Sunday, January 30, 2011

End of January - Best Weather of the Winter Season

Saturday Jan 29th

Written by Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom

Scott Clark (New to the group)
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Todd McBride – Best Biking Buddy B3
Elise Cobb – Popsycle
Jim Cobb – Earned his nickname this day (The Rabbit) He ran point all the way to the turn around point on this out and back ride.
Steve Cope -Captain Carbon
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man
Jessica Holland – Twin Peaks
Marrianne Mann - #1 in the Bush
Lee Duncan - Sonic Boom (AKA Sonic B-M)
Chris Stark

Arriving late
Robert Renke
Paul Eppers – Tall Paul

Feel the Burn

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, the sun was out and it was only slightly cold, as compared to the frigid temps the week before. There was a very good turnout-- representing all the colors of the Thorns and Roses diverse constituents. Not only was there a great turnout, but there were a few long time friends participating with the ride, so it made things all that much more fun. To begin, everyone assembled in the front to receive the mission instructions for the day. GOG provided our orders and explained that "today would be an out and back Apex ride".. which seemed like a nice clear, clean plan.

But....just before the activity of the day commenced, Capt Carbon gave an example of classic banter and suggested that we would never get started if we continued to socialize!!. GOG launched a powerful scud back that hinted at the tone for the day. Welcome, to another edition of Thunderdome!

In reality the out and back concept was very logical. Most everyone had not been riding that much.. so the out and back concept gave people the opportunity to turn back early and then rejoin the group if desired. But what was intended to be a sensible route that inspired hugging and world peace, got maligned into a very painful Mad Max sequel because of the attacks, escapes and relentless hills....I 'm referring to none other than "The Road Warrior". Right from the beginning there was a butt load of hills....and as we all know a butt has generous hill capacity!? On the first mountain, Sonic B-M cajoled Josh "Moving Violation Carter" into an impromptu hill climb. As expected Josh dominated the 0-60 component until having his fill.. in a dramatic display of paranormal performance Capt destroyed the hill and left Sonic B-M sickened and looking for the middle school saw dust dispersant. Luckily a medic was readily available by the name of Todd Mcbride. Todd expressed kindness and consideration for the sick and injured, a fatal character flaw among the Thorns and Roses... This kindness was only matched by "the man without the yellow hat" ..more aptly a man in black (casual rider with the Thorns and Roses) whom was enjoying the ride and the great weather.

Moving on, the group maintained a great pace out through Apex. It was interesting to note that Mother Theresa (MT) and GOG were both sporting semi warm weather gear. MT wore shorts with no leg warmers and GOG adorned abbreviated cycling trousers. I wanted to ask them if their mother knew they had come outside without their jacket on, but was not given the chance. They seemed warm enough though -- and I wondered what it was like to be young.

All the cyclists were working together temporally as we entered the gates of Apex until Chris Stark jetted out in front for some epic Escapes. Jim and Elise Cobb were riding along cooperatively until Jim distracted Elise so that she would hit a pot hole..causing her water bottle to fall out and dance along the side of the rode. A little while later Elise confided in another rider over her disgust of Jim's dirty trick, and ironically hit another pothole-- ejecting her water bottle once again into flight.

Immortal Man (Joe Pittman) was riding well after a healthy holiday break. On several occasions he took the front in his trademark move, "the quad destroyer". This move entailed sitting in his seat on steep hills, until every last striation of Type 2 fiber was damaged beyond repair. This technique is extremely effective at coaxing others to destroy themselves; as if climbing the steep hill where as comfortable and relaxing as playing a game of Tile Rummy with your grandparents. A fine technique for asserting torturous pain on your friends. Not long after I could hear the thunderous roar of Rob Robertson – Top Rookie. He exalted: "Remember where you are... This is Thunderdome... Death is listening, and will take the first man who screams." This was a very cryptic and eerie message.... UNTIL it was learned that he had been eating too many of the candied cycling treats in his pocket, and was just suffering from an elevated level of electrolytes. With Top Rookie stabilized, the group continued on... in fact, Top Rookie rode very very strong as a result of the candied treats that day.

As the peloton commenced their return back to the parking lot starting line (tired from a long morning of shenanigans)-- Scott X (new guy) with deep profile wheels started unleashing his fury on the weakened crew. When confronted directly about the beating, he stated that his bike computer was not working and he could not manage his speed efficiently. Nice try... Because of this bad behavior, many requested that Scott X join the group again on a future ride.

Back at the parking lot.. Jessica, and Marrianne Mann "#1 in the Bush" were asked about the days ride. Both reported that they enjoyed it, but that it was also one of the more difficult to memory. Marrianne further explained that she was a little embarrassed by her nickname "#1 in the bush" which time I suggested that "#2 in the bush" might be more comforting. She declined.

The ride completed at approx, 38 miles, 3 hrs and ave speed of 17 mph +/-

Sunday Jan 30th.

Write up provided by GOG

Warm sunny calm weather embraced the riders as they assembled in the parking lot.

