Monday, September 17, 2007
Kevin and Theresa were joined by Kristine Harkness for this days ride.
The group reminisced about their experience and great weekend during the MS150.
Kevin and Theresa rode with the Hibernian team and Kristine rode for the Carolina Brewery team at the MS 150.
This days ride was relaxed, with cool temperatures, light winds, and a relaxed pace.
The group rode the 32 mile route taking them past the farm where the 60+ foot boat was being refurbished. Kevin asked when the boat would be sea worthy and was informed that they expect to have it ready by Christmas.
The group of three road strong all the way to Ferrington Road near Lake Jordan. They then elected to turn left and then left again on Horton pond. Theresa was beginning to suffer from lower back pain and Kristine needed to take a bio break. The group slowed and stopped in a shaded area. Theresa stretched her back and Kristine headed for the woods to relieve her bladder. The ride was at the half way point. Kevin and Kristine mounted their bikes with Theresa slowly falling in behind. Theresa struggled to finish the ride and stay at the earlier established pace. Kevin and Kristine rode on keeping Theresa in view. At each turn Kevin and Kristine waited with Kevin circling back to see Theresa’s progress. Once at the corner of Old Jenks and Wimberly Kevin and Kristine made stronger progress towards the finish of the days ride. They did not look back or wait for Theresa from this point on. Once back at the start Kevin and Kristine put away their bikes and prepared for a short visit to Brugers for coffee and nutrition. Theresa was not far behind and was ready at about the same time. Kristine was planning to visit BUG FEST later that morning, Kevin had properties to show, and Theresa had work to accomplish so we did not linger long at Brugers.
Sunday Sept 16th.
Kevin, Theresa and Carolyn Sparano all road together to the start of the days ride. They were then joined by
Steve Cope driving up with the top down on his Yellow Thing.
He complained about the cold. DUH. Steve elected to ride today on his classic Vitas.
We then were joined by Sara Powell. She had been missing for most of the season.
She claimed she had no excuses, just didn’t ride.
Then David Bridenbaugh arrived on his bike ready to go.
The group finished pumping tires, dawning helmets and sunglasses, put on shoes and gloves. Carolyn was pacing on her bike in the parking lot anxiously awaiting those of us who are less competitive.
The pack was off close to 8 am with Steve Cope in the lead. Typical chit chat filled the early miles on the ride. We learned that David was selling and supporting uninterruptible power supplies with his brothers company. Steve was traveling a lot for work. Kevin was planning another trip out of the country. He is being sent to Yap and Truck Lagoon for 2 weeks of diving. This trip is being subsidized by resorts in that area that want Kevin to experience their accommodations and dive operations with the hope that he then brings others to those sites in the future. ANY ONE READY to DIVE Exotic Places?
The smell the Roses Group fell off the pace at the usual crossing from Preston Woods and Davis Drive. Steve set the pace with Kevin and David drafting as best they could.
As you may recall Steve’s profile leaves a great deal to be desired for those trying to draft. On they rode slowly picking up the pace. They were moving slower than normal holding a 13 mph pace early in this ride. Steve’s bike was making lots of pinging sounds as his spokes were trying to tell him that they were old like him. This small pack then rolled across 55 and onto Fire Station Church Road they road single file past all the new construction. Left turn onto Yates store had each rider preparing for the attack on upchuck. Kevin being the heaviest was fastest down the hill followed by Steve Cope who loves to draft the fat man. David was off to the left and aligning himself for the line he wanted to take down the hill and then up the short steep climb. None of these riders attacked. All three rode to complete the task rather than to dominate the hill or to fend off anyone who might attack. Right turn at the top of the hill had all three riders recovered and ready to pick up the pace. Chit Chat continued as the group road along the recently patched roads of Mount Pisgah Church road. Up the rolling hills again with no one attacking. Left turn at the top of the last hill had the group riding easy towards Leweter Shop road. About ¼ mile shy of the right turn onto Leweter Shop road there was a loud snap and claing. Everyone looked around to see what they had run over. Kevin did not look. He felt the explosion as it happened through the carbon fiber frame of this light weight bike. Kevin recognizing the sound and sensation looked at his rear wheel to see how out of true it was do to a broken spoke. Kevin’s wheels are light weight with radial configured light weight bladed spokes. With limited spokes under high tension the result of one missing deforms the rim to such a degree it will not turn without rubbing on the chain stays. Kevin pulled up to a full stop. David rode back to retrieve the exploded component. Steve laughed and laughed and laughed. “If you were not so fat your bike might perform better”. “This is what you get for buying your bike at Kmart”. “It is only 12 miles back to the start so you better get walking now”. “I would take off my cleats if I was you so you don’t ruin them on your long walk home”. Kevin could only smile and nod his head. No point in trying to provide any counter points. Kevin asked if anyone had a spoke wrench that might help me true the wheel enough to limp home. “I only carry a sew up” Steve said with a smile. David emptied his tool kit bag to no avail. “walk to the corner where other bikers are going by and ask them” Steve said in between chuckling over Kevin’s situation. Kevin informed the group that he will work to solve the problem and that he has a cell phone to call Theresa if no one riding by can help.
Waving goodbye the two riders were heard laughing and carrying on about how glad they were to have purchased their bikes from a bike store. Kevin walked the ¼ mile in the grass to protect his cleats. Once at the corner he began asking each rider if they had a spoke wrench or pliers. No one carries tools. Kevin had several inform him that they only carry a cell phone. Kevin placed a call to Theresa suspecting she left her phone in the car. As he began to leave a detailed message he noticed a group of riders approaching from the same route he had just ridden. Upon further investigation he was convinced it was the Smell the Roses riders slowly approaching. Sure enough it was the Ladies. “What happened, are you OK” they all asked. Clearly the Smell the Roses Riders are a kindler gentler group. They elected to shorten their ride in order to rescue Kevin from his dilemma. Kevin continued to ask passing riders for the proper tools to solve his problem. He then saw a large group of riders headed his way. He was pleasantly surprised to recognize them as members of Scout troop 212. Some of the riders in this group had recently taken Scuba Lessons from Kevin. No tools to get the job done from this group either. Just about then Steve and David were doubling back after having made their way to Lake Jordan and back. Steve surmised that Kevin had no success in getting anyone to help him. “Looks like you can’t get anyone to help you. I bet you could not sell Lemonade from your Lemonade stand as a kid.” He gleefully announced. Before Kevin could respond they noticed a lone rider talking on a cell phone while trying to make speed down the road. As the rider approached all three recognized the rider to be Tim Travitz. Tim was a rider the group tried to help early in the season. He has since joined the group on many of their rides. Tim slowed and announced he was riding to try and find us. He had slept in that morning so he rode our regular rout backwards in hopes of hooking up. Tim was quickly pulled into the banter and agreed with Steve that Kevin should not have purchased his bike from Kmart. The group now with Tim in tow headed for the end. As they worked to clip in they waved and said good luck, maybe we will see you there next Saturday as we ride by.
Kevin continued to solicit assistance to no avail. Kevin estimated that it would take the Ladies about an hour to get to the cars and then 20 minutes to drive back. Within 20 minutes Tim was back with his car and some tools to see if they would to the trick. Tim lives very close to the ride route and pulled off early to see if he could come back to help.
Kevin used a pair of pliers to see if he could loosen some spokes to help true the wheel. He was skeptical since the spokes were under a great deal of tension, and the spokes were made of soft aluminum. The risk for marring the spokes was high. Kevin quickly gave up the idea as he quickly validated his concerns. Kevin thanked Tim for trying to help and they said their good-bys. About 1 hour later Theresa and Carolyn arrived with the van. Kevin loaded his bike and finished his ride driving the vehicle to Brugers were they joined Steve Cope to enjoy coffee and a bagel sandwich.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
The Hotel allowed Bikes in the room, so Kevin could sleep with his new bike. The Smits and Sparano’s loaded their cars Friday afternoon and by 4:30 pm they were on the way to New Bern. The drive was smooth with the caravan arriving at the hotel about 6:30. A speedy check in process exchanging the previous room reservation from a Kathy Blum to the Smit’s. You will learn that Kathy Blum turned out to be a significant contact for that weekend. A short trip from the car to the room several times had all the gear, bikes, and clothing strategically stashed. Kevin brought two bikes and considered a third depending on what the weather might do. Great to have choices. Team T-Shirts were dawned and off to registration and then the team tent for an all you can eat BBQ. The volunteers at registration worked effectively to move everyone through the process. The organizers had thought of everything including providing a Notary of Public Service. We learned that anyone under age needed not just their parents signature but also had to have the form Notarized. Once through registration the group headed to the team tent to find that they were the last group to go through the line. The tent was empty except for the sponsors and these two last families. Kevin filled his plate twice with Mashed Potatoes, Pulled Pig, vegetables, and a salad. He was starting to get concerned about the distance he was planning to ride and the guaranteed Bonk that always accompanies rides over 35 miles. The MS 150 offers 3 choices of distance on each of the two days of riding.
Riders can choose to ride 35, 75, or 100 miles each day. The Sparanos had already committed to riding with their kids on the 35 mile route, with Theresa agreeing to join them. Kevin was not committed to any distance yet and wanted to see if the routes allowed for a last minute decision. Once the meal was completed the group took a slow walk around the camping area which is also were the ride starts and ends. The sky was clear, the wind light, the temp cool, and the smell and sound of the salt water slapping the banks on the edge of the park put all into a mellow content state of mind.
