Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 18 and 19 weekend rides

Saturday Sept 18.

Those in attendance included:
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG
Jen Serino – Slow Jen Fizz
Jeff Giaordano – Claim Jumper
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Patty Hunt
Todd McBride
Erica Mantcuso
Wendy Just
James Lavin
Angie Chiatello
Sondra Devincenzo
Ann Munn
Jennifer Omlor – first time riding with the group - member of the NC State Triathlon Club
Kaleo Bullard
Marianne Mahn
Cyndi Hartman – first time riding with the group
Wendy Duscurry
Jim Tierney
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower - on his white and red and blue Fixy
Robert Renke
Heidi Van Brocklin
Sandy Parrish
Andy Brogden
Lori Brogden - led the Roses on the days ride
Steve Marks
Leee Dunken – Sonic Boom

The planed route for the Thorns and Stems was to be 50 – 55 miles with an out and back on Big Woods.

The Roses were missing their normal leaders so GOG asked Lori Brogden to provide that leadership. She was more than happy to play the role. GOG and Lori then discussed the possible route for the Roses and agreed that they could take the same path out to Lake Jordan as the Thorns and Stems were taking. That would give the Roses a solid 35 – 40 miles with a light peppering of hills.

GOG then welcomed all the cyclists and explained to those riding with the group for the first time how the group works together to help ensure no one rides alone. He then announced that Lori would be leading the Roses and made sure those looking to ride that style of ride would know who to follow out of the parking lot.

With that short pre ride brief the pack was off.
The Thorns set a blistering pace right from the exit of the bruggers parking lot.

The split of Thorns and Stems was immediate. GOG was working with the stems to ensure all made the correct turns thru the Preston Neighborhood, as the Thorns never looked back and were quickly out of sight. The stems were powering thru the Preston Neighborhood at speeds well over 18 mph. This is usually were everyone warms up at about 13 – 14 mph. For some reason on this day all were caught up in a need for speed.

GOG had communicated to the group prior to leaving the start what his intentions were for the day’s route. He shared with all that he was expecting the pack to head out of town on High House, across 55 and onto Green level with the first major turn being White Oak Church. This was more than enough information for the Thorns who felt empowered to do their own thing right from the start.

GOG was now working with the stems to minimize and if possible close the gap on the Thorns. This was accomplished as the Stems raced their way down High House and reconnected with the Thorns as they sat at the light at highway 55. The stems were already feeling the pain of a faster than normal warm-up and made that known. “you were like a dog chasing a car” Mother Theresa scolded GOG for pressing the pace with the Stems. This had little effect on GOG as he continued to challenge the Stems to remain in close contact with the Thorns as the light turned Green signaling the beginning of a very fast run down Green Level to White Oak Church road.

At one point at the start of the run GOG taunted James Lavin “So you are at the back of the pack, but I know you are the one responsible for pushing the Thorns pace early on”. James only smiled and then asked GOG where the county line sprint would be so he could be properly prepared for the attack. GOG explained to James how the ride would unfold and where the county line sprint would take place. James nodded and slide slowly up the pace line.

The Thorns and Stems formed a single file pace line and blew down the road at 23 + mph. It was not until the climb leading to the turn onto White Oak that the group would again splinter. GOG was in the middle of the pace line as they made the right onto White Oak. As he looked up he saw Capn Carbon pulling off the front of the pack and sliding back looking for GOG. “OK were do we go again” Capn asked in a manner that suggested the Thorns were now ready to get down to the business of riding fast.

GOG, knowing Capn would not be able to recall all the details of the route, provided key phrases that would make sense to Capn and provide just the right amount of detail so he would not make a wrong turn at the front of the Thorns pace line.

Remember GOG had already provided the entire route information to all the riders as they waited at the start in the brueggers parking lot. GOG knew that several of the Thorns already had a solid understanding of where they were headed, and any one of them was capable of leading the way. “Turn left at the end of this road, at the strawberry patch head to Martha’s chapel, then we will regroup at the Lystra Gas Station”, “ I will sweep” explained GOG.

In a puff of dust Capn Carbon was back to the front of the Thorns pace line. The ride had finally begun for the Thorns. The Stems were in recovery mode having ridden out of town at speeds rarely dared by a Stem for any length of time.

