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
Kaleo Ballard – first time riding with the group.
Cindy Avrette – first time riding with the group
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower on his white fixy with new white wheels and spokes.
Jim Coughlin - Domestque
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
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)
Mary Ann Feggan
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.