Sunday, July 27, 2008

Riding with a GOG

Sunday Recover Ride (NOT)
July 27th.
Riding with a GOG.

Those in attendance

Kevin and Theresa Smit
Steve Cope
Bryan Farkas
Tom Plant
Slow Tim (Tim Travitz just back from trip to China)
Slow Todd – who met the group later on the road.
Nicole Lewis
Nate Poerschke – Nicole’s boy friend
Stephen Marks – a friend of Nicoles and riding with the group for the first time
Jeffrey Roussel – a first time with the weekend group (regular on Wednesday rides with mello Vello riders)
Susan McBee – first time with the weekend group ( regular on Wednesday rides with Mello Vello riders)

The Hammer Heads had arrived suggesting the chances for a recovery ride was dwindling fast.

After brief introductions the pack headed out onto High House and the Preston Woods neighborhood. Kevin was already working hard at the back of the pack with little hope of hanging on for the entire ride. Theresa was there with him as they turned to make the first climb of the day. The hammer heads were already climbing out of the saddles as Kevin debated on following their lead or shift to easier gears and relax as best he could on the first climb of the day.

CRUNCH, GRIND, WRENCH, and then suddenly silence.

The noise came from behind.
Kevin and others turned to see who was struggling with the gears.

Theresa was stopped on the side of the road.
The chain from her bike was lying on the road under her bike.
“I broke my chain, I broke my Chain” she said in disbelief and yet with a flair of pride in her voice.
Not everyone has the strength to break a chain she thought to her self.
Most of the Hammer Heads stopped at the crest of the hill, never go down a hill you just climbed. Kevin and a few others who had returned to assist, pondered how to resolve the problem.
“I will just walk home” was Theresa’s immediate resolution.
“I have a master link we can fix it with” was Jeff’s solid suggestion.
“Aw just take a link out and put the chain back together, It will never miss the link and should work fine” was Tim’s expert advice. This solution came from his personal experience of having broken a chain a couple of seasons ago.

As history will recall Tim was found by the group a couple of seasons ago while he was making a phone call home to have someone come and get him. Steve Sparano who was on the ride that fabled day had a chain break tool and offered to fix the lone riders chain on the spot. Tim refused the repair, thanked the group for the help, was invited by the group to join the ride next weekend once his bike was repaired. The next time the group saw Tim was at the start of one of the weekend rides sporting a new High End Cervelo Bike. His method of chain repair was to replace the entire bike.

Bach to Theresa’s chain repair.
“Hey that worked a couple of years ago for you, …NO wait you did not fix it you bought a new Bike” Kevin responded.

Using Jeffery’s Chain break tool the handful of bike mechanics shortened Theresa’s chain by one link and sent her on her way. She elected to ride back to the start not trusting the road side repair. Later we learned from her that she felt the bike actually shifted better than before the chain repair and went on to ride Monday morning with a couple of the Roses.

Finally the ride got back underway, with the remaining riders making it smoothly through the Round-about in Preston and to the right turn onto Ron’s pull.

“Hey Kev how are we going to handle Ron’s Pull without Ron being here, hu, hu, what to you think, should we go, hu, hu” Slow Todd was itching to know.
Just then Steve Cope jumped to the lead. Todd saw that out of the corner of his eye and immediate left Kevin’s side to fall in behind Steve.

Kevin being the elder of the group decided to show respect for Ron be trying to emulate Ron’s dynamic pulling capability on this stretch of road. He closed the gap created by the two nervous riders accelerated past them carefully in an attempt not to provoke a response and took his place at the pull position. Kevin pulled for a short distance at 29 miles per hour. He had Steve, Todd, and slow Tim all in tow. As Kevin began to falter it was as if a signal flare had been shot off for the two twitchy riders to attack. Todd jumped then Steve. Tim considered it but sat back to enjoy the show being provided by the two characters now in front. It was like watching a cat attacking its image in a mirror. Striking and recoiling only to be egged on to strike again by seeing the recoil of the reflection.
Stephen was seen in Kevin’s mirror working to close the gap from the trailing peloton to the lead chase and then jumping to catch the two leaders.

