Sunday, January 11, 2009

Interest grows in the group - Diamonds or Wheels

Jan 10th and 11th weekend rides.
The two days can be summed up as;
Interest grows in the group - Diamonds or Wheels

Interest in the group rides continues to grow.
Folks showing up to take part in the days ride included some new riders to the group from Todd Spain’s Triathlon group.

Todd Spain has been a strong proponent of safe bike riding skills and has been coaching many of the area’s Triassholetes. Todd is a great resource for anyone looking to get into biking and/or Triathlons.
Todd continues to share with the community thru his calendar and web site. Which can be viewed at.

It was great to see Todd and to have him and his athletes join the ride. Look for them and others to become regulars on our weekend rides. Todd is including these rides as a possible work out for his Triassholetes.

Do not worry as they are using these rides as a recovery ride for their training regimen. However we believe that once we are back to full strength and our periodic attacks take place Todd’s Triassholetes will participate in the fray.

Again Welcome to the new riders. Oh yea and they were social and willing to take and give the verbal abuse that typically accompanies the rides. So they are not the typical anti-social Triassholetes we have encountered on the road. In fact one (Jill) removed her aero bars out of respect for our riding style.

Those in attendance riding with the Roses
Jae Brainard
Sheila Augustine
Tracy Clanton
Mary Anne Feagan
Theresa Smit

Those riding with the Thorns

Steve Cope (Captn Carbon, the Chihuahua, the Angry Chipmunk, President of the “Steel is Real” Club, President of the “Wilson” Fan Club, author of

Todd Spain ( needs a nickname since we already have Slow Todd, and Fast Todd) - How about TriTodd, or TallTodd, or NewTodd. My vote is TRITodd.

Ron Clanton

Nicole Lewis

Nate Poerschke (Nicole’s puppy dog)

Kirsten Hawkins – one of Todds Triatholetes

Jill (didn’t get the last name) – another of Todd’s Triathletes

Kevin Smit – GOG

David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh

The ride began with Kevin describing to the new riders how the group dynamics works with the no drop policy. He hinted that the Roses would likely ride 20 – 30 miles at a 13 – 15 mph average, and the Thorns would likely ride 30 – 40 miles at a 15 – 17 mph average. With this information the newer riders all elected to join in on the fun and games provided by the Thorns.

Once assembled the riders swept their way out of the parking lot and onto High House as they headed for the Preston neighborhood. Ron Clanton along with Mr. Bridenbaugh Jumped into the lead and pressed the pace splintering the group immediately. The rest of the Thorns paired up with Capn Carbon bouncing around from rider to rider in an effort to learn all about their holiday and to answer any questions they may have of him and his resent journey across the US.

Todd’s athletes, Jill and Kirsten, started off riding together as they already knew each other. It did not take long for the Social Chairman (Capn Carbon) to strike up conversation with the two new riders. Then others took turns welcoming each to the ride in an effort to help them feel like one of the regulars.

The one thing that this group does well is to welcome all and to help them quickly feel part of the group. This is the one thing we hope never changes as this is just as much a social event as it is a physical endeavor. The newer riders were warned that they need to be prepared for verbal abuse as an element of every ride. Jill was quick to let the group know that she can dish out the verbal abuse as well as anyone. COOL.

The group followed the path that travels down “Ron’s Pull” with Ron and Mr. Bridenbaugh taking charge and the remainder of the pack unable/unwilling to stay tight on their wheels. In fact the entire day’s ride was kinder and gentler with no major attacks and speeds controlled below 20 mph on sections of road such as Martha Chapel. The group did scatter with the run down Yates Store as everyone aligned themselves for the charge up the hill affectionately known as “Up Chuck”. As the pack reached the bottom of the downhill Kevin had moved into position to block out “Capn Carbon” from being able to make his attack. “I got him Boxed in” Kevin Yelled to the rest of the group. Mr. Bridenbaugh hearing this leaped into action to attack the hill. He was followed closely by Todd. Kevin continued to hold back working to keep “Capn Carbon” boxed in. As the momentum slowed at the base of the climb Kevin pulled out of position, shifted gears to keep the rpms high, and then finally stood on the peddles in an effort to make a good run up the hill. Just as he was feeling good about his effort “Capn Carbon” swung around him on the left and Smiled as if to say ‘Nice Try old man’, as he coasted uphill to take the win.

