All most a dozen roses and a climb up Lystra.
In attendance for the “Testosterone” riders.
Steve Hamalainen (second weekend with the group) you can call him Steve Ham
Coach Dotson (asshole coach) – read why he is such an asshole
For the “Roses”
Stacy Edwards – ( first time with the group invited by Sheila)
Stacy Danzey – ( first time with the group invited by Sheila)
The ride started off with everyone introducing themselves. Coach was introduced again due to his intermittent attendance with this group. The only riders who had met Coach were Theresa and Kevin Smit, and Tim Travitz. No one else in the group had the privilege of ridding with him. The two new ladies had been brought to the ride by Sheila. Sheila single handedly has introduced more riders to the group than any other rider in the group. Well Done Sheila.
Today’s ride was originally planned for a flat route of 34 – 38 miles with all riders enjoying an easy pace line. This was expected do to the fact that Slow Todd, Ernest, Mr. Bridenbaugh, Brain Farkus, and Steve Cope were not in attendance. This really reduced the pressure on all riders for the day’s ride. Coach, and Tim were both a concern since these two are Hammer Heads much like the riders that were missing in action for the day’s ride. It was also assumed that Coach and Tim could be contained with none of the other riders there to press the pace and attack the pack.
Kevin’s assumptions started out showing merit. The “Roses” led out with the “Testosterone” riders slow to assemble and depart from the parking lot. The pace was a cool 12 mph as the two groups worked their way thru the Preston neighborhood with a brief pause to address a small equipment challenge. Stacy’s new TREK had a reflector that was loose and would catch on the front fork as the wheel rotated. The problem was resolved by removing the reflector and the two groups were quick to continue.
With the “Roses” still in the lead the “Testosterone” riders wormed their way through the crowed on the first climb. Each rider slid through gaps generated by the “Roses”. Some of the gaps being so narrow that handle bars may have touched as the “Testosterone” rides sneaked snaked through the leading group. Kevin’s stealth like move between two “Roses” startled one (Stacy) so much that she aborted her climb, kicked her cleat clear putting her left foot on the curb, and paused long enough to get her composure back. “Way to Go Jerk” the other “Testosterone” riders called out to Kevin as he was cresting the climb with both hands held high in on his victory dance. This was where the two groups splintered with the Testosterone riders slowly pulling away as they headed down “Ron’s Pull” without Ron Clanton to set the pace. The group did not cover this section of road with the same deliberate charge that Ron provides. So again Kevin’s initial assumption of a tamer ride was intact. With the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station Road Tim took the Pull position with Coach and Kevin close behind. The pack was gliding along this stretch of road at a relaxed pace of 19 mph, which is already 3 to 5 mph more relaxed than other days rides have been. Doug and Steve were working their way to the Pull Position as the turn to Up-Chuck lay ahead. Just as everyone was wrapping their heads around the challenge of The attack on Up-Chuck , Kevin announced an alternate path. “Left Turn into Cary Glenn” Kevin commanded. “Where does that go?” Ed inquired. “Around Up-Chuck” Kevin responded knowing that this new route still required the same elevation change. Tim was quick to provide the pack with the news that the elevation change was still required, just provided in three successive climbs with each one more challenging than the previous.
Coach was truly excited as he was ready to ride and ride hard. He did not say he was disappointed that he and Tim were the only two Hammer Heads on the ride but it was evident in his posture. Coach’s aura suddenly grew much brighter as his excitement built up within him for this challenge.
Tim and Coach each new they were there to push one another and responded as only Hammer Heads could. The others responded only as they could with gear crunching shifting, heads dropping, cadence slowing, and speedometers struggling to read single digit speeds as the hills worked to push each rider down the hill in the opposite direction of travel.
The Hammer Heads were found circling in the round- a-bout at the top of the hill as the others one at a time completed the task that Kevin had thrown at the group. “I am not feeling very well” Ed announced to the group. Ed had started the days ride not up to normal. This would prove to only get worse for him.
Kevin could empathize as he finds often early in a ride that he is not feeling well.
Symptoms of a bad ride include
- Legs are heavy, with no ability to push the required gears, and no spin in the legs if easier gears are selected,
- Heart rate won’t come down form abnormally high rate,
- stomach does not want any fluids
- eyes roll to the back of the head,
- sweating stops,
- goose bumps appear,
- head is spinning as if from a college day’s heavy night of drinking.
