Sunday, April 05, 2009

April 4th and 5th rides

April 4th.
Spring Fling
Organized ride to support MS 150.

Those in attendance:
Jen Serino – “Slow Jen”, “Slow Jen Fizz”, “Fizzy”
Jill Fitzgibbons
Jeffery Roussel – “Down Hill Racer”
Josh Carter – “Moving Violation”
John Majickes
Theresa Smit
Kevin Smit – “GOG”

It was a warm sunny and Windy Day.
The ride organizers did a great job providing breakfast items, family activities, music, Ham Operators to monitor the course, Police directing traffic at busy intersections, 3 rest stops, course marshals on bikes, lunch, two well marked courses, and T-shirts all for $35 entry fee.

The “Thorns and Roses” started off together working their way thru the busy hilly streets of Durham. They were able to navigate the streets easily due to the great support of the local police who directed the cyclists thru all the intersections with priority status to the cyclists.
The group elected to ride the 50 mile route and expected to average close to 15 mph for the days ride.

Within the first 7 miles “Down Hill Racer”, and “Moving Violation” broke from the pack to play a more aggressive roll with the faster riders up front. “Slow Jen Fizz” was with a friend and elected to ride at their own pace. The remaining “Thorns and Roses” stayed true to the objective and worked to help share the pace setting. The wind was in their face during the first half of the ride and continued to gain strength as they worked to close in on the second rest stop.

The group worked well together as a team as the route had them traveling some familiar roads. All along High House and onto Green Level the pack stayed tight. They also showed signs of restraint when other riders would zoom past only to later be swallowed up by the pace line formed by the “Thorns and Roses”. On one occasion 4 cyclists raced past on Green Level just prior to the climb up to White Oak.
“OK Jill, Keep your rpms up, drop your heels, and pull slightly on your handle bars as we start to climb” was the guidance provided by “GOG”. Within the first few feet of the climb Jill had not just past the racers she accelerated well beyond them never to be caught on the climb from behind. WELL DONE.

Once at the second rest stop on White Oak the group took a short bio break, filled water bottles, and prepared to head back out when Jill noticed her rear tire was flat. Clearly the Power of her last climb was more than the tube could take. A short pause to replace the tube and the pack was back on the road towards Luter Shop and the loop back towards the finish.

In that short time the wind had decided to switch and was now coming from the opposite direction. That put the wind between the riders and the finish line. In addition the wind had gained strength.
John, Jill, Theresa, and Kevin were all still together as they rolled into the last rest stop of the day. This stop also signaled the last 10 miles of the route. John had a time constraint and elected to press on solo. The stop was brief as the others only needed to refill water bottles.

As the remaining three headed towards the finish line the wind and hills increased in intensity and duration. With about 5 miles to go they saw John alongside the road replacing his rear tube. He directed everyone to keep on going as he had everything under control.

Kevin, Jill, and Theresa did their very best trying to survive the last 3 hills into the finish. This did splinter the group slightly with each rolling into the finish one after the other.
Kevin was the first of them to reach the car only to find “Down Hill Racer”, and “Moving Violation” full rested, feed, and anxiously awaiting the others.

Those two also had written a note on a napkin and were planning on leaving it on Kevin’s Car. The note is attached as an image in this write-up.

Kevin also learned that the two had attacked the lead early on and on several occasions had established a long line of cyclists drafting them as they pushed at an average of 17 mph against the strong head winds. A great ride for those two.

Jill was the next into the parking lot and received High Fives from all those gathered around Kevin’s car.
She had ridden a solid ride attacked many hills, and ended the day with her longest ride of the season so far. WAHOO.
Theresa was the last of the group to glide into the finish. She had accomplished her objective of 50 miles at an average speed of 15 mph. This “Rose” is getting “Thorny”.

Sunday April 5th.
NO Cope
, more riders.