Off to bed to make sure we had a good night rest. Kevin spent about an hour planning for the next day. He laid out is team jersey and attached the participant number to the back.
The number was arranged so it did not interfere with the pockets. Kevin then placed his cell phone in a zip lock baggie. He also placed his iPod in a Zip Lock baggie. This protects those devices from moisture due to rain or worse Kevin’s corrosive perspiration.
Kevin then made his choice of what pair of riding shorts he would use on day one. Does he go for comfort, or does he go for lots of extra padding. He chose comfort and picked the shorts with the thinnest padded chamois area. Kevin then reviewed each of the routes cue sheets to see if they start out together and where they split. He was hoping to see that they had allowed for those on the 35 mile ride to decide late in the route about extending it to 75, and the same for those committed to 75 to see if they can decide late on their route to extend to 100. Bummer. The 35 and 75 and 100 all ride together for about 3 miles only. Have to determine way too early in the ride if one is to do the 35 or some other distance. Too early to judge energy level, heat impact, potential cramps, back aches. Kevin then folded each cue sheet and placed them also in a Zip Lock bag. He was still non comitial on the distance so had each just in case. Kevin did decide that if he was to rely on the cue sheets he would need to get the sunglasses from the car that have a bifocal lens for reading. Next he laid out the pair of socks he would wear along with the shoes that fit the bike he would ride. Kevin had been watching the weather report ever since they returned to the room. He needed to know if there was any chance of rain. If there was a call for rain he would ride his old classic Jeffery Bock. If no rain in the forecast he was ready to bring out the new SCOTT. He had decided to ride the SCOTT.
Kevin then put a wash cloth in the Jersey pocket to help him remove that caustic sweat that runs down his forehead and into his eyes. It rains heavily in Kevin’s helmet and he needs methods to remove that periodically. Kevin then placed a granola bar and a power bar in the pockets of the team jersey. These are for backup nutritional needs only, in case he decides to do more than 35 miles. Lastly Kevin pulled out two water bottles and proceeded to mix the exact amount of Accelerade powder with water into the water bottles. This also was done in case Kevin elected to ride more than 35 miles. He then slid the water bottles filled with this new blue foamy substance into the cages on his bike.
He slid his bike computer into its slot on the handle bar making sure he had reset the computer. This allows for an accurate reading for the next days ride, providing speed, distance, maximum speed, average speed, cadence in revolutions per minute of the peddles, and time in the saddle. As Kevin slid under the covers he laid his heart rate monitor on top of his jersey ensuring that it will be affixed to his chest prior to pulling the jersey over his head.
In the mean time Theresa had immediately put her pj’s on climbed into bed and was well into full REM cycled sleep.
Kevin could rest well knowing that he had staged and prepared for most of what needed to be done to ensure a smooth start the next day.
Saturday Sept 8th first ride day of the weekend.
Breakfast was being offered at the start finish line starting at 6:30 am.
The team picture was scheduled for 7:55 am.
The line up at the start line by distance and pace was to be completed so that the fastest riders would be launched at 8:30 am, and then every 5 to 10 minutes later the next group would be set onto the coarse with the 35 mile group all to be released at once as the last group to cross the start line.
Theresa and Kevin had set the alarm for 6 am. Plenty of time to dress and have a leisurely breakfast of coffee, bagels, banana, and pastries. They also planned to take their bike shoes, helmet, and bikes down early and stage them in the car. This would reduce the crunch that would likely happen as all the bikers headed down the elevator with bikes to get to the start. Before heading out Theresa tried to accomplish in 15 minutes what Kevin had done the night before in preparation for the days ride. Theresa searched for her bike computer and struggled trying to put it on the bike. After a short period she asked Kevin to see if he could get it on the bike. Kevin took the computer and moved it from his second bike to Theresa’s. Yes they look alike. Theresa then filled her water bottle and put it in the bike cage. Theresa was looking for her jersey, then for the safety pins to put on her number. Her first attempt had her redoing the placement of the number so it would not interfere with the jersey’s pockets. She then searched for her sunglasses.
Helmets and gloves were then located and Theresa was now ready to move the bike and gear to the car. The Sparano’s had suggested we all do our own thing in the morning and meet at the team picture. After staging the bikes and gear in their car Kevin and Theresa consumed several small cups of coffee along with items listed above. Kevin had taken a dose of Alive to reduce the back pain he typically deals with, and spent much of the early morning stretching, which also helps with the back pain. He is getting very old and may need to be put down soon. Theresa was busy socializing with any and all who went buy. Kevin was still in deep contemplation of what he planned to do for that days ride.
The Sparanos showed up and had a light breakfast at the same table were Kevin and Theresa had set up. Lots of high energy was already pouring from this group. Steve was busy taking pictures and egging on the kids. The team picture was late due to other teams taking longer for theirs. The Hibernian team had grown to 112 members, and was one of the largest teams in attendance. We all squeezed together as best we could to make for a great team picture.
The Sparano’s had their bikes and were ready to move to their place in line for the start. Kevin and Theresa had no plans to start with the pack. They planed to ride from their car out the drive way and join the ride ½ block from the start as the riders traveled past. To the room they went for last minute items and a final bathroom break. Kevin was first into the bathroom and was soon waiting to leave the room. Theresa was found looking for the days ride cue sheets, and reviewing in her head to consider what was ready and what was yet to be accomplished for the ride. 8:45 am and they were still in the room. The start of the ride had already taken place and several groups had been released to the roads. Finally the Smit’s ride the elevator to the parking lot to retrieve their bikes and other staged items. Kevin had helmet on shoes on and had straddled the bike when Theresa said. Where is my water bottle “I know I put it on my bike”. Sure enough it was not in the cage on her bike. Off to the room she went in search of the missing water bottle. Kevin continued to straddle the bike while holding Theresa’s as several hundred bikes slowly picked up speed as they rode past. Kevin saw at least 3 separate pace groups be released during the time it took for Theresa to find the water bottle. It was right where she left it in the water bottle cage on Kevin’s second bike still in the room.
Finally the two were off to join the riders. Kevin and Theresa planned to ride together for as long as the routes were conjoined. Just starting to warm up and enjoy the ride with Theresa 2 ½ miles into the ride the 35 mile route continued on straight and the 75/100 mile routes took the clover leave down, around and onto 70 east. It was apparent at that point that none of the 35 mile riders had yet been relased to the road. So Theresa and Kevin said good by, have a great ride. Theresa then pulled over and waited for the Sparano’s.
Kevin was still grappling with the distance he was going to attempt. He had already made a commitment to not do the 35 miles. To date this year his longest ride was 50 miles with a serious bonk happening at the 35 mile mark. Knowing this Kevin put together a survival strategy.
Draft any one who is going a comfortable pace.
Keep the heart Rate below 120
If heart rate goes over 120 shift or slow down to bring it back
Keep Cadence between 85 and 95 rpms.
Drink and drink and drink
Stop at every rest stop to fill water bottles and eat one or two small items.
Kevin now had a plan and all the tools to monitor the progress of his plan.
Once onto 70east the bikers rode across the bridge up and over the bay. Police and Highway patrol did a great job of holding off the weekend traffic while bikers dominated the roads early on this ride. Head wind was very evident each time Kevin tried to jump the gap from rider to rider. He found it interesting that for several miles early in the ride he would be past and then pass the same riders over and over again. Kevin maintained a steady cadence and heart rate. This also translated to a fairly steady speed. The speed was dictated more by the amount of head wind or the pace of the individual he was drafting. The roads were a combination of smooth black top and old rough hard-pack,
few obstacles or holes and no shoulder. Kevin found a small pack of cyclists that were working well together. The group was made up of individuals from several teams. Oddly enough the group was very social and did not have a competitive spirit, more a spirit of Great to be here and lets work together to have fun. Mile 15.4 first rest stop. Kevin’s first priority was to empty his bladder, this was a signal that he had done a good job of hydrating prior to the start of the ride and that he was not over exerting himself. Next mission was to fill water bottle, then find simple easy items to eat. Kevin did not want to spend more then a few minutes at this stop. Stopping for too long stiffens up the muscles and makes it more challenging to get going again in the saddle. After a half of a banana, and a fig bar, Kevin looked around to see if he saw anyone from the group ready to mount the bikes. Seeing no one he made the decision to head out before any further delay. This found him riding solo. On the horizon the riders were far more strung out than prior to the rest stop. Glancing back the rest stop was looking like a clogged artery. Bikes laying on the ground, resting against trees, some bikers walking with their bikes as if in fear of losing them. More bikers approaching and stopping at the rest stop than leaving for the next leg of the ride. Kevin focused on monitoring all systems. His heart rate, his cadence, his speed, the average speed. The head wind was always there. Kevin fought the erg to speed up to try and get this section over with. Steady wins the race. Kevin slowly reeled in one rider after another making a decision to draft or slide on past.
