Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 16 and 17 - Cope goes FULL CARBON, Roses Rule the Road

Saturday August 16
Cope goes full Carbon

In attendance
Those riding with the Testosterone (Thorns) group
Steve Cope - Sporting a brand new Full Carbon Kestrel that he stole from some lady off of Craigs list.
Brian Farkas – Keeping it real on Steel
Tim Devinney (fast Tim – the Love Train)
Doug Sorry Doug can’t remember your last name(Fast Doug)
Pat and Rich Hunt – Both Hammer heads
Suzan and Dayn Mc Bee– First time for Dayn with this group ( he did not crash so maybe he will be back)
Ron and Tracy Clanton – on the tandem
Todd Pechner – Slow Todd
Steve Simpson
Kevin Smit – the biking GOG (Glistening Older Gentleman)
Miguel – First time with the group and first time on the bike since July.
Davin Perkins
John Majikes – continuing to build up for his ride across the US in the summer of 2009.

Those riding with the Roses
Dani Devinney
Christy Pechner (not Christine Damn it)
Sheila Augustine
Patty Lewis
Jae Brainard – I am spinning more (at least 35 rpms) - The Spinster.
Lori Crossland – first time riding with the group ( Welcome to the madness Lori )
Theresa Smit

The Thorns were set to ride a new route that included several miles of roads outside of Apex. The “Roses” elected to cover some of the standard roads with hopes of doing 30 to 35 miles. The two groups headed out onto the roads traveling through the Preston Woods neighborhood with the “Roses” leading the way. IT was at the turn onto “Ron’s Pull” were the two groups went their separate ways.

The Thorns turned left headed for High House and the roads that would wined thru the Cary neighborhoods onto Holt and Old Jenks, and into Apex on Salem/old US 1.
Kevin had scouted this route out and included the plan in his previous email to the group. He also developed and provided a cue sheet for those that wanted one at the start. His preparation and communications of the route would allow for those that wanted to ride on ahead to do so without concern for keeping the pack together. Kevin would ride near the back to ensure all riders made the turns, and because he is unable to ride with the Hammer heads for more than 10 yards.
This route provided lots of rolling hills, limited vehicle traffic, and at least 3 long high speed stretches of road.
The group splintered early as the Hammer heads made their first attack up the hill headed towards Holt.
They all hovered there waiting for the majority of the pack to catch up before jumping on the gears. Kevin knew at this point that there was no way the Hammer heads would be contained. Each one of them could be seen twitching as they hovered at the intersection, each looking to see who would lead them out. It was Slow Todd that provoked the pack to go. He made is move once he saw the last straggler slowly come into view from the bottom of the first climb.
As that rider continued to make their way towards the turn the Hammer heads were already scampering down Jenks working to form an efficient pace line.
The Hammer heads established themselves early and were made up of all those excluding
Kevin Smit
John Majikes
Ron and Tracy Clanton – except later on the fast stretch on Tingen were they lead the charge at over 30 mph.

The next time the Hammer heads were seen by the stragglers was after the rail road tracks on Tingen. This time they allowed the stragglers to all arrive prior to the next attack. This was mainly due to the fact most of the Hammer heads had either ridden back towards the stragglers, or were slowly circling in a School parking lot. The slow momentum of the stragglers actually caught the Hammer Heads off guard as the slow parade of bikers continued on past the circling vultures.
By the time all were gathered the Stragglers had formed the front of the pace line. The Hammer Heads were still scrambling to establish themselves as the pace was increased by Ron and Tracy (the Tandem Team). This team worked the gears and rpms pulling the pack into speeds over 30 miles an hour.
The Tandem Team set up the momentum for the next series of attacks. The first coming from a group consisting of Pat, Rich, Slow Todd, Brain, Mr. Bridenbaug, and Fast Doug. This group pulled past the Tandem team and established a gap between themselves and those in tow behind the tandem. Kevin was the next to jump. He past the tandem doing 35 miles an hour, his best speed to date not going downhill. Kevin’s Solo attack was not good enough to close the gap on those ahead, and was used by Dayn (Crash Gordon) to help him jump the gap that Kevin could not close. As Kevin did everything he could to hold the 35 miles an hour Dayn screamed past so fast that the colors in Dayn’s jersey blended together forming and orange/yellow glow.
Kevin was then past by the rest of the Hammer Heads in this order.
Suzan, Steve, Fast Tim, Davin, Steve Cope.
Kevin was then past by the Tandem, Miguel, and John Majikes.
Yes Kevin was now in his familiar spot – LAST.

