Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines day weekend rides

Saturday Feb 14th

A ride for those with little romance left in their lives.

Weather was suggesting rain.
So who came ready to ride on Valentine’s day even with a slight chance of Rain and temps in the low 40s, and a loved one left behind at home.

Josh (got my Power Tap Wheel all built and ready to go) Carter – Why did you show up on Valentines day when your girl friend is expecting your full attention. DUDE what are you thinking?

Todd Pechner – Slow Todd – rode up to the start on his bike
Kirsten (lets do Lysta) Hawkins – rode up to the start on her bike
Debra Hollis – cracked vertebrae – rode to the start on her bike
Kevin Smit – GOG (drove car to start as did all the Roses)

Mary Ann Feagan
Barb Hartsfield
Theresa Smit

The group was also joined by Todd Spain for his morning coffee and chit chat with the group.
Todd had soccer transport duties that conflicted with the ride start, and planed to get out on his bike later that day.

The group was not sure what to be prepared for since Capn Carbon was not there to mount attacks during the ride.
Out of the parking lot and onto the streets that swept into the Preston Woods subdivision. The Roses and Thorns split into two groups prior to the light at Davis drive.

The Thorns rode together with lots of communications being provided about obstacles in the roadway. Everyone was remembering Debra’s 6 week layoff from biking and wearing a neck brace due to cracked vertebrae when she crashed due to a pot hole. This happened to her on her first ride on her new bike while she and her brother were on a ride together.

Debra showed no fear as she worked within the pack to gain the benefits drafting. Talk about jumping back on the horse – she is the role model. We also learned that she is planning on participating in the Senior Olympics and will be doing a Time Trial event. We all will be anxious to hear how that goes and are wishing her lots of luck and lots of FUN.

Josh and Slow Todd were out front while GOG, Kirsten and Debra all maintained a moderate pace. This group of three knew better than to provide targets for attacks from the other two in the lead.

Onto Ron’s Pull and the group continued in two separate but close draft lines. GOG was at the pull position of the tailing pack with the two ladies in tow. He wanted to ensure all remained in the pack so he kept the pace well below what Ron would have provided.

Onto Fire Station Church road with the group all assembled single file. Slow Todd in the Pull position with Josh on his heals followed closely by the remaining three riders.
Josh informed the group that he was there to ride easy, just staying loose for his first race of the season on Sunday. Slow Todd was still nursing an injury from last season, and with Debra recovering from her cracked vertebrae the group was more like the walking wounded than a band of highly trained athletes, Kirsten was the most able bodied of the group.

Kirsten kept the group engaged in conversation much like Capn Carbon is known for. Clearly she was riding well within her abilities since she was able to talk easily will zooming down the road.
Kevin struggles to keep up the pace and listen at the same time without tiring. Imagine how challenging it would be for him to talk and ride at the same time at those speeds.

With about a mile to go on Fire Station Church Road Slow Todd mounted an attack. Not sure what the demarcation line for the sprint was but there was clearly an attack. Josh was unable to contain himself and immediately responded. This was all unfolding as Kevin was about to announce a turn into Cary Glenn and the climbs known as the Three Sisters.

Kevin made every attempt to yell to the two gladiators in an effort to direct them into the turn.
Kevin and the two in tow made the turn as the lead riders continued to race each other heading straight past the turn.
“Don’t worry they may figure out we turned, or they can continue straight and we will all converge at the same place anyway.” Kevin informed the remaining riders.
The route Kevin had in mind would wind through the subdivision and exit onto the same road the lead riders would be on if they continued straight and then climb Up-Chuck.

The lead riders quickly reacted to the packs turn and raced back, in an effort to catch and then over take the riders headed into Cary Glenn. Everyone readied themselves for the 3 short climbs nicknamed “The Three Sisters”. These three climbs are also nicknamed “Nicole’s Roller Coaster” when approached from the opposite direction.

Kevin was able to maintain the lead position thru all three of the climbs. It helps to have a half mile jump on Josh and Slow Todd who were still working to catch the group having had to turn around in the middle of their earlier attack on each other.

