Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't Mess with Cope....

Mountain Bike Ride on Sat August 5, 2006
AKA the Horse Dung Dodge

Ernest and Jon were there to keep Carolyn and Theresa company. Kevin again had to ‘work’… thought he was retired? Carolyn was looking forward to the Beer and Jon was salivating at the thought of soybean bars as there had been on the previous Saturday ride. But alas, the only thing close was the processed grain products left by the equestrian users of the trails.
Carolyn took Ernest’s bike for a test drive, which meant Theresa could ride her Trek, her back was very thankful. Theresa lead from the rear as usual, with a few opportunities to catch up to those directionally challenged.
There was some discussion of crank size, Ernest proclaimed that short guys have long cranks. Jon’s was short, but he claimed that the long seat post more than make up for it. With all this technical discussion the group rode the 20 mile loop clockwise with only a few short stops to let Theresa catch up.
Since there was no threat of rain it did seem like there were lots of Horseback riders and the road apples they left on the trail for us to dodge. None the less, a great ride.
Carolyn struck a deal with Ernest for the bike, not sure of the complete deal but I’m sure both parties were very satisfied and smiling!

Smell the roses Ride on Sun August 6, 2006
Theresa, Carolyn, Jae and John

Jae arrived just in time to start the ride, she and Carolyn led the whole group for most of the way thru Preston and the Testoterone group did not break away until Up-Chuck hill. John helped the ladies up the hill and kept us entrtained with various discussions the rest of the ride. He also suggested an alternate path down Whimbly to Jenks rd to avoid one of the larger hills on the White Oak Church route. The group rode strong and powered up any incline concentrating on spinning. We completed 25 miles and had our bagels and coffee long before any of the Testoterone group returned to give us the report on their eventful ride.

Monday John did get his diagnosis report and we are happy that he is officially is in remission! And ready to do more riding!

Testosterone ride “aka don’t mess with COPE”.
Kevin, Ernest, Steve Sparano, (all three rode to and from start of ride), Steve Cope, Brian, David Bridenbaugh.

The group was all assembled, or so we thought. Up rides David Bridenbaugh at the last minute. David is a powerful rider and has only ridden with us one time before. We bored him by going at a slow 17 mph pace. David loves to hammer hard and has reportedly snapped bike frames in half with his powerful surges. We made quick introductions for those who had not yet met on our various rides. We briefly discussed the fact that Coach was not there today so the yellow jersey was up for grabs. The pack started to leave the parking lot just as Ernest zoomed in on his bike. Each Sunday Ernest has cut it closer and closer to the start time as he rides from home to meet us at the start. Clearly he is not one for chit chat and early morning coffee. Once on the bike he is ready to ride non-stop. This band of testosterone laden fools began the ride slow and easy. The smell the roses group led up and through all of Preston Woods. Lots of nervous chit chat as each rider tried to size up the competition for today’s race for the Yellow Jersey. Upon further inspection we all realized that everyone was on a vintage 1970 or 1980 classic frame and compo group. David Bridenbaugh was the only one riding a late model with shifters built into the break leavers. This meant we each could observer when the other bent down to shift gears. David was the one with the advantage as he could cleverly tap the side of his break lever to invoke a subtle change in his spin rotations of the pedals. David did mention that the rear cluster he was riding was new and he had not yet had time to fully adjust his derailleur to mess with this new cluster. This little bit of knowledge was then used by the more savvy cyclists to tune into the sounds made by a miss aligned derailleur and cluster. David no longer had the advantage. He did not have to see him shift we could sense it. The pack road at a respectable 16 mph average with everyone taking turns pulling from the front. A well organized peleton.

