Sunday, March 29, 2009

End of March rides

Saturday March 28

In attendance:
Riding with the “Thorns”
Todd Spain – “TriTodd”
Todd Pechner – “Slow Todd”
Steve Cope – “Chiwawa”, “The Gnat”, “Angry Chipmunk”, “Capn Carbon”
Kevin Smit – “GOG”
Jeffery Roussel – back on the bike after 2 weeks off and being sick for one week (considering giving him the nickname of “Down Hill Racer” – he only attacks on the down hills).
Jen Serino– “Slow Jen Fizz”, or “Slow Jen”, or “Fizzy”

Riding with the “Roses”
Jae Brainard
Theresa Smit

Nice enough at the start to ride without arm or leg warmers, in fact it was humid and threatening rain.
The streets were still wet from the evening, early morning showers.

Todd Spain “TriTodd” asked if he could ride with the group today. Normally he stops in for a cup of coffee and a short visit before he heads out on his own solo ride, or swim, or run. Today however he was looking for an easy ride that he could do as a warm-up for his 7 ½ mile run in the afternoon. He was also looking for some comic relief which is always provided by this group of cyclists.

Jen “slow Jen Fizz” had returned to try riding with the group again even after a lousy ride last Saturday. As you may recall the ride last Saturday was plagued with many mechanical failures resulting in a slow, low mileage ride. Jen “Fizzy” is a strong rider and was looking for a greater challenge than last week’s ride provided. When asked by Kevin what brought her back a second time she responded “I had to give you guys another chance, I would hope that you could do better than last weekend”. The group was glad to hear they were worth a second try.

Todd Pechner “Slow Todd”, and Jeffery “Down Hill Racer” both arrived at the start on their bikes having ridden from home.

Steve Cope “Capn Carbon” had arrived in the Yellow Thing with his full carbon machine complete with Carbon sow up rims.

Kevin was planning on trying to take the “Thorns” on the route attempted but aborted last Saturday. The route would provide 40 miles with a variety of rolling hills in the middle of the ride and a flat finish.

“Down Hill Racer” asked “Are we going to do Tingen, I like Tingen”. “Well I hadn’t considered that, but if its Tingen you want then Tingen it is” was Kevin’s reply.
“How far is it” asked “Fizzy”. “Probably about 40 – 45” was Kevin’s “GOG’s” reply.

With that information the pack headed out of the parking lot and into the Preston neighborhood.

“Down Hill Racer” set the stage early fining himself in the pull position. “TriTodd” sat comfortably in the slip stream of Jeffery with “GOG” riding by his side as they discussed the concept of setting up a series of Time Trials for riders in the area to attempt. “Slow Todd” was already lunging forward and then falling back as he worked to get his legs and lungs ready for his patented attack and recover style riding. “Capn Carbon” was not yet ready to respond to “Slow Todd’s” antics knowing he would have many opportunities to destroy each and every attack that would be mounted throughout the day’s ride.
Instead “Capn Carbon” and “Fizzy” were busy chatting near the back of the pack.

The “Roses” were already out of site before the “Thorns” had made the light at Davis drive.

This was going to be a fast paced ride as “Down Hill Racer” continued to push the pace early.
“Left Turn” was the command from “GOG” as he directed the group away from “Ron’s Pull” and back into the Cary neighborhood south of High House road. “Slow Todd” was the first to make the turn off of High House with the rest of the pack holding up for oncoming traffic.

The first attack of the day was being setup. The climb on Jenk’s Carpenter Road as it climbs up to Holt is always the first attack of the day whenever the group heads in that direction. Today’s attack began early. “GOG” was in the lead position as the pack began the downhill run. His lead was quickly exchanged for by Jeffery as he swung out and powered downhill. Now you know why he is to forever more be known in the group as “Down Hill Racer”. Close behind him was “Slow Todd”, then “Capn Carbon” then “TriTodd”. By the time that group hit the bottom of the hill the attack was now in full force. “Capn Carbon” had shifted into even higher gears as he prepared to push the pedals at high rpms in as tough a gear as possible. “Slow Todd” was in a Triassholete position on his arrow bars, and “TriTodd” was watching and measuring his response. “TriTodd” would be challenged all day long as each and every attack forced him to consider responding or letting them go to save himself for the long run planned right after the ride. “Down Hill Racer” had already been swallowed up and spit out by the three now rolling out of the downhill and applying pressure on the uphill climb.