This leap frog approach helped him jump the gaps while maintaining his stated goal to keep all systems in check. Soon he saw a team of two up ahead working efficiently. Making an extra effort that took him out of the target zones Kevin attacked the next gap to see if he could benefit from this organized team of two. Within a few minute Kevin found himself riding tight on the wheels of a couple who he found riding at a reasonable pace of 18 – 19 miles per hour. He was able to draft them and keep systems he was monitoring in check. This team of two took turns pulling against the wind and did not consider Kevin’s wheel sucking as an issue. They did not talk so Kevin did not break the silence. He wanted to ask the question “what distance are you planning to ride?”. Ideally they were planning to do the 100 mile route. This would mean Kevin could darft and potentially survive this stellar, yet decided goal. How to determine their intent? Then it occurred to Kevin. Wait to see what colored cue sheet they use to determine the next turn. The Orange one is for the 75 miles and the Gold/Yellow one is for the 100 mile. But wait we are all on the same path at this point. No need to review the cue sheet just follow the person in the distance. Looking around Kevin noticed a Yellow Glow from the white Jersey of the team members. OK. He might be in luck if he chooses to try the 100 miles, just don’t let this team get away. As a team this group zoomed by rider after rider most of whom were battling the head winds on their own. Each time they encountered another organized draft line the team fell inline for a brief period and then slid out left and walked away. It appeared that the team of two Kevin had latched on to had a mission to maintain a specific pace and would not fall below that. Fine with Kevin as long as he maintained his systems of HR under 120 and cadence between 85 and 95. Mile 26.7 The 75 milers and100 milers still on the same route when rest stop #2 appeared. Kevin was not sure if this team would stop and if they did for how long. Kevin did not want to work to find another solid group to draft off of. Rest Stop 2 was the one sponsored by Hibernian the Team Kevin and Theresa were members of. Kevin had to stop no matter what just to show support. This time the mission was water, half of a banana and two dinner roles with jelly. Very short stop had Kevin ready to ride long before his draft buddies were. This left Kevin with the realization that he again had to search for the next draft opportunity. Again he found himself pushing against the head wind. Again Kevin saw only individual riders in the distance all working solo to make the next revolution of the peddle. No great prospects for drafting. Suddenly only after 3 miles a pivotal decision must be made. The orange arrow pointed right the yellow arrow pointed left. No time to analyze, no time to see who was turning what direction. Kevin Quickly checked all systems. Was his heart rate OK, his cadence, how did he feel? Any cramps? How was his back? Was the iPod still filling his ears with music at soft soothing background levels? Right or Left? No time to think. Left leg up lean left Kevin found himself suddenly committed to the Yellow 100 mile route after only 29 miles of riding. When does he normally Bonk? 35 miles you say. Wow a long day is about to unfold. Realizing what just happened Kevin again took stock of all systems. Just like the Apollo missions he checked and double checked the systems as if the first reading was incorrect. All systems GO. At least for now.
Looking ahead Kevin saw even fewer riders dotting the horizon in front of him. Solo again and for longer stretches before finding any one who he maybe able to draft. Kevin rode on trying to draft several riders only to discover they were riding too slow and actually made his ride less than ideal. Somehow the Heart Rate and Cadence Kevin had chosen to follow also was proving to be the easiest to sustain. Slower was more difficult and faster was comfortable but slowly pushed the heart rate beyond 130 beats per minute. He did hook up with two riders who seemed to be riding fairly steady and at the 17 mph pace. The two were very friendly and carried on a conversation making the miles slide by. Kevin took his turn pulling after having drafted for several minutes. His spot at the front became the norm for the rest of the ride with this group. They were planning to accomplish 100 miles and were already starting to falter until Kevin took the lead. The group slowly built speeds up toward 19 miles per hour. This was sustained for awhile until the pace reached 20 – 21 mph. This splintered the group with one saying he could not remain in the pace line if it goes over 16 mph. The pace was reduced to keep the group together. Mile 40 found the group slowing for a 3rd rest stop. Kevin dismounted his bike and laid it in the shade of a large tree. The sun was starting to cook. A bathroom break was needed. Hydration was still being accomplished well by Kevin. Water bottles filled with ice and fresh water, half a banana, and a fig bar. Kevin elected to spend a little extra time at this stop, taking his helmet and gloves of to help cool himself and to wipe the sweat away. The shade felt good. Some of the folks stopping knew the two gentlemen that Kevin had been riding with on this last leg. Suddenly a large group of riders from team Hibernian slowed to spend time at the rest stop. Kevin estimated close to 30 cyclists in the Hibernian group. This will be his next group to hook up with. Kevin explained to the group he last rode with that he planed to take off with Hibernian and they should consider joining in. They thanked him but told him again they plan to ride more at a 15 to 16 mph pace and could not sustain the speeds Kevin had been setting for them during his pull. They then mounted their bikes and said their good bys. The told Kevin they expected to see him again as he and his new group would zoom on by. Kevin watched the new group of riders to determine how long before they started to move towards their bikes. A group this large is hard to manage and usually splinters as some are ready to ride before others are. One last guzzle of water. Back to the support tent to top off the water bottle. Wipe the sweat one more time. Helmet and gloves on. Grab the bike. Perfect timing as the Hibernian riders began assembling to mount their bikes. Kevin watched two take of fast, then a smaller group was observed wobbling as they worked to clip shoes into peddles. Kevin was already headed down the road somewhere between the two that took off early and the group still wobbling to secure shoes in peddles. Kevin elected to ride slow allowing the larger group to close the gap. He then slid into the draft line near the front. Several strong riders took turns pulling from the front. From his advantage point Kevin realized that the first 5 or 6 riders were the one taking turns at the pull, the rest of the pack had no plan to move into any of those first 5 to 7 slots. Kevin found himself slowly being moved to the pull position as those in front did their turn and then fell off to allow the next to take a crack at it. Kevin pulled for his share just as one of the riders said “ You like the font?”. “Others will do their turn”. She then zoomed on past Kevin to take command of the pace line. Hmmm. Aggressive, or just helpful. Kevin did not know how to deal with that so he fell in right behind her. “Do you ride as a group often?” Kevin asked. “Only once in a while”, she responded. “We all live in different areas and only ride together on organized rides”. “The group is a good one” she explained. “Everyone is willing to take their turn at the front”. Kevin learned through additional chit chat that her name was Kathy and her sister had come down from Pittsburg to do the ride. In fact this was her sister’s first bike ride of the year. So we learned that one of the ride leaders of this draft line was on a rented bike and had not ridden at all this year but was 40 miles into a 100 mile ride pulling 30 other riders along at an 18 mile per hour pace with a constant head wind. This rider had made an early commitment to 100 miles while Kevin did not know if he was ready for 35 miles at the start of the ride. The group did a great job staying together as the front 6 or 7 riders would take turns at the pull. This well organized draft line swallowed up other riders one after another. Some elected to jump on the rear and hold on as best they could. The group Kevin had been riding with prior to Hibernian were caught and elected to be assimilated as part of the ever growing peloton. One of the younger female riders took the lead and immediate the pace jumped to 22 – 23 miles per hour. The group splintered as if some one slashed their tires. Kevin saw this unfold in his mirror and informed the lead rider of what was taking place behind us. She announced that she did not have a computer and had no way to gauge her speed. So Kevin became the voice of he speedometer periodically informing the rider of current speed. She eventually slowed the pace to 19 miles per hour as they climbed on of the few hills along the county side. Soon shouts from the pack to slow done made their way to the front riders. Time to replace the lead rider with one who had a speedometer. Kevin slid back into the lead and managed the pace line allowing those that had splintered to regroup. From that point on Kevin pulled at a pace that kept the group together and still manage 17 to 18 miles per hour pace. Mile 54 found the group stopping at the next rest stop. No shade along the road. Kevin laid his bike just off the edge of the road in a narrow ravine. Water was the priority. The volunteers informed Kevin that Lunch was behind the church. With water bottle in hand Kevin found himself serving up rice, black beans, a turkey sandwich and salad. Finding shade he sat in the grass and slowly consumed the warm tasty lunch. None of the Hibernian team was in sight. Kevin learned that the 75 mile route and 100 mile route had converged just prior to this rest stop. They were at mile 38 while the 100 mile riders were at mile 54. With helmet and gloves off Kevin worked to cool himself and wipe the sweat of his forehead. Lunch completed he again filled water bottles that he had continued to drink from even during the lunch break. Fresh water new ice, helmet back on gloves in place Kevin made way to his bike. Oddly as he reached for his bike those that had been riding in the draft line suddenly began to gather. It was as if they were watching to see when he was ready to head out again. By the time he had pulled his bike out of the ravine and swung his leg over the top tube other bikers from the Hibernian team and those who had been assimilated were lining up in the same daft line configuration as before the stop. Off he and the other 5 or 6 leaders started. “Go slow for awhile” Kathy ordered. “Lets keep the group together” she announced. Kevin followed orders and watched his mirror as the draft line, looking and acting like a slinky, stretched and contracted until finally all riders were aligned with little gap between them and the biker ahead. From this point on Kevin remained at the pull position. He was able to keep the pack together with the input and directions from Kathy who kept an Eagle eye on what was unfolding as the pack ran down the highways and byways of the New Bern area. Mile 86 had the Hibernian peleton slowing down long enough to fill water bottles, grab a frozen ice cycle, ( frozen colored water in a bag ), and head back out on the road. As the team climbed onto their bikes a vote was take to stop or NOT at the last rest stop which was only another 6 miles down the road. The vote was NO. So the peleton had spoken the pace was quickened and the communications reduced. Now they could hear the hum of skinny tires rotating at 20 miles per hour and an occasional whir from a rear cluster as one of the riders would coast for a brief moment. Wind was now finally moving into position at the rider’s backs. Up from within the ranks a rider’s comment was relayed. “I bet we have a strong tail wind going over the bridge”. As if in a chorus line, the person in front of the relayed message, head bobbed up and down in agreement and in hope that the comment was seeing into the future. Sure enough the tail wind spanked the riders on as if it was a jockey spurring on their steady steed towards the last leg of the Preakness. Up over the bridge still riding within everyone’s limits at 20 miles and hour. Coasting down on the other side with a smooth sweeping right hand curve found them back onto the streets of New Burn. The Hibernian team now transforming from a draft line into a mob. With the right lane fully consumed by bikers wearing their distinctive Hibernian team jersey’s cars would honk, drivers would wave in support of and their approval of the efforts the bikers had committed to. Riders moved from their streamline positions low on the handle bars to a more up right, chest out, head held high stature. Smiles replaced the serious looks that had dominated the days ride. The pace slowed to enjoy the last moments of a great days ride. Suddenly the pack found themselves turning left into the park and across the finish line with the sound of the announcer proudly proclaiming the arrival of the Hibernian team. Just then Kevin’s cell phone began to ring. Somehow he knew it was Theresa who suspected when Kevin was not back in the room two hours earlier he had decided to do the 100 vs 75 mile ride. Kevin pulled over to try and answer the phone only to notice that all the team members were already on their cell phones letting someone at the other end know how great of a ride they just had and how proud they were to have ridden not just 100 miles but to have done it for such a great cause. A few high fives and lots of waves and acknowledging head nods was all that was needed for each rider to tell the other thanks. As if a strong wind just blew on a dandelion the riders all scattered towards their next destination. Tent or hotel or car to return bike, helmet, and shoes to their well deserved resting spots. Shower, dry clean cloths, and refreshment were not far away.