After several miles of fast pace line work Tingen morphed into a series of Rolling Hills as it also changed its name to Woods Creek.
The rolling hills shuffled the order of riders at each downhill and subsequent climb. Kevin was past and then past many of the same riders as each would find their method of traversing this section of road. As Woods Creek made its last long climb towards the left turn onto Friendship Brian Farkas was seen falling back off the pace towards those riders brining up the rear. Kevin being one of those was later passed effortlessly by Brian as he sprinted from the last passion to regain his spot with the Hammer Heads as they closed in on the intersection. Obviously the Hammer Heads had not attacked the series of hills hard enough for Brian and he had to create his own challenge just to get a work out. He later claimed that he wanted to make sure everyone in the rear was OK. Brian never worries about those in the rear. He only worries about those in front or about those preparing to make an attack.

The Hammer Heads were all stopped at the intersection by the time Kevin and his band of stragglers arrived. Kevin noticed that many had laid their bikes down and were resting on the side of the road having had enough time for a power nap before those trailing would arrive.

Left turn onto Friendship road set the stage for another slow build of momentum as this road much like Tingen has lots of opportunities for a high Speed pace line to form. Just as the pack began to form a Solo TriASSholete rushed past the group. “Go get em Cope” was the cry from the pack. Steve was seen looking around in anticipation of others willing to join him in the pursuit. The only one DUMB enough to go was Slow Todd. Slow Todd can always be counted on in Joining Steve Cope on any and all “impossible missions”. By the time these two organized themselves the distant rider was well out of sight around the next curve.

The next time the pack saw Steve and Slow Todd they were circling at another intersection waiting to rejoin the group. Due to the many twists and turns on this road the Pack was unable to witness the chase down (that may have happened). It is interesting that the two riders elected to wait for the pack in an area where there was no way to confirm a successful capture of the elusive TriASSholete.

The pack was all together with the next left turn onto New Holland road. No one was trailing the pack as all riders had worked to stay in the pace line leading to this intersection.
New Holland was a short run with a hill climb just prior to the right turn onto Shearon Harris Road.
The Hammer Heads had obviously used the run on Friendship to rest, recover, and prep for the next series of attacks that would take place on Shearon Harris.

As if someone shot a starters pistol the Hammer Heads all took flight down Shearon Harris road, not to be seen again until the left turn onto Old US 1 some 3.5 miles later.

At the intersection of Old US 1 and Shearon Harris Road a gentleman in a pick up truck stopped to inform the group of riders that he owned a warehouse just down the road on old US1. He offered to let the group park in his parking lot and use that as their start and finish spot. He was thanked heavily by the group. Each of the bikers looked surprised as the driver waved good by – requesting they all have a safe ride. “WOW, a supportive Pick Up Truck Driver”, “I have never met one of those” was the response from Kevin to the group.
Mr. Bridenbaugh turned right at the intersection and waved good-by to the group as he headed towards home early.

The pack made the left turn onto old US1 and rode single file as they looked for the next right turn onto Beaver Creek Road. Beaver Creek Road is heavily traveled by bicyclists in pace lines. The 6.5 miles that make up this road are smooth with slight inclines and sections of shade, and minimal head winds from the protective layer of trees lining both sides of the road. A perfect place to organize a sustained pace line.

The Hammer heads proved once again that their recovery rate is quick compared to the sluggish Stragglers. Once again the riders splintered into the two groups in a matter of a few revolutions of the crank arms.
Kevin and his slugs met the Hammer Heads at the gas station on 64 and Beaver Creek Road. The Hammer Heads had already consumed Gater Aid, filled water bottles, had their bio-breaks, and another power nap before the trailing riders had made this scheduled stop.

