Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday June 2nd Matt explodes and Steve Cope to the rescue

The day began as most Saturday rides do.
An assortment of vehicles and bikes and riders of many colors, genders and vintages all assemble in the parking lot of Brugers at the corner of High House and Cary Parkway.

Today’s ride brought out the following vehicles, bikes, and vintage riders.
Blue van with John Majikes and his brother Matt. Solid performers on solid performing bikes.

No hype just results with these bikes and riders. They are building up to a 100 mile ride to raise money for diabetes. The ride is in California on 6/23/07. Send John an email to learn more

Gray pickup truck with Ron and Traci Clanton with Tandem. Power provided from the stoker and navigation provided by Garmin. Ron provides rapid responses to navigation system and additional commands from stoker.

Blue VW passat with Sarah Powell and her Classic bike with super campy components. This bike and rider continue to demonstrate that Quality never deteriorates

Blue mini van with the Smit’s. Theresa on her 1979 custom Jeffrey Bock, and Kevin on his new feather light Scott all Carbon Go Fast (if someone else rides it ) bike.

Another Blue Van with Beth Gonzalez and her new Trek. Beth’s speed and cadence are tightly coupled with the level of conversation that is taking place.

Blue BMW with Jae Brainard and her new bike with giant chain rings – she rides a 72 / 65 front chain ring with 11 / 18 rear cluster. Ride with her and count her RPMs they are slower than Lance Armstrong’s heart rate at rest.

Yellow VW THING from WW II with Steve Cope (escapee from Stalag 13) and his original lightweight Vitas aluminum frame that was assembled utilizing the newest space age glues. This was the original bike that started the lightweight revolution leading to newer materials like Titanium, and carbon fiber.

Later on the ride we where joined by Tim Travitz. Tim was discovered a week ago on our ride as we turned from Luther onto Horton Pond and spied a lone rider with his bike propped against the stop sign. He was on the phone as we stopped to ask him if he was ok. “Yea” he claimed – “Broken Chain” he sighed. We had a chain break tool to help him put the chain back together but to no avail. We told him of our group and the fun we had and invited him to join. Well he did not make the start but he did join us this Saturday for a short stretch of the ride.

After coffee, chit chat, introductions, and preparation the riders left the parking lot on schedule. The riders stayed together through the neighborhood of Preston only to splinter at the stop light on Davis. Here the two groups set separate pace lines with the smell the roses group catching the Testosterone riders at the corner of Carpenter Upchurch and Morrisville Carpenter roads. This spurred the Testosterone group into higher gear. The warm up was over. John and his brother Matt took the lead and drove the Testosterone group westward on Carpenter Fire Station Road. Single file they fled.
High rpm’s producing 19 – 21 mph speeds with brief arm movements pointing at hazards in the road. On they rode to the corner of Carpenter Church and Yates Store roads.
The left at Yates Store is where everyone sets up for the run at Up-Chuck hill. Steve Cope falls to the rear behind Kevin. Steve loves to draft the fat man as gravity slings him down the hill with Steve being sucked along. John Majikes loves to peddle as hard as he can to the bottom of the hill hoping that inertia will be his friend and that gravity may not be looking at that instant in time. The others ride in total fear of both Johns frantic attack to the bottom of the hill and the crushing speed of Gravity propelling the Tandem stratled by Ron and Tracy, and the individual riders of Kevin with Steve Cope in tow towards the sound barrier. The G force at the bottom of the hill requires full concentration and a steady grip on the handlebars. The sound of spokes being compressed and the sidewalls of the tires flattening under these forces can be heard over the whistling of the wind through the vents in the rider’s helmets. Only the strongest tires pumped to the ideal pressure can survive this ordeal.