Everyone was so eager to start that the pack was able to leave at 10:01 am. The most prompt start ever for the Thorns N Roses.

Those in attendance included:
Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Rob Robertson – Top Rookie
Todd McBride – Best Biking buddy   B3
Jim Cobb – The Rabbit
Elise Cobb – Popsicle
Ann Munn – Bump and Rub
Marrian Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Mary Ann Feegan
Andy Hartsfield – possible name in the works (under the radar). When asked how he has been able to ride with the group for several years without a nickname. He responded I stay Under the Radar.
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Jeff Giordano – Claim Jumper
Jae Brainard – Matriarch
Jessica Holland – Twin Peaks
Heather Patt – earned her nickname (Two Timer) - earned her name on this days ride.

Late arrivals included
Tim Divinney – the Love Train
Shawn Richardson – Not sure what bike he rode so don’t know what nickname to use, other than PISSED that he missed the start, and we went out of the parking lot differently than normally.

Prior to the start GOG hinted that he had at least two distances in mind for the days route. Those that wanted extra would likely see around 40 miles and others would be targeting for the mid to low 30 mile range. Mother Theresa had already informed GOG that she was planning to ride with The Matriarch, and Mary Ann Faggen.

The pack rolled out of the parking lot with GOG at the lead. He had wanted to start the days route by actually heading towards Crabtree Crossing rather than the normal route out onto High House.

Just as he realized his mistake Top Rookie shouted out “Glad he didn’t decide to go the other way”.

As if on cue GOG turned the pack right at the end of the driveway and pointed all towards the sidewalk on Cary parkway as it leads to Crabtree Crossing Parkway. In unison the cyclist each slowed and corrected their path to follow GOG. One by one they all traversed the sidewalk and then dumped out onto the divided road that wanders through the upscale sections of Preston.

As the pack rolled down the long slow declines of Crabtree Crossing they were passed by a car that had a Bicycle dangling off the back end of the vehicle. The car slowed as it reached the front of the pack. With its window down a voice from within shouted “Where do I park?”. GOG immediately recognized the voice and confirmed his recognition by turning his head to confirm that it was indeed The Love Train. He had arrived just as the pack was pulling out and decided to chase them down in the car to figure out were on the route he could intersect the ride on his bike. “Turn right at the Chicken, and park at the Library’ GOG shouted out to him. GOG knew this was enough information for the Love Train since he had used that location on other days to intersect the Thorns N Roses as they head out of town.

With that the car sped on ahead.

The pack made the turn safely from Crabtree Crossing onto Morrisville Parkway and then again onto Sarazen Meadow Way. At that corner were two cyclists circling waiting for the pack to catch up. GOG shouted out to them “Sorry we are Not CSH”. He recognized one of the riders as Dain McBee. Dain is a strong rider that would have been very disappointed in riding with the Thorns N Roses. The two groups ride totally different types of rides. CSH takes no prisoners, runs a tight pace line, does not stop to regroup, goes hard all the way, and does not socialize at the level the Thorns N Roses do. Those two riders immediately pulled out of the pack and went back to their vigil of looking for CSH.

By this point Mother Theresa, The Matriarch, and Mary Ann were already setting the tone and pace for their days ride. The Thorns and Stems were still together and elected to pause momentarily to see that the Roses had exited Cary and were headed towards the turn at The Big Chicken.

The pack then headed towards RTP on Lewis Stevens where they were joined by The Love Train who had successfully transitioned from car to bike.

The pace was comfortable floating along between 15 and 19 mp with all but the three Roses in tow. Jim Cobb – The Rabbit was showing great restraint as he demonstrated his respect for the spirit of the days ride. He somehow knew that the first half of the ride was intended to have all ride together, socialize, and provide safety in numbers. He also sensed that the Thorns would be turned loose later to punish each other in their form of Play.

On this days ride GOG learned that Bump and Rub will not be able to ride on the weekends once her Club Soccer Season begins. The two then talked about other groups that ride during the week. GOG described his experiences riding on Wednesday evenings with OMV out of Macgregor Village and from that same location on Thursdays with Slow Spokes. Two very different groups each with a different philosophy of what the rides are and how to conduct them. All groups have their merits and it is great that there seems to be something for all types of riders and for all types of riding purposes.

At one point in the ride GOG rolled up to Claim Jumper and asked “That was you that yelled at me yesterday from your car wasn’t it?”. “Yep” he chuckled. “My wife and I were coming back from running errands when I recognized you, had to yell at you to “Get the Lead Out” Claim Jumper said with great pride in his voice. He was clearly proud to have participated in adding to Saturday’s Banter without having even been on the ride.

The group did get strung out as they each worked to cross the busy Highway 55 followed by the climb up Kits Creek to Green Level Church. Those that scampered on ahead missed the next turn at Stonewater Glenn and found themselves waiting for the others at Okelley. GOG held up at Stonewater to direct the others onto the road rather than compete with the traffic on Okelley. He informed those he was redirecting to follow it thru the roundabout and then to Okelley. This would eliminate some of the time spent in that traffic. GOG then dashed on up to where the others were waiting on Okelley to let them know he had sent the others on a parallel path that would converge up ahead.