Across highway 64 onto Farrington and the short run towards Hortons Pond kept the group in tact as they all rode single file.
Right turn onto Hortons Pond and again those ready to attack were unleashed. Hotons Pond’s 2 mile stretch is filled with rolling hills making a perfect spot for multiple attacks. No time was wasted as the Hammer Heads broke into small attack teams each attacking the other. Fast Tim was a little slow to respond. Upon looking around he realized he was ridding with the SLUGs. This was not what he was prepared to do so he immediately dropped his head and powered on to join one of the attack teams.

What the Hammer Heads did not realize is that the SLUGS also formed attack teams. They were seen challenging each other on several occasions causing the Slugs to splinter. The Slugs attacks unfolded as if filmed with high speed camera’s and played back in slow motion. The attacks were so subtle that many of those being attacked did not recognize the event.
At the end of Horon’s pond the Hammer Heads were again circling and acting very nervous. The short 2 miles was not enough to burn off the attack instinct and they were each itching for more.

Kevin recognizing this primordial emotion in those riders he suggested the Hammer Heads go on and not wait any more for the SLUGS. “You guys know the way in, I will act as Sweep to make sure all get to the end safely”.
Before Kevin finished his sentence Dayn, Cope, Brian, Pat, Rich, and Fast Doug all headed for the next turn onto Luther. They were immediately followed by Suzan, Slow Todd, and Fast Tim.
Davin looked at the sluggish group of riders and elected to start heading toward the finish with them.
“you are my ride home Kevin so I will ride with you” Davin was heard informing the group. So the remaining riders consisting of Steve, Kevin, Davin, John, Ron, Tracy, and Miguel (first ride since early July) all clipped in and headed towards the last few miles towards home. “You picked one of our longest and fastest rides to date to join the group Miguel” Kevin said in a consoling tone.

The Hammer Heads did not look back, they did not take a head count to see who was with them and who was not, they just disappeared.

The remainder of the ride was similar to the run on Horton Pond. The rolling hills on Luther started out steep with a fast downhill followed by a slow grade to the right turn onto Green Level.
Green Level had two good climbs with one long fast downhill to the right turn onto Green Level Church road. The Slugs did a great job of staying in an organized pace line on the last section of Green Level reaching speeds of 26 mph.

John Majikes waved goodbye to the group as they turned onto the bike path. John Continued past this spot as he was headed for home. The bike path is a great 4 mile cool down after a long fast ride. The trailing group of riders each slowed as they maneuvered the twist and turns, and dodged the runners, walkers, dogs on leashes, and young kids on bikes that were all taking advantage of this great path.
About half way down the path a Young Cyclist on a BMX bike was riding towards the group when he turned and began to race as if to beat the pack to some imaginary finish line ( a young Steve Cope in the making). This young rider was seen standing on the peddles, throwing the small bike from side to side to maximize his power to the peddles. Just as the rider was getting to maximum speed he suddenly was thrown to the ground and was seen sprawled all over the path. “Dude you OK” Kevin yelled out to the downed rider.
The group slowed to see what they could do the assist this downed cyclist. There on the path was the young cyclist crank arm with peddle still attached.

The bikers then began a slow methodic search for the bolt that must have come out that would hold the crank arm on to the bottom bracket. It was also at this point that the group realized the Miguel was missing. Kevin headed back down the path in an effort to find Miguel while the others continued looking for the missing bolt. Within seconds Miguel was spotted coming down the hill on the path. Kevin quickly turned back to join the search for the missing bolt. No luck. Kevin stopped to inspect the crank arm and to determine if it could be slid back into place well enough for the young rider to get home.
“Hey the bolt is still in the Crank Arm, It must have just come loose, Anybody got an Allan wrench to loosen it, slide the crank arm on, and then tighten it down?” Steve Simpson came to the rescue and secured the crank arm on to the bike. The young rider immediately jumped on his prized position and sprinted on down the path.
The group now fully formed followed on down the path to the tunnel under highway 55. As the group entered the tunnel Kevin let out a “Yippy yi Oh” that echoed an amplified in the tunnel. This startled a woman jogger as she was exiting the tunnel at the other end. She stopped and looked to see what was going on behind her only to smile at the riders as they emerged from the dark bowls of the tunnel.
“Never stops being fun to yell and get the echo” she said in an ever knowing manner. “Nope” Kevin replied smiling back at her as they slid on past the lady.