Suddenly the three left in the attack looked all around to see what happened. “TriTodd” slowed, “Capn Carbon” looked down and back towards the rear of his bike. “Slow Todd” continued his attack. “Capn Carbon” paused only long enough to ensure he did not have a flat and then leapt out of the saddle to insure his momentum would not be lost and to respond to the big gear selection he had made for the attack. As usual “Capn Carbon” soon had established himself as the dominant rider by pulling away from all others. “GOG” was third to the intersection with “TriTodd” demonstrating great restraint and commitment to making sure he was to ride easy today and not push hard on the bike. “Fizzy” and he finished the climb with ease followed closely by “Down Hill Racer”.

At the intersection of Jenks Carpenter and Holt “Capn Carbon” was asking if anyone had a spoke wrench. He had blown a spoke on his rear wheel explaining the load explosion heard at the start of the attack. He was now looking to try and true the wheel as it did not spin past his brake pads. SO. Not only did “Capn Carbon” dominate the uphill attack he did so with a broken spoke that would not allow his wheel to spin past the brake pads. “Are you going to ride on back to the start?” Kevin asked in an effort to give “Capn Carbon” and easy out. “No, if I can just loosen the spokes around the broken one and open up my rear brake pads a little I think I can finish the ride” was Steve’s response.
Kevin then looked at Jen to see if she was ready to make the determination that this ride group has nothing but problems. “You know this is two times you have ridden with this group and both times someone has had mechanical failures” Kevin directed towards Jen. “I was already thinking that myself” she replied with a smile.

It only took a minute for Steve to true his rear wheel enough to head on down the road.
“OK do we turn right or left now” asked “Capn Carbon” as he put away the spoke wrench. “Jeffery wanted to do Tingen so we will do Tingen, after all its all about Jeffery” Kevin replied with a smile.

The pack fell in place behind “GOG” as they rode into Apex and its poorly maintained roads.
The group spent limited time passing thru Apex to find themselves at the start of the long fast smooth Tingen Road.

In an instant “Jeffery” took off as if there was a downhill to attack, however Tingin cannot be classified as a downhill. This attack was quickly addressed by “Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon”. “Capn Carbon” was happy to fall into place behind “Slow Todd” waiting his turn to attack when he felt the need. Jeffery, “Down Hill Racer” was no match for the two who jumped right behind him. “TriTodd”, “GOG”, and “Fizzy” were all very slow to respond. It was “TriTodd” who then took chase with “GOG” slow again to respond creating a large gap between the two. “Fizzy” fizzled immediately as she was the slowest to recognize what was unfolding.

“GOG” jumped to a bigger gear, jumped out of the saddle to drive the pedals at an even higher rpm and was still losing ground to “TriTodd”. “Keep driving, just a little longer, close the gap and then rest” was the message bouncing around in “GOG’s” head. 32 mph then 33 mph and finally “GOG” was in the slipstream behind “TriTodd” who was still accelerating to catch the two earl attackers. “Down Hill Racer” had already been passed and was working to grab onto “GOG’s” rear wheel. “Fizzy” was no longer in “GOG’s” mirror as she never had a chance to jump into the fray.

Before Tingen turned into rolling hills the Chase team had caught the two breakaway riders who then one at a time pulled out from the lead position to fall into the draft. This rotation continued with each taking turns in the pull position. “TriTodd” then “Down Hill Racer” who had slipped past “GOG”, then “GOG” who was followed closely by “Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon”. The rotation from the pull position to drafting continued. Just as Tingen turned from smooth and flat to Hilly and Hillier “GOG” found himself back in the pull position with “Capn Carbon” laughing at the fact that this seems to always happen every time the group rides this road. “You have got to plan it better than this”, “Every time we do this ride you end up in the pull position just as it gets ugly” Steve Cope taunted Kevin.
Just at that moment Kevin pull out of position to allow Steve the pull position. The pack now began to splinter as each rider prepared for the next couple of miles of Hills each presenting its own challenge to the riders.

“Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon” continued their head to head battle as “GOG” and the others sat up in the saddle, slowed, and used the excuse they wanted to wait for “Fizzy” which would allow for a brief recovery just as the hills arrived.
“Capn Carbon” never slowed and was quickly out of site. He and “Slow Todd” were found circling at the intersection of Friendship as they politely allowed the rest of the pack to reassemble.

