Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot, Humid, Hilly, and Head winds

A triple BONK Day.

Saturday July 17th

Well it is the middle of July what else would one expect at the start of a long bike ride. The crowd grew slowly and finished with a flurry of cyclists readying themselves at the last minute.

Those in attendance included:

Riding with the Roses.
Ron Clanton – Just Ron – leading the group with his wife on the tandem.
Tracy Clanton – Rose Peddler.
Andy Hartsfield – welcome back to the group
Patti Lewis – Patti Melt (GOG and Mother Theresa have adopted your daughter Nicole).
Matt Fowler
Doug Augustine – Rumble Strip
Sheila Augustine – looking for a nickname.

Those riding with the Thorns.
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh (he deserves the respect of his nickname)
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom – back in from after recovering from a solid performance on BS&G
Jim Palistrant – the Instigator / antagonizer
Shawn Richards – The Green Flash

Starting with the Thorns and finishing as Stems.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Ginni Davis
Ken Shuster
Seab Howard

Those starting out as stems.
Kevin Smit – GOG – BONKED 3 times on the ride- a bad day on the bike for this old man.
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa – she nursed GOG for the last half of the ride
Nicole Lewis – newly adopted daughter of the Smits. – She was kind enough to keep her new parents company on the ride.

GOG and Mother Theresa were immediately ejected to the back of the pack as the Thorns raced out of the parking lot and into the Preston Neighborhood. GOG was able to slowly pull himself up thru the line of cyclists in an effort to make sure he had communicated fully the planed route. The first stop was alongside the Clanton’s on their tandem. GOG and Just RON discussed the various options the ROSES had for their route. It was agreed that the ROSES would follow the Thorns planed route up to Okelly putting them on that same route for the first 13 miles. The Roses would then turn onto the paved section of the Tobacco Trail and head for Home giving them between 25 and 30 miles. JUST RON had full control of the ROSES and led them smoothly onto the impromptu route.

GOG then had a small window of opportunity to chase down the Thorns before they made a wrong turn in Preston. Normally all would turn left onto Hogans Vally way and then onto the roundabout. Today however GOG had planned a new exit from Cary for the days ride. GOG did not fully close the gap however MR. BRIDENBAUGH had done a stellar job of studying the route that GOG had provided in the ride announcement email. GOG could see Mr. Bridenbaugh marshal the Thorns and directed them to stay straight all the way to Morrisville parkway. Well done Mr. Bridenbaugh.

The only other point of confusion with the new route out of town was trying to determine were Little Drive was. GOG could not recall the name of the road as he made his attempt to describe the route.

“you know where we get onto Lewis Stevens in RTP” he said with frustration as he knew he was doing a poor job of explaining the next vital turn.

His frustration with himself was well founded as both Just Ron and Mr. Bridenbaugh made a move to turn the pack onto Morrisville Carpenter road, only to be stopped by GOG as he yelled “STRAIGHT”. This scene was reenacted again at MC Crimmon Parkway, however this time the Thorns where close to being out of ear shot. The Roses were just behind GOG so they had no issue with that intersection. GOG was soon dropped so dramatically that he had no hope of communicating other than by Cell Phone with Mr. Bridenbuagh. The next true turn was fast approaching. IT was MR. BRidenbaugh who again demonstrated great leadership skills as he elected to look back towards GOG to confirm the next turn. This allowed GOG to drift left and point to the next intersection. Mr. Bridenbaugh acknowledged by also signaling and letting the Thorns know they were in fact headed towards Lewis Stevens in RTP. That was the last time the Thorns, and Roses, and GOG were to ride together.

GOG slowed his pace now that he was no longer allowed to assist the Thorns with the planed route.

The Roses slide on up to meet GOG and all road very comfortably thru the Zero traffic of Lewis Stevens and Kit Creak roads. At the short steep climb up Kit Creak to Alston “GOGs” phone rang. He pushed hard to make head way up the hill, balance his bike, reach into his back pocket, and then deftly try to activate his Iphone thru a plastic Zip Lock baggy. It was Centralized Showing wanting to know if it was OK to let a Realtor Show a Listing that GOG has. “Yes, please do so, make sure you contact the owner and get their approval as well”. GOG had stopped at the intersection to complete the call and to replace his phone. The Roses rolled on thru the stop sign with Nicole being the only person showing concern for GOG being left behind. Thank You Nicole.