As the hill loomed ever closer John charged ahead soon to be succumbed by the laws of Physics. John does not poses the mass needed to take advantage of gravity’s pull on the downhill. Peddle all he can the math does not work in his favor. Others with greater mass are better designed for the downhill run. Ron and Tracy on the Tandem had the clear advantage followed closely by the combined mass of Kevin and his satellite Steve Cope. These two entities had so much gravitational pull that it actually slowed John down as he was caught in the gravitational pull of these terrestrial bodies.
The three masses almost collided at the point of highest acceleration as two accelerated and one slowed, in a real life enactment of the mathematics behind the physics of Newton’s law.
First the tandem with Ron and Tracy began to slow, then Kevin and Steve began to slow as that same law of physics began to work against them. The tandem had such a tight bond that the two masses remained as one causing a dramatic display of Newton’s law with rapid deceleration as gravity showed its might.
Then it was Kevin that felt the impact and Steve who, like all orbiting particles took full advantage of this law of nature and was able to sling shot on past the larger body freeing himself from the neighboring objects massive gravitational pull.
With in a nano second Steve was flung up over the crest of the hill and into the next county as Kevin and the others continued to struggle against the laws of nature just to reach the summit of Up Chuck.
Like a lone electron Steve circled at the next intersection waiting for the mass of his nucleus. A free electron must seek out a nucleus capable of bonding with others or it will drift forever with no purpose.
All made it to the top of Up-Chuck and through the right turn onto New Hope Church. The group was now falling inline behind the tandem. Ron and Tracy are strong on the flats and down hills and hot on everyone’s heals on the up hills. They were setting the pace for the days ride from the very beginning.
Kevin was riding next to Matt just as a loud Bang and puff of smoke hit Kevin in the side of his face. WOW Kevin yelled.
Everyone turned to see if he was OK.
Matt looked to Kevin to see what had happened to him, not noticing that Matt’s own rear tire just exploded. Kevin pulled to a quick stop. Matt stopped along with him. The tandem took several miles to slow, turn, and then return. A vehicle that large has to first gain approval from the port authority before it can change course. Steve Cope and John had already turned and stopped along Matt and Kevin.
What happened? Kevin announced that Matt’s rear tire blew.
As the group inspected the tire they discovered that not only did the tube blow but the tire’s sidewall shredded. A patch of the tube would not keep the tube in the tire. Ron suggested the use of a dollar bill folded and laid inside the tire between the tube and hole in sidewall to keep the tube from poking out the side of the tire. This is a great roadside repair that has worked in the past. Most of riders carry a spare tube and patch kit but no one carries a spare tire.
Just then Steve Cope suggested the use of his sow up tire. Steve rides Sow ups which are a tube and tire all in one. Upon further review it looked like pulling off Matt’s tire and tube and replace it with Steve’s Sow up would work. The risk being that the sow up would roll off the rim since sow ups are normally glued onto special rims. If the sow up was pumped up real good, and if Matt does not take any corners fast and hard it just might work.
Immediately Steve and Ron began the process of removing Matt’s rear tire, pulling off the defective tire and tube from the rim. Steve pulled the spare sow up from under his bike seat and stretched it over Matt’s naked rim. Ron whipped out his fast CO2 fill cartridge and in an instant the group had effected a tire change that would make NACAR proud.

Matt stared in total awe.
WOW ! That is Great! I didn’t know that was possible! You guys are amazing! WOW ! That is Great! I didn’t know that was possible! You guys are amazing! WOW ! That is Great! I didn’t know that was possible! You guys are amazing!