White Oak is not an easy stretch of road. The downhill required a great deal of concentration with traffic in and out of the Tobacco Trail path and parking lot, along with vehicles on the road. The downhill comes to its end around a sweeping curve that pulls momentum out of the equation. The rider is then left to tackle the long pull up the other side, finishing with a stop sign at the end of White Oak. This hill has several challenges as it forces those wanting to not be gapped to push hard only to then have to face the sprint to the county line, around the next corner.

GOG and the Stems regrouped at the end of White Oak, rested, and then elected to NOT participate in the sprint to the County Line. The Thorns however pressed the pace from the start of White Oak, down and up the hill, thru the left turn onto Luter Shop, followed by an immediate sprint to the county line. The Thorns did not slow down there and were clocked with Sonic Boom in the lead pulling the pace line at 32 mph up to the Strawberry patch.

The Stems were happy to press on at 19 – 21 mph along these same sections of road. GOG used that time to work with Kaleo on Drafting techniques. Kaleo has never ridden in a pace line before and GOG was explaining the virtues and challenges of a pace line. Kaleo then experimented in drafting using GOG to draft off of. Kaleo was amazed how much wind GOG could block for him. GOG and Kaleo continued to work together practicing the art of Drafting. This continued all the way to the end of Martha’s Chapel. “So what do you think about drafting” asked Todd to Kaleo. “It was great, however there was a stench of OLD MAN” Kaleo replied with a smile. “NICE” replied GOG. All enjoyed Kaleo’s humor, and all agreed that there was a stench of OLD MAN in the air.

After all the laughing subsided GOG suggested due to the heavy traffic on Farrington the group should form a single line for the push up to the Lystra Gas Station and the frist planned rest stop.

Todd took the lead and pulled the group all the way to the rest stop.
At the Lystra Gas Station the Thorns were already itching to head on out. “We have been here for well over 20 minutes” Capn barked at GOG. “I have to get back and I am taking a couple others with me”, “We are only doing Big Woods once and then taking 64 to Wilsonville and back in from there” Capn went on to explain. GOG took this information in and looked at the Thorns to assess their willingness to stay with the plan or willingness to adjust as suggested by Capn Carbon. “Who feels the need to do Big Woods twice, raise your hands” GOG asked the Thorns and Stems. No hands went up. “COOL, lets all follow Capn’s lead and do Big Woods to the end then turn towards Lake Jordan on Highway 64 and regroup at Wilsonville”.

“I am going to go with you” said Heidi. “Me too” announced Jennifer. By then the Thorns were already headed out onto the road missing two of its members.

As the Stems continued their planned rest stop Todd McBride purchased two large cold waters for the Stems to use in topping off their water bottles.

Kaleo was starting to show signs of a BONK. GOG can recognize this due to his own many BONKING episodes over the years of biking. GOG is probably the most experienced BONKER in the group. GOG made note to keep an eye on Kaleo.

Kaleo had elected to do the longer Saturday ride for the first time. He had been riding with the Roses and was ready to challenge himself to extra miles. Unfortunately for Kaleo not only would he be challenged to extra miles, he was also being subjected to a stronger than normal pace by this group. All the stems were feeling the effects of a much faster start and continued strong pace to that point in the ride.

Kaleo did not complain and jumped into the middle of the pack as they headed out for Big Woods. Once on Big Woods each rider chose their own speed to survive the undulating landscape. Those pushing ahead included Todd McBride, Jennifer Omlor, Marianne, and Heidi. Not far behind them were GOG, Kaleo, and Mother Theresa.

All made it safely to the end of Big WOODS. After a short break to allow traffic to pass on Highway 64 the group headed out across 64 and over Lake Jordan towards Willsonville. GOG took the pull position with all others single file on the shoulder of highway 64. The wind was making every effort to hold the riders back adding additional challenges to the climb out of Lake Jordan and up to the gas station in Willsonville. GOG pushed hard against the resistance of the wind and hill combination, he was followed closely by Heidi, and Marianne until Marianne announced they had dropped the pack. GOG did not slow “We will wait for them at Willsonville” he shouted as he pressed on. Both Heidi and Marianne sat up in an attempt to regroup with the pack.

