoying the ride.

Enjoying the ride sufficiently enough to decide to
Transfer the components from my Pilot 5.0 onto Iva's machine, and
To use said machine while I figure out and acquire a "permanent" solution.

Official rando results: 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2017/07/15 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T73538 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:52 
RUSA-T73539 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:52 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Jul-12: Epic Does Not Mean Long Nor Hard

This early Wednesday morning epic started on Tuesday afternoon,
When I washed and inspected the bike.
The rear tyre had had a flat profile for quite some time.
After all, that tyre had 5310-miles on it, all on the rear.
Carefully rolling the tyre around revealed three or four small places
Where the "rubber" had been worn down and casing was just beginning to show.

I thought about using one of second-hand tyres I had on hand, but
I [usually] use those as spare tyres.
Besides, I rather like the 25-cc tyres and all the second-hand ones were 23's. 
[I sometimes get second-hand tyres that clearly have 
A couple thousand miles or more of use still available. 
An advantage of having taught my bike wrench all the roads to ride, 
When he moved here from Dallas a decade or so ago. 
Also, in his early days here, I touted Gary's services and that brought him many customers / clients. 
My references aren't needed so much these days, as his business has grown mightily.]

So, late in the day, I acquired a brand new 25-cc Vittoria Zaffiro Pro.
[You certainly realize that I looked to get that name, 
Because I certainly don't know it off the top of my head, or should that be, end of my fingers.]
However, I was too lazy to replace the old one before going to bed.
Not to worry, the ride isn't starting until 0630, instead of the usual 0600 for this time of year,
And I'd easily be able to swap out the tyres in the morning.

I arrived, via vehicle, at the start at 0612.
Twelve minutes later than I should have.
Iva was already there putting himself and bike together, having driven the 5-kms from his home.
I commented, "Iva, I'm later than I wanted to be, and you are earlier than I expected."

I'm not great at changing tyres, but I'm not BAD, either.
Old tyre came off easily; new one went on easily.
Paperwork exchanged. 
We were ready to roll with a couple minutes to spare.
I was feeling rather smug about the relative efficiency of the tyre swap. 

Out of the parking lot and eastbound on Norwood Rd,
And within 50 or 100 yards,
"Iva, let's return to the cars.  Something is not right.  There's a bump-bump-bump from the rear."
U-turn, half-way back to the parking lot entrance,
Rear tyre blow out.

Back at the car (where my floor pump was  conveniently located),
Checking the tyre, I saw that it had blown off the rim in one particular location.
"Hmmn," thought I, "I must have not made sure the tyre was properly seated."

So, new tube, rather quick change again,
Making absolutely sure of proper seating.

Back on the road, just a little bump.
Thinking that maybe that was just me imagining things.

However, by the turn onto Mt. Vernon Church Rd, 0.7-miles into the course,
The bump-bump was again worrying.
"Iva, lets pull in at PUE so I can check this tyre again."
Rear tyre blow out. 

I walked one or two hundred yards to the PUE parking lot.
Same blowout at the same location.

I mentioned to Iva that I now wondered if there was something wrong with the new tyre.
Borrowing a tube from Iva,and still finding nothing otherwise wrong,
I swapped the tubes, telling Iva I was going to partially inflate,
And see what happened.

Inflated to about half the desired tyre pressure, using the short pump I carry on the bike,
The tyre was clearly bulging at what was now clearly a weak point in the tyre's "wire".
At least we knew it wasn't me.

Tube deflated, new, but crappy, tyre removed, spare tyre installed.
On the road again at approx 0740.
In other words, 2-kms progress made in 1h10.

Iva wondered if we should abandon the planned Bahama Beach (reversed), and
Just do a short trip around Falls Lake instead.
"Nah; we have plenty of time.
"We'll finish a little after 1pm instead of around noon.
"It will likely be a record slow passage, but each of us has time, and it will be enjoyable."

And the ride was settling in enjoyably.
I had restarted my confuser at the second start,
And we reached NC-98 only 22 or 23 minutes-in-motion (compared to the usual 19 or).

Across Falls Lake and riding nicely northbound on New Light Rd.
Approaching Old Weaver Trail, Iva mentioned that my rear derailleur was not straight.
We pulled in at Northshore Drive on the righthand side of the road.
Forgetting something important, I tried to nudge / bend the derailleur back to being straight.
The hanger threads had slowly been stripped over the past 10+ years.
I immediately recalled what I had forgotten. 

Iva was flabbergasted.
I was annoyed with myself.
I had let the hanger situation deteriorate to the point of failure without a backup plan.

