Saturday, April 21, 2018

Feb-24: Party of Seven 138

NCBob, #5843, and I decided to ride the "Denny's Store Sortie."

I advertised on the NC-rando-list-serve (for full email, click here), extract follows:
Bob and I are doing the [Denny's Store Sortie 138-km Perm-Pop]. 
Expecting warm temps with a SW wind 10-15 on the way back; i.e., a quartering headwind.
Should still be a fun, warm time. 
I must have also advertised on the NC Rando Facebook group 'cuz ... see below. 
  • Ricochet, #6628, contacted me via email:  he and Byron, #621, wanted to join the outing. 
  • Tom, #8423, contacted me via FB:  he and Deanna, #12439, would join the ride.  
  • Finally, Harvey, #11802, who was scheduled to do the "Bay Leaf - Oxford - Bay Leaf" route, decided to switch to Denny's Store to have people to ride with, although he thought he wasn't in shape for the extra distance. 
Party of Seven -- that's a pretty big Perm group for central NC these days. 
There used to be relatively frequent large / largish groups for Perm rides, 
But that was when there were only a handful of Perm route options available in the entire State. 

Interesting combination of randonneuring experience in the seven riders: 
  • Four Mondials, and 
  • Three others whose combined RUSA kms totaled less than 1200.  
Another interesting set of experience stats:
  • Four riders "officially" Irregulars -- the group rides this blog was originally about; 
  • (there is a definition of "official," but I'm not going to explain) 
  • One additional rider that has joined one or a few Irregular rides, and 
  • Two riders I had never heard of previously.  
Riders I've never heard of is not unprecedented joining me (or not me) one one of my Perms.
Even riders doing their first ever rando ride.
The most well-known "I've never heard of" rider, who did her first ever RUSA Permanent
On the "Bahama Beach" route, was RUSA #12 (her story here).

The Party of Seven met at the start.
Everyone signed the group waiver.
And received control cards in return (and some also got cue sheets).
[Me handing out cue sheets is not the norm.] 
We started riding.

A warming up pace across Norwood Rd to Mt Vernon Ch Rd to Pleasant Union Ch Rd.
But at the turn onto Six Forks Rd,
Which is an immediate downhill to one of the arms of Falls Lake,
I took the lead because I usually descend faster than most,
And I did this ride, too.

Unfortunately, the two people whom I had never met,
Appeared to take my downslope pace as the new average pace for the ride.
Frequent regatherings en route, we mostly stayed together.

The Allensville Store was rather crowded when we arrived.
Often there are numbers of locals hanging about, usually on the benches,
But this day, there seemed to be about half a dozen locals inside the store, purchasing things.
Combined with seven randonneurs, you can imagine it was a bit crowded, and
It took a bit longer than hoped to get moving again.

Immediate return down to the creek and back up to the Allensville Methodist Church corner.
Several rollers and usually around 19-22 minutes after leaving the control,
I typically arrive at the Denny's Store corner.
[Best I can recall is that on this ride, it was more on the order of 24 minutes.]
Denny's Store, left to right:  Bob, Deanna, Tom, Ricochet Robert, Harvey, Byron.  [Photo by me -- Tom and Deanna thought we should take another photo with me in the frame -- I said, "no, I've got plenty of photos of me at this spot."] 

Immediately after Denny's Store, there is a non-trivial climb up a hill.
Note:  that's up a hill, not a climb back up from a creek.
Note #2:  that's non-trivial by my standards; your thought my differ.
After that climb, the route flattens out, but is not flat, to the second control at Berea.

We did the quicker option for the control in Berea.
Better food at the other option; but we opted for quicker.

Some wanted to be quicker than others.
Ricochet, Byron, Bob, and Harvey got underway first.

Tom and Deanna seemed to want to take a few extra minutes.
I hung back to chat with them regarding their randonneuring plans, and
Mentioned that the NC rando peloton was happy to have Tom in the mix,
But were very excited that Deanna might become a regular.
"Why?" asked Tom.
"Because we currently have very few females in the group."