The ride that day was completed in fine fashion with each rider getting what they wanted from the days effort. 46 mile at an average for the Hammer heads of 20+ mph and the Slugs average pace of 17 mph.

It was learned that ultimately the Hammer Heads splintered again near the finish with only 4 remaining for the final sprint.
Those remaining included
Brain Farkas – jumping at the most opportune moment to take the win
Fast Doug.

The remaining contingency of the Hammer heads fell off the pace and rode to the finish somewhere between the front 4 and the Sluggish Slugs.

Sunday August 17 2008
The Roses RULE
"Captain Carbon" is born

Those in attendance were
Tim Travitz – Slow Tim
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit
Jay Brainard
Sheila Augustine
Doug Augustine
Ryan Augustine – Fist time with the group ( Doug and Sheila’s high school aged Son).
Steve Cope (named later on the ride by Slow Tim as “Captain Carbon”)

Steve now has at least 4 nicknames from this group
First he was known as the “Chihuahua” for his high energy and constant nipping at your heals on the ride.
Second nickname was provided by Christy Miller who could not remember his nickname and artfully called him the “Angry Chipmunk”
Third nickname Steve has compares his weight to strength ration, his peskiness, and the ability to draft him as if one was trying to draft behind a “Gnat”.
On this ride Tim Travitz was so surprised by Steve’s abandonment of the “Steel is Real” club with the purchase of an all Carbon bike that Tim started calling Steve “Captain Carbon”.

With the group being somewhat smaller Kevin was altering the ride plan in his head. He was scheming to work the route and pace to allow the “Roses” and Testosterone (Thorns) riders to remain together. He was hoping to push the “Roses” to a new distance and average speed best ever effort. “Lets all try to ride together today” Kevin announced looking at “Captain Carbon” and Slow-Tim. “That’s cool with me, me two” they were both heard being supportive.
Keeping the route and plan to himself, Kevin led the group out on to familiar roads. The pack did a great job of keeping together. Kevin was very encouraged when the group was able to make the first climb in Preston Woods together. This is typically were the “Roses” fall immediately off the pace and the Thorns never look back. The group rode smooth during the early stages of the ride. Lots of chit chat (mostly from “Captain Carbon”) and at a pace of about 13 to 15 mph as the warm up continued all the way to “Ron’s Pull”.
This section of road is also known by the Roses as “Jay’s Run”. Jay like Ron loves to take the pull position and build the speed all the way to the T intersection. Out of pure respect the Thorns moved into position behind Jay as she slid into her place at the front of the draft line. Jay pulled the group along reaching speeds of 22 to 24 miles an hour. Kevin was 4th in line and could observe the cadence of the riders in front of him. “Captain Carbon” and Slow- Tim each spinning around 100 rpms and in the lead pulling like a locomotive was jay spinning at 38 rpms. She was in the biggest gears her bike had. The rest of the riders were still on the small chain ring in front – not ready yet for the thigh burn of pushing big gears. The pace line remained in tact with all riders drafting behind Jae until she waved the next in line to the pull position. Slow Tim took the lead and maintained the same pace established by Jae all the way to the T intersection. The pack traversed the quick right and left putting them on the launch pad for Carpenter Fire Station’s long fast run towards the Turn at Yates Store.

Doug took the reins on Carpenter Fire Station and pulled the pack along at 19 to 21 mph. The Roses and Thorns all worked together to help each other stay in close for optimal draft. Ryan was seen riding towards the front of the draft line to stay in close proximity to his dad. He would then drift back down the line to spend some quality time with his Mom who staged herself behind the wheel of the Kevin the “Biking GOG”.