Once at Willsonville the group found Sandy Parrish there waiting to join the stems. “I was not ready for that” she exclaimed. “I kept asking who was leading the group, and no one would claim that role” she said. “I was not looking to ride at an average of 20+, and could not figure out who were stems vs Thorns” she continued. “I would have been happy to join you guys back at Lystra, but did not know who to follow”, she concluded. “I am sorry, I did not hear anyone other than these two asking to ride with the stems”, “We normally sweep the trail picking up anyone ejected off the back of the Thorns” GOG went on to explain. “Good, cause I am not looking to continue to do 23 mph to the finish” Sandy said in relief.

Kaleo was looking to be in full BONK mode now. He was quite and would bend over putting his head lower than his chest. “I feel for you, having been there many times” GOG said softly to Kaleo. “We will get you home”, he went on in an effort to comfort someone setting out on a death march. Todd Mc Bride was also recognizing the signs and assured Kaleo that everyone was there to assist him in getting safely home. This is one of the great things about this ride group. All have had rides were they fall apart physically for no real good reason. In most cases they have had someone in the group who takes it upon themselves to act as escort to the finish at whatever pace was required. When GOG BONKs he has to lie down and hydrate for a while. Sometimes this can take up to a half an hour, and yet there is always at least one other rider willing to hang with him. Today it was Kaleo needing that type of support. Todd McBride, Mother Theresa, and GOG all took turns riding with Kaleo as he heroically completed his death march. Like all death marches the pace would vary dramatically and is typified by speeds of 18 mph, that then become 16, then 14, then 11, then back up to 16, down to 13, then back up to 18. All BONKS result in the same sporadic surge and sputter pace. The Stems all rode with Kaleo in their sights not gapping the wounded rider too far. GOG adjusted to route to eliminate as many hills as possible. This adjustment put the riders into the Sears Farm subdivision and its slow shaded bike path.

Everyone, even Kaleo enjoyed the ride. Kaleo has a lot to be proud of having elected to almost double his normal Saturday ride mileage, and doing so at several miles per hour faster than his normal Saturday ride. Well done.

Special Thanks to Lori Brogden for leading the Roses on a smooth ride to Jordan Lake and back. Several of the Roses commented on how much fun they had.

Several folks went to Rally Point for Beer and food. Plan to join them in the near future for continued banter.

Sunday Sept 19th.

Those in attendance included:

Karen Robertson – Rose Budd – other nicknames are pending (Yard Sale, Slow Mo, Take a Bow, unbalanced…..) read on and vote on what your favorite would be.
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG (Glistening Older Gentleman)
Todd McBride
John Garrity – fresh off of his ½ marathon – looking for a recovery ride to work the lactic acid out of his legs.
Andy Brogden
Tonya Eney
Marianne Mahn - Earned a Nickname on this ride. Read on to learn what her name is and how she earned it.
Jae Brainard
Jim Coughlin – Domestique
Shawn Richardson – on his black and gold fixy – Killer Bee
Kiki – was found later on the route as she was riding towards the start.
Tim Deivinney – The Love Train – met as the pack left town.

The group was ready to ride together Roses and Thorns all as one group.

GOG asked if any of the Thorns expected to ride extra miles that day with the CSH ride group. This would influence the route he elected to use for the day. Those in attendance were comfortable with a 30 – 35 mile ride and had no expectation of riding extra miles.

The route planed by GOG would take the pack towards RTP and then the Tobacco trail. He would then add or eliminate miles based on how folks were doing and if there were any time constraints from that point on.

The group rolled out of the parking lot and slid onto High House followed by a slow sweeping turn into the Preston neighborhood. It was in the Preston neighborhood that Kiki joined in on the fun of the days ride. “KIKI” GOG shouted as he recognized her coming toward the group. She made an immediate U turn and found a nice comfortable spot in the pack to ride. GOG then slide into place to ask her if she was hoping to join CSH for some extra miles. “ I need 3 ½ hours of biking today” she responded. “Oh, so you will ride with us, then CSH, then go back out and ride some more” GOG said with a smile. Kiki nodded.
GOG know had addition information to help shape the route.

