Saturday, December 04, 2010

Frost Bite 5 mile RTP Time Trial

The decision had been made a couple weeks earlier to conduct an unofficial self timed time trial for the Thorns N Roses group.

This would be the second one conducted in a series of Time Trial events.

The 29 degrees at 9 am kept only the foolish interested in the planned Time Trial.

Those braving the cold included:
Kevin Smit - GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa – she opted to go shopping instead of on the bike ride.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie – was struggling with stomach issues and wisely elected to go home and take care of himself vs riding in cold weather.
Todd McBride
Elise Cobb – stopping in Brueggers to visit the rest room. GOG asked her if she could be talked out of the ride and her reply was – “I am dressed and ready to ride”. Later on she learned that there are not enough layers to keep her warm. In fact she turned in to a “Popsicle” on the ride.  Sounds like a good nick name for this rider.
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Jim Cobb
Ginny Davis
Chris Stark
Cary Millichip – back from a successful Beach to Battleship Ironman event – well done SIR.
Shawn Richardson – the Green Flash
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom.

GOG had scoped out the route for the time trial and was excited to show all those in attendance what he had planned for them. GOG knew the route would be more challenging than what would meet the eye. The rolling hills would surprise the most fit and able bodied. Five miles does not seem far, but with a slight head wind, cold dry air filling the lungs, and the non-flat course, those five miles would feel more like ten.

Prior to the ride GOG produced a Thorns N Roses Liability Release for all to sign.  All riders are going to be asked to sign the Thons N Roses Liability Release form.  This form is designed to make it clear that all who participate in the weekend rides understand the inhearnt risk of riding a bike in traffic.

The group was guided out of the parking lot with all heading towards the standard Preston exit out of Cary. The Green Flash and Sonic Boom were already challenging each other to measure the others competitive spirit for the day’s ride. The average pace thru the Preston neighborhood was over 18 mph vs the normal 13 mph. GOG was already working harder than what he experiences near the end of a long ride, and the group was just warming up in their first 3 miles.

The group reassembled long enough for GOG to swing up from the rear and telegraph the next turn putting the pack on to Ron’s pull. No pace line formed as each cyclist was working to continue their warm up without over exerting themselves in anticipation of the Time Trial. Sonic Boom exploded out away from the rest in an effort to raise his body Temp. Later he was seen slowing down and falling back into the pack as he announced that his fingers had finally warmed up.

GOGs next commands put the cyclists onto Lewis Stevens and across Morrisville Carpenter and onto Koppers Road that then becomes McCrimmon Parkway. The route cross over Davis and then parallels Highway 54 as the pack turned left onto Church St.

Again the pace was strong with Sonic Boom and The Green Flash once again testing each other in an effort to see who was more ready for the days Time Trial event. The group then were directed thru and new neighborhood that wound its way back towards and eventually onto Davis for a short distance. A left off of Davis had the group riding on Hopson Road and among the 540 construction equipment. From here the group was directed left back onto Louis Stephens Dr. in the RTP area. It will be on this road that the time trial will be conducted.

GOG held the pack up just as they crossed Kit Creek Road.

GOG asked all to pay attention as he described the “Time Trial route, and how it would be conducted.

“Here is the start of your Time Trial”, “We will take this all the way to were it intersects Davis Drive”, “At that point you will make a U – turn around the median and return on Louis Stephens back to this location but on the other side of the median”. “The course is not closed so you will need to be aware of all traffic”. “Lets ride the route together and make note for yourselves on any obstacles, sharp turns, the intersection at Davis and how to safely navigate the U-Turn” , “I will reset my odometer and measure out five miles from this starting point”. “Think about what order you want to go in with each rider starting 30 seconds behind the previous one”.

The group road slower than the pace set to get to that location. GOG was still averaging 18 mph as he rode the course, thinking he felt pretty strong, and anticipating a 20+ mph average during the actual Time Trial. Upon completion of the trial run GOG was able to easily mark the five mile ending point.

“OK, Who goes first?” he asked.

“I will” chimed in Gary Milichip. “I am still working through recovery from the Ironman event” he added.

The order and times for each rider are as follows, with on 3 seconds separating the two fastest times over the five mile Individual Time Trial.

Gary Millichip              16:05
Chris Stark                   15:40
Ginny Davis                 17:26
Kevin Smit                  16:44
Elise Cobb                   16:58
Todd McBride            17:40
Jim Cobb                     15:18
David Bridenbaugh   14:15
Shawn Richardson    13:51 – Fastest time
Lee Duncan                13:54

Everyone enjoyed themselves and are looking for the next time this Time Trial will be conducted. The expectation is to do this at least two if not three times a year to help monitor progress. The 2 mile Time Trial Route will also be conducted two to three times a year. GOG is still working on a 10 to 12 mile route, however the logistics and traffic on that route make pose to great an issue to conduct the Time Trial.

Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom – completed the course having gone last. As he finished bodily fluids were streaming from his nose and mouth. He did not have the energy to wipe that away and the slime wiggled and jiggled as Lee attempted to communicate to the group that he rode as hard as he could have. He also expanded on how hard it is to do an individual Time Trial, and how he did not expect the course to be so challenging.

Elise was quietly shivering as she allowed each rider to complete the event, log their times, and then GOG explain the return route back to the finish expecting to have completed 36 miles for the days ride.
GOG looked over at Elise and urged the pack to head out since Elise was turning into a Popsicle. Poor Elise has none of the winter body fat stores that can protect her from the cold.

Stay tuned for more announced Unofficial Time Trials.
Also make sure you sign the Thorns N Roses Liability Release Form.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nov 13th ride

This write up is brought to you by Lee Duncan - SONIC BOOM.
Thanks Lee for the write up.

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s ride on 11/13/10.

42 Miles

17.2 Ave Speed

2,500 Calories

2,200 ft Ascent

Riders included:

Robert Renke (I think - apologies if name’s wrong)

Chris (I think - apologies if name’s wrong)

Rob Robertson – Top Rookie

David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh

Jim Cobb – Been riding with us for a month

Elise Cobb – Been riding with us for a month

Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom

Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower

Sorry if I missed anyone else.

A fantastic day for riding. A million thanks to Rob Robertson – Top Rookie for organizing the queue sheet and taking the initiative to ensure we had a great ride.

It was a cold morning with the temperature starting out in the mid to high 30s. But this wasn't the first frost ride for the fearless crew. In fact it was a marked improvement from the last Saturday with 40 degree temps and rain. Everyone was dressed appropriately and ready to go. The sun was out as we clicked in, which helped trick us into believing that our behavior was normal.

Top Rookie had us going on an entirely new way out of Cary and we all were excited to see what type of adventure was ahead. The group stayed huddled together, tapping our peddles around as we negotiated the city streets. It was fun looking at the people in the cars looking at us, as they wondered what would make a grown adult go biking early on a Saturday at these temps. The obvious answer is, if we need to explain it to you wouldn't understand. After stopping at a few lights, the group headed into Apex and the fun began. It was now time to exercise rule number 6: Never Take Yourself or those within Shouting Distance too seriously...the banter was on.

If there was a top honor for the most unruly, yet athletic rider of the day it had to be the distinguished gentleman David Bridenbaugh. He was attacking at every opportunity, pushing the pace and exhibiting the very essence of Thorndom. An unbelievably feisty performance through and through. Top Rookie was riding aggressively as well. One notable moment was when he attacked and passed the peloton while stating "I'm really impressed". This was a commanding and precisely executed use of banter. Jim Cobb and Elise Cobb rode very well, demonstrating that the couple that bikes together---bikes together.. Elise Cobb was the only Lady rider of the day and we appreciated having her with us. Dessert Flower had his fixie on and was pulling the group along and helping to organize the flock. He had several Olympic efforts, including a soloist run up by Tingen road/Apex Deliverance area where the group struggled to keep him in sight. Robert (man in black) was having an easy time with the tempo of the day, with the only exception of a slippery water bottle incident that sent him fetching. And Chris, Jim Shawn and David traded efforts in some secret game to beat Sonic Boom to a pulp (biker in the middle?)--knowing that he (SB) will chase anything even when he is spent. See graphical detail at the bottom.

Overall a fantastic ride with everyone enjoying themselves and arriving home safely.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Holloween weekend

This write up is brought to you by Rob Roberston - Top Rookie
Thanks Rob for providing this for the group.
here’s a recap of Saturday’s ride on 10/30/10.

Riders included:
Gary Millichep
Todd McBride
Robert Renke
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom
Shawn Richardson – In his Green Flash incarnation
Jim Coughlin – Domestique
Chris (I think - apologies if name’s wrong)
James Lavin – Nickname suggested, see below.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie

Sorry if I missed anyone else.

Everyone milled about until around 8:40. We talked about the route and decided to do the Big Woods loop, but without Lystra this time around. This, we figured, would give us ~45 miles. Weather was quite brisk, and everyone was taking extra care to bundle up.

We started off and ran the basic route to highway 55. At this point Domestique, still on his heavy hybrid, decided that he didn’t want to try to keep up with the stems/thorns and peeled off to ride a shorter, more relaxed distance. We offered to have someone ride with, but he insisted he was okay, so we continued on course. Things picked up very quickly after crossing 55, and we raced toward the lake. Todd and Marianne did a great job of keeping up with the group; Todd in particular was riding like a madman, and he burned several matches sprinting toward the Chatham County line. Your humble correspondent flatly refused to joined in this sprint, as he was encountering severe flashbacks from his tire popping experience the week before. We waited at appropriate points for everyone to catch up and rolled into Lystra gas station as planned.

During the break at the gas station, James announced that he was freezing and heading back. Attempts to encourage, then beg, then reason, then insult him into continuing on had no affect; his mind was made up. Further, more intense encouragement, pleading, reasoning, and insulting ensued, but was again ineffectual. At some point during the proceedings, Green Flash suggested that we get James a “widdle blankie”, or, better yet, a SNUGGIE! From there, things went downhill quickly… we immediately began thinking up the appropriate designs for James’ snuggie. An NCSU snuggie was suggested, then a Carolina snuggie, then (appropriately) someone shouted, “I’ve got it! He needs a TREK SNUGGIE!!!” This got us on a whole different tack, suggesting Shimano Snuggie, Gyro snuggie, carbon-fiber snuggie, and other, cycling-related snuggie designs. People who were pumping gas into their vehicles thought we were nuts, but I think everyone was laughing too hard to care. And, in the end, James still went back on his own – to a chorus of, “You Wuss!!!” Reports that Lee Duncan is looking at investing into a niche market of biking related snuggie designs could not be substantiated. As a result of this incident – your reporter suggests that James Lavin can only be known henceforth as – SNUGGIE-Boy!