“TriTodd” was still showing a great deal of restraint by not being pulled into the attacks. “TriTodd” can easily crush all and would give “Capn Carbon” a run for his money, with a split decision from the judges as to who won each attack. “TriTodd” is clearly more disciplined than “Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon”, again demonstrating his strength not just physically but mentally and emotionally. That is something none of the other riders possess.

The group made the left turn onto Friendship and headed towards New Hill Holleman Road and the run towards Sharen Harris Nuclear Plant. In the distance the group could see a long rider prompting the next attack “Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon” responded. The others sat back and watched while maintaining 19 mph as if hoping that speed would keep them insight and allow for a recovery from the previous hills.

Just as the riders regrouped at the New Hill Holleman intersection “Fizzy” was heard saying “Can we stop long enough for a GELL!” Notice this was not a question.

“SURE” replied the ride leader. With that the group finally caught “Slow Todd” and “Capn Carbon” who were talking to the lone rider they had chased down and were demanding $10 for the drafting fee they charge each rider they blow buy on the road. This lone rider decided it would be best to turn right and leave the group behind rather than stay and take any more verbal or physical abuse from the two riders who had just crushed him. “I think you offended him” Capn Carbon was heard speaking to Slow Todd.
Jen – “Slow Jen Fizz” was just finishing squeezing the stuffing out of her Gue packet when TriTodd said “what, are we going to visit all day long?”.

With that the pack was off again left onto New Hill Holleman and the turn towards Sharen Harris Nuclear Plant. “Sow Todd” attacked again with “Capn Carbon” hot on his heels. It was “Capn Carbon” first into the turn as each rider made the sweeping turn in unison right behind.
The road was now headed down hill. Everyone expected “Down Hill Racer” to start the attack. He and “Capn Carbon” were ridding side by side as “Capn Carbon” was there to both egg him on and to keep him close by for a rapid response to any attack. “GOG” saw what was taking place and decided to sneak up on the two. “Capn Carbon” had all his radar up as he was expecting “Slow Todd” to attack from the outside while he was watching “Down Hill Racer” who was on the inside. “GOG” timed is move carefully. He knew he needed just the right amount of momentum to capitalize on as the hill began to rise up ahead, and not to attack too early, and to slowly roll into position, and to time it when “Capn Carbon” was checking his outside shoulder. “GOG’s” plan was to slip between the two riders who were riding too close to fit another biker between them. If done properly both lead riders would naturally slide apart from the surprise of someone in the middle, and in doing so would be distracted from peddling and also mentally distracted for just an instant.
“GOG” was now sitting with his front tire in between the two riders, his handlebars almost touching the lead riders seats, poised to pounce. Just as “Capn Carbon” looked back towards the inside “GOG” made his move forcing himself between the two riders. “HEY” he heard “Capn Carbon” cry. That was just enough to allow the finishing touches of his short-lived attack. In his mirror “GOG” saw that “Down Hill Racer” and been startled enough to fall off the pace but stay in control of his bike as “GOG” pushed thru. He did not see “Capn Carbon” which only meant his attack had been quickly met by the fast twitch muscles from “Capn Carbon” and that he was sitting in “GOG’s” blind spot. With in an instant “GOG” turned to look to the outside only to see the smiling face of “Capn Carbon” who was now just riding comfortably as “GOG’s” short attack was quickly fading.

All this took place in the first few hundred feet of the ½ mile gradual climb up to the curve at the top of the hill. The whole pack did a great job of powering up the hill and did not fall below 19 mph as they all pushed against the pressure that gravity is always ready to provide.

Now headed towards old US highway 1 on Sharen Harris road the draft line reformed with “Capn Carbon” and “TriTodd” continuously battling for the pull position. Everyone else focused on holding on as the pace was now in the low 20 mph range. “Slow Jen Fiz” was tucked in tight and riding a solid ride.
“How far have we gone” she asked. “20 miles at 17.4 average” was the reply.

“TriTodd” was the first to leave the intersection of Sharen Harris and Old Highway 1 as he started to turn right the cry from the pack called him back “Left turn”. “But home is this direction” he responded.

