Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jan 12 and 13th 2008 rides (a short novel by Kevin Smit)

A weekend of Tri-asshole-lete encounters.

Saturday Jan 12th
We will title today’s ride
Clanton’s set the pace for a hard driving ride.

In attendance:
Theresa and Kevin Smit, Ron and Traci Clanton (again on single bikes, no tandem), Steve Cope, Beth Gonzalez (who has rejoined the group after almost a year), and Beth’s friend Patti Lewis who is riding with the group for the first time.
Welcome Patti.

Today’s ride once again had Ron setting the pace early. We have also learned that Traci Clanton was also pushing the pace for the “Smell the Roses” riders. The Clanton’s must share their nutrition and workout plans with the rest of the group.
As the two groups rode through the early stages of the ride they all approached the first short climb of the day together. Kevin looking in his mirror saw a large group of riders swallowing up the Smell the Roses and bearing down on the Testosterone riders. The pack behind was kept at bay with the help of the light at Davis drive. The Testosterone group managed to slip through that light before it changed bringing the oncoming herd to a halt. On through the light and into the round about as Ron Clanton was showing an aggressive/competitive tendency with Steve Cope bantering. “I think there is a girl in that group”. “I won’t be passed by a girl”. Adrenaline could be felt starting to surge through each of the riders as they looked across the round about only to see the pack of riders who were in pursuit taking the shorter path through the round about. “Whimps” Steve Cope was heard to say. No comment from Ron just results as he pressed on harder than before. Within seven peddle strokes Ron and Steve had joined the ranks of this pursuing, now leading, pack of riders. Both Ron and Steve slowly worked their way from the back of that pack to the front. As they rode past each member of the group they sized them up.
This is accomplished in several steps.

1. Ride next to the person to see if they respond with a slight bump in cadence and speed. The old game of no ones wheel gets ahead of mine. – if no surge then they either know the game and are not yet willing to show what they are capable of, or they have nothing to show and are not a threat.

2. Strike up a short conversation. The opening statement is very important. It must be framed in a manner that requires a long reply. Something like “What route are your taking and what pace are you planning on?”. A friendly and inquisitive opening remark that will require a descriptive response. It is important to observe how the other rider responds. If they offer a long description with arm waving and directional pointing while maintaining or increasing the pace, and are not the least bit winded in its delivery then this rider is one to be concerned about. If they look at you and barely grunt a reply then they are either already suffering, or they are a Tri-asshole-lete.

Definition of a Tri-asshole-lete :
a bread of competitive animal that does not enjoy workouts and definitely do not enjoy sharing its misery with anyone. They are driven by a total lack of self esteem and limited self worth. They have chosen a sport that is completely solo in nature. The rules of the sport do not allow drafting or support from others during the event. Solo and solitary is the mind set. This suggests that the workouts are best accomplished solo, and on rare occasions with others only to learn how to survive as a member of a thundering herd. When practicing in a herd do not create any bond with others because they like you are there for themselves only.

Tri-asshole-letes need to learn RULE # 6.
Rule # 6 states – Never Take Yourself Too Seriously.

3. Once steps one and two are completed then apply pressure in ever increasing increments. Watch what unfolds and hold on for as long as you can. Be prepared to either lead and pull the group along for a great distance, or slip into the pack and draft to survive, or get dropped.

A Great Game that is likely to take place several times on any given ride.

Ron and Steve quickly learned that this pack of riders were made up of a mix of young and old male and female Tri-asshole-letes. They were planning on doing 40 miles in two hours as a herd. There was one female named Christine ( we learn her name later in the ride) who was not in tune with the herds sense of direction or purpose for the days ride. Christine was planning to ride for 4 hours at a more reasonable pace.
Once this information was established Ron then applied step 3 to the game plan. He rolled forward through the pack to establish himself near the lead. He waited for the pack to make the right turn onto a long straight stretch of road that has rolling hills as it passes in front of Green Hope School. Once on the straight away Ron began applying pressure in increments that were hard to detect resulting in an ever increasing exponential increase in cadence and speed. Steve Cope was vibrating with excitement as he knew what game was afoot. Steve positioned himself right behind Ron to get the best draft possible and to destroy any reasonable draft for others. Steve is so small in stature that his draft actually disrupted the air flow pattern established by Ron. The sensation for others riding behind Steve would be similar to the buffeting generated when following a truck just outside the draft it creates. Ron and Steve pressed on through the right turn at the end of the straight away and to the left turn that followed. At this point the herd of Tri-asshole-letes elected to continue straight and to fall off the pace generated by Ron and Steve.
In the mean time Kevin and a female Tri-athlete (all in Pink – A Tri-Pink-alete) had maintained the more reasonable pace of 17 – 19 mph with a long discussion of how challenging it is to hold down a full time job and train properly for an Iron Man competition. We later learned her name was Christine, that is yet to be told in this write-up. Christine has a great attitude towards achieving her goal of doing a full distance Triathalon on April 13th in Arizona. Lets all wish her the best. Only down hills with tail winds for both the run and ride. Calm warm water with no other swimmers working to swim over her (this is actually a tactic that some Tri-Asshole-letes do to intimidate the competition).
Eventually Kevin and Christine were able to rejoin Ron and Steve as those two circled waiting for the slower riders of the group to catch up. Christine announced that she was happy to see Ron and Steve attack the herd. She said that when the group first spotted us from behind they all commented that we looked like easy pray.