From there, we headed to Big Woods, and on to Wilsonville without further incident. Todd continued to impress, but looked a little tired at the next rest stop and Marianne was starting to flag a bit also (even though she had ridden strong up to this point). These two really did a great job, hanging with the thorns. The thorns left Wilsonville, with Todd and Marriane running a little slower behind them. Sonic Boom led the charge, and pushed a 20+ pace most of the way back. In fact, he was getting pretty annoying about the whole thing by sprinting ahead, then waiting, then sprinting ahead, then waiting, etc. Unfortunately for him, we finally found out his stamina/riding secret. After catching up to him at the Strawberry Patch, we noticed him pouring a suspicious white powder from a well worn baggie into his water bottle. We suspected that he had been doing this each time he had sprinted ahead. We crowded around to get a better look; but he wouldn’t let us see and definitely refused to share. Accordingly, we can only conclude that he has gone over to the dark side along with Contador, Landis, et al and that he is using a Columbian imported, performance enhancing product. Shocked by this revelation, we proceeded on and came in the standard route through the Sisters, etc. The thorns ended up running 46 miles at almost 18mph. Todd and Marianne came in a couple minutes behind. Good ride on a chilly day.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oct 16 and 17 weekend rides.

Saturday Oct 16.

Those in attendance included
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Ron Clanton – Just Ron
Tracy Clanton – Rose Pedal
Deb Hollis – Two Saddles (Just back from her Triathlon )
Gary Millichip
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon – on his fixie
Todd McBride
Shawn Richardson – The Green Flash
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Jae Brainard
Mary Ann Feagan
Robert Renke
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Paul Franklin – First time riding with the group
Kim Barker – First time riding with the group.
Max Ivanovich
Kiki – Now with a nickname – read to find out her new name.

The Smits arrived with just enough time to pull the bikes out of the van and for GOG to run around collecting names of the participants. He briefly welcomed the new first timers, said a few quick hello’s before the Roses took off ahead of the Thorns and Stems. The Roses are far more anal about the start time than the Thorns. The Thorns were all still chit chatting as the Roses rolled away.

GOG had planed to try and keep the Thorns and stems together as much as possible during the days ride. He was not going to divulge any of the planned route. The Thorns have been riding the various routes long enough that even with a slight hint of were the group might be going they can mostly deduce the rest of the way, especially if told how many miles the day’s route is expected to cover.

The Thorns pulled out of the parking lot with GOG in the lead. The group remained well under control as he directed to riders through the standard exit route from Cary. During this time GOG did share a little more information about how the group rides with the First Timers. They were ready for what ever the group might do and showed little concern for the fact that the route can be altered based upon situations that may occur during the ride.

GOG continued to remain in control as he commanded the pack towards Jenks Carpenter and its long hill up to Holt. The attack on the hill unfolded with GOG finding himself able to capitalize on the momentum from the previous down hill run. This put him in an unusual spot near the front of the attacking group. This surprised even Capn Carbon who shared these kind words with GOG as Capn scampered past him “nice job old man”.

What GOG did not know is that the majority of the pack was held up due to a near accident. Apparently one of the cyclists clipped the lip of the road where it transitions between blacktop and the cement curb area. Their front tire was violently sent into a wobble that was miraculously controlled by the rider with assistance from Top Rookie who was there for the rider to bump into, which actually kept the rider from falling over. A great job of bike handling by those two.

While all riders were finishing their climb Capn Carbon demanded to know were the ride goes from that point. “I have a time constraint and need to be back by 11:30”, “I need to know where the route goes so I can turn back early if needed” he demanded.

GOG knew at that moment he was no longer in control of the Thorns. The information he was about to share would launch the Thorns into speeds that would shatter his hopes of keeping the Thorns and Stems together, and the plans that GOG had for the group were just about to be thrown out the window.

“We head into Apex, DO NOT Do Tingen.”, “Instead turn right at Hunter, stay on it all the way to the Church”. This was all GOG wanted to share in the hopes that the Thorns would reassemble with the Stems at that point in the ride.

“OK but then were do we go” demanded Capn Carbon.

“To Toddy Goodwin, and then Wilsonville” GOG said in a low defeated tone.

He did not want to share any more information about the ride from that point. His intent of only sharing that much was to force the Thorns to then wait there at Wilsonville to allow the Stems to regroup with them. From there GOG was planning to take the group down 64 to the Parker Creek Camp group where he and Mother Theresa had set up camp. They would then invite anyone who wanted to comeback after the ride to go boating and sit around the camp fire. GOG also expected to then direct the pack onto Big Woods and then the route home.

Well none of that happened.

Before the Thorns entered Apex the split occurred. Mother Theresa was having a bad biking day and GOG was not going to leave her to ride by herself. He was joined by Todd McBride and #1 in the Bush to form the stems and keep an eye on Mother Theresa.

The stems did not even ride together much. Each rider found their own pace as they responded to the various hills and stop lights, with Mother Theresa finding all the red lights along the way. At no point did the stems loose site of each other and did regroup at the church at the end of Olive Chapel road. The Thorns were no where in sight. After a short rest they then set out towards Tody Goodwin and as they did so they again each fell into their own pace, riding solo but within site of each other. The Stems paused at the end of Tody Goodwin before making the turn towards Wilsonville. The run towards Wilsonville did see a temporary draft line by the Stems with Mother Theresa slowly falling off the pace.

NO ONE, not a single biker was at Wilsonville when the Stems arrived.

No point in dragging this ride on any further, GOG thought to himself. He adjusted the route to head back towards Cary. He continued to ponder his options. Should he direct them down Horton Pond? No, it is two rough and hilly, and then there is the challenge of Green level and its traffic and ugly hill. Should he do Martha’s Chapel? No, there is no point in adding any extra miles.

OK then we will do the boring relatively flat Holland Chapel, then Luter Shop and on in.

But how best to finish the ride from the edge of Cary. Do we do Nicole’s Roller Coasters, or Sears Farm? How about something we have not done in a long time? Lets do UPCHCUK but from the opposite direction. That is actually a fun fast down hill and not a very tough climb back up to Carpenter Fire Station. That is it. We will do UPCHUCK in reverse. GOG now had a plan that made him feel like he was offering something special for the riders.

The group of Stems completed their ride in the same fashion. Each rider riding solo but well in sight of each other.

The Stems completed 41 miles at a 16.4 avearge

The Thorns ended up also with around 40 miles at a 18+ average.

Items to note regarding the Thorns ride. Prior to arriving at Wilsonville the Green Flash blew a spoke on his rear wheel. They took just enough time to find the suspect spoke. It had disintegrated and was no longer physically attached to the hub or rim. Only a gap in the spoke pattern remained. They tweaked the spokes that surrounded the gap in an effort to true the wheel enough for the Green Flash to continue his ride.

At Wilsonville Kim Barker asked the Green Flash “What spoke is missing?”

“The one that is no longer there” was his snide remark.

“I can see you are a Smart Ass” she snipped back.

An excellent exchange of BANTER. Well done you two.

It is all about the Banter not the Bike.

While sitting around after the ride Top Rookie told GOG he had a great nickname for Kiki. She was sitting there and insisted he tell everyone. “No, No, No”. “I will let GOG know of my suggestion later and he has the final VOTE on the name”. Rob said with great joy. “Kiki will just have to wait for the next ride write-up to learn what her nickname is”. GOG said with a big teasing grin on his face.

Top Rookie giggled with delight.

Later that weekend.

“So here is my suggestion for Kiki’s Nickname” Rob said softly and with great excitement.

A short pause as Rob looked in all directions to make sure he was not overheard.

TWIKLE TOES” he shouted.

Another short pause.

“Perfect”. GOG announced. “It is because of her peddling technique”. GOG said to confirm how Top Rookie came up with the nickname.

“Yea, she peddles with her toes down and her heals up”. “You ride behind her and you can see the entire bottom of her shoes”. “TWINKLE TOES”. Rob Shouted again.

A high five was exchange between the two in honor of Kiki’s New Nickname.


Sunday Oct 17th.

A small gathering of Thorns and Roses.

Today maybe the pack will hang together.

Those in attendance included:
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Karen Robertson – Rose Bud, Billy Goat Gruff, Unstable, ……
Todd McBride
Kevin Smit – GOG – on his fixie
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Sondra Devincenzo
Ann Munn
James Lavin
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Shawn Richardson – Killer Bee on his black and gold Fixie.

“OK James and Shawn not sure what you are looking for but you are the only Thorns here today.  I was planning a casual 25 - 30 mile ride with everyone hanging together. If you are interested in jumping in with CSH let me know and I can plan the route to accommodate that. Otherwise I am planning a different route.” GOG was heard as he tried to warn and accommodate the Thorns at the same time.

“Not looking to go hard, not needing to jump in with CSH” James explained to GOG, as Shawn just nodded in agreement.

GOG knew his route would be followed as he had planned for, and that all riders would stay together providing for a nice relaxed ride of about 30 miles.

The riders were slow to warm up and slow to start the Chit Chat. Before the pack had left the round-about in Preston the pace was gaining speed as was the chit chat.

GOG directed the pack towards Highway 55 on High House and into the Summerset neighborhood. This path put the bikers onto the green way system that goes thru a tunnel under Highway 55. In that tunnel plan to hear Primordial Screams from several of the Bikers, GOG being one of those who loves to send out a high pitched scream that echoes off the walls of the tunnel.

Out of the tunnel and onto a couple of miles of the scenic greenway system. The Thorns and Roses demonstrated great respect for all those sharing the path. The rode well under control, announcing all runners, walkers, bikers, and providing plenty of room for safe passage.

At the end of the Green Way the riders found themselves on Edgemore avenue that would then lead them to Sears Farm Road followed by Green Hope High School Road, and the way out of Cary towards all points west. It was hear that GOG expected the Two Thorns to attack each other (Top Rookie is also a Thorn, but is expected to show constraint since his wife is riding with him). They did not but did slowly pull others at ever increasing speeds. The pack made it to the next turn at Green Level only to turn just in front of a pack of bicyclist who had left from the Bicycle Chain location in Cary. GOG was in the lead position and watched in his mirror as the double pace line of the Bicycle Chain group swallowed up and then spit out all the Thorns and Roses who had just made the turn onto Green Level.

As the last rider of the Bicycle Chain cleared the front of the Thorns and Roses GOG was surprised to see that none of the Thorns jumped to take advantage of this double pace line.

It did not take long for Top Rookie, Killer Bee, and James to slide past GOG. They said nothing. They then slowed and looked around as if to ask. “Can we GO can we Please”

“Lets regroup just after the county line Sprint” GOG shouted out to them, giving them permission to mix it up a bit. Instantly all three Thorns were working together to close the gap on the Bicycle Chain riders.

“I hesitated too long, can’t catch them now” Todd told GOG.