I did suggest to Tom and Deanna that, as they had a cue sheet (each),
They might prefer to just ride ahead, complete the ride, and
Leave their completed control cards on the windshield of Bob's truck.
No dice -- they wanted to stick more-or-less with the group.

Harvey had been moaning a bit approaching Berea.
I figured I would catch him by Creedmoor -- roughly half way between Berea and the finish.
And although I could not hang on to Deanna and Tom,
I did almost catch Harvey.
I got within 150 yards on Dove Rd, about 3-miles south of Creedmoor.
I figured I might lose a little distance on the climb on Whitt Rd, but 
I was sure I would catch him going across Falls Lake on Old Weaver Trail.

Surprise:  when I got to Old Weaver Trail, I couldn't even see Harvey!
Oh well.  Just pedal it in and save some energy for later in the day.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2018/02/24 7 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T79354 6628 B__, Robert D Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:55
RUSA-T79355 621 M__, Byron E Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:55
RUSA-T79356 11802 H__, Harvey F Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:55
RUSA-T79357 8423 P__, Stephen Tom Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:48
RUSA-T79358 12439 S__, Deanna F Bicycle For Life Club / 933057 06:48
RUSA-T79359 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:48
RUSA-T79360 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:59

For anyone "concerned" that the results are not in last-name-alphabetic order.
 1.  Get over it.
 2.  One needs to rebel against strict discipline every so often.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Feb-14: "The Whirligig"

Perhaps a strange way to spend Valentine's Day, but
Bob, Iva, and I spent much of the day doing "The Whirligig" 100-km Perm-Pop in
Pursuit of our respective North Carolina Populaire Explorer Challenges.

We were joined by BridgetJ #12462 on her first randonneuring adventure.
She's retired and only been cycling about for three or five years, but
She's done some serious adventures on her bicycle.
Rode x-continent.  Rode northern Florida to the Keys two or three times.
Other stuff.  And planning a Natchez Trace ride.
She comes with the right mental attitude:  cycling should be fun.

Anyway, back to the point of this post:  "The Whirligig."
When Tim #6016 created the route, the point was the visit to the Whirligig farm.
All the gigs save one have since been moved into Wilson, but
The route is still a good ride -- if you like to ride for the sake of the ride -- which I do.
However, without the gigs en route, the popularity of the route has plummeted:
We four were the first to ride the route since mid-2016.  
[The route is mostly flat, as can be discerned from checking the listing on RUSA's website.  
I'm confident that Tim has a RWGPS map, but I didn't search for it for this post.]

We took a few photos en route and Bridget's husband took one at the finish
That she posted on Facebook, but
I didn't feel in the mood to look for and "borrow" her photo for this post, and
The ones I took -- well, yuk I changed my mind.
Iva, Bob, Bridget at the Lucama control.  Per suggestion of route owner Tim, we used EPP method of taking and texting photos.  This was the Lucama control proof, timestamped 1211 -- I think we started at 0900, or was it 0800?  [photo by me]
Last (?) intermediate control?  On Sandy Cross Road?  [photo by me]  
This photo showed up in an "Iva Facebook memory" three years after the ride and since I'm not being shy about borrowing it, and it seems better than either of the photos I took ... .  [photo by unknown]

There was a sometimes helpful wind during the ride, but
Just as often, the wind was a hindrance -- a noticeable hindrance!

There was some street reconstruction in Lucama, but
The construction crew was apparently at lunch when we got there, so
We rode through to get to the control just a few yards beyond the construction zone. 

In general, the four of us had an enjoyable time.
And Bob, Iva, and I look forward to riding with Bridget in the future.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: The Whirligig / 1006 100 2018/02/14 4 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T79156 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79157 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79158 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31
RUSA-T79159 12462 J__, Bridget Ann Randonneurs USA / 933095 05:31

Blog posts about some prior rando Whirligig rides can be seen by "clicking-here."
And one blog post about an Irregulars Summer Solstice ride to the Whirligigs is "here."