At one point early in the ride we were traveling along Fire Station Church Road were all the construction has bee taking place. On this stretch of road are many holes, and man-hole covers that are needing repair. Kevin was riding in the middle of the pack and had missed the signal from the front that one of the obstacles laid in his path. Clang, Bang, Tinkle, Thud. Steve Cope shouted to the front of the pack that Kevin has lost his dentures. The peleton bust into much laughter which disrupted the smooth flow that had been established. This then lead to old man and fat man jokes. That lead to additional comments on other noises being heard on the ride and attributed those to knee caps exploding, and the sounds that arthritis makes within each joint.

The ride took on the expected attack as we approached up-chuck hill. Steve Cope announced that Kevin Smit pays $5 for the winner of the up-chuck sprint. Last week Brian (his first time on the ride with us) took that $5 with ease. Was he going for 2 in a row? David Bridenbaugh was expected to attack as well as Steve Cope and Steve Sparano and the every present Ernest (quiet and calculating). Kevin would sweep the hill from behind and be the excuse everyone needed to rest at the top as they wait on him. Each rider spread themselves out positioning for the attack as we zoomed down the hill, swept into the corner and hit the base of the hill. From behind Kevin could hear the jamming of gears and the excited banter of the riders as the attack unfolded. Half way up the hill, still anyone’s victory. Then as if shot from a cannon Brian raised up off the saddle and with 3 strokes of the peddles had exploded past David Bridenbaugh who had until then led the scamper up the hill. Later we learned that David’s heart rate monitor was reading over 200 bpm as Brian left him behind. David was shocked at the explosive nature of this rider. At the top the group reassembled and rode in circles as Kevin plowed his way up the hill and took time to stuff his lungs back into his chest.

On we rode as we decided to ride the route that took us straight at the top of the hill vs turning right. This is the route we did last weekend and would provide 40 miles of hills and long flats were we could pull hard with a well formed draft line. At the T intersection we turned left, down and around sweeping turns and rolling hills. On one of the first rolling hills Kevin and Steve Cope were at the front of the double draft line. The unwritten rule of “no ones wheel gets ahead of mine” began to unfold. The pace quickened, the chit chat stopped, the heads dropped, the cadence intensified.


Kevin sensing the serious focus of the riders decided to lighten things up a little. Ridding close to Steve Cope, Kevin fell back slowly giving the impression that Steve was about to beat everyone up the hill. As Steve dug deeper to put more pressure on the group Kevin reached over and grabbed the spare sew up tire that Steve had tucked under the seat of his bike. Kevin then stopped pedaling in an attempt to let Steve pull him the rest of the way up the hill. Steve immediately felt the weight of several hundred pounds pulling him backwards (now he knows what it is like for Kevin to climb a hill). Steve’s immediate unconscious response was to swat at the thing that was bogging him down as if he was swatting at a pesky fly.

Kevin’s neck and head snapped back.

Only Kevin’s solid riding skills kept him following a straight line as he slowly recovered the broken tooth from his mouth. With a huge toothless grin he showed Steve the results of that little skirmish. As this unfolded Ernest swung out wide and raced past the battling duo to claim victory at the top of the hill. No one believed that Steve had knocked out a portion of Kevin’s front tooth until we made a full stop at the next intersection. At that point everyone had a new greater respect for Steve Cope. They now know that he will do anything to win. If you listen close enough when you ride next to Steve you can hear him Growl if your tire inches ahead of his. The riders continued their ride with periodic attacks on each hill. Each of these attacks splintered the group more and more. On one of the longer flatter stretches Brian was riding no handed at 20 mph so that he could reach into his pouch and retrieve a granola bar. Riding along no handed he offered part of the granola bar to Kevin. Then he stopped, pondered what he had just suggested, and announced I guess you better not, your teeth might not be able to chew this with out breaking. Kevin confirmed that his teeth are old and week just as the rest of him is.
Again the Peleton had great fun with this latest revelation.

