Monday, September 30, 2019

Aug-21: Egypt Mtn 210

Wednesday, August 21st.
Being a weekday, we chose the lowest traffic route that Bob or I "own" / manage. 

We wanted to beat as much of the heat and rush hour traffic as possible.
The earliest Bob could make a start was 0545, but
As that seemed rather "forced," we chose to start at 0600.
And that would mean riding about 40-minutes in the dark.

New Light Rd presented a "parade" of southbound caravans while we rode northward.
So many vehicles heading toward Raleigh.
Traditional schedule schools back in session likely a major contributing reason for the extra traffic.
I cannot ever recall that much southbound traffic on New Light Rd at that time of day.

But, by the time we got to Grissom, 12.5-miles (20-kms) into the course,
The high volume of traffic was done with.
We settled in for the usually pleasant ride up to Franklinton,
Then beyond that on West River Rd to Sims Bridge Rd.

Sims Bridge Rd -- named for the bridge that crosses the Tar River.
Just after crossing the river, Sims Bridge Rd takes a right turn,
And the interesting down-and-up, curving begins.
A pleasant ride all the way to Rocky Point.
[I've never understood the "Point" in Rocky Point. 
The crossroads is located on dry land, perhaps at the cusp of a grade from all direction. 
Well, not quite -- coming from the north, one would be on a short, false-flat decline.]

The road changes name after passing through Rocky Point, and
Flattens out a bit, but it is still a pleasant ride all the way to Epsom.
[Or it could be IF one weren't counting the minutes to the Epsom AM control.]

We arrived at the Epsom AM control (@ 36.4-miles) after 2h30 elapsed, 2:27 in-motion.
That isn't the earliest I've ever arrived at that first intermediate control, but
It may be among the five earliest.

Some chatting with a local or two -- always a smart thing to do.
That is my opinion, and I'll be sticking to that opinion.
According to the note on my Control Card,
A note I surely made only after arriving at the "lunch" control in Warrenton,
We left the control 18-minutes after we had arrived.

Some day I need to take a few photos from along the route.
Until then, readers will have to settle for the google-street-view.
Or look in previous "Egypt Mtn" blogs for a few photos. 

The second intermediate control is an Info Control in / at Drewry, 17.5-miles from Epsom.
Bob and I engaged in some humorous (?) banter regarding the correct answer to the Info Control.
Not gonna' describe the banter.
If you wanna' guess at the banter and/or hazard a guess at the correct answer:  ride the route.

I've repeatedly written that the 10+ miles after Drewry are my favorite of the route.
But as I type this, September 29th, the only things I can recall of those 10 miles are these:
The view from before the beginning of the declines of the two separate valleys
That are in those 10 miles.
[Again, check the google-street-view or come ride the route.] 

The Warrenton Control is an Open Control.
The cue sheet and control / brevet card suggests the Hardee's just after entering town.
However, we rode nearly another mile, including a quarter-mile off course,
To get to the Subway, arriving 4h48 elapsed, 4:27 in-motion for our control.
[I recall riding the "Egypt Mtn" route with LynnL when I first used the Subway; 
There is a Chinese restaurant next to the Subway; 
Lynn commented, "the [fast-guys] like Chinese food; they might to control there."
[Note:  I've never gotten around to trying the Chinese restaurant.]]  
The note on my control card indicates that we spent 42 eating lunch and chatting.
Meaning we left the control after 5h30 elapsed on the day (i.e., 11:30 am). 

The route leaves Warrenton headed more or less to the west.
A couple little roller things, but the net elevation change is DOWN.
Then, a 1.3-mile 2% incline.
Well, RWGPS indicates it is approximately 2% the entire climb, but
Based on what happens to my pace, the incline seems steeper than that.
I'm always relieved to get to the crest of that climb and the turn onto Stagecoach Rd.
Oh, and the first couple hundred yard on Stagecoach Rd, those are also upslope.
It is a shallow incline, but the road surface, rough chip-seal, makes it tougher than it might be.
[Note:  North Carolina chip-seal is not nearly as debilitating as Texas chip-seal, 
Which is being referred to as "Gravel-Seal" by some Hound-Dog-1200 riders, 
Which 1200 is underway on its second day as I type this.] 