Steve interrupted Matt
“Get on and ride lest see if it works”.
Off the group rode again with the tandem setting the pace.
WOW ! That is Great! I didn’t know that was possible! You guys are amazing! WOW !
Matt continued to express his total appreciation for the quick thinking and creative problem solving this group was able to demonstrate.
A study in the laws of Physics and the ZEN of Bicycle repair all on one short ride.
The ride continued on its usual 32 mile route with a new twist that kept the group off of 751. As they climbed the last hill on Mt Pisgha Church road they took the left turn onto Earnest Jones Road and then the very next right onto Barbee. This then intersected with Luter. A right on Luter then took the group to the intersection at the strawberry patch and 751. A quick right and immediate left onto Holland Chapel road and they were on the way towards lake Jordan. Left on Ferrington and left again on Horton Pond. The group was settling into a rhythm that had the Tandem and Steve Cope well out front. Kevin, John, and Matt were doing their best to stay consistent with the speed but were falling off the pace. Steve Cope would fall back to chat with the trailing group, and then race forward to harass the tandem team. Matt again was in awe of Steve and his perpetual energy. Kevin was quick to describe Steve as a miniature Chuwawa that likes to nip at everyone’s heals and then run away. As the pack rode on Kevin saw another rider gaining on them from behind. As the rider came along side Kevin recognized him as Tim the rider the group had tried to help on last Saturday’s ride. Tim also recognized the riders and fell into line to ride with the pack until his planned route would take him to his finish. Tim rode with the group for several miles and joined in on the chatter and bantering as if he had been with the group for many rides. The group challenge Tim to consider meeting them next weekend at the start. We rode together until the turn at Wimberly were Tim continued straight towards the finish of his planned route. The group held together to the bottom of Jenks were Steve began his power climb up Jenks Carpenter road. Steve was in the lead followed by the tandem, then John, Matt and Kevin. Kevin slid past John and Matt. He swept silently past the tandem so close that it startled Tracy. His momentum and rpms were working well for him to overtake Steve. Kevin stayed in his stealth mode as he wisped past Steve who was now riding in a relaxed (no one is attacking me) mode. “HEY” Steve yelled. Up and out of the seat, Bike tossed from side to side, Steve responded. Within yards Steve charged past Kevin looking back to announce with facial expression only “Don’t even think about beating me”. That was the last the group saw Steve until they had all arrived at the finish in the Brugers parking lot. He had his bike already packed away, a fresh change of cloths, and food and drink in hand. It was Steve’s way of saying “What took you so long” ?

A 33 mile ride at about 15 mph average including stop for tire change.
We enjoyed having Matt join us again. He came back from a Disney World vacation one day early to ride with the group one more time before he headed back home. Everyone think of him and John June 23 rd as they ride 100 miles in northern California to raise money for Diabetes research.

The group enjoyed meeting up with Tim again. This time he was on his bike rather than calling for a ride home due to a broken chain.

The group enjoyed drafting the tandem and look for their return allowing others to rest in the draft they create going down the road.

The smell the roses riders finished their 25 mile ride entering the parking lot at the same time as the Testosterone laden riders. They did confess that they elected to take the alternate path to Up-Chuck hill by entering the new construction area at the bottom of the hill and exiting at the top of the hill by taking the winding roads thru this new neighborhood.

Ride safe
Ride often.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial day ride for Ice Cream ( Theresa gets a New Bike)

Memorial Day ride – The day Theresa decided to get a new Bike.

New start location
New Ride
New Distance
One Old Bike
Two Old Riders

Steve Sparano met the Smits at their house and loaded his bike on the top of the van.
The 3 then set out to get coffee and drive to the new start location in Carrboro.
A slow relaxed start to what will be a long and enjoyable ride.
The start was in Wilson Park just behind the Carmill mall in Carrboro.

We parked in the shade and used the restroom facilities provided by the community park.
We visited with 2 other cycling groups that had assembled there for their planned rides.
This is a very popular area with lots of biking routes to chose from. They also informed us that the drivers are courteous and are used to lots of bikers on the road.

With that we lathered on the sunscreen in anticipation of the later start sun and heat.
Steve Sparano and Theresa had spent the early morning trying to create a cue sheet for today’s ride based off of a route found on the route is labeled Carrboro to Saxaphaw loop, and is listed as a 40 mile ride.

With the help of the route guideline from the web site and the work created by Steve we headed out on the ride.
Theresa was the Master Navigator and brought a pen to make notes on the cue sheet as the ride unfolded. Theresa enjoys reading maps and navigating whether in a car, on a sailboat, on bike, or on backpacking trips. She must know at all times were she is, how far to the end, and where is the next turn. She was perfect for the job of validating and improving the cue sheet.

