Thursday, July 08, 2010

Change of Plans - July 4th weekend rides

Those willing to change plans included:

Ron Clanton – Just Ron
Tracy Clanton – Rose Peddler
Jae Brainard
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Beth Gonzalez
Mary Ann Feagan
Don Zelna – Track Stand
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Steve Sparano – Sporadic Steve
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom
Sheila Augustine
Kyle May – new to the area and the group recently from Austin Texas - Welcome
Monica Ovalle – new to the area and the group recently from Austin Texas – Welcome
Mo Percy
June Bennett
Kort Bennett
Don Zelna – Track Stand
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit - GOG

The note had gone out regarding the temporary change in start location. That was quickly followed up with a change in start time after GOG learned that the gates across the enterance to the start location were not to open until 8 am. So with a temp start location and now a later start time GOG assumed he would be riding solo for the Saturday ride.

GOG showed up at the start location at 8:10 am and already there were several cars and trucks there with riders unloading and setting up for the days ride. More cars continued to stream into the parking lot as GOG worked to gather names of those planning to ride.

With 5 minutes to go prior to the new start time a park ranger approached the group. “You know we are planning to close and lock the gate this morning at 10 am”. “If your car is still hear you will not be able to get it out”. “We do that only on Holidays when the other park areas fill up”. “We do that to keep people from coming in to Picnic”.

GOG just stared at the Ranger trying to understand the logic of closing part of the park on the busiest weekend of the year. Clearly the State tax dollars are working hard to serve the public. GOG elected to then switch his energy into locating another staging location nearby for all to use. It was suggested that the group move to the Methodist church just down the road on Beaver Creek. This was quickly communicated to the group. Sporadic Steve agreed to lead the caravan of drivers who were unfamiliar with the area to that spot. It was learned also at that time that Beth Gonzalis had called the Jodan Lake Visitor center to ensure they would be open per GOG’s original plan. They assured her they would indeed be open. Open apparently between 8 am and 10 am only. The time was already 8:20 am. GOG then suggested that the start time would have to slip allowing everyone to re-gather at the church and for him to hang out and redirect others still headed to the visitor’s center.

Eventually all those planning to ride that day made it to the relocated start. It took Sonic Boom a very long time to primp properly for the days ride. Everyone else was very efficient in getting themselves ready for the second time that day. Sonic Boom had not even gotten out of his car at the first start location so he did not have to reorganize his stuff to get ready. So unlike Sonic Boom to move slow. Not only did he move slow he appeared disoriented, confused, DULL.

About the time he was putting his shoes on June and Kork made it known that they had a time constraint. GOG assured them he would provide for a short cut, and or an opportunity to back track with instructions and additional rider if needed.

Kyle and Monica were completely new to the area having just arrived from Austin, TX. They elected to ride with the Roses under the watchful eye of Jae and the Clanton’s. The Roses were the largest group having 11 riders and the Thorns/Stems with 9 riders.

The Roses headed out on their 30 + mile ride as the Thorns continued to wait on Sonic Boom. The time was now pressing 9 am. Finally the rest of the group was able to slowly make head way. The route had the Thorns traveling a short distance down Beaver Creek towards the lake only to then take the first left onto Tody Goodwin. Tody is a rough road with a fair number of rolling hills. This made for a challenging start to the days ride. Sonic Boom was riding at the back of the group along with Mother Theresa. GOG assumed they were back there discussing the Blood Sweat and Gears ride they had done the previous weekend. Mother Theresa had ridden a very strong mountainous 50 miles near Boone NC as she participated in that event. GOG assumed Sonic Boom had raced the entire route and he was anxious to hear from Sonic how that had gone. GOG then slowly fell back to join in on the conversation.

“yea I road hard, finish in a small pack of 3 riders and came in 9th overall” Sonic was heard explaining his Blood Sweat and Gears experience to Mother Theresa. “I then became very sick and am still trying to recover” he went on to say. “You must have really tore yourself up” GOG injected. “Yea, I am going to take it very easy today, lots of spinning to help my legs recover”, Sonic said in a lethargic tone.

The entire pack was riding well in control. No attacks, no slow build up of speed beyond 20 mph. Maybe it was the late start, the sun, or maybe it was just a great day for a smooth bike ride.

The pack found themselves at the end of Tody Goodwin and had been instructed by GOG to make the right turn onto New Hill Olive Chapel with a left later onto Humie Olive. “This is where we ran across that GIANT SNAKE” June announced with excitement that she knew where she was and as she recalled she that Snake.

The pack was off down New Hill Olive Chapel with June glancing left and right fearing that the Snake might attack once again.

The turn onto Humie Olive had the pack slowing long enough to ensure Mother Theresa had also made the turn as she had fallen off the pace. The pack rolled on down the entire length of this road to Old Highway 1 before slowing to make the announced left turn and then right onto Friendship. Once onto Friendship the pack slowed and stopped long enough to allow Mother Theresa to get within eye sight, before pushing on. The run along Friendship was some what relaxed with the pack coasting along in the dry cool July air at speeds of 18 – 19 mph. It was on this section of road that Mother Theresa and GOG learned that Immortal Man is also planning to ride RAGBRAI at the end of July. These folks will be joining 10,000 other bicyclists for one week of riding in the heat, humidity, and hills of Iowa. They will travel for small town to small town eating homemade pies sold at churches and schools. They will be scattering tents across high School campuses as they roam the back roads of Iowa much like a band of gypsies. Each were excited as they talked about the upcoming event. Top Rookie made it known he plans to do that same event in 2011. Maybe the Thorns and Roses will have a team and do the event together. Yes Mother Theresa is still trying to get the jersey companies to work with her on the Thorns and Roses Jersey.