“You can catch the Thorns, They will then pull you into the pace line” explained GOG as they both watched the Thorns in pursuit of the pace line. In no time at all the three Thorns were safely tucked into the end of the double pace line.

GOG and the others found the Three Thorns gliding along beyond the county line. “Thanks for waiting up guys we will regroup just at the next road”.

A short break and the pack was directed to make a right off of Luter Shop towards Mount Pisgah. Jae was the first to attack the hills of Mount Pisgah. She was followed closely by #1 in the Bush. GOG and Killer Bee both had to let loose on the down hills as their Fixie’s demanded high rpms at the peddles, only to then demand the two stand up and pump hard on the up hills.

At the end of Mount Pisgah both Killer Bee and James were looking for more miles than what was planned. They elected to head towards Lake Jordan as the other turned towards RTP and Cary. Everyone said their goodbyes and wished them a safe fun ride.

“Next turn at the Tobacco Trail”, “Karen’s Crash Alley” GOG announced. “I have crashed on that path too” Jae informed the group.

All slowed and navigated thru the narrow gates that keep cars off but allow for bikes and walkers onto the Tobacco Trail (Crash Alley). Again all riders were respectful of the multi use path. Today’s ride on Crash Alley had all riders completing that section without any bumping or crashing.

At old Kelley they were directed to turn right and head towards Cary, however GOG was planning on turning all towards RTP once they had made it to the first left turn off of Old Kelley.

The riders enjoyed doing this section of a regular route in reverse. The scenery and Hills are so different when riding in opposite directions.

After the run across highway 55 the pack reassembled at Lewis Stevens. “This would be another great spot for a time trial” Jae was heard explaining. “Yep, I had already mapped it out on Google Earth, Just not sure were to start.” “If we start here and do an out and back we do not have to worry about stop lights” GOG went on to clarify his idea.

“Jae can you set your computer and measure the distance one way to the end of this section for us, then we will know how long an out and back time trial would be”. GOG went on to ask.

“Jae you want more time trials?”, “I did not know you were a competitive person” GOG said in amazement. “Just with myself” she said with a smile and with total conviction.

Everyone rode that section of Lewis Stevens. It is wide, smooth, had several long gradual inclines. Perfect for an out and back time trial location. Look for it in the future. Another Sunday Time Trial opportunity.

At the end of Lewis Stevens everyone agreed the road would make a great time trial spot. Jae then took the lead as she suggested everyone stay on Davis to the second stop light and then turn right back towards Cary. Most everyone already knew were they were and how to get back home from there.

On the way back the group encountered another cyclist on the road. It was Peng Mok who has ridden with the group a couple of time before. He was just starting his day’s ride. He rode with the pack for about a mile or two before turning towards points west as the pack was turning east towards the Preston neighborhood and the last 2 or 3 miles of their ride.

The Sunday ride covered a relaxed and entertaining 25 ish miles.

James and Shawn planed for a total of 50 miles when they left the pack on Mount Pisgah.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oct 9 and 10 A surprise visit and a Sunday Time Trial

Saturday 10-9-1010

Surprise visit by Down Hill Racer.
in attendance:
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Jeff Roussel – Down Hill Racer – stopped in to say hello – he was visiting family in the area having just moved to Virginia this last summer. It was great to spend what little time we had to catch up.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Andy Hartsfield – Just back from his bike ride in the Czech Republic
Barb Hartsfield – also just back form the bike ride in the Czech Republic
Gary Millichep (spelling is questionable)– 2nd time riding with the group – Gary is training for the Beach to Battleship Triathlon.
Todd McBride.
Robert Renke
Jim Cobb – 2nd time riding with the group
Elise Cobb – 1st time riding with the group.
Max Ivanovich – 1st time riding with the group – he is tapering for a Triathlon in a couple of weeks.
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower
Todd Pechner – Slow Todd - Joining the group as they headed out of Preston.

The day was shaping up to be a great day to ride. The group was eager to see were GOG was planning to take them. He started off suggesting the ride would be between 40 – 45 miles. He also went on to give hints as to what roads they would likely be traveling.

The group all rolled out of the parking lot and worked to remain in a tight pack early. However they were missing Mother Theresa and the Harfields who were there to watch out for Theresa who was realizing she still had the covers on her cleats.

The trailing troupe was quick to catch up as GOG was effective in slowing the pack down in an effort to keep all riders together for as long as possible on this days ride.

All made the light at Davis drive. GOG and Top Rookie were pleased that Mother Theresa was also able to successfully time the green light. Mother Theresa is working on obtaining a second nick name. Several that are appropriate include: “Last Off the Line”, or “Slow to Start”, or “I Was Not Ready”.

As the pack rolled thru the round-a-bout in Preston they were met by Slow Todd who was able to hang out there waiting to the Thorns&Roses to swing thru his neighborhood. Slow Todd had limited time to ride due to family commitments. He was using the ride to help him recover from his recent Triathlon event were he placed high in his age division. Only GOG would be in a higher age division but that has no impact on the fact that Slow Todd was proud of the job he did and rightfully so.

The group was directed to make a left onto Lewis Stevens followed by another left onto Carpenter Upchurch. The group all make the swing towards High House and the next quick turn out of Cary. All anticipated the hill and the expected attacks as the riders made their way to the stop sign at Holt. The group did not have to wait long at all the group to assemble at the top of the hill. From the advantage of those still climbing the hill it appeared that Dessert Flower and Sonic Boom battled it out for the King of the Hill with Dessert Flower taking the win.

The pack was then directed to turn left onto Holt towards Apex. A pace line was formed as this section of road is narrow and heavily trafficked. At the next stop sign GOG was checking out his gear shifting that had been demonstrating issues, as a car pulled out around the pack and made a left turn. “What You Can’t Wait” GOG shouted at the driver. At the same time GOG noticed the driver was pointing to the front of the pace line as if to say “I am sorry they told me to”.. At the same time Desert Flower was trying to inform GOG. “ I told her to go, it was clear” he said in a feeble attempt to calm down GOG who is known for his quick response to inconsiderate drivers.

“Rats I did not notice you had asked them to swing on by, Sorry.” GOG said realizing he is always ready to confront an inconsiderate driver.

The pack rolled thru a left turn onto Old Jenks once all traffic was clear.

“You need to command your rights” Sonic Boom said in support of GOG’s earlier tirade.

The Thorns N Roses were now all making the right turn onto Old Salem as they headed into the bowels of APEX and the sections of road used as staging for the “TINGEN SALT FLATS”. That is a section of road heading out of Apex that allows all riders and drivers to set land speed records. Today was no exception for both Bicycle Riders and the Porsche Club. Just as the Thorns N Roses assembled into a perfect single file draft line they were startled by the Porsche club who launched themselves and there mighty sports cars into high gear as they zoomed past the riders on the left. There was no “ON YOUR LEFT’ as each cars gear box silently tapped the next gear.

This ignited the Thorns to take pursuit. The pace line was relegated to the fate of a slinky as the Thorns pulled at the lead and the Stems responded as best they could to contract and catch up from the rear.

“Make the first Left Turn, Do NOT go all the way to the end of Tingen” Shouted GOG from somewhere in the middle of the pace line.

Those in the front demonstrated a keen sense of hearing as they swept sharply into a left hand turn. “Hold Up and we will re-group” GOG Gasped again from somewhere in the pace line.

Tic Toc Tic Toc.

There is Elise and Marianne

Tic Toc Tic Toc Tic Toc Tic Tic tic tic tic tic tic

There comes theresa.

All are back together again.

GOG rolled toward the lead riders to once again provide the vital information on the next set of turns. “GOG, YOU better come back here and see your Wife” a voice from within the back of the pack warned. Immediately GOG turned and slowly glided towards the back of the stopped pelaton.

“What are the next set of turns, Where are we Going, I need to know” Demanded Mother Theresa.

“Stay straight on this road until it ends, then take a right and stay on it till it ends, That will put you at Friendship. Then make the left and stay on it till it ends. That will put you onto New Hill Holliman. Then make the right at Sharon Harris, and follow it all the way to the end at Old US 1, then take a left on Old US 1 to Bonsil, where we will turn right onto Beaver Creek Road. Take that all the way to Wilsonville and the stop at the gas station” GOG responded.

“How do we Get to Friendship?” Mother Theresa barked in frustration.

“Stay on this to the end, then make a right. Stay on that until it ends, that is were you will find Friendship” GOG went on to reiterate.

All eyes and ears were focused on that exchange.

“Divorce in two weeks” was an announcement from within the pack.

“I get the boat, I get 4 of the 12 bikes, We will sell the rest and split the proceeds” came from within the Thorns N Roses.

“We need to let GOG keep the RV, That will be his new address, once Mother Theresa is done with him in court” were the only kind words shared from within the Thorns and Roses.

GOG rolled passed the taunting crowd to suggest it was time to move on.

At the end of Old Holly Springs Apex Road the group paused to allow all who were still struggling with the hills to catch up. “I have to turn around here, Got family obligations” Slow Todd said as he made a U turn back towards Cary.

Dessert Flower was observed practicing his Track Stand while waiting for others to regroup. ‘You need to teach me that ” begged GOG. “Just Turn your front Wheel” Dessert Flower spouted.

Somehow that is not enough information for GOG to work with.

The group hesitated only long enough to see if GOG and Mother Theresa would have an additional exchange. None took place so the pack quickly launched themselves onto Holly Springs New Hill Road. Little did the group know that waiting for them were Pot Holes the size of Manhattan and cars passing on the left blocking the only safe passage around those pot holes.

On top of all that the pace was now well beyond that seen on the “Tingen Salt Flats”. There was no time to shout or point out the obstacles. Each rider had to be fully focused on the speed, traffic, and multiple road hazards to ensure their own survival. Amazingly all made it to the next regrouping spot at the turn onto Friendship. It was here that GOG made the decision to cut the Thorns loose. He provided ample description of the planed route. Acknowledgement was given back to him that the Thorns would have no issues following the expected route. “I will sweep and bring along the others” GOG announced. ‘Taking one for the team” Jim Cobb responded in appreciation for the sacrifice GOG was making for all.

Those electing to ride with the stems included:
Mother Theresa
#1 in the Bush
Todd McBride
Andy Hartsfield
Barb Hartsfield.

All others were already drooling with the thought of being turned loose to attack each other without having to stop and wait on anyone else.

The rest of the ride for the Stems was smooth with no real road hazards or drivers to content with. Andy and Barb were questioned non stop by GOG regarding their fantastic bike tour of the Czech Republic. They did a fair amount of off road/dirt trails which explained the use of mountain bikes by the tour company that organized the ride.

Marianne “#1 in the Bush” pulled the Stems along a large portion of Beaver Creek with GOG taking over the rains for the last couple of miles.

Both Andy and Barb rode very strong demonstrating the value of a week long bike tour.