The riders found themselves on the road that parallels Jordan Lake on Farrington road. A nice smooth stretch of road that could take the group in many directions. We planned to turn back towards 751 at Martha Chapel road. At this intersection Kevin had to stop and wipe his face. He was going into shock from the traumatic blow he had received earlier form Steve Cope. Kevin down played this life threatening development and told everyone he was Bonking. He provided the rest of the directions to the group and told them he would short cut back and that they should not worry about him. David Bridenbaugh new the route well and was elected the new ride leader. Everyone was off with a quick wave to Kevin. They never looked back to see him stagger back onto his bike and wobble down the rode.

Every 10 minutes Kevin had to get off his bike and recover. On a couple of occasions he almost passed out before he stopped to recover. At the corner of Green level and Green Level Church, Kevin was recovering along side the road as Steve Sparano and Ernest caught him. They stopped long enough to offer some water and to announce that Steve Cope, David Bridenbaugh and Brian had left them in the dust. Ernest shared the fact that he was trying to draft the three and was riding at 27mph at the time. This was a personal best for Ernest and he held on as long as he could but they still left him as if he was standing still. After this brief interchange, Kevin told them to go on and that he was OK. Off Steve and Ernest rode as Kevin continued to struggle for life. Cramps in both calves, both thighs, eyes rolling into the back of his head, water bottles empty, Kevin pressed on. On occasion he discovered that he had temporarily passed out, only to recover consciousness long enough to return to the right side of the road. On he struggled. Normally Kevin spins the peddles at 95 -110 rpms. Today on this last section of the ride Kevin was turning the cranks at about 40 rpm.

ALL made it to the end of the ride with smiles and more stories to tell. We learned that David had set a blistering pace once they dumped Kevin on the side of the rode. He pulled non stop at 27 + mph up to the bottom of the hill where we turn left onto Roberts road. We are told that he lost it all there. He turned all white and fell completely off the pace. Steve Cope and Brian had to encourage him to ride on.

We learned a great deal on this ride.
Ernest is quiet but calculated
Steve Sparano rides smooth and never complains
David likes to ride until he pukes.
Kevin Bonks early, and often.
The Smell the Roses riders always have a great ride.

PS. Kevin Smit has had to travel to Indiana were he is undergoing reconstructive surgery for the damage done by Steve Cope.

Write up provided by the Bed Ridden Kevin Smit. The Smits will not be able to ride Saturday or Sunday do to the long recovery period imposed on Kevin by the team of doctors and specialists that did the best they could considering what they had to work with.

Next Saturday and Sunday rides (Aug. 12-13) will be led by Steve and Carolyn Sparano.

Send get well cards to Kevin Smit: Any and all donations will be accepted to help pay for the many medical bills ( Kevin is self employed, and has no life or heath insurance).

August 12th and 13th Ride Recaps

Aug. 12th Saturday MTB Ride Recap:
Saturday MTB Ride: Left at 8:30 from the Sparano’s house. Ernest, Carolyn and Steve S. met and rode the Umstead State Park roads. We had some very light drizzle but nothing to affect our ride. We did the loop counter-clockwise and added the extra lake do-loop as well as a little bonus: Ernest and I turned left at the 2nd Cedar Ridge left turn and ended up back on the main road, turned left onto the main road and re-rode that portion to add a little extra mileage. It ended up being a great ride, nice cool fall weather…in August.

Editor’s Note: This recap will be much shorter than normal since the ride leader (me) did not exactly “lead” the ride and besides, I don’t possess Kevin’s gift of gab or as other would say, diarrhea of the mouth. ; )

August 13th Sunday Road Ride Recap:
Steve “The Hammer” (Cope)
John “I was first to the bottom of the hill, take that” Majikes (more on that later…)
David “Don’t Make me open this can of whoop ass” Bridenbaugh
Bryan “Are there any bigger hills, these seem small?”
Andy “Do we go left or right here?”
Coach “I have two gears, Big and Giant” (Dotson)
Steve “It’s a CLASSIC” (Sparano)
Carolyn “I’m never following Jae again into traffic” (Sparano)
Jae “Was that my fault?” Brainard
And Beth and her husband who joined up with the Smell the Roses team early in their ride.

