Saturday, January 08, 2011

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow

Two write-ups, one from Theresa Smit - Mother Theresa who writes from the perspective of the Stems/Roses.  The second write up is from Lee Duncan - Sonic Boom and is from the perspective of the Thorns.


Those in attendance

Jen Serino - Slow Jen fizz
Don Zelna – Track Stand (birthday boy on the days ride)
Alise Cobb - popsicle
Deb Hollis - 2 saddles
Jeff Hoffert
Erica Mantcuso
Lee Duncan (Snotty Boomister) Theresa’s new name for you. I view you as still and always Sonic Boom
Paul Franklin
Kim Barker
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the bush
Shawn Rischardson - green flash... All Though he did ride his white FIXY which is associated with the nickname Desert Flower. He was sporting some brand new white tires as well. Theresa thought he looked more like the Abdominal Snowman with the white bike and his beard showing through all the layers of clothing.
Kiki Rodue – Twinkle Toes
Theresa Smit - Mother Theresa

write-up as presented by Mother Theresa

With a later start Brueggers was wall to wall and the group had to fight for chairs and table-space. There was a short gathering with the early birds who wondered “Where was the GOG?” Mother Theresa (MT) informed everyone that he was resting his back as it has been bugging him for well over a year and not getting any better! He will not see a doc in fear they will cut him open and fuse his neck rendering him unable to turn his head while biking. MT, ready to wring his neck anyway for not seeing a doc, assigned the group to each send an email to GOG this week with their recommendation on a doc, chiropractor, medicine man, physiatrist or other healing plan in hopes to convince him by numbers to get some medical advise!

MT told Sonic Boom (aka Snotty Boomister) and Slow Jen Fizz the 41 mile route that GOG had formulated in celebration of Don Zelna’s(Track Stand) B-day. With MT leading from the rear all 13 riders were off for a nice but chilling ride. Temp was around 35ish and the wind was starting to pick a bit, but the skies looked clear and the sunshine would quickly warm us up…. At least that was the plan.

As we turned onto Ron’s Pull our smiles were frozen to our faces but the rest of the body was just warming up. The Thorns were careful to stop at each corner to validate with MT the next directions to turn as she worked not to stray too far behind. However, Shawn (aka Green Flash, Killer Bee, Tarantula, Desert Flower) showed up with new rims/tires for his white fixie and anyone on a fixie goes fast but him on his new wheels, there was just no holding back. MT and a few others were soon lagging behind as we approached the right turn onto Yates Store (Del Webb development) to where the ‘old folks live’ as Snotty put it. There was a very brief regrouping before a left on to Old Kelly where the traffic picked up but seemed to be friendly today. At 751 the group paused for all to catch up and let MT review the remainder of the route. As the group turned right on 751, MT noticed the road crews had already been out to brine the roads in prep for the upcoming snow threat for Monday. At this point we were the furthest out on our route then … OMG what is that coming down, is that snow, it was not suppose to snow, not today. A few flakes, then it got more intense, we continued for just a bit… the Thorns were out of site. The snow was starting to stick and the sky looked like this was not going to pass very soon. Kim was close to home and the warmth of her house was calling her, so Paul lead the group back to get her home and then the rest of us planned to head back the shortest route back to the start. As we headed north the snow got lighter, but then we had to go back to 751 where conditions became blizzard like. MT had to wipe her sunglasses to get the sludge off so she could see. She was worried that Shawn with is new white rims would not be seen by drivers in whiteout conditions and hence came up with yet a new name for him… the Abominable Snowman.

Hands and feet were soaked and lacking feeling as we turned into a gas station at New Hope Church Rd. for a short warm up stop. All the sudden the snow stopped, clouds parted, and the sun began to emanate much needed warmth. Now this was more like it! The rag tag group with new energy turned towards the last few miles back to the start with a much more relaxed pace and attitude. The snow that had accumulated on our jackets and helmets started to drip like the Campbell’s soup commercial or a withering snowman. It felt nice for a few miles as the sun gave us some much earned warmth. MT could not recall in over 35 years of organized rides ever riding in snow let alone blizzard like conditions, this would defiantly be a ride to remember.

As we entered Preston the clouds returned and the temps dropped once again, “hope we get back before the snow starts flying again” commented MT. Just as we hit the parking lot GOG greeted the group to get the recap of the adventures. Within minutes the Thorns arrived recounting their version of the epic all seasons ride. Stems/Roses did about 36 and Thorns achieved the targeted 41 miles (happy b-day Track Stand). No averages as who cares we rode in freekin’ snow!

The days ride write-up from Lee Duncan - Sonic Boom.  The perspective from a Thorn.

