Thursday, June 03, 2010

400 Meter Freestyle, and then some


Here is Saturdays ride as reported by Rob Robertson - Top Rookie
Here is a recap of Saturday's ride, as best I can remember. You'll have to

supply nicknames.

Around 30 riders assembled, all looking for the leader. None was to be
found (No Carbon, No GOG, no Theresa, No Immortal Man - nada). After a
phone call to you, there was real concern that the ship was indeed rudderless until Lee stepped up and said he had the route. He briefly explained it to everyone. At the start it appeared there were no Roses; only Thorns, Wanna-bees, and Stems. I suggested to Lee that we all regroup at the end of Ron's Pull; he agreed and we were off.

Here are the people I know about:

Rob Robertson

And a whole slew of people I didn't know - including a large number of first timers (or so I think). I might have forgotten someone else I know or met - my apologies.

Thorns and Stems rode together all the way to, and past, Ron's Pull at a fast pace. We all crossed NC-55 together, but here the "Fast, Flat" idea fell apart. Somehow we all ended up at the intersection for Yates Store Road. Sean was leading and I personally think this was a thinly veiled attempt to cull the herd. Lee asked me if I could get back - like a fool I said, "Yes" and voila - I was designated Stem leader. This is proof that the blind can in fact lead the blind. Anyhow, Sean turns left (of course) and here comes Upchuck. All the stems were looking at each other like, "What the H*** have we gotten into?" I said, "Don't sweat it..." and we continued on. Tom threw a chain, otherwise, no issues I am aware of. At the turn after Upchuck, the Thorns took off and the Stems were on their own. We went down to Mt.Pisgah (where I threw a chain myself), then Ferrell Road, then Lewter Shop Road to the Strawberry Patch. We took Holland's Chapel to

Fearrington Road, then headed up to US-64 and the Wilsonville gas station (rest stop). At Fearrington Road, Christy (Pinky) and a lady friend I never met (note to self, get names BEFORE ride, not after...) took off to the right towards, I assume, Big Woods because they were looking for big miles. They had joined us on Mt. Pisgah when Christy dropped a water bottle. Never saw them again today. I think the Thorns went down to to Martha's Chapel Road before turning towards US-64, because they pulled in a few minutes after we got to the rest stop. Everyone re-hydrated and I consulted with Lee about next steps. I confirmed the "southern leg" of the ride, then passed it on to the rest of the Stems. There were, I think, ten or eleven Stems at this point (see earlier note to self). It was now that I heard that there had in fact been a first-timer Rose that had wanted to ride. She had evidently started out, found out she was going way too fast, and turned back around. I never saw her, nor did I ever learn her name. I feel bad about this, but I never knew or heard about her at all until we were 20 miles into the ride.

Anyhow, after all had rested, the Thorns took off - and we never saw them again. The Stems left a couple of minutes later, but not before one of the new Stems pulled a classic Arte Johnson in the gas station parking lot - I really wish I'd gotten her name!!! :-)

We headed south and did the Beaver Creek, Old US1, Old Elam, Pea Ridge Road, Beaver Creek loop. This was uneventful except, A) we were clicking along at 18-20 all the way, and B) An A$$**** passed us dangerously close on Pea Ridge road. I did my best GOG impersonation by yelling and giving him the single-finger salute - it was actually pretty spooky. We got back to the gas station/rest stop without further incident. At this point, not knowing the rest of the planned route, noticing it was quickly clouding over, and recognizing that we had 43 miles completed already, I suggested that we go to Holland's Chapel and take the normal way back in. All agreed and off we went back down Fearrington Road.

Now the fun starts.... By the time we got turned onto Holland's Chapel Road, Jim and I noticed that we had lost Laura. I told Jim that I'd go back to get her and asked Jim to have the group wait at the Strawberry Patch. He said okay, took off, and I turned around. Laura was walking right at the turn from Fearrington onto Holland's Chapel when I got back there - she had a flat rear tire. I stopped to help. She got the wheel off, then started fiddling with her pump. This is when she learned that one of her two CO2 cartridges didn't fit her pump and the other one was dead. I told her she could use mine. At this point she said she was just going to pump up her tire; since it hadn't gone completely flat she thought she might be able to limp in.

This was a bad idea.

She pumped up her tire - using my cartridge. She made it about ten yards then noted her tire was again flat. Now we have no air, except that my pump is dual action and can be used manually also. She changed out the tube, slapped on the pump, and promptly got nowhere. It turns out the valve stem has been broken. I gave her my tube, but since we were by now concerned about time, we decided that I would head on alone. There was an open (antique/craft?) store at this intersection so there were people around; else I would not have left her there. She tried to call her significant other and left a voice mail asking him to come for her. We agreed that she would call me if he got to her before I finished up and I would call her if I got back to Bruegger's before her significant other arrived (whereupon I'd head back to get her myself).