The result in nothing less than a death march of survival and turmoil in the head to continue or quit and lay down in the ditch.
Kevin took this information into consideration and again confirmed his plan to keep the route flat, short, and at a reasonable pace not to exceed 19 mph on any given stretch of road.
The group turned left onto Yates Store headed away from Up-Chuck and toward the long flat stretch of road known as Luter Shop. On this stretch of road the group could form a well organized draft line and allow each rider to enjoy being pulled along with short turns at the front to minimize the time pushing against the wind. This did not happen.
The “Testosterone” riders seem unable to organize a solid draft line.
They have the following issues:
One takes the pull position and never relinquishes it
- If the pull position is relinquished the new leader takes that as a que to go faster
- The rider relinquishing the lead fails to drift back to the end of the pack, instead they remain at the lead riding side by side with the new pack leader only to inadvertently egg each other on as if no ones front tire can get ahead of the others
- If there is a rider on the horizon,one or more of the Hammer Heads Explode out of the pack to attack the rider in the distance.
A well organized daft line would contain the following attributes:
A pace that allows all riders the ability to remain in tow without over exerting themselves. In fact the trailing riders would be seen coasting regularly to avoid colliding with the rider ahead due to the suction created by the riders in front. Much like the sensation of driving a car in the slip stream of a Semi Truck.
- The pull position would be maintained by the lead rider for no more than 10 to 15 revolutions of the peddle, or no more than 10th of a mile, or no longer than 30 seconds. The message being short Pulls that allow a constant flow towards the front and a slow drift back to the end of the pack.
- At the end of their pull the lead rider would slide wide left and immediately drift back to the tail position.
- The new lead rider would ride no faster than the pace established by the previous rider, and would be willing to reduce the speed, or relinquish the lead if they are unable to maintain for the full pull.
- The entire pack would communicate hazards in the road.
- The lead rider would use the correct NCDOT hand signals to announce direction changes.
- The lead rider would maintain the speed through turns if conditions/safety would allow.
- Each member of the draft line would trust the riders ahead to inform of any hazards or changes in speed or direction.
- Each rider in the pack would inform those behind of hazards, change in speed, or direction.
- Each rider in the pack would focus on the gap between them and the rear wheel of the rider ahead and work to minimize any changes in that gap.
- Each rider would work to establish a gap that maximizes the effect of the draft, This gap is variable based on the direction of head winds, and size of rider providing the draft ahead. (must be very close to riders like Steve Cope and Coach, can fall back further behind larger riders like Kevin).
- Each rider uses peripheral vision to see past the rider ahead while concentrating on that riders rear wheel.
- Each rider responds in kind when they notice the rider(S) ahead coasting, or slowing their cadence.
- Each rider in the pack minimizes any usage of breaks - instead pulling out wide to catch the wind to slow and then sliding safely back into their position in the draft line – making sure they look and signal to the person behind their intent to rejoin the draft line.
- Each person is responsible for reducing or reacting properly to any situation that has front tire overlapping rear tire of bike ahead.
- Each rider works to keep any action/reaction small and subtle, aggressive movements create crashes.
It is all quite easy, however the Hammer Heads do not poses the ability to stay focused long enough, clearly each suffers from ADD. Due to this the other riders in the group have never had the ability to see and practice what it would take to organize a well choreographed pace line. When done well it is a dance that unfolds for mile after mile with all riders able to benefit and participate in the exhilaration of the ritual.
Back to the days ride
As the group continued the run on Luther Shop Doug and Steve both pushed their way to the front of the group. This created an uneasy feeling with the two Hammer heads that had been pulling nonstop for the first 10 miles. The attempt to take the pull position was shut down by Tim and Coach who felt compelled to remain in the lead. They both rode that day as if they were looking for their missing Hammer head buddies. The speed continued to increase as their search for the others, and their need for speed play built. Before the end of Luter shop the group had splintered with Tim and Coach head down and far in the distance, followed by Steve and Doug each taking turns pulling Kevin along, and falling far behind was Ed on his solo death march.