All made the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station with a brief stop at the light allowing the pack to gather once again for the next stretch of road. The pace on Carpenter Fire station was within the 19 – 21 mph normal pace for that single file section of road. At one point Nicole pushed towards the front of the Peloton to set herself up in the Pull Position, and in that effort she dropped her chain. Without stopping she was reaching down to try and replace the chain at 20 miles per hour. This act should only be performed in the Tour by mechanics hanging out of a car and pulling the chain onto the small chain ring, while the rider holds to the cars doorjamb traveling at 35 miles per hour.
Nicole was doing her best to play both roles in her effort to fix the chain. She was all over the road. The pack insisted she stop and put the chain on rather than risk a fall that would injure her and all those around her.
She followed the packs advice and stopped briefly along the side of the road. Once the chain was back in place the pack was off down the road again. Those providing most of the pull were Jeff, Tom, Tim, and on the final stretch prior to Yates Store Brian Farkas was found in the pull position.

The turn onto Yates Store had the group totally disrupted. Steve, Todd, Brian, and Tim each were looking around for someone to lead them out towards the attack on Up-Chuck.
Jeffery, Susan, and Stephen were all looking confused as the pack was unable to form. They had never ridden with the group before and had not participated in the lead out and attack that was about to unfold. All the other riders knew that if they took off for the bottom of the hill they were setting themselves up to be annihilated by the attack that would sling shoot around them having just pulled the attackers into position.
Much like a velodrome standoff the attackers waited doing the best track stand they could to see who would jump first.

Jeffrey took the bait and launched himself into a downhill run. This was immediately followed by Tim, Todd, Steve, and Tom all pushing for the best position to set up for the sling shot.
“Everyone watch out for the holes at the bottom of the Hill” Kevin shouted as he made every effort to inform the newer riders of the dangers ahead.
Kevin then jumped into the fray along with Nate, Nicole, and Stephen.

Tim was in 4th position and timed his attack such that he swung past Brian, and Steve before Jeffery started to lose his momentum. Brian and Steve were so fixated on Jeffery that they did not detect the early attack by Tim.
“Wow you rat” the angry chipmunk sputtered.
Kevin saw that attack and launched his on Tim’s heals, but too late to catch Steve and Brian unaware.
Steve and Brian were already swinging wide to respond to Tim as Kevin approached. The two explosive riders took less than a second to catch and drop Tim who was now also being caught by Kevin. Kevin’s momentum was still in full force and acted as a turbo boost for another few feet before gravity and mass slowed his attack to a crawl.

Brain takes the win. Steve is still unclear how Brian is able to beat him constantly in these attacks. “We weigh the same, have the same steel bikes/technology, our power to weight ratio is the same, he is just taller” Steve was heard as he rationalized out loud.

The group circled growing in size as each rider reached the summit and also joined the slow circling motion. This circling technique is used to wait patiently for the less able bodied riders to catch up, it also is used as a victory dance for those in the lead.

The group was now headed towards the turn at Mount Pisgah and the two hills there known as the “Ugly Twins”.
Just prior to that turn Nicole had additional mechanical issues.
“My gears won’t work”, “I can’t get into my big chain ring in front” she said.
Kevin was next to her at that time and looked down at the front derailleur to see if he could determine the issue.
“Try working the shifters” he instructed Nicole.
“I am and nothing works” she replied.
Kevin could see that the cable from her gear shifters had pulled out of the front derailleur.
“I see the issue, We can stop and fix it at the next turn” he informed her.
“What is it” she asked.
“You are so strong you pulled the cable right out of the front derailleur” he said with a smile.
“Nate you got a high maintenance woman here buddy” Kevin shouted.
“As long as it is only mechanical it should be OK” Stephen replied to Nate, as if he has had to deal with LOTS of High Maintenance women in his short 20 something years.

The group gathered at the next corner to allow for the road side repair, water was consumed, sweat management was dealt with, and then the pack was off headed for the two hill attacks that laid ahead on Mount Pisgah.

