Friday, February 26, 2021

Feb-24: Possum Tracking + Reversing

Instead of doing another "Possum Tracking" ride with multiple different loops as I have done several times in the previous 6 or 9 months, I decided to ride Bay Leaf Ch Rd and then Possum Track and then through the usual neighborhoods to Deer Trail, at which time I would essentially reverse my route, thus doing all of Possum Track in both directions for the first time in about 12 years.
Let's start with an embed of the route ridden, except that this starts from a public location, to whit, "TLC-4-Bikes" in Lafayette Village, whereas I actually started from my abode, which is where the extra distance between the embedded route and that reported later in this post (IF I remember to include the actual ride stats): 
Recently, I've been doing rides staying in faux single-speed gearing of 39/14.  And that seems rather strange that I've been able to complete the rides in that gearing.  Typically, if I faux single-speed a ride, a route north of Raleigh, or even south of Raleigh, I've used 39/15 gearing, which is 7 or 8 % easier.  Maybe if I had been doing a lot of cycling about, 39/14 would make some sense, but I've barely been doing any bicycling.  Perplexing as that seeming contradiction may be to me, I guess I've learned that I can do the rides I've been doing, even the semi-recent 100+ km ride in late November, in that 39/14 gearing, and having at least some measure of stubborn determination, I have refused to go to easier gears within the ride and nearing the end.  I cannot, however, claim that I won't change to an easier gear if I add a bit more tough repeating roller climbing. 
And, to come clean, I had intended to finish the ride on Honeycutt Rd instead of cutting through the "Coachman's Way" neighborhood.  IF I had finished on Honeycutt, the route / ride would have been a tenth-of-a-mile or two shorter, but I am confident that there would have been more total climbing -- and knowing that, at around the 19-mile-mark of the ride, I decided that I would do the "Bay Leaf Ch Rd" loop, which would include steep-enuf climbing into the strong south wind, but I would skip Honeycutt in favor of Coachman's Way. 
Although my head was often on a swivel during this ride in the 65 to 70 degree temps with plenty of sunshine, I took no photos.  As an aside, this was the first 70 degree day for the Raleigh area this winter -- we usually get a 70 degree day once every week or two during the winter.  This winter has been chilly and WET -- 14 days with at least some rain in January, and February looks to be headed toward 22 +/- days with at least some rain. 
I've been including Deer Trail (Rd) in my recent "Possum Tracking" rides because the ramp to get back up to a flat portion of Honeycutt Rd gets steep enough to knock my speed down to 4.5 - 4.8 mph (for a short section); I'm usually back to 5.3 +/- mph by the time I slip past the stop-sign onto Honeycutt.  If one zeroes in on that point in the ride, approx 13.3-mile-mark of the embedded map, one will find that that RWGPS will report a climbing incline significantly in excess of what shows in the "Metrics" section of RWPGS.  I took a screen-print and copied into a Word document -- if I knew how to embed that screen print here, I would.  The best I can figure out is to put the Word document out on Google-docs (or whatever that is now called), but I haven't put anything "out there" for several years, and I've forgotten how to do that. 
There was another steep bit -- an unexpected steep bit -- at approx the 16.1-mile-mark.  Very short, but steep enough, and catching me unprepared, my speed dropped to roughly 3.2 - 3.5 mph.  I thought it was to serpentine a bit at that point.  I was also concerned I might be about to fall over,  However, I was able to muscle the bike and me to stay upright and to get up that section. 
Total ride stats: 
  • 29.5 miles, 
  • 2:17 iin-motion, 
  • 12.9 avg mph, 
  • 2h18 or 2h19 elapsed -- i.e., no noticeable automobile traffic. 
  • However, there were several fast, intense cyclists, and one group of two with whom I crossed paths at least twice, and I think it was actually three times (those two did not seem to fit in the "intense" category. 
  • Oh, also a few walkers and runners. 
  • Almost everyone enjoying the exercise in shorts and short-sleeves -- although the two-some cyclists reference just above appeared to garbed for 50 - 55 degrees instead of 65 - 70.   
That's my non-humorous story for this ride, and I reckon I'll be sticking with this story. 
[Unless I figure out how to do "Google-docs" -- in which case, I might edit this.]  

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