The group took on fluids in the shade prior to making the left turn towards Sharron Harris Nuclear Plant and points beyond. It was along this stretch of road that Top Rookie informed GOG that Domestique had been out riding his bike and was hit by a car. Apparently he was attempting to ride 100 consecutive days and on the 100th day was hit by a car. GOG has not yet visited with Domestique to see how he is doing but the report from others indicate he has cracked vertebra and other injuries. These injuries gladly are not interrupting his planed trip to Africa. Make sure the next time you see Jim Coughlin (Domestique) wish him a speedy, full recovery, and a great trip to Africa.

The pack rolled on past Sharron Harris park, and to the four way stop that has four separate names for each section of road. The road going straight changes its name from New Holleman to Rexx Road. The road turning right is a dead end named Bartley Holleman Rd. The road headed left is named Avent Ferry, (one of several Avent Ferry in the area). The route originally planned would suggest the pack turn left onto Avent Ferry, however due to concern for those with time constraints it would be much simpler to stay straight in an effort to eliminate additional turns that would have to be recalled on the way back. Also a turn onto Avent Ferry would produce a very unpleasant section of busy, and hilly road. So with little debate the pack remained straight onto Rexx Rd.. This section of road was torn up due to construction traffic, however it was lightly traveled allowing the riders to utilize all areas of the road as needed to dodge VW Swallowing pot holes. June and her husband elected to continue on with the group for another 3 or so miles before they were to head back. It was at the end of Rexx when they announced it was time to turn back. GOG asked if anyone else would like to escort them and he was pleased to find volunteers.

Top Rookie elected to head back early as he was planning to ride the 100k Fire Cracker ride the next day. Sonic Boom whimpered that he too would like to slide on home to continue his recovery. So the Thorns/Stems were now formally two groups headed in different directions that would result in slightly different mileages.

Those headed on out included:
Mother Theresa
Sporadic Steve
Imortal man
Track Stand
Mr. bridenbough

These riders were now headed towards Highway 42 via Cass Holt and Buchhorn Duncan Rd and a rest stop at the gas station on highway 42 utilized by many of the organized rides like Fire Cracker, and ride for the rock. Here the group filled water bottles. Immortal man purchased a giant Snickers Bar that put a large smile on his face. Mr. Bridenbaugh consumed a Lemon Moon Pie.

Track Stand informed GOG he had no money to purchase water since Mother Goose had not yet given him his allowance. So GOG floated Track Stand $1.50 with payment due back to GOG of $5.50 before the weekend was over.

The group rested in what little shade was provided by the awning of the gas station until Moon Pie and Snickers were devoured. Back on the bikes the group headed West on 42 only to be diverted by a detour. The detour was lightly traveled and provided for shaded down hills that were mirrored by an opposing up hill. None of the hills on the detour impacted the group as they easily navigated along the route. At the end of the detour the riders found themselves back onto the planned route and highway 42. It was there that they stop momentarily to enjoy the shade and the dry air. “Great day for a bike ride” Track Stand announced. This was repeated by all in the group. The discussion was then redirected to the hill that was about to great the pack. It is known for its long fast downhill and short but steep climb afterwords. “Always happier to take the hill from this end” Mr. Bridenbaugh informed the group. “Yea going the other way will kill you, long and drawn out going the opposite direction” replied Immortal Man.

Then ready for the challenge the pack was back onto Highway 42 as it heads for Cornith Road.

Each rider accepted the down hill speed and the resulting up hill challenge within their own abilities. By the time GOG reached the ride leaders at the top of the climb they were all off their bikes and fully rested ready for the next challenge.

The ride was now very straight forward with all the riders gliding along the length of Cornith as it ends at Old Highway One next to Pea Ridge, which is the next road for the group to experience.

“I hate Pea Ridge, I am Hungry” were the words shared from Mother Theresa.

The group rode easily on into the end with each rider explaining several times how fantastic the day was and how enjoyable the ride was.

Sunday July 4th - Happy bDay USA.

Most everyone did the Firecracker ride and had a great day for it.

Those electing to once again meet Kevin and Theresa near Jordan lake did a 31 mile ride.

Those in attendance included:
Steve Sparano – Sporadic Steve
Carolyn Sparano – Sporadic Carolyn
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit - GOG
Jae Brainard
Tim Devinney - The love train made a valiant effort to join the group, however GOG had left the original start location before Tim showed up to let him know the park was planning to close the gates and we had moved the start location to the camp site.  Sorry Love Train.  We still Love you.

This group rode a very enjoyable 30 miles and was able to wave at many of the Fire Cracker riders as both groups were on the home stretch of their rides.
Notable event was Jae having a Flat in the last 3 miles of the ride and Sporadic Steve helping her with replacing the flat.

Monday July 5th

Un- announced ride.

Those in attendance
Steve Sparano – Sporadic Steve
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Karen Roberson – first time with the group 5th time on her bike.
Mary Ann Feagan
Jae Brainard
Ron Clanton – Just Ron
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG

Another great ride.

Another great day of weather.

Most notable items are as follows.

Jae is NO LONGER A ROSE. She demonstrated that she is being held back by the responsibility to leading the Roses. She and GOG discussed how to help her rotate that responsibility to allow her opportunities to ride with the Thorns/Stems.

Karen Robertson demonstrated the skills of a rider having years of riding experience. She topped that off by performing a perfect Arty Johnson slow fall after a stop at the turn around spot. Well Done.

A great weekend of riding even with all the changes in Plans.