Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dec-19-2017: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf 104

Still catching up with overdue "back-fill" posts.
On Dec-01, I noted in my Excel ride log that I had a severe head cold.
On Dec-16, I noted that all symptoms of the head cold were finally gone.

In between, the North Carolina Year-End Rando rides and party were scheduled for Dec-09.
This being central NC, the threat of winter precipitation cancelled the rides, but
The party went on, with a very reduced attendance, only about 10 or 12 attendees.
The small group made for good conversation,
Mostly telling stories, rando stories, about those in attendance, or those absent. :-O

Bob got in his R-ride, R-96 (if'n I can count), on Dec-03 riding the Lake Gaston Perm with Daniel.
I was in no condition to ride a 200-km on that date, but
Figured that I'd be able to sneak in a 200 later in the month to complete a calendar year R-12.

Iva needed to get in a populaire for his NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge.
An obvious choice was for Iva to ride Bob's Ala-Orange Pop on Dec-06.
Bob rides his Pop quite often, but it was completely new to Iva. 
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Ala Orange Populaire / 2082 107 2017/12/06 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77566 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:33 
RUSA-T77567 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:33 

Although the above ride put Bob into the K-Hound Kennel again,
He still needed a qualifying unique populaire for his Explorer-Challenge.
And so to, did I.

Bob and I planned to do the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" populaire on the 20th.
That way we would "use" a route that neither of us had previously counted as our Challenge Pop, and
We would "use" a route that Iva had "burned" -- Challenge-wise -- several months earlier.
However, the weather forecast for the 20th suddenly turned towards winter precipitation.  :-O

So ... a quick change in plans.
I was scheduled to get off work at 11 am on the 19th, and
If I left on time and moved quickly,
We could start the "Oxford" populaire at 12:30 pm,
Ride in 60 degree temps, and if we, er, rather, if I pushed a bit,
[Bob usually takes it somewhat easy these, but he wouldn't need to push his pace]  
We could finish before darkness descended.

In the event, we started on time, had minimal pausage time
At the crossing of NC-98 and again in Wilton,
So it only took a couple minutes longer than our 2h06 in-motion to get to the turn-around.

A slight, but noticeable, headwind on the homeward bound leg slowed us a little
As we rode the return leg in 2h16 in-motion,
Which got us back to the finish before Civil Twilight.
We were satisfied with that result.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf / 2259 104 2017/12/19 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77884 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   04:45 
RUSA-T77885 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   04:45 
The weather did turn nasty on the 20th, nasty by central NC standards.
Esp. so it seemed on the days that I had off from work for the remainder of the month.
So ... although I had reached R-11 in November, getting another R-12 isn't that important to me;
I let the R-series go.
The "Oxford" pop was my last ride of 2018. 

The story above contains all the pertinent information.
There may be other details, but they are not important.
That's my story for the year, and I'll be sticking to it. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Nov-18-2017: Tar Heel 200

Catching up with overdue "back-fill" posts, still.
Daniel #11331, had started his rando career in December-2016
By riding the Tar Heel 200 Permanent with BobB #5843 and BryanR #5746. 
[As an aside, that ride had gotten Bryan to exactly 40-thousand RUSA kms, and
He decided to end his career, or 
perhaps only put it on hiatus until his 1-year old son grew to a teenager or something.] 

Anyway, Daniel wanted to get his R-12 on the course where he began:  the Tar Heel 200.
So Bob and I agreed to ride the Tar Heel in mid/late-November.
[When Bob and I joined RUSA in 2010, there were three main / useful Permanents in NC: 
  1. Kerr Lake Loop, 
  2. Showdown in Black Creek, and 
  3. Tar Heel 200
So, of course, we had ridden each repeatedly: 
  • Bob had ridden KLL 4 times, Black Creek 6 times, Tar Heel 9 times
  • I had ridden KLL 13 times, Black Creek 14 times, Tar Heel 8 times
  • As noted above, Bob had last ridden the Tar Heel 200 in December-2016. 
  • I had last ridden the Tar Heel 200 on January-01-2012. 
  • One-and-a-half months short of six years:  the route might seem as if new.] 
We gathered in Benson, NC for a 7 am start -- just seven minutes after sunrise.
And immediately I realized that I knew the route as if I had ridden it only a month before.
I don't know if the route felt entirely familiar to Bob.
Ditto Daniel -- although I seriously doubt Daniel found the route to be a familiar friend.