Kevin and Theresa found themselves working their way down to the evening’s planned festivities around 7:30. The food provided to the riders was excellent. Salad, pasta, jambalaya, and deserts. They also had all the beer your could reasonably consume. YES!
Kevin the Theresa milled about and ran into a couple of other bikers and friends they knew. First to be discovered were Janet Craig and her husband. They then ran into Kristine Harkness. The Sparano’s joined Kevin and Theresa at a table to eat and relax wile listening to the evenings entertainment and awards. They learned that team Hibernian was the second largest team there and only missed being number one by about 3 team members. Team Hibernian did win first place for best volunteer supported rest stop. Team Hibernian was also at the time the number one fund raising team. As of this report the team is still working to retain that position. The fund raising continues until Oct 2nd, so if you are reading this and have not pledged yet to the MS 150 follow this link to commit a level of support to the cause.
Click here to visit my personal page.If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:http://www.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=3645587&pg=personal&fr_id=5520&s_tafId=66726
As the evening unfolded the Smit’s and Sparano’s joined other Hibernian team members to share stories of the days ride and to talk about future adventures. Theresa met Kathy who had been bossing Kevin around all that day. A woman Theresa can relate to, they quickly created a new friendship. Theresa and Kathy exchanged emails and phone numbers in hopes that they could ride together in the future and also to plan new techniques to continue to direct Kevin’s future activities. They clearly like being in charge. The evening continued on with lots of great entertainment. The organizers announced that the tropical storm Gabriel maybe impacting the campers that evening and likely with impact the next day’s rides with heavy rain had strong 40+ mph winds. They said they would make a decision by 6 am as to what they would do regarding the routes for the next day. Kevin and Theresa said goodnight to all and headed to the room to watch the weather and prepare for the next days ride. Theresa was entering the contact information into her cell phone when she realized that the Kathy who had been bossing Kevin around all day was the Kathy Blum who gave up her room that Kevin and Theresa were now enjoying. This was like a Twilight Zone moment. DODO DO DODO DO. A small world indeed. What are the odds that in all the riders and the various route choices and varied paces that Kevin and the person who gave up their room to him and Theresa would end up riding more than half the days ride together.
6 am Kevin looks out the window. Through the faint light of the early morning Sail boats in their slips appeared relaxed. Sidewalks looked dry. Kevin’s hopes rose as he felt ready to do another 100 mile ride based on how well he did the day before. Wait. If it takes 7 to 8 hours with rest stops then they would not be leaving New Bern until 6 pm. Hotel checkout is 11 am. Theresa would be done for hours and waiting on Kevin to return from his ride. Kevin then began to reduce his expectations to the 75 mile route, or maybe the 30 -35 mile route. TV turned on revealed a less than encouraging report. 40 mph winds were only minutes away with strong bands of rain stacked up ready to impact the area. Time to investigate what others were thinking. Kevin and Theresa dressed and headed to the lobby. Coffee was waiting for them at the end of the elevator ride. Lots of folks loading bikes and gear into cars and heading for home. A couple of individuals in full rain gear were planning to do the days ride. The ride organizers had made a smart decision in closing all routes but the 30 miler. Imagine being a volunteer on the 100 mile route waiting for hours in high winds and rain for a lonely rider to stop. Not worth peoples time or risk of injury. Kevin and Theresa met The Sparano’s at the Coffee Kiosk. A short discussion had all voting for a warm breakfast and early start towards home. No ride today.
A great event.
A great cause.
Lots of fun.
Monday, September 03, 2007
After surviving the 12 mile ride, we once again called upon Google Pedometer to expand the loop and search for a rode bike trail. Rode bike rules out the shaggy to the south of Snaggy and requires us to make the 1.5 mile decent down Snaggy Mtn to 105. This also means at the end of the ride you must make the grueling ascent back to the house. As an option park at the Super 8 and start and end form there!
Summary: This ride will exercise all your gears. Be sure you have your triple chain ring and your breaks are in good shape! This is a loop and delivers equal amount of extreme and scenic ups and awesome downs. Passing behind Ski Mountain and Tweetsie railroad you will surely feel on top of the world. The Blue Ridge parkway offers a special challenge on holiday weekends so this ride is best suited for midweek or an early Sunday morning.
Left out of Snaggy Mtn House, down 1.5 mile to 105, careful on the curves watch out for the occasional car,and loose gravel on the curves.
Right on 105 downhill towards Boone, traffic is not always generous with the road so be sure to maintain your path.
Right on Wilson (second traffic light) towards Boone’s Mall.
Right at light on to Deck Hill Rd.
Left at fork onto Greenway Rd (option is to continue on Deck Hill which will bypass all of the route on 321 and Payne Branch and connect at Flat Top). Kevin says do 321 and Payne Branch.
Right on Meadowview Dr. this is a gradual up hill that takes you behind Wal-Mart and out on to 321.
Right on 321 at the lights and proceed up hill. This is a high speed and heavily traveled road. You are only on this for a 3/4 mile but it seems like much longer!
Right on Payne Branch with a quick down hill, cross a bridge and then start heading up!
Long steady climb. Do not let the curve fool you, it continues up never levels off. This lasts for about 2 miles.
Left on Flat Top road as Payne Branch continues unpaved straight and Deck Hill intersects from the right. This is the mile 6 mark on the ride. Note that Flat Top road must be named by the hair style of some politician, because it is anything but Flat… even at the top! This is the road that climbs behind Tweetsie (hear the whistle blow) and Ski Mountain. Great views as you look out onto the Smokies. The decent is spectacular as it windes down for miles through rich meadows and pastures until reaching the Blue Ridge Parkway at the 8 mile mark.
Left onto Blue Ridge Parkway South towards Ashville, this is a steady climb for 2.5 miles. You can break this up by stopping at the Craft center located in Moses Cones memorial home which over looks Base Lake and has rocking chairs on the front porch and bathrooms if needed. Nothing to eat or drink though.
Left at sign for 221 and follow signs to Shull’s Mill Road, this may look familiar if you do the 12 mile warm up ride! Climbing this time to the Trail head of Moses Cone, then a long gradual decent through shaded windy roads.
Right Sharply and steep up onto Poplar Grove Rd at the 13 mile mark. Continue a long slow climb, steepest of the ride at this point, cresting when you intersect with Russ Cornett Rd. Continue on Poplar Grove down hill to 105. Long sweeping curves on smooth blacktop.
Right on 105 for a short distance past the Super 8 (did you leave your car here?) We did not!
Right on Snaggy Mtn Blvd up a VERY steep climb 1.5 miles to the house! Theresa had to walk part of the first part, but then slowly made the rest of the climb. Kevin even had to stop at the first sharp bend to catch his breath and continue on.
We did this 20 mile loop in 2+ hours (3 hours including picture and rest stops) 9.5 mph average. Next time we start at Super 8.
Maybe even take the road bikes instead of the mountain bikes.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
On a mission to discover some good trials leaving from the Snaggy house, Theresa used Google Pedometer to lay out a 10ish mile mountain bike loop ride on Saturday. This would be a good warm up ride, there are some climbs (this is the mountains you know), great scenery and matching downhills.