The pack was now headed away from home on Old Highway 1 headed towards Bonsil and the fun fast run down Beaver Dam Road towards Lake Jordan.
The pack remained together all the way to Bonsil with all slowing to cross the railroad tracks in Bonsil and onto Beaver Dam Road.
The entire length of this road the pace did not fall below 21 mph. “TriTodd” was feeling good and was just now starting to warm up which accounted for the increased speeds as everyone worked to respond to his new intensity level. “Capn Carbon” and “TriTodd” would exchange pull positions as each worked to pull the pack along. On one exchange “Capn Carbon” decided to drift further back to check on each rider and to visit. Just as he dropped to the last spot “Slow Todd” jumped out of line and attacked. He did this knowing “Capn Carbon” had just done a long pull, and would be in the wrong gear and cadence having drifted to the back of the pack. For an entire 10 seconds “Slow Todd” had the lead. “Capn Carbon’s” response was so explosive that his slip stream pushed those he passed slightly towards the edge of the road. “Slow Todd” was still just winding up towards the top end of his attack as “Capn Carbon” shot past him and continued to accelerate as if a F18 just buzzed a WWI biplane.
Several more attacks transpired as the pack continued on Beaver Dam towards Highway 64 and WilsonVille. “I am HUNGRY” “Fizzy” whimpered. “We can stop for a short while at the gas station just down the road” was “GOG’s” sympathetic reply. “It is no good to be around someone who is Bitchy Hungry” he went on to acknowledge. “Thank You, you are right, no one wants to be around me when I am HUNGRY” Jen responded.

There was no more banter until the gas station.

“30 miles at 18 mph average, we actually sped up that last 10 miles”, Kevin informed the group.
“SOMEONE GIVE ME A GEL” Jen was now foaming at the mouth. It looked like she had just eaten a bunch of FIZZY candies and they were all foaming up at once.
“I got a Chocolate Chip Mint GEL” cried “Capn Carbon” in horror at the site of Jen “FIZZING” from her mouth. “GIVE IT TO ME” Jen demanded. Within the blink of an eye the Gel was snatch from the hands of “Capn Carbon”. “MMMMM”, “That was really GOOD” Jen spoke as she licked the gel frosting from the edges of her mouth.
“TriTodd” was busy telling the group about his sore wrist and how it is the result of his many crashes on the bike. This suggest that he might be someone like Daine McBee, to avoid riding close to since last year Dayne crashed multiple times resulting in multiple bone breaks. None of their crashes were a result of riding with the “Thorns”.

With ‘Slow Jen Fizz” now partially satisfied the group mounted their bikes and headed across Highway 64 and onto Farrington road. It did not take long for that pace to again reach a sustained 21 mph. From there “Slow Todd” again mounted another attack with both “Capn Carbon” and “TriTodd” responding.
“Right turn onto Hoton Pond” Kevin shouted, as he knew they would soon be out of earshot for any instructions from the ride leader. The three were well ahead of the trailing group of three and were circling at Horton Pond to confirm they were on the correct path. Once all had made the commitment to Horton Pond “TriTodd” mounted an attack. This caught everyone by surprise as he was saving himself for the days long run once he got home. Clearly the ride had not challenged him and he was itching to get some degree of a workout on the bike. “Capn Carbon” scampered after him with “Slow Todd” slow to react but working to make a play in response anyway. “TriTodd” and “Capn Carbon” were not seen from that point on. “Slow Todd” had jumped enough to make a solid break away from the pack but was too far back to close the gap on the breakaway riders, placing him in no man’s land all alone.
“How much further” Jen asked.
“Well we can do any number of miles and hills depending on what you feel like” was Kevin’s response.
“We can flatten it almost completely and shorten it several miles” he went on to explain.
“FLAT and SHORT sound great, I am getting real hungry and will likely eat Bruggers out of business when we get back” was “Fizzy’s” reply.
“Consider it done” Kevin said with confidence that he could meet that request.

As the three trailing riders got to the intersection of Horton Pond and 751 they saw “Slow Todd” doing a wheel stand as he waited for those behind to catch him. He was just starting to coast into a right hand turn when Kevin shouted for a Left turn. This is an unusual command at this point since the standard route home form here would normally be a right turn followed by a short run on 751 and the first left onto Luther and the many hills towards Cary. Both “TirTodd” and “Capn Carbon” had anticipated this normal route and were already committed to Luther before they saw the pack turn away from them headed left rather than right onto 751.

Kevin figured the two lead riders were ready to duke it out the last 10 -12 miles of hills into town. “They know their way back, and will likely use it to attack each other all the way home” Kevin told the group of now 4 riders as each was showing concern for turning away from the lead group.