I seem to have lost my way typing this blog report.
I've drifted into ride-this-road, turn-that-way, the-pace-was-such-and-such.
Those are boring.
So let me see if I can finish this off with something else.

It is 18.2-miles from the Warrenton Hardee's to the Epsom control. 
The Epsom PM control comes too early, really.
The original PM control was at Bobbitt, but
That store was permanently closed the second time we did the "Egypt Mtn" route.
The Bobbitt store eventually re-opened, but is closed on Sundays.
And although I am a proponent of supporting the remaining remote mom-and-pop stores,
And I have stopped at the Bobbitt store to see if it would be a reasonable control location,
I've had to conclude that there just isn't enough of the "right stuff" for a rando control.

So, it is fewer than 18.2-miles from the Warrenton Subway to the Epsom control.
According to the note I obviously made upon reaching Epsom,
Bob and I left the Subway at 11:30 am -- 42 minutes after our arrival.
And we got to the Epsom control at 12:54, i.e., 6h54 elapsed from the start.
It took 1:24 in-motion from the Subway to Epsom.
Total in-motion to that point, officially 82.8-miles into the course, was 5:51.

We had obviously slowed down compared to earlier.
The climbing was no more difficult (or was it?).
The temperature was hotting up.
And, almost certainly the breeze / wind was coming out of the SW,
Meaning that after leaving Warrenton, the ride had been into a headwind. 

Regardless what the breeze / wind is doing early in the day,
Regardless what direction the breeze / wind is forecast to do,
When the temps hot up during the long summer period,
The breeze / wind always shifts to coming from the SW.
Always a headwind the last half of the "Egypt Mtn" Perm during that long period period.

We left the Epsom PM control at 1:11 pm.
I still have hopes of one day getting from Epsom to the finish in 3 hours, or less.
I used to be able to count on doing that.
But I was in better cycling shape when I could do that.

Chavis Rd Info Control is officially 94.5-miles into the course.
As we slid past, I commented to Bob that maybe I needed to change the Control Question.
Trees or bushes or something seemed to interfere with the sight-line to the answer.

Egypt Mtn Rd and Egypt Mtn Farm.
Sometimes stop to take a photo, and I coerced Bob into posing this time around.
The Egypt Mountain Farm sign is atop Egypt Mtn, approximately 100-miles into the route.  The time-stamp on the photo is 1437.  That indicates 1h26 elapsed since leaving the Epsom PM control.  [photo credit to me] 

It's another couple miles from the Egypt Mtn Farm sign to the end of Egypt Mtn Rd.
It is "only" 27 more miles from the end of EM Rd to the finish.
I usually find myself thinking "okay, this is in the bag, all [you've] got to do is keep pedaling."
I think that even though the toughest climb is still another few miles down the road.
Well, maybe the second toughest climb, but ... that's a subject for another day.

After that toughest, or second toughest, climb of the day,
There is still the climb on Long Mill Rd, which often seems pretty darn tough.
And then there is "Cowboy Hill" on Pokomoke Rd, which can be tough.

Oh, and the last 10-kms include the Ghoston, Peed, and Mt Vernon Church road climbs.
So, really, sometimes I don't think I've "made it" until the last turn,
For the last 0.7-miles on flat Norwood Rd.

Notes and official things on the control card indicate:
4h04 elapsed, 3:36 in-motion, from Epsom to the finish.
For 47.9-miles.
Seems we obviously slowed considerably. 

Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Warrenton & Egypt Mountain / 1444 210 2019/08/21 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T92055 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 11:15
RUSA-T92056 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 11:15

Oh, a relatively minor thing:
This ride was my 200th Century.
Two hundred centuries in 1,128 rides.
That is 17.7% of my lifetime rides have been at least 100.0-miles long.

Here follows some "interesting" stats --
[note:  "E" is short-hand for Eddington Cycling Number]  -- 
my current "E" is 127, meaning I have at least 127 rides that were at least 127-miles long, 
but I do not yet have 128 rides that were at least 128-miles long. 
To help others understand. as of the end of this "Egypt Mtn" ride, 
I have completed 135 rides that were at least 127 miles long.]