A short recovery after the climb allowed the group to reassemble as they made the left turn onto Yates Store and then immediate right onto Luter Shop.
The run down Luter Shop remained tame except for the mandatory attack to the county line. This attack was sparked by Slow Todd with Josh being the only one to respond. Again the group pulled all players back into a relaxed pace line.

“Are we doing Lystra?”. Kirsten inquired with a taunting tone in her voice and a big wide smile on her face. Kevin just stared at her in an effort to gather his response. “I am still recovering from an injury” Todd again reminded all. “I am doing a warm up ride and need to take it easy for Sunday’s Race” Josh reminded the group. Debra did not chime in as if to announce “I thought this was the Thorns group”.
Kevin finally mustered up his reply. It is the same response he provides anytime someone in the group suggests we need an extra challenge. “There is always one in the group….. an Asshole, that suggests something like, Hey lets climb Lystra”. Kirsten now had the look of Pride as she realized she alone had taunted the pack and in doing so made it Clear She Was UP for the CHALLENGE. To provide a One UP Kevin asked “How many times should we do the climb, and how about we do the extra Spur in the middle of the climb”. Kevin had just moved up ahead of Kirsten on the ASSHOLE scale. This was his method of taking back control of the Trash Talk Leadership Role.
Completion comes in many forms and the Trash Talk competition is always in play.

There was no commitment from the pack but there was a lot of discussion about the extra spur off of the Lystra Climb. Debra again just listened intently as if to calculate what her decision would be as the group closed in on Lystra.

The run down Martha Chapel was smooth with speeds hitting the mid 20’s.
Kevin’s phone was ringing as they made their way towards Lake Jordan.
The back paused briefly at the right turn off of Martha Chapel and onto Farrington.
Kevin checked his phone’s voice mail to learn that Theresa was at the bottom of Up-Chuck with a broken chain. He called her back to learn the group had called for help from one of the other Roses who had not been on the ride but would pick Theresa and Barb Up. Mary Ann had a time constraint and elected to ride back to the start/finish alone.
Kevin had nothing to offer for assistance since the ROSES had taken care of everything already.
The Thons then saddled up. Kevin took the pull position as the draft line calmly glided towards the gas station at Lystra and Farrington.

A short break to refill water bottles, snack on energy bars, and take a bio break. The gas station at Lystra is at the 17 – 22 mile mark depending on route selected to get there. Today the pack had arrived at that location showing 19 miles. A good warm up distance for the climb that layahead.

With out a vote the pack pulled out of the gas station and made the turn onto Lystra. This was not yet a full commitment to the climb as there is the option of taking the left split towards bid woods, or the gentler climb of Jack Bennit.

Kirsten, Slow Todd and Debra were on down the road trailed by Kevin and Josh. The trailing cyclists were engaged in some mindless discussion riding side by side as they heard the harsh continuous blow of a vehicles horn in the distance. Kevin glanced in his mirror to see an older model white Ford pickup truck rushing up to meet them from behind. “Car back” Kevin announced as if no one heard the long note being played by the trucks horn. All riders were now in single file strung out along the length of Lystra.
No traffic coming towards them from up ahead meant the vehicle from behind would be able to easily make a safe pass of all riders.

Checking his mirror again Kevin could see the truck continuing its fast approach. “Hold On” he coached Josh. Just as the truck swallowed up all the real estate between riders and its front grill, the driver threw the truck into the left lane at the last possible moment as if to have just played Chicken with the bikers.
Now the truck slowed and in doing so the driver laid on the vehicles HORN as if to announce “Didn’t You Hear Me Earlier”. Kevin making eye contact with the driver held out is left arm as if to signal ‘What?”.

The driver in the vehicle was already in a full middle finger salute to the cyclists still with the Horn Blasting. Kevin’s only response was to blow the driver a Kiss letting them know they were loved as another member of mankind.

The driver started to point to the side of the road as if to suggest the bikes belonged in the ditch. The driver also slowed and drifted towards the bikers and when the gap had been closed the driver tugged hard on the steering wheel pulling it and the vehicle to the right while also apply pressure to the breaks in an effort to either block or hit the cyclists.

