Sunday, November 15, 2009

Social Saturday and Single Gear Sunday

Saturday Nov 14

In attendance:
Lee – second time with the group and happy to finally ride with Capn Carbon. Lee is looking for opportunities to attack.
Jen Serino – Slow Jen Fizz
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Steve Sparano – Sporadic Steve
Perry Hurt
Joe Pittman – Mr. Immortal
Karen Sutton – first time with the group – invited by Slow Jen Fizz
Nicole Mobley - first time with the group – third time on a bike– invited by Slow Jen Fizz
Kevin Smit – “GOG”
Theresa Smit – “Mother Theresa”

Capn Carbon had arrived to the start with two bicycles hanging on the rack. He had is Kestral (Full Carbon) and his brand new (repurposed old steel/chrome frame) FIXED GEAR BIKE.
Everyone was impressed with the new machine and was anxious to see Steve ride it. Steve had not yet ridden the bike and was hesitant to ride it for the first time on the route planned so he elected to ride the full carbon bike instead. “Sunday” he said “I will ride it Sunday”. That prompted “Slow Jen Fizz” to suggest she too may bring her FIXED GEAR BIKE on Sunday to ride with the group.

After brief introductions of the new riders to the group “GOG” suggested that he had a 40 mile route planned for the day and was looking to average a comfortable pace of 16 mph. He learned that at least 3 of the riders had a time constraint. “GOG” asked “Mother Theresa” if she would be willing to short cut and bring those with time constraint back in time to meet those needs. With those logistic addressed the pack was off.

The pace was subdued as the riders climbed the first small hill on High House just prior to the turn into the Preston Neighborhood. Each ride made the sweeping right turn followed by the flowing left turn placing them between the fairway and greens of the Preston Neighborhood’s Golf Course. The pace continued to be relaxed as the group rode as a clump with no effort to draft or set up a peloton formation. Just prior to the right turn onto Creek Park Drive the group heard a loud BANG followed by at TICK TICK TICK. No this was not a roadside bomb but one could suggest it was an IED for bicyclists.
“Capn Carbon” was looking all over his bike as he felt that noise may have come from him. “Capn” has had lots of rear wheel challenges this season with broken spokes, and rear hubs that needed to be replaced. So the natural response was to suggest his rear wheel had cracked – that is a risk on those high dollar carbon rims. “Capn” also rides on Sew-ups which means if he has a flat it is not just the expense of a tube, but also the full replacement of tire and tube. The TICK TICK TICKing noise continued forcing “Capn” to stop and inspect with greater focus on what the noise might be. This resulted in the entire group stopping with less than a mile into the ride. “Capn is HIGH MAINTENACE, We are always having to stop for him due to some issue”, “GOG” explained as he apologized to the group for this unplanned stop.

“Here it is” cried “Capn” as he pulled a large piece of metal from his tire. HISSSSS and the expensive Sew-up slowly died. “Looks like a piece of barbed Wire” added “Sporadic Steve”. The group continued to wait as the pit crew of Steve and Steve worked to pull off the dead sew-up replacing it with a spare, and then breathed life into it with a CO2 cartridge. This effort is clearly simpler and quicker than changing out a tube.
“Ready to Roll” shouted “Capn” and the pack was quick to respond. Now back in full stride the riders ramped up their speed to a comfortable 17 mph as they headed deeper into the Preston neighborhood. The group all exited the roundabout together and made the left turn at the Yellow Barn. At that point “Mother Theresa” and “Sporadic Steve” were lagging slightly. “Mr. Immortal” and “Capn Carbon” were the first to the next intersection and without hesitation Joe “Mr. Immortal” signaled a right turn onto “Ron’s Pull”. “GOG” did not correct them and followed suit. Lee was close and riding with Perry just behind “GOG”, they were followed by Karen, Nicole, “Sporadic Steve”, “Slow Jen Fizz”, and “Mother Theresa”. As the pack continued they fell into a poorly organized draft line. No detectible increase in speed occurred. Then “Sporadic Steve” made a play to see who would jump with him. He pulled out of his position in the pack and raced past the two leaders who were in a discussion of bikes and bike parts. No response from “Mr. Immortal” or “Capn”. Then after a short delay “Mr. Immortal” set up the next move by suggesting to “Capn”, “let him gap us a little more”. So there was even a longer delay before “Capn” made his move followed by “Mr. Immortal”, and “GOG”. Yes even “GOG” jumped as if he was still in shape and happy to accept any and all challenges. Please remember this was still in the first 3 to 4 miles of the ride and the group had already had a nice long rest during the flat tire change. So “GOG” still felt fresh, and he knew he would not be able to respond to the later attacks that were sure to come in the days ride. The three riders pulled up to “Sporadic Steve” and then slowly rolled past. Once “Capn” and his crew had vanquished that break away rider they settled into a 20 – 21 mph pace.

“Slow Jen Fizz” detected the change in pace and recognized the now relaxed posture of the lead riders. She ramped up her efforts to pull those with her across the gap to the leading group. “GOG” continued to monitor;
the pace,
his ability to sustain or respond to any change in pace,
his mirror to see the results of “Slow Jen’s efforts” as she was eliminating the gap between him and her.

“GOG” continued to find the best place to draft has he and “Mr. Immortal” fought to find any slip stream possible coming off of “Capn Carbon” who was still in the pull position. Then is if “Mr. Immortal” realized that “Slow Jen Fizz” and her crew had completely closed the gap he pushed the pace and attacked “Capn Carbon” not once but twice as a boxer would do to deliver a knockout punch. “Capn” responded, as did “GOG”. Joe continued to press the pace working hard to stay in the newly acquired lead position. Then “GOG” found himself side by side with “Capn Carbon”. “Capn” looked startled and even laughed a nervous laugh as if to say ETU BRUTE to “GOG”. “GOG” was acting the role of Brutus with “Capn Carbon” acting the roll of Caesar. In the mean time “Mr. Immortal” continued to press the pace as the two best friends behind him contemplated the act of treason that was potentially unfolding. First “Capn” collapsed showing the emotional depression one feels when betrayed by a best friend or confidant, as his body went limp for an instant. That was followed closely and more dramatically by “GOG’s” realization the he was on the verge of disrespecting the Greatest Bicyclist he has ever personally known.

That one scene if played in slow motion would have won the two cyclists (actors) an academy award.

“Mr. Immortal” triumphantly took his prize, which did not last long once he saw the destruction-taking place between the two riders behind him. In an effort to bring the “SPIRIT” back to the ride and to the two riders behind him, “Mr. Immortal” graciously offered the following. “You know it wasn’t fair.” “I drafted off of Capn Carbon, who pulled us the entire way”. Some how “Mr. Immortal” sensed the emotional destruction each of the two trailing riders felt at that moment. “Capn” with the realization that his second in command (not in ability) was attacking him, and “GOG” realizing that he was working against the EMPEROR of Biking.

Once at the end of “Ron’s Pull” the pack slowed and stopped to allow all to regroup. “GOG” rolled on through the intersection still numbed by his actions and the level of disrespect he had shown to “Capn”. Somehow “GOG” knew he needed to distance himself from the pack as if placing himself in exile.

The group said nothing of the exchange that had just taken place. Either they did not fully grasp the calamity of that situation, or they all were in too much shock themselves to comment, or they were so wrapped up in their own efforts that they missed the treason that took place within their ranks.

Joe “Mr. Immortal” had mounted a stellar attack that does deserve the full $100 award for taking the sprint. He needs to make no excuses for his actions and does not need to try and soften the more devastating actions of “GOG” against “Capn Carbon”. One can only hope that time will heal the wounds inflicted during that short skirmish.

The group was working to came all together at the lights at highway 55 when Lee, Joe “Mr. Immortal”, and “Capn” all jumped through the yellow Light to get across 55. All others pulled up and stopped as they watched the others scamper on through.
“KAH”, “HACK”, “KAH. “Slow Jen Fizz” was making such a racket as she struggled to catch her breath in between coughing episodes. “What?, are you our designated H1N1 participant on the ride?” asked “GOG”. “Yea, just getting over it”. “was planning to do the Bridge to Battleship Triathlon, and then days before the event came down the H1N1”. “Really Pissed ME OFF” cried Jen in between coughs.
In the mean time those that had jumped the light were now waiting on the other side for the rest to cross Highway 55 safely.

Once across the group was at full strength with “Sporadic Steve” in the pull position, and “GOG” working to find the best draft position. Others were falling in line behind them as the group formed a single file line on this narrow section of busy road. The pace was slowly creeping up again towards the 20+ mph pace as the pack continued towards the outskirts of Cary and Morrisville. “GOG” had considered taking the pack on the route he planned the week before but did not elect to follow. In this route he would direct the group to turn right on Yates store and head to O’kelly, then 751, then stage coach, then Farrington, to Lystra, and then via Martha Chapel towards home. That is a hilly route that does not allow for any short cutting of distance. Knowing this “GOG” began to re-assess the situation. He knew there were two new riders in the group, at least 3 needed to turn back early, and he was now emotionally and physically drained from the previous attack he participated in.
“Would anyone argue if I shorten the route a little today” he asked the group. “Capn Carbon” responded, “I do not plan to ride hard today or attack, I have been off the bike too long and could use a shorter ride”. The two newer riders with the group smiled. In retrospect those smiles could have easily meant to suggest, “this group is not very tough at all”. “GOG” took the smiles as an approval to shorten the route.
“Left Turn” cried “GOG” as the decision was made then and there to alter the route. “We are headed for UPChuck” he went on in an effort to describe the next part of the route. Behind him “GOG” could hear the others cyclist work to explain to Lee and the two newer cyclists what “UpChuck” was and how to set themselves up for the attacks that were sure to unfold.

“GOG” was the first to traverse through the pot holed downhill prior to the steep climb known to the group as “UpChuck”. Once through the bottom of the run he was working to pick a gear for what lay ahead. Then Lee shot past him, then “Capn Carbon” who had apparently recovered from his emotional let down on “Ron’s Pull”. “Capn” was not about to let “GOG” or anyone else disrespect him on “UPChuck”.
The procession continued with each cyclists working to join “Capn” and Lee at the top of the hill. One by one they conquered the climb. Slowly the group circled as they waited briefly for all to gather at the top. The group was then directed to make the turn onto New Hope Church Road. “We will stay on this to the turn onto Mount Pisgah” Kevin informed the group.