A turn onto 751 followed by the left onto Martha Chapel now had the group assembled again into a loosely formed pace line. Kevin sat up straight in the saddle arms at his side (no hands on the handle bars) in an effort to stretch his back and consume some water from his water bottle. Coach commented that he now Knows how Kevin is able to ride no handed. “Your so fat that your butt checks fold overt the seat locking you to the bike, in fact I think I hear your butt checks bouncing of the spokes of your rear tire, making a sound like balloons against the spokes” was Coaches reply.
With that comment Tim and Coach took off down the road taking turns at the pull position followed by Steve, Doug, Kevin, and Ed all in tow for this run to Lake Jordan. The pace line was able to reach 25 mph with all riders holding their positions. Right turn onto Farrington had the group headed towards the half way mark of the day’s ride. Kevin was going to suggest that Tim lead the riders on the same path as last Sunday’s finishing route.
Farrington Road was dominated by Doug who jumped to the pull position while everyone was slowly recovering as they were transitioning from the fast run down Martha. Doug demonstrated his ability to pull the group along as he set the pace of 21 mph across the bridge and up the gradual incline of Farrington towards the gas station at Lystra.
This stretch of road will now and be known to the group as “Doug’s Drag”.
As the group closed in on the gas station Kevin asked the group if anyone needed to fill water bottles or take a quick bio-break. If not the plan was to continue straight on Farrington past Lystra and onto the roads the group had traveled last weekend.
“I need a short break” was heard from somewhere in the pack. With that announcement the group all swung into the parking lot of the gas station.
Everyone rested their bikes along the wall as they drank deeply from water bottles and watched Kevin deal with his Sweat management.
The group was in the middle of their recovery/rest when Coach made a bad suggestion.
“Let’s do Lystra”.
“It is fun and the ride back down is worth the climb”.
A long pause followed Coaches suggestion.
“How far is it?” Steve asked.
“I think to the crest of the hill it is about one and a half miles” replied Kevin.
“I am game”, “ I have never done Lystra” chimed in Doug.
“I will go” added Steve.
All eyes were on Ed, knowing the bad day he was having, to see if he had recovered any.
All expected Ed to wave the group good bye and continue his solo death march home in the direction just traveled.
“I’ll do it” Ed could be heard under his breath.
“You’re an AssHole Coach for suggesting such a thing” Kevin said as he scolded Coach for the suggestion.
“Is it AssHole Coach” or “Coach Asshole” Steve inquired.
“It is Asshole Coach the Asshole” replied the entire group.
Coach was grinning from ear to ear having rallied the troops to meet the challenge.
“Let’s DO IT” Coach yelled as he mounted the bike and led the pack onto Lystra and the Climb that lay ahead.
The group stayed intact to the base of the climb. Tim and Coach each challenged the other as they powered on ahead of the group as the climb scattered the group upon its initial incline.
Kevin found himself alonewith his struggle. No Coach or Tim in the distance, and only a glimpse of the others in his mirror. The first climb had heart rate hitting the 150’s with the speed reducing to 6 mph. Then the false flat and the expectation of a recovery before the next climb, but this section does not provide for a recover. Second climb, Shorter?, Not as Steep?, Longer?, Steeper? These are questions that no one can agree to the answer on.
Kevin could now see Tim circling at the crest of the hill. Coach was no were in sight. He must have kept going all the way to 15/501. Why would he do that? Oh, because he is an ASSHOLE. These were the thoughts that flowed though Kevin’s blood starved brain as he crested the climb. Well might as well go find him, was Kevin’s next thought. He passed Tim who was still circling and continued in the quest to find “Asshole Coach the Asshole”.
This stretch of Lystra was proving to be longer than anticipated and was not flat. Kevin could see that Tim had hesitated but was now also in the search for COACH. After many minutes of searching the group was again all assembled at the corner of Lystra and 15/501 with coach still grinning from ear to ear. “How far was that? One and a Half Miles?” the group sarcastically asked as they glared at Kevin. Pointing to Coach Kevin rebutted with “It was His IDEA”. “You will all Thank me after the run back down the hill” Coach replied still with the big grin on his face.
At this point the group all paused to reflect on what they had just accomplished and had a moment of silence for their missing hammer heads that were in Boone NC participating in the Blood Sweat and Gears ride. In this moment of silence each rider was glad they were at the top of Lystra, and not trying to tackle SNAKE MOUNTAIN.