The reformed group of Testosterone riders, Christine included, began the journey along Fire Station Church Road and towards the base of UpChuck. Lots of banter was generated as usual with Steve letting our new group member know that there is a fee with ride with us. She was quick to guess that a six pack of beer is all Steve was after. With that short exchange Christine was fully anointed as one of the Testosterone riders. We still had not learned her name at this point. Down the hill headed for the climb on UpChuck. All complained about how they hated this hill. Ron attacked from the front. Steve shot a quick glance over at Kevin as if to say “is he serious? Are you ready to respond?”. A short delay from Kevin is all Steve needed to know. Steve is on his own. Kevin could see Steve estimate the distance between Ron and himself and the distance to the top of the hill.
Steve elected to delay his attack for just and instant. Then as if a pit bull unleashed from his chain Steve exploded out of the saddle and scampered up the hill. Just as Steve matched Ron’s front tire Ron collapsed from his valiant yet feeble attempt at taking the poke-a-dot jersey for being the best hill climber of the day.
The groups slowed and worked to reassemble on the road just past UpChuck hill.
Ron now drew his attention to this new rider in the group. “Hi my name is Ron Clanton what is your name”. “Christine” the new team member announced. Ron then rode up to Kevin and Steve to tell them that Christine is a very solid rider. Kevin looked puzzled for an instant only to realize that he had already spent close to 30 minutes visiting with her and did not think to introduce himself or to learn her name. This generated a great deal of rhetoric directed at Kevin’s lack of social skills.
Kevin had to confess that he was more interested in telling Christine all about himself and did not think to learn anything about her. “Its all about Me” he announced, adding to the banter. Ron and Steve were both quick to let Christine now that Kevin is Shallow and self centered and that they were not surprised that he had not tried to learn anything about her since it is all about him. This banter only endeared the group even more as they continued their journey through the rolling country side on their route to Martha Chapel and Lake Jordan. It was at this junction that Christine announced she was headed towards the longest and steepest climb in the adjacent 5 counties. This caught the groups attention as each tried to provide her an alternate route to get to where she was headed. Some how we believe she was now getting into her mental workout zone as a Tri-asshole-lete. The group did encourage Christine to join us on any Saturday or Sunday and provided information for her to email and get on the distribution list for the ride announcements. With that task being completed the group said their goodbyes with the Testosterone group headed back towards Cary and Christine on her solo trek to put 3 more hours in the saddle. I think each of the riders reflected on what and why they were out on the ride that day as the next several miles unfolded with little chit chat. As the group closed the gap on the finish line the banter again began to build. A turn onto Wimberly with its long slow grind from the Tobacco trail to Old Jenks road presented another opportunity for Ron Clanton to make a play for the poke-a-dot jersey. This was a slow motion reenactment of what transpired early on UpChuck. We applaud Ron for his continued killer instinct. The group was now back in formation again as they crossed over highway 54 and into the back side of Cary. Left turn into the neighborhoods and the last climb of the day. Ron again pressed ahead on the down hill to establish his attempt once again. Just as the group transitioned from down hill into the base of the climb Ron’s shifting technique resulted in a chain that elected to eject itself off of the rear cluster. Steve was already pulling ahead and did not look back to see what the racket was. Kevin slowly crawled past the now stationary Ron. Left turn at the top of the climb, strategically placed, was Steve Cope. His bike was in the grass leaning on a light post.
His helmet was on the ground. His head was on his helmet. His arms crossed over his chest. His feet propped up on the frame of his bike. His eyes closed as he enjoyed a short nap waiting on the rest of the pack.
Kevin only shook his head in disgust with no intent to recognize Steve’s subtle unspoken suggestion that the rest of us are too slow for him. On into the finish with a great sense of accomplishment having logged a reasonable pace and distance.