“Crap”, “I have a flat”. “GOG” shouted to the group. This is payment for his traitorous antics earlier in the ride. As “GOG” pulled to the side of the road “Capn Carbon” was already dismounting his bike and reaching for “GOG’s” rear wheel in an effort to remove it from the frame. His actions were similar to a Formula One Pit Crew member as they jump the wall with torque wrench in hand and start pulling lug nuts off of the wheel of the car as it is still slowing to a stop.

“GOG” did not deserve this level of attention from the man he had treated so disrespectfully earlier. This rattled “GOG” so much that he struggled to do his part in locating a new tube, tire irons, and Co2 cartridges. He was so slow in acquiring those items from his tool kit that “Capn” had already pulled the rear tire off the bike and was ripping the bead off the rim with his bare hands. “GOG” wondered if this was “Capn’s” way of saying that he had recovered fully from the earlier betrayal and all was good between them, or if he did not want to suffer through a slow tire changing process, or maybe he was still demonstrating to all (especially the new gals on the ride) that he was truly a Bicycling legend that could do it all.

“Sorry guys for all the unplanned stops today, I know it is cutting into your limited time for the days ride”. “GOG” was in full apology mode.

The Socail Club was happy to continue there very important CHIT CHAT uninterupted by this long tire change.

“I think I will just head for home from here” Perry announced. The group had only completed 10 miles and two flats. Joe “Mr. Immortal” was caught glancing at his watch. “I think I can continue with you guys until after Mount Pisgah” he was heard saying. The rear tire successfully changed and filled having had to use 2 CO2 cartridges due to “GOG’s” failure on the first try. The group said good-bye to Perry as they headed for Mount Pisgah and Perry headed back towards the start.

To this point in the ride “slow Jen Fizz” and the two ladies she had invited had been in a nonstop chat fest. “GOG” never fully heard nor understood the subject matter of their conversations but it was clearly something all three could participate in. “GOG” rarely engages in deep conversation while on the ride. It is not just because he is anti-social but more a factor of his inability to carry on a conversation while riding at speeds that are taxing his physical abilities. These three ladies however had no problem with the pace or the ability to visit non-stop while remaining solidly in the middle of the pack.

A left turn at Mount Pisgah is were the next split in the group took place. “Mother Theresa” and “Sporadic Steve” elected to ride straight on New Hope Church to the end at 751, where they planned to back track on in to the finish.

The Hills on Mount Pisgah set the stage for more attacks with “Mr. Immortal”, and Lee throwing out challenge after challenge. Lee reminded this rider of someone trying to play tag. His antics were much the same as someone running up close to their victim only to lightly touch them, yell “TAG YOU ARE IT” and then deftly elude them by scampering away. This style of riding continued throughout the days ride. Lee was clearly feeling frisky on the bike. There may be a nickname in this somewhere.

The pack enjoyed the attacks as each hill was met with that challenge. The group then rested and recovered as they pulled onto Farrell Road and its route that intersects Luter Shop just shy of the Strawberry Patch. It was at that intersection that “Mr. Immortal” left the group and headed back towards Cary and to meet his prior time constraint.

The pack was now down to “Capn Carbon”, “GOG”, Lee (nickname?), “Slow Jen Fizz”, Nicole, and Karen. This group rode well together now with “Capn Cabon” and the 3 ladies all participating in the Chat Fest. Again “GOG” rode in silence/survival mode. Lee was bouncing around like a young puppy looking for someone to play with. He was torn with the thought of scampering away, but realized that no one was paying attention because of the constant Chatter from the group. It is no fun to run away if no one chases.

Once at the Strawberry Patch the group was instructed to ride to Martha’s Chapel and follow its length to Lake Jordan. Here was an opportunity for Lee to Play with “Capn Carbon”. Lee had been on this section of road before and learned about the fast run and final sprint that always takes place there.
No one took control of the pull position resulting in some tentative shuffling among the riders. It was Lee and “Capn Carbon” that ultimately broke away from the group, and there was no clear sprint to the finish line at Lake Jordan. Next the group was directed onto Farrington and the section of road known to the group as “Kevin’s Crawl”. “Capn Carbon” was in the lead position followed by Lee, then “GOG” and then the social club. As the riders built their speed “Capn” looked back and asked, were is “GOG”. As he did this he pulled out of the pull position and fell back in line just behind “GOG”. “You know Steve, ever since Claim Jumper disrespected me on this section of road, I just don’t have the same desire to remain at the lead”. At that point Lee pulled ahead of “GOG” and all those behind him did not respond. It was Lee out ahead with “GOG” acting in a pull position for all others as they increased their speeds maxing out on the peak of the climb at about 21 mph. Lee continued on towards Holland Chapel well ahead of the pack. He slowed only long enough for “GOG” and the pace line to swallow him up as he waited for instructions for any next turn. “On Straight” was the command from “GOG”, as he was now passing Lee. The next command given was “left turn at Horton Pond”, “I am adding miles and hills back into the ride”, “Looks like everyone is looking for more so I am adding some back into the ride”.

“How far do we go on this until the next turn” Lee asked in hopes that “GOG” will share that information for his benefit. “This dead ends at 751, then we will turn right and an immediate left”. With that information Lee added, “I know that road it has a big sweeping downhill”. Now fully armed with information about the next 4 – 7 miles Lee was ready to play. He slowly pulled away from the group. “Capn” and the ladies were still in full Chat mode and let Lee slip slowly away. “GOG” continued to ride focused on holding the pace, this took great concentration on his part, as the constant chattering from the social club slowly became a dull drone in his ears. Then there was a short pause in the noise being generated from the Social Club. Someone had come up for a bit of fresh air. In that pause of verbal exercise the group realized that Lee was slipping away. “Capn” immediately left the group and pressed forward to close the gap. The ladies all pondered their response. Then slowly they ramped up their efforts and slid past “GOG”. The coffee break was over, time to get back to work.

The group did not wait long at the end of Horton Pond as they carefully positioned themselves among the car and truck traveling on 751. They had to time their left turn as oncoming traffic as well as the line of Traffic behind them did not want to be encumbered by these slow moving nuisances. Safely onto Luther, Lee and “GOG” were riding next to each other when Lee announced, “I have to Pee”. “We can stop and let you run off into the woods” responded “GOG”. “Na”, “I can hold it”, “it is another thing that will train my body to suffer on”, “you know toughen me up” Lee said with a sincere smile on his face. After the exchange Lee set out to make a fast run on the next downhill triggering a response from “Capn”, resulting in another playful exchange. The ladies were found drafting “GOG” as he worked with the aid of gravity to produce as much momentum as possible on the downhill. “GOG” continued to witness Lee attacking and “Capn” responding, then Lee attacking again. This game of “TAG YOUR IT” continued the entire length of Luther. The ladies had no problem passing “GOG” on the first uphill as his momentum was stripped faster than it had been built on the previous downhill.

All were waiting and chatting at the next intersection as they allowed “GOG” to join them for the next section of road. “GOG” slid past them all, turned right onto Green level, and did not slow down in the process. He looked back in his mirror expecting to see Lee jumping at the opportunity to respond and attack. The group was still focused on whatever the topic of conversation was as “GOG” continued to widen the gap all the while getting dangerously close to the Wake County Line. He knew that either “Capn Carbon” or Lee would want to make a play for the County Line. It was Lee who responded and was seen working to run “GOG” down. “GOG” confident he had a large enough gap, actually slowed down in an effort to taunt Lee into pushing even harder. “GOG” rolled over the County Line arms raised in victory just as he felt the pressure of the air being pushed out ahead of Lee, as Lee just about took the win.

“GOG” heard the ladies still in full SOCIAL CLUB CHATTER talking about how they liked the house that was up head on the curve. Was there any topic not discussed by this group on this ride?

“I am adding more miles and more hills,” announced “GOG”. “Make the right turn up ahead onto Wimberly” he went on to say. As the group made the turn onto Wimberly the Social Club was in the discussion of Mediterranean foods. “Capn Carbon” was fully engage in the conversation offering his opinion of various restaurants in the area and the quality of their product. The pace quickened as “GOG” was once again in the favor of the Gravity GOD who supplied extra momentum to the large mass known as “GOG”.
“I am afraid of the down Hills” announced Nicole. “This is only my third time on a bike” she went on to explain.

Once at the bottom of the hill the group was pulled back together with no one acting like they wanted to attack the hill. “This hill is not steep but it is long and wears on a person” “GOG” explained to Lee. “A nuisance hill” he responded. “GOG” was left to contemplate what a nuisance hill was.

Was it a hill that provided no real benefit from a training perspective,
or one that was too long to attack and recover from,
or one that was there just to slow the riders down and lower their average Miles Per hour for the days ride.

No matter what is meant by the term a nuisance hill the climb up WIMBERLY SUCKS. Oh and just as the hill was punishing the riders the most. The Social Club was chatting about recipes, and “Capn Carbon” was leading the discussion about some of his favorite recipes and how to properly execute them.

Upon completion of Wimberly, and the discussion on recipes, the pack of riders made a left turn onto Jenks Road as it heads back into Cary. As the group closed in on Highway 55 and Holt, Lee attacked again with “Capn Carbon” there to respond. From there the group safely made it across 55 and the left turn onto Holt. Here again they settled into a relaxed pace as the finish was approaching within the next 3 or so miles. “One more hill to attack on” announced “GOG” “Oh GOOD” replied Lee.

The pack made the turn onto Jenks Road and the pace quickened spreading the riders along its length as they readied themselves for the fast downhill and another nuisance uphill climb that was sure to have a battle between cyclists taking place. Lee and “Capn” enjoyed the attacks mounted on the other. “Capn” was seen playing the “TAG YOUR IT” game originally started by Lee. “GOG” and the Social Club all rode strong keeping their speed as they matched the pressure of the hill with greater efforts on the pedals.

Once at the top of the climb “GOG” directed the group to make the turn towards Preston. The cyclists road back into the neighborhood retracing the route first traveled as they started the days ride. The pace was very relaxed as each rider was now in cool down mode, and still participating in a Social event.
The group was then directed thought the backside of the neighborhood finishing the ride by entering the back parking lot of Brueggers.