Thorns account of Saturday's ride on 1/8/2011:

The Thorns were bundled up, but very excited and ready to go for Saturday's ride. The weather had been extremely erratic, wet and cold over the prior weeks. Most importantly, people were ready to get out and escape the presence of family / relatives from Holiday break. It didn't matter that there was a predicted snow storm within the last 24 hours or that the wind would be howling at sustained speeds of 20 mph+.

MT (Mother Theresa) started the day with providing instructions to a few people that were good with directions-- as well as Lee/Snotty Boomister (consistent nasal discharge). Shortly thereafter we were off.

The riders headed out on the traditional route through Cary and up, down and all around through Carpenter Firestation. It was amazing how composed the Thorns were during this portion of the ride with Desert Flower leading us through. All were behaving well until the route by Del Webb that sported a slight but consistent incline. The added discomfort made way for a chorus of complaining and unwell wishing over the holiday food assortment previously enjoyed. The group then stopped to coalesce and catch their breath.

After the pause, everyone went on towards 751, where the speed quickened and the hills grew more challenging -- Slow Jen Fizz declared that perhaps the road had been lengthened and the hills steepened since our last venture out this way. Which seemed possible because the road kept going and going and going, until after an eternity everyone arrived at 751.

At this point we all were spent and fantasizing about the figgy pudding and eggnog enjoyed the previous week...but now it was payback time. So the Thorns lounged about on the corner of 751 discussing Kinesiology and the origin of life until eventually it was suggested we should continue. Green Flash / Desert Flower made an observation that a storm cloud might be approaching in the distance, but-- because the extraordinarily accurate, bulk computer generated weather forecast from was always right --and that it had predicted only a 12.4% chance of precipitation from 9:30 to 10:45 AM....what could possibly go wrong.

The group ventured on and soon it began snowing; I mean really the eyes, covering our hands, head and full frontal parts. At first it was a novelty, but after turning left on Stage Coach, the group was in a complete emergency evacuation minus the blow-up slide. The Roses/Stems and Thorns became separated from their cycling friends...similar, but not at all comparable to the Christmas Classic "Home Alone". The hills around Stage Coach did not make things any better, as it exasperated the snow breathing effect.

At the top of one of the hills, the remaining Thorns collected and discussed turning around or venturing on. One important fact was that we just came down 751 which would then need to be re-climbed and we had just climbed up a hill which would be wasted effort. So we decided to tap into that illogical spirit that had gotten us into the mess in the first place, and finish out the ride. So the group rode on, keeping just the track / snowy image of the person in front of them in view UNTIL finally the clouds parted (could swear a harp played in the background) and we approached the old route by Jordan Lake and Martha's Chapel. We did not have to survive on the disgusting power gels that the group had amongst them, We-Were-Saved!

The Thorns finished out the ride at 41 miles at a 17 mph pace (with snow chains) and were thankful for an epic ride and the opportunity to return home among the comfort of family, friends..even relatives.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ride in the New Year

Jan 1st 2011.

A great way to start the New Year.

Almost 2 dozen Thorns N Roses start the New Year together

A later start allowed for everyone to get some extra sleep after ringing in the New Year, and also allowed for the Temps to warm.

It had been a couple of weeks since the Thorns N Roses had met for a weekend ride. The weather and the Holidays took precedence over the gathering of the bicyclists.

Those participating in the Jan 1st ride included:
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Josh Carter – Moving Violation – back with the group after missing for too long.. Welcome back young pup.
Todd McBride – he is a rider you can always count on to help take care of the pack and anyone who falls off the back.
Elise Cobb – Popsicle - she and Jim are the first to pay in full for the Thorns N Roses Jersey.
Jim Cobb
Deb Hollis – Two Saddles
Marrianne Mann - #1 in the Bush
Ann Munn
Kaleo Bullard
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Doug Augustine – Rumble Strip
Sheila Augustine
Patti Lewis – Patti Melt
Jeff Hofferet
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom
Shawn Richardson – Killer Bee
Lori Brogden
Andy Brogden
Kiki Rodu – Twinkle Toes - arrived late and joined the group of Thorns as they blasted thru Preston
Robert Renkey – also arrived late and joined the Thorns as they slid out of the parking lot.

Prior to the start GOG reminded everyone that there are still small patches of snow and ice to keep an eye out for as well as all the sand on the edges and intersections of the roads.

GOG gave the Thorns a hint of the days route. He had emailed all letting them know the days ride would be about 35 miles. While GOG was describing the route, Killer Bee suggested the bike path GOG talked about would not be a good choice due to how wet and shaded it has been. GOG immediately realized Killer Bee was correct. Others also chimed in suggesting that the wood bridges would be very slippery. GOG made a quick adjustment to the route out of town and suggested the route include key nicknamed roads such as;

Ron’s Pull, The 3 ugly sisters, Martha’s Chapel, Kevin’s Crawl, Waffle Run, with a return on Nicole’s Roller Coaster, and on in to the finish. Those who have been riding with the group long enough to understand these nicknamed roads were good to go. Others would just have to follow those in the know. GOG recognized the body language of several who were anxious to push the pace from the very start, he released them to punish each other. He and others slowly rolled out of the parking lot and onto the roads leading out of Cary.