Kevin continued to lead the remaining band of cyclist down 751 to the Strawberry patch at Luter Shop. A right turn onto Luther shop put the group on the flattest most direct route home. The pace was now in the 14 – 17 mph range with Kevin working to keep the group in a protected Pack. “Slow Todd” would still charge on ahead as he has never figured out how to ride a steady pace. Jeffery was in no position to attack since there were no more Down Hills on the way in. Kevin “GOG” was not in a position to attack since he is old and out of shape and was already starting to have sweat management issues (Glistening Older Gentleman). “Slow Jen Fizz” was just excited to be doing a longer rider for her this season. Her objective for the day was to ride at least 40 miles.

The route continued to the end of Luter shop were the riders then did the short jog onto Green Level and the immediate left onto Green Hope High School Road, followed by the short cyclo-cross over the rail road tracks and onto Carpenter Up Church. Just prior to the groups turn into Preston Jeffery said his goodbyes as his house was on straight and he had ridden to the start of the ride. The others made the left turn back into Preston. “Slow Todd” was the next to say his goodbyes to the group as his house was just a block away and having ridden to the start he needed to go no further.

After a short diversion onto Morrisville Parkway, and the right onto Crabtree Crossing “GOG” and “Fizz” were now winding down the last 2 or 3 miles of the day. This section of road presents some long slow climbs that always hurt at the end of the ride. A right turn onto Cary parkway and within two blocks the riders were gliding back into the parking lot a Bruggers.

“Capn Carbon” and “TriTodd” were already back having raced each other the last 12 miles into the finish. They had attacked and attacked again several times on the way in to the finish. During their short recoveries the two shared stories of days of OLD when both were younger and part of the racing scene of those days. Steve Cope worked in a bike shop and raced as a Cat 2 in the mountains of Virginia. Todd Spain raced/trained with folks such as Andy Hamsted and Bob Roll, during the years of the Coors Classic bike race.

The “Thorns” rode 49.2 miles at 17.8 mph pace. A solid performance from everyone. The furthest and fastest of the season.

The “Roses” were already in and were found visiting with Ron and Tracy Clanton who did not make the start of the ride but wanted to drink coffee and visit with the group.
It was learned that the “Roses” had done some exploring of their own and randomly picked different roads to see where they went. One of their choices put them unaware onto a section of interstate 540.
“Slow Jen Fizz” bought a dozen bagels.

Sunday March 29th.

Those in attendance
Riding with the “ Thorns”
Todd Spain – “TriTodd” – back for a second day of riding. Clearly this was an easy weekend of riding for him.
Steve Cope – “Chiwawa”, “Angry Chipmunk”, “The Gnat”, “Capn Carbon” too many stories to tell to explain why so many nicknames.
Jeffery Roussel – “Down Hill Racer”
Tim Divine – “Fast Tim”, “The Love Train”
Kristie Miller – “Pink Triassholete”
Josh Carter – “Moving Violation” – he made the mistake of sharing how he was pulled over in Florida for making a wrong turn in front of a patrolman with an attitude. So He now has a nickname.
Mike Prentice – first time riding with the group (one of TriTodds Triassholetes)
Kevin Smit “GOG” (Glistening Older Gentleman)

Those riding with the “Roses”
Theresa Smit
Jae Brainard

Prior to the start of the ride the group leaned that “Capn Carbon” not only blew a spoke on Saturday’s ride but he now has a small crack in the rim of his Carbon Fiber rear wheel. It was a loud BANG when that spoke blew and the pressure on the rim must have stressed it to the breaking point.
YES he is riding on that rim today with a new spoke and a crack in the carbon fiber. The next BANG will be followed with shards of Carbon Fiber when the entire rim disintegrates. Do not be the one riding near him when that happens. If you do not die from the shrapnel the sound alone my give you a heart attack when the whole thing disintegrates as if the “BIG BANG” was happening all over again.

The group also showed excitement and a level of commitment to a “Thorns and Roses” group jersey. Look for an email soon with more details. The cost might be around $50.

After short introductions of all the riders to the new guy, and a welcome back for “Pink Triassholete” the pack was off into the Preston neighborhood.

The pack was busy catching up with Kristy since this was the first ride for her in about a YEAR. She had just completed a marathon and the training for that took all her time, (or so she says). The pack was also working to make Mike feel welcomed. Mike has been biking for about one season but rides with the skill of a seasoned veteran. Mike was hoping to keep up with group having joined “TriTodd” Saturday for a 7 ½ mile run, and was feeling that in his legs this morning.

Just like Saturday Jeffery “Down Hill Racer” set the pace early. The group did not fall into a draft line as everyone jockeyed around in the pack allowing them to chit chat with the various riders prior to any speed play that was sure to unfold later.