Todd McBride was always in GOG’s mirror as if to let him know “You can not drop me”

A very strong performance by all riders that day completing 50 miles at averages of 17 and 18.6 for the two groups.

SUNDAY Oct 10th

Casual ride with surprise TIME TRIAL.

Yes a TIME TRIAL. The first ever unofficial self timed non-sponsored TIME TRIAL with the Thorns N Roses. GOG has been struggling with the idea of having a series of Time Trials through out the year for the group to enjoy. He has explored several routes to hold the Time Trials on. Each route would present different distances and terrain. The major issue holding GOG back from launching this concept is LIABILITY. He can not afford the cost of insurance, police, medical staff, and course marshals to help ensure everyone’s safety. To bad great ideas come with risk to the individual who wants to present them. It would not be fair to GOG’s family if they were sued because of thier Great Idea.

Any Lawyers out there want to chime in on how to protect the person or persons who would suggest this to the group.

GOG is even concerned about the fact that others may view him as the ride organizer/leader. The truth is that GOG and Capn Carbon got together several years ago to re-ignite their biking passion. Others caught wind of their rides and asked to join in. those people then told others. Then Steve Sparano “Sporadic Steve” created a Blogg and gave GOG author privileges and suggested they write about the weekend rides. Then the group decided it needed a name. First name was “Testosterone and Roses” This was fitting at the time since none of the ladies wanted to ride hard and attack each other. They were more interested in a social ride that also challenged them physically, more a Smell the Roses type attitude. Then several strong Triathlete training women came out and challenged the “Testosterone” group. This forced a name change to a more fitting :Thorns N Roses” that exists today. This ride group is not formally managed by any one person. There is no fee to ride. It is a gathering of like minded bicyclists. When GOG and Capn Carbon are not in attendance the ride group continues to ride and natural leaders within the pack guide the day’s activities.

SO in a court of LAW can there be an individual found to be responsible for what happens on any given day. What is the line that can not be crossed to keep this group fun and interesting and challenging and safe, without fear of someone being sued?

Well GOG took that risk on this Sunday’s Ride.

Those in attendance included:
Kevin Smit - GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Todd McBride
Tim Divinney – The Love Train – Riding his wifes bike – his is broken and being worked on by the Cycle Surgeon.
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Jeff Giordano – Claim Jumper
Jae Brainard – arrived on bike
Shawn Richardson – Killer Bee – arrived on his black and gold fixie. The ladies said he needed a new name for the all Black clothing he was wearing. They want to call him “Tarantula” He does have long legs and arms and did look very menacing.
Kaleo Bullard
Chris Beland

“OK everyone this will be a slow relaxed ride under 30 miles, There will be at least a 2 mile stretch where you will have the opportunity to go as fast as you want”, GOG announced to the group. No more was shared until Tarantula pushed the issue. He always wants to know as much as possible of what the route, distance, and terrain might have in store. GOG did confide in him that he has planed an unofficial Time Trial effort for anyone wanting to give it a try.

The pack rolled out of the parking lot and onto High House.

The pace was well maintained. GOG can only attribute that to Tarantula waiting to see when and where the Time Trial Section would take place. Tarantula was happy to ride in the middle of the pack riding smoothly and quietly in anticipation of when he could be unleashed. The other riders spent their time chit chatting and trusting that GOG would hold true to his word that the day would be casual and short, and if they wanted to they could go fast for a short stretch. “Must be some fun down hill” they were thinking to themselves, and only if I want to do it”, they went on to tell themselves.

The route to the start of the Time Trial was as direct and flat as GOG could engineer. It included the bike path through the Sears Farm Neighborhood, out onto Green Hope High School Road, and eventually onto Luter Shop. There was only a short 30 yard sprint to the county line forced by Tarantula who was riding next to GOG at the time. Tarantula could not help himself even knowing GOG would never be a match for him

The Love Train glided up to GOG and said “I was not even paying attention, when I realized he was sprinting for the line it was too late” GOG only smiled knowing that the Love Train like all the other Thorns just can not help themselves. Like the movie “UP” when the dog sees a Squirrel it completely distracts him and he must respond “SQUIRREL!”. The Thorns are like that dog. When an attack occurs or a county line approaches, they must “ATTACK”.

The group rolled on in the cool dry October day, gliding up and over the small undulations in the road. “Hold Up Here Everyone” GOG shouted from the middle of the pack. “Here?, Why Here, Who are we waiting on” Growled the Tarantula.

“OK, Sweep the rocks out of the intersection, Notice this turn, Make sure you look left long before arriving at this sport, You will be making a right turn here, Please be careful and look for cars and other bikers, This is not a closed course, You will be coming from that direction as you do your 2 + mile TIME TRIAL effort”. There it was. GOG had just exited some, confused others, and challenged all to an individually timed 2 mile effort on their bike.

“Follow me to the next turn, make note of any obstacles in the road” GOG went on in his effort to ensure all understood the risks they may be electing to encounter for themselves.

The pack rode on with a total focus of everything GOG had suggested they focus on.

At the next stop sign GOG announced the start and stop location for the 2.2 mile loop they would be doing if they chose to time themselves in the first ever Thorns N Roses, non-sponsored unofficial, non-sanctioned, open course Time Trial.

Follow this link to see the course.

“OK, no one needs to do this, You are on your own, You are responsible for your own safety, you will time yourself” GOG again said in an effort to cover his ass.

“ will go in reverse order with the least experienced to the most capable” GOG was trying to be politically correct.

“I will take the challenge to call off the order, It may not be politically correct but here goes”.
“Kaleo you have only ridden a few times, you will go first”
“Jae is next”
“Followed by Theresa”
“#1 in the bush next”
“KIKI is next”
“Then Todd”
“ I will follow Todd”
“Love Train you are after me”
“Then Claim Jumper”
“Chris and Shawn you two can battle for who goes last”.

“Anyone who wants to share your time I will log it, or you can send me an email so I can share, if you do not want to share your time or you do not want to do the Time Trial that is perfectly fine” GOG again made sure no one was being forced into something they did not want to do.

“Sure don’t do this, There will be no mention of it in the BLOG, and you will not be the subject of any Banter” Claim Jumper and The Love Train were both taunting the pack.

One at a time each rider jumped off the line. Each waiting there turn by allowing the rider ahead to make it around the curve and out of sight before they then jumped on the peddles.

Those with the greatest skill off the line included:

Mother Theresa – who was clipped in – held in place by GOG – and upon the first rotation of the crank set realized she was in a very big gear and almost lost her balance. This was followed by her famous high pitched scream.

#1 in the Bush had a similar start but with out the scream.

KIKI observed the previous starts and elected to NOT have anyone hold her in place. She started with one foot off the peddles. The excitement of trying to accelerate quickly created a situation that had her free foot slip past the peddle. She then had to slow, look, and clip in before truly leaving the start line. She giggled at the effort.

Here are the riders in order of start and their times.
Kaleo - 7 +
Jae – 7 min
Mother Theresa – 8 min
#1 in the bush – 7:24
KIKI – 6:30
Todd – 7:15
GOG – 6:14
Love Train – 6:25
Claim Jumper – 6:1399999999999
Chris – 6:15
Tarantula – 5:50

All riders commented on how bad they felt for the first ½ to ¾ of a mile. How the legs ballooned up and it took that first mile to get into the proper cadence.

“We need to do this at least once a Month” KIKI squealed in delight.

Note #1 in the Bush had to visit the bushes again on this ride.

Once the time trial was complete the pack all rode together towards the start finish completing 28 total miles.

Please follow this link to the draft of the Thorns N Roses Jersey.
Thorns N Roses Draft Jersey layout

Be aware it is a 15mb pdf file.  There will be some minor tweeks and we are still working on the proper color scheme.  Cost is still unknown at this time.
Plan on letting us know if you want one and what size.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 18 and 19 weekend rides

Saturday Sept 18.

Those in attendance included:
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG
Jen Serino – Slow Jen Fizz
Jeff Giaordano – Claim Jumper
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Patty Hunt
Todd McBride
Erica Mantcuso
Wendy Just
James Lavin
Angie Chiatello
Sondra Devincenzo
Ann Munn
Jennifer Omlor – first time riding with the group - member of the NC State Triathlon Club
Kaleo Bullard
Marianne Mahn
Cyndi Hartman – first time riding with the group
Wendy Duscurry
Jim Tierney
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower - on his white and red and blue Fixy
Robert Renke
Heidi Van Brocklin
Sandy Parrish
Andy Brogden
Lori Brogden - led the Roses on the days ride
Steve Marks
Leee Dunken – Sonic Boom

The planed route for the Thorns and Stems was to be 50 – 55 miles with an out and back on Big Woods.

The Roses were missing their normal leaders so GOG asked Lori Brogden to provide that leadership. She was more than happy to play the role. GOG and Lori then discussed the possible route for the Roses and agreed that they could take the same path out to Lake Jordan as the Thorns and Stems were taking. That would give the Roses a solid 35 – 40 miles with a light peppering of hills.

GOG then welcomed all the cyclists and explained to those riding with the group for the first time how the group works together to help ensure no one rides alone. He then announced that Lori would be leading the Roses and made sure those looking to ride that style of ride would know who to follow out of the parking lot.

With that short pre ride brief the pack was off.
The Thorns set a blistering pace right from the exit of the bruggers parking lot.

The split of Thorns and Stems was immediate. GOG was working with the stems to ensure all made the correct turns thru the Preston Neighborhood, as the Thorns never looked back and were quickly out of sight. The stems were powering thru the Preston Neighborhood at speeds well over 18 mph. This is usually were everyone warms up at about 13 – 14 mph. For some reason on this day all were caught up in a need for speed.

GOG had communicated to the group prior to leaving the start what his intentions were for the day’s route. He shared with all that he was expecting the pack to head out of town on High House, across 55 and onto Green level with the first major turn being White Oak Church. This was more than enough information for the Thorns who felt empowered to do their own thing right from the start.

GOG was now working with the stems to minimize and if possible close the gap on the Thorns. This was accomplished as the Stems raced their way down High House and reconnected with the Thorns as they sat at the light at highway 55. The stems were already feeling the pain of a faster than normal warm-up and made that known. “you were like a dog chasing a car” Mother Theresa scolded GOG for pressing the pace with the Stems. This had little effect on GOG as he continued to challenge the Stems to remain in close contact with the Thorns as the light turned Green signaling the beginning of a very fast run down Green Level to White Oak Church road.

At one point at the start of the run GOG taunted James Lavin “So you are at the back of the pack, but I know you are the one responsible for pushing the Thorns pace early on”. James only smiled and then asked GOG where the county line sprint would be so he could be properly prepared for the attack. GOG explained to James how the ride would unfold and where the county line sprint would take place. James nodded and slide slowly up the pace line.

