Sunday, June 22, 2008

The largest group of riders, the fastest pace, the hilliest ride, the longest distance both days yet for this season

Saturday June 21
Those in attendance representing the “Testosterone” riders.
Steve Cope
Ernest Davis
Greg (can’t remember his last name) – first time riding with the group (known most of the day as Ed)
Steve – First time with the group invited by Sheila
Kevin Smit
Tim Travitz
Doug Augustine ( rode to route just as we passed him and Sheila)
Davin Perkins
Todd Pechner ( now known as the slower Todd)

Those representing the “Roses”
Jae Brainard
Sheila Augustine
Sporadic Carolyn Sparano
Theresa Smit

The group grew very quickly in size as the start time closed in on 7:30 am.
The “Testosterone” riders were not sure what to expect for the days ride as the ride leader himself was not clear what route to spring on the group. A quick discussion of distance choices had most agreeing with 40 ish miles. The new riders in the group were assured that as the ride unfolded the route and distances could be adjusted as needed. With that the pack was off with the largest group of riders yet this season.

The route was a compilation of rides accomplished before with the start taking the riders into the Apex area and winding their way towards Lake Jordan. This route was originally planned by Kevin for his 56th Birthday ride when he rode is age in miles. The early hills out of Apex allowed for the group to expand and contract as the attacks on the hills would splinter the group, with the down hills allowing for the reconstitution of a pace line. Those responding to or spawning the attacks were Steve Cope, Todd, Tim, and Ed (Greg).

Those who made it to any intersection first would circle anxiously awaiting the next command suggesting what direction to charge towards for the next stretch. Eventually after about 17 miles the hills softened as the riders turned towards Highway 64 on Farrington Road. Once at Highway 64 and Farrington road the group stopped for a short bio break and opportunity to fill water bottles. As the group was preparing to mount their bikes the questions began to fly regarding how far and what route was planned. Kevin said he expected the route to be a total of 40 to maybe 45 miles. Just then everyone looked at their digital speedometers and compared notes on how many miles were logged so far. The consciences was that 20 miles were covered so far at a 17.7 mph average. Those that have ridden the route described by Kevin were now calculating the estimate to complete and adding it to the distance covered. “What is he Smoking” one of the riders asked another under their breath. Kevin was also slowly calculating the distance and realizing that 45 miles is more likely the distance and maybe even closer to 50. A few of the riders began to show some degree of concern on their face. Kevin again assured the crowd that the route can be altered still to accommodate for shorter, or longer distance if desired. The group slowly climbed on their bikes with Kevin leading the charge thru the intersection in hopes to get the pack through the light and on its way down 64 towards Lake Jordan. Half the group made it thru the light with those making it waiting on the other side for the entire pack to reassemble. Once fully assembled the group formed two single draft lines with Todd leading the draft line, and new Steve leading the trailing draft line. The group was pulled along at a smooth 20 miles and hour with the new Steve and Todd taking the lead for the entire pull. Once past the Lake the group turned right onto Big Woods. It was here that Steve Cope complemented Todd on his solid pull and also informed him that it was no match for the other Todd who has ridden with the group at least twice before. “You are the slower Todd” announced Steve. “The other Todd is faster and he does not slow down and then speed up, He is just solid and fast”. With that new revelation Todd Pechner suddenly became the “Slow Todd”. After new introductions of everyone to Slow Todd Kevin, and Ernest took turns at the pull position during the early stages of Big Woods. Later the Pull was taken over by Ed (Greg) as both Kevin and Ernest were willing to share this section of road. Kevin was struggling with the idea of throwing in the climb on Lystra knowing that the group was already well on its way to the longest and fastest ride of the season. “OK folks” announced Kevin, “Those interested in climbing Lystra make the left turn up ahead”. “Those not interested make the right and wait for the others at the Gas Station at Lystra and Ferrington”.

With little banter the pack headed off in the two directions. Those attempting the climb included: Steve Cope, Ernest, Tim, Todd, Davin, Ed (Greg), Kevin. Those electing to show greater wisdom were Doug and the new Steve. The climb up Lystra started off very casual with the pack staying together as the road remained flat. “When does the hill start?” asked Davin. “Is that it?” “How long is it?” he continued to pry. Up ahead the pack could now see the base of the incline appear with the bulk of the climb disappearing behind trees as it curved around the bend. At that same moment Todd, Tim, Greg, and Steve began their attack. Kevin was turning his attention to the pickup truck that was bearing down on the group from behind. Davin was in close pursuit of Ed (Greg) who was shifting to take advantage of his gearing combinations. Kevin continued to concentrate on the vehicle behind and only altered his gaze as the truck finally indicated it would allow for a safe passing zone with the group of riders. “WHOW” yelled Kevin as he just slipped past Ernest who was now stopped on the edge of the road. “Sorry ….. My Chain fell off” was Ernest reply. “My fault …. I was not paying attention” responded Kevin. Davin watched the whole situation unfold right before his eyes, and only had time to slip wide left in anticipation of carbon colliding with carbon and the dust of carbon fibers that were sure to be the end result.