Starting from the Snaggy Mth house head right (South, away from 105). Quickly this turns into gravel then very steep rutted clay which is slick when wet. You have my permission to walk the steep part of this down and up when you come back this way. Theresa was unprepared for any technical trail this early in the ride so she stopped suddenly, her chain came off. When she tried to start again her peddles locked up and down she went with a high pitched scream! That’s gonna bruse! She hobbled the rest of the way down the shiggy where Kevin awaited shaking his head thinking, this is gonna be a long ride!
The road at the bottom, Russ Cornett Rd. is paved; we turned right on it and began a slow climb. Not much traffic here, but there is an occasional dog that may greet you as you pass. The road forks to the left, Diamond Ranch Rd is to the right, stay left still going up. This road boarders Moses Cone park to the left and is lined with farms and grazing live stock. Very gradual and scenic climb!
A gradual down hill takes you to a T-intersection with Poplar Grove, turn left and continue down hill. You will need your breaks as you navigate the curves on this steep down hill. A bit of payback! At the 3 mile mark there is another T-intersection make a very sharp left onto Shull’s Mill Rd still going down you can enjoy the effortless coasting.
Shull’s Mill now turns to a gradual but shaded up hill climb. You will pass various resorts, spa’s and hideaway restaurants. One we noted was “The Game Keeper Restaurant” which we looked up on the internet and plan to try it out sometime for a special occasion!
Shull’s Mill crests at a trail head for Moses Cone Park and then heads down hill towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just before the Parkway you will see signs for Trout Lake. Just past that entrance we took a left (eventually) onto Flannery Fork road (5.5 miles). We missed this turn as we were looking for Payne Branch (Google Pedometer did not have Flannery Fork), but we knew we needed to be on the East side of Trout lake. This road was gravel and we questioned if it was going to connect to Payne Branch but it was quite pleasant and meandered past Trout Lake and continued on past trail intersections to Moses Cone and on over one vehicle bridges. The tree canopy made this part of the ride shaded and the flat terrain with no traffic made this the best part of the ride! Soon we saw a large ranch on the left and wahh-la pavement! Had we found Payne Branch? Who cares, it was very scenic and we were after all heading in the right direction (we hope). After 3 intersections with only the name of the perpendicular street we finally got validation that we in fact were on Flannery Fork, and had reached our next landmark of Winklers Creek at the 7.5 mile mark. This road was a surprisingly nice down hill towards Boone, passing a reservoir, watching for dogs and our next turn 2 miles zoomed by. A sharp left on Russ Cornett was a very steep up hill then more gradual 1.5 mile climb looking for the right back to the foot of the Snaggy shiggy and back to the house. Kevin’s odometer measured 12 miles at 8.8 pace. This was a great warm up ride!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
As everyone started to unload their bikes they were joined by Tim and soon after that the group was joined by David Bridenbaugh who rode to the start on his bike. Tim and David had never met so we had a brief introduction. Kevin had decided to ride with Theresa on today’s ride. John also announced he would ride with Theresa. David and Tim were discussing their plan for the day’s ride. Kevin announced that Theresa was the day’s ride leader. The pack all took off together with Theresa at the lead. Kevin suggested that the groups do the normal route in reverse order. So on past the turn into Preston and up the hill on High House, across Davis and left after the rail road tracks bridge. This put the group going down the long hill on Old Jenks and a right onto Holt. Theresa and John fell behind slightly on the climb to Holt, with Kevin working to catch Tim and David who had slowed to wait for the others. Kevin told these two they did not need to wait since Theresa had others to ride with. Kevin and Tim and David all discussed the various routes and how to travel them in reverse order. The three continued to ride together across high way 54 then right onto Roberts road. Right onto Green Level Church, and left onto Green Level. The pace as strong but not aggressive. David made the comment that riding the route in reverse order puts the hills at the start of the ride. It is amazing how the same route can feel harder in one direction vs the other. Kevin stayed with Tim and David until the left turn a Luther. He announced that he would pull back and finish the day’s ride with Theresa who was planning to do the 32 mile route. Tim and David were discussing the idea of doing what the group Saturday had done and looked to do at least 50 miles. Kevin said great we expect a write up of what takes place on the ride. The said their farewell’s with Kevin performing a U-turn to hook up with John and Theresa. To his amazement they were only ¼ mile back riding at a strong 17 -18 mph clip.
The rest of this write up is split into 2 parts.
Kevin’s write up that covers the remaining 32 mile route that he, John and Theresa did.
David Bridenbaugh’s write-up that covers he and Tim’s ride from this point of the ride on to their finish.
First the remainder of the ride for John, Theresa, and Kevin.
Once Kevin joined John and Theresa they rode three abreast along Luther and onto the left turn of Horton Pond. Theresa was riding very well and attacked the rolling hills one after another that defined Horton Pond. Theresa commented on how much harder the route is riding in this direction. She then asked were do we go from here. Kevin explained that the next turn will take the group right onto Ferrington and then right onto Martha Chapel. “You mean we have to climb up Martha Chapel” Theresa asked. “Any time you ride away from Lake Jordan you will climb” was Kevin’s response. The group formed a draft line from that point on to protect the pace and keep each rider as fresh as possible with half the ride remaining. The group took a short stop just after the turn onto Martha Chapel in shade along side the road. Again the group formed a draft line allowing each to take short breaks from the wind and to maintain the solid pace. Right on 751 followed by a left at the strawberry patch. The pace remained solid as the pack turned left again just after Barbee Road to head towards Pisgah Church Road and ultimately Up-Chuck hill. John was riding very strong as he pulled Theresa along up and over each of the rolling hills towards the fast decent of Up-Chuck. John was the first to attack the down hill portion of Up-Chuck with Theresa fast on his wheel. Kevin slow to approach watched the two in front disappear as they swung thru the right hand curve of the steepest portion of the hill. Kevin looked down at his speedometer to see 37 mph. Up-Chuck in reverse is far easier. The climb up the back side is not a steep but is longer with little momentum remaining from previous downhill to assist with the climb. The climb is one that allows for several gear changes and opportunities to rise out of the seat as well as periods of dropped heal handlebar pulling to grind on up to the crest. Right turn onto Fire Station Church road had John once again pulling Theresa along this stretch of pavement. Once the group turned onto the long stretch the flowed past Green Hope High School Kevin took on the job of setting the pace from the front. Theresa fell in close behind to maximize the draft and John was found tight behind Theresa. This was the make-up of the small peloton as they rode along doing 21 mph on this last stretch of road prior to the final run on High House and into the finish. Theresa had a great ride. John’s ride was a great one and showed that he had grown stronger from his 100 mile ride in California. The group completed the 32 miles at a 14.2 mph average.
The following write-up was provided by David Bridenbaugh and covers the ride he and Tim completed from the corner of Luther and Green Level once Kevin pulled out of the group.
After a brief warm-up, the testosterone riders split away from the Smell the Roses group going out of Cary and eventually parted ways with Kevin, who had decided to be a Smell the Roses rider today. This left only two riders in the testosterone group today, Tim Travitz and David Bridenbaugh. Tim and I had decided to extend the normal route and add in the Big Woods loop around the backside of Jordan Lake. Given my champion’s breakfast this morning of a coke and a pop tart, I felt that I was more than adequately prepared for the extra distance. We started out at a moderate pace down Luther Road, carefully watching to see who would strike first. Once we hit Farrington Road it was down to business with a fast run up the hill to Hwy 64, over the lake, and onto Big Woods. By this point the day was heating up and my helmet was feeding a continuous drip of sweat directly into my eyes causing me to make pirate faces as I squinted to see the road ahead. We finished the loop around the lake and made a quick store stop at Lystra and Farrington. Since the calories from my Pop Tart were long gone, I searched the store for energy food. Ron Clanton swears that a fun-size Payday candy bar is the ultimate endurance athlete’s food, much better than a wussy Powerbar or Clif Bar. Seemed like a good idea to me, though I was eyeing the Zero bar too. I could tell Tim was really impressed with my nutritional acumen. Once back underway, Tim took a really strong run up Martha’s Chapel road back towards Cary. My legs were screaming as I tried to hold his wheel. Not to be outdone by Tim’s awesome display of firepower, I took my turn at the front but was soon in “a bit of a bother”. Not only had my legs given up for the day, but the high octane mixture of Coca Cola, Cherry Pop Tart, Payday, and Accelerade rolling around in me belly was quickly reintroducing itself to me taste buds. Mercifully, we turned down the pace once we passed the berry patch and rolled back into Cary down Green Level Road. I turned off at Cornerstone and once out of Tim’s sight I immediately slowed to 10 mph and quietly limped home for a recovery meal of Bugles, Zebra Cakes, and another can of Coke.