The riders completed 38.5 miles at a pace of just over 16 mph, and with lots of hills. The route was altered no less than 3 times as “GOG” continued to assess the group’s strength and willingness to be challenged. Well done for a SOCIAL CLUB.

Sunday November 15th.
Single Gear Sunday.

A FOGGY Start and a SUNNY Finish.

Those assembled for the days ride included:
Theresa Smit – “Mother Theresa” on her 1979 classic steel bike. She picked her 42 tooth front chain ring and her 19 tool rear chain ring to ride for the day. She had other gears and could shift into them, however she wanted to meet the challenge of Single Gear Sunday.
Kevin Smit – “GOG” on his FIXIE with gear ratio of 48 x 16
Steve Cope “Capn Carbon” on his new (never ridden) Chrome FIXIE with gear ratio of 48 X 16
Shawn Richardson – the “Yellow Jacket” on his black and gold FIXIE with gear ratio of 48 X 16
Paul (sorry cant remember the last name)- On his Urban Commando FIXIE. Paul also came dressed in perfect Urban Commando Camouflage.
Tim Devinney – “The Love Train” Tim was riding wounded. His right knee has been damaged and he can barely walk on it, but he came to ride. It turned out that “The Love Train” also elected to pick a gear and stay in it (most of the ride – he did shift once to a higher gear later in the ride).

The Fog added an additional challenge to the day’s ride, as the group slowly slipped out of the parking lot and onto High house. Luckily the traffic on an early Sunday morning is very light. “GOG” had placed a red flashing light on his jersey pocket and Paul had a flashing red light on his seat post. Together they acted as signals to those cars approaching from the rear. Right from the start the FIXTIES pulled away from “Mother Theresa” and “The Love Train”. The fact that a rider cannot Coast on a fixed gear bike actually increases their average speed in comparison to someone who peddles and then coasts for a short while. The FIXTIES had no choice but to continue with the momentum established as they slowly walked away from the others. “GOG” asked Paul how much he had ridden his FIXIE. He learned that Paul rides it in town to the grocery store, and other short errands. A true URBAN Commando complete with Messenger bag to haul items acquired during the errands. Paul went on to explain he has never ridden the FIXIE for mile after mile so this day’s ride will be the furthest on this bike. Paul also brought his road bike to the start in hopes that he could turn back early enough to swap bikes and then jump into the CSH Sunday ride. “GOG” took this bit of information and charted a course in his head that might allow Paul and the group to all be back in time for the CSH ride start. “Capn” was having no trouble adjusting to the ridding techniques demanded by a FIXED GEAR bike. He is truly a Cycling legend, capable of any challenge on a bike. Maybe next weekend “GOG” will bring his Unicycle to see how easily “Capn” can adapt to it. “The Yellow Jacket” has been demonstrating for several weekends his ability to handle his FIXIE. To that point he was spotted prior to the start in the parking lot practicing panic stops by hopping the bike and throwing it into a side slide stop. “The Yellow Jacket’s” FIXIE was the only one in the group without a cheater break.

The day’s ride was smooth and relaxed. None of the riders were there to attack or ride hard. They actually used this ride to focus on the new challenge that a FIXED Gear ride presented. They also had to concentrate a great deal due to reduced visibility. “GOG” helped by charting a route that was as flat as possible given the area they had to ride. He also directed the ride onto roads that had the lightest traffic possible. He also needed to plot a course that would return the group back to the start with minutes to spare so anyone who wanted to make the CSH ride could. Luckily the CSH rides have recently been pushed back to a 10 am start. This gives the “Thorns and Roses” all most two hours to complete their ride and still connect with CSH.

The most notable items to share from the ride are as follows:

  • Poor visibility due to Fog and the buildup of moisture on everyone’s glasses. Half way through the ride “GOG” and Paul both removed theirs increasing the visibility dramatically.

  • The temperature felt much colder than the thermometer was registering due to the moisture being absorbed through the cloths of the riders.

  • No one knew what speed, distance, or cadence they were doing since none of the FIXED GEAR Bikes were laden with accessories.

  • The sprints to the County Line did take place as expected.

  • County Line Going Out – Capn pretended to not be paying attention and stayed in the back of the draft line as the County Line approached. GOG and the Yellow Jacket kept looking back to see if and when Capn would attack. As they looked back, Capn looked disinterested. Then in a surprise attack of his own, Capn sling shot past the group for the uncontested win!

  • Lake Jordan – Group had a solid and fast paceline heading down toward the lake. Capn was up front with Paul breaking the wind for GOG and the Yellow Jacket. Then the Yellow Jacket provided “pay back” to Capn’s earlier trickery by launching a might attack and won the sprint easily!

  • The riders could not see Lake Jordan due to the thick fog.

  • Kevin was not challenged (all respected him) on “Kevin’s Crawl”.

  • County Line Coming Back – Nobody showed interest in a contested sprint to the County Line. Capn could not stand it any longer as he has no patience and jumped on his new chrome fixie with less than 100 yards left. Nobody else even flinched and just chuckled as Capn burned yet another wasted match!

  • There were NO flats or mechanical issues.

  • The FIXIES road in a group except for the brief sprints

  • The Road bikes (ROADIES) rode in a group (remaining in the gear chosen at the start of the ride).

  • The route was shortened, and flattened even more near the end to beat the clock.

  • At the end “Capn Carbon” and “Yellow Jacket” rode past Brueggers and climbed HighHouse in an effort to make it to CSH. They did not bring a road bike and were committing themselves to an additional 30 miles on their FIXIE’s with CSH.

  • Paul and “GOG” rolled into Brueggers parking lot with 7 minutes to spare before the CSH ride start.

  • Paul demonstrated an orderly transition as he changed from his URBAN Commando Fatigues into Road bike lycra garb, put the FIXIE safely in his car, pulled the road bike off the roof rack, pumped up tires, and headed out to catch CSH as they headed into Preston.

  • Everyone had a BLAST and will definitely do this again.

    For those thinking of using a road bike on the Single Gear Sunday ride here is a simple formula that will help them match as best they can the gear ratio of the FIXIE’s. This is not totally scientific and real gear heads will likely chime in to correct this simple explanation.

    A Fix gear bike with a 48 X 16 set up has a 3 to 1 ratio. This is calculated by Dividing 48/16 = 3.

    A bike with a large front chain ring of 52 can come close by putting the chain onto the following gears.
    52 X 17 = 3.06
    A 53 toothed large front chain ring might suggest the following gear selections.
    53 X 18 = 2.9

    If the smaller front chain ring is selected then the configuration may look like the following possible solutions.

    39 X 13 = 3
    For compact chain rings the configuration may be
    36 X 12 = 3
    Or for really small compacts the configuration may be
    34 X 11 = 3.09

    Yes you will likely have to stand to push up any hills with a gear ratio that equals 3 to 1.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

end of Season rides have begun

Saturday Nov 7th
The official start to the OFF season.
Those in attendance:
Ron Clanton
Jae Brainard
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG
Shawn Richardson – Green Flash all though today he came as the Yellow Jacket on his black and Gold Fixed Gear bike. He is the Yellow Jacket on the fixed gear due to how he can STING you if you provoke him while he is on that bike.
Frank Lewis
Joe Pittman
– Mr. Immortal

The temperature was slowly climbing to 36 degrees as the riders all struggled with how many layers to put on for the days ride. Shoe Covers were all in order as were long fingered gloves. Several folks elected to wear a thin windbreaker expecting to have to shed it sometime during the ride. Jae was bundled up in her traditional winter wrap reminding all the cyclists of the young brother in the movie “A Christmas Story” . You know the one with the famous line “You will shoot your eye out”. Imagine the scene when Ralphie’s younger brother was sooo bundled up to go outside he could not move. That is Jae in the cooler months of the year when prepping for a bike ride.

The group had already been level set, via the email notice announcing the weekend rides, as to what type of ride and distance was to be provided. They were also informed that Capn Carbon would not be in attendance. This likely kept the Hammer Heads away since they would not have anyone to play with. These factors may have had an impact on the attendance levels. This participant wants to believe that the low attendance was do also in part by the many others who were in Wilmington participating in the Bridge to Battleship Triathlon. This next weekend will support one of the reasons for the low turnout.

The seven riders slowly mounted their bikes and rolled out of the parking lot, keeping the pace low as to minimize the impact of the cold air rushing past any bare skin. There was minimal chit chat and virtually no banter as the riders journeyed into and then out of the Preston Neighborhood. The only riders lamenting on the missing Capn Carbon was Frank. He was very curious as to what important non biking activity might have kept Capn Carbon from making the weekend rides. GOG shared with him all he knew on that subject. Apparnetly Capn and his Friend were spending the weekend with another couple on a weekend in the mountains of NC. Hmmmm maybe Capn can be distracted just a little.

As the group reached the first directional instructions GOG suggested Ron’s Pull as the next section of road for the cyclist’s journey. The Pace did not quicken, the draft line did not form into a tight single file. At one point just prior to Green Hope High School Ron rode up from the end of the line to ask if it was OK that he PUSH rather than PULL on this section of ride today. GOG assured RON that he was still in command of RON’s Pull and he could indeed lead from the rear rather than PULL from the Front. NO ONE was going to disrespect RON on his section of Road. All riders were happy to ride in the manner demonstrated by RON at that point in time. All riders were still in the pack as they finished RON’s Pull and prepared for the next section of road that would point them towards either UpChuck, or Cary Glenn, or O’Kelley.