The Smell the Roses were already enjoying each other’s company over coffee and bagel sandwiches. Traci and Ron demonstrated today that they came to Play and Play hard.

Sunday Jan 13th.

In attendance
Theresa and Kevin Smit, Steve Cope, Tim Travitz, and Andy Hartsfield who has rejoined the group after 10 + months. Busy lives can get in the way of having THIS MUCH FUN.

Today’s ride saw the Testosterone and Smell the Roses riders as a single group well into the ride. Theresa was concentrating on responding to the pace and the slipstream created by others in the group. She appeared to prefer positioning herself behind Tim. Tim is clearly the better looking guy of the group and is likely the firmer physic. If you were a female which rider would you follow. Shallow – out of shape – old – flabby Kevin, or Steve – Social Chairman – Cope, or Andy – I am just getting back in the saddle – Hartsfield, or Tim. The group did a great job of protecting the pack and each individual rider in it.
There was no attacking the hills (Ron was not riding today). In fact with the approach of UpChuck Hill Kevin, Theresa and Andy all took to kinder gentler route around UpChuck with Tim and Steve approaching the hill straight on. After the climb the group reformed once Theresa had an opportunity to blow her nose. Tough to ride when you are challenged to balance the bike and wipe the nose at the same time.
On the group rode over rolling hill after rolling hill with a left hand turn at Mount Pisgah Church road. This section of road starts with a fast down hill and a section of 3 climbs each one steeper than the last. Theresa held her own up to the last climb of this part of the ride. A left turn at the last of the three hill climbs onto Ferrell road had the group recovering with the intent of letting Theresa close the gap. She responded very well and again the group rode as one towards the turn onto Lewter Shop rd. and towards Lake Jordan. Once at this turn Theresa announced she was planning on making a left turn with the intent to head for the sanctuary of Brugers and the start finish. Steve, Tim, Alan and Kevin all ensured she was OK and that she was to ride safely those last 8 to 12 miles.
Here the pack separated. The Testosterone group make the right turn and headed on their standard path toward Lake Jordan. This group of riders was now traveling in a uniform manner with each working to help the other maintain the steady pace. Right turn onto 751 and left turn onto Martha Chapel for the run toward Lake Jordan.
At the Martha Chapel turn the group was joined from behind by two additional riders who had swung into place just behind. The groups Social Chair – Steve Cope struck up a conversation with the female rider that was working to pass the group. Engaging step one of the three step assessment described in Saturdays ride write-up. Clearly these two riders new about the 3 step process because the male rider grunted and charged ahead with the female in tow. They were Tri-asshole-letes on their Tri Bikes and had no time to share their plan or workout with anyone. This only spurred the Testosterone group to slowly work towards closing the gap created the Tri-asshole-letes sudden bust to get away.
The Testosterone riders sustained speeds of 23 mph as they charged ahead towards Lake Jordan while ridding on the smooth service of Martha Chapel Road. Up ahead they could see that the male Tri-asshole-lete had pulled away from his female companion and was not showing any concern for the gap that existed between them. This upset Steve Cope who suggested the female made a poor choice leaving the sanctuary of the Testosterone riders.
On the pack rode to the left turn at Jordan Lake and the long gradual climb up Ferrington road. Each rider now working to recover from the packs hard drive down Martha Chapel. This later proved to slow the group as each struggled with the energy expenditure of this earlier charge. The group continued to ride making the turn at Holland chapel road leading past the Yacht we have been observing during its refurbishing. While in this section of road Andy asked that the group entertain the possibility of a Bio-Break. The riders slowed as Andy headed off the road to find a perfect spot to relieve himself. At that same time a local in an old beat up car barely missed Kevin as he was standing along side the road straddling his bike. This car did not attempt to slow as it barely missed Steve Cope with a quick swerve followed by a fast left hand turn into their neighborhood street.
RED NECK COUNTRY can be a challenge for bicyclists.
The group again headed on down the road with some discussion of how STUPID some drivers are. The group all agreed that the bike shops need to pull their resources and fund a educational program for local drivers regarding the rules of the road and the challenges bikers have in sharing the road.
Right turn back onto 751 and quick left back onto Lewter Shop Road and then onto Green Level Church had the group pointed back toward Cary and the end. From this point on the only focus was to eliminate hills by altering the route to miss them, and to shorten the distance from current location to the end. At the RR crossing in Front of Green Hope High the group stopped to hydrate and to share GUE with Andy who had started the day’s ride with no fuel in the tank. Bonking due to lack of fuel is easy to accomplish especially when pushing the pace at any point in a ride. The end of the ride had the group glad to have survived another encounter with Tri-asshole-letes and Red Neck Drivers.