Okay, over that annoyance in a few seconds.
I don't recall who suggested it, but we agreed the correct action to take now
Was for Iva to ride back to his car, and then come collect me.

I looked at my watch:  0810.
I told Iva that it was usually a long half-hour from where we were to the CVS, but
It might take a bit longer if NC-98 was crowded with morning rush hour traffic.
Adding time for Iva to put his bike up and the return drive,
I told Iva I would see him in about an hour.

I texted several people while waiting for Iva's return.
Easy for those with "smart-phones," not quite as easy on a flip-phone.
Cancelling the coming Sunday Triple-L,
And some other stuff, too.

[I included Lynn on the text to Byron regarding the L-L-L cancellation. 
Her return text? 
"I'd be jumping for joy if I didn't have to do LLL on Sun.  Hooray!
I'll let locals and non-locals draw their own conclusions from Lynn's response.]

I was safe from New Light traffic, but
Stood close enough that the repeated winds from passing traffic kept the mosquitoes away.

I also noticed that about one-quarter of the drivers were holding their phones to their ears,
Or looking at their phone instead of at the road.
[Personally, I think all phones ought to automatically shut off when moving faster than 5-mph.] 

Iva returned to my location after about 65 minutes.
We loaded my bike into his vehicle and returned to the start.

DNF on the Bahama Beach (total ride:  7.9-miles, ~40-min in-motion incl. walking time).
Only second and third riders to DNF in the five-plus years of the route's existence.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Jul-09: Bahama Beach 106 for 103 for 61

6 am solo start.
Early on, perhaps on Patterson Rd, enjoying my ride much,
I wondered WHY have I not been doing more of this?

Enjoying the ride, I found myself recalling my Carolina Godiva running friend Tom Fowler.
I haven't been a "runner" since the mid or late 1990's, but
I recall one defining comment that Tom made while we were running along one day.
Tom wondered when those that only did training runs actually enjoyed one of their runs,
'Cuz as he noted, all his most fun and enjoyable runs were just runs, not training, not races.

For me, cycling is much the same.
I don't do training rides,
Although I suppose I do have training moments from time to time.
"Hot intervals" that might last 20 miles.
Spin up some climbs; pound my way up others in too big a gear.
Mostly, I just ride.

Easy gear(s) with relatively high cadence felt fast most of the ride.
I backed off the effort on most climbs.

I don't recall any special efforts on Victory Ch / Kemp Rd with its five climbs.
I don't recall any of the usually hard part of Stagville Rd up to Bahama.
I do recall a slight feeling of anxiety on the decline from Bahama to Michie Lake.
I don't recall feeling anxious on that descent since the first time I rode it, probably in 2007.

Seemingly no effort on Bahama Rd climbing the "Michie Wall."
I think I popped the several climbs on Ellis Chapel Rd, and
Recall only glimpsing the bird-house-gourds but no other scenes on that road.

I recall preparing myself to make a couple special efforts on Roberts Chapel Rd,
But the climbs caused no struggling.

The winding climb on Sam Moss Hayes Rd, which often knocks me back,
I was at the top before I realized I had been climbing.

Lawrence Rd, Ghoston Rd, Peed Rd, Mt Vernon Church Rd, all with seemingly no effort.

The only climb on the day that was a bit difficult was the short, steep one on Moss Hayes Rd.
I can sorta' pop that if I make a concerted effort.
I put in the effort, but I was in the wrong gear(s),
So I ended up spinning / grinding the top half, but
Even so, the effort did not empty me.

Three photos:
LARGE turtle rescued on Red Mill Rd.  Too big / contentious to pick up; I herded it out of the busy traffic lane.  It appeared to be moving QUICKLY away from the road when I rode away.
Firehouse in Bahama just before the decline to Lake Michie.  Poor quality photo; oh, well, it was an idea.

Zipping along with an apparent light tailwind on New Light Rd, I had another firehouse photo idea.  Most every central NC rando, and some from out-of-state, ought to recognize this station.  As Deaner once said, "in those days, all we had was Kerr Lake Loop."

The in-motion pace was not all that special,
65.9-miles in 4h31 resulting in 14.6-mph while in-motion, but
That does qualify as my sixth fastest in-motion ride this year.
AND made at least the sixth consecutive enjoyable ride.
Amazing what doing more than just two or three rides a month can do.

One last "line":
The official RUSA elapsed time of 4h45 was the quickest circuit of Bahama Beach
Regardless the variant of the 'free-route' ridden, 
Since September 2014.

