Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunday Nov 15th last ride with Captn Carbon until Jan 2009.

Those in attendance
Steve Cope – “Captn Carbon”
Tim Travitz – “Slow Tim”
Jeffrey Roussel
Dayn MCBee
Suzanne McBee
Bob – Friend of Dayn and Suzanne
Kevin Smit “GOG”
Theresa Smit
Jae Brainard
Patty Lewis
Sheila Augustine
Mary Ann Feagan

The “Thorns and Roses” were established even before leaving the parking lot. The “Roses” saw that Dain and Suzan were on the ride and immediately realized only the strongest would survive even a casual ride with that pair. Jeffery was also realizing early that he may be at risk during the days ride and communicated that by informing the group “he had not been on the bike for a month and that his right knee was tender and needed a more relaxed ride”. “GOG” and “Slow Tim” were too slow mentally to provide an early defense that would help explain their inability to hang with the “Hammer Heads” on the day’s ride.

Jeffrey led the group out of the parking lot and into the Preston Woods neighborhood. He pressed the pace as if in an effort to demonstrate that even with a sore knee and no saddle time for a month he could challenge this group. The “Hammer Heads – Dain, Suzann, Bob, Captn-Carbon” all rode in a tight pack using this first attack from Jeffery as a warm-up for the day’s events.

The group continued to ride at a stiff pace (relaxed for the Hammer Heads) at about 15 – 17 mph as they made their way to the right turn onto “Ron’s Pull”. No one rider took the lead as the pack rode in a disorganized double draft line along this stretch of road. Near the end of the road (about 100 yrds from the stop sign) an elderly gentleman in a late model Chevrolet made his best attempt at passing the group without having to cross the double yellow line. There was no oncoming traffic , there was a stop sign 100 yards ahead, and yet this driver felt compelled to get there ahead of the riders who were riding close to the speed limit for that section of road. As the car squeezed past the riders “GOG” saw the older gentleman shaking his head back and forth in his disapproval of the situation. As the car cleared the pack “GOG” saw that the car’s bumper had a “I love Jesus” sticker. “GOG” excitedly shouted out as he pointed to the bumper “I Love Jesus Too”. In a matter of seconds the pack was now poised at the same stop sign as the “I Love Jesus” driver. This allowed “GOG” to bend over and greet the driver with a pleasant “Have a Nice Day” and wave just as the riders made their right hand turn away from the late model Chevrolet.

It would be interesting to track the make/model/year of each vehicle that harasses the riders. The findings may show that the majority of vehicles that are less than willing to share the road are older model American Made Pickups, and full size older model American Cars.

The group made the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station, crossed the RR tracks and Highway 54 with ease. The traffic on Carpenter Fire Station was only intense for the short section between 54 and the Church as drivers were doing their best to get to Church on time. The pack rode mostly single file as they rolled on towards the turn onto Yates Store and the short 8% climb of “UpChuck” that challenges all riders.

“I am looking for someone to lead us out” shouted “Captn Carbon”. “I refuse to use my fat wide body to break the wind and set up your sling shot maneuver” was “GOG’s” reply. “Slow Tim” was already in the lead and had established himself as the sling shot target. The pack now scattered as each rider worked to gain speed and position for the base of the climb. The results were predetermined but every rider still attacked as if they had a chance to take the prem. Dain and “Captn Carbon” easily slid to the crest of the hill with “GOG” and “Slow Tim” working off of each other to make a best effort. Suzann and Bob were followed by Jeffery who was nursing the sore knee.