Not in attendance
Steve Cope – “Chiwawa”, “The Gnat”, “Angry Chipmunk”, “Capn Carbon”

Those in attendance
Riding with the “Thorns”
Jeffery Roussel – “Down Hill Racer”
Tim Travitz – “Slow Tim” – did such an enormous pull now has a section of road named for him.
Todd Spain – “TriTodd” – used the ride as a warm-up for his real ride of the day that took him to Sanford.
Jerry Dotson – “Coach”
Dashon – friend of “Coach”, first time with the group, another Triassholete.
Carolyn – Joined in just outside Apex to ride with “TriTodd”
Mike Prentice – second time with the group and one of “TriTodds” Triassholetes
Kevin Smit – “GOG”

Those riding with the “Roses”
Jae Brainard
Carrie Zelna – second time with the group, first time on her new bike, and could be a “thorn” in the making.
Don Zelna – second time with the group (riding with the “Roses” but more like a “Thorn”)
Julie – one of “TriTodds” Triassholetes – a potential “Thorn”
Sara – first time with the group, and one of “TriTodds” triassholetes – another potential “Thorn”
Theresa Smit – a “Rose” turning “Thorny”.

Kevin and Theresa were sitting in Bruggers enjoying their coffee and bagel when their attention was diverted to a lone figure, the size and shape of a very skinny rag tag Scare Crow, as it was tapping on the window from the outside. There in the window looking in with a SHIT EATING GRIN was “Coach” Dotson. “Coach” was one of the veteran riders with the group who had been missing in action for almost an entire season. He has provided many interesting stories during the rides of yester year.
Too bad Steve Cope was not here to enjoy “Coaches” hard charging riding style.
“Coach” had no problem joining Kevin and Theresa at the table to pick up where they left off last time he had ridden with the group. The Banter began immediately and never stopped. Slowly others began to arrive, as the parking lot was now the staging ground for several riders and their bikes.

From the group that was assembled there could have been 3 groups rather than just the “Thorns and Roses”. The third group could ride harder and longer than the “Roses” but be stretched potentially too much to hang completely with the “Thorns”. This group could be formed on some of the next rides and be known as the “Stems”. They could potentially go out with the “Thorns” and then let the “Thorns” push on ahead at a greater speed. Just need to make sure there would be a ride leader in the group who would work to ensure all were safe and not left stranded, and would be able to guide the group through the remaining miles to the end. Most likely that person would be “GOG” since he is stretched most of the time to hang with the real “Thorns”.

Introductions were made due to the large number of new or recently new riders to the group. Theresa took a group picture and emailed it from her phone to Steve Cope. This was to drive home the point that more folks show up when the know Cope won’t be on the ride.

Picture of the group.

The “Thons” left before the “Roses” had finished getting ready. This fact sets the stage for the type of ride that was too unfold that day. Kevin had considered a moderately paced 35 mile ride due to the 50 miler he and others did the day before. Somehow Kevin knew that plan had to be scrapped for a more aggressive route, pace, and distance.

The pace was already 17 mph as the “Thorns” wound thru the Preston neighborhood, turning left onto Carpenter Upchurch, and then diving back into the Cary neighborhood of White Oak Park and the corner of Holt and Jenks Carpenter. The first attack took place as usual on the climb up to Holt. The attack started with “Down Hill Racer” and ended with “Coach” and Dashon walking away from everyone else.
The pack was then direct left onto Holt and towards Apex central. The pack danced their way down old US 1 working to avoid its many potholes.
During that time frame “TriTodd” was seen making calls and visiting with his many TriAssholetes, one of which he was directing to meet us as we headed out of Apex on Hunter.

Once thru the potholes the pack was directed to make the right onto Hunter with “TriTodd” and Kevin leading the way. Kevin was already feeling the drained sensation in his legs as he had not yet recovered from Saturdays ride, let alone the hard ride he did on that previous Wednesday’s Mello Vello ride. This was looking like one of those rides that Kevin is famous for as he Bonks at or near the half way point. Too much wine Saturday night and not enough water to replenish from Saturday’s ride were also working against “GOG”.

The pace down Holt was brisk with “TriTodd” and “GOG” leading until the fast downhill prior to Highway 55. It was there that “Down Hill Racer” worked to live up to his name. He shot past the entire draft line to establish his dominance of any and all downhill sections. Thru the light at 55 and on into the hills of Holt where it changes names to Olive Chapel Road the pack continued to apply the power. It was at the top of a hill just prior to Kelly road that the group was joined by Carolyn. She had no problem jumping into the pace line and establish herself as a solid strong rider. She and “TriTodd” remained at or near the front of the pack from that point on.

As the hills increased in level of effort it was Dashon, “Coach” and “Slow Tim” who attacked the pack with “TirTodd”, Carolyn close behind. “GOG” and Mike, and “Down Hill Racer” were left to figure out how they could find any more resources to respond the increased speeds and multiple attacks.