The rest of the group followed in single file as each rider challenged themselves to make the top as gracefully as possible and worked to project an image to the other riders as if the climb was a piece of cake. In reality each rider was huffing and puffing and wishing for easier gears.

Todd watched the antics unfold, as he is very capable of annihilating all on a bike with his abilities. Todd rode the route this day never pressing the pace. He was acting as an observer to see if he truly wants to subject his clients to this group’s rides. Todd is very astute and allowed the normal games to take place, as he measured the results so he can describe and then recommend to others how the group rides. He watched Ron and Mr. Bridenbaugh during “Ron’s Pull”, and did not challenge them nor take away any of the Honored Roles/Pull Positions that are played out on various sections of road, be it “Ron’s Pull”, “UpChuck”, or “Kevin’s Crawl”. Todd rode a Politically Correct Ride and we thank him for that. We enjoyed his company and conversation and hope he finds it in his heart to ride with us anytime he needs a recovery day.

Another rider that rode a Politically Correct ride was “Capn Carbon”. More than one of the group’s regular riders has shared their concern that they would no longer be able to keep up with the group once Steve Cope came back from his cross-country bike ride. Steve rode mostly in the middle of the pack and much like Todd used the day’s ride as a way to relax and visit with others. The group always does better with stronger riders in the mix even if those stronger riders are holding back. To that point Ron Clanton and Mr. Bridenbaugh pushed the pace all day long and dominated the Pull Positions.

Clearly Todd and Steve understand Rule #6. The rule states – “Never take yourself too seriously”. They did not have to destroy the rest of the pack with their skills but rather enjoyed the banter and comradery of likeminded people in the pack.

The two newer riders to the group (Kirsten and Jill) rode strong and had great bike handling skills allowing others to ride comfortably around them.

Todd and Kevin road together and discussed the challenges and level of effort it takes to organize weekend rides, manage distribution lists, ensure everyone is kept safe, how to allow for the diverse skill and physical levels of the riders in the pack, how to keep level of interest up, how to encourage others to join in, Do all this unofficially and not worry too much about getting sued if – heaven forbid someone does get hurt. It sure would take the fun out of these weekend rides if we had to have everyone sign a liability release each ride. Maybe we need a lawyer to advise us of the personal risk in just having fun with friends.
Another topic of discussion revolved around figuring out how to encourage the Bike Shops in the area to sponsor an Infomercial about “Sharing the Road”, “Proper Bike handling/riding techniques”, “the Rules of the Road”, “What it is like to balance on less than 1 inch of rubber while dogging pot holes, road debris, while staying in a close formation and dealing with aggressive vehicle operators”.

Todd and Kevin also touched on the idea of organizing a Spring and then Fall Time Trial. The concept is to let riders come out to “Big Woods” and be timed in an out and back time trial, and then compare that with another attempt in the fall.

The pack worked well the entire days ride. After a short stop at the Gas Station on Lystra and Farrington road the riders headed for home. The wind was in their face as they rode single file across the bridge over Lake Jordan and onto the section of road nicknamed “Kevin’s Crawl”. Kevin likes to take the pull position as the road rises gradually from Lake Jordan to the turn at Holland Chapel. Kevin slowly moved up the outside of the draft line to take his honored place. From there he monitored the pace with the intent to increase the speed as subtle as possible. Kevin’s objective is to have as many riders in tow as possible as they climb the grade in an ever-increasing speed. He does this by ratcheting up in half mile an hour increments from 17 mph to 20 or 21 mph by the time the pace line crests the final rise in the road. Today’s effort fell short of 21 mph and splintered the pace line more than desired. Kevin was riding without his mirror so he did not have the ability to monitor the impact of the increased speeds against the gaps being created so he was unable to adjust as needed.