Once the “Ugly Twins” were dealt with the pack reassembled for a cool down pace that takes place as they head for the right turn on Luter Shop. The speeds on this cool down stretch rarely top 14 mph with today being no exception.

The right turn onto Luter Shop always develops into another long pull at a 20 + mph pace. Tom Plant provided a great deal of the pace making as he took the pull position for most of Luter Shop. Tom may be looking to have a section of road named for him. He has used this stretch of road on many occasions to set himself up as the lead out person. The group will keep an eye on Tom to see if he continues to lay claim to Luter Shop as HIS. ( start thinking of a fitting name - Tom’s Tug, Plant’s Pull, Tom’s Attempt )
This section of road will be named soon and so Far Tom Plant has been the most consistent in his effort to own it.

A turn at the strawberry patch had the group headed towards Martha’s Chapel (now named Rose Petal Pull in honor of the great job the Roses do on this stretch of road. Two weeks ago two Roses hit 31 mph as they ran down and passed several Thorns).
Just as the peloton was forming a well organized draft Nicole threw her chain again.
Steve Cope stopped to help as the pack slowed to allow for the repair.
“You can go I can fix it myself, I will catch you once it is fixed” Nicole directed.
Suddenly she realized what she just suggested. She had just challenged the Angry Chipmunk to a race.
Steve just smiled and continued to offer roadside repair for Nicole.
The ride down Rose Petal Pull was well controlled with speeds hitting 24 mph and no attacks from the hammer heads, until…..

“Hey, is this the road that leads to the Lake?” Brian was heard asking from the back of the draft line.
No one answered his question.
Brian has ridden this same route for the last 3 years and still is not sure where he is at any point in the ride. Knowing this no one was going to waste their energy informing Brain for the 150th time that yes this is the road to Lake Jordan.
The other reason no one answered is because Brian will always respond to an attack as the road closes in on the intersection at the lake.

After a few moments of silence Brian realized he was not going to get an answer. He then put two and two together and determined that silence was confirmation.

That was when Brian swung wide left and shot past all the riders in the pack. Steve, Slow Todd both responded by pulling out of the draft line and working to match Brains speed and line on the road. Jeffery, Tom, and Stephen later jumped but was far too slow in doing the analysis of go or no go to be able to close the gap on the attacking riders.

Once at the intersection of Rose Petal Pull and Farrington (Doug’s Drag) the riders swept right as they headed towards the gas station stop on Lystra. The pack splintered into at least three groups on this section of road since Doug was not there to set the pace. Steve, Slow Todd, Stephen were leading then Kevin, Tim, Tom, then the rest. Soon Jeffery made the play to close the gap on the leaders by pulling out of the trailing group and pressing past the first chase group to eventually catch the lead group as they were turning into the gas station.

Kevin, following in Ron Clanton’s Footsteps, bought a gallon of water for everyone to use to fill any water bottles. Ron had discovered several weeks earlier that a gallon of water cost the same as a single 24oz bottle, and that he would fill his and anyone else that needed water for the same cost.
Kevin also spent the time dealing with sweat management issues and in doing so Grossed everyone out when he squeezed his hands together to get the moisture out of his biking gloves.

The pack was off headed towards the start/finish line as they motored back down Farrington towards “Kevin’s Crawl”.

Jeffery was in the lead position and pulled the group along to the bridge over Lake Jordan. The Peloton was single file with the seasoned riders all expecting Kevin to slide into the Pull Position as they approached the intersection where Martha Chapel and Farrington come together. “Kevin’s Crawl” covers the section of road headed south on Farrington as it passes that intersection.
Kevin slowly pushed past Jeffery to take his honored spot at the Pull. In traditional fashion Kevin made every effort to keep the Pull Position while also slowing ramping up the speed on this slight up hill run. Kevin was able to press the pace reaching 21 mph at the crest. In doing so he dropped Jeffery who was then in second position with the peloton close behind. It was Slow Todd who was the first to match Kevin’s effort by pressing past Jeffery, followed than by Steve and a few others.