Rides by year currently contributing to E: 
year  # rides  miles mi. / r
centuries 200-kms +

2007 0 0.0 0.0
1 0
2008 0 0.0 0.0
1 0
2009 0 0.0 0.0
5 1
2010 11 1,786.3 162.4
25 19
2011 30 4,384.8 146.2
36 33
2012 26 4,104.7 157.9
33 30
2013 19 3,084.3 162.3
31 19
2014 10 1,509.7 151.0
12 11
2015 10 1,421.7 142.2
14 12
2016 6 847.0 141.2
10 10
2017 6 798.6 133.1
13 12
2018 10 1,482.7 148.3
11 10
2019 7 1,056.2 150.9
8 8

total 135 20,476.0 151.7
200 165

Friday, September 27, 2019

Aug-17: RBR 109

Up at 0400.
Riding by 0430.
2:17 in-motion to Berea,
2h18 elapsed to Berea.
I obviously caught all the lights on green.
Berea, looking north from the front door of "Berea Mini Mark," the suggested location for the "Berea Open Control," at 0657 (barely enough light to bother taking a photo).  I don't know what that chicken-looking sign is specifically advertising -- perhaps chicken biscuits.  The Mini Mart does do a bang-up morning business selling chicken and sausage biscuits and other fare.  A hot biscuit can be "just the ticket" on a cold winter morning.
2:17 in-motion on the return.
Total 4:34 in-motion for the 68.0-miles.
4h46 total elapsed time.
Leaving only 12 minutes not moving for the entire ride.

1-minute not moving outbound.
9-minutes at the Berea control.
2-minutes not moving on the return leg.
Traffic and lights in Creedmoor must have been favorable.
The light at NC-98 must have been green, or nearly so, when I arrived there.

Not much of a story, but it is mine for this date.
I can't imagine I'll do anything other than stick with the above story.
After all, it ought to be obvious that I have no interesting recollections of the ride that day.

Aug-15: Raleigh - Berea - Raleigh ("RBR") 109

"RBR" is a convenient ride for me to do early on weekdays.
For example, if I am scheduled to work starting some time in the afternoon, perhaps 1 or 2 pm,
Starting RBR at 0430 allows me to start the ride when there is no traffic, or almost no traffic, and
Finish the ride around 0930, and thus allow time to do laundry or other chores before going to work.

Starting RBR at 0600 or 0700 on a weekday does not appeal to me.
Perhaps in the middle of Summer when the sun would have already risen.
But not during other seasons when 6 and 7 am would still be quite dark.
0430 works because there is little to no traffic.
6 or 7 am do not appeal, because the "rush hour" traffic is in full swing, regardless the season.
And actually, it is worse whenever traditional schedule schools are in session.

Anyway, that takes care of that type of background.

RBR was created in 2015 because Lynn wanted her own route.
Likely so that she wouldn't have to "ask" me for permission to ride.
Her "asking" was never a problem, because we had an open-to-ride agreement, and
Getting a waiver signed was never a problem since we lived only 1.6-miles apart, and
Lynn had to go by my hovel to get to my rides.

However, she wanted her own route.
So, I helped her create RBR, and rode with her on her maiden voyage as a route-owner.

Lynn did the route about a dozen times in September thru December 2015.
Or maybe it was a dozen times between September-2015 and mid-February-2016.
Then, disaster struck Lynn in late February-2016.

Lynn has not ridden rando since then.
And although she has ridden some informal hundred milers,
I doubt she ever will again do rando.
[Maybe, maybe she might do some Populaires, but not 200+ kms.]

When Lynn decided she would no longer do rando, I adopted her RBR route.
But with the proviso that if she ever returned to RUSA membership,
I would return the route to her.

Okay, more than enough double-deep background.

The RBR route starts approximately 1/2 mile from my bed.
I can get up at 4 am, get dressed, and be riding by 0430.

The way I do the route, the outbound half is approximately a mile shorter than the return.
Regardless of how one approaches the route,
The first half is a net uphill, and the return is a net downhill.
That tends to make the return leg a bit faster.
Also, if I start at 0430, much of the outbound will be in the dark, complete dark.
Sometimes ALL of the outbound is in the dark, the complete dark.
And one tends to ride more slowly in the dark than in the daylight.

So, don't be surprised if I report the mile longer return in the same in-motion time as the outbound.
Don't be surprised if I report the mile longer return in less in-motion time than the outbound.