Steve, Tim, Greg, and Todd were no were insight as each attacked Lystra as if it had taunted them to try. Each rider was now into their own head working to respond to the challenge presented by Lystra. Everyone who accepted the challenge was able to respond in their own way. Circling at the top were Steve Cope, Todd, Greg, and Tim as the others found their way to the crest of the hill. What took place next was a rocket ride to the bottom of the hill with an expected regroup at the gas Station at the corner of Lystra and Farrington. At the bottom of Lystra Steve Cope and Kevin were both commenting on how strong Ed was riding today. “Yea, he really has turned up the heat and is always there on the attacks”, “ he must have been holding back until now” Kevin replied. “Are you sure it is Ed?” asked Steve Cope. “I think so, I have been calling him Ed all day” was Kevin’s reply. “Ask Ernest he is Ed’s neighbor” suggested Kevin.

Upon arrival at the gas station the group noticed that “the new Steve” and Doug were no where insight. The group deduced that the pair headed for home as they knew these roads and had ridden their bikes to the start of the day’s ride. The group also used this time to fill water bottles, snack on any treats each had stowed in their jersey pockets, and to strike up conversation with other bikers who also were taking a break from their rides. One of those riders was Marty who informed the group that she had been dropped by the ride group from Cycling Spoken Here. Marty was invited to join the “Testosterone” riders who were headed in the same direction as she was. Once introductions were over the group headed out onto Farrington towards the run known as “Kevin’s Crawl” and the turn at Holland Chapel. The group did not form a solid draft line as there were at least 3 small groups working independently down the road. In the lead were Tim, Todd, and Steve Cope followed by Ed (Greg), followed by Davin, Marty, Kevin and Marty’s friend who we did not actually meet. The run down Farrington to Lake Jordan did not last long with speeds reaching 24 mph. Once at the Lake the group again reassembled to allow Kevin his rightful place at the front of the pace line for his pull on “Kevin’s Crawl”. Today’s effort fell way short of last week’s charge along this section of Farrington road. Kevin had not ridden for a week and in fact had spent the entire week before eating crab and drinking wine at Theresa’s Brother’s house on the Chesapeake Bay. The best Kevin could do for the group was a short lived effort of 21 mph with most of the “Crawl” at about 19 mph. This allowed the rest of the pack to relax and recover.
During this relaxed run Steve took the opportunity to congratulate Ed (Greg) on his solid ride and responses to attacks. “My name is Greg” replied Greg. Kevin was did not hear this exchange as the sound to air rushing in and out of his lungs was too defining. The turn onto Holland Chapel scattered the group as everyone was looking for someone else to take the lead. “Hey its not Ed his name is Greg” Steve Cope was happily correcting Kevin for his day long abuse of Greg’s real name. Once Steve had shared this information the same four who have pushed each other all day formed their own draft line and powered towards the end of this stretch of pavement. The others being Davin, Kevin, and Marty. The group was able to form a more organized draft line after the turn onto Luter Shop road. “I am upset with you” Kevin said as he pointed to Ed (Greg). “You let me call you Ed all day long and didn’t correct me” he went on trash talking the new guy. “I corrected you at least 2 times” was the comeback from the new guy Greg. “oh”. “I guess my ears are as old and feeble as the rest of me” was Kevin’s humble apology. “Sorry Ed”. Kevin continued with a smile.

The pack was now in full flight with all in tow as they worked their way towards Green Level Church. This well organized pack dissolved as the four Hammer Heads in the group continued to turn on the pressure. Finally giving up, Kevin sat straight in the saddle hands off the handle bars in an effort to stretch his back and physically announce I am done with this pace. As he backed off so did Davin, and Marty. Ernest was trapped by this group and could be seen struggling with the idea of charging hard to join the front group of Hammer Heads. The group was brought together again where the new road construction ended on Green Level Church. From hear the pack worked effectively to keep everyone in tow as they swept along Green Hope High School Road. The ride was coming to an end in the next 5 miles and everyone had already accomplished more than they had planned for on the days ride. After dismounting their bikes to cross the Rail Road Tracks at The High School the pack again formed with the Hammer Heads and Ernest setting the pace on this last short run towards the finish. “Lets make the turn back into Preston Woods” barked Kevin. He was planning to add another mile and several small hills to the end of the days ride. Kevin had pushed the group all day with his route selection. He was interested to see how he and the others would respond to the distance and the hills.