GOG found the Roses at the intersection of Okelley and Alston. Here he and Just Ron discussed the options the ROSES had regarding their return trip. It was agreed they would continue on the Thorns planned route up to the Tobacco Trail where Just RON would take full control of the way back home.

GOG, Mother Theresa, and their daughter Nicole would continue to sweep the planned route in hopes to meet with Thorns at the scheduled rest stop at the Lystra Gas Station.

A short goodby and save riding was exchanges as the ROSES made their left turn onto the scenic paved portion of the Tobacco trail.

Now Mother Theresa, GOG, and their adopted daughter were all alone to enjoy the hills and countryside of Okelly, 751, and stage coach. Mother Theresa was riding very strong on the hills and did not loose much as both Nicole and GOG pushed the pace on the up hill sections. Nicole was her normal bubbly self as she smiled brightly with the pure joy of someone happy with life and themselves. She would ride along and comment on the simplest things she observed on the ride. Taking notice and having such a large appreciation of all things around her is another of her truly marvelous character traits. Nicole had clearly planned for a ride of appreciation of all things living. She had brought a camera and was busy chronicling those things she witnessed along the route. She took pictures of the start of the ride, other packs of riders who were also enjoying the experience, horses, and butterflies. Nicole was a joy to ride with, her energy and attitude was contagious.

GOG did most of the pulling as the pack of three made their way down stagecoach and Farrington to the Lystra Gas Station.

At Lystra the Thorns were already headed out towards Cul de Lystra minus 4 from the group who had agreed to ride together as the stems. Those 4 were Top Rookie, Ginny, Ken Shuster, and Seab Howard.

GOG was beginning to feel the early stages of a BONK as he rolled up to the gas station and the shade it provided. GOG had anticipated a long hot hard day and had Hydrated for several days prior. He had also brought with him his Shot Blocks, Gu, and electrolyte drink. He had begun the consumption of the electrolytes and shot blocks early in an effort to ward off his notorious bonks. He had already consumed much of the two water bottles, so he purchased additional water for all to share. The Lystra gas Station is one that many cyclists utilize as a strategic rest stop on rides. Today was no expectation as cyclist came and went in packs and as individuals. Several of them knew GOG and the others and shared training stories and plans for upcoming cycling or triathlon events.

After a nice long rest in the shade GOG poured the remaining purchased water over his head as he readied himself for the climb up Lystra. Nicole was looking forward to the climb, Mother Theresa was quietly anticipating the challenge, GOG was just waiting to see how he would respond. Nicole and GOG completed the climb together, with Nicole happy to ride at a much slower pace than she was capable of as she kept a close eye on GOG as he pulled and tugged his way to 15/501. “We did that in 10 minutes” announced Nicole as if to suggest that it was a solid effort. GOG knew in his heart she would have been able to accomplish the same task in half the time, and appreciated her support, and encouragement.

Mother Theresa was not that far behind and seamed no worse for the ware upon joining the other two at the end of Lystra.

The group headed south on 15/501 straight into a ever increasing head wind. GOG was still working the front of the small pace line until the turn onto Mount Gilead Church Road. With little warning GOG was now into a BONK. No ability to push the bigger gears, and no hear rate left to spin the gears. GOG was beginning to hate the smell of water from the water bottle as his stomach would turn at the thought of consuming any more of that clear liquid. The electrolyte solution would instantly cramp his stomach so the water bottle containing that mix was not pulled from the cage that held it. Still head winds even after a change in direction, more hills – not steep – but relentless – unfolding one after the other. The sun was now so intense each uv ray was felt as it penetrated its way thru the sunscreen and into the very core of the body. With each penetrating ray the core temperature would rise generating a sensation of a pressure cooker on the stove as it cooks a head of cabbage. Nicole was now riding in the front unable to sustain the slower speeds GOG was generating. She instinctively recognized GOGs need to get in some shade and rest as she elected to turn into the gas station on the corner of Highway 64 and Mount Gilead Church Road. An unplanned stop at mile 32. GOG followed her lead and immediately searched for any cool breeze and shade he could find. It was Mother Theresa that directed him in his daze to the only available shade on the side of the building. GOG removed his helmet, du rag, and gloves and laid on the concrete in the shade. Nicole directed him to put his feet up to help him get the blood back to his head and heart. Mother Theresa purchased diet – caffeine free diet coke just to have something more palatable to drink. The group waited patiently there for GOG to recover enough to march on having only accomplished half the days planed route. He was determined to get thru the hills and miles in an effort to demonstrate to himself and to help Mother Theresa also demonstrate to herself that they would be ready for the Hills, Humidity, Heat, and Head Winds that will great them every day on RAGBRAI. As they rested there was a great deal shared amongst Nicole and her new parents. They learned that Nicole is headed to Germany in January to continue her PHD studies. Nicole is very excited and her parents will be sad to see her go so far away. The expectation is that Facebook and email will be utilized heavily in an effort to keep all informed on her efforts, and life in Germany. It was also realized that Nicole was the same age as Kassel. Then it also became clear that she possess the same character traits and sprit that defined Kassel in his short 16 years. She and he are kindred spirits.