The turn onto Yates Store had the group all scattering as each prepared for the fast downhill and tough climb known to the group as ‘UP Chuck”. Ryan was provided some guidance on how to watch for rough spots on the road and to prepare to shift early and often. Once that guidance was provided the group began looking at Steve Cope who they expected to set up for his attack of the Hill. Steve was also looking around to see who he could draft off of on the downhill with the intent to use that to sling shot into his attack.

As he was looking back Slow Tim slipped away, put his bike into high gear and charged full force down the hill. Steve eventually caught a glimpse of this maneuver and launched himself into the fray. The rest of the pack all began their decent individually with full attention being paid to the obstacles in the road, while keeping an eye on those riders around them. Kevin Coasted down the hill, put his bike into one of the middle gears. He tried to find one that would allow for a high cadence at the bottom of the hill, and not so high a gear that he would have to shift on the way up,( providing he could continue to keep the cadence high). Kevin’s Gear selection was a little too easy for the bottom of the hill forcing him to coast longer than desired so the peddle rpms would be able to match the bikes speed. This however did allow him to carry that same Gear thru 2/3rds of the climb. This technique also allowed Kevin to slide past Slow Tim, and Steve Cope who were both fixed on each other during their attack. As Kevin slid past them Steve Cope, “Captain Carbon”, Stood out of the saddle to increase his power stroke and to work to match Kevin’s momentum. “Well Done” Steve said to Kevin as he pulled alongside with at least the last third of the climb still ahead. “Thanks” Kevin replied as he looked over to see “Captain Carbon” grinning. Kevin realized immediately that Steve was riding effortlessly beside him and had strategically placed the tread of his front tire just inches ahead of Kevin’s. “You are toying with me” Kevin yelled to his tormentor. With that Steve continued to walk away easily cresting the hill just as Kevin’s heart rate maxed out with the tell tale sharp pain in his chest. Time to shut it down.
Once all riders had assembled at the top of “UP Chuck” Kevin requested that the group NOT do the normal turn but stay straight on Yates Store. This maneuver would eliminate the rolling hills that always shattered the previous attempts to keep the Roses and Thorns together. By staying straight the group was able to ride together and recover on the flat section of Road that led to the next right turn onto Luter Shop.

The right turn onto Luter Shop found Doug once again in the Pull Position. Doug maintained this spot for the majority of this length of road. Slow Tim and “Capn Carbon” both took short turns at the pull with Doug quickly taking back that spot.

A right turn onto 751 and the left onto Martha Chapel, “Rose Petal Pull”, had the group all slowing to consume water and to prepare for the fastest run of the day as they would push towards Lake Jordan.

Slow Tim established the draft line followed by “Capn Carbon”, Doug, Ryan, Kevin, Sheila, Theresa, and well in the back was Jae. This draft line remained intact for the first ½ mile as the speed gradually increased with Slow Tim at the lead. Then as if bored with the Pace Jae, working much like a locomotive, pulled out of the pace line and motored past each rider in the draft line. This then triggered Theresa and Sheila to fall in line behind Jae as the “Roses” took command of the Pace line. Within minutes the “Roses” were pushing the pace to 24 and 26 mph. This group of 3 riders each took turns pulling and then signaling the next to take the lead. They rotated in this configuration during the entire stretch of road. As the pace line closed in on Lake Jordan Theresa launched an attack with the help of the “Roses” who worked to block any counter attack from the “Thorns”. This was fun to watch and was coordinated so effectively that the Thorns could only sit back and marvel at the solid performance from this band of Bikers.

A right turn onto Farrington had the group pushing towards the gas station at Lystra. Slow Tim and “Capn Carbon” pulled away from the group and pushed hard towards that target. Ryan pulled himself out of the pack and charged forward in an effort to catch the runaway riders.
Once at the gas station each rider filled water bottles and visited with other bikers who use this land mark as a scheduled stop.