Not bad for my birthday present to myself.
[106 kms for 103 credit for 61st birthday.] 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Jul-04: Up a Deep Creek 138

How to start, how to start?
That is the problem.
Perhaps just jump in without an introduction.
But first, an embed of the RWGPS map:   

Photo sucks, but I followed through on my previous "promise"[Photo by me.] 
Between Surl and Allensville, I pointed out the "Deep Creek" sign to Harvey.
Probably only the second time I've ever been able to do that.
Harvey reacted as one would hope:
"as in 'up a deep creek without a paddle'."
Some classic, old-time sayings still survive!

Between Allensville and the Allensville Convenience Store,
We crossed yet another creek, this one labeled Mayo Creek.
Harvey commented, "that last creek was labeled Christina Creek,
"this one is labeled Mayo Creek,
"but they've got to be the same creek."

Some post-ride research led to the following email from me to Harv:
If one zooms in on the road between Surl and Allensville and again between Allensville and Denny's Store, and then follow the paths of the creeks, one can learn some interesting things:
1.  Deep Creek.
Deep Creek that we crossed while on Mollie Moonie Rd feeds into the Flat River.  The Flat River and the Little River make the Neuse River; but the merge of those two rivers is flooded by the man-made Falls Lake. 
The creek we crossed on Johnnie Jones Rd just before turning onto Mt. Tirzah - Surl Rd is that same Deep Creek.  The first creek we crossed on Johnnie Jones feeds into Deep Creek.
2.  Christina (?) Creek
I recall that is the name of the last creek just before we got to Allensville.  It feeds into Mayo Creek about a quarter-mile west of where we crossed it.
3.  Mayo Creek
You'll recall mentioning that you figured Christina Creek and Mayo Creek were the same creek, but see immediately above, or zoom in on the RWGPS map.
Mayo Creek is the main water source for Mayo Lake.  Mayo Creek & Lake feed into Dan River / Kerr Lake / Roanoke River.
4.  Tar River.
The Tar River appears to originate about two-and-a-half miles north of Denny's Store Rd.  It obviously is the main river / creek of the Tar / Pamlico River watershed. 
That makes that area near Allensville rather interesting:  we were in three different major NC watersheds in less than seven miles of our ride.  Take out the 2-mile round trip to the store and back, and it is three different major NC river systems in less than five miles.

Harvey was impressed when the clerk at the Allensville control asked,
"How is your ex-wife doing?"

Outside, we made use of the bench for a few minutes,
While I explained that Lynn had befriended the clerks and many of the locals,
And a couple of them enjoyed teasing me when I would arrive 5 to 10 minutes after Lynn.
Most memorably, one bench-peep remarked, "here he is, only half-an-hour later."
Making local, non-cycling friends:  an irreplaceable side of using paper brevet control cards. 

Nineteen or twenty minutes after leaving the Allensville control:
Not quite the perfect angle for that shot, but close.  [Photo by me.]
The Denny's Store shot was the last intended photo of the day,
However, on Old Roxboro Rd, about half a mile before the turn onto US-158,
There was a large turtle on the road.

I called out to Harvey, who was leading, "turtle rescue time!"
Risky road position.  [Photo by me.]
Moving.  [Photo by Harvey.]
Turtle rescued.  [Photo by me.] 
On to the control in Berea.
Where we each took advantage of the 2 hotdogs for $2.
Also took advantage of the air conditioning since the overcast had burned off
And it was getting hot.

Onward to the finish.
Interrupted by stop in Stem for Harvey to get some water
Because he had gotten a Coke in Berea, but forgot to get any water.

Harvey hammered the last 8 miles.
Those 8 miles hammered me.
This was my 29th time completing the rando Denny's Store Sortie.
[There's also about 3 times I did the route pre-rando.]

Harvey probably first rode with me and the Irregulars circa 2008,
But he only joined RUSA this year.
His RUSA history is completely revealed here:
H__, Harvey F | Bicycle For Life Club | 933057

Cert No. Type Km Date Region Route Time Medal
2017 Annual Total: 543 km
RUSA-T69494 RUSAT 205 2017/02/11 NC: Road to Hicksboro 10:32
567449 ACPB 200 2017/02/18 NC: High Point Lumberton - Roseboro - Delway 200k 11:05
RUSA-T73185 RUSAT 138 2017/07/04 NC: Denny's Store Sortie 07:08
Grand Total 543 kms

But don't be confused:
Harvey completed the Assault on Mt. Mitchell for the 4th time earlier this year.
He messed up his rear derailleur on Bill's Hill, but
Lucky for him, someone there knew how to transform his bike into a single-speed, and
He completed Mitchell thusly.
Photo refuses to flip to the better landmark orientation.  [Photo by Harvey.]