The Thorns and Stems formed a single file pace line and blew down the road at 23 + mph. It was not until the climb leading to the turn onto White Oak that the group would again splinter. GOG was in the middle of the pace line as they made the right onto White Oak. As he looked up he saw Capn Carbon pulling off the front of the pack and sliding back looking for GOG. “OK were do we go again” Capn asked in a manner that suggested the Thorns were now ready to get down to the business of riding fast.

GOG, knowing Capn would not be able to recall all the details of the route, provided key phrases that would make sense to Capn and provide just the right amount of detail so he would not make a wrong turn at the front of the Thorns pace line.

Remember GOG had already provided the entire route information to all the riders as they waited at the start in the brueggers parking lot. GOG knew that several of the Thorns already had a solid understanding of where they were headed, and any one of them was capable of leading the way. “Turn left at the end of this road, at the strawberry patch head to Martha’s chapel, then we will regroup at the Lystra Gas Station”, “ I will sweep” explained GOG.

In a puff of dust Capn Carbon was back to the front of the Thorns pace line. The ride had finally begun for the Thorns. The Stems were in recovery mode having ridden out of town at speeds rarely dared by a Stem for any length of time.

White Oak is not an easy stretch of road. The downhill required a great deal of concentration with traffic in and out of the Tobacco Trail path and parking lot, along with vehicles on the road. The downhill comes to its end around a sweeping curve that pulls momentum out of the equation. The rider is then left to tackle the long pull up the other side, finishing with a stop sign at the end of White Oak. This hill has several challenges as it forces those wanting to not be gapped to push hard only to then have to face the sprint to the county line, around the next corner.

GOG and the Stems regrouped at the end of White Oak, rested, and then elected to NOT participate in the sprint to the County Line. The Thorns however pressed the pace from the start of White Oak, down and up the hill, thru the left turn onto Luter Shop, followed by an immediate sprint to the county line. The Thorns did not slow down there and were clocked with Sonic Boom in the lead pulling the pace line at 32 mph up to the Strawberry patch.

The Stems were happy to press on at 19 – 21 mph along these same sections of road. GOG used that time to work with Kaleo on Drafting techniques. Kaleo has never ridden in a pace line before and GOG was explaining the virtues and challenges of a pace line. Kaleo then experimented in drafting using GOG to draft off of. Kaleo was amazed how much wind GOG could block for him. GOG and Kaleo continued to work together practicing the art of Drafting. This continued all the way to the end of Martha’s Chapel. “So what do you think about drafting” asked Todd to Kaleo. “It was great, however there was a stench of OLD MAN” Kaleo replied with a smile. “NICE” replied GOG. All enjoyed Kaleo’s humor, and all agreed that there was a stench of OLD MAN in the air.

After all the laughing subsided GOG suggested due to the heavy traffic on Farrington the group should form a single line for the push up to the Lystra Gas Station and the frist planned rest stop.

Todd took the lead and pulled the group all the way to the rest stop.
At the Lystra Gas Station the Thorns were already itching to head on out. “We have been here for well over 20 minutes” Capn barked at GOG. “I have to get back and I am taking a couple others with me”, “We are only doing Big Woods once and then taking 64 to Wilsonville and back in from there” Capn went on to explain. GOG took this information in and looked at the Thorns to assess their willingness to stay with the plan or willingness to adjust as suggested by Capn Carbon. “Who feels the need to do Big Woods twice, raise your hands” GOG asked the Thorns and Stems. No hands went up. “COOL, lets all follow Capn’s lead and do Big Woods to the end then turn towards Lake Jordan on Highway 64 and regroup at Wilsonville”.

“I am going to go with you” said Heidi. “Me too” announced Jennifer. By then the Thorns were already headed out onto the road missing two of its members.

As the Stems continued their planned rest stop Todd McBride purchased two large cold waters for the Stems to use in topping off their water bottles.

Kaleo was starting to show signs of a BONK. GOG can recognize this due to his own many BONKING episodes over the years of biking. GOG is probably the most experienced BONKER in the group. GOG made note to keep an eye on Kaleo.

Kaleo had elected to do the longer Saturday ride for the first time. He had been riding with the Roses and was ready to challenge himself to extra miles. Unfortunately for Kaleo not only would he be challenged to extra miles, he was also being subjected to a stronger than normal pace by this group. All the stems were feeling the effects of a much faster start and continued strong pace to that point in the ride.

Kaleo did not complain and jumped into the middle of the pack as they headed out for Big Woods. Once on Big Woods each rider chose their own speed to survive the undulating landscape. Those pushing ahead included Todd McBride, Jennifer Omlor, Marianne, and Heidi. Not far behind them were GOG, Kaleo, and Mother Theresa.

All made it safely to the end of Big WOODS. After a short break to allow traffic to pass on Highway 64 the group headed out across 64 and over Lake Jordan towards Willsonville. GOG took the pull position with all others single file on the shoulder of highway 64. The wind was making every effort to hold the riders back adding additional challenges to the climb out of Lake Jordan and up to the gas station in Willsonville. GOG pushed hard against the resistance of the wind and hill combination, he was followed closely by Heidi, and Marianne until Marianne announced they had dropped the pack. GOG did not slow “We will wait for them at Willsonville” he shouted as he pressed on. Both Heidi and Marianne sat up in an attempt to regroup with the pack.

Once at Willsonville the group found Sandy Parrish there waiting to join the stems. “I was not ready for that” she exclaimed. “I kept asking who was leading the group, and no one would claim that role” she said. “I was not looking to ride at an average of 20+, and could not figure out who were stems vs Thorns” she continued. “I would have been happy to join you guys back at Lystra, but did not know who to follow”, she concluded. “I am sorry, I did not hear anyone other than these two asking to ride with the stems”, “We normally sweep the trail picking up anyone ejected off the back of the Thorns” GOG went on to explain. “Good, cause I am not looking to continue to do 23 mph to the finish” Sandy said in relief.

Kaleo was looking to be in full BONK mode now. He was quite and would bend over putting his head lower than his chest. “I feel for you, having been there many times” GOG said softly to Kaleo. “We will get you home”, he went on in an effort to comfort someone setting out on a death march. Todd Mc Bride was also recognizing the signs and assured Kaleo that everyone was there to assist him in getting safely home. This is one of the great things about this ride group. All have had rides were they fall apart physically for no real good reason. In most cases they have had someone in the group who takes it upon themselves to act as escort to the finish at whatever pace was required. When GOG BONKs he has to lie down and hydrate for a while. Sometimes this can take up to a half an hour, and yet there is always at least one other rider willing to hang with him. Today it was Kaleo needing that type of support. Todd McBride, Mother Theresa, and GOG all took turns riding with Kaleo as he heroically completed his death march. Like all death marches the pace would vary dramatically and is typified by speeds of 18 mph, that then become 16, then 14, then 11, then back up to 16, down to 13, then back up to 18. All BONKS result in the same sporadic surge and sputter pace. The Stems all rode with Kaleo in their sights not gapping the wounded rider too far. GOG adjusted to route to eliminate as many hills as possible. This adjustment put the riders into the Sears Farm subdivision and its slow shaded bike path.

Everyone, even Kaleo enjoyed the ride. Kaleo has a lot to be proud of having elected to almost double his normal Saturday ride mileage, and doing so at several miles per hour faster than his normal Saturday ride. Well done.

Special Thanks to Lori Brogden for leading the Roses on a smooth ride to Jordan Lake and back. Several of the Roses commented on how much fun they had.

Several folks went to Rally Point for Beer and food. Plan to join them in the near future for continued banter.

Sunday Sept 19th.

Those in attendance included:

Karen Robertson – Rose Budd – other nicknames are pending (Yard Sale, Slow Mo, Take a Bow, unbalanced…..) read on and vote on what your favorite would be.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG (Glistening Older Gentleman)
Todd McBride
John Garrity – fresh off of his ½ marathon – looking for a recovery ride to work the lactic acid out of his legs.
Andy Brogden
Tonya Eney
Marianne Mahn - Earned a Nickname on this ride. Read on to learn what her name is and how she earned it.
Jae Brainard
Jim Coughlin – Domestique
Shawn Richardson – on his black and gold fixy – Killer Bee
Kiki – was found later on the route as she was riding towards the start.
Tim Deivinney – The Love Train – met as the pack left town.

The group was ready to ride together Roses and Thorns all as one group.

GOG asked if any of the Thorns expected to ride extra miles that day with the CSH ride group. This would influence the route he elected to use for the day. Those in attendance were comfortable with a 30 – 35 mile ride and had no expectation of riding extra miles.

The route planed by GOG would take the pack towards RTP and then the Tobacco trail. He would then add or eliminate miles based on how folks were doing and if there were any time constraints from that point on.

The group rolled out of the parking lot and slid onto High House followed by a slow sweeping turn into the Preston neighborhood. It was in the Preston neighborhood that Kiki joined in on the fun of the days ride. “KIKI” GOG shouted as he recognized her coming toward the group. She made an immediate U turn and found a nice comfortable spot in the pack to ride. GOG then slide into place to ask her if she was hoping to join CSH for some extra miles. “ I need 3 ½ hours of biking today” she responded. “Oh, so you will ride with us, then CSH, then go back out and ride some more” GOG said with a smile. Kiki nodded.
GOG know had addition information to help shape the route.

At the exit of the round-about the pack was directed to turn right onto Lewis Stevens. GOG was near the back of the pack when he recognized yet another rider. Actually it was a red pickup truck – signaling the arrival of “The Love Train” with his bike in the bed of the truck. GOG slowed and pulled over as “The Love Train” rolled down the passenger window. “I must have just missed you guys” Tim shouted thru the open window. “Find a place to park and join us” GOG shouted back. As this exchange took place Mother Theresa and Jae were taking notice and also recognized the arrival of “The Love Train”. Both riders slid back towards GOG to better understand the exchange that took place. “I will meet him and guide him on the route, You two try and slow the back for us” commanded GOG. With that both Mother Theresa and Jae pushed back towards the pack. The Love Train was seen pulling into the Library parking lot, with GOG diving in right behind him. The Love Train’s transition from driver seat to bicycle seat was one worthy of a full IronMan transition stage from bike to run.

It took no time at all for GOG and The Love Train to join the pack as they had been stopped by the long light at Lewis Stevens and Morrisville Carpenter.

It was from that light that Jae Braindard took full control of the group and the next several turns. “ I have a new way into RTP” she informed GOG. “COOL, Lead the way” he replied. “Ron and I found this a couple of weeks ago” she went on to explain.
The group was happy to follow and the new route kept them all off of the busy Miami Blvd. The group was riding very comfortably yet surprisingly fast. Lots of banter was detected as each rider kept their cadence as high as their sprits.