Weather conditions est. from the weatherunderground historical report for Fayetteville, NC.
The low temp we encountered would have been roughly 32F.
The high temp around 70F -- yep, 70F, nearly a 40 degree swing in the temperature.
Sustained wind from the SSE felt much stronger than 8 mph, more on the order of 15mph, 
Was a pain by even before the last 17 southbound miles -- from Cedar Creek to Tar Heel. 
I know there were several miles when I hated bicycle riding and wanted to quit.
On the homeward bound trip, Bob told me that there were times when he wanted to quit. 
At least that southerly wind made for a honking tailwind on the homeward leg of the ride. 

My Excel log indicates 4h41 in-motion for the outbound, nearly due south, first half of the route,
And 4h09 in-motion for the homeward bound, nearly due north, second half of the route.

The only photos we took on the day were just north of Stedman,
Where the new Hwy-24 Bypass interferes with the historic path of Wade-Stedman Road.
There, the Tar Heel 200 uses the route of Raleigh Region 600-km brevet course.
In June-2017, everyone, theoretically including cyclist, had to turn onto the highway,
Drive or ride a quarter-mile or so, make a U-turn and then turn to again get onto W-S Rd.

However, between June and November, a modification to the "road furniture"
Including implementation of "bike lanes" so that cyclists, and only cyclists,
Can ride straight across the highway.
That information was dutifully forwarded to Raleigh RBA AlanJ #306.
Northbound on Wade-Stedman Rd approaching Hwy 24 Bypass.  The southbound side of the intersection is identical.  That's Bob immediately ahead.  If one looks carefully, Daniel can be spied 100 yards or so on the other side of the intersection.
Northbound bike lane striping crossing the highway.  Southbound stripping is identical, except perhaps the error seen here might not be duplicated on the southbound bike lane. 
One thing I learned early on in my rando blogging career is this:
Some things are better left on the road, on the route.
And with that partially in mind,
And the fact that I've actually mentioned all the important things about this ride,
Particularly the honking southerly wind,
I end this blog report with a line that I've often, but not always, used:

That's my story, and I'll be sticking to it. 

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Tar Heel 200 / 589 200 2017/11/18 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77168 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   11:02 
RUSA-T77169 11331 R__, Daniel B Greensboro Velo Club / 933001   11:02 
RUSA-T77170 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   11:01 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nov-16-2017: BB 103 Meets Triple-L

Another "back-fill" post.
JohnP #2375, RBA South Florida, and his wife, Juliet #8986, were in town for family reasons.
They arranged to do Byron's "Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville" 205-km perm on a Thursday, and
Advertised on the local list-serve and Facebook group, or maybe only on the Facebook group,
For others to join them.

Hard for anyone with a "regular" "9 to 5" work schedule to ride all day on a Thursday.
The previous day, Bob, who is retired, mentioned that he had thought about joining the Triple-L ride,
But when he checked out the results of the two aforementioned,
Bob concluded he likely wouldn't be able to keep up.

Quite a few local randonneurs had met and ridden with John, apparently even my ex-wife.
However, I had never met him.

I concluded that although I didn't have time for a 200 km perm, and
I certainly could not have kept up with John and Juliet on their tandem,
That it would be nice if someone local could ride at least a little with them.

My workday that Thursday wouldn't start until 3 pm.
If I could finish a ride no later than 1 pm, I could intercept John and Juliet and ride together for a bit.

The "Bahama Beach" 'free-route' perm-pop was the perfect route for that purpose.
BB starts from a different location than Triple-L, but
The two routes share approximately 24.4-miles of roads near the respective starts:
Beginning approximately 2.1-miles from the BB start and 4.8-miles from the Triple-L start.

I figured that if I started at the same time as the tandem, they would catch me up
Before we reached their first control on Red Mill Rd (approx 17.5-miles into the Triple-L route).

In the event, I started about 10-minutes late, the tandem started on time, and
If all had gone well with John and Juliet, I probably never would have caught them.
However, they stopped at the bottom of the first creek valley on Victory Church Rd
To adjust their equipment, and that allowed me to catch them.