Monday, July 3, 2017

NC Mondial Awardees

Several days after my Memorial Day rescue of my (recently restarted) R-series, I realized that the kilometers credited for that ride put me over 50-thousand credited kilometers for all RUSA events.  Although 50-thousand is 10-thousand more than the Mondial, surpassing 50K-kms got me to thinking about the entire North Carolina Mondial Awardee peloton.

I don't have much to type, except maybe a comment or two for some of the 16 North Carolina residents plus the 3 Tidewater randonneurs.  [Tidewater RBA Keith used to do almost all his brevet riding at the Raleigh Region brevets, before he created the Tidewater Region.  Ron has done a fair number of Raleigh brevets; even Jacob, too.  Additionally, as I understand it, many of the Tidewater area Permanents have more distance in North Carolina than they do in Virginia, so most of the Tidewater randonneurs are likely spending more time in North Carolina than in Virginia on many or most of their rides.]

First North Carolinian to Mondial?  Mike Dayton, of course, late in 2010.  Certainly every NC rando, perhaps most RUSA randos wherever they live, and many randonneurs from around the globe know Mike.  So many firsts in NC rando history.  Although I personally have not seen Mike on the bike since Feb-20-2016, I know that he has done some "get back in the saddle" rides, some rando rides (perm-pops), and that he has registered for a local, large, non-rando ride in mid-August. 

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Mike D__ 1609

Dean and Jerry attained Mondial status in 2012.  Joel and Rex in 2013.  Dean was tackled by a dog in late 2015, which resulted in the breaking of his K-Hound streak, and it appears that Dean is now mostly concentrating on a couple other hobbies that he loves, esp. chess.  Jerry seems to have backed off this year on collecting a lot of rando kms.  Joel has backed off on his rando riding -- a couple years ago he did five Super Rando series in one year -- crazy.  Rex seems to be taking a bit of a hiatus since earlier this year.

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Dean F__ 4070
Jerry P__ 3525
Joel L__ 692
Rex C__ 4015

Mary, Tim, Mick, and Ron all attained Mondial status in 2014.  Mary and Mick each appear to have retired from rando.  Tim and Ron each appear to have recently cut back on their rando riding. 

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Mary F__ 3459
Tim L__ 6016
Mick H__ 6169
Ron M__ 2916 VA 50,074

Lynn, Jacob, Ian, Bob, Keith and I all attained Mondial status in 2015.  Lynn is riding again, subsequent to being bashed into on Feb-20-2016; however, she says she has no plans to do any randonneuring in the future.  Jacob has been sidelined since late last year due to a multi-use path encounter; but I hear that he may be getting back into the swing of things, cycling-wise.  I don't know what to type regarding Keith.  Ian is a riddle wrapped in an enigma -- reduced rando riding with a one year old child the focal point of his life -- but I suspect that he might rip off a few 1000-k brevets any time, anywhere -- or some other silly, long ride or combinations thereof.  Bob continues to accumulate rando kms, training for PacTour tours.  As for me:  no comment, except I cannot recall whether I planned it, or if it was just serendipity, but the ride that put me beyond Mondial status occurred on my birthday. 

Okay, I do know something to type concerning Keith.  If one carefully looks at his history, one can see that he arranged his rides such that when he completed the ride that got him to Mondial status, his Lifetime RUSA kms came to exacly 40-thousand. 

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Lynn L__ 5519
Jacob A__ 7199 VA 48,295
Ian H__ 6176
Bob B__ 5843
Martin S__ 6218
Keith S__ 3721 VA 49,301

Robert, Byron, and Bryan all attained Mondial status in 2016.  Bryan arranged Perm rides in order to get to exactly 40-thousand kms, and then go on hiatus as he spends time as a father for his one year old child.  Byron has been doing this rando thing longer than any of the others mentioned in this post, but he has always had a rational approach to time spent randonneuring.  Byron is also the second youngest mentioned in this post.  Ricochet Robert, along with Byron, is planning to do the Land's End - John O'Groats ride in Britain this summer.

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Robert B__ 6628
Byron M__ 621
Bryan R__ 5746

Geof is the only North Carolinian so far in 2017 to attain Mondial status.  Geof seems to have been hibernating of late, but appears to have recently gotten back on a rando bike at least once or twice.

Kms as of

Name RUSA # State 07/02/17
First Ride
Geof S__ 5350

Of note is that six of the above mentioned randonneurs are members of the NC-2010-rookie-class.  However, only four of us are currently active.

I don't know who might be the next North Carolinian(s) to Mondial.