Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 17 and 18th rides

Great days of biking and solid turnout of participants.
Saturday May 17th
New route longer distance.
Today’s ride can be summed up as Steve Cope disrespecting his elders.

In attendance were:
Kevin and Theresa Smit
Sheila and Doug Augustine and a friend – they arrived after the Testosterone group had left the start leaving Doug to ride with the Roses. A thorn among many flowers.
Ron and Tracy Clanton
Christy Miller
Steve Cope
Todd Pechner
Jae Brainard

As mentioned earlier the Testosterone riders were off before Doug was able to join leaving him along with Jae to set the pace for the “Smell the Roses” riders who also included Sheila and her friend, Theresa, and Tracy.

The Testosterone group was quick to hit the road, get to cruising speed, and start trash talking. Todd and Steve would spend the day challenging the group and themselves to periodic attacks to take the lead. It is a guarantee that they both will attack on a hill. And it is a guarantee that both will work to run down (catch and pass) any lone biker in the distance. It is not a Guarantee as to who wins the attack Steve or Todd. For those keeping score Steve Cope is currently undefeated. This may end someday soon.

Today’s ride is no exception. Let it also be known that there were no mechanical issues on the day’s ride. Kevin had spent some time previous to the start in laying the route for today’s ride. He elected to swing the start in a reverse route of some rides they had done last season. He also found an interesting finish for the Testosterone riders that provided for a 4 or 5 mile cool down instead of the customary scramble to the finish. This route put all the hills in the first half of the ride. The riders were warned that the route would be different than what had been provided recently and were told upfront to expect a distance of 45 miles. This is 10 miles longer than they had been riding this season.
The ride began as all do with the short run up High House and into the Preston neighborhood. The group did a good job of pacing themselves and staying close to Kevin who would not reveal the next turn until they were close to its approach. This was his method of not being dropped and also helped to frustrate those who don’t like surprises. All part of the fun (for Kevin). The group continued past last week’s mechanical meltdown for Doug and John Majikes ( we were hoping John would be on the ride today with his new bike). At the corner where the group turns right and begins the long acceleration on Ron’s Pull, Kevin signaled for the pack to turn LEFT. This was particularly difficult on Ron who had been psyching himself up for his charge on that long section of road the group has nicknamed after him. The pack made a tentative left turn with all riders looking around as if to ask why this way, where is he taking us. Kevin sensing the confusion provided information on the next section of the ride including what directions to turn at the next 3 intersections. That was all that was needed. The group quickly calmed down and scurried off in the directions Kevin provided. With the confidence now of where they were headed Steve and Todd took to challenging themselves with a playful exchange of “no one’s wheel gets ahead of mine”. Kevin Ron and Christy all kept together as they also increased the pace, but in a more mature manner. The route took the riders to Holt and then across 55 and to the turn on Roberts.
Everyone was together at Roberts which is a great place to form a hard charging draft line. Without suggesting this, the group formed a well organized pace line and all riders enjoyed the 25 – 28 mile an hour section of road. A right turn onto Green Level Church road had the pack scattering to avoid the many nasty pot holes. A left turn onto Green Level positioned the riders for the next several miles of rolling hills. Steve and Todd jumped to the lead to prepare for the many attacks as each would challenge the other in a scamper up the hill. Kevin, Ron, and Christy all did a great job of motoring up the hills maintaining most of the speed they had from the bottom all the way to the top. This type of riding requires a proper balance between keeping the rpms high by shifting at the right times, and increasing the pressure on the peddles to match the pressure/resistance of the climb (again a more mature method of bike ridding vs the scamper). The first hill had Steve and Todd circling as they waited for Kevin to indicate if they were to turn or go straight. Again Kevin’s plan was proving effective in keeping the kids from running away. On straight with several more hills to challenge the riders. The pack all made the next turn indicated by Kevin which was a left onto Luther. This road is also full of inclines with one particular one being long and curving, usually requiring a short time out of the saddle to be able to respond to the incline without getting bogged down. A quick right turn onto 751 and then the very next left onto Horton Pond had the group all back together again, although not for long. Everyone knew where they were and also knew there would be no turns for at least 3 miles till the end of that road. Steve, Todd, and Ron all began to accelerate together on the fist, and only downhill section of the road. Kevin was still sucking on a water bottle working to recover from the last group of hills and prepare himself for the stair step set of climbs that lay ahead. Christy was playing it cool, not even breathing hard or sweating, an easy days ride for this Triathlete.
Just as the three riders in the lead were half way thru the downhill run a CRY went out “LONE RIDER ON THE HORIZON”. Steve and Todd gathered themselves for the attack just as Ron Clanton went flying by them. That move startled Steve and Todd long enough to give Ron a full 3 bike lengths before the other two could respond. As if they had Nitrous oxide boosters Steve and Todd ignited themselves into a full on sprint. The sprint did not let up for the entire 3 mile push as they had a great deal of distance to make up on the lone rider who was also riding at a stiff pace.
Actually the best way to describe the scene would be to recall one’s childhood and the launching of model rockets. A PSST sound and the rocket was out of site.