We rode together from there until their control on Red Mill Rd.
"Together" mind you includes the fact that they were on a tandem and I was not.
Anyone that has ever ridden a single rider steed with a tandem
Knows that combination is often not the best combination.

Tandems are typically faster on declines and flats.
Singles are typically faster on inclines.
However, John and Juliet were faster on all slopes, if they wanted to be.
Despite that, we were mostly together with a lot of chatting until that Red Mill control.
You certainly understand that means that the tandem backed off their pace to accommodate me.
John, Juliet and me.  Group selfie by John inside the Red Mill control gas station / convenience store. We spent more time there chatting than if we had been doing Triple-L and since that location is not a control on BB, it was certainly more time than I have ever spent there while doing Bahama Beach; maybe 15 minutes total.  On the other hand, John and Juliet may have been willing to take a couple extra minutes there to warm up.  The temperatures were colder than the cycling clothing they had brought with them from Florida.  Truth be told, my toes had gotten quite cold those first 21 miles (including the cycle commute to the BB start), and I took time to put some bread bags between my feet and socks to block additional cold wind penetrating my shoes. So, cold day for all three of us.
Leaving the Red Mill Exxon, Red Mill Rd is not too lumpy, and we managed to ride across that road more-or-less together.  The togetherness ended shortly thereafter.  I thought I might be able to catch the tandem on two of the steeper parts of Stagville Rd -- Ha!  I also thought I might be able to catch them climbing the "Michie Wall" -- but they had pulled even further ahead on the descent from Bahama to Lake Michie, and I didn't close climbing the "Wall."

I was, however, close enough when I got to Hall Road that they were able to see me waving just before and as I turned off Bahama Road to go my own way:  they waved back.
Bahama Beach 'free-route' ridden on Nov16-2017.

Thereafter, I kept a more controlled pace.
After all, as I recall, this marked the first time in all of 2017 that I had ridden consecutive days.
I could check my Excel log to verify that, but I choose not to.

I took almost no time at the only intermediate store control in Stem.
And that helped keep the elapsed time to a reasonable amount.
Given the approx 10-minute late start and the 15 or so minutes at the Red Mill Exxon,
I was happy with the 5h30 elapsed time for my ride (4h45 in-motion for the populaire).
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Bahama Beach / 1404 103 2017/11/16 1 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76980 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  05:30 

John and Juliet reported on Facebook that they had a mostly enjoyable ride,
Though they would have appreciated warmer temperatures.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville (L-L-L) / 831 205 2017/11/16 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T77200 2375 P__, John South Florida Randonneurs / 909014  11:25 
RUSA-T77201 8986 P__, Juliet South Florida Randonneurs / 909014  11:25 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nov-15-2017: Denny's Store Sortie 138

Another "back-fill" post.
Continuing our pursuit of the NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge,
Iva #7702, Bob #5843, and I did Denny's Store Sortie 138-km perm-pop for our November Pop.

Gosh, I just realized that I recall nothing from this ride.
Weather conditions estimated from the weatherunderground historical report for RDU.
The low temp we encountered would have been roughly 32F.
The high temp around 50F.
Breeze / wind from the NNE would suggest a mostly headwind outbound, and
A crosswind / somewhat tailwind homebound. 

This is the important item from that ride:
Iva and Bob posing at the Denny's Store sign.  The timestamp indicates we were there at 11:54 am.  That suggests that we started our ride at 8 am.  [Photo by me.]
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2017/11/15 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76973 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09
RUSA-T76974 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09
RUSA-T76975 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  07:09

Monday, March 19, 2018

Aug + Oct 2017: In Which We Meet Clyde Twice

I've been very bad about making timely blog entries.
This is another "back-fill" post. 
August 9th, 2017
Raleigh Region RUSA Birthday Brevet-Pop and Picnic

Bob and I agreed to pre-ride the Brevet-Pop starting at 6 am
So that we'd be able to help RBA Alan with setting up the picnic stuff
Before the 200-km Brevet riders finished (they started at 6 am), and
Also before any riders doing the Brevet-Pop at the official start time (9 am ? or was it 10)
Returned to the picnic grounds.

IvaHawk came along as a "ride-along" rider.
This would make the second time that Iva and I did a pre-ride of this Picnic-Pop.
The first time was a few years ago when we rode the Wednesday before the Birthday Picnic.
[Note:  the photos embedded in the link just above are more interesting 
Than those immediately below.  
I.e., it's worth checking out that blog report (from 2014).] 