Ride Time - 2:39
Miles - 45.9
Post-ride Jersey Weight – 6 lbs
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The group remained in tact as they turned to take the alternate route that led would lead them to Green Level Church and ultimately a very short ride on 751. This is much more relaxing to the nerves than the long pull and climb on 751 to Martha Chapel. The group rode well with no one attacking. The riders did not form a solid draft line but rather rode in a disorganized clump allowing for lots of chatter among the riders. The group turned right onto 751 and then the quick left to see the progress of the 60+ foot yacht that is being refurbished next to the Junipers. Again the pack never formed and had the constant shifting with each rider changing who they rode with. These changes changed as often as the subject matter of the chatter. Right turn onto Farrington had the group working to decide what distance they wanted to accomplish. Discussion led to an agreement of 50 Plus miles for the days ride. Tim knowing he had to get back let everyone know he would turn off at Martha Chapel only to ride hard to get home in time for his prior commitment. Steve Cope, Ron Clanton, and Kevin Smit all stayed straight on Farrington headed for Lystra and Big Woods. Ron had suggested that there was a parallel road to Lystra that the group needed to explore. Ron’s GPS validated that the road was there and tied into Big Woods. Following the GPS the group turned left off of Farrington just after crossing the bridge over Lake Jordan. All eyes were looking for a road that would lead over another bridge and intersect with Big Woods. The pace slowed as the group road into the parking lot and staging area for one of Lake Jordan’s boat ramps. No Road was discovered. The group speculated that the maps and GPS were showing an old road that had since been flooded when the Corps of Engineers built the lake. On out of the ramp and back onto Farrington the Three Amigo’s rode. A tight left turn at Lystra the group sweep on. Kevin saw a lone rider preparing to mount their bike at the gas station on that corner. Lystra unfolded in front of the group. Ron announced that Lystra is the longest and tallest climb in the 3 surrounding counties. The group all nodded having climbed Lystra last season a couple of times. They have not yet elected to accept that challenge this year. As the group closed in on the Corner at Big Woods Kevin spied a single riders working hard to close the gap between himself and the group ahead. Just as the 3 riders reached the turn at Big Woods the lone rider jumped into the group and asked permission to join. Steve Cope was the first to respond. “$5 to each rider to join”. It’s a deal was the reply from this lone rider. He assured the group that he was good for it and would put the check in the mail once he made it safely back home from the days ride. As this banter continued Steve and the new rider missed the left turn onto Big Woods. Ron’s GPS was whistling, and tooting, and banging, and buzzing with the announcement of the required left turn. Ron and Kevin made the turn with ease as Steve and the new rider had to pull up, slow, and perform a u-turn to finally align themselves with the next leg of the ride. This section would prove to be one of the swiftest. We also learned that the new rider knew Theresa Smit. He works for IBM and in fact Kevin had meet him a couple of times at various events that Theresa allowed him to attend. The lone riders name was Jim Palistrant, he proved to be a very strong rider. He and Steve Cope really hit it off both on the conversation level and the biking level. They set the pace on this 20 mile out and back stretch. They rode hard and talked non stop. Ron and Kevin took turns falling behind and then trying to catch. Back to the corner of Lystra and Farrington the group stopped at the gas station were Ron bought the group water to fill the empty water bottles. Each rider had been doing a good job of hydrating on the days ride as the temperature and humidity climbed well into the 90’s. Back on the bikes everyone was slow to get to speed due to the stiffening of leg muscles. Steve and Jim wanted to push the pace while Kevin and Ron wanted to enjoy the slow build-up to speed. The group splintered as Steve spotted a lone rider in the distance ahead. “Lets catch him’ Steve shouted with excitement. “Go ahead” Ron and Kevin responded in a low monotone.
Jim said nothing. He jumped out of the saddle and with several quick pumps of the bikes handle bars he sprung into the attack. This caught everyone by surprise. Steve looked around trying to absorb what just happened and then sprung into his chase of Jim. Jim had made a substantial break away that would take an effort from Steve to eliminate. Soon the two were working together to chase down the lone rider in the distance. Kevin and Ron continued at there respectable 21 mph pace and watched the battle up ahead unfold. Jim and Steve caught the lone rider as they crossed the bridge over Lake Jordan only to let him go at the turn of Martha Chapel road. It was hear the Jim elected to leave the group and continue his planned ride. The group was back to the 3 amigos as they began the gradual climb up Martha Chapel to 751. Once again Kevin saw a lone rider coming up from behind. This rider asked to join the group. “$5 to each rider” Cope again announced. “Forget it” this new rider announced. No introductions were made. We did no learn this rider’s name. Steve did strike up a conversation only after sizing up the rider and his machine. “I will bet you drop a lot of scratch for that Ride” Steve announced.
“Ten Grand” the rider announced. A custom Titanium Seven with Nikon pre-stretched cables in full pvc housings, and Zero Gravity Brakes the group was informed. “You must be a Brain Surgeon” Steve shot back. “My wife is I work for the State” the rider replied.
Once at the corner of Martha Chapel and 751 the group announced the right turn. “ I am going Left” announced the yet named $10k bike rider who works for the state.
It was back to the 3 amigos once again. The group stayed on 751 until the left turn onto Luther. The chit chat was much less known as the ride was well into 40+ miles having averaged close to 17 mph. Right rurn onto Green Level, right turn onto Wimberly. Long slow climb past the water treatment plant to the corner at Jenks. The ride on Jenks was smooth and steady even with the 50 mile mark close at hand. Each rider was thinking of that last climb up old Jenks towards High House. Kevin and Steve had rode on ahead with Ron still visable behind as the group approached the lights at High Way 54. Green light for Kevin and Steve. Will Ron make the light? Kevin slides on past the light Steve close to his rear wheel and off Kevin’s right shoulder, Ron still approaching the light. Kevin still ahead with Steve tucked close behind as they approach the left turn onto Holt. “Car Up” Kevin announced as he grabbed the brakes to slow. At that very moment Steve’s Front Tire protruded thru the space created between Kevin’s right leg and bike frame. Kevin had stopped peddling with his right foot at the top of the peddle stroke as he slowed for the on coming car. This allowed Steve’s tire to fit neatly in that small space created by Kevin’s right leg and his bike frame. “Crap” Steve was heard to say as he deftly lowered his head to help him balance his bike and absorb the impact of his momentum against a slower larger mass. His head placement not only helped him balance but also was the only body part he could call into action to help push off the mass that lay in front of him. Steve’s head placement was ideal he already had it lowered as he was looking back to see if Ron was going to make the light just as Steve’s tire passed between Kevin’s leg and bike frame . Steve’s head found a very soft and large area to absorb the impact. Kevin’s big Butt. Kevin simultaneously let up on the brakes to allow for both riders to continue with their momentum rather than stopping which would have resulted in a nasty crash for both. Kevin and Steve demonstrated solid bike handling skills with both making the sharp left hand turn. “Holey Crap” both said at the same time only to crack up laughing and congratulating each for a miraculous save. Ron made it safe though the intersection and the 3 amigos were once again a team. The Banter was now all about what the EMT’s accident report may have looked like. “Dispatch we have two bikers joined head to A##”. “What is the procedure to Separate?”
Kevin then said he could imagine that Steve would have made matters worse by turning his head to look around. The banter did not last long as the climb up old Jenks was just in front. Each made it to the top and rolled into the left hand turn toward High House.
Once on High House Steve again spun hard to sprint down the hill towards the bagel shop. Great ride covering 57 miles averaging 16 mph, with the group dynamics changing as riders dropped and joined and dropped. Also great bike handling skills were demonstrated on this ride.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
By the time we actually got our bikes out it, the wind had picked up from the south so heading out would be slightly against the wind. The day would not be without the Maryland “hills” aka wind. We exited from the gravel driveway in sandals carrying our bike shoes, then left the sandals by the mailbox, reset the odometer and away we went. The mission for the day was for Theresa to draft as close as she could to Kevin. Kevin had to not only maintain a steady line but had to endure his old saddle that had left a raging welt on his derriere so any movement or bump in the road was excruciating. But he gritted his teeth because after all he was biking next to water with Theresa what could be better? (Stop laughing!)
Heading south on Hwy 16, Kevin set a steady 16 mph pace and Theresa pulled in to the vortex behind him as tight as she could. The roads wound a bit so she would shift to the left or right or directly behind sucking within inches of Kevin’s back tire. Kevin slowly increased the speed. He had no instruments on his vintage touring Boch so Theresa announced whenever the speed reached 17 mph. At the 6 mile mark we turned to the SW and even more into the wind. A short water break and back into formation. The next 7 miles we cruised at 19 mph with only short butt breaks to let a little circulation into the lower regions. Theresa begged for a stop at the 14 mile turn to Hoopers Is. So far the route duplicated the roads from yesterdays ride, now we turn to new scenery and Theresa took out the camera and snapped a few shots while peddling! The road no longer had the wide shoulder but the traffic was light as not too many vehicles have any reason to venture down to the end of Hoopers Island. We rode for another 4-5 miles and reached Fishing Creek, a quaint village with small cottages and lots of docks and remnants of a thriving fishing community. Here we made a hard right and then left to see our destination Old Saltys! Oddly there were no cars parked, what could it be closed? Oh well the scenery was so enticing we decided to venture on a bit further in hopes of finding another landmark, the famous “Suicide Bridge”. We asked a local if she knew where the bridge was and she said that it was no where near. We also asked if there where any other eating establishments and she indicated that Old Salty’s was it. We recalled a Deli not far back. Going on just a bit further we turned around at the top of a bridged connecting 2 parts of Hoopers Island; this would mark the highest peak in Dorchester Co MD and 22.5 mi for us.