After the groups moment of silence one by one the riders began to push themselves forward in anticipation of the rocket ride that would transpire on the way back down the hill. No draft line, as each rider worked to ensure a clear view of the road ahead, and to develop a safety cushion in the event they needed to respond to any surprises.
Once at the corner of Lystra and Farrington the group reassembled.
“That was worth the Climb” both Doug and Steve announced.
“5 miles from the gas station to 15/501” Kevin informed the group.
“Everyone ready to finish the ride on some new roads” Kevin asked.
“I thought the climb up Lystra was an alternative not an addition” Steve was heard saying.
“Yea that little climb that Coach took us on will be adding an additional 10 miles to the planned route for today”. “ The last 15 or 20 miles are relatively flat” Kevin announced, and TIM confirmed.
“I am heading back the way we came”, “me to” was the reply from both Doug and Steve.
Ed did not have to say a word since he had made it clear earlier that he knew his way home from there and had already planned to head home on his own.
“That would work out fine if you guys want to head back from hear you can keep Ed company, Safety in numbers”. Was Kevin’s recommendation.
With the “Testosterone” riders now split into two separate groups the day’s ride was closing in on the final miles.
Doug, Steve and Ed all headed back towards the strawberry patch and the familiar roads that led straight to their homes or the start finish area.
Coach, Tim, and Kevin elected to follow the newer route that took them into Durham, Chattum and then back into wake counties.
Tim and Coach again took the lead positions. Tim was now the ride leader as he has ridden these roads many times. Kevin was still unsure of the route and was happy to let Tim call the shots of the turns and roads to travel ahead. Coach was enjoying the new route and commented several times on how nice the roads were and how he liked the scenery.
Kevin was quiet as he rode in the slip stream of the leaders. He was busy assessing his situation.
Two water bottles, each about empty, why didn’t he think to fill them at the gas station.
Legs slow to react to the speed changes produced by the lead riders.
Stomach getting a little nauseous and hungry at the same time.
Brain tired of concentrating on the road and riders ahead.
Heatrising up off the pavement as if standing in front of a hot oven with the door open.
Then at mile 39 it was over for Kevin.
Just as if someone unplugged a vacuum cleaner while it was running Kevin lost power.
Tim and Coach did not notice this event until they were well down the road and signaling for the next turn. They waited and waited as Kevin struggled to maintain 9 miles an hour on the flat section of road.
I just need to back off a little and recover so I can continue.
It is too hot and sunny to stop and rest.
The shade looks good but I know I would cramp up if I stop now.
It is only 10 more miles.
I am not sure I know the way back.
These were all dancing around in Kevin’s tired brain as he slowly made it to the next turn.
This ugly scene continued for another 4 miles with Tim and Coach riding hard on ahead only to be slowed down to help Kevin navigate the next turn.
Finally Kevin found himself in familiar territory.
Once on Yates Store and Carpenter Fire Station Kevin waved the other’s on.
Within seconds of that event he found himself all alone and appreciating what Ed felt like at the beginning of the days ride.
There were moments when Kevin was able to achieve speeds expected at the end of a good ride, but they were short lived resulting in a wobbly 9 mph recovery pace.
Back at the start/finish Kevin struggled to pack his bike onto the car for the drive home.
Coach and Tim were both headed out, Ed came over to inform Kevin that he too had just made it in.
Kevin spent the next hour sitting on one of the outside tables at Brugers unable to think clearly as he fought to keep from passing out. Dizzy each time he picked his head up off the table. Pathetic.
The days ride resulted in 48 miles at a 16.4 average pace for Kevin even with is slow 10 mile finish. Coach and Tim had a better average speed.
Steve, and Doug had similar distance since they rode their bikes to the start and had those extra miles to get home.
Ed took pride in surviving his death march.
Well done all even though it was not pretty.
Sunday June 29th.
Rose’s and Testosterone riders stay together for 11 miles.
Rose’s harassed by driver in blue mustang while on Up-Chuck.
Later that day we learn of another rider who was run off the road.
What is wrong with those people.
Tim Travitz – who rode to the start and met the group as it traveled into the Preston neighborhood
Nicole – Patty’s daughter (Nc State Senior and member of the Triathalon Club)
Nate – Nicole’s boy friend
The group all introduced themselves to the new riders. The consensus was to try and stay together as one group for as long as possible. Sheila suggested that it would last as long as it took to leave the parking lot.