Finally after 30 to 40 minutes GOG was able to stand without the risk of passing out. He steadied himself and slowly slid one leg over the top tube of his bike to ready himself for next 10 miles to the second Planned rest stop. The death march had begun. The ride down N. Pea Ridge, Seaforth, and Highway 64 was a reenactment of the previous 10 miles. GOG on the verge of a BONK, Nicole bouncing along joyful to be alive, Mother Theresa quietly confidently meeting the challenge of the route and the weather.

Upon arrival at Wilsonville the group encountered Susan McBee as she was 40 miles into a solo training ride. They discussed various options on best way for her to head home and get another 40 or so miles in. She was looking strong and did not show any signs of heat affecting her. Clearly she is training well for her upcoming events, one of which is the Beach to Battleship Triathlon. You GO GIRL. The group wished Susan a safe ride as she headed out for another 40 miles. Nicole made it known at that time that she had a time constraint and we had now put her unfortunately in a situation where she would have to leave her adopted parents. Rather than have her ride alone we encouraged her to call home so that someone could come and get her. She obeyed those wishes and made the call. GOG found shade, a breeze and again lay down to help reduce the sensation of passing out. They all waited for GOG to make a degree of recovery and for Nicole’s ride to arrive. Another 20 – 30 minutes were consumed as GOG worked his way back to consciousness. Nicole’s ride came as GOG was working to steady himself in a semi standing position. All said their goodbyes as Mother Theresa and GOG continued to meet the challenge of the planned route. The two rode together down Beaver Creek to the left turn onto Tody Goodwin, followed by the turn and hills of Olive Chapel. GOG had succeeded in planting some of the more challenging hills in the last 6 miles of the ride. Mother Theresa was there keeping a watchful eye on GOG as they slipped into Apex. The turn onto N. Salem signaled the last couple of miles till home. GOG was unaware of his surroundings as he rode past the planed turn onto Holt. He was slowly awakened from his stupor by a faint sound. “Hy ws tat r Trn” . What was that he heard.

“Hey wasn’t That OUR TURN”. As if slapped out of a coma GOG suddenly realized they had blown past the turn that would lead them home. Crap. Turn back. No. Keep going and make the next turn onto the other end of HOLT. GOG knew then he had been riding semi conscious for a while. “I completely missed the turn, I had no idea where we were” He mumbled back to Mother Theresa.

The turn onto Holt was met by Mother Theresa as a signal to take it strong back to the finish. She easily walked way from GOG who was struggling to stay coherent and could only keep thinking to himself. “She has left me, I am out of water, Please come back, I need some water”. How pathetic.

Mother Theresa sensed the disappearance of her husband and was waiting around the corner on Jenks Carpenter. “YOU OK” she asked. “Water” was the reply. GOG then spied shade on the side walk and without saying a word Climbed off his bike, carefully laid it in the grass, and then stretch himself out on the cool sidewalk.

The two quietly waited there for him to recover. As they did so several motorists would slow or stop and ask if everything was OK. GOG would provide a thumbs up and a week thank you to let them all know he was fine. One motorist pulled across the road into the oncoming traffic lane to check on GOGs situation.

Suddnely out of no where GOG heard the voice of an Angel. “Hey are you all right” . It was Susan McBee as she was on the last mile of her extra miles for the day’s workout. Susan has witnessed GOG in FULL BONK before and was alarmed to see him in that state yet again. “I can go and get the car, I am almost home and can get right back here” she went on to offer. “NO, Thanks anyway, we are so close to completing the ride, I just need a couple more minutes and we will be good to go” responded GOG in an effort to set Susan’s mind at ease. Susan continued to hesitate as she was struggling to help and at the same time trust that GOG was OK. GOG pulled himself and his bike up off the ground and readied himself for the last climb and associated last miles to the end. Only then did Susan leave the two to finish their ride. Just as the two rolled down the hill GOG’s Cell phone began to ring. GOG repeated the steps required to pull the phone and operate its functions thru a plastic bag. “Hello” he gasped.

