Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thorns are Prickly and Roses Rule

July 10th Saturday ride

Thorns are Prickly
In attendance:
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Steve Sparano – Sporadic Steve
Carolyn Sparano – Sporadic Carolyn
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon – back from his weeklong bike ride in Spain.
Lori Cove – first time with the group – heard about the ride from Susan McBee
Susan McBee – looking for an easy ride – a recovery day for her.
Jim Coughlin – Domestique – off the injured list and preparing for his week long ride in Africa.
Andrew Lipetzky – future son in law to Domestique
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Jessica Holland – new to the group
Ginny Davis – new to the group
Dana Pitzulo – new to the group
Shawn Richardson – on a brand new FIXY. Shawn needs an additional name. When he rides his road bike he is known to the group as the Green Flash. When he rides his black and gold FIXY he is known as Killer Bee. His new FIXY is very colorful. On the days ride folks asked him why he does not carry water bottles. This led GOG into realizing that Shawn never brings water on the ride when he rides either of his FIXY bikes. GOG then thought about what else does not require much water. Some suggested a Camel. GOG was looking at the new bike and its colors and realized that Dessert Flowers also do not need much water. Hmmmm maybe Shawns name when riding the new FIXY should be Dessert Flower.
Frank Lewis
Dwight Mouton
Patty Hunt.
Mo Purcy

The humidity was already beginning to create a sweat management issue for GOG even before he mounted the bike. GOG informed the group that Sporadic Steve had been nominated by Carolyn to lead the ROSES for the days ride. GOG explained that the ROSES would likely to 25 – 30 miles at a more comfortable 13 – 15 mph pace. The only other person electing to ride with Steve and Carolyn was Mo. Everyone else was there to see how long they could hold onto the Thorns before falling back and forming the stems. GOG went on to explain that the route for the Thorns would include such landmarks as Wimberly, Martha’s Chapel, Lystra Gas station rest stop, Big Woods, Wilsonville gas station rest stop, and then on back to the start/finish. He also let everyone know to avoid Rons Pull and Carpenter Fire Station due to all the construction.

The pack was led out by the ROSES as GOG continued to get himself and his bike ready for the days ride.

As the cyclists worked their way into the Preston neighborhood GOG worked to catch up with Domestique to learn more about his recent altercation with a car. Jim had sent an email out to part of the distribution list so some have already learned the following. For those who did not get that email it is being included below.

   -   Hi Kevin,

Another GREAT blog update from THE GOG! Just wanted to update everyone on my accident, my LUCK OF THE IRISH escape and my recovery. I was unfortunately hit head on by a car around 12:45 pm on Monday June 28th. As Kevin noted in his blog, I was well on my way to knocking out my planned 100 miles on my 100th consecutive day of training for RideTZ (more on RideTZ below). Around mile 63, I had stopped at a stop sign on Jenks-Carpenter Rd at the intersection of Jenks-Carpenter and Collins Rd when a reckless, driver made a wicked left turn onto Jenks-Carpenter, crossing the center line, and running directly into me....YIKES! I was fortunate to find out that at the age of 51 I still have a few gymnastics skills left in this old bod. I managed to roll across the hood of the car (denting my helmet in the process) and land very ungracefully on my domestique derriere. Fortunately my fall was slightly cushioned by 2 GU packs that were in my back pocket (I later found the GU packs had exploded on my impact...what a mess!). During my acrobatic moves, I managed to slice open my right arm, badly bang up my right shoulder/arm/elbow as well as my left leg and oh yes my BACK....OUCH!!! Thanks to the several wonderful witnesses/passerby's, 911 was immediately contacted and the Cary police, fire and ambulance crews were quickly on the scene. Later at the hospital I found out that I had cracked the transverse section of on a couple lumbar vertebrae during my crash landing and I needed 7 stiches to close up the gash in my arm. But overall given my direct encounter with a moving car, I have to say I was very, very lucky to escape with such relatively minor issues.

In terms of my recovery, I took a week off from biking and enjoyed the bliss of oxycodene, triple strength ibuprofen and flector patches. I managed to get back on a bike last Monday (at the gym) and after a few days I worked my way back up to what I thought was a respectable level. I hit the road for the first time last night with the Thursday night Slow Spokes ride. I managed to hold on for about the first 25 miles, but faded back for awhile before getting a boost from a fellow rider who dropped back to let me draft on him in order to complete the 34 mile ride.

I plan to be at Thorns/Stems/Roses ride on Sat. I don't know if I'll be a Stem or Rose tomorrow, but either way I'll be very glad to be back out with the group, trying to get in a few more miles before heading off to Africa on July 14th for RideTZ, a 400 mile charity bike ride that I'm doing to support The Foundation for Tomorrow, a wonderful nonprofit organization focused on helping to provide quality education and critical support to some of the millions of orphaned and abandoned children in Africa. If you are interested in reading more about RideTZ, here's a link to my web page



Thank You Jim for sharing that. I am looking forward to reading about your adventures during your fund raiser ride in Africa. A link to his blog will be provided for all to follow his progress. The link above will allow anyone to donate to Jims fund raiser, please take advantage of this opportunity to help Jim make a difference and donate to his effort.