As the riders rolled onto Carpenter Fire Station the pace id quicken slightly reaching 19 mph with GOG in the pull position. GOG was still working out the path for the days ride. Earlier he had considered leading everyone onto O’Kelley, 751, StageCoach, Farrington, and back home via Martha Chapel and the Strawberry patch. As he was just 4 miles into the ride GOG was already realizing that 4 or more weeks off the bike results in a pathetic performance with limited ability to climb, or sustain speeds over 16 mph. In addition he still had not taken his bike in for major servicing and was riding without the ability to shift his front derailleur. So GOG altered his plan for the days ride and directed the pack into Cary Glenn and it’s “Three Ugly Sisters”. This would result in a shorter route for the day and would bypass UpChuck in the process. The pack all followed his lead and soon were each planning how to best respond to the 3 short hills that lay between them and the exit of the Cary Glenn Neighborhood.
Yellow Jacket was riding comfortably as he swarmed around each of the riders with no apparent plan to attack unless provoked. Joe was the first to take a swat at the “Yellow Jacket” as he pushed the pace on the first hill in an effort to sneak away before his real attack on the last of the 3 Ugly Sisters. The Yellow Jacket followed at a distance to gauge Joe’s true intent. Frank was also sliding into the mix to participate in any swatting that might take place. Just as the three cyclists reached the bottom of the last climb one of them flinched which was all it took for the Frey to take place. Frank then Joe then Frank, then with the delayed acceleration produced by a gear ratio of 48 x 16 the “Yellow Jacket” was in full flight and zoomed by both Joe and Frank stinging them as he was the first to make the roundabout at the top of the climb. These three cyclists were able to circle a half dozen times before all the remaining riders completed the gauntlet laid down by the “Three Ugly Sisters”.

Noticing that at least half the group was ready for opportunities to attack each other GOG altered his route yet again. He made the decision then and there to add a few more hills and add a few more miles than his second designed route would provide for.

GOG directed the group to turn right out of Cary Glenn and head towards UpChuck from the opposite direction normally ridden on that section of road. “We will do the left turn just prior to UpChuck and head for Mount Pisgah” he was heard setting the next phase of the ride into concrete.

This was the beginning of the splintering of the group. It never fails that once provided with enough information the riders confidently plunge head on with the knowledge and some assumptions as to what and when they would need to hover for the next set of directions. This was no different. The 3 who had enjoyed attacking each other earlier were now pushing the pace well past 18 mph as they showed no hesitation of where they were headed or how they were going to get there. GOG found himself in No Man’s Land. He was planted squarely between Frank, Joe, and the “Yellow Jacket” group of riders and those behind him consisting of Jae, “Mother Theresa” and Ron. The leading group did slow slightly as they made the left turn onto Mount Pisgah allowing GOG to roll past them with all looking over their shoulder to make sure the trailing riders could see the maneuvers made by this leading group. It was here that the formal SPLIT was solidified. As GOG and the other 3 riders coasted into the first downhill of Mount Pisgah the trailing group elected to glide on past the turn and remained on a direct route towards 751. “They did not turn” Joe announced to the leading group. “That’s OK I know where they are going and I suspect they will get to Martha Chapel ahead of us” GOG responded. That was all the others needed to know and the attacks began as if someone shot off a starters pistol.

GOG was dropped as if the lead cyclists had just shed a heavy load. GOG had no way to respond so he settled into a survival mode of cycling. Keep the rpms up, the breathing in control, the legs on the verge of burn but not lactic acid collapse. His performance continued to demonstrate the results of not keeping up with any form of exercise for a period of weeks. The gap generated by his poor performance was only kept in check by those riding easily ahead of him. On several occasions GOG could see the 3 riders ahead turn to validate he was still moving behind them.

The group found themselves dead ended were Mount Pisgah stops at a T intersection with Highway 751. GOG was still some distance behind resulting in an unplanned stop for the 3 riders who were now at that T intersection. Eventually GOG rolled up to the stop, leaned into a left hand turn and coasted into the next downhill, this was the only method for GOG to communicate the next turn as he was too tired to communicate verbally. The pack of cyclists fell in line behind GOG as he lead the group down and up the hills of 751 and onto the right turn at Martha’s Chapel. There had been no sign of the other cyclists who had elected to bypass Mount Pisgah and had made a bee line to 751 earlier. GOG was not sure if they would find them on ahead, or if the group had elected to take control of their own ride and route back at the earlier SPLIT.

The run down Martha Chapel was no different than the run down Mount Pisgah. Frank, Joe, and the Yellow Jacket worked together to attain reasonable speeds without completely dropping GOG from their view. GOG was doing his very best to maintain 18 mph on a section of road that usually expected 25+ mph speeds. By the time GOG made it to Lake Jordan the others were waiting in anticipation of a right hand turn that would take them towards Lystra , or big woods, or other fun cycling routes. GOG had no plans to punish himself with more miles or extra hills so the choice was LEFT not right. GOG was also so slow in getting to Lake Jordan that he had no view of the attacks mounted by the lead cyclists, and they did not share with him who took the prize at the finish line. GOG could only surmise from the shit eating grin on the Yellow Jackets face that he had STUNG yet again.

The group now found themselves again lining up behind GOG as he rolled onto the section of road known as first “Kevin’s Crawl” and more recently as “Claim Jumpers Prize”. The group did not push the pace allowing Kevin to remain in the honored pull position and to slowly build the speed up as they responded to the small rise in the road as it traveled from the Martha Chapel/Farrington intersection to the Farrington/Holland Chapel turn. GOG was unable to push the pace beyond 17 mph, again demonstrating that he was suffering from being out of shape.

The turn onto Holland Chapel was completed with the riders now falling back into the same pattern as Martha’s Chapel or Mount Pisgah. The lead riders riding comfortably well ahead of the continuously struggling GOG. They regrouped at the end of Holland Chapel followed by the short jig and jog at the Strawberry patch which signals the run towards home. Déjà vu, this section of road was another repeat of all the previous long runs resulting in the gap of 3 followed by 1. The sprint to the county line was another victory for the FIXED GEAR “Yellow Jacket” but it was a battle well fought by Frank and Joe who were a close 2nd and 3rd or maybe even a tie for 2nd.

The lead group had extended the gap between themselves and GOG to such an extreme that GOG was challenged in how to best direct the pack to the next turn. If GOG did not push to close the gap he would be hard pressed to get the group to turn right onto White Oak Church road. GOG wanted to include the bike path that parallels Green Level as the last few miles of the days ride. After an internal debate GOG realized there was little he could do to close the gap, so, he breathed deep and then bellowed at the top of his lungs, “Right TURN, RIGHT TURN”. No response from the lead cyclists, so GOG took another deep breath and with his left hand cupped around his mouth in an effort to create a bull horn he again shouted “RIGHT TURN, RIGHT TURN”. It was Joe who then signaled right turn letting GOG know that he had been heard.
The three ahead slowed again allowing GOG to roll up to them bringing the pack back into full strength (in numbers not in physical ability). The group climbed the hill past the Tobacco Trail and finished the run to Green Level all together. It was hear that Frank took the lead and after a short pause for traffic he took the pull position lighting up the rpms and pulling the pack towards the turn at Green Level Church in access of 20 mph. The group members each navigated the left turn off of Green Level Church and onto the bike path. “I did not know this was hear” exclaimed Joe. “I had not riding this path for a long time” Frank added. The “Yellow Jacket” remained silent but deadly. The path was lightly traveled by others that day allowing the cyclists to glide along while also exploring the horizon and its fall colors.
GOG directed the riders to take the right fork and its tunnel under highway 55. Frank led the way into the tunnel followed by the “Yellow Jacket”, “GOG” and then Joe. Once all were safely into the tunnel “GOG” produced one of his immature child like screams at the top of his lungs. “CRAP” Joe responded to the sudden primal scream that was still echoing in the tunnel.

The cyclists continued their relaxed ride on the bike path, dodging the entrance gates at each road crossing. At the busy road crossing of Jenks Carpenter the cyclists all challenged the “Yellow Jacket” to demonstrate a Track Stand. “No way, I have only had this bike a month, I need more practice” he shared with the group as he was also unclipping from the peddles.

The group completed their ride on the bike path and found themselves at Davis drive. Here they finished the route by traveling down Davis to Waldo Rood, to Cary Parkway, and on into the Brueggers parking lot. A 35 mile ride at 15.5 mph average. The start of the OFF season, lower miles, slower pace.

Then others who had SPLIT earlier at Mount Pisgah had already loaded their bikes and were inside enjoying each others company and a coffee. They had completed 29 miles at a 14+ mph average. They elected to turn their days ride into an out and back journey with the turnaround at Highway 751.

Sunday Nov 8th.
In attendance:
Steve Sparano – “Sporadic Steve”
Theresa Smit – “Mother Theresa”
Kevin Smit – “GOG”
Lee Duncan – knew to the group, proud to be riding on a steel framed bike (Steel is Real)– found out about the rides from Dileep.

“GOG” did his best to welcome the new rider and to explain some of the types of antics one might encounter on a ride with the “Thorns and Roses”. Unfortunately Lee would not get the full impact of riding with the group as there were only 3 others on the days ride. The ride start was warmer than Saturdays. “Mother Theresa” wanted to make sure that we recognized that there was no one she could potentially finish the ride with. It was her way of saying to take it easy on her. “GOG” was quickly remembering how poorly he rode on Saturday and using that information he elected to work to flatten out this days ride while also getting the group to Lake Jordan and back into town in time for Lee to jump in with the CSH ride.

Once out of the parking lot it was “Mother Theresa” who set the pace. She was the first into the Preston Wood Neighborhood and the first one to the Yellow Barn where “Sporadic Steve” stopped to take a picture of a giant sculpture of a Chicken. As he stopped to take the picture the remaining cyclists rolled on towards the next intersection only to circle once before Steve was able to join the group. “GOG” directed the group away from “Ron’s Pull” and towards High House. Immediately “Sporadic Steve” assumed the next turn would take place just over the bridge and as he drifted left on High House “GOG” directed him to stay straight. The group was not going to ride on towards Apex, or Holt, but would remain straight riding on High House and crossing over Highway 55, and then make the right turn at Glenn More Road. This put the cyclists into the Field Stone Neighborhood and it small rolling hills. This route would dump them out onto a left onto Green Hope High School road. This would produce a flat ride out of Cary and onto Luter Shop and the run towards the Strawberry patch at 751.
The only momentous event that took place was when “GOG” sprinted at the very last second to the County Line on Luter Shop. He won that event only because Lee did not know that it was one of the sprint locations. When “GOG” attempted his sprint Lee was actually able to respond and could have taken the sprint easily if he knew of the finish line for the Sprint, and if “GOG” would not have waited until just a few feet to the line before attacking. It was totally unfair, and a poor example of a sprint.
Lee will not be caught off guard again.