“OK” shouted back Todd. “Everyone Follow Me to my house”. “ I want to have you all meet my wife” Todd beamed with excitement. The left turn towards Preston had all following Todd except for Ernest. Ernest had charged hard on that section of road and was out far in front when the announcements of Preston Woods and meeting Todd’s wife were provided. Ernest was well on his way to making the run down High House and the start/finish as the pack turned towards Todd’s home.

The group now settled into an upright posture with everyone backing off on the pace and the attacks. “I have been out of town all week, and told my Wife today’s ride would only be about 2 hours” Todd admitted to the group. No response from the riders as each made every turn as led by Todd. Suddenly Todd swings left into a drive way leaving half the riders to navigate a u turn to follow him to his destination.

“I thought YOU GOT LOST’ was the greeting from Todd wife as she glared straight faced at the sheepish grinning Todd. “hello” was all the group could provide for their greeting having met Todd’s wife and youngest daughter. With a wave good bye the group continued their slow procession thru the neighborhood of Preston bringing the group back onto Cary Parkway just above the Start/Finish in Bruger’s parking lot. “Todd had us meet his wife so he would not get into too much trouble for being gone so long” Steve Cope shared with the group. “ I hope he will be allowed to come out and play again next weekend” was Kevin’s response.

A solid performance by all as the “Testosterone” riders spurred on by Kevin’s challenging route and the “Hammer Heads” speed play produced a 53 mile hilly ride at 17.4 mph average.

To view the route click on this link

Sunday June 22.
New roads on the last half of the ride for most.
In attendance for the “Testosterone” riders.
Riding to the start from home
Kevin Smit
Sporatic Steve Sparano
Ernest Davis
The real Ed George (already tired from his stellar ride Saturday disguised as Greg )

Those arriving at the start via vehicle
John (I have a new bike) Majikes
Tim Travitz
Steve Cope.

No Roses today.

Today’s ride was originally thought to be a recovery ride after Saturdays distance, hills, and pace. As it unfolded Kevin again threw several challenges at the group with all riders responding beautifully, even Kevin. The route followed the standard 30 -35 mile route for the first half. The group stayed in tack during the run on “Ron’s Pull without the speed normally generated by Ron. Tim and Steve both did a great deal of holding the lead position on many of the longer flat stretches. During the ride on Carpenter Fire Station Road Kevin and John were discussing the fact that a person could avoid Up-Chuck by turning right on Yates Store rather than left. They would then whine their way through back roads towards 751 and Farrington Far North of the area normally traveled by the group.

The group continued to work its way to Up-Chuck with John Majikes making a full speed run down the hill in an effort to use momentum for the climb. Steve Cope, Ernest, Tim, and Ed all did their best to follow suit. Kevin rolled down the hill shifting into the smaller chain ring in front knowing he would not be able to power up the hill after yesterday’s ride effort. As everyone scrambled towards the top it was Steve Cope who captured the flag and the victory today.
Ernest and Tim were close behind with Ed then Kevin and John and Sporadic Steve all following in the distance. All made the right turn at the top of the hill. This section of road has recently been paved resulting in a smooth ride much like that provided by Martha Chapel. At Mount Pisgah Kevin began his alteration of the days route. “Lets stay straight on this smooth road all the way to 751” he ordered. The pace lane stayed in tact as the group was happy to stay on the new pavement and avoid the pot holes of Mount Pisgah. A left turn onto 751 put John Majikes in the lead position where he maintained the Pull Position for at least half the distance to Martha Chapel. It was Ernest and Tim who took that position away from John as the pack continued single file up the long grade towards that next right turn. Once on to Martha Chapel and its long gradual downhill run to Lake Jordan, the pace increased as expected. Tim, Ernest, and Steve Cope all doing their part to pull the pack along at speeds of 24 miles per hour. As Lake Jordan was coming into view Kevin was heard calling “Hey John isn’t this about the point last time when you attacked and beat Cope to the Lake?”