I made it about a half mile up Holland's Chapel when I saw Jim and a new rider named Amy heading to me. They had come back to look for us; the rest of the Stem group had headed in because a couple of people had time constraints. I assume Tom got them back in. Anyway, we rode back and, with my tube and Amy's CO2, we got Laura back on the road.

Based on this "experience", I respectfully submit to the Nickname Gods that Laura's nickname, henceforth, should be - "MECHANIC".

The rest of the ride was uneventful. Instead of taking the "Sisters" etc. route, we went down to Green Hope School Road and crossed the RR Tracks onto the end of Ron's Pull. From there we headed back in the normal way.

No idea what the Thorns did, but I figure the Stems that headed in on their own did at least 55 miles and (if they rode the same way as when I was with them) averaged at least 18mph. The four of us Laura, Jim, Amy, and myself) ended up with 56 miles at 18.2mph. Zoom-Zoom.

Despite the mechanical issues, it was a good, very fast ride.

Following is an account of the days ride from Lee Duncan - Sonic Boom.
Here is the Thorns write-up from Last Saturday, May 29th.

Entitled: 400 Meter Freestyle, and then some

On Saturday morning, the clouds started to clear and the storms from the night before seemed like a distant memory. There was a very good turnout; a clear indication that members of the Thorns and Roses are not only cycling fanatics, but also fanatical about checking The Weather Channel. GOG had provided excellent detail for the route Saturday morning, but most of the riders with the directions were not in attendance. As a last ditch effort, Lee Duncan "the replacement" pulled some handwritten instructions from his back pocket, scribed from GOGs e-mail. What ensued from this moment was a 400 Meter Freestyle, and then some. No swim cap required.

In attendance:

• A lot of people. Probably 10 - 20 people plus.

• Thorns: Frank, Shawn, Jeff, Pat, Lee, Karen and many others whose names I did not get.

The large group assembled at the start of the ride and had decided to stay together for as long as possible during the route. Shawn (Green Flash) took the reins and led the group through the warm-up corridor of Preston. Everyone seemed to stay together well and there were no major mechanicals which typically plague members during this warm-up stage. Out on Ron's Pull, a very stable pace line emerged, with the Green Flash establishing a challenging and stable speed for the group. This continued throughout the majority of this section until some rowdy Thorns advanced on Shawn toward the end, demonstrating unsportsmanship like conduct and taking advantage of the Green Flash's kindness at the start of the ride.

As the group passed the Carpenter Fire Station Road, it was discovered that a few members of the group had specific goals for the day and had commitments to be back at the Thorns and Roses headquarters earlier than normal. So over the next few miles, the riders sought out a leader for the newly chartered group, which I will call the STOSES (Stems + Roses). It took some work interviewing candidates at 18+ mph, but we eventually found the right person for the job. Because I don't know his name (please accept my apologies), "Blue Shirt" accepted the position of leading the newly formed group when the pace and conditions warranted.

Through this "re-org" process, "map man" -- aka Lee had lost guidance control of the Green Flash Rocket and he had accelerated off course towards upchuck. The unwary passengers had not expected this detour; hopefully they had their air sickness bags. However, everyone in the group stayed together through the climb and did a fantastic job scaling the mountain. We were all happy to have stayed together this long, showing the maturity and solid conditioning of the group. As the ride continued on, the riders exchanged positions at the front to be most efficient through Mt Pisgah Church, Farrell Rd, Lewter and Marthas Chapal. Towards the bonus points section of Marthas Chapel, the group witnessed an unbelievable show of physical prowess when "Pat" lit it up with her amazing sprint performance alongside Frank. Frank had mentioned later on that her performance captured the essence of the Thorns and Roses, putting it all out there for the glory, despite the oxygen debt that may ensue for the remaining ride.

The riders then took a left on its old Nemesis from the previous week, Fearrington Road, aka Jordan Lake. As we pedaled on, I thought I heard a faint and familiar melody in the background, that sounded like this: "The legend lives on from Cary on down, of the big lake they call lake Jordan, the lake it is said, never gives up her dead, when the skies of May turn hot and stuff"...or something like that. And with this, the riders started to feel the miles in their legs and decided to take a break at a grocery store that flanked Route 64. Everyone got refreshments, took a rest and joined the respective Thorn or STOSES group based on time and adventure needs.

Parting was sweet sorrow.

The Thorns were pulled by Frank and Jeff much of the remaining route to old US 1, New Elam Church and Pea Ridge to home... with Karen driving the pace line on many occasions.

Altogether it was great ride for the group, even though we had to freestyle a bit on the directions, with the Thorns doing over 50 miles at a very solid pace.