Gee, it seems I just can't stop typing background material.
I'm now three layers deep in the background.

So, on August 15th, I started promptly at 0430.
That means crossing NC-98 at 0500 or a couple minutes later than that.
Turning off New Light Rd onto Old Weaver Trail approximately 15-minutes after that.
And riding Main Street through Creedmoor at approx 0545 to 0550.
Stem just under half-an-hour after that, and
Berea sometime in the 0648 to 0705 time-frame.

On August 15th, the note on my control card indicates 2:18 in-motion for the outbound leg.
That means I might have gotten to the control as early as 0648.
However, that is unlikely as there are 5 stop-lights on the outbound leg, and
Two of those lights, NC-98 just north of Raleigh and US-15 in Creedmoor,
Tend to be "uncooperative."
[That is, they have long cycles between green lights. 
But sometimes I can catch them on the green. 
And maybe I did on the 15th -- I must have given when the clerk initialed my card.]

So, I got to the Berea Control at 0648 or 0649,
Quickly removed my cycling gloves, quickly retrieved a cold beverage, and
Purchased same in time for the owner/clerk to note 0651 on the card.
I took a photo of the new window at the control -- the photo is time-stamped 0655.
I noted that the old window had been in place on Saturday, Aug-10th,
When Bob and I had done the "Denny's Store" ride,
But by Thursday, Aug-15th, the new window was firmly in place.
The note on the card indicates that I left the Berea Control at 0658.
[Ten minutes, or less, to get a beverage, pay for it, take a photo and put the phone away afterward. 
And I may have visited the men's room to make a #1 deposit. 
Pretty quick, I say.  
Especially since the putting the phone back into the zip-lock is sometimes troublesome.]
On the 15th, I had noticed "veggies for sale" signs at Culbreth.
First time I had ever seen such at that location.
But outbound, there wasn't enough light to take a semi-reasonable photo.
There was enough light when homebound.
The time-stamp on the "veggie" sign is 0714.
So sixteen minutes to ride Berea to Culbreth, get out the phone and snap the photo.
The sign from the other direction indicates "organic," but
I didn't take a photo from the other direction.
I also took an across the yard landscape photo -- but not my preferred Culbreth landscape angle.

That's a boring photo, but hey!  I've got it, I might as well use it.

After taking the photos, I continued my ride.
I was not trying to be in a big hurry or any such thing.
Just trying to keep a decent effort, a decent pace.

No traffic worth mentioning until just before Falls Lake on New Light Rd.
I don't really like coming straight in New Light Rd, which becomes Six Forks Rd south of NC-98.
I don't care for Six Forks Rd from NC-98 to the corner with Possum Track Rd.

After reaching the Possum Track corner, the filed route is flat.
The safest return, taking Honeycutt Rd all the way from Possum Track to finish, in NOT flat.
The intermediate safe route, Six Forks to Durant to Honeycutt, is in between on the flat/hilly front.
On August 15th, I used the intermediate Durant-Honeycutt finish.
Total inbound time in-motion:  2:18.
Finishing time:  0923, for an elapsed time of 4h53.

The above is my story for the August 15th ride,
My story, and I'll be sticking to it.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Aug-11: Benson Mule Pull 105

My recollection is that I enjoyed this route the 3 previous times I did it.
To review my thoughts on those rides, click here.

Hmmn, that's a bit silly:  when someone clicks on that above "click here," they will get this blog post and the previous three.  LOL at myself.

I recall that each of the previous three times I did the Mule Pull, I was tired from the previous day.
And, re-reading what I wrote back in 2011 and 2012 -- yikes! -- SEVEN years since I last did this route!
Anyway, re-reading the previous posts absolutely confirms that I was tired each of those times.
But somehow I always thought I should enjoy the route.

This ride.  Cycle commute to the start.

According to my Excel log, it was about 16.3-miles from my hovel, through downtown Raleigh, past Shaw University, or more like through Shaw University -- I had never noticed that I was riding past or through Shaw on previous rides down Blount Street.  Several of those previous rides were in pitch-dark conditions, so that might help explain my lack of notice, but I dunno'.

I stopped at the Hardee's (?) about half-a-mile before reaching the meeting place that Dean had always used.  Said stop to acquire some breakfast and a receipt.