As if magic happened both groups got to the same intersection simultaneously.

It was here that GOG provided more detail of how the route would unfold and were the Thorns can make their get away. Just as the pack mounted their bikes and pushed off to make way a shout from the back of the Pack was heard ‘FLAT, we got a FLAT”. All riders slowed checked the traffic flow and delicately redirected their bikes into a U turn.

It was Heathers bike that had a flat front tire. Heather’s sprit was not damped at all. She was immediately swarmed by several others who jumped into the task of removing the wheel from the bike and were already ripping the tire off the rim. The Rabbit was at the center of this repair effort. Heather looked on in amazement at the willingness of others to take command of the situation. The Rabbit handed the Tire to one of the other riders (claim jumper or Mr. Bridenbaugh) There was such a frenzy GOG could not take time to asses who all was involved. GOG then added his two cents into the repair work and offered to blow up the tube. He first blew into the tube as if he was blowing up a ballon. That jump starts the process and is supposed to make it easier to tuck the tube back into the space between the rim and the tire without creating a pinch point. Once the Tire was back on the rim GOG then asked if anyone had a hand pump. “Save the CO2 cartridge if we have a pump” , he offered again as if to suggest he is all knowing of these types of repairs. GOG was thrilled to learn that Best Biking Buddy had a classic Silca Frame Pump. Still the best transportable pump on the market. GOG grabbed the pump as if he was grabbing an old friend, and when to work inflating the tire to as close to spec as possible. A quick all knowing squeeze of the tire to judge PSI another few pumps and follow on squeeze to confirm the proper PSI had been reached. During this GOG was harassed by the crowed who praised his Blow Hard skills, and his aggressive pumping action. Several even took pictures with their phones to document the event.

Mr Bridenbaugh locked Two Timers front wheel back into its location and recommended she confirm for herself that it was ready to ride.

So how does Heather’s nickname apply. This was her second time ever on a road bike. This was her second time ever riding with the Thorns N Roses. She enjoyed having several of the guys jump to her aid and allowed each on to take their turn. A Two Timer.

Back on the road the pack was directed down Okelley towards the point where the Tobacco trail crosses its path. GOG led the way as he and the others snaked their way thru the narrow gate onto the paved section of the Tobacco trail. The pace was immediately slowed in response to the multipurpose usage of the trail. Out of respect for the runners, walkers, small children, and dogs on leashes the Thorns N Roses did their part to share the path for all to enjoy.

Within a mile or two the paved section came to a halt where the Tobacco trail crosses New Hope Church road. GOG held up the group there and began to describe what was planned next for the riders. “Those looking to complete 40 miles follow Mr. Bridenbaugh as he leads you to Mount Pisgah, then Martha’s Chapel, to Lake Jordan, and loop on back thru Cary Glenn and Nicole’s Roller coaster.”, “The rest of us do we want to do between 25 =- 28 miles, or more like 30 to 33 miles?” GOG went on to ask. “Who is riding with MR. Bridenbaugh please raise your hands”. With this Mr. Bridenbaugh rolled thru the gate and assembled his Thorns for their next push down New Hope Church road and on beyond to Lake Jordan. “Have a safe ride” GOG yelled out to them.

“OK, raise your hands if you want more like 30 miles vs a shorter 25”. Just as GOG was completing his plea for a vote all hands went up indicating more than 25 miles were being requested.

“Excellent, we will also head for Mount Pisgua, how ever we will turn off of that road earlier than the Thorns and loop on back along a flatter course, by using the bike trail in the Sears Farm neighborhood.”

The Stems all navigated thru the gate and followed the lead of GOG and Best Biking Buddy as they rolled up and over the undulating country side that would later give way to the flat ribbon of road known as Lueter Shop. At the point were the Wake County line sprint is GOG and The Love Train were riding comfortably in the lead with Best Biking Buddy and Two Timer close behind. The Love Train commented on that fact that they were about to win the sprint without having to change the pace. Then there came the sound of grinding gears. “Hay are you going to make a run for the line?” the Love Train asked Best Biking Buddy. “Na, it is all yours” was the reply from behind. Both GOG and the Love Train relaxed in their saddle knowing that no challenge would be mounted.

Then without warning B3 pulled wide to the left and bolted out of the seat as he shot past the two in the lead. “You BASTARD” was the cry from both the Love Train and GOG. Two Timer was heard giggling as she watched the children play.

B3 took the county line sprint as the others continued to roll on at a steady 18 mph.

The riders were all looking forward to the final miles on the bike path in Sears Farm, the pace would be slowed as they would once again work to share the multiuse path. And Yes GOG and others in the group did a Primordial Scream as the group traveled thru the tunnel under Highway 55.

The groups all returned to the start finish having had a great day of bikeing.

The Thorns did 41 miles

The Stems completed 32 miles at just under a 16 mph pace

The Roses completed 25 miles.