The pack slowed and circled allowing all to regain position in the pack. “Slow Tim” had slipped ahead to take a bio break and was found coming out to the woods as the pack slowly coasted towards him. The group now found themselves on the rolling hills of New Hope Church. New Hope is a challenging section of road that requires repeated response to the attacks presented at the base of each hill. This section of road always scatters the pack and this day was no different. The pack splintered into 3 groups. Dain, “Captn Carbon”, and Bob in the lead with “Slow Tim”, “GOG”, and Suzann several yards behind followed by Jeffery who was clearly playing it smart and not forcing his knee on the many climbs. Left turn onto Mt Pisgah Church road and its 3 good climbs, fueled more attacks, and forced Jeffery to continue to manage the strain being placed on his sore knee. Kevin had not fully appreciated the need for selecting a flatter route on Jeffery’s behalf. The hills of Mt Pisgha did not splinter the pack as much as the earlier hills of New Hope Church did, possibly due to the effects of the down hills allowing riders like “GOG” to benefit from mass and gravity to catapult him at least 2/3 rds of the way up the other side.

The left turn onto Farrell road had the group slowing to allow Jeffery to close the gap and benefit from any drafting the pack could provide. Jeffery had fallen far off the group and only caught the pack as they stopped at the next right turn onto Luter Shop road. “I am headed back to Cary” Jeffery announced as he waved the group and turned in the opposite direction. “Stay Safe” was the reply from somewhere in the group.

The remaining pack mounted their bikes and pointed them towards the strawberry patch at the end of Luter Shop. The pack remained intact with all riders able to maintain the relaxed pace of 17 to 20 mph into a stiff head wind, partly due to Bob and Dain leading in the pull positions as the others stayed tightly packed behind.

A right turn onto 751 and the left onto Martha’s Chapel still found the pack huddled together and working against a continuous head wind. The ride down Martha’s Chapel came with no attacks, just a solid 20+ pace against the wind. Left turn onto Farrington put the riders into a single file format with “GOG” near the tail section of the draft line.

“GOG” was now in a dilemma, does he take his rightful position in the front of the draft line on the section of road known as “Kevin’s Crawl” , or does he hold on as best he can at the back of the pack expecting the “Hammer heads” to plow forward up the incline. This battle raged in his head for at least a minute during which time the “Hammer Heads” maintained a steady pace as the climb began to unfold. Then as if the decision was unanimous Kevin “GOG” increased his cadence and speed to roll past the bikers one at a time to position himself at the pull position. With ever increasing effort he continued to press the cadence and speed reaching 22 + mph towards the crest of the climb. No other riders challenged him until they were over the top and headed down the other side. “GOG” had again sustained the pull position for the entire length of “Kevin’s Crawl”. Clearly the other riders demonstrated their respect by not taking the pull position away from “GOG”. In the near future on this section of road, when Kevin is more out of shape and even older then he is now, the respect from these other riders will still have Kevin in the pull position even though with his best effort doing 12 mph on a good day.

The group made the left turn onto Holland Chapel as they turned towards Cary. More pace line riding with the “Hammer heads” now back in control at the front of the peleton. A right and then left put the group of riders back onto Luter Shop at the Strawberry patch. Dain was seen repeatedly glancing at his watch and then staring into space. Then without warning he announced “Hey we can make the 10 am ride with the Bicycle Chain ride”. “What” was the cry from Suzann and Kevin. “Come on Babe” Dain egged Suzan into joining them. “Slow Tim” and “GOG” each looked at the other indicating they had no plans to rush on to join yet another ride. “You guys need to take off and turn at White Oak”, “Tim and I will going back to the start” Kevin announced as he released the “Hammer Heads” to finally enjoy the day’s ride without being held back.

There was a popping sound coming from the sudden vacuum of the vortex in space created by the “Hammer Heads” as they jumped into action. The scene was much like that from a Star Wars or Star Trek movie when the ship goes into Warp speed. The vacuum was so intense that it actually sucked the air from the trailing riders lungs.

“Slow Tim” and “GOG” realized in that instant that they had made a very wise decision for themselves. These two riders continued the 17 – 20 mph pace as they worked their way back onto Green Hope High School road and the crossing at the RR tracks in front of the High School.

Upon arrival at the High School RR crossing they me the “Roses” who were also on the last leg of the day’s ride. These riders all worked together those last 4 miles to the start/finish at Brugers parking lot.