A pause to find out directions allowed “GOG” to make contact with the lead group. “ What way What Way” was the anxious request from “Coach” and his friend. “right and immediate left, a Jig Jog onto Olive Chapel Extension” was the cry from “GOG” as he worked to get the information out between gasps of air. “Coach” laughed as he suggested to the group that a jig jog was Mid West speak for what they were instructed to do.
The group splintered immediately as “Coach”, his friend (his only friend) Dashon, and “Slow Todd” took off again. “TriTodd” and Carolyn were both responding to the attack and holding back just enough to ensure they could complete this ride and then do their ride on into Sanford. Remember “TriTodd” is only riding with the group as a warm-up and for the entertainment value. No one slowed at the next turn onto Tody Goodwin Road, they all assumed that was the direction to head and no one looked back to be directed any differently.

“GOG” was working hard not to lose any additional ground on the groups ahead of him as he stood with each climb, only to collapse back onto the seat near the crest of each hill.

The leading groups slowed and circled only long enough for Kevin to make it to the next possible turn onto Beaver Dam Road. Without any commands being delivered Kevin rolled thru the right turn onto Beaver Dam Road and pointed the group towards highway 64. Now in the Pull position Kevin worked to maintain a reasonable pace while also attempting to recover slightly from the previous hills and pace.
Kevin instructed the group to take a short break at the gas station in Wilsonville (corner of Highway 64 and Beaver Dam). Most remained on their bikes ready to launch into the next section. There was just enough time for one person to make a bio break while another purchased Gator Aid.

Kevin again took the pull position as he led the group left onto Highway 64 towards Lake Jordan and the rolling 5 mile stretch on the other side known as Big Woods. Kevin struggled to pull at 19 mph. He relinquished the rains to “TriTodd” who elected to be gentle on the group by maintaining the pace Kevin had established earlier. The pace allowed the pack to draft single file with all riders in tow.

Right turn onto Big Woods setup the always fast time trial like run down its length. Again “GOG” was in the Pull position even though he had not recovered from previous efforts. In his mirror he could see that all riders were riding comfortably behind him as he pushed the pace to 19 and then 21 mph. The hills on Big Woods roll beneath the riders wheels as regular as a set of waves roll under a surfer as they wait for the big one. Traveling down Big Woods in the direction chosen for the day put the larger set of hills at the end of the run. At one point “TriTodd” slid up next to Kevin and whispered in his ear “How about we ride up Jack Bennet”. Then just as quietly he slid back into place in the draft line. With about half of Big Woods now behind the pack Kevin was beginning to falter from the pace he had established. Coach’s friend pulled out of the pace line and rolled past Kevin. As he slid past he said “How about I give you a break”. Just as he pulled in front of Kevin “Coach’s” friend laid down the hammer. A gap was immediately generated forcing Kevin to jump on the peddles in an effort to pull the pace line across the gap. The pace was now 24 mph and climbing as the pack was also now climbing one of the larger/longer hills. Kevin was only able to hang on for 6 or 7 revolutions of the pedals before a gap began to appear. Kevin had to make a decision quickly to either jump the gap again or pull out of line in hopes that the next rider had a better chance to jump the gap to pull the pack back in contact with the lead rider. Kevin’s actions were too slow generating even a greater gap. In total defeat Kevin continued his drift back to the end of the pace line. There he saw “Coach” sitting comfortably riding as if to suggest he has yet been challenged on the ride. “Your friend said he wanted to give me a break, but what he really meant to say was that I was going too slow for him” Kevin shouted to “Coach”. “Coach” chuckled and then added insult to injury by informing Kevin and the rest of the draft line that his friend had just had leg surgery about 4 days ago. “Your Friend is a complete TRIASSHOLETE, unable to ride with others in a draft line” Kevin informed “Coach”. “TriTodd” announced that he clearly was not that type of TRIASSHOLETE since he is comfortable riding with the group. “NO, you are just a complete ASSHOLE” Kevin was quick to note. Everyone got a short chuckle from that observation. “Coach” then jumped out of line to chase down his friend. It was as if “Capn Carbon” was there. “Coach” exploded past the entire draft line and within several hundred yards was tucked in tight behind Dashon. His actions were the catalyst needed for others to also jump resulting in a splintering of the draft line into groups of 2 or 3 riders all attacking one another relentlessly till the end of Big Woods. Kevin could only watch in amazement as he was now facing the last two longest and steepest climbs of Big Woods.