Then on to the shopping center parking lot looking for McDave.
We had failed to precisely nail-down the expected meeting place.
But not to worry, I spotted him right off.

The ride.

McDave took over ownership of Dean's routes when Dean decided to retire from rando.
However, McDave hadn't gotten around to riding any of the routes since assuming ownership.
So, this would be the "test ride" of McDave as a perm route owner.
And as a result, we would be on "best behavior" since Dave would send the cards to Crista for approval and confirmation that he has a basic understanding of what he is supposed to do.
[Interestingly, when Dave and I did a 6 am pre-ride of the Picnic 100 in September, Dave told me that Crista indicated to Dave that he had forgotten to sign the cards as route-owner.  My memory may be failing me, but my recollection from when I did my first route-owner submission is that I was NOT to sign those first ride cards, but leave that to Crista.  I would have sworn that that is what I did, what MickH did the day before on his first ever route owner experience, and what Lynn did when she and I broke in Lynn and the "Raleigh-Berea-Raleigh" route.] 

McDave is fast.
I am not.
But lucky for me, Dave had done a very hard NC mountain 100-miler the day before, and
He was a bit tired.

My first indication that Dave really was TIRED, was on the climb up to Stancil Rd:
I rode Dave off my wheel on that short but steep incline.

But Dave being TIRED, and me perhaps being on a little tired, from our respective day-prior adventures, meant that we could ride together without Dave having to TRY to slow down and me having to TRY to pick up my pace.

Also lucky for me was that my hands did not give off as much in the discomfort front as they had the day before.  As I type this on September 26th, my thumbs are still not completely recovered from the fall I took on August 9th, but they have not been the source of agony for a couple or more weeks.  The main "thumb problem" at this time is the slowly worsening arthritis / tendonitis in each thumb.

I enjoyed the entire Mule Pull course, with one MAJOR EXCEPTION:
There is a half-mile on NC-50 just a few miles before the finish.
Seven years ago, that half-mile was not the most pleasant of places to ride,
But now, it was hair-raising!!

Dave had expressed his skepticism just after the start of the ride.
He lives and rides down that-a-way, so he has much, much more experience with what is happening to traffic, etc. just south of Raleigh and Garner than I do.  Actually, I have no knowledge / experience from down that-a-way.
Anyway, as soon as we were off NC-50 and atop the little rise immediately thereafter,
I forcefully indicated to Dave that a new way around Lake Benson was needed.

Dave may have indicated that the alternative, Old Stage Rd, is just as bad.

Dave and I may have discussed the NC-50 situation when we did the Picnic 100 pre-ride, but I'm not sure about that.  I do know that after the Picnic, which was only five days before I'm actually typing this, I looked hard at the map and concluded that the current version of the "Benson Mule Pull" has outlived its usefulness as there is no safe way from the start to get around Lake Benson.  I sent an email to Dave, apologizing for sticking my nose in too far, indicating the prior thought.

Dave responded that he agreed with me.
And that he will mothball the Mule Pull at the end of the year.

But SAFETY first.

Dave collected my card at the finish and Crista must have approved, because I have credit for having done the Benson Mule Pull on August 8, 2019.

Post-ride cycling commute.

I still had to pedal my way back to north Raleigh.
The part that I was skeptical about was Garner Rd to get to the southeast corner of downtown Raleigh.
That was a breeze, with little traffic and no concerns.

The only "difficult" part was getting across downtown Raleigh.
All the downtown streets and stop-lights are configured for easy north-south travel.
East-west not so much.
The only "good" east-west travel road is Peace Street.
And that gets WAY too much afternoon traffic for this cyclist to venture onto.
Additionally, Peace Street is currently a hodge-podge of potholes and repairs and worse.
However, I obviously made it across downtown, and on up to my hovel on the north side.

Total ride distance and time for August 9th:

My confuser was set to the wrong tire size and was slightly over-estimating distances.
Further, since I reset the confuser after the morning commute, and again after the ride proper, it was not until I added things up, and adjusted the distance to remove the over-estimating that I discovered that I had ridden 99.7-miles on the day, with a total in-motion time of 7:14 -- the afternoon commute was SLOW, at least partially because the last half-dozen miles were on the sidewalk, and that is always a slower ride.