Ron pushed hard to match the acceleration of the other two. Kevin and Christy could see from their advantage point that even with Ron’s hard charge the gap between him and the other two only grew larger with each revolution of the peddles. Over the next 3 miles Kevin, Christy, and later Ron, (once the three had regrouped) had to strain their eyes to see far enough in the distance to witness the two running down the lone rider. They had to take the entire 3 miles to clip the wings of their pray. They caught the rider just as Horton Pond came to an end. After Steve and Todd described how they destroyed the lone rider the group’s attention shifted to know what direction to take with most anticipating for a right turn towards lake Jordan. “LEFT TURN” barked Kevin.
Headed towards Highway 64 and the main body of water that makes up Lake Jordan. Kevin took the lead as the group formed a single line to allow for the increase in traffic flow for cars that wanted to pass. Down the hill and over the bridge were Ferrington Road passes over a section of Jordan Lake. This was followed by a long steady climb up out of Lake Jordan to High Way 64 and Farrington. Kevin was still in the lead doing his best not to slow the progress of the riders behind. 19 miles an hour became 18 then 17, then 15. Todd yells from somewhere in the pace line “My heart rate monitor is registering 64 bpm, now it is 55 bpm. Pick up the pace before I go to Sleep”. Kevin could not respond as he was focused on doing his best just to keep the speed at a pace were the bike could be balanced keeping the rider and bike from falling over. A turn into the gas station for a planned yet not announced break. “A Break, we do not need a break, Breaks are for wimps”. Again Kevin could not respond due to his effort to oxygenate himself as best he could. Several took advantage of the restroom, consumed any snacks they had in their jersey pockets, and hydrated themselves from their water bottles. The pace at that point was averaging at 18 mph.
Back on the bikes again with Kevin once more in the lead. The pack headed west on 64 towards lake Jordan and the next right turn onto Big Woods. Kevin’s lead position was quickly replaced by Todd who was now ready to push hard into the head wind and get his heart rate back into target zone. The group again formed a single file to accommodate for the narrow shoulder and fast moving cars that needed to pass without having to make lane changes or slow their momentum. This stretch of road had the group again hitting speeds over 21 mph. Everyone was focused on the wheel ahead making sure they did not overlap while working to maintain as small a gap as possible between them. By the end of this stretch the pack had splintered with several riders having to push hard against the wind having lost the draft of the person in front.
A right turn onto Big Woods and another 5 miles of rolling hills with one long one just towards the far end of the road. The group rode in a tight group with Steve and Todd talking non-stop. It is not clear what the subject matter was but it was clearly important to them as they talked the entire 5 miles about it. That last long uphill splintered the group again as Steve and Todd continued their game of scamper up the hill with Ron, Kevin, and Christy now looking even more mature than ever in their attack of the hill (slow). A right turn off of Big Woods and onto Jack Bennit with a yield onto Lystra. Kevin and Christy were now in the lead with a considerable gap between them and the three others. Both Christy and Kevin realized that no one was jumping out to close the gap. Clearly no one in the trailing group were concerned that She and Kevin would be able to maintain their lead, and that normal easy riding by the pack would swallow up these two riders with ease. This was accomplished as described within the next mile. Another planned unannounced stop at the gas station at Lystra and Farrington. Again lots of verbal abuse was provided to the rider leader who had charted out the course. Again everyone consumed some fluids and snacks that they had with them. During this stop Todd was describing how the InsideOut riders would drop him without any concern for him or his safety, and he appreciates the fact that we do not behave the same way.
"We don't drop you because we can not Catch you" was the comment that had the group all laughing in unison.
Back on the bikes and onto Farrington for the run to Lake Jordan and the turn at Martha Chapel.
Yes another lone rider in the distance.
Steve and Todd did not hesitate to take chase. Ron let them jump and then he too turned on the after burners to close the gap on the lone rider. Christy was watching this all unfold and commented shortly after the attack began “I wonder if they will trash talk the rider when they discover he is carrying what looks to be groceries in a basket?”.
From this distance it did appear that this lone rider was not in the standard biking attire or ridding position, and did appear to have something on the back of the bike. The Testosterone Riders were all now closing the gap on this lone rider. As Steve and Todd over took the rider they were heard laughing and discussing loudly with this vanquished rider. Then Steve and Todd took off racing towards the turn at Martha Chapel. Ron was next to swing past the lone rider. Kevin with Christy in tow finally closed the gap enough to draft this lone rider for about ½ mile. During this draft Both Kevin and Christy were pulled along by the lone rider at 21 miles per hour. The whole time Kevin and Christy did not say a word as they scoped out the spectacle provide by the rider who was providing the draft.
Studying the scene provided the following interesting details. T
he rider was on a hybrid bike (not mountain bike, not road bike – but one that tries to support either),
The riders bike was equipped with a wire basket on the back.
In the basket was a 5 gal bait bucket that was held in place by elastic bungee cords.
The rider was sitting up right with an orange jacket that is used to ward off evil vehicles as they pass.
The rider was very friendly and wished those that passed to have a great day.
Kevin and Christy took their time passing as they took in all there was to notice.