The two remaining “Thorns” had ridden 35 miles at a 16.3 mph average. The “Roses” had ridden 25 miles at 14 mph pace. Steve Cope “Captn Carbon” and his fellow “Hammer Heads” were only half way through their 70+ mile day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

send off party for Steve Cope

Please note that Steve was almost 2 hours late to his own party.

We have several photos to look at.
Double click on the picture to view the entire album and slideshow.


There is a video of the gifts presented to Steve however YouTube limits the video length to 10 miniutes and this Blog limits videos to 100 mb in size. The video in its shortest format is over 600 mb and 30 minutes long so we have no way to display on the web. Rambyte is looking to see if one of the XXX video sites is willing to host the video since we all know those activites take longer that 10 minutes.

If you do not want to visit one of those sites please request a DVD of your own and Rambyte will work to get you a copy, he just needs to edit out those parts that would serve the XXX sites well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Nov 9th

Bright sunny day, temperature around 44 degrees.
Those in attendance included.
Steve Cope (captn Carbon) on his carbon framed Kestral.
Kevin Smit “GOG”
Steve Sparano – “Sporadic Steve” – today he was Steve the “Spurt”.
Josh Carter – new member of a local cycling team.
Tim Travitz – “Slow Tim”
Patty Lewis
Sheila Augustine
Doug Augustine
Theresa Smit
Jae Brainard

The pack rolled out of the parking lot onto the early morning empty roads of Cary.
Immediately Steve Sparano Spurted into the lead with Josh hot on his rear wheel, closely stalked by “Captn Carbon”. In the distance behind the lead group Kevin was found making every effort to slowly convince his old body to respond to this first attack of the day. Kevin’s body is slow to warm up and requires tender care during the early phase of a ride. He has learned over the years to respect the need to warm up slowly, if he is to survive even the easiest of rides.

Behind Kevin the “Roses and Doug” were huddled together as they made their way into the Preston Neighborhood. The lead pack did not slow nor look to see who was in their group. Kevin was left riding alone with the lead pack already through several turns and now out of sight, Doug was seen making the jump from the “Roses” towards Kevin’s position. Doug caught up with Kevin as they made the turn towards Davis Drive. Kevin was able to catch a glimpse of the lead pack as the leaders were released by the green light to cross the road. Kevin made a jump to only be caught by the next RED. He slowed and worked as best he could to time the next green, which was being prompted by a line of cars waiting on the other side of Davis. Kevin timed this well but then stuttered as a car was working to make a left turn across his path. The car waited on Kevin and Kevin waited on the car to finally be waved on past by the driver of the vehicle. Doug waited for all this to transpire only to be caught by the next Red light. This was the last time Kevin or the lead pack confirmed the location of Doug.

Kevin shot on into the round-about and exited in time to finally hook up with the lead team. The pace did not slow as Steve the “Spurt” was still pushing the pace. He did not even look back (nor care) who was with him as he made the next several turns, including a left turn away from “Ron’s Pull”. Kevin was impressed with the solid leadership and confidence displayed by Steve. Kevin did later provide some feedback regarding the need to insure all riders were in tow on the “No Drop” philosophy of group rides.

The group made the quick right and then left onto and off of High House putting them on Carpenter Jenks road and the hill towards Holt. The pack all arrived at the crest of the climb together with Kevin demanding a pause to let Doug catch up. As the group circled Kevin slid back down the hill to see if he could detect Doug in the distance. No riders at all in the distance as Kevin did a brief wheel stand near the bottom of the hill. Slowly Kevin turned the bike back up hill to rejoin the group that was now displaying a lack of confidence in the direction to take. “Left turn” commanded “GOG”, and the pack fell into line behind “GOG” as they made their way towards APEX and the country roads towards Sharron Harris Nuclear Plant.

The group road under control thru the heart of APEX with the left turn at the Water Tower placing the pack on the fast rolling hills of Tingen. Each rider took turns at the pull position as they swung through the countryside at a comfortable 21 to 23 mph only to be slowed slightly on the longer climbs leading to Friendship road. It was on the last two climbs prior to the turn onto Friendship that “Captn Carbon” demonstrated he could still take the prem.

