Sunday, March 08, 2009

March 7 and 8 2009 weekend rides

March 7, 2009

An organized ride to support the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina
Ride for the ROCK.
Kevin deals with 4 Assholes in Vehicles (yes he is a magnet for jerks in cars).
In attendance
Ron Clanton
Steve Cope
Jeffery Roussel
Kevin Smit
John Majikes
Theresa Smit
Jae Brainard

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride. Each rider in the group had specific agenda’s for the days ride. Ron and Kevin wanted to ride the 100k distance comfortably. Ron had also decided to ride to the start from his home. John Majikes showed up at the start and used the ride as his first long ride of the season. So he elected to join Ron and Kevin in attempting the ride at a comfortable pace. Jeffery Roussel had made the intelligent decision to do the 50k route as he had not been on his bike except for time spent indoors on a turbo trainer. Steve Cope was anxious to compare himself against the team riders that were using the 100k as a fast training ride. The racers all planned to work as a unit to drop any and all who dared to ride with them. Steve was up for the challenge. Jae Brainard had set the goal to complete a 60 mile ride sometime before her 60th birthday. The distance of 60 miles would also be the furthest she has ever ridden a bicycle. Theresa was planning on being Jae’s partner in her goal of accomplishing 60 miles.

Points of interest during the route.
Within the first several yards the group had splintered. Steve was off like a rocket. Ron and John both bolted from the parking lot. Jeffery was hot on their heals. Kevin was slow to leave the start line. Jae and Theresa deliberately let the madness of the mass start unfold before they put themselves on the streets of Cary and Apex.

Kevin found himself immediately ridding alone.
Within 2 miles Kevin saw Jeffery standing along the road side and yelled out to him. Kevin assumed Jeffery was looking for others to ride with. Kevin slowed in order for Jeffery to jump in and close the gap so they could ride together.

Kevin eventually caught up with Ron and John who had slowed to allow him to finally catch up, still no Jeffery.

The three rode the hills and busy roads of HollySprings and out towards Sharron Harris park and Nuclear plant. They made the first water stop at mile marker 17. Water bottles filled, ½ banana consumed, brief rest when Jeffery Roussel came swooping into the rest stop. The group learned that Jeffery had wrapped his chain around his rear derailleur at the point when Kevin saw him alongside the road. This explains why he did not close the gap on Kevin and the others until the first water stop. This stop was also the point of decision for 100k or 50k routes. All were still committed to their original plans. This resulted in Kevin, John, and Ron all head out on the 100k route and Jeffery all alone again as he chose the 50k route. It was learned later that Theresa and Jae made it to this first water stop just minutes after the group headed back onto the routes.

Ron, John, and Kevin all enjoyed the route from the first water stop to the turn onto Beaver Creek and the long fast run down it to highway 64. Beaver Creek has limited traffic, smooth road, limited hills, and is always a great place to push bigger gears at higher speeds.

The 3 stopped briefly at the gas station on Beaver Creek and Highway 64. Back on the bikes they continued across 64 and onto Farrington Road with another smooth fast run to Martha Chapel. Kevin had pulled away from Ron and John at that point and did not slow to allow the 3 to ride together. Instead Kevin continued to push the big chain ring up Martha Chapel, thru the left turn onto 751, continuing to press the gears and pace all the way to the last water stop at 751 and O’Kelley.

The rest stop provided an opportunity to get off the busy 751 and refill water bottles. Kevin, John, and Ron were again reunited at that water stop. John did not want to rest too long so he announced the departure of the group to Ron and Kevin who both responded by climbing onto their bikes.

O’Kelley is a hilly country road that normally has little automobile traffic. On this day however there was plenty of Traffic. Kevin was riding at the tail end of a small group of bikers with Ron and John slightly behind, as they all started to climb a steep hill. Kevin could see traffic coming from over the hill at the same time noticing a car coming from behind the group in his mirror. The car from behind was demonstrating an unwillingness to slow to allow for a safe sharing of the road by all. Kevin stuck out his left hand palm facing back in an effort to signal to the car to slow. The driver in the blue BMW was on his cell phone and paid no attention to the signal, the bikers, or the oncoming traffic. At that point Kevin yelled “Slow DOWN” as the driver slipped between the bikers and the oncoming traffic without slowing or indicating any recognition of the potential risk he had created for himself and others.