Kevin “GOG” was looking to provide a 35 mile ride with some level of hills, fast sections, and surprise turns. He had a general idea of the areas he wanted to subject the riders to but was willing to adjust based on who he could catch making an assumed turn or missed turn resulting in a breakaway. This game allows those who want to attack and ride hard to do so at the expense of being called back to the pack when the pack elects to make a turn at an intersection that the breakaway riders had already passed.

The route today started down the same roads traveled on Saturday’s ride. This time however “Capn Carbon” was able to respond to the first attack on the hill towards Holt without blowing a spoke. He and Josh “Moving Violation” sparred back and forth the entire length of the day’s first climb.

The pack then made a right turn onto Holt rather than the left taken a day earlier. This put the pack square into a 20 -30 mph head wind. This was done intentionally by Kevin to force the group to work together early in the ride to combat the wind and then allow for more of a tail wind on the second half of the ride. The pack worked well protecting each other from the wind as they traveled the length of Holt to highway 54. At that intersection “Down Hill Racer” asked “are we doing Roberts, or going on straight?”. Kevin thought about his response since he does not want to reveal any surprises too early.
His first thought was to take Roberts, however he was willing to see if anyone got there first and would assume that turn. If anyone headed that way ahead of the pack Kevin would direct the pack straight on past. “We will just have to wait and see” was Kevin’s response.

Across the intersection and the pack began to reform. Kevin deliberately slowed to see who would take the rains and form a breakaway. Josh, Steve Cope, Mike, and Todd Spain all jumped into the lead. Sure enough the breakaway group made the right turn onto Roberts. “OK we go Straight” Kevin informed those still in the pack. Know in the lead group Jeffery “Down Hill Racer” took control of the pace pulling the remaining pack member on straight towards the next possible turn at Wimberly. It did not take long for the now abandoned breakaway group to slow, do a u-turn, and scramble back to the pack.

The group was fully formed as “Down Hill Racer” led everyone to the stop sign/intersection of Holt and Old Jenks road. As the pack slowed Jeffery “Down Hill Racer” shot on through the intersection. Next in line was “The Love Train” under full power, with the pack scattered around him. “CAR LEFT” was the cry from the pack. In an amazing display of bike handling skills “The Love Train” clamped on all brakes resulting in his rear tire to rise up off the pavement, his front tire to skid, and “The Love Train” to control the bike as a Cowboy would be riding a Bronco Bull. To everyone’s amazement he maintained full control, brought he bike to a complete stop, still with rear end in the air, and finally settling back down as if this was how he performs a normal stop. In addition all other riders reacted as if this all happened in slow motion allowing them to make any adjustments in line of travel to avoid the potential disaster for them and those around them. If only someone had a camera and were recording it then this would have been one of those disaster-averted videos that make it to TrueTv or YouTube.

“The Love Train” paused long enough to take stock in what had just happened and to realize he was indeed still alive to talk about it.

The message for all to take away from this is “You are responsible for your own assessment of potential risk at any intersection”. “The Love Train” made that snap decision for himself even though another rider shot on thru. The intersection is a blind intersection, which unfortunately forced a dramatic response from him. Normally all would be slowing together and no one would typically clamp on the brakes to that extreme. The group was very lucky no one plowed into each other or into the intersection.

The pack gathered their composure back and rode safely thru the intersection. “Down Hill Racer” had slowed in anticipation of letting the pack regroup. “WOW”, “Sorry I thought it was safe to go on thru” he offered to the group. Nothing more needed to be said. It took no time at all for a new breakaway group to attack and pull away from the others. This break away was formed by Mike (the new guy), “Moving Violation”, and “Capn Carbon”. Kevin was still in the trailing group and looked to see if the lead riders would continue their attack or slow for the next planned (but not announced) turn onto Wimberly. There was now a huge gap between the two groups as the lead riders shot on past Wimberly. “Right Turn” Kevin directed. The pack was now back in the lead and remained there until just before the end of Wimberly before the breakaway group was able to turn and chase the pack down.
Mike pulled up to Kevin and said “Do you always pick on the new guy?”. “Nope, just hang with the pack and you will see that we pick on everyone”, was Kevin’s reply.