Kevin continued full eye contact and provided the following point of clarity to the Driver.

This had an immediate effect on the driver. His face suddenly showed the gravity of his emotional tirade.
At the same time Kevin guided his bicycle to a safe zone avoiding contact with the vehicle.
Josh was already in full defensive stance and had provided himself a large cushion of safety from the vehicle and the other biker.
The Cyclist’s riding skills allowed them to manage the situation without impacting each other and to provide for the unexpected.

The driver’s demeanor quickly melted into one of introspection, he gained control of his vehicle, its speed and position on the road.

There were still three cyclists ahead and now a line of traffic headed towards them in the other lane.

The white pickup slowed to provide a safe cushion for all sharing the roadway.
The white pickup then made a safe comfortable pass without demonstrating an attitude towards any other of the cyclists.

It would have been interesting to have been in that drivers head as he went on the journey of “How dare someone be in my way, to anger, to aggression, to realization of what he was about to do and its potential outcome, to a happier place in his head”.

The riders all held their line thru the entire ordeal. Each was also prepping for the Climb that now was less than ½ ahead. Kevin’s heart was already racing as if the climb was already over. It is hard to prep for the workload ahead with the heart already maxed out.

As the climb slapped the riders in the face Josh glided into the lead followed by Kevin and Slow Todd with Kirsten and Debra close at hand. The three riders in the lead positions all elected to take the extra steep spur to the left at the half waypoint of the Lystra climb. The two others maintained their power strokes to the top of Lystra. Josh attacked the Spur, Kevin bogged down on his attempt, and Slow Todd powered his way on into the roundabout at the top of the climb. Each rider then circled long enough to allow the heart rate to drop slightly before rushing back down the spur, making the turn for the final climb of Lystra.

Kirsten and Debra were on the way down as Kevin, Slow Todd, and Josh were about to crest the climb.
The group reassembled on the way back to the turn onto Farrington Road and the roads towards home.

As the group continued on Farrington towards Lake Jordan it was Slow Todd and Kirstin in the lead setting the pace for others to respond to. Speeds on this section of road reached 24+ mph. The pace slowed slightly as Slow Todd began to allow Kevin to move into his Honored pull position on the section of road that rises from Lake Jordan to the turn at Holland Chapel.

‘Kevin’s Crawl’ was now upon the pack and Kevin was seated in the lead with all in tow at about 17 mph. The climb is a steady one with a small roller coaster a small fall and rise followed with a steeper fall and short rise to the left turn onto Holland Chapel. Kevin challenges himself to pull the pack along as best he can with the intent to increase speed while not splintering the pack. By the crest of the climb the pack had splintered with Kevin, Slow Todd, and Josh all riding at 20 mph.

The left turn onto Holland Chapel once again had the pack all together. From that point on into the finish the pack stayed together and experienced no more attacks. The final miles had the group making the right turn off of Luter Shop onto White Oak Church road. This was followed by a left onto Green level followed by the right at Green Level Church. The final 4 miles were all conducted on the bike path that meanders along a creek bed, goes under Highway 55 (where there is always a primordial scream produced by one or more of the bikers) and into the many subdivisions of Cary.

A great ride resulting in 41 miles at an average of 16.5 mph even with the climb up Lystra.
Two of the Roses completed 9 miles before Theresa’s chain break.
Mary Ann completed close to 20 miles.

Sunday Feb 15th
Those in attendance

Ping Mok - (The Polar Bear) (ping pong – sure he had heard this one before)
Pat Hunt - not Patty. Pat was joining the group for the first time this season. The Last time she rode with the group was August 16th 2008. Everyone remembers that day. It was when Steve Cope showed up with a carbon bike for the first time.
David Bridenbaugh – (Mr. Bridenbaugh) rode up on his bike to the start
Tim Travitz – (Slow Tim)
Kevin Smit – (GOG)

Theresa Smit
Jae Brainard

Also joining the group prior to the ride to drink coffee and Chit Chat was Todd Spain.
Todd and Kevin have been brainstorming a way to provide a time trial experience for local riders.
Today’s discussion talked about the various routes that could be utilized and the merits of one over another. The topic then shifted to the need for insurance, police, EMS, etc and how to cover those costs.
Stay tuned everyone. This may come to fruition.