We stopped at the Deli , parked our bikes never to worry about securing them and tapped into the deli with our bike shoes and sat down. We consumed massive calories and soda then bid farewell, 20 miles to go with the wind now behind us, Kevin was hoping to compress the journey into a little over an hour. No pressure, Theresa! We warmed up slowly as any blood supply was still in the digestive tract! Back out of the village and again into formation. Theresa had camera in hand ready to capture pics that were noted on the way in, stopping was out of the question! Snap at the top of the bridge a few more pics on the rode and then the last shot was the field of sunflowers, who can resist that photo opp! Much better than some old big boat on the side of the road that some one is working on!
Theresa put the camera back in her pouch and now it’s down to business, we have a goal to make…. Kevin began the pace, Theresa quickly announced 17, then, 19, then 20, yikes 21. Theresa shifted into the large chain up front just to keep up, varying her position behind Kevin’s back tire as the road curved. We made easy work out of the first 14 miles back, then a short stop and a turn to the right to home meant even more wind at our back and Kevin raised the challenge to get to 23 mph! Right, well off we went, the wind did not prove to offer much assistance to accelerate much more that 20mph and frankly Theresa’s legs just did not have much more, so we backed off a bit to the 17-19 mph pace and cruised the rest of the way back.
We were both pleased with the ride and were very ready to get our butts off the seat and take a dock walk! And do this write up which we hope you enjoy!
Ride stats: 45 miles, 15.5 mph avg, head winds, Theresa “wheel sucking”, again awesome scenery!
Monday, July 02, 2007
We filled not 1 or 2 but 3 coolers and Kevin loaded up the bikes, Theresa’s only rode bike and his gently used touring bike (yes the one that has fenders and a luggage rack). The alarm was set for 4:30, however there was little movement until 6am… Gas and coffee and we were on the rode by 7am.
Theresa had the laptop and wireless card on board as we contemplated which path to use to invade the Maryland peninsula; south from Virginia Beach or north thru DC and Annapolis. South was more scenic and novel as we get to use the Chesapeake tunnel/bridge, which serpentines under and above the water for 26?? miles.
We got in to my bother’s place (just south of Cambridge, MD) at 2pm. Just as we pulled in there was a deer frozen in her steps just starring at us. I got out my camera and clicked a few pictures. What a great greeting! We unlocked the house and proceeded with the ritual “dock walk”. Dock walks must be done at least twice a day, first in the morning (coffee in had) and in the evening(beverage of choice in hand). Purpose of the dock walk --- make sure the dock is still there!
We made ourselves at home, and a very nice home it is… filled up the frig and prepared dinner. I scoped out a prospective ride using Google pedometer for the next day.
We planned to wait until the morning ‘traffic’ would be passed for us to start riding. That gave us time to fix some eggs, bacon and toast. (and of course do a dock walk).
After 7+ hours in the car we were both quite stiff and not ready for placing out butts on the bike seat. But off we went. The plan was a 33 mile loop around the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The wind was brisk about 15-20 mph steady form the NW. The road was flat in fact the total ride elevation was about 10 feet and that was a small bridge.
We headed south west first on Rt 16 near Woolford) as that was as good as any direction for this route. The roads had very wide paved shoulders and lots of “Share the Road” bicycle signs so this was a blessing for Theresa. At 5 miles into the ride we had a 14-15 mph pace and were still loosing up the joints. The scenery was spectacular, marsh and rich farmland, marinas and boats, yards with crab pots stacked up 10 high. Very different form the NC rolling forests. We turned left onto Smithville Rd, and played leapfrog with the garbage truck. It is inevitable that on a bike, you meet oncoming RV and passing utility truck all while crossing a bridge! Why is that?
Smithville Rd wound in and out of clearings, marsh and trees as it boarded the Blackwater NWR. At the next turn RT 335, we stopped for a bio break at the boat service center. Theresa’s back and almost every thing else hurt! No turning back now, onward and into the wind! We made our left onto 335, the bike lane disappeared, traffic was more constant as was the wind. Kevin kept up the 15 mph pace, but Theresa kept drifting further behind battling the unrelenting wind and all those aches and pains. Sitting behind a computer for hours on end every day does not prepare one for this kind of physical abuse. We reached Key Wallace Drive (22 mile mark) that leads in to the Blackwater NWR and Kevin not knowing the route did the vulture circle waiting for Theresa to arrive at the intersection then we preceded on 335 skipping our loop into the NWR… Maybe next time. Theresa was ready to smell the barn and get this torture over!
The rest of the ride was grueling as Kevin kept wondering “Where’s Theresa?” and even looped back to find her still moving at least. Trying so hard to keep even 12 mph pace. We reached Church Creek at the 25 mile mark and headed into the home stretch. The wind did not give us any break and seemed to be always in our face! At last we arrived at Brooks Rd, which was the entrance to my brothers place. We were so glad to have done the ride, had our beverage, dock walk and then crashed for a much deserved nap!
Ride stats: 30 miles, 13.1 mph avg, head winds, awesome scenery!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
This Ride was spurred on by Steve Sparano. It was his email to the group that allowed the ride to take place. The shear bravery he displayed in generating this email forced the Smit’s to delay their trip out of town to participate. Well done Steve.
Others that elected to join in on the fun included Steve’s wife Carolyn. We also ran into Tim Travitz. Tim was sitting patiently in his vehicle waiting for others to assemble. He did not exit from his vehicle until Steve Cope came storming into the parking lot in his VW Thing.
Steve Cope jumped out of his vehicle to unleash his Vitus bicycle for the days event. At that same time Tim pulled from the back of his vehicle a Brand New Cervelo all carbon aero dynamic frame with high end components.
Tim needed a new bike. As you may recall we first found Tim sitting at the corner of 751 and Horton Pond several weeks ago. When we stopped to see what we could do to help this stranded biker we learned that he had broken his chain. Clearly a cause for a new high end machine.
The group all provided the appropriate level of oohs and ahs at the new machine.
Let me take that back. All the guys provided proper levels of oohs and ahs, the ladies treated this new marvelous machine with the same enthusiasm as another night with their husbands. Very Ho Hum. In fact they did not even look at nor recognize this beautiful piece of engineering. Again the same reaction their fine tuned male counter parts receive every day and night.
The pack was slow to start. It was Theresa that everyone was waiting on. She was not in the correct spirit for the days ride. Slow to get out of bed, slow to get dressed, slow to get in the car (Kevin had everything loaded and ready to go early), Slow to get her coffee and bagele at Brugers.
Once Theresa was ready the pack took off for the ride. Within ½ mile Theresa was already falling far behind the group. Kevin was riding near the front on his classic Jeffrey Bock Touring machine when someone in the pack announced that Theresa was no were to be found. This did not slow Kevin or the pack. Carolyn slowed and turned back to make sure Theresa was OK. The pack never heard from them again until the end. On the four gentlemen rode. Steve Cope on his Vitus, Kevin on his touring bike, Steve Sparano on his carbon fiber framed Giant with Triple Chain Ring (girl gears according to Cope), and Tim on his BRAND NEW CERVELO.
The pace was smooth and reasonable the banter was at its normal levels. Steve Cope made it clear that he has not been able to buy a new bike even with all the flats he has had over the years. He was truly in awe of Tim who was able to justify a new bike due to a broken chain incident.
The ride continued as it usually does along roads that we now can ride blindfolded. They have fixed some of the worst holes along fire station church road.
As the group approached Up-Chuck everyone took tight control of the handle bars. Legs tensed as each rider took the most streamlined position possible for the short fast downhill. Each checked to see what gear they had selected for the attack up the hill and the jockeying for position was on.
Kevin was not sure what to expect from his heavy touring bike. This bike was built to carry lots of camping gear. In the late 70’s and early 80’s Kevin rode this bike fully loaded with a weeks worth of camping gear, food, tent, sleeping bag and a Bike trailer in tow that had the family pet (a Doberman Pincher) across Iowa for a week.
Clearly a bike built to take lots of weight and pull heavy loads.
Now the perfect bike for carrying Kevin’s Massive size down the road.
The Hill was now upon the group. Steve Cope and Tim took charge of the attack followed closely by Steve Sparano. Kevin shifted into the Third chain ring on the crank set and slowly walked up the hill letting the gear ratio work for him. Kevin’s heart rate actually slowed as he progressed up the hill using the 1980 engineering of small chain ring in front and large chain ring in the rear. Modern technology has nothing over the solid physics of pulley systems engineered in the time of the Pharaohs.
Once at the top of the hill the group turned right and slowed to let Kevin finish his slow steady climb. On the group rode towards the left turn onto Mount Pisgua Church road. The group found this road beat up with lots of black top exploded into the road due to heavy construction vehicles. The group elected to avoid the long pull on 751 by turning left at the top of the last hill and then a right on Barbee Road. This route has no traffic and lots of small rolling hills that then dump out onto Luther shop road. As the group approached this intersection they could see riders traveling at a high rate of speed along the intersecting road. Steve Cope immediately jumped out of the saddle in a pavlovian response to take chase. The group had to call him back and explain that the rider he was about to attack was traveling in the opposite direction that they were about to travel. Steve wiped the saliva from his chin and nodded with acceptance of this revelation. He then announced that ”Man Law” says we must take chase and attack and destroy any riders ahead of the pack. Tim with his new light weight bike was laying in wait for the proper time to demonstrate Man Law on a bike.