As Kevin rolled over the last crest of Big Woods he could see the pack all standing at the intersection of Big Woods and Jack Bennet. Once Kevin was in sight “Coaches” friend turned right towards Lystra and Farrington as if to say let’s go, can’t wait on you any longer.

Kevin slowed to check the intersection and rolled on thru making the left turn to tackle the climb of Jack Bennet. “TriTodd” was truly an Asshole for suggesting it. Kevin checked in his mirror to see what was to unfold behind him. The pack was stalled for a moment expecting to see Kevin make a U turn and head back as if to say “Just Kidding”. He also noticed that “Coach” took off towards Farrington in an effort to catch his friend. The others slowly made their way towards Kevin as he was preparing for the long steady grind up Jack Bennet to 15/501. Just as the grade began “TriTodd” with both “Slow Tim” and Carloyn in tow easily rolled on past “GOG” who was now working to keep the rpms at or above 60 rpms.
At this point all he could do was drop his head to keep from seeing the challenge that lay ahead. With his head down Kevin’s attention was now focused on a lone spider that was building a web between the handlebars on Kevin’s bike. The speed at which Kevin was pushing his bike was so slow the spider had no problem navigating the span between the break hoods. Kevin also noticed from the corner of his eye the shadow of a butterfly that was racing past on its way towards the top of Jack Bennet.

Once at the top Kevin was able to navigate the U-Turn and join the others who were there long ahead of him and watching “TriTodd” fix a flat on his front tire. The spider had completed its web and the butterfly was seen resting on a tree branch as it also was observing the bike repair efforts.

Mike and “Down Hill Racer” were both throwing insults at Kevin for making them take that short 4 mile detour up Jack Bennet. Kevin just pointed at “TriTodd”.
The group had already ridden 32 miles at an average of 18 mph to this point in the ride. Kevin had originally planned on a nice 35 mile recovery ride. Mike commented that he was also hoping for that type of ride for the day.

After a very quick tire change “TriTodd” was back on the bike as if to suggest the rest for everyone was over. All responded by pushing off headed back down Jack Bennet. The coast downhill started off under control. Kevin in the lead momentarily as “TriTodd” again slid up next to him, put his arm over Kevin’s shoulder, and whispered in his ear “I won’t tell anyone else this but, Not only did I have a flat front tire on the entire climb, I kept the chain on the Big Ring for the whole climb”. More punishment from ASSHOLE Todd.

Just as the hill began to fall at a greater pace so did “Down Hill Racer”. Jeffery was in his biggest gear and spinning hard to max out the effect that gravity was happily supplying. This spurred a response from all but “GOG” who was still thinking about the spider, butterfly, and the last mental abuse just supplied by “TriTodd”. The group remained splintered until the flat section of road just before the turn onto Farrington. “Let’s take another quick stop at the gas station” was the directive from Kevin.
“TriTodd” bought a gallon of ice-cold water that everyone used to refill water bottles and then the pack was back onto Farrington headed towards Lake Jordan and roads leading home.

Kevin took the reins at the start only to relinquish quickly to “TriTodd” as he pushed past in the effort to push the pace back into the lower 20’s. “Lets make our next turn at Holland Chapel” was the request from “GOG”. “TriTodd” now in full control of the pace pulled the pack the entire distance to Martha Chaple. “Is this our turn”, “NO next one at Holland Chaple”, “OH, I know why you want to turn there”, “This is your section of road, let me pull out and give you the lead”, “No not yet, in fact if you want to stay in the pull position we can rename it TirTodd’s Crawl instead of Kevin’s Crawl” was the exchange that took place between “TriTodd” and “GOG” as they pushed on past Martha Chapel. No more words were spoken. Kevin stayed in the slipstream of “TriTodd” to measure and gauge when the best time to take his honored place at the pull position on the section of road nicknamed Kevin’s Crawl. “TriTodd” was still pulling the pack along at 19 mph, which is about the best Kevin can do on his own on the flats and was now mentally prepping for the climb up from Lake Jordan to Holland Chapel. The game he plays on this section is to slowly increase the pace from 16 or 17 upwards to 19 or 20 at the crest of the hill. Knowing he needed a long gradual run Kevin jumped on the pedals to help him pull past “TriTodd” and take the lead. Kevin concentrated on the job of pushing gradually harder responding to the pressure of the climb, and then turning up the volume gradually in that effort to increase speed. Today he dug deep knowing he was already wasted from the 50 miles on Saturday and the 40 miles completed so far this day. Kevin was pleased with the finished results of his run up the road. He maxed the pull out near the crest of the climb at 22 mph (briefly). “Nice Job for an OLD MAN” was the respond provided by “TriTodd” who not only sat easily on Kevin’s rear wheel, he also allowed Kevin to continue to THINK he dominates that section of road.