Monday, April 9, 2018

Jan-13: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh 107

Still "back-filling" ride posts.
At least I am in the same year, now.
The quest for the NC-P-12-Explorer-Challenge continued,
A different qualifying Populaire each month for twelve consecutive months.

Because I only have two weekends a month when I can ride a 200+ km Permanent, and
Because of Iva's busy schedule,
We've been doing most of the recent Populaires on Wednesdays.

Riding on Wednesdays limits the number of people that can join us.
And that is inconsistent with the advertise and ride with other people
Portion / purpose (probably should put "purpose" first) of the Populaire-Explorer-Challenge,
But LIFE schedules dictate options.

Anyway, I think we did advertise this ride on the NC-rando-list-serve and
On the NC Rando Dumbbook group.
[However, I ain't gonna' check / verify the above.]

One rider not having the Pop-Explorer-Challenge on his agenda joined us.
Daniel, # 11331.
One thing though, he likely does NOT fall into the "not the usual partners" category
As he has quite a few 200+ km Perms and at least one or two Perm-Pops with Bob and me.

Anyway, four of agreed to the ride:  January 13th, 0800 start.
NCBob, IvaHawk, Daniel, me.

"Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh" was originally designed so that RUSA #5519
Would have a route that started near her home and
A route that she wouldn't have to check with me first.
#5519 often rode a couple or three of my perm-pops for her mid-week ride.
Often, but not always, with me.
So, we looked at several possibilities, and #5519 settled on RBR.

Subsequent to the events of February 20, 2016,
#5519 decided "enough with rando" and I adopted the route,
With the agreement that if she ever decided to return to RUSA,
We would transfer route ownership back to her.  

The forecast low was 43F, with temps expected to rise somewhat quickly into the 50's.
Some cloudiness giving way to sunshine soon after sunrise was also forecast.
A westerly/north-westerly wind of about 10 mph was also forecast.

"Weather Lyers" got the wind forecast bang-on.
As for the temps and amount of sunshine:
They sorta' got it correct, but were far enough off on the timing that doubts were engendered.  

According to Iva's Garmin unit, it was 40F at the start inside Raleigh city limits.
And anyone could see that it was heavily overcast.

We were on Dove Rd, 16 or so miles into the ride, when Iva announced 38 degrees.
[That's about 26 kms for those so inclined to think in French units of measure.]

In Stem, approx 25.5 miles [41-kms], Iva announced that is was 36 degrees.
[36F is 2C, for those thinking in degrees Celsius/Centigrade.]

On Culbreth Rd, Daniel started pulling ahead of the rest of us.
But after a minute or so, Bob rode across the gap and those two continued on to Berea.
Meanwhile, I told Iva that I was not going to hurry the last few miles to Berea and warmth,
Even though my toes and feet were "freezing."
Iva decided to stick with me, even though I think he could have ridden ahead. 
[I had not figured on the temperature dropping below 43F, and 
Certainly was not thinking the temps would flirt with the freezing point, and
Riding into the wind certainly made for a windchill effect that likely was no more than 20F.  
Bad thinking / planning on my part.]

Daniel and Bob were a quarter-mile or more up the road,
Iva and I were roughly half-way between Culbreth and the Tar River,
i.e., approx 32-miles [52-kms] into the ride, 
When Iva announced that it was 33.8 degrees.
[Iva had actually announced all the temps to the tenth of a degree, but
Who could remember that much detail? 
People likely suspect that I'm making up the temps I've typed above -- I'm not.]

Within seconds of Iva announcing the 33 degree temp,
I pointed to the sky ahead of us:  CLEAR skies!
We would likely have sunny conditions plus a tailwind plus rising temps homeward bound.