John responded by climbing out of the saddle as he worked to reenact that scene. Tim, Ernest and Steve were all ready for the attack and worked to shut Johns attempt down. The attack group was circling at the next intersection as Kevin, Ed, and Sporadic Steve arrived on the scene. Tim had actually made the left turn onto Farrington in an effort to set up for “Kevin’s Crawl”. With out saying a word Kevin slipped into the intersection swinging right. He was now headed towards Lystra and away from ‘Kevin’s Crawl”. It took some time for the group to reassemble with Kevin, Sporadic Steve, Ed, and John all at the front of the draft line.
A rest stop at the Gas Station allowed for a bio break and refill of water bottles.
“Does anyone have to get back at a specific Time?” Kevin inquired. “No”, “Not Me”, “I am Good”, and a few others who did not respond suggesting they were voting with those that did verbalize. “So John will lead us from here, He has a different route that we will do in reverse order to get us back to Carpenter Fire Station Road” announced Kevin.

John was thrust into the leadership position and responded with great joy by providing a brief description of the next couple of key intersections. “This is a good route, I ride it from home often and get about 30 miles round trip” Tim informed the group. No one took that information accept Kevin who calculated that the days ride would be another 50 mile ride with what was already completed and what was about to unfold.

The group launched themselves back onto Farrington Road this time headed in the opposite direction normally taken to get to the finish. Kevin and Tim were first to take the lead position and stayed there thru the right fork in the road, followed by a slow easy climb. Once at the top the road fell towards a long flat straightaway were John set himself up in the Pull Position. He remained there the entire length of the run to the end of the road at the next T intersection. A solid 21 mph pull for several miles put riders and bikes to the test. The ride then made several rights and lefts as the riders snaked their way back into Wake county and to roads more familiar. Eventually the group fond themselves on a new section (not yet opened) of Yates Store. This would take the group back to a left turn onto Carpenter Fire Station Road, and the resulting run to the finish.

Kevin again had another idea (challenge) for the group. As the left turn approached Kevin suggested “Lets go straight on Yates Store”. “What and Climb UpChuck a second time today” replied Steve Cope. “Why Not” Kevin taunted the group. “Not me” replied Ernest. “Me Neither” chimed John. “You are losing them” Steve Cope informed Kevin. With the left turn just yards ahead Kevin remained in the right lane. He could see in his mirror Ernest, Ed, and John lining up in the left lane for the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station Road. Steve Cope, Sporatic Steve, and Tim were all fluctuating back and forth between the right and left lanes each not sure what choice they would make and looking to see if Kevin was for real or just egging them on and that he would also turn left. Kevin had to make it clear what his decision was. He did this by climbing out of the saddle and pushing past the intersection and on to the rise towards the run at Up-Chuck. Steve Cope in is typical response swarmed to catch and pass Kevin followed very closely by Tim and more reluctantly by Sporadic Sparano. The group was now splintered with Ernest, Ed, and John electing to make the run towards the finish on Fire Church Station Road.

Steve Cope was again the victor of UpChuck hill with Tim close behind. Kevin and Sporadic Steve each did their best to survive UpChuck after having tackled it once already earlier in the ride. The group was lead straight past the turn at the top of UpChuck with each rider looking forward to the flat easy 9 remaining miles to the finish.

“Left turn on Cary Glenn” commanded Kevin. “I hate those hills more than UpChuck” squealed Sporadic Sporano. “I can’t believe you are choosing this for the end of the ride” chirped Steve Cope. With that the group made the left turn and increased their speed in anticipation of the series of hills that laid ahead.

Down hill at 33 mph with the momentum falling just short of the next crest. Downhill again shorter and slower forcing each rider to rise out of the saddle to finish the last third of the next climb. Long down hill with long flat section at the bottom had all riders shifting to lower gears for the next stair step hill that lay ahead. A left turn followed by another right now had the group on Carpenter Fire Station Road less than 1 mile from where the others joined that road.
Now in a single file pace line the group led by Tim increased speeds until running smoothly at 20 mph all the way to the light at Highway 55. The light forced the group to stall and wait for green. Green light had the group all working to get their cleats clicked into their peddles as an oncoming car had the driver yelling at the group “Get Going you slow pokes”.
It was “Slow Todd” yelling at the group as he drove through the intersection headed in the opposite direction. The pack of riders all remained together as they made the last 4 to 5 miles past Green Hope High School and to the turn and associated 30 mph run down High House to the finish.
Another 50+ mile day at a 17.4 mph average.
To view the route click on this link