The route continued into Amberly and Cary Glen subdivisions then out onto Luter Shop and White Oak Church roads. A left at Green Level had the riders Zooming downhill to the right turn onto Green level Church and the dreaded climb up and onto Roberts Road. John and Ron and Kevin were all hanging together until the next turn onto Jenks. It was here that Kevin announced that he wanted to turn back and meet Theresa and Jae and finish the ride with them. John did not want to stop and had no plans to turn back. Ron and Kevin rested in the shade of an old oak tree while Kevin called Theresa to see where they were on the route and if they were planning to follow the route on into the finish. The ladies were doing great and were only a few miles behind. Kevin said goodbye to Ron as Kevin head towards the ladies and Ron headed for home.

Kevin met up with Jae and Theresa within 5 miles. All rode on together from that point. Kevin again had an altercation with yet another driver. Kevin was out in front of the ladies on Roberts road when a large green Ford panel truck passed the line of bikers almost forcing Jae off the road. There was no oncoming traffic at the time and no reason to crowd the cyclists. As the van passed by Kevin he slapped the side of the vehicle with the palm of his left hand. The driver and his female passenger drove on for just a few yards when suddenly the van stopped the driver door opened and the male driver leapt from the van. Kevin elected to swing to the left to great the driver as he was stepping out of the vehicle. “What was that for” yelled the driver as Kevin rode smoothly by. “Share the ROAD” was Kevin’s reply as he finished passing the vehicle and taking his spot again along the right hand side of the road.

Kevin was now again in front of the driver and was anticipating another angry maneuver by the driver. To his surprise the vehicle passed with plenty of room between bike and vehicle and with no additional attitude from driver or cyclist. Message delivered and understood.

The last 10 miles were the worst of the route. The bikers found themselves continually in the mix of heavy traffic on bad roads as they entered Cary, Apex, and back into Cary. The last 2 miles had the riders on Kildaire Road in construction zone that had 4 lanes jammed into 2. Kevin again found himself isolated from the other bikers just as the lanes narrowed. A long line of cars had already been working to maneuver around the trailing riders and now found themselves stacked up behind Kevin as he was heading down hill at speeds in excess of 30 mph. The speed limit on this section of road was not much more than the speed Kevin was traveling at. The road had no shoulder or white line and in fact had a raised curb that posed a hazard to the cyclists. This and the oncoming traffic made it impossible to provide for a safe passing zone for the next ½ mile. The car directly behind Kevin began to honk their horn as if to suggest Kevin should jump the curb and get out of their way. Kevin continued to hold his line and speed as he worked to get thru that section as rapidly as possible. The car behind continued to honk their horn Kevin continued to make progress to the end of the construction zone where all 4 lanes would allow for coexistence between bikes and cars. This entire episode lasted no more than 1 minute, forcing the vehicles to slow from 35 to 30 miles an hour for the time frame. As the lanes opened back up the White Chevy Suburban with female driver and female passenger raced passed Kevin and told him to “GET OFF THE ROAD”. Kevin blew them both a KISS. Now on 4 lanes there was plenty of room for cars and bikers, however a man in a black Chrysler 300m (gangster style body shape) on his cell phone decided to crowd Kevin and every other cyclist he could as he zoomed on passed each.

Ron Clanton was waiting at the end to congratulate Jae on her 60+ mile long ride. The group then enjoyed fine food prepared as part of the Whole Foods Deli and salad bar.

In all a nice day of biking, on a route that had far too much traffic, and more than normal number of ASSHOLE drivers.

Sunday March 8th.
Another great day of biking weather.
Those in attendance:
Jeffery Roussel
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Tim Devine – Fast Tim
Tim Travitz – Slow Tim
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Kevin Smit – GOG
Nicole Lewis
Patti Lewis
Jae Brainard
Theresa Smit

Day light savings time had just pushed clocks ahead one hour.
Today’s ride was going to be a mix of old routes cobbled together resulting in some degree of back tracking and unexpected turns. No one but Kevin knew the plan and he did not fully have a route in mind just the concept.