There was some confusion at the front of the pack near the turn towards Highway 55. GOG redirected those who needed it and all were now sitting at the light waiting to cross 55.

A Learning opportunity – Trust but VALIDATE.

GOG noticed the stop light to his right turn yellow, with this information he started to roll into the intersection. HE then glanced left to confirm cars had stopped. Yes they were slowing. He then glanced up at the stop light to the left and noticed it was still green. By now he was into the first lane of a 4 lane divided road. Without stopping to reason out why the cars coming from the left were asked to stop but those coming from the right were clear to go, GOG pulled a rapid U turn. All in the pack were still waiting for the Red Light facing them to turn green. Thank Goodness each rider took the responsibility to confirm their own safety prior to pushing off and clipping in.

It is way too easy to trust (Assume) another rider has all the information they need to proceed safely. It is always the individual riders responsibility to proceed only after they have confirmed it is safe for them. DO NOT be a Leming, be a safe rider. There are too many distractions to trust others for your own safety. Confirm it is safe for you.

The group did make it safely across 55 and up the next hill. Here again GOG made a poor move into the next intersection. He once again found himself forced to make a last second adjustment resulting in a U-Turn due to a car that was not making a turn GOG expected them to make. Again the pack was wise enough to wait to confirm the cars full intention.

The group now moved thru the left turn and towards Okelley. “you going to turn prior to Okelley and use the bike lane?”, “If you turn early we will avoid the busy road” Jae advised. “Great idea” GOG responded. Top Rookie was already on down the road riding solo towards Okelley and past the next turn just discussed. GOG smiled to himself knowing that Top Rookie had already been told were the group was headed, and could figure out how to find them even though they turned earlier than he had anticipated.

The pack rode though the neighborhood on its bike lane and enjoyed the limited traffic vs that they would have had to deal with on Okelley. The pack exited the neighborhood as the road met Okelle. To the left a lone rider was observed headed towards them on Okelley. It was Top Rookie who had easily figured out what the pack had done.

“I got to PEE” cried Marianne. “There are bushes right there” Killer Bee pointed out.

With out delay Marianne bolted to the bushes, squatted down, and completed #1 in the Bush. All riders diverted their eyes to provide Marianne that extra degree of privacy. Then from somewhere in the bushes a squeaky voice was heard “I hope there are no SNAKES” . Like magic she was back on her bike having been quick to take care of her biological need. This event is worthy of a nick name. From this ride on Marianne will be known as “#1 in the Bush”.

“I have a better way to get to the Tobacco Trail, Only need to be on Okelley a short way” Jae was happy to announce. “Lead on” GOG commanded.

The pack followed Jae as she introduced the group to a smooth quite country road. This section of road had a deep down hill followed by a short steep up hill prior to the left turn onto the Tobacco trail. The down hill was quick and very fast with GOG hitting 34 mph on his fixed gear bike. Legs really spun on that down hill.

The tobacco trail was slow and ridden with great control as the riders all shared that real estate with runners, walkers, bikers, and dogs. At the end of the paved section the pack slowed and bunched up as each rider used their balancing skills to inch through the limited space provided at the gate.

GOG looked back to see what the noise was all about.

He recognized Karen (Rose Budd) lying under the bar of the gate. Images of a biker Limbo came into view. Karen has performed a perfect slow motion solo fall on 75% of the rides she has been on with the group. Each of her falls has occurred when the group is slowing or virtually stopped. She is getting so good at this technique we are all are now expecting a bow at the end of her slow motion fall performances. Karen already has one nickname, but there is no reason she can not have another. She would not be the first in the group to earn multiple nicknames. Other Nicknames that might come to mind for her include “YARD SALE” that is what it is called when a snow skier tumbles down the slope leaving skis, poles, hats, gloves, sunglasses along the trail. Then there is the possibility of “Slow Mo” for her epic Slow Motion solo falls. Or, maybe “Take a Bow” for her continued Emmy crash performances. There is always the obvious nickname of “UNBALANCED” which is a fitting nickname for those who struggle on the bike when the wheels are not acting as gyros due to their slow rotation at slow speeds, and there is also the unbalanced Mental condition that may or may not apply.

Next time you ride with the group Let GOG know your vote. OR leave a post to this Blog Entry with your vote. GOG thinks all are viable and interchangeable.

GOG was now already planning the second half of the days route. He was assessing the mileage and average speed to that point in the ride, who was in attendance, how could he challenge the Roses and Stems, how could he keep the pack together, how can he get Kiki to a point in the ride were she could jump onto CSH has it was coming out of town.

GOG had already considered all this, and even at the start considered a longer route then what was suggested.

“Mount Pisgah, then Martha’s Chapel and on home from there” GOG shouted with delight. “You Bastard”, “My wife already hates YOU” giggled Top Rookie (Karen’s Husband).

GOG launched towards Mount Pisgah with several others on his heals.  Several others were still crowded around “Slow Mo”, “Unbalanced”, “Yard Sale”, “Take a Bow”. They were all concerned about her condition, and were applying bandages to her skinned knee and elbow. She had also strained her back and was not prepared to do extra miles let alone extra hills.   Mother Theresa and Jae both instantly designed a new route that would eliminate the hills of Mount Pisgah and reduce the mileage by 7 – 10 miles keeping it within the advertised distance for the day.

GOG continued on his planed course knowing he would need to circle at the turn onto Mount Pisgah to determine the willingness of others to follow his lead.

It did not take long for him to recognize his leadership skills were lacking in comparison to Jae and Mother Theresa who had demonstrated far greater concern for the downed rider than he had.

“We are going to the gas station at the end of New Hope, and then back to the finish” Mother Theresa and Jae said in a taunting tone as they and others swept past GOG.

The split took place at Mount Pisgah and New Hope. Those electing for hills and extra miles and higher speeds included: Top Rookie, Kiki, Killer Bee, Todd McBride, The Love Train, Domestique, and GOG. Others voted loudly as to whom were the true leaders of the pack, Mother Theresa and Jae won that vote 8 to 6

Those electing to do extra did not look back. The pace increased the banter remained high as did the spirit of the ride. “Some recovery ride’ Barked Todd. Todd was realizing he was on target to complete close to 90 miles in two days at speeds well above his comfort zone. Well done Mr. McBride.

The group remained close with Killer Bee setting the pace all the way to Lake Jordan. It was there that the group turned left onto Farrington and the section of road nicknamed “Kevin’s Crawl” .   Killer Bee was the first thru the turn, however he checked up and circled out of respect for Domestique, and GOG. Domestique was working to close the gap on the pack, and GOG was expected to take the pull position on “Kevin’s Crawl”. Shawn (Killer Bee) was willing to support both those events. Once the pack was back in tact GOG began his slow acceleration up “Kevin’s Crawl” cresting the climb at well over 21 mph. “Nice Pull” Kiki said with respect to the old man in the lead position.

The group rode strong the length of Holland Chapel with Kiki saying her goodbyes to the Thorns and Roses as the CSH pack past in the opposite direction. The rest continued the push towards home as they past the Strawberry Patch, the county line, and onto the left turn towards Nicole’s Roller Coasters. Shawn (Killer Bee) led the group thru the last few miles to the finish back at the Brueggers parking lot.

This splinter group pushed the distance past the planed 35 miles finishing with 41 miles.
Another great Recovery Ride.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

End of August Bike Rides

August 28 Saturday - Lynch GOG

72-78 miles for the Thorns

54 miles for the Stems

28 miles for the Roses.

Another large turnout even with the threat of a long hilly ride for the Thorns, and Stems.

Those in attendance included:
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Todd McBride – Bonk Buddy. (Got his name during last Saturdays ride – performed a perfect GOG style Bonk).
Ron Clanton – Just Ron
Tracy Clanton – Rose Pedal
Jen Serino – Slow Jen Fizz
Kathy Blum
Dennis Heffernan
Kaleo Ballard – first time riding with the group.
Suzy Nezbit
Keith Boswell
Jae Brainard
Ann Munn
Cindy Avrette – first time riding with the group
Sondra Velachnso
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower on his white fixy with new white wheels and spokes.
Paul Miller
Jim Coughlin - Domestque
Lori Brogden
Andy Brogden
Jessica Holland – Has a new nickname – read on to find out what it is and how she got it.
Jim ????? - sorry DUDE I fail to remember your last name.

The Roses were the first to leave the parking lot with Jae and the Clanton’s anxious to lead the Roses on an enjoyable ride that would include areas of RTP, the Tobacco trail, Mount Pisgah, and back to the finish thru the Sears Farm neighborhood. Ten riders joined the Roses ride.

GOG was still working to hand out cue sheets to all those interested in either the 72 or 54 mile planned route. Normally cue sheets are not provided, however due to the extra long route for the Thorns, and the fact that the route was headed onto roads rarely traveled by the group, GOG had produced cue sheets. This was his attempt to allow the Thorns to blast on ahead as expected and also allowed for everyone else to find their way home if the pack was to splinter severely due to all the Hills peppered along the route. Oh did he mention lots of hills and 72 miles?

On the cue sheets GOG provided for opportunities to short cut the miles if desired. So the 72 miler could be short cut producing the 54 mile route and the 54 mile route could be short cut producing a 40 - 45 mile route.

The Thorns (and Stems) left the parking lot late due to GOG’s attempt to make sure everyone who wanted a cue sheet had one. The route created confusion right from the start as it was designed NOT to leave the parking lot as usual. GOG had to turn the pack 180 degrees even before the first revolution of the pedals. As the Thorns jumped out onto HighHouse several folks were still working to clip in, or address a chain that had already jumped off of the chain ring. All Ready the pack was split. Top Rookie, and Immortal Man worked together to slow the Thorns allowing those still stuck in the parking lot to get out on the road and back into the pack. Great situational awareness from those two ride leaders. Just as the pack was all together again Immortal Man raced to the front of the pack to inform all that there was yet another chain issue. Top Rookie held the pack up at the next turn while GOG swing back to see if those trailing were ok. Not to worry the issue had resolved quickly and the 3 trailing riders were already headed towards the turn onto Maynard.

The Thorns were already wondering what they had gotten themselves into with the first mile taking far too long to accomplish. The Day’s delays did not end there.

The pack was now on Maynard headed for a turn that would put them onto Lake Pine and the first set of hills. GOG was trailing the pack as he was monitoring others who were slow to accelerate at each of the lights encountered along the way. The Thorns are all wired to smell a yellow light and jump onto the pedals at the first sign of green. Others are still drinking water, or visiting, or not interested in blasting thru green lights or around tight turns, or just not as situationaly aware as the Thorns. This difference in attitude/purpose of ride, always generates a gap in the pack as they work their way out of town.