“DUDE we are worried, YOU OK”. It was the voice of Top Rookie who had been waiting and WAITING and WAITING for Mother Theresa, Nicole, and GOG to arrive back at the start/finish.

“YEA, just about 2 or three miles out, Sorry I should have called and told you not to wait” GOG said realizing he had not thought about the others concerns. “GOT to go just headed onto the last ugly Hill” and with that GOG hung up on those who were concerned about him.

Mother Theresa set the pace up Carpenter Church road to High House. Once on High House GOG was feeling able to ride comfortably. He was pacing himself in with the traffic as a car pulled up along side. GOG detected the vehicle as it paced along side him. Upon further inspection he noticed the passenger window was down. “Why would someone with a new car be driving on a hot humid day with the window down, this is an air conditioning day, not a fresh air – window open day” he thought to himself.

GOG then looked deeper into the car to she DANE MCBEE at the wheel. DANE had a big smile on his face as he asked “YOU OK”. “YEA, BONKED HARD” replied GOG as the two rode side by side as if the team car was there to check on the status of their ride leader in the Tour.

What a great community of Cyclists we are blessed with.

Thank You McBee’s.

Mother Theresa and GOG rolled into the parking lot. All others had since left. The time was 12:40.

Total time on the road for these two was 4 hours and 40 minutes. Total biking time, moving not resting was just under 4 hours. They averaged 15.4 mph without stops.

Sunday July 18th.

Recovery ride for some. Another day to Hammer for the Thorns.

In attendance:

Riding with the Thorns –
Shawn Richardson – The Green Flash
Emil Velasquez – on his tri bike – training for several Triathlons
Kiki – ready to punish the Thorns – however she was not at the top of her form – was out the night before until 3 am. Ah Youth.
Rich Hunt – do not know if he intended to ride with the Thorns – no one knows what happened to him on the days ride.

Those in attendance –
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Karen Robertson – Rose Bud – possibly with a new/additional name of Billy Goat Gruff – read to find out why.
Laura Brogden
Andy Brogden
Ann Munn – named on her second ride with the group – learn her name by reading about her tactics of putting other riders into the railing – just like stock car drivers do.
Tanya Eney
Wendy Just – not the Gals in Gears Wendy – but the Wendy who does ride with the Gals in Gear. You will have to ask her about that since she is mistakenly identified to be the other Wendy.
Kevin Smit – GOG

GOG had arrived to the starting location having just dropped Mother Theresa off at the air port. Work was getting in the way of her Sunday Roses ride.

GOG was concerned for Emil prior to the start. Emil clearly had come to ride hard and ride far. He made it known he wanted a 3 hr ride. GOG looked at the group that had assembled to that point and Emil was the only Thorns in attendance. “DUDE, you may have to run up to CSH and ride with them to get the work out you are looking for today, The rest of us are planning a recovery style ride of 30 – 35 miles at a 15 mph average” GOG was explaining. Just then The Green Flash rolled into the parking lot, followed closely behind by Kiki. “OK we have our Thorns” announced GOG. He and the Green Flash then discussed the various route options to get in a solid 3 hour ride for Emil. The Green Flash once again steps up to lead the group. Thanks Shawn for graciously taking on that role.

GOG explained to the ROSES that they would be riding at a more reasonable pace, distance, and that he would work to limit the number of hills.

The pack was off with all riders headed toward the Yellow Barn just on the outskirts of the Preston neighborhood. The Thorns wasted no time getting to that location and beyond. GOG was looking for Rich Hunt to be waiting at the Yellow Barn to fold himself into the ROSES. No Rich. GOG was concerned that Rich had been swept up into the feeding frenzy generated by the Thorns and would be shredded later with no one to ride with. There was little GOG could do at that point as the Thorns were no were in sight. GOG then directed the ROSES to make the right turn onto Lewis Stevens and on towards RTP. Each of the riders in the pack rode smoothly at a pace that allowed for conversation. GOG was riding his FIXY and was worried that his tired legs, from the previous day’s brutal ride with multiple BONKS, would rebel. He too rode as comfortable as he could on a fixed gear bike. The route emulated the previous Sunday’s ride all the way into the edge RTP via Miami Blvd, Hopson drive, and Lewis Stevens. It diverted from last Sunday’s route as the pack was directed to make the right turn off of Lewis Stevens and onto Kit Creek. It was there that Laura and Andy elected to leave the group to meet a time constraint. They would chose to ride the same route from last Sunday on into the finish. All said their goodbyes and wishes for a safe ride. The ROSES had lost two of its pedals.