Out of the parking lot the group rode with limited layers of clothing. No longer did the riders look like the little boy from a Christmas Story all bundled up in layer upon layer and then encased in a full body suit resulting in an in ability to get up off the ground once fallen. Freedom was the theme. Freedom from layers of cloths, freedom from the work week, a sensation of freedom generated by the dry air breezes of the day and the warm glow of the sun. Freedom generated by not having a map of the route that laid ahead. Each rider knew the route would unfold as they progressed. No one challenged to know anymore than how far the group might be expected to ride. “I am thinking 35 to 40 miles today” Kevin willingly provided to the group. That was more than enough information for the riders. Trust has been built into the event as each rider now expects to be told just in time when the next turn will be. The riders respect the concept of being told at the last minute, having learned it is part of the technique used to keep the group together. It is also part of the game that is played on those who may leap on ahead only to see the pack turn at some intersection the lead pack may have blown past. This allows those that want to ride hard the ability to do so while keeping an eye on the pack. If needed the leading group may find they have to sprint back to make the turn the pack did behind them. This allows for extra miles and extra effort from those more capable. It also challenges those in the back of the back to keep up so they can watch the leaders scramble to get back to the group having gone astray earlier. All part of providing something for everyone, attacks, speed play, surprises, periods of recovery, pace lines, banter, fun and, the No Drop Policy of the group.

The riders had a solid pace line right from the start. This carried into the Preston neighborhood and out onto Carpenter Church road. It was at the turn onto Ron’s Pull when the first command was provided. Mr Bridenbaugh was already headed down Ron’s Pull when Kevin used hand signals to let those paying attention know that the route would go the opposite direction than Mr. Bridenbaugh was traveling. The pack could not contain themselves and laughed loudly as they all jumped thru the intersection and raced on away from Mr. Bridenbaugh. Before the pack made it 2 blocks David charged back into the pack showing his approval of being tricked.

Kevin then presented the second surprise of the day after having made the right turn onto high house. Normally at that point the group would make an immediate left turn and head towards Apex or Holt. Today Kevin held a straight line on past the turn as he continued on High House towards Highway 55. This entire length of High house no one pushed past Kevin to take the lead having just been surprised twice early in the ride. Once past Highway 55 the pack continued on straight on HighHouse. Kevin was deliberately drifting back into the pack as he planned another surprise turn. Mr. Bridnbaugh was again out in front as he assumed the route continued straight where High House becomes Green Level. Wrong again Mr. Bridenbaugh. Kevin swept right onto Glenmore drive and into the neighborhood between High House and Green Hope High school road. Again Mr. Bridenbaugh jumped the gap to get back into the pack with everyone again enjoying the game that had just been played. The route wound around in the neighborhood until finally exiting from Sears road onto Green Hope High School road. A left had the pack headed in the opposite direction normally ridden on this section since may times the road would typically be at the end of a ride headed home rather than the beginning headed out. No one challenged Kevin’s lead spot even though there were no viable turns until the end of the road at the T intersection. Even then everyone was waiting to see what Kevin was up to. Many expected to turn right and follow familiar roads towards Lake Jordan, however Kevin again felt the Freedom of making up as they went and elected to direct everyone to make a left onto Green Level Church Road.

This section of Green Level has had a great deal of construction vehicles on it resulting in a very rough ride for the cyclists. This section of road also travels past the spot where 3 seasons ago Steve Cope smacked GOG in the mouth breaking his front tooth. For more information on that see BLOG POSTING