The pack reassembled once onto Holland Chapel and made an easy run towards the turn at the Strawberry patch at 751 and Luter Shop. The pack elected to make the final run as flat and direct as possible so the riders continued to the end of Luter Shop and with a quick series of right, right, left, left found themselves on Green Hope High School road. Todd and his Triathletes needed to get back to make it in time for their swim work out at the Cary TAC. The rest of the pack needed to get back because they were tired and hungry.

Steve Cope later went out and did the entire ride a second time giving him a total of 80 miles for the day.

The rest of the group was happy with the 40 miles.

The “Roses” were under a time constraint and Sheila pushed the pace the entire 25 miles with Mary Anne riding strong beside her.

Sunday Jan 11th.
Diamonds or Wheels

In attendance

Theresa Smit
Andy Hartsfield
Josh Carter - "JUST SAY NO"
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Tim Travits – Slow Tim
Kevin Smit – GOG

The group elected to ride together today. Kevin was looking to ride the Apex, Shaeron Harris, Bonsil loop but did not share that yet with the group. Theresa was ready to ride alone as she made sure she had her car keys and cell phone on her at the start of the ride. Kevin had every intention of keeping Theresa in the pack with the other riders knowing she is very capable of the route and pace he had in mind.

The ride started off as so many do by heading into the Preston neighborhood and to the intersection of Louis Stevens and Carpenter Upchurch. This is the decision point of turning right and doing “Ron’s Pull” which then heads towards Carpenter Fire Station, “Up-Chuck” and Lake Jordan area, or turn left and take a counter clock wise run towards Lake Jordan, or an extended Counter Clock wise run into Apex, Tingen road, Shaeron Harris, and finally Lake Jordan. The later was in store for the group on today’s ride.

Capn Carbon and Slow Tim were well in the lead chatting away as they made the intersection and instantly turned right assuming they would be in a good position for “Ron’s Pull”. Kevin had already informed the rest of the pack that they would be making a left turn. The Pack swept into the intersection but slowed in an effort to let the two lead riders see what was happening. Both Capn Carbon and Slow Tim were still engaged in some deep discussion and never looked back. ON LEFT was the command from Kevin. ON LEFT the command was barked again and again. Finally the two lead riders interrupted their visit to respond.
The group then worked their way across High House and onto Jenks Carpenter road. The climb up Jenks came and went with no attacks from the group. Once at Holt the pack paused to ensure all had made the climb and were now waiting for the next command. Do they turn right and make the shorter counter clockwise run towards Lake Jordan with lots of hills between them and the Lake, or do they head Left towards Apex and the Fast section of road known as Tingen.
Kevin waited to see Capn Carbon make a play for a right onto Holt and then shouted “On LEFT” as he always enjoys making Steve (Capan Carbon) alter his course. Maybe the group would have been instructed to turn right if Steve was seen making a left. Hmmmm.

The road leading into Apex is in poor shape and heavily traveled. Normally on a Sunday Morning this is not an issue due to reduced traffic, however the group had gotten a late start and were hitting much of the Church traffic. It is somewhat amazing how Sunday Church drivers can be the most aggressive as they hurry to get to Church on Time.

The group worked their way through the town of Apex and onto the country roads that lead to Holly Springs and other small towns. Slow Tim took the pull position with Capn Carbon, GOG, Josh, Andy, and Theresa all in tow as they began the run down Tingen. A good draft line can easily reach speeds of 26+ mph for long periods on this road. Today the pack held together with Tim at the pull reaching 23+ mph. Tim did not relinquish the pull position until near the end of the flat section. Capn Carbon then took the rains and maintained the pace into the first few rolling hills to then fall back to allow the next in line to respond to the increased grade of the next set of hills. The pack did not stay together as the hills intensified in numbers and percentage of climb. Capn Carbon was seen slowly increasing the gap between him and the rest of the riders as he accepted the challenge of the hills one at a time. Josh, GOG, and Slow Tim all did their individual best to mimic Steve, with Andy and Theresa close behind also responding to the challenge.