It was sunny when we got to the control in Berea.
[I would steal "yippee kay ya!" from DanD #390, but I'm not sure I can spell that.] 

Several years ago, I did a January or February Tar Heel 200 Perm with Dean.
I forgot my toe covers, so there was no wind protection covering my toes.
At the ~ 36-mile intermediate control and the 100-km turn-around control,
I took my shoes off and put my feet firmly on the floor to collect warmth therefrom,
That also allow the inside of the shoes to collect warmth from the air inside the control.
And when the floor no longer felt warm to my feet, I put my shoes back on.

I've used that trick a couple or few times since that Tar Heel 200.
And that trick became part of my plan for the Berea turn-around control.

I also had not entirely ignored the possibility of cold weather in my gear I had with me.
I had at least two bread-bags with me, and
Removed my socks to put a bread-bag next to the skin of my feet,
Then put the socks back on, over the bread-bags.
My feet would be warm on the homeward bound leg regardless of the weather. 

Because of the bread-bags, I was last to be prepared to leave.
Actually, I think the others had gotten a bit impatient.  Uh-oh!

Back outside, we were greeted with bright sunshine,
Which would be low in the sky and warming our faces and front parts
The entire return trip to Raleigh.

The breeze / wind was still coming out of the WNW at about 10 mph.
There would be a slight push on the way back.

The ride back from Berea begins with a slow, then faster, drift down to the Tar River.
Followed by one the steepest climb of the ride.
[RWGPS indicates at least 5.2%.] 

Daniel powered up the climb from the Tar River, leaving the rest of us behind.
However, once back up to the more-less-flat plain,
I took the lead from Iva and Bob, and
Perhaps knowing that I produce more power than Daniel,
Or at the very least, he struggles to stick to me on flat sections of rides,
But probably my cadence had nothing to do with relative power generation,
But was instead due to my feeling better and warmer.
When we three caught up to Daniel,
I went around and kept going without slowing my cadence or easing my gearing.
I can't recall if Daniel immediatly caught on to the mini-paceline or not.
But we essentially rode as a loose group all the way back.

One thing:
If I recall correctly, I started out trying to pop the roller-coasters on Dove Rd,
But I had to give up on that, and
Daniel and Bob drifted off the front.
I can't recall if Iva also drifted off my front, or stayed with me, possibly chatting away the miles.

I recall nothing of the rest of the ride:  Whitt, Old Weaver Trail, New Light, Ghoston, Peed, etc..
I've been reminded that RBR does NOT finish at / in Bay Leaf, but
Instead finishes at the shopping center at the corner of Strickland and Falls of the Neuse roads.
Here's what really happened:
I recall nothing of Whitt Rd nor Old Weaver Trail nor New Light Rd.
Nor do I recall anything of note on Six Forks Rd.

Nothing of note, that is, until the corner / turn onto Strickland Rd.
Each of Six Forks and Strickland are 5 lane roads,
Two lanes each direction plus a center shared turn lane.

However, the turn from southbound Six Forks onto eastbound Strickland has two,
Count 'em, two designated turn lanes.
A bicyclist needs to be in the right-most turn lane.
Iva, however, got in the left-most turn lane.
I tried to shout over the sounds of traffic that he was in the wrong lane, but
He did not hear.

Instead, when the left turn light changed to green,
Iva realized he was in the wrong place.
So ... he used the crosswalk to get to the sidewalk, and rode that the 1.5-miles to the finish.
[The rest of us rode Strickland Road to the finish.] 
But after all, tThe more interesting, but not epic, part of the ride
Was the outbound leg into the wind with temperatures dropping.

Oh, btw, the high temp on the day (at RDU airport) was 56F.

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh / 2818 107 2018/01/13 4 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T78381 7702 A__, Iva C Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56 
RUSA-T78382 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56 
RUSA-T78383 11331 R__, Daniel B Greensboro Velo Club / 933001   05:56 
RUSA-T78384 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095   05:56