At Green Level Church and Green Level West the pack was instructed to turn right onto Green Level West. Several riders were well warmed up at this point and itching to attack. Fast Tim, Mr. Bridenbaugh, and Steve Cope all jumped into the lead. The group splintered as the 3 lead riders all pushed the pace uphill towards the potential turn at White Oak Church. The lead riders all slowed at the crest of the hill waiting for Kevin to announce the next direction. As the pack glided over the crest Fast Tim began to commit himself to the turn onto White Oak. Kevin seeing this said nothing but coasted on past continuing his route on Green level and the hills that lay ahead. Mr. Bridenbaugh, Capn Carbon, and Fast Tim all attacked again pushing on past Kevin and to the two big hills that lay ahead. Kevin maintained a steady speed in an effort to allow the remaining 4 to regroup. He was followed closely by Nicole, Slow Tim, and Jeffery. On ahead Mr. Bridenbaug and Capn Carbon were doing their best to punish anyone who was trying to stay with them. Slow Tim was the first to drop off later followed by Mr. Bridenbaugh. Kevin and his small band of cyclists eventually overtook Slow Tim just as they crested the last hill in that series of climbs on Green Level.
Capn Carbon and Mr. Bridenbaugh were circling at the intersection of Green level and Luther not clear if they would be directed down Luther or continue on Green Level. Kevin made the left turn onto Luther with Nicole, and Slow Tim in tow. The group waited briefly and consumed water as Jeffery was only seconds behind.

Jeffery did not stop but glided on past the group as he headed down Luther. Realizing that he may have just set himself up to have to reverse course and chase the pack down he was seen making a u turn to await the commands from Kevin. As Jeffery glided back to the pack Kevin mounted his bike and pointed himself in the direction that Jeffery had earlier committed to forcing Jeffery to again make another u-turn and return to his previous direction selection.

The pack was together again as Kevin checking his rear view mirror announced “Riders Back”. Two
Tri-assholettes in their telltale crouched over posture were closing in on the group.
The pack picked up the pace immediately in anticipation of being overtaken and in consideration of grabbing on to the rear wheels of the Tri-assholettes. The two riders were not drafting each other in classic Tri-assholette independent fashion as they swung wide to prevent anyone from the pack or THORNS to latch on. All watched as these two moved on by with no one jumping into their draft.

Without a word the THORNS formed a draft line. Pace was intensified, no words were spoken as everyone’s radar was now focused forwards. The pack caught to two Tri-assholettes just as the road drops into a valley followed by the steepest climb on Luther. Several riders jockeyed for position in anticipation of the attack that was about to unfold during the climb up ahead. At this same time a line of traffic was traveling towards the frey from the opposite direction. Kevin was trapped behind the female Tri-assholette and was working to get out around her as the traffic closed in. Just then she drifted right to create a cushion between her and the oncoming traffic. Kevin had spotted a gap to her right just as her maneuver closed it. Without hesitation Kevin adjusted his plan and swung left to shoot the gap she created between her and the oncoming traffic. Kevin then had to dart back right to avoid the biggest truck on the road at the time. He timed it beautifully but in doing so forced the female riders to slow. Kevin was a jerk by cutting her off but the attack for the hill was just beginning to unfold. The male Tri-assholette had made the first move with a gap between him and Capn Carbon already established. Mr. Bridenbaugh was not far behind Capn Carbon, with Slow Tim, Nicole, and Fast Tim all lined up to take a shot at the hill. Jeffery was smartly watching the chaos unfold in front of him. Kevin was working to keep the downhill momentum alive as he was now timing his surprise attack (does he stay in the big chain ring and stand, or shift and spin). Kevin continued to watch and measure his effort. He was already sliding into position just behind and to the left of Capn Carbon as the momentum from the downhill was now gone and the decision to stand or shift and spin was at critical mass.
Steve was measuring his own effort and had full concentration of the lead Tri-assholette. There was still 2/3 of the climb ahead and Steve was calculating when he would put the hammer down on the lead rider.
Just then Kevin swept past Steve and the lead rider. Kevin was still in the saddle as he heard Capn Carbon chuckle with great delight. A new target had been established and Capn Carbon no longer had to calculate when to attack. Instinct prevailed and like a leopard pouncing on its pray Steve was out of the saddle and about to pounce on GOG. Kevin’s rpms began to slow as he chose not to shift and spin. This forced him out of the saddle in an effort to match the pressure demand of the hill and the big chain ring. “HE HE HE” was all Kevin heard as he fell pray to Capn Carbon. Sit Shift and Spin was all that was left for GOG as he rolled over the crest of the hill to see Capn Carbon already down the back side and half way up the next hill.