The large group rode with the Roses leading the way. The group met up with Tim who was waiting to join the ride as the group turned into the Preston Wood Neighborhood. The pack of riders continued their jaunt across Davis drive with the group cut in half at the traffic light. The lead group elected to circle the roundabout as a method to allow the severed tail to catch up. The trailing group did not notice this maneuver and was surprised to see those that had been in the lead now working to pass them as they were making the turn off the roundabout. At the corner of “Ron’s Pull” the group of riders worked to form a double draft line with Kevin and Tim in the Pull Positions. Kevin and Tim did a good job of slowly increasing the speed as they also monitored the response by all riders. This allowed everyone to draft and not be dropped. During this run the group encountered the first “Jerk Driver” of the day. With a car headed toward the riders from the opposite direction a large Suburban decided to jump from behind the pack of riders in an effort to pass the entire pack. This forced the oncoming car to slow/stop and pull over to avoid a head on collision. The Suburban did not hesitate to play the game of chicken putting all riders, drivers, and their passengers in harm’s way. Kevin was on at the lead position of the outside draft line and could only signal with his left arm as if to ask “Why”, and point to the double yellow line that the driver had violated.
This Draft line technique applied to “Ron’s Pull “was also applied on Carpenter Fire Station Road but was completed as a single draft line due to the heavier traffic.
Up-Chuck provided very different experiences for the riders.
It was learned much later that the Rose’s had been harassed by a driver in a blue Mustang just as they were starting the run down hill and continued until they had begun the climb on the other side. The harassment began as Jae made a signal with her left arm to signal the car to slow and fall in line. The car responded by slowing and then gunning its engine to close the gap of the rider ahead, then to swing left of the rider, and then drift into the rider cutting them off by slowing down as it slipped pass them. This behavior continued down the line of riders with each being individually harassed by the blue mustang. This same Blue Mustang passed Kevin and Tim in an aggressive, gas guzzling manner as the two riders were cresting the hill.
This and the earlier Suburban created a mental challenge that several of the riders were unable to shake for the rest of the ride, resulting in a tense riding posture that sucked the energy from the riders. This is where the group could no longer hang together as planned. Those most affected by the Jerks on the road struggled to meet the challenge of the pace and the rolling hills that lay ahead.
Tim, Nicole, Nate, Doug, Steve, and Patty all made the right turn after Up-Chuck with Kevin waiting to ensure others were safe, not knowing of the harassment that had taken place by the mustang. Eventually the others joined the turn at the top of Up-Chuck, however the spunk was gone from their day’s ride. The group could not stay together on this rolling hill section of road and the gap only worsened as the ride turned left onto Mount Pisgah. As Mary Ann was shifting from her big chain ring to the smaller one on her triple crank set the chain flew off. This took place at the bottom third of the first climb on Mount Pisgah. Kevin heard the chain and saw in his mirror the resulting stop by Mary Ann. He turned to join Jae who was already playing the role of road side assistance as she was wrapping the chain back onto the chain ring.
Back into the saddle and head long into the remaining hills, each longer and steeper until the left turn ahead. The lead pack was assembled and waiting for the stragglers with Kevin followed by Jae, Theresa, and Mary Ann.
Kevin Glided thru the turn with the knowledge that the others were not far behind. He continued his slow progress as the others swung into formation. The group continued to ride very slow in anticipation of those behind catching in and joining. By the time the group had made it to the next turn at Luter Shop there still was no sign of the others making the effort to regroup.
The pack was now severed for the rest of the ride.
Theresa, Mary Ann, Jae, and Sheila who fell back to ensure all was ok, formed one group.
Kevin, Tim, Nicole, Nate, Doug, Steve, and Patty all formed the lead pack.
“OK lets roll” Tim announced.
With that he and Steve and Doug all directed their bikes onto Luter Shop. Kevin, Nicole, Nate, and Patty all scrambled to respond. The run on Luter Shop had the group working hard to stay together in the order provided at the beginning of the run. Tim was happy to do a majority of the work and kept the pressure on everyone to respond to his ever increasing speed. At the corner of Luter Shop and 751 Steve informed the group that he would head back due to a time constraint, he also told everyone he was glad he rode and would end up with over 20 miles which was just right for him today. With a quick wave goodbye the group headed down 751 single file to the left turn at Martha’s Chapel.