All three of us would be counting the Brevet-Pop as our
Unique August NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge populaire.

Before we started our ride, RBA Alan agreed that it was reasonable
To make the one block detour off the Brevet-Pop route to check out
The main attraction in Bynum:  Clyde's Curious Critters.

The early part of the ride was rather non-descript.
All the 200 Brevet riders were fast bas, er, dudes,
So we quickly dropped them off our front wheels.

The first control on the Brevet-Pop is at Andrew's Store,
At the corner of US-15/501 and Andrew's Store Rd., about 20 miles into the ride.
Which is just after completing the climb on Jack Bennett Rd.
The Jack Bennett climb is the toughest climb on the Brevet-Pop,
Probably the toughest on the 200 brevet,
But certainly NOT the toughest on the 300 nor especially the 400 brevet. 

During the late Spring Raleigh Region Series, some of the 200/300/400 riders will stop
At Andrew's Store outbound, even though it is not a control for any of those routes.
[Many riders will stop on the homeward bound leg of the 200/300 in Spring, 
A higher percentage will stop on the homeward leg of the Picnic Brevet, 
Because it is often so dang HOT and HUMID in mid-August. 
There's a August 200k pre-ride report on this blog somewhere; 
Randonnesia has not erased the bad portion of that ride from my mind, 
But I'd need to search a bit to find that report
(So okay, it didn't take that much searching to find the report.)]
We took more time at the Andrew's Store control than we should have.
My recollection is that we were discussing the great problems of the world,
Or the issues facing local randonneuring or RUSA,
Or maybe about nothing of much importance at all.
It is only about five-and-a-half miles from the control to Clyde's Critter Country.
With only two climbs; both on Parker Herndon Rd; the second being the more "interesting."

There is a longish, steepish decline to get to into Bynum,
Nestled as it is next to a deep portion of the Haw River and its valley.
However, to get to Critter Crossing, one turns off the decline onto Bynum Hill Rd,
Which immediately pops back up -- easy if you know what to expect.

I was leading, and the moment I made the turn,
I spied someone on the road driving a riding lawn mower.
It had to be Clyde.
It was.

As I slid past him on my bike, I quietly said, "good morning, Clyde."
I probably caught him a bit off guard.

Bob, IvaHawk, and I stopped our steeds in front of Critter Crossing Country;
Clyde brought his machine to a stop and shut off the engine.

I decided that since we knew Clyde's name, it would only be fair if he knew ours,
So we introduced ourselves.
Clyde noted, somewhat wistfully, I thought, that everyone knows him.
Clyde, sitting on his usual transportation machine, explaining something.  [Photo by IvaHawk.]
Bob in the orange helmet, me in the orange jersey, Clyde on his machine.  Clyde is admiring Bob's RUSA reflective triangle; we are hatching a plot.  [Photo by IvaHawk.] 
Front yard of Critter Crossing Country HQ.  [Photo by IvaHawk.]  Nicely done photo, Iva; I think you got the sun and shade angles just right. 
Now, between the overlong Andrew's Store control stop, and
Spending waaaay too much time talking with Clyde,
We didn't have much, if any, time in the bank.

Leaving Bynum can be a chore as the climb back up, away from the Haw River,
Looks, and can be, rather intimidating.
That climb certainly did not help on the "time in the bank" front.

We did, or least attempted to do, a short stop at then next store control in Pittsboro.
Nothing much interesting about a gas station / convenience store.
Except that upon leaving, one is again confronted by a non-trivial climb.
Who designed this course?
Oh, yeah, Alan.

Pittsboro-Moncure Rd, or is Moncure-Pittsboro Rd?
Regardless, it always seems there is an annoying breeze in one's face on that road,
Turning what ought to be mostly simple rollers into hills,
And the couple noteworthy climbs into HILLS.
All accompanied by tar snakes the whole distance.

The penultimate control is at Ray's Supermarket.
Two table outside, under the eaves giving some protection from rain.
There is also a notable pole next to the tables.
We again took too much time at a control, mostly sitting at the tables.
And I may have talked Iva into reprising his human half-flag moment from 2014.
[Photo near the bottom of the 2014 blog report, but none this time.]