A quick right onto 751 and the first left onto Horton Pond had the group split. Capn Carbon was now riding with the TriAssholettes working to see if they had any social skills, while he rode comfortably next to them and provided propping questions that broke their single focus. GOG, Nicole, the two Tims and Jeffery were all scattered in the distance as each rolled onto Horton Pond. Again without a word the trailing group formed a pace line with Fast Tim (The Love Train) in the pull position. Fast Tim took full command as he ratcheted up the pace. Everyone in tow understood their roll and worked to keep the gap between them and the rider ahead to a minimum. 15 mph turned quickly into 17 which then jumped to 19 mph UP HILL. The LOVE TRAIN was now a full power, and the Triassholettes and Capn Carbon were now much closer on the horizon. Spurred by the site of the riders silhouettes growing larger the LOVE TRAIN poured more coal into the boiler, Steam was bellowing out, the wind rushing buy sounded much like a trains whistle. Now climbing the longest and steepest climb of Horton Pond the LOVE TRAIN and his entourage swept past the lead group swallowing them up as a tidal wave swallows up the shore line.

The pack of riders were now all together with at least half of Horton Pond yet to be traveled. A monumental Pull by the LOVE TRAIN was recognized by all in the group. Kevin took the time to also apologize to the female TriAssholette for having cut her off earlier on the hill attack on Luther.

At the end of Horton Pond the pack, still intact, made the sweeping right hand turn onto Farrington Road with Kevin taking the reins. Kevin was trying to calculate the next turn. Would it be Holland Chapel and then the short run back into Cary, or continue down to Martha Chapel and some extra miles.
Looking in his mirror he assessed each of the riders to make a judgment call on can they (he) do more miles or does he take them back home now. The pack rushed past Holland Chapel at speeds over 21 mph. Looks like Kevin plans to push the pace and add extra miles.

The pace line was still in effect as they entered the section of road known as “Kevin’s Crawl” however they were traveling down the road in the opposite direction than normal. Kevin was still in the pull position so we would have to name this section of Farrington+ from Holland Chapel to Martha Chapel as
“lwarC s’neviK”. Once at Martha Chapel the pack slowed momentarily as they made the turn up the road towards 751. Capn Carbon and GOG were riding side by side with all others in tow. Capn Carbon was visiting with GOG however GOG was still trying to recover from the earlier pull and could only nod his head or grunt in between gulps of air. The pace on Martha Chapel was just under 20 mph as the pack climbed up from Lake Jordan to Highway 751.

At 751 everyone was looking again for Kevin to provide the direction notification. Without uttering a sound Kevin swung left onto 751 headed away from the strawberry patch. This is a twist from what was expected to be the run towards home. Kevin again took the pull position and ramped up the speeds to over the 20 mph mark. He continued to lead the pack up to the crest of the hill were Mount Pisgah connects to 751. Here Kevin directed the riders to make the right turn onto the rolling hills of Mount Pisgah. Kevin was spent and immediately fell off the pace. Slow Tim, Capn Carbon, Nicole, and Mr. Bridenbaugh all sped past without looking back to see who if anyone else was in tow. Kevin was joined by Fast Tim (The LOVE TRAIN) and Jeffery. The three rode on at a more comfortable 15 mph climbing each hill as it presented itself to them. The others were now over 100 yards ahead with the gap widening with each revolution of the pedals. Kevin wanted to direct the pack to make the next right turn and ultimately bring everyone pack into Cary through the Hills of Cary Glenn known to the group as “Nicole’s Roller Coaster”.

Just as the lead group was about to pass the turn Slow Tim looked back to check on the 3 trailing riders. Kevin signaled to Slow Tim to make the right turn. Slow Tim turned his head and continued on straight with the rest of his lead group. Kevin and his two team mates made the right turn as the lead group disappeared in the distance now on a separate path.

This split in direction remained in effect as neither group was about to turn around and chase after the other. All riders knew where they were and the routes that would bring them back home.

Kevin and the crew with him did “Nicole’s Roller Coaster” and expected to see the other group somewhere on Carpenter Church Fire Station Road. This did not happen as the lead group never hesitated to see what might have happened to the trailing pack. Instead the lead group consisting of Slow Tim, Capn Carbon, Nicole, and Mr. Bridenbaugh put the hammer down and raced towards the finish line putting them well ahead of the others.

A great day of riding with lots of Freedom on the road.
Thorns did 35 miles at 16+ mph average.