At the exit of the round-about the pack was directed to turn right onto Lewis Stevens. GOG was near the back of the pack when he recognized yet another rider. Actually it was a red pickup truck – signaling the arrival of “The Love Train” with his bike in the bed of the truck. GOG slowed and pulled over as “The Love Train” rolled down the passenger window. “I must have just missed you guys” Tim shouted thru the open window. “Find a place to park and join us” GOG shouted back. As this exchange took place Mother Theresa and Jae were taking notice and also recognized the arrival of “The Love Train”. Both riders slid back towards GOG to better understand the exchange that took place. “I will meet him and guide him on the route, You two try and slow the back for us” commanded GOG. With that both Mother Theresa and Jae pushed back towards the pack. The Love Train was seen pulling into the Library parking lot, with GOG diving in right behind him. The Love Train’s transition from driver seat to bicycle seat was one worthy of a full IronMan transition stage from bike to run.

It took no time at all for GOG and The Love Train to join the pack as they had been stopped by the long light at Lewis Stevens and Morrisville Carpenter.

It was from that light that Jae Braindard took full control of the group and the next several turns. “ I have a new way into RTP” she informed GOG. “COOL, Lead the way” he replied. “Ron and I found this a couple of weeks ago” she went on to explain.
The group was happy to follow and the new route kept them all off of the busy Miami Blvd. The group was riding very comfortably yet surprisingly fast. Lots of banter was detected as each rider kept their cadence as high as their sprits.

There was some confusion at the front of the pack near the turn towards Highway 55. GOG redirected those who needed it and all were now sitting at the light waiting to cross 55.

A Learning opportunity – Trust but VALIDATE.

GOG noticed the stop light to his right turn yellow, with this information he started to roll into the intersection. HE then glanced left to confirm cars had stopped. Yes they were slowing. He then glanced up at the stop light to the left and noticed it was still green. By now he was into the first lane of a 4 lane divided road. Without stopping to reason out why the cars coming from the left were asked to stop but those coming from the right were clear to go, GOG pulled a rapid U turn. All in the pack were still waiting for the Red Light facing them to turn green. Thank Goodness each rider took the responsibility to confirm their own safety prior to pushing off and clipping in.

It is way too easy to trust (Assume) another rider has all the information they need to proceed safely. It is always the individual riders responsibility to proceed only after they have confirmed it is safe for them. DO NOT be a Leming, be a safe rider. There are too many distractions to trust others for your own safety. Confirm it is safe for you.

The group did make it safely across 55 and up the next hill. Here again GOG made a poor move into the next intersection. He once again found himself forced to make a last second adjustment resulting in a U-Turn due to a car that was not making a turn GOG expected them to make. Again the pack was wise enough to wait to confirm the cars full intention.

The group now moved thru the left turn and towards Okelley. “you going to turn prior to Okelley and use the bike lane?”, “If you turn early we will avoid the busy road” Jae advised. “Great idea” GOG responded. Top Rookie was already on down the road riding solo towards Okelley and past the next turn just discussed. GOG smiled to himself knowing that Top Rookie had already been told were the group was headed, and could figure out how to find them even though they turned earlier than he had anticipated.

The pack rode though the neighborhood on its bike lane and enjoyed the limited traffic vs that they would have had to deal with on Okelley. The pack exited the neighborhood as the road met Okelle. To the left a lone rider was observed headed towards them on Okelley. It was Top Rookie who had easily figured out what the pack had done.

“I got to PEE” cried Marianne. “There are bushes right there” Killer Bee pointed out.

With out delay Marianne bolted to the bushes, squatted down, and completed #1 in the Bush. All riders diverted their eyes to provide Marianne that extra degree of privacy. Then from somewhere in the bushes a squeaky voice was heard “I hope there are no SNAKES” . Like magic she was back on her bike having been quick to take care of her biological need. This event is worthy of a nick name. From this ride on Marianne will be known as “#1 in the Bush”.

“I have a better way to get to the Tobacco Trail, Only need to be on Okelley a short way” Jae was happy to announce. “Lead on” GOG commanded.

The pack followed Jae as she introduced the group to a smooth quite country road. This section of road had a deep down hill followed by a short steep up hill prior to the left turn onto the Tobacco trail. The down hill was quick and very fast with GOG hitting 34 mph on his fixed gear bike. Legs really spun on that down hill.

The tobacco trail was slow and ridden with great control as the riders all shared that real estate with runners, walkers, bikers, and dogs. At the end of the paved section the pack slowed and bunched up as each rider used their balancing skills to inch through the limited space provided at the gate.

