Saturday, May 05, 2007

May 5th Smell the Roses Riders RULE Ride Wrtieup

Smell the Roses Riders RULE.

First congratulations to Ron Clanton and Steve Cope for their stellar accomplishments.
Ron Clanton rode 100+ miles in support of the Aids walk and ride event that left from down town Raleigh at Union Square.
In a response to one of our group riders asking Ron how it went he replied as follows.
"It was both horrible... and awesome. No matter how you do it, 106 miles is a long way. The ride started in downtown Raleigh... went north to Creedmoor... then west to downtown Durham (where it started raining... and rained for 2 hours)... then south near Chapel Hill... then east to Cary... and back to Raleigh. It took me about 7 1/2 hours to complete and my rear-end is still numb.
However, I met a lot of great people and the ride had the most incredible support. I think the best part was at the end... when we were coming back into Union Square (making our final lap), they announce the riders arriving over the loud speaker like we were finishing the Tour de France! Pretty cool!
I'll do it again next year.
Ron Clanton"

One of our other regulars Steve Cope had and adventure as well on his bike.
He wrote the following in response to last weeks challenge to join the regular ride.
"BTW, I went up to Virginia last weekend to watch 2 stages of the Tour of Virginia races (pro event). On Saturday, they also had licensed racing for a criterium in Harrisonburg. I got a temp Cat 5 license and finished 6th against all the college kids!!!! This even shocked me. I was 20 years older than anyone else and the only one with down tube shifters. I was only a few feet away from the win (I am getting old). I suspect Brian could have won. "
Where has Brian been. We have not seen him at all this biking season. Unacceptable!
This last weekends rides where totally about the Smell the Roses group. Saturday and Sunday were dominated by those riders.

Please take the time to learn how the Smell the Roses Group RULED the ROADS.

Saturday May 5th ride write up

We assembled between 7:30 and 8am.
The sky was cloudy, the air cool, with winds NOT Calm.

First to arrive were Theresa and Kevin Smit.
First priority Coffee at Caribou cafe.
They settled in a small table and watched to see who will be next to arrive.

Steve Sparano arrived with bike on back of vehicle. As he strolled from the parking lot to the restaurant it was clear that he too was in need of the morning jolt provided by a cup of coffee.

Soon after Steve we were pleased to see Kristine Harkness leaving the driver side of her car to join us for a brief visit before the ride. Last time we rode with her was on the MS-150 warm up ride. It was on this ride that she kept pinching my butt each time she rode past me.

As we sat and visited we noticed Sara Powell drive in. She immediately began visiting with some strange man in the parking lot who was offering to help her remove her bike from the back of her car. Sara carried on quit a long chat with this man ( you go Sara !). Eventually she made her way into the restaurant and joined the group as we discussed the ride for that day. Sara requested (demanded) a route that did not include upchuck. The group suggested that we all ride as one group. A blend of Smell the Roses and Testosterone laiden gear pushing idiots. The goal was to enjoy each others company and to challenge the testosterone group to chill - relax - enjoy the scenery - visit - ride at speeds below the speed of light. We agreed to stay together on this ride - one group - no one gets dropped - no one attacks.

This will be fun.
Kevin had announced he had figured out a route that removes most of the hills and definitely eliminates upchuck hill. This put a smile on everyone’s face. As the smile faded on Sara's face she nervously requested no additional funny stuff like going too fast or too far. "Trust me" Kevin was heard to say. Sara announced that there is no way she "Trusts what might unfold on the ride". Kevin then assured her he will do what is requested, No upchuck, not too fast, not too far.

Sara then introduced us to the Man she was talking to in the parking lot. She knew him through Boy Scouts. This gentleman then approached Kevin and Theresa to share with them a Kassel story. He told them that he sits on all the eagle boards for the district and had seen hundreds if not thousands of young men present their eagle projects and final project write ups for approval.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Scouting with few scouts ever to achieve this position. The journey to that rank takes years of continued focus and rank advancement culminating is a community based project. These projects are as involved and detailed as any major business effort. It is much like writing a business plan, presenting that plan to sponsors and beneficiaries, gaining approval of the plan, raising funds to launch the project, directing the efforts of others on the project, and then writing a follow-up of lessons learned.

Any way back to his Kassel Story.
He informed the Smits that he clearly remembers Kassel above and beyond all those who have presented to the board. He had recollection of Kassel's mature nature, confidence, and passion about the project, poise, and SMILE. Kassel was so much like his Father ;-).
He committed to helping get the word out to other scouts about the Kassel Smit "Make a Difference" 5k and 1 mile fund raiser.

It was good for the Smits to again hear how Kassel had made such and impact in his short 16 yrs.

Everyone busied themselves with the task of adding pressure to tires, putting on sunglasses helmets and gloves.

Off the pack headed.
The ride began as most do headed towards the neighborhood roads of Preston Woods. The pack spread out as we rode up High House but quickly reassembled once in the Preston neighborhood. From then on the pack stayed closely formed thru much of the ride. We rode smooth and steady. The chit chat was non stop. This was something yet experienced by Steve and Kevin and was quit natural for Sara, Theresa, and Kristine. How do they find so much to talk about each week? Has there really been that much happen since the last time they visited. Hadn't they already spent more than 1/2 hour in the restaurant covering every topic possible. Kevin and Steve rode along in complete awe of this strange experience.
Out of the neighborhoods and past Green Hope High School the pack progressed.
At the T intersection they altered the normal coarse and took a left rather than the normal right. The pack then turned left onto Highway 55. It was busy but they did not stay long on this as they turned right onto Green Hope road. Smooth and quite and flat. At the end of Green Hope Road the pack turned right onto Green Level Church road. This took them past the intersection of Yates Store and Green Level. This is were they would normally recover from the climb of upchuck. Sara was smiling as she recognized that spot and now can believe that Kevin was not going to pull any tricks and still surprise her with upchuck. Suddenly her pace quickened and her conversations took on a renewed energy. Little did she know that Kevin's plan was about to unfold. On the pack rode in a tight group with non stop chit chat.
Can this be compared to a knitting circle? Everyone focused on the task in hand yet able to converse on any and all subjects without taking a single collective breath.