Those riding a more relaxed pace included:

Mr. Bridenbaugh who had actuall stopped and waited on GOG as he fixed his bike computer that had stopped registering speed and distance.
Rumble Strip who had also waited on GOG
Sheila Augustine
Patti Melt
Lori and Andy Brogden
Ann Munn
Mother Theresa

Everyone else was already caught up in the adrenaline rush created by the Thorns as they pushed their way out of Cary.

The ride unfolded with the two groups riding their own pace. The Thorns elected to skip the 3 ugly sisters and instead did the entire length of Lueter Shop to the strawberry patch, with it’s obligatory County Line Sprint at about it’s half way mark.

The Stem/Roses rode with all members in sight and took occasional stops to allow for all to regroup, blow noses, drink water, and visit.
At the county line sprint non of the Stem/Roses made a play for the victory. This confused Mr. Bridenbaugh as he observed that Mother Theresa was the first to that cherished victory line. “Does Mother Theresa always take the sprint with this group” he asked GOG. Mr. Bridenbaugh normally rides with the Thorns and had not seen such lack of aggressiveness from others. “NO, She doesn’t even recognize there was a county line there or that anyone would try to get there first” GOG went on to explain. The look on Mr. Bridenbaugh was one of total shock and disbelief. How is it that no one in the group would push themselfs to the Victory Line? 

Mother Theresa was having a good ride. She was pushing the pace and found herself time and time again near the front of the group that had formed the Stems/Roses.
It was then that GOG began to realize that several of those who normally ride with the Stems/Roses were not with the group, and had in fact left the parking lot with the Thorns. Now he began to wonder if the Thorns would respond to having those in their midst and work to make sure none were dropped, or if the Thorns would attack and never look back. GOG could only hope that any who were shredded off the back of the Thorns were joined by others so no one would have to ride alone. As GOG continued the ride he kept a keen eye out for any solo riders in the distance.

As the Stems/Roses reached the Strawberry patch GOG contemplated turning early onto Holland Chapel (Waffle Run) in an effort to ride that section in reverse to find the Thorns who would be coming from the opposite direction. He elected to stay the course and directed the group onto Martha’s Chapel were they would all enjoy to long steady down hill run to the lake. As they approached the lake GOG recognized first Todd McBride and then Kaleo who were headed back up Martha’s Chapel. These two riders had been dropped earlier by the Thorns and had in fact turned earlier on Waffle run to find the Pack of Thorns headed towards them. This is what GOG had considered doing as well earlier to find the Thorns and assess who was still with them.

GOG now watched in his mirror to see if Todd and Kaleo would turn and regroup with the Stems/Roses, or continue on up Martha’s Chapel in an effort to head for home. To his joy they turned to regroup.
Upon regrouping Todd informed GOG of their previous course change and that they had seen the Thorns and that #1 in the Bush and Moving Violation were riding just off the back of the Thorns. They were all up the road about 10 minutes ahead of the Stems/Roses. This was great news to GOG. All cyclists were accounted for and no one was riding alone. That is the spirit of the group. Nice that there is always someone to pull out of the pack to make sure any solo rider is protected by some one from the pack who wants to make sure all return safe and sound.

The Stem/Roses paused at Lake Jordan to allow for more Nose Blowing, Bio Breaks in the woods, and chit chat before they headed up Kevin’s Crawl toward Waffle Run.
At the end of Waffle Run (Holland Chapel) Lori and Andy both told GOG that they planed to take an alternate route home and that they would be OK and to go on without them.

The Stems/Roses continued the run from the Strawberry Patch into Cary Glenn where they would encounter Nicole’s Roller Coaster. It was there that Sheila told GOG that Rumble Strip had peeled off by himself and took a more direct route to their home. The group continued onto Carpenter Fire Station road, across highway 55 and onto Capn’s Grave Yard. GOG turned the group towards Lewis Stevens thinking all would take the back way through Preston to the finish. It was then that Kaleo fell way off the back of the pack. GOG held up to make sure all was OK. “I am Cramping real bad” he moaned. “Is it your calfs?” GOG asked. “NO the big ones my Thighs” groaned Kaleo.

GOG then raced to the front of the pack to let them know he and Kaleo would be taking a less hilly way into the finish. That was all anyone wanted to hear and they all elected to also avoid those last few hills. All the Stems/Roses finished the ride by traveling down High house and into the parking lot.

The Stems/Roses completed 34 miles at a 15.1 mph average.

The Thorns did 33 miles at 18 mph average.

A great start to the New Year.