IF I had known that at the time, I might well have added on three-tenths of a mile to claim a century.
On the other hand, since I have ridden 100-miles or more, at least 201 times as I type this, I might just as likely not bothered with extra 0.3-miles.

Seems to me that I stopped by Lynn's on the way back.
That would be 1.6-miles from my hovel.
And as soon as I stopped at Lynn's just to see how she was doing,
She put me to work doing some yard and/or house-holdy chores that are difficult for her to do.

I could be mis-remembering.
I think I can check on Facebook and/or some emails to possibly confirm,

Regardless, the above, though pretty boring, is my story, and I'll likely be sticking to it.
Unless I confirm that my "Lynn chores" recollection is misplaced.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Aug-10: Discomfort 138

About 1 pm on Friday-the-9th,
On my way back from an errand at the bank,
I suffered a single-bike crash.

I was riding on the sidewalk alongside Strickland Rd (a busy east-west road in northern Raleigh),
When suddenly my bike became a bucking bronco!
As background, I should mention that I was standing while riding;
I always stand when riding for / during short errands -- one-way commutes of a couple miles or less. 

I tried to get the bronco back under control.
I was desperate to NOT go down into the street, where I could get hit or run over.
The rear wheel came off the ground,
Probably made easier because standing, my weight was shifted onto the front wheel.
The bike lurched to the left,
I think from the dynamics of me being in the midst of a left downward pedal stroke
When the rear wheel came off the ground.

I thought I had gotten the bike under control, but suddenly I was thrown into the roadway.
No road-rash resulted.
I must have landed with my weight on the fleshy area of the palm side just below my thumbs.

I was EXTREMELY lucky that there were no cars alongside me when I crashed.
I was also EXTREMELY lucky that there were no vehicles for a couple hundred yards.

You can guess that because I had no road-rash that I wasn't too badly off.
I looked up, down the road, and saw traffic coming.
I was standing and off the road within seconds.
More embarrassed than hurt, I thought.

I got back on the bike and continued the errand commute ride to my abode.
I took a shower, put on fresh clothes, and then rode the 1.1-miles to work.
The bike seemed undamaged.
Then I realized that the chain was skipping as I pedaled along.
It was especially prone to skipping if I stopped pedaling and coasted for a bit.

When I got to work, I called my mechanic at TLC-4-Bikes.
[He spells out the word "for," but I think using the number "4" would be better marketing.]
I arranged to go by the TLC shop at approx 7:30, to see if I could get the drive system fixed.

Turned out that 3 of the 8 or 10 teeth on one of the jockey wheels were BADLY bent.
And the teeth on each side of the three was were also bent.

My mechanic indicated that the only times he's seen bent jockey wheels is as result of a crash.
However, as I think about it, I think the jockey wheel didn't bend as a result of the crash,
Instead, I think the bending of the jockey wheel cause the crash.

The thing that makes sense to me is that a pebble from the sidewalk was "kicked up"
Into the chain, and when the pebble reached the jockey wheel,
The pebble became jammed between the chain and the jockey wheel,
With the result that the "weak link" of the plastic jockey wheel gave way, 3 teeth bending, and
The jamming resulted in the chain suddenly stopping its travel,
And since I was still trying to pedal,
And with my weight well forward,
There was nothing holding down the rear wheel, and

The jockey wheel was replace by 8 pm, and the bike was fine.

My hands, particularly my thumbs, were a different story.
No visible damage, such as road-rash.
But the trauma of landing heavily landing on my hands
Messed up the soft-tissue of fleshy area of the palm side just below my thumbs.
The traumatized area combined with the usual arthritis / tendonitis in my thumbs
To make considerable pain and discomfort. 
[By the next morning, bruising appeared on the aforementioned fleshy areas, and 
Within a couple or three days, the bruising had spread up to my wrists.]

So that's the condition I was in come the morning of Saturday-the-10th.
A day on which I had scheduled a ride my friend Bob on the Denny's Store Sortie,
The 138-km perm-pop that I've mentioned more than a few times is my favorite route.

Bob and I met for a start time of a quarter past the 6 am striking of the clock.