‘You are Killing ME” was the first words out of Theresa’s mouth once she had caught her breath at the end of the last long climb. “You did Great” was Kevin’s response in an effort to spur her on to the next several miles. The day’s ride was just into mile 11 with 35 miles lying ahead. After a short rest the group was again headed further away from Apex and deeper into the country roads. Andy was riding very strong and did a great job of riding in the middle of the pack and draft when he could. His wisdom would push Tim, Capn Carbon, and Josh into position to break the wind for him – SMART.

As the group rolled through the country side they found themselves making the turn near Shearon Harris Nuclear plant putting them into a heading that would lead towards Lake Jordan and the final stretch home. It was here that Josh informed the group that he had a very serious dilemma facing him. Josh has recently joined one of the racing teams and is planning to participate in several road races this season. He has been riding with the team on some hard charging rides that have him traveling 40+ miles averaging at 26+ mph. (He is riding with the Thorns just as a recovery ride, and for the entertainment factor). Josh’s big dilemma is that he has been working to save up enough money to buy top end wheels for racing, and his girlfriend is suggesting he purchase a RING. ‘MAN hurry up and buy the Wheels” was the unanimous vote from all the Thorns. (Theresa remained very quite). Josh then went on to explain he only needs to get the setting since his girlfriend already has the Diamond ( a family stone). It was then suggested that Jose machine a setting from scrap metal at the machine shop he works at.
The conversation then shifted to the merits of being married and how that may redirect his focus away from the things he loves to do and that have defined who he is. The conversation then went on to techniques of how to stall the “M” thing and drag the inevitable out another several years. The group could see Josh’s face light up with all the input he was receiving, and at the same time there was a look of lost hope as he realized he was being advised by others who had long ago taken the Path he is headed towards.
For the entire 5 miles that the conversation lasted Theresa was stone cold quite. She did not need to chime in because she fully understands the force of nature (much like a black hole in space drawing plantes and entire solar systems into it) that drives young men into the “M” thing.

The group of riders stoped briefly at old Highway 1 and Shearon Harris before turning left towards Bonsal and the run down Beaver Creek to Highway 64. Theresa was still hanging with the Thorns, and Andy was riding a smart ride pacing himself for the days distance. Slow Tim, Capn Carbon, and Josh were just warming up, and GOG was working to minimize any major separation of the pack.

Beaver Creek is another long section of road that can produce 20+ mile per hour pace lines. Today the push splintered the pack into two groups with Slow Tim, Josh, and Capn Carbon putting their heads down and driving hard. GOG, Andy, and Theresa all worked together to continue to pace themselves in an effort to complete the days 46 miles with limited Bonking. The two groups did not get back together again until the next rest stop at Highway 64 and Beaver Creek. After a short break for restroom and snickers the riders headed out towards the turn on Holland Chapel with the intention of keeping the last miles relatively flat and short (still had 15 miles to go) into the end.
The pack splintered almost immediately into the same two groups, and then regrouped again at the turn on Holland Chapel. Holland Chapel was completed with all riders staying together up to the turn onto Luther Shop. At Luter Shop and Green Level the riders were stopped by a house that was in the middle of the road. A house moving company was hauling a 40ft house down the road towards 751. As they made their way towards the bikers the truck pulling the house would zig zag back and forth to avoid trees, fences, and mail boxes. A crew of workers ran alongside the house and pulled up mail boxes that could not be avoided. Another crew ran behind the house and replaced any mail boxes that had been uprooted. As the riders watched this process another group of riders approached from behind them.
It was Dayn and Suzann McBee and the bike group from the Bicycle Chain out on their Sunday Ride. Greetings were exchanged along with some congratulations from other riders to Capn Carbon for his epic bike ride across the US.

Once the house had passed by the bikers they again headed towards home. Slow Tim, Capn Carbon, and Josh all knew the way home and never looked back as they were all ready to HAMMER. Andy, Kevin (GOG), and Theresa continued their comfortable pace all the way to the end.
The riders had accomplished a 46 mile ride at an average just under 15 mph that provided sections of fast pace line work, areas of rolling hills, lots of advise for Josh, smart riding by those looking to push themselves without Bonking, and good weather.