As the group continued to recover they were joined by the 86 year old Strawberry Picking rider that Steve Cope had attacked several rides ago. We learned that he rides about 20 miles a day. We all agreed we wanted to grow up to be just like him.
Once everyone had rested Kevin announced that the route on to the finish would not be back in the direction just traveled. “We are going to take the Roses on some new roads for them” he informed the group. “How much further is it than going back the way we came” Jae wanted to know. “Oh it is about the same distance, in fact it might only be 15 miles vs 20 if we were to go back the way we came.” Kevin said with a gleam in his eye.

With that the group was off headed past Lystra on Farrington and the y intersection that then put them onto Old Farrington road. The “Roses” were beginning to tire at this point and the pack had a hard time keeping all riders in the draft line. Kevin hung back with Sheila, and Ryan as Slow Tim, Doug, and “Capn Carbon” pushed the bigger gears and higher speeds. The group was now split into 3 clumps as the riders worked to stay single file while heavier traffic worked to share the road with the riders. As the miles unfolded the middle pack could see Doug splintering off of the lead group. “Lets go get him” Ryan suggested to Kevin. “Have at it, see if you can run him down” Kevin said encouraging the young rider to run down his dad.
Ryan jumped into action and almost accomplished his goal before the road came to an end at the next T intersection. A quick right followed by another quick right onto Stagecoach had the pack back together.
Kevin set the pace and worked to hold the stronger riders at bay so the “Roses” would not be destroyed with the pace. This lasted the entire length of Stagecoach. Stagecoach is a nice smooth section of road with easy hills, little traffic, and a fair amount of shade. As the group closed in on the next T intersection Sheila was heard to say “I really Like Stagecoach”.
The group now had to make a right turn onto the busy 751 and its two or three climbs. This sun was now in full force and the “Roses” were starting to wilt. Kevin again worked to control the pace on this section of road knowing that the traffic would add to the challenge the “Rose’s” were dealing with.

The left turn onto OlKelly put the riders on to a section of road that was more country like. It had lots of rolling hills, no shoulders, and some sections that were not as smooth to ride as one would like. The traffic also proved to be an issue. Normally this section of road has very limited traffic. The issue on this day’s ride was with one car that refused to pass the “Roses” as they trudged their way towards the next turn. This car then blocked several others from being able to pass due to the blind curves, hills, and continuous double yellow lines. This lasted for several miles as the “Rose’s” anxiety continued to rise with each new car now in tow behind them.

Finally Jae found a small area alongside the road, pulled the “Roses” off the road, and waved the convoy of cars to pass.

It was also along this section of Road that “Capn Carbon” began to sneeze non stop. The only explanation for his sneeze attacks is that he is allergic to CARBON. He had been on this new all CARBON bike for the last 4 days and his tolerance for “CARBON FIBER” had been exceeded. The only known cure is to go back to FULL STEEL.

A short pause was provided as the riders all assembled on the “Yet opened” section of Yates Store.
Slow Tim, “Capn Carbon”, Ryan, and Doug all used this new pavement to push themselves hard towards the next left turn onto Carpenter Fire Station Road. This left turn would point the riders towards the finish about 7 miles away.
Kevin continued to keep in contact with the “Roses” to ensure they continued to press on with the challenge he had provided them. They each did a great job of tucking in behind him as they worked to keep the average pace at a new record for that group. Kevin would periodically glance in his mirror to see the white teethy smile of Sheila who was continuing to ride strong behind him.
The two Groups each pushed the pace as they headed towards the last section of road that would take them off of Carpenter Fire Station and onto the road that runs past Green Hope High School.

On that section of Road “Capn Carbon” always can be counted on to charge hard towards the finish. Joining him in that effort was Slow Tim, Ryan, and Doug. The “Roses’ and their single Thorn maintained 19 mph on that last section of road. The turn onto High House had each rider now doing their best to take advantage of any downhill and timing their approach to intersections in an effort to hit the lights all green.

On into the finish had the “Roses” covering 40 miles at an average speed of 16.8 mph. A best for that distance and pace for the group. Job well done.
The "Roses" RULE.