Kevin and “TriTodd” only needed to coast into the turn onto Holland Chapel to allow all to regroup.

Then as if possessed “SLOW TODD” took the pull position and did not falter the entire length of Holland Chapel. He pulled the pack along at a solid steady 21 mph. Holland Chapel is forever known now as “Travitz Tug-a-War”. Tim was having a stellar day on the bike riding as strong as ever.

The pack made the right turn onto 751 and the quick left onto Luter Shop at the Strawberry patch.
This is where “TriTodd” and Carolyn split company with the group and headed for their ride to Sanford. “Thanks for the warm-up ride”, Todd announced, as he and Carolyn stayed straight on 751.

The rest of the pack held up for a brief moment to let “Down Hill Racer” navigate the turns from Holland Chapel to Luter Shop. Just at that same moment a rider coming from Martha Chapel also made the turn onto Luter Shop. “COACH” cried Kevin in total surprise as the lone rider tried to zip past the group.
“You didn’t come down Lystra after your climb up jack Bennet, DID YOU!” “Coach” said with an all knowing and scolding tone. “I could not find my friend so I elected to climb up Lystra expecting you to be coming down it”, “I can assure you Lystra is still an ugly climb” he went on to confirm. “I even waited at the top, and told myself I would count to 100 before heading back down just to give you time to get there.” “When I reached 98 I decided to count to 200 before leaving”, he went on to add.
Everyone got a good laugh out of “Coaches” story and were happy that he did find us on the way home.
The group now fully assembled fell in line again behind “Slow Todd” who was still providing gargantuan Pulls for the pack to draft from. Kevin found himself in the middle of the pack as the group of cyclists continued down Luter Shop towards White Oak. In the distance they could see another group of cyclists headed towards them on a route that would likely take them to Lake Jordan. Looking to see if he could recognize anyone Kevin pulled out wide towards the middle of the road. “Dayn, Susann” Kevin shouted as he recognized at least two of the group that was headed out.

Kevin slid back into place in the draft line happy that “Slow Todd” was in control of the pack. Looking up the road Kevin recognized the county line. Without looking around he tried to sense where “Coach” was as well as what those in the lead were planning to do regarding the sprint for the county line. Hearing no gear shifting, seeing no change in pace or position of the riders Kevin made a break for the County Line. “I knew you were going to go for it” cried “Slow Tim” as Kevin powered past standing on the pedals making an effort to look like he was a real racer. Kevin was seen raising one hand in victory as he and he alone was the only rider attacking the county line.

The group continued their strong run down Luter Shop/Green Level. As they reached Yates Store Kevin asked that everyone slow, and circle while he dropped back to check on Jeffery who had since slid off the back of the pack. Kevin made contact and told Jeffery the expected route they would take towards home. “I am OK and I know my way home from hear” Jeffery was giving permission to the others to continue their charge towards home, and to let him fall off the pace.

With that the pack once again picked up the pace with “Slow Todd” still driving the pack at 19 and 20 mph all the way back to the finish. One of “Slow Todds” most powerful rides of the season, and maybe the best ride anyone can recall.

The “Thorns” rode 52 miles at 17.8 mph average.
Once the bikes were stowed away the riders headed to bruggers for continued chitchat and nourishment.
Kevin was seen glassy eyed as he was working to recover from the two days of solid biking.
“Coach” was not even winded, or tired. If we did a DNA test on him and “Capn Carbon” it may be discovered that they are Brothers, or came here to earth from the same distant planet.

The “Roses” had a solid ride coving 36 miles at a 15 mph pace. Theresa and Jae suggested that the newer riders were not challenged and that maybe there needs to be a middle group that rides somewhere in between the “Thorns and Roses”, this new group could be the “Stems”.
I suspect the “Thorns could shed a couple of folks (like Kevin) who struggle at the faster longer rides, but could do very well with the “Stems”. Kevin may not even qualify as a “Stem” he may have to form his own special group called the “Stubs”.