“You Shit HEAD”
This was a quick exchange/acknowledgement that transpired as Coach and his bevy of lady Triatholetes rushed passed headed in the opposite direction.

It is almost a given that the group will have a COACH sighting on Sunday mornings as he elects to ride with a different group than the “Testosterone Riders” (Thorns is a more politically correct term).

The group, now in tow finish “Kevin’s Crawl” with the right turn onto Holland Chapel.

The run down Holland Chapel was a mixed bag of pace line and attacks. The first attack came immediately as the group spotted riders in the distance. “Go get em COPE” was the cry from the peloton.
Steve and Slow Todd both jumped at the suggestion. The group watched as the two riders quickly became specs in the distance.
Again Stephen was slow to analyze if he was going to participate in the chase or stay with the peloton.
With much delay he finally made his move and began the effort to run down the two who had just left the group.

“Go early or sit back down” Slow Tim was heard remarking under his breath. Kevin smiled with full understanding of the advice that Tim was suggesting Stephen should be given.

“I am going to tell Dain how much fun he is missing by staying in bed”. Susan said with great delight as she watched the antics of the group. Dain is a very powerful rider and would be another addition to the Hammer Heads and the speed play that unfolds each weekend. If he ever elects to join in the fun please be careful not to follow him too closely. Dain has crashed 3 times this season and each time has broken a bone or two.
Clearly he already has a nickname and has not yet ridden with the group. If he shows up he will be introduced as CRASH, or maybe GOES DOWN OFTEN.

The group was able to reassemble just prior to the turn at 751 and the long push back down Luter Shop towards home.

On Luter Shop it was Tom again who did a good deal of the Pull with the group splintering at least 3 times and then coming back together twice prior to the next turn.

On the last splintering Steve Cope was in the Pull Position, Kevin had fallen well off the back with Nate and Nicole. Prior to this Kevin had informed Slow Tim that he wanted to take the group thru the hills of the Cary Glenn neighborhood. He picked this because Nicole loves the Roller Coaster hills of that part of the ride.

Cary Glenn has three good hills. If ridden during the early part of the ride this area will by pass UP-CHUCK, and the hills are referred to as the “THREE EVIL SISTERS”. When ridden at the end of the ride headed in the opposite direction the hills provide a Roller Coaster effect allowing many riders the ability to almost crest two of the three hills while coasting from the momentum provided by the previous downhill section.

Once at the turn towards Cary Glenn Kevin could see that Steve Cope had pulled the group past the turn and were well down the road headed towards an alternate finish route.

“Lest stay with the plan to let Nicole have her fun on Nicole’s Roller Coaster” Kevin instructed the two riders remaining at the back with him.

Down and up, down and up again the momentum proved to be a friend to the three riders. The last downhill is the longest with a flat section that destroys the momentum forcing an effort on the last long climb.

At the top of the third hill the Lead Group was found waiting for the three who just completed “Nicole’s Roller Coaster”. They had noticed the turn by those in the back and elected to make the next left turn that provided a path that intersected with “Nicole’s Roller Coaster”.

Just as the pack was gathering again a Car stopped in the middle of the road. “Hey Susan” the driver was heard as they recognized her in the group. After a brief exchange of acknowledgement Susan and the rest of the group were off towards the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station and the run towards the light at 55.

Again the group splintered as Jeffery, Tom, Tim, Todd, Steve, Brain, and Stephen all pushed hard with Nicole, Nate, Susan, and Kevin doing their best to keep the leaders in close proximity.

The lead group hit the green light at 55 and pushed though it not worried about the trailing groups dilemma of timing this notoriously short cycling green. The trailing group began to slow in anticipation of the quick green turning yellow followed by a long red.
Still green, still green, still green.
“Should we try, This seems longer than normal” Susan shouted to the trailing riders.
Just then Kevin jumped to see if he could time the green.
All others responded in kind.
“WOW, that was the longest I have ever seen that green” Susan said with excitement and wonder.