The Thorns missed the turn that would put them onto Lake Pine as the route and associated cue sheet recommended. GOG and the others made the planed turn and were now waiting at Lake Pine for the Thorns to catch up. Yes GOG and the others had taken a slightly shorter route to Lake Pine and its expected hills. Those riding with GOG elected to push on towards the Hills on Lake Pine. He elected to turn the opposite direction to ensure the Thorns were not waiting for him and those that had been trailing.

The Thorns were not waiting and had figured out what had happened. They had missed the turn, GOG and the others had taken the turn, and all would meet up again on Lake Pine. They were correct.

Lake Pine proved to be an early challenge in keeping the pack together. GOG had expected the splintering of the pack at this point in the ride due to the many challenging hills and stop lights.

Two riders were already working overtime to match the pace and respond to the pressure of the hills.  ne of those was Domestique. He is still riding a heavy Hybrid style bike. He has been forced to ride this tank ever since his roads bike was destroyed when a car hit him head on as he sat stopped at a stop sign. Thank Goodness he survived and not only is out riding with the pack, but had been able to complete his bike ride in Africa only weeks after being hospitalized by that accident. Look for Domestique to ride like the wind once he has a new light weight bike.

As the pack continued towards Apex on Lake Pine across 64 and onto Old Raleigh Road the split continued to widen. GOG was working to figure out who was planning to do the 72 mile route vs the 54 mile route. Several folks identified the need to get back do to time constraints and others had no desire to do more than 54 miles. Those looking for the full impact of hills and miles included: Immortal man, Top Rookie, Desert Flower (no water and on a Fixy), Keith, and Suzy. The remainder all planed for 54 or less miles. GOG was struggling with the 72 or 54 choice. The pace set by the Thorns suggested he had no business trying to ride with them, also those choosing to do the 54 mile route all acted unsure of the directions as provided by the cue sheet. GOG knew that Top Rookie and Immortal man both indicated they understood the 72 mile route as provided on the cue sheet. So he was leaning for the 54 mile route for several reasons/excuses. In the mean time Mother Theresa had been acting as sweep and found herself needing to adjust the 54 mile route to fewer miles due to time constraints from those riding with her.

Once on Tingen (Tingen Salt Flats) the Thorns demonstrated their need for speed. GOG was now fully encircled by those looking to do 54 miles at a more reasonable pace – not 21 mph average.

Top Rookie and Immortal man both dropped back to join the group riding with GOG. They both were measuring the distance and hills that lay ahead and made the wise choice to pace themselves for that challenge. The Thorns were now without a rudder or navigator. It was along Tingen Salt Flats that GOG recognized a solo rider heading towards them. “SUZANN” GOG shouted with glee. “Come Join us” he added. Suzann had planned to ride with the Thorns. She had received the email detailing the 72 mile route and it fit perfectly into her training needs. Susan is planning to do the full length Battleship to Beach Triathlon later this season. She is usually forced to ride solo do to her long distance requirements and was happy to learn she might have company on the days planed ride. She had already ridden ten miles in hopes of catching the group as it headed out of APEX on “Tingen Salt Flats”. Her timing was excellent. Suzann made the quick U turn and fell right into the middle of the pack.

The Thorns were racing full speed ahead with no concern as to what their next moves would be. The stems road along the “tingen Salt Flats” at a fast clip but very much in control of what the next turns were to navigate. Eventually the Stems rolled up to the turn onto Holly Springs New Hill road where they discovered the Thorns all waiting to confirm the next turn. GOG briefly provided the next set of turns and possible short cut options. The Thorns needed no more information and blasted on down the road. The stems found themselves motoring along at a strong clip as if to suggest they too were Thorns. Eventually the Stems settled down into a more realistic pace only to once again find the Thorns circling at the corner of Friendship and Holly Springs new Hill. “OK, anyone who wants to short cut the 72 and the 54 mile route can turn left here, otherwise both the 54 and 72 mile route continue together for another 10 -12 miles by turning right here” GOG went on to explain.

Now with the knowledge that the mile split is still to come all riders headed down the planed route by turning right onto Friendship followed by a turn onto Humie Olive and then a left onto New Hill Olive Chapel. The Thorns were seen one last time as they circled at Sharon Harris road in an attempt to make sure all who were planning on the 72 would be able to start out together. By this time GOG had made up his mind that he was not up for the 72 miles at 19 – 21 mph pace and elected instead to accompany those doing the 54 mile route. “72 straight ahead, 54 turn right here” GOG was shouting as he leaned into the right hand turn towards the 54 mile route. “You DOG” yelled Top Rookie who was sure GOG was planning to accompany him and the rest of the Thorns on the 72 mile route. That was the official split of the Thorns and Stems.

GOG slowed his pace in an effort to assess who had elected to do the 54 miller. He was shocked to see Slow Jen Fizz and Paul both electing to take the shorter route for the day. Both of those cyclists are strong THORNS and would have no problem pushing the pace for the Thorns. Clearly a time constraint was forcing their hand towards the shorter distance. They along with GOG, Jim, Jessica, and Domestique formed the Stems as they headed towards old US 1. As expected Slow Jen, Paul, and Jim set a stiff pace with GOG, Jessica, and Domestique falling quickly behind. At old US 1 Domestique elected to head straight back. He was tired of pushing his tank up and down the hills, and needed to get back before the rest of the group could finish the planned route. All said goodbye to Domestique as he set out towards home on old US 1. The rest of the stems turned West towards Bonsal and the Hills that would unfold on Old US 1.

All made it to the next turn onto Beaver Creek Road as a pack. The run down Beaver Creek is always fast due to its slow drop into Lake Jordan. GOG and Jessica were unable to sustain the pace as Jen pushed the pack towards 25 mph as they headed towards the rest stop in Wilsonville at highway 64.

GOG and Jessica were the last to arrive at the rest stop. GOG immediately purchased a large bottle of Gator Aid. He was already getting sick of drinking water and needed something flavored to quench his thirst and quite his stomach. Jessica purchased an energy bar and was seen devouring it in large noisy bites. Crunch, gulp, crack, munch munch munch was heard as power bar shrapnel was flying in all directions during her feeding frenzy.

GOG was assessing the need to finish the route as designed or to alter it to remove the remaining hills.

“Anybody care if I alter the route back and eliminate the hills” he asked the group.

“I will follow you” each was heard responding one at a time. It was unanimous all were voting to flatten the route.

After a brief rest to absorb the fluids and energy bars the Stems were challenged to mount up.

GOG led the pack across highway 64 and onto the turn at Holland Chapel. It was here that Paul and Jen split off from the pack to ride at a higher rate of speed which was more in their comfort zone. That is the curse of being a Thorn, Slow is impossible to do.

Jessica moved to the font of the remaining cyclists and started to press the pace. She was peaking for the second time on the days ride. “I am so glad we stopped to rest, I needed to eat something, I am feeling much better” she was saying with great excitement in feeling this renewed energy level.

GOG and Jim were both doing their best to hang on to Jessica’s wheel as she was closing the gap on Jen and Paul. The group continued to ride past the strawberry patch with Jan and Paul pulling away, only to be pulled back into the pack. The truth is they would slow down when they discovered they were leaving the rest far behind. At one point just before the county line Paul and Jen pulled up on the reigns and slid back into the pack. “Ah, I know what you are doing” declared GOG. “You are slowing down just so you can sprint to the county line and declare VICTORY over the rest of us” He continued.

“You called me OUT” Jen replied. And with that Paul and Jen had no problem taking the county line Victory.

As the pack formed again near the end of the run from the strawberry patch Jen was heard explaining “a Hot Tube would feel good right about now”. “A Hot Tube in the Summer is not as enjoyable as in the winter” added GOG. “Especially if you make Snow Angels before getting into the Hot Tube” he went on to explain. “Yea but you have to be Naked” added Jim. “The problem with that is when I do that everyone thinks I have just Stuck a flag pole into the snow” GOG said Tung in cheek. “Yea everyone sees two mountain tops when I make naked snow Angels’ giggled Jessica. “Twin Peaks” shouted GOG in a realization that a new nickname had been born for Jessica. Not only had she peaked twice on the days ride, but she claims to be identified with twin peaks when she makes naked snow angles in the snow.

Clearly the group was getting light headed and giddy as Glycogen levels were low , dehydration had set in, and lactic acid had built up into the cyclists systems.

The group was guided onto Green Hope High School road, into Sears Farm, and onto the bike trail that eventually deposit the riders under highway 55. As they slid into the tunnel GOG produced a loud Primordial Scream that almost knocked Twin Peaks off her bike.

The riders wound though the next neighborhood finally being deposited onto HighHouse. From here they rolled onto to the finish having completed 54 miles at a respectable 17.1 mph average.

It was learned several hours later that the Thorns were unable to complete the route as designed and elected to back track by turning around at the 40 mile mark. They ended up with a 78 mile ride along with many stops for the Stems, and some confusion around Highway 42 and its construction. There was no lack of hills to add to the days challenge. There was some discussion about lynching GOG for designing the 72 mile route and then bailing on it to do the 54 miler.

Stand-up Sunday August 29th.

Those in attendance included;
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Todd McBride – Bonk Buddy
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Karen Robertson – Rose Bud
Jim Coghlin – Domestique
Andy Hartsfield
Joe Pitman – Immortal Man
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom (riding a hybrid bike – and stood off the saddle the entire ride – what a way to get a solid workout while riding with the Roses)
Jae Brainard
Mary Ann Feggan
Sophie White
Jessica Holland – Twin Peaks
Marianne Mahn – first time with the group.

The days ride was announced as 30 – 35 miles at a 15 mph pace.

All would work to ride together and were anticipating a recovery ride in comparison to Saturday’s long hilly ride.

GOG was riding his Fixy and that always means limited hills for the route. Not only that he had brought the wrong biking shoes. He had his road biking shoes that interface to LOOL pedals. The Fixy has pedals that work on one side without clips and on the other side work with SPD clip system. So he was forced to ride the fixy with the NON Clip side of the pedals and had to use the only other shoes he had which were his sandals.

The pack rolled out of the parking lot and onto HighHouse with Todd (Bonnk Buddy) pulling ahead of the pack. He must have recovered from last Satruday’s ride when he performed a perfect GOG like BONK. The other cyclists formed a single file as they worked their way to the right turn into the Preston neighborhood. Once in the neighborhood the group clumped together with lots of chit chat taking place. Sunday Rides tend to be far more social than Saturday rides. Mother Theresa was riding her old school 1979 custom built steel frame bike. GOG had just put new tires on it in preparation for her using that bike on the MS150 ride. Mother Theresa was unaware that GOG had pinched 3 new tubes in the effort to put on the new rear tire. The tube that was currently on that wheel was new and had held air all night long. SUCCESS finally after 3 pinched tubes. The pack rolled thru all the turns and stop signs announcing to each other the area was CLEAR for all to follow. Just as the pack began the first short climb of the ride, GOG looked down at Mother Theresa’s rear Wheel to inspect his previous work. “Your rear tire is low” he announced in disgust. Top Rookie was quick to chime in as well and confirmed that the tire did indeed look low. “You are done for the day” barked GOG at Mother Theresa. He made that snap decision knowing how difficult the new rear tire was to remove and put back on the rim, and he had NO confidence that he would not pinch Yet another tube. Without hesitation Mother Theresa pulled out of the pack and headed back to the Brueggers Parking lot. Her total mileage for the day was 3.5 miles.