Once the Testosterone Riders had all reassembled onto Martha Chapel, Steve Cope informed everyone that he had learned from his brief conversation (Trash talk) with the lone rider. We learned that this - vanquished bait bucket hybrid rider - was 87 years old and was headed to the strawberry patch to pick a bucket of strawberries, and then would head home. We also learned that the Gentleman politely turned down the standard fee of $10 that Steve Cope told him was required to join our pace line.
So let it be known that Steve can add to his victory’s - the Fire Hydrant that he mistook for a lone rider last week, and Now a 87 year old strawberry picking, bait bucket carrying, Hybrid bike rider.
Who or what will be his next victim.

Now on Martha Chapel the group again formed into an organized pack and began the 4 mile pull up the smooth road of Martha Chapel to the right turn onto 751 and the Strawberry patch. Steve challenged the pack to ride harder as he kept looking behind to track the progress of his most resent victim who was seen turning the corner right behind the pack and headed their way.
A right turn onto 751 followed by a left turn off it onto Luter Shop now had the riders sliding past the folks who were all bent over picking strawberry’s from the “pick your own strawberry patch”. Kevin informed the group that they would be taking a right turn in a few miles onto White Oak Church and that there will be limited opportunities for speed play after that. So the pace quickened the draft line reformed and the miles on Luter Shop did not last long. The turn onto White Oak provided for a fast downhill and a steep climb at the other end. All the riders knew of what lay ahead and again Steve and Todd jumped into action with Steve leaving everyone well behind by the time he crested the hill. Ron, Kevin and Christine all finished the climb in no particular order, with each taking turns leading for a few moments only to be passed by another who’s rpm’s had not yet slowed, to then only give up the lead to another who had just adjusted for the climb.
Steve and Todd were again circling at the intersection waiting for Kevin’s next command. “Left turn and then a right at Green Level Church, but do not get to far ahead on Green Level Church because I have a Surprise ending” Kevin announced. On this downhill run to the next turn the group was able to stay together due to Gravity assisting Ron and Kevin allowing them to stay with Christy, Steve, and Todd.
A right turn onto Green Level Church had the pack slowing waiting to find out what Kevin was going to suggest next. Within about ¼ mile Kevin signaled for a left turn and informed everyone to stay way left and proceed single file. In between the gate posts the riders proceeded, each one saying “I did not know this was here”. The Testosterone riders were now on a bike trail that would take them the last 4 miles on a journey that wondered past river beds, ponds, rolling hills, into and out of neighborhoods. As these riders proceeded they rode with care to avoid the dogs, baby strollers, joggers, walkers, small kids on bikes. The bike path took a route thru a tunnel under highway 55 where each rider hooted and hollered at the top of their lungs to hear the echo created in the tunnel. The path ended with the riders being dropped off in the Davis School parking lot. From hear they made the turn onto Waldo Rooe saying goodbye to Todd who headed straight on Davis towards his home. He enjoyed the ride but felt the pace a little slow for him so he planned to do a 6 mile run to cap of the ride ( another one of those Tri-ASSholetes). A left turn onto Cary Parkway and a fast run down hill to the start/finish had the Testosterone riders covering their 45 miles at an average speed of 16.4 mph.