This maneuver allowed the group to all assemble again as they headed towards the final run that passes by Green Hope High. This section of road needs a name when traveling in the opposite direction of “Ron’s Pull”. This is the section where Steve Cope saw the fire Hydrant thinking it was a rider in the distance and attacked it. Maybe it should be named for that event. Steve has three nicknames any one of which is always fitting for him and could be used to help name this section of road.
Steve’s three nicknames are:
“Chihuahua” for his constant nipping and barking at everyone’s heals while riding,
“Angry Chipmunk” first suggested by Christy when she could not remember his original nickname.
“The Gnat” for his constant pest like behavior, and the fact that no one benefits by drafting him since he is so small in stature he provides no blockage from the head winds.

One name that might work for this section of road could be the “Gnat Attack” since a Gnat does not do a great deal of damage when it attacks, and he did not ever run down the fire hydrant on that fabled day.

So the group all started together on “Gnat Attack” with Steve pressing the pace in his effort to again run down the Fire Hydrant. All riders were in tow with Kevin slowly slipping off the back. As the gap between him and the peloton increased Kevin could see Nicole and Nate dropping back towards him.
“You OK” Nicole asked as she and Nate fell back to Kevin.
“Yea, just my normal BONK, I will limp in from here” he replied.
“I can pull you in” Nicole offered.
No fully demoralized Kevin suggested that he would be fine and that she and Nate go on ahead and join the others.

With 2 or 3 miles left to go Tom and Susan pulled out of the pack, waved goodbye with each headed towards home. They had both ridden to the start and were now finishing the ride the same way they started.

The rest of the pack continued to follow “The Gnat” as he led them back into the Preston neighborhood as if he knew exactly where he was going. Slow Todd spun off from the group as the ride passed by his house.

Kevin caught up with Slow Tim as the two of them also headed towards the finish by traversing the Preston neighborhood.

Kevin and Tim were the first to the finish with Cope and the others close behind.
“We took a wrong Turn somewhere back there” Steve “the Gnat” announced.

Kevin only smiled.
Steve Cope never really knows where he is on any of the rides.

The story continues:
In the Presence of A Biking GOG.

Kevin rolled up to Brugers.
Leaned his bike against the building, removed his helmet, sunglasses, and gloves.
He pulled out his sweat management towel and proceeded to remove as much moisture as the towel could consume.
Kevin then removed his biking shoes that were as wet as if he wore them in the shower.
He then paced in the shade of the building in an effort to bring down his core temperature.
Needing ice water and a diet Coke to assist in his recovery he entered the building.
The Cool Air Condition environment shocked his system causing his head to spin slightly.
Making his way to the countertop, he was greeted by the nice young Barista.
“How was the ride” she inquired.
“Fine, a little warm” Kevin replied.
“How far did you go” she asked in a customer serving manner.
“40 miles” was all Kevin could provide as his head continued to spin.
“Ice water, a glass of Ice, and a Diet Coke Please” Kevin requested as he fumbled to find the money stashed in a zipLock baggy in the back pouch of his jersey.

Kevin left the establishment to find a seat outside where he could continue to deal with his sweat management issues and consume the cool beverages that would help cool his core.

The other riders were all storing their bikes in their cars and readying themselves for the food and beverages they were about to purchase and consume.

One by one the bikers all joined Kevin at the outside table to drink, eat, and share the moments of the ride that had an impression on them.

Steve Cope finally joined the group after fist visiting with everyone in the parking lot, then with everyone in Brugers.

“The lady behind the counter wanted to know how far we went” Steve told the group.
“When I told her she asked how the rider who was in here earlier was doing” he went on to share.
“You mean Kevin” he asked her.
The Barista pondered for a moment as if searching for the correct words to answer him.
“the Glistening Older Gentleman” she offered in response to his question.
This was too much for Steve to keep to himself.
It was with great delight that Steve shared the story of the “Glistening Older Gentleman”

So when biking with this group, and Kevin is there, all riders will be in the presence of “A Biking GOG”.

Total miles for the group 40 miles at an average speed of 17.7 and total water loss of 47 gallons.