The group made the left turn onto Green Level at the top of the hill. “Moving Violation” was the first to jump followed by “Down Hill Racer” followed by “GOG”. Scampering alongside everyone was the “Chiwawa” nipping at the bikers heals as he taunted all who dared to try and be the first to the top of the next hill. And it was the “Chiwawa” taking first place with “Moving Violation” in second as everyone worked the gears and the cadence to survive the attack on the uphill.

A right turn onto Luther and the pack stop long enough to consume some water and to assess how everyone was holding up. “TriTodd” had not yet warmed up. “Pink Triassholete” was feeling real good about being back on the bike. Mike was proud to know that he was not singled out as the only person that was getting picked on. “Moving Violation” was keeping a watchful eye on “Capn Carbon”. “GOG” was working to catch his breath. “Down Hill Racer” was coasting on ahead. “The Love Train” was singing a tune. “Capn Carbon” was grinning from ear to ear. Kevin’s assessment of the group was that he was the only one suffering.

The run down Luther kept the pack together until the last long climb. This is always met with an attack and response from those in the pack. Today was no exception. “OK prepare for another attack” Kevin whispered to Mike. Kevin will do his best to attack as best he can on this hill. He likes to position himself in the middle to first third of the pack, allowing for downhill momentum and then any slingshot he can get from drafting those ahead. Today he timed it as well as he could to maximize on momentum gained from the downhill, keeping in the big chain ring he was able to spin at 111 rpms as the climb began to bog the riders down. Kevin knew he would have to make the climb out of the saddle if he was to sustain any speed at all. He has been deliberately working on standing on the peddles in ever increasing lengths of time. Slowly he is building up his endurance on this type of attack.
As usual “Capn Carbon” was heard giggling as he glided alone beside “GOG” as if edging on the attack even further while fully confident that in a snap of the fingers he could explode on past the now struggling ride leader. And then with the crest of the climb only feet away “Capn Carbon” snapped his fingers leaving “GOG” as if standing still. Just over the crest “Capn Carbon” offered “GOG” a celebratory fist bump, as if to say good job OLD MAN.

A quick right turn onto 751 was followed by the fist left onto Horton Pond. Again Kevin held the group up for an instant. “Isn’t this were Josh lost his breakfast once/” “Pink Triassholete” asked in a taunting voice. “Moving Violation” only dropped his head in despair realizing he will never live down that moment from several seasons ago. “Yes and this is also were the group first met Slow Tim a few seasons ago” was the additional information provided by “Capn Carbon”. It was “Down Hill Racer” who was the first to head on down Horton Pond. The pack never really assembled the entire section of this route. The pack splintered into three groups with “TriTodd”, “Moving Violation”, and “Capn Carbon” all attacking each other the entire length of Horton Pond. “Down Hill Racer” and “The Love Train” worked together to reenact the pull they did a few weekends ago when they ran down the breakaway on that day. “Pink Triassholete”, “GOG” and Mike all rode a comfortable steady pace up and over all the rolling hills of Horton Pond.

At the right turn onto Farrington all were back together with “Capn Carbon” asking “are we doing Lystra?”. “IF anyone mentions that name we have to do it” was the reply from Kevin. “NO” was the chorus from the pack.

“GOG” was in the pull position and stayed there thru the climbs past Holland Chapel and towards Lake Jordon. At the crest of the last climb he was passed easily by “Moving Violation” who was now winding up the power meter on his rear wheel to see how many watts he could generate. That move opened the door for others to follow. “TriTodd” was next to pass, with “Capn Carbon” on his heels. Then “Pink Triatholete” made her move only to be followed by “The Love Train”. The rest of the pack was comfortable with riding in the slipstream of “GOG” as they were doing 25 mph at that point in time.
As the riders neared the intersection of Martha Chapel it was clear that the breakaway riders were all thinking Lystra. “GOG” however was thinking home. “Right Turn” was the command. Kevin along with Mike, and “Down Hill Racer” swept thru the turn onto Martha Chapel. Kevin could see the breakaway riders all still powering on down Farrington headed towards Lystra. “I do learn my lesson eventually” Mike was proud to announce as he was one of those making the Correct turn and not having to now chase down the ride leader. The riders rode a comfortable pace up Martha Chapel heading away from Lake Jordan and towards the finish. Those first to catch the lead pack were “TriTodd”, “Moving Viloation”, and “Capn Carbon”. It took over a mile before they were able to recover from the missed turn and to rejoin “GOG”. “The Love Train” and “Pink Triassholete” had been delayed in making the u-turn due to heavy traffic. This slowed their ability to regroup until the end of Martha’s Chapel were the other riders were now circling to allow for all to regroup.