Today’s ride was cooler than Saturdays start but had the potential to warm up.
All riders put on layers to help with the temperature challenge.
Ping elected to limit the layers and did not have any layers on his legs. Brrrrrrrr. His failure to dress for the weather made everyone else in the group feel the cold that much more.
He said the weather is summer like for him having grown up in Canada. This might be an opportunity to nickname him Nanuk of the North, or The Polar Bear. He later suggested he is the Token Asian for the group. We are a diverse group but do not really recognize nor acknowledge any traits that would single out an individual. We do not pick on Steve Cope for his size, we do not pick on Kevin for being so old, we do not pick on Todd Pechner for being slow. So why would we recognize someone as a Token Asian.
We are much too Politically correct for that. However recognizing someone for having been from Canada, and unable to dress properly for the weather. That is worth recognizing and acknowledging, so Nanuk of the North or The Polar Bear are fair game.

The group finished bundling up against the low temps and saddled up.
“How far does everyone want to go, I have a planed route that would give us about 40 miles”, Kevin was heard talking to the Thorns. “I am just getting back into the saddle from being sick for about a month” was the only response from the group. “OK let’s head out as if we are planning on 40 and I can adjust along the way as needed” was the command from GOG.

The group swung out on the roads and into the Preston neighborhoods as they launched themselves into the days ride.

The Thorns pulled away from the Roses by the time the groups had reached the round about in the Preston West neighborhood. The group of Thorns was riding comfortably to the start of Ron’s Pull. Kevin took the rains in an effort to control the pace preventing the horses, like Mr. Bridenbuagh, from laying down the hammer. Kevin did not retain control for long as both Mr. Bridenbaugh and Slow Tim felt the urge to ride as if Ron was in the Pull position demanding the pace be no less than 23 mph on his stretch of road. Kevin and the remaining riders worked together to break the wind for themselves as the other two were quickly out of reach.

The pack was together again at the turn onto Fire Station Church road. The draft line became single file with all holding on to the small gap between their front tire and the rear wheel of the rider ahead. This remained the stance for the group to the turn onto Yates Store.
“Lets Go Right” was the command from within the pack. Kevin had instructed the group to turn away from UP-Chuck and take roads less traveled by the pack thru the new development of Amberly’s retirement home subdivision.

The group stayed together on this closed road exiting onto OKelley Chapel Road.
OKelley is dotted with several roller coaster type climbs. The group struggled to stay together as the two power horses in the lead would accelerate gradually up each rise in the road.
The pack was back together during a short break as the riders prepared for the run down 751 to Stage Coach Road. The traffic was expected to be heavier than encountered so far on the ride.
751’s traffic proved to be heavier, with all vehicles doing a great job of sharing the road.
The Single file line of riders all swung into the turning lane signaling their intention to traverse from 751 onto Stage Coach. The riders shot through the gap with all easily following safely.

Now onto Stage Coach road the group relaxed slightly as the traffic pattern also relaxed. The road was wider, smoother, and just a hilly as previously experienced by the group.
The route picked by Kevin was intended to challenge the riders to several miles of rolling hills early on the route.
This would produce the same physical challenges on each rider as if many attacks were being spun from within the pack.
Stage Coach ended with a left turn for the Thorns onto Farrington road.
]Farrington changes its name no less than 6 times depending on what section is being traveled.
So the pack made the left onto Farrington and turned left onto Farrington Mill at the point where continuing straight on Farrington turns into Barbee Chapel road.

Farrington Mill starts off with a long gradual climb that normally has limited vehicle traffic. Today’s traffic pattern was heavier than other times in the past for these riders. The vehicles and bicycles did a solid job of showing proper respect with all sharing the road keeping everyone safe.
Half way thru the run on Farrington Mill the name changes to Old Farrington Road just as it passes over a river bed. At this same point the road presents another series of hills for the riders as they leave the riverbed behind them.
Again the horses at the front of the pack pushed the pace with each climb forcing gaps in the pack.