GOG looked back to see what the noise was all about.

He recognized Karen (Rose Budd) lying under the bar of the gate. Images of a biker Limbo came into view. Karen has performed a perfect slow motion solo fall on 75% of the rides she has been on with the group. Each of her falls has occurred when the group is slowing or virtually stopped. She is getting so good at this technique we are all are now expecting a bow at the end of her slow motion fall performances. Karen already has one nickname, but there is no reason she can not have another. She would not be the first in the group to earn multiple nicknames. Other Nicknames that might come to mind for her include “YARD SALE” that is what it is called when a snow skier tumbles down the slope leaving skis, poles, hats, gloves, sunglasses along the trail. Then there is the possibility of “Slow Mo” for her epic Slow Motion solo falls. Or, maybe “Take a Bow” for her continued Emmy crash performances. There is always the obvious nickname of “UNBALANCED” which is a fitting nickname for those who struggle on the bike when the wheels are not acting as gyros due to their slow rotation at slow speeds, and there is also the unbalanced Mental condition that may or may not apply.

Next time you ride with the group Let GOG know your vote. OR leave a post to this Blog Entry with your vote. GOG thinks all are viable and interchangeable.

GOG was now already planning the second half of the days route. He was assessing the mileage and average speed to that point in the ride, who was in attendance, how could he challenge the Roses and Stems, how could he keep the pack together, how can he get Kiki to a point in the ride were she could jump onto CSH has it was coming out of town.

GOG had already considered all this, and even at the start considered a longer route then what was suggested.

“Mount Pisgah, then Martha’s Chapel and on home from there” GOG shouted with delight. “You Bastard”, “My wife already hates YOU” giggled Top Rookie (Karen’s Husband).

GOG launched towards Mount Pisgah with several others on his heals.  Several others were still crowded around “Slow Mo”, “Unbalanced”, “Yard Sale”, “Take a Bow”. They were all concerned about her condition, and were applying bandages to her skinned knee and elbow. She had also strained her back and was not prepared to do extra miles let alone extra hills.   Mother Theresa and Jae both instantly designed a new route that would eliminate the hills of Mount Pisgah and reduce the mileage by 7 – 10 miles keeping it within the advertised distance for the day.

GOG continued on his planed course knowing he would need to circle at the turn onto Mount Pisgah to determine the willingness of others to follow his lead.

It did not take long for him to recognize his leadership skills were lacking in comparison to Jae and Mother Theresa who had demonstrated far greater concern for the downed rider than he had.

“We are going to the gas station at the end of New Hope, and then back to the finish” Mother Theresa and Jae said in a taunting tone as they and others swept past GOG.

The split took place at Mount Pisgah and New Hope. Those electing for hills and extra miles and higher speeds included: Top Rookie, Kiki, Killer Bee, Todd McBride, The Love Train, Domestique, and GOG. Others voted loudly as to whom were the true leaders of the pack, Mother Theresa and Jae won that vote 8 to 6

Those electing to do extra did not look back. The pace increased the banter remained high as did the spirit of the ride. “Some recovery ride’ Barked Todd. Todd was realizing he was on target to complete close to 90 miles in two days at speeds well above his comfort zone. Well done Mr. McBride.

The group remained close with Killer Bee setting the pace all the way to Lake Jordan. It was there that the group turned left onto Farrington and the section of road nicknamed “Kevin’s Crawl” .   Killer Bee was the first thru the turn, however he checked up and circled out of respect for Domestique, and GOG. Domestique was working to close the gap on the pack, and GOG was expected to take the pull position on “Kevin’s Crawl”. Shawn (Killer Bee) was willing to support both those events. Once the pack was back in tact GOG began his slow acceleration up “Kevin’s Crawl” cresting the climb at well over 21 mph. “Nice Pull” Kiki said with respect to the old man in the lead position.

The group rode strong the length of Holland Chapel with Kiki saying her goodbyes to the Thorns and Roses as the CSH pack past in the opposite direction. The rest continued the push towards home as they past the Strawberry Patch, the county line, and onto the left turn towards Nicole’s Roller Coasters. Shawn (Killer Bee) led the group thru the last few miles to the finish back at the Brueggers parking lot.

This splinter group pushed the distance past the planed 35 miles finishing with 41 miles.
Another great Recovery Ride.