I will include the revised cue sheet at the end of this write up.
The route started off with the group of 3 riders winding there way out of town through shaded neighborhoods. Once onto Old Fayetteville Road the scenery began to unfold (hills). The traffic on this stretch of road was heavy but respectful. The narrow road and hills along with traffic on this early stretch caused Theresa to tighten up and slow down significantly. The ride continued on this road for about 6 miles. As the miles unfolded the traffic thinned, however the scenery did not. Kevin and Steve took a short break with about 2 miles of this stretch to complete to let the group re-assemble, and to confirm the next turn. Theresa arrived and her first comment was that she had white knuckles from gripping the handle bars so tight.
Off the group headed up and down the rolling hills to the turn at Crawford Dairy Farm Road. There was a small local Grocery store at the corner. Great place for a re-group on future rides.
From here we again were faced with rolling hills. These are the type of hills that provide enough momentum from the down hill run to carry you 2/3 of the way up the next hill.
If timed just right a rider does not have to shift gears. Spin to get you towards the crest of the hill and stand for a short section to roll over the top and set up the next down hill run.
This ride had lots of shade along the road with large trees creating a canvas along many areas of the route. Other sections had beautiful vistas of farm land and county ponds. Many Farmers were out cutting or building the large bundles of Hay.
As we road further into the country side the traffic became almost non existent.
We wound our way along this beautiful landscape until we crossed the Haw River at Saxapahaw. In Saxapahaw we stopped to rest, refuel, and fill our water bottles at the river mill shell gas station. They had a shaded front porch area complete with large wooden chairs to sit and relax in. We spent ½ hour visiting among ourselves and a couple who had left the same starting point (Wilson park) in Carborro on a Tandem.
Once fully rested the group headed out again this time with the anticipation of gaining ground on the best stop of the day at the Maple View Farms Dairy. It is there that we will enjoy some homemade style ice cream from the dairy. On the way out of Saxapahaw we discovered that every Saturday from 5pm to 8pm they have a food and music festival. The riders all agreed that it would be great to drive to this location and unload the bikes with the intent to do a late day ride finishing just in time to enjoy the Saxapahaw festival.
Look for this to be a planned ride in the near future.
On the group rode for a short section of Highway 54 with a turn onto Stanford. Again finding themselves on rolling hills with lots of great views of farms and lakes. Through shaded areas with the smells and sounds of large farm animals. Or maybe that was Kevin they smelled. Out of the shade and around a long sweeping bend in the road the group could see the next major stop at the top of a vista. The Maple View Dairy and its local store that sells its products to the general public. This shop has a huge front porch with plenty of wooden rocking chairs to sit in while absorbing the view and the great ice cream they produce. Kevin and Theresa had one scoop of Root Beer ice cream that really tasted like you were eating/drinking a cold mug of root beer. Steve sat and eat his choice of ice cream and talked again how we need to start the ride in Saxapahaw, do the ice cream stop, and then the festival in Saxapahaw. Once full on ice cream the group filled their water bottles from the cold water drinking fountain provided on the side of the building. Off again on the last 5 to 7 miles to the end. On this section Steve charged ahead while Kevin and Theresa rode together. Kevin was drafting Theresa to watch her riding technique and provide some coaching to her on her shifting choices and peddling cadence. This did not sit well with Theresa and the two had a brief spat about the topic.
Once at the end the group again took advantage of the rest room facilities. Each rider slowly prepared the bikes and gear for the trip home. It was then that Kevin again made the comment that Theresa is not able to spin like she should and that she would benefit from a different chain ring configuration much like the one Steve has on his bike.
Theresa’s front chain rings are a 52 / 42 combination with a 6 speed cluster in the rear.
Steve had a compact triple chain ring configuration on the front. His two larger front chain rings are 50/39 and allow for higher rpms. This is something Theresa should consider.

A great ride with wonderful views.
We will do this again several times this season.

By the way Theresa has agreed to let Kevin buy her a new bike for her Birthday.
Look for it some time in August.

Cue sheet for the Carrbor0 to Saxapahaw loop.
This is written to ride in a counter clock wise fashion with the ice cream stop near the end of the ride. Saxapahaw is near the middle regardless of direction traveled.