On they rode with virtually no hills to slow them down. Little traffic to deal with. Past strawberry patches filled with folks who pay to pick their own berries. The group was so engulfed in the conversations they did not notice that Kevin lead them swiftly past the normal left hand turn on Green Level.
On they rode until we came to the T intersection at 751, “Clear”, Kevin announced as he swung right onto 751 and immediately signed that the pack was to make a quick left turn.
Kevin then drew everyone’s attention to the large Yacht that was being worked on in a Farmers drive way. Sara quickly announced that the boat was so big it would not even fit on Lake Jordan. Ah Ha. Kevin has successfully distracted all. No one was asking "were are we going?". No one was complaining that we are too far out. No one was suggesting that Kevin was taking the group too far. Kevin had planned to expose the Smell the Roses group to an additional 7 miles longer than they normally ride. This is a 25 – 30% increase in the mileage they typically do. We were also motoring along at about 2 -3 mph faster than normal for the group. We also had not taken any breaks to rest.

As the pack rode on each one slowly began to discover that they are on roads that are clearly not what they recognize. They then began to scroll through the modes on their computers to get an idea of miles traveled and average miles per hour.

It was as if we suddenly hit a long steep hill. The pace dropped, the chit chat became guarded, suspicious, and sullen, a question was raised, more as a statement than a question. “We are still headed out; there must be a turn back soon”. Kevin with a re-assuring smile as heard to say “Yes, we will be taking a left just up the road here and then looping back towards the end”.

This is where the pack began to crack.
We took a brief stop so the guys could do a bio break in the woods, as Kristine worked to remove a cramp from her foot. Once back on the bikes Kristine took charge.
Kristine road on as if the ride was just beginning and she was just now starting to warm up. She actually picked up the pace and was challenging Steve and Kevin to keep up.
Theresa drifted further and further back. Sara worked hard to not loose ground on the group that was being pushed by Kristine. This placed her in the no mans land. Not able to draft anyone in front and not willing to fall back to were Theresa was. This is the toughest place to ride.
The ride continued with some great down hills and at least 3 long steady climbs before we returned to the parking lot at Brugers. Everyone compared computers to learn they had done 31 miles at 13 to 14 mph average. This was a great ride and that provided something for everyone. No upchuck, longer ride, faster ride, great conversation, no traffic, friendship. And a renewed TRUST that Kevin will not pull any Tricks. NOT.

Sundays ride May 6th.

Dark skies, strong wind, Who will show.
Kevin and Theresa discussed the possibility that no one would bother to ride today due to the strong 30mph winds and the threatening skies. Theresa was ready to pack it in and head for home just as Sara Powell drove into the lot. WOW she returned even after Kevin took her further and faster than she was prepared to go yesterday.

The threesome assembled themselves and their bikes for the days ride. As they did the clouds began to make way for the sun. Sun glasses and sun screen were grabbed and applied.

Kevin said lets do something different today. How about a shorter ride than normal and how about we ride the route in reverse order, and also eliminate upchuck.
Sara stared at Kevin and sternly announced that she absolutely does not Trust him, but the route sounds great.
The ride began in reverse order up Cary Parkway to Waldo Rou, cross Davis and down the hill on old jenks, right onto Holt, cross over 55, and right on Roberts road. We rode smooth and steady. The chit chat was again non stop. This time though the conversation was focused on riding techniques and the virtue of spinning at higher rpms than pushing big gears. Sara was hanging onto each word Kevin said regarding the topic. Sara has always ridden her bike without clips to hold her in. This forced her into a riding style that always had her pushing down on the peddles and no way to pull up to smooth out the peddle stroke. She now has cleats and shoes that lock her to the bike and facilitate a smooth peddling stroke. She and Kevin rode side by side and compared cadence. The objective was to get her to increase her rpms so she could sail along at 95 rpms on the flats and using a combination of various riding positions, and gear selections keep her rpms up above 80 during various types of climbs.
Right turn from Roberts Road onto Green Level Church road. Watch for bad spots on the edge of the road. Left turn onto Green Level from Green Level Church. Now Kevin’s coaching was going to be put to the test by Sara. We had a short stretch of road were she could get her cadence to 95 then there was a two tiered climb that lasted close to ½ mile.
She was to shift gears prior to getting bogged down. She was to keep her cadence as high as she could by only matching the pressure of the hill with pressure on the peddles and pull on the handle bars. The goal was to crest the hill doing 85 rpms and not be physically spent. Sara mastered that hill. She did not loose momentum; she kept her rpms high and crested the hill with ease at 85 rpms. She was amazed at how much easier it is to ride when you do not over power the peddles. Normally her foot goes numb from the pressure she applies to the peddles. She is know trying to think of the peddles as a feather rather than boards. The key to changing her old style of riding is to see how little pressure can be applied at a high rpm, and to pull up with each stroke rather than think about mashing down on the peddles.
Job well done.
We shortened the ride today due to wind and the extra miles accomplished Saturday. The ride ended with about 16 or 17 miles, and a Smiling Sara who now has a new riding technique to continue to work on and apply.