The group road smoothly on towards the Strawberry patch and circled only once there as they waited for “Mother Theresa” who had been dropped at the county line sprint due to her unwillingness to participate in that childish game. The pack once assembled made their way to the left turn onto Martha Chapel and the long run down to the lake. There were no attacks on the run to the lake, the pace did quicken to 19 + mph with “Mother Theresa” working to stay in the draft.
Once at the end of Martha Chapel “GOG” informed Lee that there were so many more options of where to ride from there including Lystra and Big Woods. Lee showed a strong desire to go and do all that right then. “If we are going to get you back into Cary Glenn before the CSH ride gets there we need to head back from hear” “GOG” went on to explain. “I know my way back you guys go on and do not wait on me” “Mother Theresa” chimed in-between blowing her nose and catching her breath.

“Sporadic Steve”, Lee, and “GOG” all made the left turn onto Farrington and headed into the section of road known as “Kevin’s Crawl”. This is exactly what it was on this day’s ride. Kevin was barely able to accelerate up the gradual incline but did reach a slightly higher speed than accomplished the day before.

The turn onto Holland Chapel resulted in the 3 riders continuing to push the pace with no “Mother Theresa” in sight. Lee was clearly just getting warmed up as he was the one egging on the others to sustain speeds yet accomplished earlier in the ride. Lee was also chatting comfortably as the other two riders were doing their best to remain in ear shot and to nod their heads as that was the only way they could respond at this faster pace. Lee went on to explain that he has easily ridden with the CSH riders on 57 mile routes and was looking forward to jumping in with them today to bump the miles from this groups planed 33 miles and more towards 55 to 60 for Lee. It was here also that the group learned that Lee was a Technical Writer for IBM. “GOG” suggested that Lee would be a great candidate to take over the BLOG. “NO NO NO” he replied, “I am a Technical Writer”, “I have had a chance to read some of the BLOG”, “ and it does not follow any writing technique, or rules or spelling, or punctuation, or grammar”. “It would be impossible for me to create anything within the BLOG as it is currently produced”.

“GOG” continues to clearly demonstrate his failure in all those areas. He so hated English, and writing, and it shows.

The group was now back at the strawberry patch. They did not slow or circle in any effort to allow “Mother Theresa” to catch up. Sometimes a no drop does not work, especially when an individual demands they ride and suffer in isolation. “GOG” also knew she had her cell phone and would be happy to use it if needed. “GOG” also knew from years of riding with “Mother Theresa” that she will actually do better riding alone than feeling like she is holding the group back, and in fact would likely finish the days ride with in 2 or 3 minutes of the others who were still riding at a good clip.

Lee, “Sporadic Steve”, and “GOG” were know closing in on the county line. “GOG” felt so bad about his last attack antics that this time he clued Lee into where the county line was and to prepare for an attack. Just as that was being shared “GOG” jumped into the attack. Ok OK he still needed to cheat. Lee responded and the race was on. “Sporadic Steve” was caught by surprise and actually slowed down slightly as he analyzed his complete disappointment in “GOG’s” most recent poor sportsmanship antics.
“GOG” was still stuck in his small front chain ring and was not quick enough to shift the rear cluster from its middle rings. “GOG” quickly spun out and LEE glided by to take the win effortlessly.

“GOG” owes Lee $100, and should pay an additional fine for his poor sportsmanship Cheating tactics.

The group continued onto “Nicole’s Roller Coasters” with Lee blasting past everyone on the second climb. Upon exiting Cary Glenn the group was stopped by a driver who was traveling in the opposite direction wanting to find out how to find the Tobacco trail. In the time it took the cyclists to direct the driver “Mother Theresa” was able to ride up to the group and rejoin them.

A right turn onto Carpenter Fire Station the group was now keeping a vigil out for CSH. Normally that group it contacted no later than the point they would be turning into the Cary Glenn neighborhood.
“I think I read or heard that they moved their start time back to 10 or 10:30” Lee said.
“OK, we will continue to ride back towards them on the route that they take headed this way” was “GOG’s” response.
The riders continued across Highway 55 and onto the section of road known to them as “Capn’s Grave yard” and still no CSH. They continued to the end of “Capn’s Grave Yard” and made the left turn back towards the Yellow Barn, and the Preston Neighborhood. Up ahead “GOG” saw the “Mother Theresa” had gotten to the yellow barn ahead of them. She had turned off of “Capn’s Grave Yard” earlier and took the back way behind Green Hope High School to get there, cutting off almost a mile in doing so.

CSH was intercepted at the ROUND ABOUT in the Preston Neighborhood. Lee said his good bye to the “Thorns and Roses” and folded himself into the well formed double draft line of the CSH ride group.

“Sporadic Steve” and “GOG” met back up with “Mother Theresa” as she was waiting on the light to cross Davis drive. This group finished the ride completing 35 miles at 15.5 mph average.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

and This is How the ROSE's ROLL / and if ther are no ride leaders is there realy a ride?

Oct 17.
The Roses know how to roll.
In attendance:
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Jeff Giordano – Claim Jumper – Sand Bagger
Tim Devinney – The Love Train
Mary Ann Feagan– has a nick name read on to figure out what it is.
Jae Brainard – A Rose by any other name.
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG

The group assembled slowly as the skies and Doppler Radar suggested rain.
GOG and Mother Theresa were still suffering jet lag from their late night trip across the US. They had just spent the last week in San Diego California the land of Fruits and Nuts. It was like old home week for them as they moved from there to Cary NC in 1995 having lived in San Diego for 11 years. During their week in San Diego Theresa attended a conference for work and Kevin visited some of the old familiar territories they used to haunt. The actually also had a chance to visit Family and Friends while there.

But that was then this is now.
The group that had assembled was small in numbers but determined in spirit to make the effort to ride regardless of temp or threat of rain.
Kevin and Theresa both still suffering from sitting too long on an airplane were looking for an enjoyable ride with limited unfiltered Testosterone and childish antics.

The best answer for them was to ride with the ROSES and let the immature children play and do what ever it is they claim as being fun on a bike. The response from the Thorns was very similar to the response one would expect from small boys being turned loose at Chucky Cheese during a birthday party. The excitement of no adult supervision was clearly evident in the visible vibration of their bodies brought on by a sudden adrenaline rush.

And this is how the ROSES ROLL.
After the children had been turned loose the ROSES continued to take the time required to validate the bikes and layers of clothing were all correct before leaving the sanctuary of the parking lot.

Jae was in charge and did a great job of providing just enough information at the right time to allow all to plan for the next phase of the ride. Jae was seen sitting proudly on her new/used bike with its newly configured handlebars. Mary Ann was observed during Ron’s Pull as having SOLID cycling skills. She was flawless in holding her position in the draft line. Her peddling style was smooth. Her shifting methods were spot on, shifting just at the optimal point to keep her cadence within the power stroke/speed/aerobic threshold. The entire length of Ron’s pull was controlled by Theresa in the Pull Position and Mary Ann who did a phenomenal job of minding the gap. Mary Ann’s attention to the gap was the best ever observed by GOG. Her focus on that precious piece of real estate resulted in NONE of the jerking and Slowing and braking and racing to catch up experienced many times at the end of a draft line. Mary Ann’s technique allowed GOG to follow with full confidence and as close as possible to take complete advantage of the work she and Theresa were producing. At one point in the run up Ron’s Pull Jae (a ROSE by any other name) suggested the Theresa allow for a rotation in the line-up. GOG riding in third position and LOVING the draft and solid riding techniques from those two riders ahead shouted back to Jae, “NA Let her stay in front and work”. No more words were exchanged other than GOG’s non stop praise of the riding technique of Mary Ann (Minding the Gap).

At the end of Ron’s Pull the group took a short pause to drink some water and to determine if they needed to shed any layers of clothing. The run up Ron’s pull never dropped below 19 mph and was the smoothest draft line ever experienced by GOG. This is how the ROSES ROLL.

The group proceeded on past the turn onto Carpenter Fire Station as they headed towards RTP and the quite roads of a weekend vs a week day for that area. Theresa was still pushing hard against the wind and showed no signs of wanting to share that responsibility with anyone. As the riders made the left turn onto Lewis Stevens the head wind tackled them with all its force. Still Theresa was not showing any signs of relinquishing her position. GOG rolled up beside Mother Theresa and delicately balanced his position to ensure his front tire did not slide past hers. He worked hard to hold this position as the head wind continued to try and place him back in the pace line.
Mary Ann had made the decision to ride behind GOG as if to figure out his riding style. She was actually testing his ability to hold a steady speed and was quietly judging it in comparison to Theresa’s ability to hold a steady speed. Holding a Steady speed against gusting winds and periodic inclines takes a special kinesthetic awareness that only the most highly trained athletes possess. Theresa demonstrated this during Ron’s Pull. GOG was now fully concentrating on doing the same and used his position riding side by side with Theresa to practice this skill. Realizing he was being judged by Mary Ann he glanced in his mirror to determine, from her body language and her choice of distance/gap, if he was doing as good a job as Theresa. He observed Mary Ann holding back a considerable distance from his rear wheel in comparison to what she had when drafting Theresa. GOG also observed that Mary Ann was riding with both hands firmly in position to utilize the breaks as needed, that was not her position when riding 3 inches behind Theresa’s rear wheel. Jae was observed clear off the back of the pack and close to the edge of the road in an apparent effort to ensure she would not be entangled in any catastrophe that could potentially be generated by GOG.

GOG realized that the ROSES are truly an elate group of cyclists that are willing to test out the new riders, and who use wisdom to not trust completely, with out first validating they are worthy of their position in the draft line. This is the sign of a tightly nit group that all can learn a great deal from.

As the group crossed over Davis on their way toward the left turn onto Church Street the group splintered with Jae sling shooting ahead of the other riders. “Jae Loves this stretch of road” Mother Theresa informed GOG. As he observed this he expected to see the others respond and attack in kind. Nothing happened. The others actually smiled and took great delight in how well Jae catapulted her self ahead of them to take full advantage of that section of road. This would never happen like that with the Thorns. The Thorns would scramble and make every effort to take the joy of that section of road away from the person who had dared to express their own delight at that moment. In stead GREAT RESPECT was shown and in doing so all Felt the same Joy and delight as if they too were Catapulted onto this section of road.
GOG looked around to see the smiles and delight of each rider as they watched their comrade express herself at that moment in time.
And this is HOW THE ROSES ROLL (with great respect).