Those riding on under the leadership of GOG were now headed into some of the hilliest aspects of the days ride. It was on the hills of Kit Creek, Alston, and Okelly that Wendy elected to attack. She did not do her attack in the spirit of a THORN. A thorn would attack in an effort to punish others and shred anyone who would dare respond to the attack. Wendy attacked in the Spirit of a ROSE. The attack was meant only as a challenge to herself to improve her climbing ability. With each rise in the road Wendy would rush past all the riders in an effort to see how far she could push herself up the hill.

The pack enjoyed and encouraged Wendy as she perform attack after attack. “It is the only way one improves their climbing ability” Wendy was heard saying as if trying to convince herself of the benefit of the punishment she was placing on herself.

The group was directed to make the right turn onto Okelly and to look for where the Tobacco trail intersects that road. It was at the entrance to the Tobacco trail when we learn the true nature of Ann Munn and Karen Robertson (Rose Bud). The entrance to the tobacco trail is a sharp left hand turn with a narrow entrance flanked by posts that allow one cyclist at a time entrance to the path.

GOG had slid thru the post opening and was informing others of its narrow passage. As he was finishing his warning ANN and Karen were both lining up for the approach. Ann was slightly ahead of Rose Bud. Rose Bud checked up just enough to give Ann a clear shot at the opening. Ann took the advantage and slipped past the posts while Rose Bud was just overlapping Ann’s rear wheel in an attempt to lose as little ground as possible having to already perform a breaking maneuver.

Ann then drifted left taking Rose Buds lane away from her. Rose Bud accelerated in an attempt to use the slip stream effort to get the jump on Ann. Ann continued to shut down the lane for Rose Bud who was now being forced up against the fence. This maneuver is played out again and again in stock car racing. They call it a bump and Rub. Ann was demonstrating a well designed Bump and Rub maneuver. Rose Bud then utilized the same Head Butt maneuver performed by Mark Renshaw on this year’s Tour de France. It was a complete enactment of the race to the finish line on stage 11 of this year’s tour. The only differences were that Rose Bud (Billy Goat Gruff – for the head butting) was put all the way into the fence and Ann – (Bump and Rub) found herself on the ground.

The two apologized to each other, Ann picked herself and her bike up. She then removed her left shoe from its position still in the cleat and placed it back on her foot before mounting the bike. The rest of the pack had rode on ahead unaware of the tactics performed by these two ROSES.

The two rejoined the pack and all continued an uneventful ride down the length of the paved portion of the Tobacco trail. All were then directed to make the left onto New Hope Church road and into the area known as Cary Glenn. They then found themselves making a left turn onto the newly named Morrisville parkway (previously known as either Lueter Shop, or Green Level). They then make a quick right and left putting them onto Green Level Church followed later by the left onto Green Hope High School Road.

GOG asked Top Rookie to guide the group into the Sears Farm neighborhood as he was planning to ride near the back of the pack as sweep. Top Rookie did a great job getting all into Sears Farm, however he needs more practice making the correct turns to get folks thru the neighborhood and out the other side onto High House. On at least two occasions GOG was able to turn those riding with him onto the correct path while Top Rookie would take those riding with him past the proper turn. This brought great joy to GOG as he does like to play with those who ride on ahead as if they know what route GOG has in store for them, only to realize their mistake and ten having to race from behind to catch up with those on the true path.

All made it thru the days ride of 34 miles at a respectable 15.2 mph average.

Two names have been awarded to two riders (one of which now has two nicknames – keep an eye on her to see which rider she chooses to be Rose Bud or Billy Goat Gruff). Make sure you respect the position Ann has chosen to ride in the pack. If she senses that you may be trying to slip past her she may perform a Bump and Rub maneuver. These two riders have only been riding with the group for a very short time and have already established themselves with proper nicknames. It was a good ride.

While GOG and several Roses rested at the finish the Thorns arrived having complete the 3 hour ride for Emil.  Both the Green Flash and KIKI stoped to spend time with the ROSES to visit.  We learned that KIKI was taking classes to be a SCUBA Instructor.  She learned that both GOG and TODD McBride are also SCUBA Instructors.  Emil did not stop to visit he elected to continue his BRICK work out and headed out for a run.  Got to LOVE the TRIASSHOLETES.