The group assembled at about 7:15 and was met with some cool morning temperatures that prompted the emergence of “arm-warmers” and undershirts – unheard of in August in NC.

It was a great morning and we all thought the ride would be an uneventful one. Well, it started uneventful enough, that is, until Cope (The Hammer), frustrated that his arch nemesis (Kevin Smit) was not present, walked up to the first stranger he saw at Bruegger’s and punched them in the mouth and knocked their tooth out. With that out of his system Cope now felt relieved and back on his game and was ready to ride. The rest of the riders could now relax knowing that they would not be on the receiving end, and so we all headed out. (Remember no embellishment or non-truths are allowed.)

We headed up into the Preston neighborhoods, and out west toward Upchuck hill. That’s when it all went downhill, figuratively and literally. Cope surged out front on the initial descent and turned around and looked for a challenger. No one seemed to want to take him on. Then he let everyone know that Kevin had put up $10 to the first rider to win the first challenge (given that Kevin was not on the ride, there were suggestions that Kevin should put up more to make it more interesting, like $20 , which the group quickly agreed to). Most of the group, who were still waking up weren’t sure what to make of this brazen challenge…all but one. Majikes struck out from the middle of pack like man possessed and caught and passed Steve Cope raising his arms in victory for taking on a strong rider and beating him….to the bottom of the hill. It was at the bottom of the hill that Cope yelled out, “Kevin’s paying $20 for the first one to the top of the hill, not the bottom”. Majikes still believes he needs to collect from Kevin. All debts must be settled before next ride.

After Majikes finished cranking up the rest of Upchuck hill, still wondering what went wrong, we continued on straight for a good steady ride. The group rode the longer route as has been done the last 2 weeks or so. We headed out west and after some directionally challenged riders were set straight, the group ended up sticking together for the most part until we came up to the right turn from Farrington onto Martha’s Chapel Road. A few straggler’s came up so that the riders could re-group and Bryan assured the group in back that the front group was not “waiting” for the group in back, rather the group in front was simply “recovering.” Nice! Steve S. let Steve Cope know that Ernest had broken away and had gone on a slightly different route so that he could add some miles to his trip and the group moved on. Steve S. told Steve C. to go on ahead since the back group (not slower, just the group in the back) would be able to get in just fine.

This then set off a chain of testosterone-laden events that would make Floyd Landis proud. The events that transpired were not witnessed by anyone other than the group itself, and so it was agreed that what happens out on the road, stays out on the road. Rumors however circulated that riders once considered strong were dropped “like a bad habit.” Only rumor at this point…

The back group however rode in the rest of the way taking the ever-so-slight Beaver Dam diversion a.k.a. the Larry Wu cutoff, see earlier posts on this subject and finished up strong.

Back at Bruegger’s, the group decided that the weather and riding was some of the best we’ve had in a long time and that fall can’t get here soon enough.

Smell the Roses Ride:
Carolyn and Jae took off from Bruegger’s and met up with Beth and her husband on the ride. This group was hoping not to re-create the “Traffic Incident” that was witnessed the week before, but apparently, a similar event did occur. Other than that, the group had a great ride and clocked in with 35 miles. Not sure what the actual average speed was, but it was possibly faster than the “group in back”, however there is no evidence to support this theory. (To reiterate, the group in back was not slow, they were just in the back.) This mileage was possibly the longest this group has gone which shows the rides are paying off.

Next rides are:
Saturday August 19th:
I will be out of town on Saturday, so please check with Kevin or Theresa about a MTB start at 10 am from the Smits’ house. The Smits’ house is located at 103 Tasman Court Cary, NC 27513

Sunday ride August 20th
Early assemble between 7 am and 7:30am with the riders off at 7:30. Assemble at Corner of High house and Cary Parkway in the Bruegger’s Bagel parking lot.