Sunday May 18th
A repeat of Saturday for the Testosterone Riders.

In attendance
Carolyn and Steve Sparano
Kevin and Theresa Smit
David Bridenbaugh – rode bike to the start
Steve Cope
Brian Farkuss – 2nd time on the ride for this season.
Jae Brainard
Also making a bagle run but not riding was Todd Pechner .
Tim Jensen – just in the nick of time – and only the 2nd time riding with the group
And later we picked up Tom Plant alongside the road

As the group was readying their bikes a lone rider entered the parking lot. He circled slowly around the group and then asked if he could join. Immediately Steve Cope saw an opportunity to punish new meat. “Sure as long as you don’t mind being verbally abused during the ride” was Steve’s welcoming remark. With that expectation clearly communicated the new rider was introduced to the group. Kevin made brief introductions letting the group learn that Tim Jensen would be joining the Testosterone Riders today.

Kevin suggested that the Testosterone Riders do the same route as Saturday. This was accepted by everyone since the only riders that experienced it Saturday were Steve Cope and Kevin. This would be something new for the rest. Everyone was allowed to chime in on acceptance of the 45 mile distance, and no one suggested shorting the route. Kevin informed the riders that the route can easily be altered as the day unfolded to accommodate for shorter or longer distances. Brain Farkus later took up the offer to shorten the route. Kevin explained the path back that would allow Brian to accomplish a 30 mile ride. Brain was comfortable with the route design and was confident he could easily follow it back to the start. The altered route had Brain splitting off from the group at the corner of Horton Pond and Farrington with him heading back on Holland Chapel.
With that those representing the Testosterone riders included:
Steve Sparano – known as Steve S for this write up
Steve Cope – Know as Steve C, or the Social Chairman, or the Chiwawa, or the angry chipmunk for this write up
Tim Jensen – the new guy (although we learned he rode the Sunday of Mothers day in the rain with Steve C and Tim Travitz.) So this is his second time with the group this season – Welcome Back Tim.
Brain Farkus – second time this season also – Welcome back Brian.
David Bridenbaugh – on his new Carbon Fiber frame from Felt.
Kevin Smit
The group later picked up a lone rider who jumped into to ride with them to the finish.
The group learned that his name was Tom Plant - Welcome to the group Tom we hope you join us for more rides this season.

This ride write up can be best experienced by first reading Saturdays write-up and substitute Tim for every Time Todd is mentioned during Saturday’s ride. The route was the same the attacks were led mainly by the angry chipmunk and Todd with David Bridenbaugh always in the hunt and doing long pulls from the front. In fact the pull during the run on Roberts road, David sustained the lead pulling the pack at a steady 28 miles an hour. This is a speed the other riders can only achieve on their own going downhill.
This amazing effort by MR BRIDENBAUGH was accomplish against a very stiff head wind. HE also pulled the entire length of Big Woods at speeds well over 21 miles per hour leaving Kevin Smit falling off the pace immediately and later dropping Steve S. After that long pull it was the chiwawa that egged Tim into a sprint to the finish up hill at the end of Big Woods catching David by surprise as the two riders attacked from behind with no warning. Notice the angry Chipmunk drafts the entire way and then jumps to an imaginary finish line with arms raised in victory. Tim did more than his share of pulling during the day matching MR BRIDENBAUGH’s long pull efforts. Tim pulled the entire length of highway 64 holding a steady speed of 20 miles per hour into the stiffest head wind of the day. What is amazing about this is that Tim sustained that steady speed regardless of hills or flat sections and with no speedometer to help him monitor the pace. Kevin marveled at this as he kept close to Tim’s wheel and glanced back and forth between his own speedometer and heart rate monitor. The speedometer held steady but the heart rate monitor jumped as the demand for more blood to the leg, heart, and lungs increased with the effort.
As with the Saturday Ride Kevin announced the stops at Farrington and 64 and again at Lystra and Farrington. Again there was a lot of grief from the group suggesting that stops are for sissies, and yet everyone took full advantage of the stop to hydrate and consume a snack they had brought.
The group met Tom along Luter Shop road just past the Strawberry patch. Tom was invited to jump in and join the draft line. He responded promptly. The group learned that Tom had started his ride from about the same location in Cary and our return route was designed to return him back safely. In the end this group covered the same distance as Saturday’s ride and did it in a full mile per hour faster against stiffer head wind. We blame MR. BRIDENBAUGH and Tim Jensen for the increased speed due to their solid pulls from the front of the pack.