The group then made the left turn onto Church road. GOG was given permission to lead the group on that section of road. This was accomplished without any verbal command or confirmation of duty. Instead it was as if it was deemed so by forces of Nature that can only be felt and not explained. Clearly the ROSES are in full control of their place in the world order and are in sync with the Rules of Nature that govern Gravity, Quantum Mechanics, and the forces of Dark Matter that explain how the Galaxies were born and how they interact on the smallest levels.

Onto Miami Blvd with NO Traffic, and a left onto Hopson putting the pack of cyclists onto roads headed into the RTP area and onto roads that were currently enjoying the healing period between the week day heavy traffic burdens they bare 5 of the 7 days.

This phase of the ride had no order as each rider was truly enjoying the ride and elected to ride with no specific expectation or need to concentrate on a draft line. This was as if the roads spoke to the group, if we are allowed to heal and show no concern for the heavy traffic then so should you.

A left onto Lewis Stevens Dr found the group with a deeper focus as they responded to the small hill that lay in front of them. Theresa was in the lead down the hill with Kevin close at her side followed by Jae and Mary Ann. Jae slowly pulled in front only to have Theresa push to keep her cadence high causing her to slide past Jae. This was not out of respect or to mount and attack, this was a demonstration of riders responding to the climb in their own manner. Mary Ann responded in her own way by continuing to demonstrate perfect gear changing technique to keep her rhythm in check. GOG was totally out of his element as he was so focused on the delicate and supportive ballet that he was observing as each of the ROSE’s Danced their part in total harmony climbing the hill.
And this is how the ROSES ROLL.

The pack then found themselves at the light on Kit Creek and High way 55. A light that shows no respect for cyclists. GOG knew that the light would taught the cyclists to break the law and jump threw the red light, that was its purpose in life and it was not going to make an exception because the ROSES had arrived there.
GOG was focused on traffic in all four directions and the potential of any yellow light that could be used to the cyclist’s advantage. 3 minutes turned to an agonizing 5 minutes that was threatening to morph into 8 minutes before GOG recognized an opening. A car was approaching from the left, one was waiting in the right turn lane as the lights on highway 55 turned Yellow. “We have YELLOW” GOG shouted with glee. He jumped on the pedals and paused long enough for the car to make its right turn before dashing across the highway. As he did this he looked in his mirror to see if the ROSE’s were in pursuit. NO. They were all still standing still as if held fast in a tractor beam by the red light. Red light = suspended animation, Green = plan to get ready to go and if not fast enough then switch back to suspended animation with Yellow followed by Red. GOG slowly climbed the hill that lay ahead in hopes that the ROSE’s could break the force of the red light tractor beam. NO. There would be no movement until the RED turned to Green, and then it would be questionable to see if the ROSE’s could then switch fast enough from suspended animation to getting ready to go, to realizing they needed to go before stopped again by the strange Yellow/Red light force. This time a car was planted directly behind the Roses allowing for a longer Green than normal. The Roses just made it past the point of no return before Green Turned to Yellow. GOG saw that they all stalled momentarily as if the Yellow was going to force them into suspended animation as they were now in the middle of High Way 55. The car that had been the force used to turn the Red to Green was now itself stuck in suspended animation as it waited for the cyclists to finish their long slow journey thru the tractor beam zone.
And this is how the ROSES ROLL (slowly and attentively through intersections/almost dangerously slow). Clearly the ROSES need to Bloom much quicker in the changing of colors at a stoplight / or from any stop.

Once safely, but painfully slowly, through the intersection the ROSEs were once again riding as individuals towards the area of the ride known as Yates Store.
“We can either turn at Carpenter fire station or go on to UpChuck” Jae was heard as she offered the options up to the group. None of the Rose’s responded, resulting in a period of time for each to contemplate not only their own choice but to weigh their response to anyone who might support one choice over the other. Up and down the small hills of Yates Store and still no verbal commitment from the Roses. Slowly Theresa pulled up ahead of the group. Knowing she was pushing the pace early on, each of the remaining riders settled into the thought of expecting UpChuck to be the choice provided by this rider now in the lead. As the point of no return approached for UpChuck Theresa drift left and then turned left onto Carpenter Fire Station. No one argued No one commented, they were all happy to follow as if to say they were glad it was not up to them to decide either way.
And this is how the ROSES ROLL. (Anyone can call the ride at any time for any reason).

Theresa again in the lead pushed the pace even harder than earlier in the ride. She was demanding all fall in line behind at 20+ mph. The only ROSE ready to respond was GOG and he was doing his very best not to be dropped by Mother Theresa. “Theresa smells the barn doesn’t she” yelled Jae (a Rose by any other name).

The Roses finished their ride by traveling the back side of Preston and into Brueggers from Crabtree Crossing. They completed 27 miles at 14.7 mph.
They all enjoyed the ride.
They all appreciated the camaraderie.
They all took joy in each other’s skills and abilities for the days ride.
They all respected each other and did not try to attack or show up any other rider.
They all were ready to ride again on Monday and Wednesday morning with each other.
They all finished the ride with the right amount of effort to help them jump-start the rest of the day.
They all took pride in being a member of the ROSES.
And this is how the Roses Roll.

Sunday Oct 18th
Some rides show up and rode however there was NO
Capn Carbon
Mother Theresa

So was there realy a ride.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Green Flash has a mental breakdown / Josh runs the table

Saturday October 10th… (Green Flash has a mental breakdown)
GOG, Mother Teresa…. WHERE ARE YOU? The Smits once again were out of town and abandoned the ride group. To be honest, those that showed up were glad! In attendance included a small but very aggressive group of hammerheads:
Jeff (not #6, not downhill racer, not with the broken collar bone, aka Claim Jumper and Sand Bagger)
Josh (Pukie, Moving Violation)
Shawn (Green Flash who showed up with 19 more gears than last week and in total tacky green garb - as usual)
Joe (Mr Immortal)
John Majikes (Putz)
Todd (Slow Todd)
Steve (Capn Carbon)
As the small but serious group rolled out of the parking lot and headed around Bruggers toward High House, they came across Mr Immortal who was having mechanical problems and off his bike. He waved at the group and said to go on with a frustrated tone in his voice! True to the “spirit of the ride” the group all stopped to offer a helping hand. Sand Bagger and Capn immediately jumped onto the situation and helped adjust the front shifter which was not functioning very well. With Joe (Mr Immortal) back in business again with a big smile, the group sped up High House and through the Preston neighborhoods. The first bit of excitement was on Ron’s Pull where, as expected, the pace quickly picked up and the banter stopped. Serious business as there was $100 on the line! The Green Flash launched a mighty attack but unfortunately had Josh, Sand Bagger, Capn, and Mr Immortal right on his wheel. As the line approached, Capn launched a counter attack and surged past the Green Flash. With apparent victory in hand, Capn shut down the turbo thrusters a little too soon as Mr Immortal rolled past him toward the end of the road. NICE job Joe of sneak attack!
GOG owes Mr Immortal $100
The next challenge was on UpChuck hill where Josh (Pukie) continued to demonstrate a new found strength of climbing short and steep hills – where did this come from? (some say modern medicine) Josh easily beat the rest of the Thorns to the top for the win.
GOG owes Josh $100
At the top of Upchuck, the group took a right and then headed down toward the Tobacco Trail to find a fire engine and rescue vehicles blocking the road. A car was on the side and was smoldering from a major fire in the engine compartment. Capn suggested insurance fraud and said Car Max probably did not offer enough money to take it off the owner’s hands! A right at the Strawberry Patch and then left onto some Woman’s Chapel road. It was there that John began a long story of how he was called a big Putz as a kid. I cannot repeat some of the definitions that John said a Putz represents but needless to say, they were not good. At any rate, John was proud of his childhood nickname and will now continue to be call this from now on (at least by Capn). As the lake approached, the peloton started forming a straight line with everyone trying to tuck in and conserve as much energy as possible for the cash sprint just ahead. The speeds approached 30 mph before the Green Flash and Pukie launched another tremendous attack. Josh was able to hold on and take the prize once again with the rest of the group right on his heels! The only difference from the prior week was that he did not Puke this time.
GOG owes Josh $100
A quick right and a needed rest stop just ahead at the Lystra gas station. Mr Immortal had already announced that he would turn around at the gas station due to another commitment. With that in mind, Joe launched his own solo attack heading up the hill toward the gas station. He had a large breakaway which stunned Capn and the others. Eventually, Mr Immortal was reeled in but not before claiming victory. Outstanding game of tactics. From now on, the group needs to keep an eye on Joe!
GOG owes Mr Immortal $100
From the gas station, the group agreed to do a sprint to the top of Cul-de-Lystra and then come back down to head over to Big Woods for a time trial. The Green Flash and Capn were fighting tooth and nail to the very top and burned way too many matches in their zeal to be to the top first. Eventually, Capn edged out the Flash but not by much. Everyone else either rode easy up the hill, or are just plain out of shape and died. Some only rode part way up and then turned around. These names will not be revealed as they are truly an embarrassment to the Thorns tradition. Patti Melt would NEVER only ride part way up!
Down the hill, right and then another left put the peloton onto Big Woods. From the very beginning, the Green Flash, Sand Bagger, and Capn got aggressive and pulled away from the pack. They each took fast and brief pulls to keep the speed high and provide a consistent rotation to share the load. Only occasionally did the speeds get below 25 mph across the entire stretch! However, at one point, the Green Flash pull off the front and was dropped by Capn and Sand Bagger. Capn looked back and was surprised. He then yelled back for the Flash to catch up which he eventually did. Then a mile down the road, it happened again. This greatly puzzled Capn and Sand Bagger as they clearly know that the Green Flash is a super strong rider and never gets dropped. At the end of the Big Woods, Capn asked the Green Flash what happened – too much drinking the night before? The Flash responded by saying he was not tired or hung over but rather had several mental breakdowns which allowed him to get temporarily dropped. Strange, very strange and maybe a need for medical attention. Maybe the dye from his many green tattoos has entered his bloodstream and is starting to effect the Flash’s mental capacity????
The whole group collected and then formed a nice pace line to motor across the lake and up to the Wilsonville gas station for another break. From there, the group rolled back toward home. Putz had rolled out earlier than the group as he was a bit tired and feared the pace might get too severe for his liking. After crossing the lake, the group took the first right onto some road which was very hilly. In fact, the rest of the ride home was very hilly including the final big pull up Greenlevel. Putz was caught by the group just before Greenlevel. The whole way home, the Green Flash continued to attack every hill which drew the attention of Capn and others who attempted to chase him down. In the end, it was a 48 mile ride at 19.1 mph average speed. Not bad for such a hilly ride!