Leaving Ray's, there remained 25 or slightly more miles still to ride.
Probably slogging it in.
Well, Iva my not have been slogging.
Bob almost certainly was not.
But I recall not having much gusto in my pedaling.

We finished the ride, returning to the picnic area, and
 Found that Alan had already brought over all the picnic supplies.
There was very little still to do to set up for other riders.

So ... Bob and I cleaned up a bit in the park's rest room, and
Then we mostly sat around and chatted.
Don't ask about what.

Iva, on the other hand, having completed his ride-along duties headed for home.

RegionClub Type Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Raleigh North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045 RUSAP 100 2017/08/19 4 1
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time Medal
RUSA-P13114 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
RUSA-P13115 215 O__, Michael North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045  05:42
RUSA-P13116 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
RUSA-P13117 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095  06:20
[Note that MikeO, #215, did the brevet-pop starting at the regular event time. 
He did not see Clyde en route.  The "DNF" had mechanical trouble.]

October 21st, 2017
"Clyde's Currious Critters Chatham County Cycling Circuit"
108-km perm-pop

IvaHawk couldn't join this ride because he had life conflict, 
So he had done the Bahama Beach 103k 'free-route' for his October P-12-Challenge ride.
Bob and I had ridden the Bahama Beach route with Iva;
So he would have some company, and
Let's face it:  Bahama Beach is a great route.
Even if I do say so, myself.
[Do check out the above link; I think someone else indicated the route was a good one.]

[In case you are curious:  yes, the 7-Cs route is based on the above discussed Brevet-Pop, 
But the start and finish are in a different location, and 
The 7-Cs officially passes in front of Critter Country HQ.]  
[Therefore, the two routes are different, and each counts as a unique monthly P-route. 
At least that's the conclusion unless the Commissioner of the P-Challenge rules differently, and 
I seriously doubt that will happen, because him is me.] 

[Additionally, if it were necessary, neither Bob nor I have "burned" BB for our respective challenges.]

The ride advertisement on the NC-rando-list-serve and NC-rando-Facebook group
Had produced one additional rider:  BradW, #8218.

We started on time (as far as I can recall), and soon
We were crossing the very low Jordan Lake, and then
Bob riding the causeway / bridge across a branch of Jordan Lake.  Note the old, old roadway emerging from the water -- that roadway is usually well below the water level.  [Photo by Brad.] 

We were arriving and soon thereafter 
Leaving the first control at Andrew's Store.

Five-and-a-half miles later, we arrived at the official-on-the-7Cs Info Control.
With a little help from a neighbor, we rousted Clyde from inside his house.
Brad snapped a photo of his bike in front of Critter Country HQ.  One can see that Clyde's porch is well-stocked for heating his house during the winter.
We presented Clyde with this little document certifying his honorary membership as a North Carolina Randonneur.  Clyde promised to tack up the certificate on his porch (and we confirmed on March 17, 2018 that he had in fact done that.  [Photo by Brad.] 
Clyde with his certificate, the RUSA safety triangle that Bob had affixed to Clyde's mower, Bob, and me.  [Photo by Brad.]  I should have advertised this ride more drastically, mentioning the certificate plan and, more importantly, the RUSA triangle, soliciting additional contributors to the funds for said triangle.  If you are local and interested, give Bob some money.
Brad and I switched positions, sorta'.  [Photo by me using Brad's smart-phone.]
Brad snapped another photo of Critter Crossing HQ as we were about to leave. 
Bob on the pedestrian bridge over the Haw River -- bridge is the original US-15/501 bridge crossing the river at Bynum.  [Photo by Brad.] 
Brad insisted on a group selfie.  [Photo obviously by Brad.] 
Looking up the Haw River from the Bynum pedestrian bridge.  Modern US-15/501 bridge in the distance.  [Photo by Brad.] 
After the above, the rest of the ride was rather anti-climatic.
It is enough to note that we had accomplished our mission re:  Clyde,
It was a good day, or rather, given that this report is about two rides,
Each day was a good day for a bike ride with good people, and
We got credit for the perm-pop.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Clyde's Curious Critter Chatham County Cycling Circuit / 1861 108 2017/10/21 3 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T76258 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   06:13
RUSA-T76259 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   06:13
RUSA-T76260 8218 W__, Bradley J. North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045   06:13