The group turned right and headed towards 751 and the strawberry patch corner. Once at the strawberry patch the group swung right onto 751 and lined up for the immediate left hand turn . This is the intersection that has the Large Yacht being refurbished in the farmer’s driveway. It was here that Steve Sparano announced that his wife Carolyn has ridden by this several times and had never seen this monster boat. Kevin also acknowledged that his wife had never seen it, even after telling her several times about it. Let it be known that we later learned that the Ladies did see it on todays ride. They now know it as the boat next to the Junipers. WHAT JUNIPERS ?
The group sailed on past the yacht each one guessing the size of this large water vessel. Kevin suggested it is over 60 ft. Steve Cope said 100 ft (size matters for Steve). The others just nodded to both as if it might be between 60 and 100 ft.
The pace continued steady as the group rode on towards Farrington Farms road. A left on Farrington Farms and another left onto Horton Pond Road. Everyone was feeling good and the pack stayed together.
This is where Kevin normally begins to fail. Steve Cope recognized that and explained to the pack how he had rode with the Spin Cycle crowed last Saturday. This was the A-Ride group. They have no sense of humor and do not tolerate newbies that can not keep up.
Steve told the group that Saturday’s ride was 60 miles at 22 to 25 miles per hour. Steve did a stellar job holding on for more than 45 miles of the ride, taking turns at the pull. Steve bonked hard on that ride and now knows what Kevin deals with each time he rides.
On the pack rode up and over each rolling hill on their way to the corner of 751 and Horton Pond, the infamous corner where the group fist met Tim with his broken chain.
Once at the corner Tim smiled in recollection of how that day justified his new Bike.
On right at 751 and then left onto Luter. The group rode on strong enjoying the fact that all riders were doing well. Just as the pack gathered steam again Tim and Kevin noticed a large Turtle in the road. Each pointed at the animal to ensure no one ran over it. Steve Cope pulled up and circled back to rescue the animal. The pack slowed and looked in total shock that “Steve the Animal” had a heart for slow moving creatures. Tim was heard saying “I hope he doesn’t get bit”. Kevin asked “who the turtle or Cope?”.
The pack reassembled once Steve had rescued one of natures slowest and oldest animals on the planet. Maybe there is hope for Kevin, also one of natures slowest and oldest creatures. The group was still in tact at the corner of Luter and Green level. On right towards the right turn on Wimberly the pack continued with ease. As a pack they continued the banter and chit chat that can only be sustained by Steve Cope. He has the ability to solicit response from others that requires far more than a nod or a short yes no response. The group remained intact during the climb up Wimberly past the water treatment plant to the corner of Jenks and Wimberly. They swept left onto Jenks and rode strong towards the city limits of Cary. Across 54 and left onto Holt the pack progressed towards the corner of Old Jenks and the long gradual hill that lay ahead.
Here the pack again readied for the attack on the long climb. Steve, Tim, Steve, and Kevin all set up their bikes for the long gradual climb that lay ahead. Kevin remembering the slow steady climb of Up-Chuck made the decision to fall toward the back allowing the other lighter weight bikes and riders to duke it out. As the climb unfolded the results remained the same. Steve Cope and Tim challenged each other with Steve Sparano hot on their heals. Kevin was quickly falling behind but his heart rate remained low. Left turn at the top of the hill sent the group towards High House and the sprint home. The pack was close together up to the light at Davis and High House when Steve Cope took to the high gears and high RPMs. He hit 40 miles per hour and had spun out on his highest gears just as Tim Zoomed passed still pushing his 53 / 11 gear combination. This was what Tim had saved for and had planed to dominate Cope at the point when Steve felt invincible. Tim’s plan was falling into place only to be stifled by the light at the bottom of the hill. The group all entered the parking lot at burgers together. This has not happened in weeks, and can only be contributed to the fact that Steve Cope did not have coach or Brian there to egg him on. Another great ride with great friends and lots of abuse.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Theresa Smit was the lone female rider and elected to ride solo. She also elected to increase the distance of her ride to 40 miles. She rode strong against the head winds with no one to draft. She covered the 40 miles at a 14 mph average. WELL DONE.
The others in attendance were Coach Dotson, Steve Cope, and Kevin Smit. This group had two strong riders and one old out of shape heavyset man on a lightweight go fast bike. This group elected to ride the standard route in a clockwise fashion with options to increase the mileage from 40 to 58 miles depending on how everyone felt. Coach and Steve did all the work from the front of the draft line with Kevin doing everything he could to draft as long and as tight behind the leaders as safely as possible.
As the group rode west on Horton Pond we saw Tim Travitz riding hard by himself coming at us in the opposite direction. A nod of the head and a short wave of the left hand provided all the acknowledgment needed between the two groups of riders.
It was also along this stretch that Steve Cope was sharing the fact that his in-laws were in town (which is one reason he was on the ride). His in-laws had arrived late the night before and brought Steve a large Stine of freshly brewed beer from a micro brewery in Virginia. Steve struggled with drinking it on the spot or waiting to consume it at a later time. He invisioned the next days bike ride if he chose to drink it right then and there. The thought of how painful the ride would be had him showing restraint. He elected to put the stine in the refrig and ride the next day with visions of the brew dancing in his head.
The group decided to extend the ride by going straight at the intersection of Farrington road and Martha Chapel. This long stretch was straight into the wind with again Steve and Coach pulling the pack at speeds of 21 + mph.
Left onto Lystra and left at the fork onto Jack Bennett. The group turned left onto Big Woods to ride strong on the rolling hills that unfolded as they charged along not falling below 21 mph until the turn around at Highway 64.
Kevin was still doing his best to draft behind the workhorses that pulled nonstop at race pace speeds. The group backtracked to the intersection of Farrington and Martha Chapel where they turned left onto Martha Chapel. The odometer announced 36 miles completed at 18.2 mph average. Kevin was falling apart at this point in the ride with Steve Cope and Coach now warmed up and ready to ride hard.
Kevin worked harder than ever just to keep the gap between him and the others from becoming something that could be measured in yards vs tenths of miles. This did not last long. The slow steady climb away from lake Jordan took its toll on Kevin as he steadily lost yards, which turned into tenths of miles.
Steve and Coach were found waiting at the intersection of 751 and Martha Chapel. Kevin informed them that he had officially Bonked and was going to limp back to the start. He described to the others the route he had planed that would provide the 50 miles the group was looking to complete. It included the long run on Luther with the left turn on Yates Store. This would take the group down Up-Chuck in the opposite direction. A right turn onto Carpenter Church Fire Station Road, on past Green Hope High School, and on in on High House.
With these set of instructions the group splintered with Steve and Coach excited to be turned loose for their remaining 10 miles of speed play.
Kevin rode on as best he could, head down, rpms falling below his normal 95+ rpms, and doing all he could to maintain 13 mph. Both water bottles consumed Kevin could feel his eyes rolling into the back of his head. The temptation to stop and rest was strong. The knowledge that stopping would mean his in ability to start again for more than an hour. Kevin has bonked enough times to know that once he stops he becomes faint and requires at least an hour to cool and hydrate before recovery. With that knowledge he labored on to ensure recovered could be completed in the safety of the restaurant and that no one would be worried about what happened to him.
With the ride over each rider compared notes.
Steve and Coach finished the 50 mile ride maintaining the 18 mph average.
They missed all the turns that Kevin has described and still found themselves safe at the start/finish.
Kevin with his slowed pace the last 15 miles still averaged 16 miles per hour for the 50 miles.
Theresa had an amazing ride covering her 40 miles solo – no one to draft and protect her from the head winds and averaged 14 mph. Well done.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Kevin and Theresa Smit
Beth Gonzales arriving on Bike
Jae Brainard arriving on Bike
Barb a friend of Beth arriving on Bike
During the week Kevin received an email from Brian Farkas that he is still in California with his mother who has just gone thru a hip replacement.
Steve Cope learned from Brian’s sister that Brian is riding a bike every day during his visit. Look for Brian to return to the group in better shape than ever and act like he is not ready to ride only to blow everyone away (as usual).
Riders off on schedule at 8 am.
Both groups elected to ride the 32mile loop in a counter clockwise direction.
The pace was dialed in for each group based on the riders in attendance. No hard charging pulls or short attacks on tap today.
The ride was one that all enjoyed as the miles unfold smoothly in front of them.
John was telling the group how today was his last ride with the group for several weekends. He has to tear his bike down and ready it for the trip to California. John will ship his bike cross-country for the Diabetes ride with his Brother Matt on June 23 rd.
Tim was telling us about his job as Owner and President of a communications company. His company does commercials and creates promotional materials and media for several large firms in the area. Tim has recently moved into a new house and is biking between stints of un boxing belongings.
Steve told the group of some of the challenges he has had to deal with regarding family vehicles and hot water heaters.
A smooth ride finishing at a respectable 16 mph average for the 32 mile ride.
The ladies completed their 32 mile ride closely on the heals of the guys with and average speed of 13.2 mph. They debated stopping at Jeans strawberry patch to pick some strawberry’s but elected to ride on with Jae continuing to set the pace. The ladies turned off at Jenks to return to Beth’s house were they had started their days ride. Theresa rode on alone to finish at Brugers.