Sunday October 11th… (Capn was Dead, Josh ran the tables)
GOG, Mother Teresa…. It rained the a lot the night before and many were too “afraid” to get out on the wet roads. There were a few dedicated and brave individuals who did attend including:
Jeff (not #6, not downhill racer, not with the broken collar bone, aka Claim Jumper and Sand Bagger)
Josh (Pukie, Moving Violation)
Brian (current president and CEO of the Steel is Real club on his classic team Gitane bike)
Barbara (wondered where all of the other girls were)
Paul (did the Pinehurst triathlon the day before and wanted to know what excuse Tim and Cristi had for not showing up!!!!)
Perry (new guy – 2nd ride with the group. He was the guy that got a flat on the new Serotta bike a few weeks ago)
Tim (Slow Tim – the group did not recognize him as it appears he has stolen the GOG’s beach ball. Brian said he looked like an older Elvis)
Another small but mighty group – like the day before. It was good to see Slow Tim on the road as he has basically disappeared over the last month or so. Capn showed up a little later than normal and told the group he had zero sleep and no energy from too much fun the night before. The group did not believe Capn and figured it was just a plot being laid for a series of major attacks down the road. Very quickly, the group realized that Capn was telling the truth as there were no aggressive moves, no attacks, no sprints, and only mild trash talking for the entire ride. This was the weakest ride ever for Capn. Josh seized this opportunity and won EVERY single sprint and bonus money. Paul was truly the animal of the day as he completed an Olympic distance triathlon down in Pinehurst the prior day and there he was out riding with the Thorns the very next day! Where was the Love Train and Kristi? So here was the quick run down of the ride… Josh won Ron’s Pull, Josh crushed Brian up Upchuck, Josh abused Brian on the sprint to the lake on some Woman’s Church road, Josh destroyed Capn on the County Line. Everyone else on the ride just sat back and watched the devastation. Even Claim Jumper was quiet on the ride and had no late day sneak attacks! In Brian’s defense, he had been sick the week before and has not been riding too much. Bla bla blaaa. Also of note, Slow Todd was dropped several times and asked why he was so slow??? His response was that triatheletes are not allow to draft on the bike and he tries not to do so on our rides which makes him “slower” than the rest of us – WHATEVER! Either way, he is still SLOW.
GOG owes Josh $400.
As with tradition, Josh and Capn peeled off from the peloton to join the CSH (Cycles Broken Here as Slow Todd would say) morning ride. The good news is that Capn came back to life and was able to ride up front with the “A” group and finished strong with a 50 mile total ride for the day.
The estimated distance for the rest of the group was 34 miles at a 17.5 mph pace. A nice recovery ride!!!!!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Leadership shatters others step up to fill the void

Saturday October 3rd

It was a beautiful Saturday morning when Capn arrived at the Caribou caffeine dispensing location at 7:30. Capn was expecting a huge turnout as this was the last ride without the GOG and Mother Teresa which means there would be no need to ride "In the Spirit" of their goofy rules and undocumented ride laws. After enjoying a fresh cup of Java with Jeff (not #6, not with the broken collar bone, not downhill racer, aka Claim Jumper and more recently Sand Bagger), the 2 warriors came around the corner to a light turnout in the parking lot - WHAT???

The group of Thorns preparing for the day's adventure included:
Debra - don't call me Debbie!!!
Philip - don't spell my name with 2 L's!!!! (you gotta be kidding me, one should never give out this type of pet peeve info)
Jeff - Claim Jumper/Sand Bagger
David Cole - #7 - he rides a "Seven" bicycle and is always wearing "Seven" branded outfits just like Tracie (Capn thought these were women only clothes)
Christy - Pink Triathlete/Pinky
Tim - The Love Train and provider of entertainment
Todd - Slow Todd
Christine - Slow Todd's better half
James - Mr. NC State - Red Man
Shawn - Green Flash/Yellow Jacket (read on for 2nd nickname)
Josh - Moving Violation/Barfie (don't read on if you have a weak stomach)
Joe Pitman - Mr. Immortal
Steve - Capn Carbon

Based on the initial conversations in the parking lot, the group knew the banter would be intense all ride long as the group was punchie. First, the Green Flash showed up on a brand new black and gold fixed gear bike - very nice. This immediately drew attention from Capn who said he better watch out or he might hit a car on a bike with no brakes. OK, insider information from James (don't tell the Green Flash) was that the Green Flash picked up his new fixie last week and unfortunately had an accident with a car just miles after leaving the bike shop - OUCH - he and the bike are OK. The Green Flash just looked at Capn like he wanted to break his neck and the conversation ended right there. Then the Green Flash demanded a new nickname as his new bike was not green at all and he wore no green clothing. Capn immediately gave him the name of Yellow Jacket (based on all the gaudy black and gold crap on his bike) as he was sure that Shawn will still deliver a mighty sting with his new ride even though he only had 1 gear and NO brakes. Then Cristy started yapping about her upcoming night out to the U2 concert. She mentioned that her party was heading to Hooters on the way to the concert and that she was not happy about that choice. Capn then asked Christy why not as he thought she worked there. James and the Yellow Jacket quickly chuckled and chimed in teasing Kristi. Then Kristi gave the guys "The Look of Death" and the boys shut up. The ride finally got rolling at around 8:10 with everyone chatting about their plans for the day. Capn had to bail out early to do the Raleigh Typhoon scavenger hunt, Love Train had to be back by 10 to meet a client, Moving Violation had to get back to spend time with The Dish, Claim Jumper wanted to get back for a swim, Debra was tired from placing 2nd place in the Senior Time Trial Championships recently (awesome job), Christy wanted to be fresh for her U2 concert, Phillip was not up for more than 35 miles and jumped on the opportunity to get back early, and Immortal had to get back to watch a football game. The only riders not making excuses for taking a shorter ride included #7, Yellow Jacket, and James. Through Preston and on to Ron's Pull the group rolled with never a quiet moment. The peloton picked up Slow Todd and his wife Christine heading through the neighborhoods which was an unpleasant surprise (sorry Christine). Christine had not been riding much as was a little nervous about riding with the Thorns. Capn told her that she would be fine and that it was Slow Todd that he was worried about not being able to keep up. Along the way, Phillip was asking what he has to do to gain a nickname as this was his second ride and felt somewhat left out. Capn replied that Phillip only needed to do or say something (anything) that you might regret and he will earn a nickname very quickly! Then Philip got real quiet and got back into the pace line. Once on Ron's Pull, the pace started cranking up as expected. The Yellow Jacket was the first to break out of the pace line and sprinted to the lead which drew the attention of #7, Moving Violation, Capn, and Immortal who jumped right on his single gear heels. After the Yellow Jacket ran out of gear (duhh), Immortal put the hammer down and shocked everyone with a huge surge of power and acceleration. Immortal had Capn pinned onto the right shoulder and very cleverly had him boxed in as the finish line quickly approached. At the last minute, Immortal (Joe) drifted toward the left and that was all Capn needed to squeeze past him on the right for a very very close finish. Even though Capn won, the group voted and demanded that the money be split based on Immortal's stellar performance.
GOG owes Capn and Immortal $50 each.
Cross 55, past the fire station and a left onto the road that is called Upchuck Hill. As usual, the Love Train blasted down the hill followed closely by Moving Violation and Capn who thanked him for the draft and then dropped the Love Train like an old and big rock. Then out of nowhere, Josh unleashed an assault up the mighty incline that could not be matched by anyone including Capn and Red Man. Josh easily won the climb today. Capn wants a blood test of Josh or will protest the results.
GOG owes Moving Violation $100 - pending a clean lab result with concurrence from the International Olympic Committee.
A right, then left, then right put the group down to the Strawberry Patch. Down 751 and finally a left onto some woman's chapel road. It was here that Slow Todd and his better half Christine decided to separate from the group and head home. Christine mentioned to Capn that Slow Todd could no longer hold onto the pace line and was embarrassed. Slow Todd's excuse was that he had to run and Christine had to check on the kids.
Everyone else got in a tight pace line as the much anticipated sprint to the lake was just a few miles down the road. The pace got quicker and quicker and #7 pulled the group down the hill at a sustained 28+mph with his massive calves busting at the seams - WOW. As the lake approached, Capn took the pull position and knew he was being set-up for a mighty sand bagging from the field. Capn clicked down to his biggest gear (53x12) and slowly climbed out of his saddle while looking back to see who would challenge. All of a sudden, the road filled up with a massive field sprint with Sand Bagger, Moving Violation, and Yellow Jacket all at full throttle bearing down quickly with Immortal, Red Man, Love Train, Kristy, Phillip, and Debbie hot on their heels. Leveraging his ride leader card, Capn quickly raised his hands and claimed victory even though it was clearly well before the finish line. This did not stop the mad group of sprinters who surged toward the real line and blew past Capn. The finish was too close to call from Capn's vantage point. A gentleman's tie was declared between Moving Violation and Yellow Jacket with Sand Bagger wishing he went a little sooner. Christy said that Capn was a premature ejection sprinter and a dirty racer.
GOG owes Moving Violation and Yellow Jacket $50 each.
At the lake (man is it LOW), the group made the decision to split up to accommodate those wanting more miles and those with major excuses for a shorter ride. The Love Train immediately turned around and blasted back on his own as he had to be back by 10. Yellow Jacket, James, and #7 took a right with plans to do Big Woods. The rest of the group agreed to limp back home. At that point, Josh told Capn to head on up the road as he was not feeling well but would catch up later. The group reluctantly rode on but then looked back to see Moving Violation leaning over the guard rail and hurling projectiles toward the lake - gross! Apparently, Josh pushed it a little too hard with the sprint to the lake or maybe never recovered from his earlier Olympic effort on UPCHUCK Hill. The group gave Josh his privacy and rode on up to the Strawberry Patch where they waited for him. Josh eventually showed up and was a little embarrassed - as he should be. Kristy appropriately branded him a new nickname - Barfie. There were other suggestions but they were not appropriate for printing in this blog. On the group rode toward the much anticipated County Line and associated cash prize. Everyone had written off Josh due to his recent "incident". As the line approached, the rest of the peloton started getting excited and started looking at each other for the first to make their move. Capn could not take it any longer and put the hammer down which got #7, Immortal, Sand Bagger, and YES Josh out of their saddles. In a side-by-side drag race, Barfie nipped Capn at the line by less than a wheel. This earned new respect from the peloton for Josh as they have never seen anyone go from hurling to a sprint victory so fast.
GOG owes Josh $100, some mouthwash, and a clean shirt.
A left and then right put the group heading through Nicole's Roller Coasters and toward the coffee shop. After turning onto Capn's Graveyard, the group saw an Older Gentleman (he was not glistening so it was not another GOG) pushing his bike near down the road. Phillip approached the guy and asked if he was OK. The old man (I would guess 75-80 or about GOG's age) said he picked up a nail in his rear tire and that he had no extra tube. Bob (the old man's name) said he pulled the nail out of the tire and then tried to re-inflate the tire with a CO2 cartridge - what was he thinking? Claim Jumper, Capn, and Phillip quickly went into bike shop repair mode and replaced his tube with one of Philip's extras. A quick shot of CO2 and Bob was back on the road and very thankful for the support. Everyone in the ride group chucked and wished that they could still ride a bike at that age. Bob was on a really nice bike with full lycra riding gear - how cool was that?
GOG owes Phillp $8 to replace his tube and $4 for a CO2 cartridge.
Everyone saddled up and rolled down Capn's Graveyard toward High House road. As expected, Capn assumed the "pull" position and steadily cranked up the pace - 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28+. The peloton stayed tight until the very end with Sand Bagger surging past Capn to be the first one to the end of the road. Since Sand Bagger did no pulling, Capn is suggesting that no payment should be made by GOG. When asked about his Sand Bagging riding style, Jeff (not #6, not with the broken collar bone, not downhill racer) got defensive and said most bike racers call this "strategy" and was offended by Capn's questioning. In summary, the definition of a Sand Bagger is a rider who stays in the draft line all day and takes no pulls. The Sand Bagger then attacks at the end of the day after everyone else who did all of the pulling is tired. Whatever.
The group ended up riding 35 miles at 18.4 mph - great ride, especially Debbie, Phillip, and Immortal!
Shortly afterwards, the other group that included #7, Yellow Jacket, and James came rolling into the parking lot. #7 reported that they rode 47 miles and had an awesome ride. Capn asked #7 if anything happened that was blog worthy? #7 quickly gave his account of the County Line. #7 said that he was determined to win the sprint (and needed the money for another woman's jersey) and did not want to give the other 2 guys a chance. He devised a plan to cranked up the pace early in hopes for a clean break-away with no sprint. Unfortunately, Yellow Jacket (on his single speed bike) was quick to respond and chased down #7 to a reported gentleman's tie to the line.
GOG owes #7 and Yellow Jacket $50 each.