Within 20 seconds of Mother Theresa pulling out Marianne threw the chain off her front chain ring. Immortal Man was quick to respond and was already completing the task of replacing it as GOG rolled back towards them to see what was needed. Immortal man had finished the chain replacement maneuver was was already hammering up the hill. This left both Marianne and GOG starting from a dead stop and facing the climb up towards Davis both in a heavy gear selection, and with no momentum to assist them on the climb. GOG had no choice but to stand and throw all his weight into several slow revolutions of the pedals. Marianne was quick to shift gears to a more appropriate ratio, and had no problem climbing the hill.

All made the light at Davis and onto the Round About signaling the end of the neighborhood streets and the beginnings of the less traveled back roads out of Cary. The pace at this point was brisk for a Sunday Recovery ride and had Mary Ann and Jae both were found riding some small distance behind the pack. No one waited as GOG pointed the way and all yelled Clear as they swung into the right hand turn onto Lewis Stevens. Mary Ann an Jae had no chance to close the gap, and the pace from those in the lead was now more aggressive than earlier.

Prior to the start of the days ride GOG and Jae had discussed a potential route that included many of the roads normally traveled by the ROSES with an additional run down to lake Jordan typically done by the Stems. A Hybrid route that would provide hills, bike trails, fast run down Martha’s Chapel, and a nice cool down back into town putting the mileage at the top end of 35 - 40. GOG was comfortable that Jae had a solid understanding of the route but he still kept a close eye on the two in his mirror.

The light at Lewis Stevens and Morrisville Carpenter is a long red light that is impossible to change to green without a car sitting on one of the sensors. The pack waited and waited. GOG suggested they would all have to run the red light when it was safe to do so. This delay allowed Jae and Mary Ann to regroup as the pack rolled safely thru the red light. Jae then raced to the front of the pace line to have a word with GOG. “You guys go on, Mary Ann and I will ride together, we are OK” she said with a calm informative voice. “Cool, you guys doing the same route?” GOG asked. “Not sure, might short cut if needed” she went on to say calmly and confidently. GOG thanked Jae for the information and wished them a fun safe ride. Jae immediately coasted back to the end of the line and she and Mary Ann drifted off the back. Jae was supporting the spirit of the rides making sure no one is dropped and no one rides alone. Jae is one of the many leaders the group can count on to keep that spirit alive.

Bonk Buddy was in full control of the pace and the directions as he led all riders across Davis drive and the turn onto Church street. Todd (Bonk Buddy) was able to remember those turns having done this section of the route a couple of Sunday’s ago. Bonk Buddy might find himself soon becoming a ride leader as he is demonstrating his ability to remember the many roads and routes the group utilizes. In 3 short weekend rides he already knows more about what turns to use on the ride than Capn Carbon does after his 5 seasons riding with the group.

The entire pack was still in conversations as they rode relaxed behind the confident leadership being demonstrated by Bonk Buddy. Sonic Boom and Immortal Man, both solid Thorns on any given day, were participating in the light chatter as they made sure to fit in with the days pace and attitude. YES Sonic Boom had not yet sat down on the bike seat, looking very comfortable as he stood on the pedals.

Just as Killer Bee has set a trend to ride A FIxy, Sonic Boom might be setting a trend to ride the entire ride standing up. Maybe there will be a STAND UP SUNDAY Ride announced soon. To make things more interesting the group could try a NO SHIFTING STAND UP SUNDAY ride. This would emulate a Fixy, although the riders would be allowed to coast – not a true fixed gear, but do the entire ride out of the saddle. Hmmmmm.

Better Yet only the THORNS would be asked to perform those tricks. This might allow the Thorns and ROSES to ride together more often as a group…….

The group next found themselves out onto Miami Blvd headed towards Durham and RTP. GOG was now back in the lead position and working to find a break in the traffic to guide the pack across the traffic lanes and onto a left hand turn at Hopson road. The line of traffic was heavier than anticipated, and the line of cyclists were strung along the right hand lane. GOG elected to direct the pack into a right hand turn, only to make a U turn around a median and rolling to a stop light that would assist in getting all safely across Miami Blvd. A green light parted the auto traffic allowing the cyclists to cross over Miami and onto quieter, auto abandoned roads. The smooth run down Hobson had the pack once again riding clumped and in conversation. Todd was once again in control of the pack with Domestique close by his side. GOG only had to directed those two to lead the group nto a left hand turn onto Lewis Stevens, and the right onto Kit Creek.

Kit Creek presents 3 challenges, a Rail Road crossing, a long red light at highway 55, and a short steep climb once across the highway. This challenge is then added to as the pack swings left onto Alston and its two climbs up to Okelly. Everyone did a solid job of meeting those challenges and having done so they all rolled right onto Okelly. Once on Okelly Top Rookie slowed the pace down to ensure all were accounted for as he set up the pack for the short run to the turn onto the Tobacco trail. As the group closed in on the Tobacco Trail GOG was heard shouting “Tight left turn, narrow entrance, Slow Down”. All heeded the warning and the group slid thru the gate and onto the shaded paved multi use tobacco trail. The group slowed to a pace that would accommodate for walkers, runners, small kids on bikes, and dogs on leashes. Each rider also worked to form a single file without being directed to. This allowed all to share the limited width of the Tobacco trail. The short ride on the Tobacco trail was enjoyed by all and may become a staple on Sunday rides. At the end of the paved section the pack was guided onto New Hope Church and pointed west towards highway 751. “Stay Straight all the way to the gas station at 751” GOG shouted to those already setting the pace.

At the gas station the group took a needed rest. Water was purchased and passed around to top off water bottles, bathroom facilities were utilized, and power bars were consumed. Joe (Immortal Man) did not stop to rest. He had a time constraint and elected to head back down New Hope Church Road and on into the start finish. No one else was ready to head back so Joe went SOLO. Joe rides a great deal on his own, knows all the roads in the area, and let it be known he would be just fine. Still does not feel right to have folks ride alone. All waved goodbye as Immortal Man blasted back to Cary.

Now rested and watered and fed the pack was directed out onto Highway 751. “There will be lots of traffic, they will be going way fast, just be prepared” GOG informed the group. All riders stayed as far right as was safe while coasting fast down the back side of each hill, followed by an attack to maintain speed up the front side of the next hill. Martha’s Chapel was the next turn and each rider checked into the turn one at a time. It did not take long for all to be accounted for. Marianne, Sophie, Jessica (Twin Peaks), Lee (Sonic Boom), and Todd (Bonk Buddy) all set out to make the fast run down Martha’s Chapel to Jordan Lake. They were followed quickly by Jim (Domestique), Andy, Rob (Top Rookie). GOG, and Karen (Rose Bud) elected to ride at a pace worthy of a Sunday Recovery Ride they held back to only 23 miles per hour down to the lake.

GOG eventually met the group at the end of Martha’s Chapel. All were giggling with delight having just produced a new land speed record for themselves while on a bicycle. GOG took back the reigns from the group and directed the riders to make the climb up “Kevin’s Crawl”. This is a long slow climb away from Jordan Lake and Martha’s Chapel towards Highway 64. GOG enjoys slowly increasing his speed as the hill unfolds on this section of pavement. On this days ride he crested the climb at 20.5 mph.

He was later found circling at the left turn onto Holland Chapel. This turn marks the return route back to Cary. It is from here that the riders later find themselves at the strawberry patch, Luter Shop, and then the edge of Cary. The ride was already proving to be longer than originally communicated at the start of the ride. GOG was recalculating the distance and shared with the group that they will all likely end up with a 40 mile ride at the end of the days effort. Some riders had already figured this out for themselves and were not surprised. Some became excited with the idea of a longer ride. Some quietly contemplated the realization that this would be the longest ride they had ever completed on a bike. Still others were calculating the total mileage they would have completed for the weekend and the week. And still others were assessing how much energy that had left to complete the task.

The ride towards Cary was quiet in comparison to the ride out of Cary. The pack was beginning to splinter as some riders were pumped up while others were beginning to suffer. GOG managed to get the group to hold up and rest in some shade Just past the point were Luter Shop changes its name to Morrisville Parkway. While resting and waiting to regroup, the pack was approached by a lady runner. “Is everything OK, I lived just over hear and can get help if needed” she was kind enough to ask. “Na, we are fine” GOG replied. Then after a short pause “Do you have Beer in your fridge?” he asked with a smile. “Not yet” she replied as she danced across the road on her way home. Top Rookie gave GOG a High Five for asking for Beer from a perfect stranger on a Sunday Morning ride. Just as that exchange ended GOG recognized Jim Palistrant riding solo as he was headed back towards Cary on his Sunday Morning bike ride. This was then followed by GOG recognizing and shouting out to Doug (Rumble Strip) Augustine, and his wife Sheila who were just beginning there Sunday Morning Bike ride.

Thorns and Roses are all over the place.

After the pack was back together and the short rest was completed they headed out to finish the last 9 miles. These last miles took them onto Green Hope High School Road. It was here just before the turn into The Sears Farm subdivision that Domestique had major leg cramps. Top Rookie, and Karen (Rose Bud) remained with him as he slowed to work out the cramps. GOG was also in the begging stages of having two thigh cramps and was gingerly applying presser to the pedals in an effort to keep the cramps from building worse. The others rolled into Sears Farm and waited in the shade at the next turn. GOG elected to slide back to see if all was OK. He did not get far when all three riders were found no more than a block away.

Now all back together GOG warned everyone about the sharp right turn onto the bike path located at the bottom of the next hill. Having shared that information he lead the pack cautiously down the next hill and signaled well in advance of the turn. “OH NO” cried Mariann as she raced past the entire pack as it was already half way onto the bike path. “HE WARNED YOU” someone from the group shouted.

GOG slowed the pace even more to make sure Mariann was not left behind, and to ensure that the group would not startle any others utilizing the path. This worked out to be a great cool down finish for the riders. All enjoyed the tunnel under highway 55 and celebrated that by shouting and screaming at the top of their lungs just to see how loud of an echo could be generated.

Back at the start finish the group found Theresa who had gone home, went grocery shopping, and was ready to let GOG know she DID NOT HAVE A FLAT. Oops.

The Roses completed 40 miles at a 16+ mph pace. Well done.