Back to the ride.

Jim was riding a hybrid bike since his nice road bike was totaled and will take time to replace. The hybrid was a heavy steel frame and had fat tires, and broom stick style handle bars. Not a bike you would find some riding if they were expecting to ride up front with the Thorns. However Domestique demonstrated his strength by holding his own in the pack of Thorns for 2/3 rds of the ride. He elected to then help GOG finish the ride the last 12 – 15 miles as GOG was into a BONK at that time.

The pack stayed together well as they circled the round about in Preston, made a left turn at the BIG CHICKEN, and the following left turn away from Ron’s Pull which is still under construction. The group was then directed to make the quick right onto Highhouse and a quick left onto Jenks-Carpenter and to the intersection where Jim had been hit by the car. The pack did not stop at that intersection but it was duly noted by all that the driver MUST have made a Radical turn to have hit Jim head on. The pack was now headed down hill all lined up for the run up the hill on the other side to the stop sign at Holt. Dessert Flower (Shawn) was the first to attack. Capn Carbon was at the end of the pack still visiting with Frank about the ride across Spain. Capn did not attempt any move until all were well into the climb. It was entertaining to watch Capn jump from rider to rider utilizing any slip stream he could, and to try and conceal himself from those in the lead. It was like a cartoon were the stalker would tip toe from tree to tree – in plain sight – in an attempt to not be noticed. In the end Capn had waited far too long and spent way too much time tip toeing from rider to rider and was unable to totally clip the Dessert Flowers leaves. The pack circled long enough to allow visual contact with the back of the pack before asking GOG what direction. “Right” was the command and the Thorns were off once again. The pace was very sporadic with speeds varying from 21 down to 16 mph. IT was as if none of the Thorns were totally ready to establish themselves. All were still in tow as they made their way across highway 55 on Old Jenks, then past Roberts road, then thru the stop sign at Jenks and Old Jenks, with all turning together onto Wimberly. It was at that point that Capn Carbon pulled out of the pack and slid back to where GOG was riding near the tail end. “Can’t hold them back much longer, they are itching to be turned loose” Commented Capn to GOG. “OK” “Take this to the end, make the Left turn onto Green Level” “Take it to the end, and make the left onto Lueter Shop near the Stawberry patch” “Then down Martha’s Chaple to the rest stop at the Lystra Gas Station” GOG said in his attempt to help the directionally challenged Capn. No other words were exchanged as Capn danced his way back to the front of the Thorns.

That was the last time the group rode together.

GOG, and Mother Theresa, were left behind to form the stems, all others got sucked up into the Thorn Vortex.

But wait what did they see after the climb up Wimberly? The Thorns circling in total confusion. Capn was unable to convey the directions to the rest of the pack. This forced the Thorns to wait and hear directly from GOG what was expected of them. GOG repeated his commands for all to hear and with no hesitation from the Thorns they responded to his wishes. Once again GOG and Mother Theresa were alone as they did their best effort to ascend the hills of Green Level.

For GOG and Mother Theresa the pace was a steady 21 mph down Marthas Chapel and in doing so they knew they would be a few minutes behind the Thorns at the first planned rest stop. As the two riders approached the end of Martha’s Chapel they recognized several cyclists in the distance waiting at the stop sign. It was the ROSES along with Domestique and Andrew. The ROSES had elected to alter the original route in order to get in more miles. Domestique and Andrew elected to fall out of the 29 mph pace line generated by the Thorns in an attempt to make the miles without blowing up. GOG and Sporadic Steve exchanged ideas of how to get back to the start finish for the ROSES. Domestique and Andrew voted to finish the planned Thorns route with GOG and Mother Theresa. The Stems had just doubled in size. The Roses said their goodbyes and the Stems headed on towards the gas station at Lystra.

At the gas station the Thorns were already demonstrating signs of restlessness. Several of the riders were still in side purchasing water and candy bars to replenish fluids and sugar into the system. Others like Desert Flower had not even bothered to unclip from the pedals in anticipation of the time trial that was about to unfold on Big Woods. Not only did Dessert Flower not unclip he brought ZERO water or nutrition supplements. HE Came to ride not party.

GOG noticed that two were missing from the group. “Were are Susan and Lori” he asked. “Susan is in training and could not allow her heart rate to drop below a certain level so they elected to go on rather than wait here” replied Mr. Bridenbaug.

“Lets mount up” shouted Capn Carbon. His Thorns were not fully ready. Several were still coming out of the gas station with their new purchases. Some were only half way done with their Snicker bars. Capn and the other Thorns clearly were not concerned. GOG replied “TAKE NO PRISIONERS, the Thorns motto of the day”. Several of the ladies were looking at each other as if to say. “No they are really going to leave us are they, especially since we demonstrated the ability to hang with them up to this point”.

The Thorns did leave them without hesitation.

“You guys can join us, we are headed the same way” GOG said in a consoling tone. No words were spoken from Jessica, Genni, and Dana as they formed their own pack and road off prior to the Stems departure. Was it something GOG said? Was it the selfish behavior of the Thorns? It is hoped that this did not ruin the days ride for these ladies, and that they will come back to ride again.