Several of the riders had started to lean into the right turn onto 751 as if to head towards the Strawberry patch. Without and command “GOG” leaned left away from the others and headed down 751 away from the Strawberry patch. This again put “GOG” in the pull position with all quickly falling in line behind him and his slip stream. “Capn Carbon” was gliding along being pulled by the draft generated by “GOG’s” girth. The pack reached 31 mph as 751 fell and then began to rise towards the turn onto Mount Pisgah. Just as the ride leader was spun out “Capn Carbon” rushed past to announce to all that he would again be the king of the climb. No one challenged. A right turn onto Mount Pisgah and the pace slowed with all staying in a clump. “I don’t want to do UpChuck” was heard from “Pinky” (Kristie). “OK” “I will take you on an alternate route towards “Nicole’s Roller Coasters” Kevin was heard saying in a consoling tone.

The group continued in a clump thru the next right turn and then the following left onto Luter Shop.
During that slower stretch “Capn Carbon” asked “The Love Train” were his wife, Dani, was and why she was not out on the ride with the group. “We have guests coming over later and she is getting ready for them” was the reply. “Oh so you get to go out and play while she stays home and does all the work”, “Capn” said in an inquiring tone. “Yep”, “ I am an Alpha Male and she is my Bitch” Tim (The Love Train) said with great pride.
“But don’t anyone tell her I just said that” he bagged.
“Na, Not to worry something like that would never make it into the BLOG” was “GOG’s” response.

Once onto Luter Shop everyone knew where they were and how to get to “Nicole’s Roller Coasters”. This information provided for the next series of attacks and responses from “TriTodd”, “Capn Carbon”, and “Moving Violation”. The others were just happy to watch the game. As the group closed in on White Oak they saw the breakaway riders circling with “TriTodd” off his bike looking at his rear wheel. He thought he had a flat but all was fine. A great trick to pull on the attack group, forcing them to pull up from the attack thinking you have problems, and allowing for a short recovery for yourself without looking like you were in physical trouble. Kevin could recognize this trick since he is a pro at utilizing it for himself. The pack now back together glided into the Cary Glenn neighborhood were “Nicole’s Rollercoaster’s” were about to be experienced.

At the turn onto Cary Glenn the riders encountered the large contingency of riders headed out for their ride from Cycling Spoken Here. Many of those in that group knew “TriTodd’ and “Capn Carbon” and shouted out to them. Both riders paused to visit as the rest of the “Thorns” coasted on towards the 3 hills that lay ahead. That was the last time on the rest of the ride the “Thorns” saw “TriTodd” and “Capn Carbon”. Those two riders decided they needed more miles and a stronger pace to get a reasonable workout for the day. The two had started to head for home when “TriTodd” said “ya know I could use a few more miles, maybe we should turn and ride with the Cycling Spoken Here group”. “Capn Carbon” is always up for a challenge and turned immedatly back towards the larger group to accept “TriTodds” challenge. The two riders then worked together to chase down the Cycling Spoken Here group. This put them in straight into a 20 -30 mph head wind. Eventually they caught the group after about 4 or 5 miles of sustained effort.

The “Thorns” now down by two riders continued as a group through the last 8 to 10 miles on into the finish. To stay out of the head winds on the last section of road the group was directed to protected neighborhood roads that wound around behind Green Hope High School, and into the Preston Neighborhood.

The “Thorns” completed 36 miles at 16.8 mph average.
The “Thorns” then joined the “Roses” for coffee and bagels and more banter.
Then the group had the idea of either Picking up Steve Copes car, a VW Thing, and moving it to a new parking location, or pushing it to some other spot in the parking lot.
Just as the group got up the courage to do the dead Todd Spain “TriTodd” came zooming into the finish.
He and “Capn Carbon” did another 20 miles out and back to Lake Jordan with the other bike group, and in doing so mounted attack after attack until they were the only ones left standing. “Capn Carbon” had decided to ride on past Bruggers to the finish of the other groups ride.
The “Thorns” then informed “TriTodd” of their pending trick to be pulled on Steve. Todd then joined in as Kristie got in the car to drive with all the “Thorns and Roses” pushing the car out of its current spot.
“I can’t turn the wheel it is Locked” cried Kristie.
With the realization that the plan was flawed the group guided the “THING” back into its original parking location.
Steve will never know that he might have been looking for his “Thing” once back from his extended bike ride.