The pack assembled again as they swung left onto Friendship road and paused at that point to shed layers of clothing and to take care of any bio break needs. Back on the bike and the group continued their jaunt through the country side riding between 17 and 21 mph. At the turn near the Harris Nuclear Plant the ride intensified as Kevin taunted ‘Captn Carbon” at the base of a long climb. The response was totally predictable resulting in Steve Pulling the pack accelerating the full length of the climb. Once over the climb that group again took turns at the pull position with Steve Sparano and Tim Travitz each doing the majority of the work all the way to Old Highway one. Just at the group closed in on the left turn onto Old Highway One, they spotted a lone rider already navigating the turn.

“Lets GO Guys” Captn Carbon cried as he jumped out of the saddle to take chase. The pack did their best to take pursuit with Steve leading the attack. It took only a short half-mile of all hills to catch and pass the lone female rider. The group continued to pound the pedals as if to announce their superiority over the overtaken rider. The group slowed slightly to make the right turn onto Beaver Creek Road. As the pack reassembled they spotted the same lone female rider up ahead of the group. She had taken an earlier turn (short cut) to get to Beaver Creek Road and was now in the lead again.

The “Thorns” re-ignited the chase and set out to recapture the dominant position. Kevin was in the lead as the pack pulled up behind the rider. He elected to back off and draft her for awhile (knowing Capt Carbon would strike up a conversation with the rider). “We normally charge a $10 drafting fee” “Captn Carbon” announced to the lone female rider. She immediately reached back behind her with her palm facing up in anticipation of Kevin paying her $10 for drafting her.

The group rode together for the next couple of miles with limited chit chat, and no formal introduction of names between the lone rider and the “Thorns” . At the first big climb the “Thorns” rose out of the saddle and powered on up the hill leaving the lone female rider to her solitude. She clearly made a good decision not to engage in chit chat with the band of rebel bikers.

The pack continued to work well together taking turns in the pull position the entire length of Beaver Creek to the first rest stop at Highway 64, 31 miles into the day’s ride. Just as the pack was slowing to make the turn into the gas station Kevin’s rear shifters failed. He was stuck in the smallest cog and could not down shift to easier gears. At the stop Steve Cope, Tim Travitz, and Kevin all worked to try and determine the cause. “Captn Carbon” suggested the issue was the cheep Campagnolo Equipment Kevin had elected to use on his bike. “Slow Tim” agreed and said the real name for the equipment on Kevin’s bike is “CampyNoGo”. After some tugging and pulling on the rear derailleur shifter cable the Bike began to shift again.

After the short rest the group remounted to head across Highway 64 and onto Farrington road with a right turn onto the hilly rough road of Horton Pond aka “Hemorrhoid Hell Road”. The group continued to ride strong with each rider taking turns in each position of the small peloton. Josh was quick to relinquish the pull position each time he found himself there.

Josh had ridden a fast hard training ride Saturday with the Race Team. They had ridden 65 miles at a 21 mph avg (ouch). So Josh decided to ride with the OLD MEN of the “THORNS” group rather than punish himself a second day with his Racing teammates.

The route made the quick right turn onto 751 with lots of heavy traffic to then make the left turn onto Luther and its rolling hills leading to the right turn onto Green Level. Luther is a stretch of road that Kevin always struggles with as it slowly climbs towards it end at Green Level. Josh kept Kevin company as the two worked to minimize lost ground on those ahead. Kevin and Josh continued to lag behind as the group rode Green Level to the last climb before the turn onto Green Level Church. Steve “Spurt” Sparano was again in the lead pushing the pace and setting the direction. Left turn off of Green Level Church onto the bike path forced the pack to slow to a more comfortable 14 mph pace and associated cool down as they headed back into Cary.
The group finished the ride navigating the dangerous lip created by roadwork at the entrance to the Start/Finish. 46 miles at 17 mph pace on a beautiful sunny yet cool day.