Meet at the Wilson Park in Carrboro.
Right out of the park
Right onto Old Greensboro rd.
It becomes N Greensboro Rd
That then becomes Hillsboro Rd
Left onto Carrol St
Left onto Old Fayetville Rd.
Right onto Jones Ferry Rd. – odometer reads 3 miles
Right onto Crawford Dairy Road – odometer reads 9.6 miles and the Frosty Grocery store is on the right.
Right onto White Cross Road
Left onto GreensBorro-Chapel Hill Road (becomes Greensboro Road across river) odometer reads 13.2 miles
Right onto NC 87 there is a Sandy Café at the corner odometer reads 20 miles. This is a busy road.
Right onto Church Road / Whiney lane – odometer reads 22.5 miles
Veer left at fork in road – Swepsonville Saxapawhaw road - headed towards Haw river and Saxapahaw.
Cross double bridges over the Haw River
Right onto Saxapahaw Bethlehem old road. – climb hill to stop at River Mill shell station –odometer reads 23.9 miles.
Continue ride on Saxapahaw Bethlehem old road
Right onto highway 54 – odometer reads 27.5 miles
Left on Stanford – odometer reads 29 miles
Right on Teer Road – odometer reads 32.4 miles
Left onto Orange Grove Road – odometer reads 33.3 miles
Right onto Dairy Land Road
STOP for ICE CREAM at Maple View Farms at the corner of Dairy Land Road and Rocky Ridge – odometer reads 36.6 miles.
From ice cream shop turn left back onto Dairyland Road toward Carborro
Stay on Dairyland to the y intersection at Dairlyand and Old Chapel Hill Hillsborough Road – Highway 86) there is a gas station on the right – odometer reads 40 miles.
Take the right fork onto highway 86 – Old Chapel Hill Hillsborough Road.
Left at onto Hillsborough road – set of traffic lights help with the turn. Odometer reads 41 miles.
Left at fork of Hillsborough and N Greensboro St putting you onto N Greensboro
Curve to right turns into Old Greensboro road
Left turn on Williams
Left into Wilson park – total miles 43.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

May 27th ride "Theresa rejects some riders"

Sunday May 27th Memorial weekend ride.

In attendance
Kevin and Theresa Smit
John Majikes and his wife Kim
Steve Cope
Coach Dotson

This was Kim’s first ride with the group. We do not know what John told her about the group or if she has read any of the ride recap write ups. We did sense that she was somewhat anxious about riding with the group. Theresa immediately stepped in to shield Kim from the likes of Cope, Coach , and Kevin. Theresa took charge announcing that she would lead the new rider on an enjoyable shortened and sanely paced Smell the Roses ride. This immediately put a smile on Kim’s face, and prompted the rest of the group to beg to join that group. Theresa immediately rejected the offer from Steve, Kevin , and Coach. She did grant permission to John to join the Smell the Roses on the days ride, but the other group needed to bug off.

She made this statement with such authority that we all cowered away to our respective bikes and readied them for the days ride.

Theresa’s group was vibrating with excitement and anticipation. The other group was sullen and dejected and struggled in their attempt to straddle their bikes for the days ride.

Off the two groups rode with the Smell the Roses taking extra time and effort to ensure each was totally prepared for the ride. The Testosterone riders took to the road with Coach leading the way. Very little chatter was heard as each rider struggled with the realization that they were not considered fit to ride with Theresa and her group.