Eventually GOG, Domestique, Mother Theresa, and Andrew were all ready to attempt their run down Big Woods. GOG led the way and pulled all but Mother Theresa the length of Big Woods. Mother Theresa fell off the back on the first climb of Big Woods. She did not lose much ground and was only a minute behind at the end of Big Woods. Job well done Mother Theresa. The group rested long enough for Mother Theresa to grab a short drink of water and then they all headed up highway 64 to the next planed rest stop at the Wilsonville gas station. Once there the Stems found the Thorns saddling up for there next attack, they also met the CSH riders who had blown by them earlier on Big Woods. The 3 ladies who had set out on their own at the Lystra Gas station were also prepping to head back towards Cary. It was noticed that Pat Hunt had pealed off at some point and was no longer riding with any of the Thorns or Roses. This made the third person to start with the group and then elect to go do their own ride at some point in the route. In addition the team of Jessica, Genni, and Dana were still riding the route, however they had elected to form their own support group, not riding with the Thorns, or the Stems.

GOG was in trouble at this point. He was into the starting phase of a BONK. This is where he gets light headed, and slightly nauseous. He laid on the concrete in an effort to help fight off the effects of a low blood pressure reading and to allow blood to more readily be distributed to all parts of the body. Mother Theresa helped by purchasing a large cold bottle of water, some of which was poured on GOG’s head.

After a half hour or more GOG elected to try and slowly stand and then mount the bike. Domestique and Andrew were kind enough to hang with GOG and Mother Theresa as they wanted to help ensure he could make it back to the start finish with out incident.

GOG suggested the group take as direct and flat route back as was possible. All agreed and the group headed for Holland Chaple, the strawberry patch, Luether Shop, Green level, Green Hope High School road, Sears Farm, and High House all the way in. GOG was fine as long as the pace was under 20 mph. Domestique as still as strong as ever pushing his biggest gears on his heavy steal framed Hybrid bike.

The stems finished the 46 mile route with an average of 16.5.

The Thorns took a much more hilly way back into the finish and averaged 19+ mph.

Rumour has it that Mr. Bridenbaugh was showing signs of BONKING much like GOG, however he still was able to hang with the Thorns, and did not have to lay down to correct the effects of the BONK.

Sunday July 11th


A great turn out of ROSES and a great route and pace.

Those in attendance included:
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG (Glistening Older Gentleman) – aka an old fart that sweats a lot
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Karen Robertson – Second time with the group – welcome back
Jim Coughlin – Domestique - good luck on your bike ride in Africa.
Lori Brogden
Andy Brogden
Ann Munn – new to the group
Sondra Devincenzo – new to the group
Sheila Augustine
Doug Augustine – Rumble Strip
Patti Lewis – Patti melt
Shawn Richards – Killer Bee - on his Black and Gold FIXY

GOG warned Shawn that the planed route would not challenge him. Today’s route was purposefully designed to help those new to the group learn what the ROSES were all about. Everyone in the group supported that and elected to also ride as the ROSES do. GOG went on to explain he was expecting to complete 20 -25 miles, on relatively flat, low trafficked roads at a pace of 13 – 15 mph. With that information all including Killer Bee signed up to participate.

The ride was one of great chit chat as all riders relaxed and wrapped their heads around the idea of a recovery style ride. Shawn (Killer Bee) was particularly relaxed as he rode within the pack never pressing the pace. Andy did a fantastic job of escorting the newer riders of the group helping them feel welcomed into the ROSES. Laura rode very strong and on occasions would be the pace setter early in the ride. Mother Theresa and GOG floated mainly in the middle of the pack to visit with those they had not seen for a while. They enjoyed the conversations with Patty melt, Rumble Strip, and Sheila. Domestique and Top Rookie rode very controlled. GOG kept expecting those two and Killer Bee to attack each other as would be the norm on a Thorns style ride. All three were extremely well behaved. Maybe Top Rookie was on his best behavior because his wife Karen was there. In any rate it is good to know that the Thorns do not have to always be PRICKS. (a pun on what a Thorn does when you grab it, or threaten to grab it). Both Ann and Sondra seemed to enjoy themselves, as they rode a very steady pace, and held a very smooth line. It was learned that Sondra had just gotten clip in peddles and was very nervous about clipping in and out. Both she and Ann managed their starts, stop, gear changing as if they had been riding in the pack for a long time.

As the ROSES were headed back towards the start finish the CSH riders were headed out on their ride. GOG looked over at Killer Bee and asked “You going to jump in and go back out with them?”

“Na, I will finish up with you guys” Killer Bee replied.

At the end of the days ride the ROSES completed 24 miles at an average pace of 14.5 mph.


Let it be know that Killer Bee went back out for more miles. He said he was going to ride to NC State and back. Got to keep the sting in the Bee, the point sharp on the Thorn, Brightness in the Green Flash, and the toughness/resiliency of the Dessert Flower. Poor Shawn has to live up to 3 nick names and his position near the tip of the Thorns. “NO REST FOR THE WICKED”.