Sunday Oct 4th

Those in attendance
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
John Majikes – Story Teller
Jill Fitzgibbons
Patti Lewis
– Patti Melt
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Carrie Zelna – Mother Goose
Sarah Matejowsky
Karen Long
– done with Tri Season and riding her old road bike
Jeff Giordano – Claim Jumper/Sand bagger
Tim Devinney – The Love Train
Kevin Smit – GOG
Frank Lewis
Josh Carter – Moving Violation
Brian Martin – also back from the CNC (Cycle North Carolina)

The Smits were there having just returned late the night before from their fun filled Bike ride across NC. This is an event that would be even more fun with the Thorns and Roses all participating. Imagine a week full of Banter and Biking.
GOG was riding his fixed gear and quickly designed a route that would be flat.
After all were ready to ride the group headed out onto the streets of Cary traveling as usual into the Preston neighborhood. GOG found himself at the front of the pace line and without a speedometer had no clue what the pace was. The pack was directed right at the Yellow Barn rather than the normal left. This continued to help keep the pack together and still had GOG at the front of the pace lines. The pace was strong and yet not so strong to drop anyone in the pack. The group continued along Lewis Stevens as it travels behind Green Hope and on towards RTP. On one occasion the group was forced to jump through a red light at 55 due to the in ability to trip the light sensor. The pack wound their way to highway 54 and had no issues with traffic on the cool sunny Sunday Morning. GOG still leading the group directed them left onto Hopson road and back towards Highway 55. They group crossed Highway 55 onto Alston Ave. It was at this point that the pack began to dissolve. Mother Theresa was still feeling the effects of 7 days of biking and was unable to sustain the pace as the pack headed into the hilly section of the days ride. The pack slowed as it closed in on O’Kelly to see if they could protect the rider that had fallen off the pace. This action did not produce the desired results as Mother Theresa was totally spent. She was being protected by Mother Goose and Story Teller as they elected to ride along side her and to provide chit chat to help her take her mind off the effort. The rest of the pack continued right onto O’Kelly and then a left onto Yates store. It was there that the pack splintered even more as folks now had an idea of how to get back home and where to jump in with CSH as it heads out of town on their standard Sunday ride.
“OK Capn you lead those that are with you to Upchuck and then straight to Cary Glenn” I will hang back and make sure everyone else who does not want to jump in with CSH get back to the finish.” GOG was heard as the group continued to divide.

GOG then circled at the corner of Yates Store and Carpenter Fire Station as one by one the various riders made their way towards UpChuck. In the distance he saw John (Story Teller) waving to GOG suggesting he should go on. John was signaling that all was OK and he had the group with him and would ensure all made it home safe. GOG continued to hold his pattern to see that all with John were accounted for. As he waited he recognized the move made by trailing groups ride leader. John was directing the small pack to make the left onto Carpenter Fire Station, avoiding UpChuck.
GOG was now the last one left of the Thorns to attack UpChuck solo. His fixed gear bike was prepared to race down the front of UpChuck spinning the peddles at such a high rate of rpms that it would bounce GOG on the seat. It was then up to GOG to maintain as high of rpm as possible if he was going to survive the steep climb on the other side.
GOG did not have the strength to carry the rpms into the bottom of the climb. Within the first few feet GOG was already realizing that he would be forced to stand and mash the peddles as best he could as he and the bike slowed to less than walking speeds.

Just after the top of UpChuck GOG hooked up with Jill. She was riding steady as they discussed the final stages planned for the days ride. “I realy need more miles today” Jill explained to GOG. “Well you could stay straight on Yates Store and turn right onto Green Level to the Strawberry patch, and then do any number of miles extra even from their” GOG went on to explain. “ That sounds good” answered Jill.
As these two riders were discussing this GOG recognized another member of the group who had fallen off the back of the thorns and who had missed the left turn towards Cary Glenn. It was Sara. She was at the dead end and was already making the turn to back track to the location where Jill and GOG were now waiving at her.
Jill and GOG made the left turn and headed towards Cary Glenn. GOG checked his mirror as they rolled on ahead of Sara and into the next curve. No Sara as in view as both Jill and GOG were now rolling into the Cary Glenn neighborhood and meeting up with Capn Carbon and the rest of the Thorns who were all waiting for the group to reassemble before attacking Nicole’s Roller Coaster. Jill said her good byes as she continued on her quest for extra miles. GOG still had no sighting of Sara who he felt should have been seen in the distance by this point. “Sara missed the last turn” he shouted to the group, and with that GOG made a U-Turn to race back in hopes of catching her and redirecting her towards the finish. GOG pushed hard all the way back to the top of UpChuck. No Sara. He then made the turn towards Mount Pisgah and rode down that road for a half mile and no Sara. CRAP. He then turned and headed back to the waiting pack.. Once pack to the group GOG rolled up to Mother Goose and asked if she had Sara’s cell phone number and if she would call her to determine were she was. The call was made and the group learned that Sara had indeed made the turn towards Mount Pisgah and was already closing in on High way 751. She was then given instructions on how to get to the strawberry patch and to expect to run into Jill who was riding towards her from the opposite direction. “Well done Capn you lost one of your riders” GOG poked at Capn Carbon. “ Your leadership skills are rusty from being gone so long and that is why you lost one of the riders” Capn poked right back at GOG.

As those two were bantering back and forth others in the group took on the leadership role. Mother Goose, The Love Train, and Claim Jumper all turned towards Green Level and the Strawberry patch to also ride towards the missing rider in an effort to help locate and then ride her into the finish.

GOG and Capn Carbon continued to trash each others leadership skills as they then led the remaining riders into Nicole’s Roller Coaster and towards Cary.

The CSH riders were intercepted at highway 55 with Capn Carbon, and Moving Violation pulling out of the Thorns to join this new group. Let it be known that both The Love Train, and Claim Jumper also joined in for extra miles after they had first rescued Sara and were bring her back toward Cary and the finish.

Now down to just 4 riders left Karen turned to GOG and asked.
“Do you think you can keep us all together these last few miles back to the finish”
GOG replied “I am clearly out of practice but will do my very best”.
All laughed as they knew even if GOG lost them they would know their way back to the finish from Capn’s Grave Yard were they currently found themselves.

The group was not a large one but splintered into many small pieces as the ride was in its last 10 miles. Clearly GOG is out of practice. Good thing there are others in the group to step in and take over the leadership role when it is recognized that GOG is not up for the challenge.

Thank You Love Train, Mother Goose, and Claim Jumper for your decisive and effective leadership on the last few miles of the days ride.

GOG has no clue how far or fast the group rode since he has not speedometer on his fixty.

Special note.
Jeff left after the ride to go for a swim
Jill finished her extra miles, loaded her bike on the back of her car and then went for a run.
GOG went home and sat on the couch.