While Bob took care of some before the ride business,
I snapped a photo about which.he was unaware -- at least for a few days. 
I later arranged to forward the above photo to Susan Notorangelo, tagged with the line "Bob trying to intimidate me, again."  [For the new readers out there, Hahaha Hohoho, new readers?  Anyway, for anyone that might read this, Bob intimidating me by wearing a PacTour jersey or his PacTour cycling cap has been a running joke for at least a couple years -- perhaps since the day I was doing the "3M" perm-pop with Bob and Sridhar and realized that Sridhar was wearing his Northern Tier PacTour jersey and Bob was wearing one of his Taste of Carolina jerseys.]
Bob had recently completed the PacTour "Ridge of the Rockies" tour.  Susan responded to my photo / comment that she was glad to see that Bob was riding again.  [For those that don't know, sometimes, some riders, upon completing a multi-week PacTour, have trouble getting motivated to ride their bikes again, at least for a long enough period that they lose much of their fitness.]

23-miles into the route, just after climbing up the "Range Wall,"
Which, as I understand it, is likely one of the more noticeable places to see the "Fall Line."
Anyway, at the 23-mile mark, just as one begins to ride past Camp Butner,
There is a decommissioned self-propelled artillery gun.
Over the years, several ride companions used that gun for a photo opportunity.
  • The first to do so, in my presence, was my friend Harvey, on a 2009 non-rando ride
  • Next BradW, in late May-2013, riding either the "Bahama Beach" route or the "Denny's Store" route. 
  • A long hiatus, then Aug-06, just four days before this Denny's Store ride, Brad repeated, but he must have not liked the over-the-head photo because he didn't publish it. 
  • So, perhaps to give my aching hands a rest -- if you've forgotten why my hands were aching, see the long introduction to this blog post -- I suggested that Bob take a turn reproducing Harvey's pose.  [At 67 years of age, or is he only 65?, Bob was not entirely at ease as he clamored aboard the artillery gun nor was he at ease while posing, and most assuredly, he was not at ease as he eased himself off the gun and back to the ground.  I learned a lesson.]  

Resuming our ride after the Camp Butner photo session, I again searched for a comfortable hand position.

Traditionally, although I move my hands around quite frequently while I'm cycling,
I typically don't ride "in the drops" very much.
But this day, the combined impact of arthritis and injury trauma, made for a lot of hand discomfort.
I eventually found that getting into the drops, and staying there, resulted in the least discomfort.

So, I went to the drops, which also slightly modifies my position on the saddle.
Maybe it also modifies your position, but I won't assert that because I don't know "for sure."

So, I'm in the drops, perhaps effectively better transferring energy to the pedals,
Perhaps reducing the weight on my hands,
Leading Bob for the entire ride.

Now that last, "leading Bob for the entire ride," used to happen quite frequently,
But in the last few years, with Bob in great shape, and me not,
I've lead very little, or if I led a lot, it was with a tailwind.
And Bob would end up doing virtually all the leading into the headwind.

So, on this ride, to minimize the hand discomfort,
I'm in the drops for 50-miles or more of the nearly 86-mile course,
Perhaps more effectively transferring power to the pedals,
More aerodynamically positioned on the bike,
Riding faster than I've done for quite some time.

We kept the control stoppage times (there are only two intermediate controls) somewhat short.
But we stopped at the Denny's Store crossroads to take a usual photo.
 I also decided to take a photo looking to the SW into the field that is sometimes cotton, but most usually planted with tobacco.
[Hmmn, nearly cloudless sky.  Compare that to the sky seen in the photos of Bob atop the Camp Butner artillery piece.  It appears that, early-on, there had been a typical almost not noticeable thin overcast, but a few hours later, by the time we got to the Denny's Store crossroads, the thin overcast had almost disappeared.  I did not notice small things such as that on this ride; instead I was concentrating on minimizing the discomfort in my hands.]

We finished the ride in fine fashion. 
That is my story, and I'll be sticking to it.
Permanent Route Name / #Distance Date Finishers DNF
NC: Denny's Store Sortie / 1795 138 2019/08/10 2 0
Cert# RUSA# Name Club / ACP Code Time
RUSA-T91844 5843 B__, Bob Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:26
RUSA-T91845 6218 S__, Martin Randonneurs USA / 933095 06:26

This was my 37th time doing the Denny's Store route.
And was Bob's 11th circuit.