Just after the turn onto Martha Chapel Kevin began to coach the group into what should transpire next.
“OK, Tim you lead us out”.
“Make it a slow build until we are hitting at least 22 mph and maybe even 24”.
“Patty lets’ see if we can suck you along at 24 miles an hour”
“All you need to do is focus on the wheel ahead of you, try to keep the gap as narrow as you can without overlapping wheels”
“if you need to slow down just drift left and catch the wind, and then fall back in line”
Patty only responded with “I have never gone that fast before”.
She immediately fell in line behind Kevin.
Kevin fell in line behind Nicole who knows how to ride a straight line due to her long training rides as a Triathelete.
Nicole fell in line behind Tim.
Nate and Doug fell in line behind Patty creating a Patty Sandwich which was designed to pull and push the rider to speeds yet experienced.
Tim did a stellar job increasing the power, cadence, and resulting speed thru a smooth transition from 14 mph to the low 20’s as the group initially practiced the tight pace line. This continued with ever increasing gradual speed to where Patty was traveling at 27 mph while responding to the periodic inclines and sporadic coasting situations that were constantly keeping her focus.
Congratulations and high fives to Patty from the Pace Line as all riders reached the end of Martha Chapel. “Way to go MOM!” was heard from a proud Nicole.
The group turned left onto Farrington Road and the section known by the group as “Kevin’s Crawl”. Tim immediately fell into position behind Kevin out of respect, and to enjoy a short period out of the wind.
Kevin knew that the group had just pushed themselves hard so he began the climb from Lake Jordan slowly with top speed only reaching 21 mph at the crest of the climb.
First left turn of Farrington put the group onto Holland Chapel road where Tim and Doug now took the rains from Kevin. Again the group formed a Patty sandwich and all worked to respond to the lead riders suggested speeds.
Right turn at the end of this road and a quick left back onto Luter Shop were Steve had waved goodbye to the pack earlier.
Tim, and Doug and Nicole now all worked the front of the pace line to continue to set the challenge for Patty and others. All responded to the challenge keeping the sandwich intact.
“we have a straight shot back from here, No hills” announced Kevin.
“How many miles?” Nicole inquired.
“Maybe 10” Kevin answered.
Sensing a degree of disappointment in Nicole and seeing that she was not even sweating, “WE could split into two groups and allow those that want some hills to go with Tim as he heads home”, Kevin was heard offering as a suggestion.
Nicoles eyes lit up.
“Hills that would be great” she chirped.
“They are not all that hard and in fact the momentum from the down hills can almost get you up and over the one ahead” Kevin went on to level set.
“COOL ROLLER COSTER HILLS” Nicole said with great delight.
“I will do the Hills” said Patty who was still delighted with her performance on the days ride.
Kevin then informed the group “OK, Cary Glenn it is”, “It takes us right past Tim’s house and he will drop off there since he rode to the start”.
“I got at least 10 minutes to kill so I will join you on the hills then turn back for home” Tim replied.
“Animal” Kevin coughed.
The entire pack made the left turn onto Yates Store.
A concerned Patty asked “we have to do Up-Chuck as part of the hills?”
“Nope we turn right just before Up-Chuck, Why ? “Do you want to do UP-Chuck, because we can if you want” was Kevin’s reply.
The look from Patty to the rest of the group provided the answer. No Up-Chuck.
Right turn onto Cary Glenn the group now prepared themselves for the fast downhill and succeeding 3 climbs ahead. Kevin in the lead only to be passed on the first uphill by Nate who had hit speeds over 36 mph on the previous downhill run.
Up and over down, around and up again and again to the left turn and subsequent right turn onto Carpenter Fire Station road had the pack mastering the hills of Cary Glenn. Tim waved goodbye to the group. Kevin wished Tim and his family a great trip to CHINA and an expected full report to the group when he returns for his next ride.
The remaining riders all fell in line with Doug and Kevin helping to break the wind for the group as they worked their way past Green Hope High School and the fast finish down High House to the start/finish.
A great ride from all.
Distance of 34.5 miles at a pace of 16.1 mph for the Patty Sandwich.