Slowly they recovered as the cadence quickened from now fully warmed up leg muscles.
Kevin was setting the pace early by riding deliberately slow to see if the others would fall in line and allow him a day of recovery on the ride. This did not last long as both Steve and Coach would jump out in front to try and renew the pace. Kevin would fall in and draft as best he could. Not much draft to be gained. It is like a Semi Truck trying to draft a motor cycle. Both Steve and Coach provide such a narrow profile that no true draft is produced, and Kevin’s profile is much like the stature of a large Brick shaped Semi Truck pushing head long into the resistance provided even on a day with no wind. Oddly enough both Steve and Coach recognized their short comings and rode side by side shoulder to shoulder in an effort to produce a profile that would allow Kevin to drift back and forth behind them to find the small target that would produce some degree of draft.
The group did our standard 33 mile route in the counter Clockwise direction.
The group sensed that Kevin was challenged to draft and hold on for the ride. This pattern was only broken as we turned left from Martha Chapel onto Ferrington Road at Lake Jordan. This section of Road has always found Kevin taking the pull position and challenging the group to make the steady climb at 19 to 21 mph. This day was no different. Both Steve and Coach announced that this was Kevin’s section of Road and they pulled off to let Kevin take on that honored position of lead rider. Kevin responded by immediately setting the pace that did not fall below 18 mph on that section. This did take its toll and Kevin was forced to again fall into the minimal draft profile provided by the others as they made the turn onto Horton Pond. The group remained together on this stretch to the turn on 751 and then the left onto Luther. This is where Kevin always falls off the pack. Today was no different, and found Steve and Coach circling at the corner of Luther and Green Level to let Kevin fall into position for the next short stretch to the turn at Wimberly. At Wimberly the Steve and Coach again dropped Kevin on the long climb past the water treatment plant. Again they circled until Kevin made it to the turn at Jenks road. The pack again stayed together as they rode to the edge of Cary and the climb at Old Jenks Road. This is where Steve and Coach get the strong sent of the finish line. The gloves come off and the aggressive behaviors are at their most intense level.

Both attacked on the long down hill from Davis drive on High House only to be forced to loose that momentum at the light at the bottom of the hill. From there it becomes a scramble up the next rise and to the next stop light.
Just like a couple of high school aged boys in their Tricked, out shinny hub capped, spoiler adorned, 1993 Toyota Celica’s.

Theresa’s riders finished their ride having traveled 20 miles at a respectable pace that challenged and conquered upchuck hill.

We hope to see Kim join the group again. John is optional, and now has the challenge trying to decide which group he would ride with. None of the rest of us have that option.
We are not accepted in Theresa’s group.

Ernest's Mountain Bike rides around Virginia Tech area

Memorial weekend MTB adventure

Amy rode the century at Mountains of Misery on the roads near
Blacksburg on Sunday; I'm in no shape for a road century so I took the
mountain bike to Brush Mountain, near VT campus. If you lived around
VT somewhere, you'd probably ride to the Meadowood access on your bike
and over the Brush Mtn ridge on the way in and out. You'd be a monster
if you did that as often as we ride Umstead/Crabtree/Sludge/etc.

AM Ride: From Papandas Pond access (top left corner of the map), Horse
Nettle --> down Old Farm --> up Old Farm --> down Jacob's Ladder -->
up Snakeroot --> down Snakeroot --> back out on Poverty Creek. ~7.25
PM Ride (or, "What was I thinking?") from Meadowood Parking in lower
right on the map: Up Gateway/Old Farm, down Jacob's ladder --> CCW on
Queen Anne --> up Prickly Pear --> Down Grizzly -->down Royale --> up
Snakeroot --> down Old Farm/Gatelway. ~8.4 miles.
And Amy has no sympathy for me being wasted after a measly 15 miles.

Trail notes:
-- Horse Nettle is mostly "jeep trail" with a little singletrack at
the beginning. In local terms, it's a "roller" which means I was in
the granny on most of the climbs.
-- Jacob's Ladder had a few switchbacks at the top, then opens up into
some long straights. How does 30 MPH over shale scree sound? There's
no riding back up this one, it's washed out pretty badly in places
and has sections of 2'+ waterbars and steps.
-- Snakeroot: nice level singletrack at the bottom near the creek,
then opens up to doubletrack for the middle third, with rapidly
switchbacky singletrack at the top. There were only a couple of
switchbacks I couldn't ride going up, going down the doubletrack is
nutso fast and there are banks you can rail on the faster corners.
-- Poverty creek: Mostly flat singletrack, a lot like around here
without the roots and logs.
-- Queen Ann's/Prickly Pear/Grizzly: Good tricky singletrack with long
sections of rocks to climb.
-- Royale: fast downhill twisties with a good flow.
-- Old Farm: Going up, it's a leg and lung burner, harder than
Snakeroot going up with more tricky sections. Going down, it's a
white-knuckle ride. You build speed very quickly, but you have to keep
scrubbing it off for the tight switchbacks. My hands were cramping a
little from hanging on to the brakes after the last time down.