The riders all reassembled at the next turn, putting the riders onto Farrington Post road headed towards Lystra from the North. “We will take a short break in about 3 miles at the Gas Station at Lystra” Kevin informed the group in an effort to help everyone understand where they where and when they might be able to take a BIO break. “Excellent” was Ping’s response as he was thinking of scoping out a tree to hide behind for a bio break.
The riders all headed south , with hills continuing to present themselves to the riders, splintering the pack again until the next stop at the gas station at Lystra and Farrington Post road.

Just as the group swung into the parking lot of the gas station the ROSES were also entering the parking lot, but coming from the South.
So now the Roses and Thorns were all back together again.
Once at the gas station the group relaxed, filled water bottles, snacked on granola bars, and conducted bio breaks.

“We have 22 miles at this point”, “we can chose any number of ways to get back home”, “ some routes are flatter than others” ,“or we can continue to push hills and miles”. This was the offering presented to the group by (GOG) looking for reactions or suggestions by the group.

“Flattest route possible” was the cry from within the group.

“OK”, “We will do Martha Chapel and a straight run back on Luter Shop, Green Hope High School, and on IN”. Kevin had just laid out the entire second half of the ride. This would allow anyone who felt the need to push hard towards the finish the ability to leave the group and charge on without concern about how to get back or to feel like the pack needed to be protected.

The Roses informed the Thorns that they planned to do their own thing and had no intention of riding with the Thorns.
The Roses drove that point even clearer by leaving the parking lot well ahead of the Thorns.

Once the Thorns had rested they set out onto Farrington Post towards Lake Jordan and the Turn onto Martha Chapel. This is also another location where Farrington changes its name from Farrington Post back into Farrington Road. This is also the demarcation point for ‘Kevin’s Crawl’, however the route today would not continue onto ‘Kevin’s Crawl’.
Everyone in the group fell in line and somehow each positioned themselves behind (GOG) as if recognizing he would not have an opportunity to take the honored position on ‘Kevin’s Crawl’ due to the early turn at Martha Chapel. Kevin did not realize what was taking place until he rcogonized no one challenged him for the pull position. Kevin retained the honored spot the next 8 - 10 miles. The pull position was retained down Farrington post, up Martha Chapel, and the entire length of Luter Shop.
There was some discussion of Slow-Tim attacking at the county line during the run down Luter Shop. “I didn’t want to snatch the win at the county line from you out of respect for the long pull we have all enjoyed”, Tim coolly suggested. “I thought for sure you would have jumped to steal the win”, said Mr. Bridenbaugh half wishing someone had attacked.

The Pull although long in duration was not a powerful one. Kevin fought at times to keep the speed from falling below 15 mph and struggled to push it closer to 19 at other times.
“Must have been the head wind”, Kevin’s mind was suggesting to itself as it realized his effort was nothing to write about. Just as Kevin fell off the Pull Position the Thons were once again in touch with the Roses.
The Roses were lined up ready to make a left turn at the end of Luter Shop, and the Thorns were directed to make a right.

Once the Thorns were onto Green Level the two horses again took control of the front pushing the pace and splinteringthe pack. The group only got back together as each prepared to cyclo-cross over the railroad tracks that paralleled Carpenter Upchurch road.
The home stretch now was all that was left. Pat took charge and pushed on ahead of the others in an effort to get to High House sooner rather than later.
The route had the riders slipping behind the new shopping center at High House and Davis.
Once onto High House and Davis intersection, Pat exploded launching herself into speeds of 30+ mph. She attacked the light at the bottom of the hill making sure she was not falling victim to a red light.
The others all made it thru that light as well, however not at the speeds demonstrated by Pat.
A left just prior to Cary Parkway had the Thorns all rolling into the parking lot at Bruggers and the finish.
Thorns had a hilly ride covering 35 miles at a 16.4 mph pace.
Roses ride provided 37 miles at a 14.5 mph pace.