Sunday, February 06, 2011

Thrown Thorn

Sunday Feb 6th.

Warm Sunshine again greeted the riders.

Another large turnout with some additional new faces were in attendance.

Those assembling for the days adventure include:

Kevin Smit – GOG
Theresa Smit – mother Theresa
Todd McBride – B3 (Best Bikin Buddy)
Ann Munn – Bump and Rub
Scott Clark – back for a second time and ready to mix it up with the Thorns.
Marianne Mahn - #1 in the Bush
Jim Cobb – The Rabbit
Elise Cobb – Popsicle
Lee Duncan – Sonic Boom
Lance Minor – new to the group – just moved from Philadelphia two days earlier. The Love Train told him about the group.
Chris Elliott
Tim Devinney – The Love Train
Heather Patt – Two Timer
Tanya Eney
Paul Estes – Tall Paul
Wendy Just – Just Wendy
Don Shupe
Shawn Richardson – Dessert Flower, Abominable Snowman on his all white Fixie.
Joe Pittman – Immortal Man

GOG worked feverishly to meet and greet the folks, introduce himself to those who were new to the ride, ask for wavers to be signed, and collect money for the Thorns N Roses jersey’s. He was only able to do a cursory job of any of those tasks and thanks to Mother Theresa who helped in the effort the group was not delayed from the start of the ride by much.

GOG provided guidance on the days route and distance choices everyone had. He told the group to expect choices of doing 25 – 30 miles, 30 -35 miles, and for those looking for extra hills and miles he had a 40 -45 mile section that included Big Woods. His route options met with lots of approving gestures from those in attendance.

GOG was riding his classic 1979 steel frame bike. His carbon fiber bike was in the shop and they were suggesting the frame would need to be replaced. They are hoping for him that it would be covered under warrantee.

GOG rolled out of the parking lot with 18 others close behind. The group kept a solid pace as they all swung into the Preston neighborhood. Lots of visiting and continued introductions as the new riders were being welcomed into the group. GOG learned that Lance had just arrived from Philadelphia, and unfortunately had left his bike helmet behind. He was wearing two cycling caps instead to help both with the cold and if he would fall. Those hats would help with the cold but they provide about as much protection for his head as a soft shelled crab has during certain seasons. Just as the pack started their first short climb Mother Theresa was seen rolling to a stop as she had just thrown the chain during her shifting maneuvers.

The light at Davis allowed all to regroup and even allowed Suzanne McBee to roll up to the group. GOG and Suzan each said hello as they had only a moment to chat before the Green Light released the pack. Suzanne did not ride with the group. She has been doing a great deal of solo rides as she continues her journey as a Triathlete.

All riders made is safely thru the light and into and back out of the roundabout. The pack did not have to wait at the Big Chicken to assemble as all riders were ready to make the left hand turn towards High House and the open roads leading towards Lake Jordan.

The Thorns were already demonstrating their nervous energy as they would jump at every possible opening to get out in front. The pack showed greater control and worked as a collective to create safe passage for all thru the lights, traffic patterns, and turns that unfolded as they eventually found themselves on High House and highway 55. The red light at highway 55 would be the demarcation point where the Thorns could establish their strong uninterrupted push out of town. It took no time at all for GOG to find himself in no man’s land. He along with Popsicle, B3, Tall Paul, Two Timer, and The Love Train were all riding the gap between the Thorns and the Roses. GOG watched the Popsicle dance thru the spaces generated as riders took turns moving up the pace line. She was very alert to each maneuver and deftly danced from rear wheel to rear wheel working to ensure she maintained her position in the pace line. It was fun to watcher her perform. (it was learned later that she crashed and broke her collar bone).

The stems group remained together as High House became Green Level and its hills beyond White Oak. The pack was instructed earlier to make the turn onto Luther for anyone doing more than the 25 mile route. GOG told the group he would hold up there to make sure anyone not wanting to do more than that would be guided on how to get back from there. As GOG and the other Stems climbed the longest of the climbs a shout went up from the group warning others of a water bottle in the road. GOG quickly looked to see if Popsicle had lost hers like she had on last weekend’s ride. Upon inspection all Popsicles bottles were secure. None of the Stems stopped on the uphill to gather the rouge bottle.

The Stems joined the Thorns at the corner of Green Level and Luther as the Thorns were following the original directive from GOG on places to pause to make sure all were accounted for. It was there that Two Timer performed a perfect Arty Johnson lean followed by the slow motion fall to the right. “It is official”’ shouted GOG. “You now have conducted the same fall we all have in our biking experience, You are now one of us” he went on with a smile. This was her third time ever on a road bike and up until now would ride with one foot not clipped in just to prevent such and event.

Slowly those trailing rolled up to the group one by one. Mother Theresa asked the group if anyone had lost a water bottle. No one acknowledged, and then after some delay. “Oh Yea I guess I lost mine” shouted Sonic Boom”. “Get a water bottle gage for that thing you ride” GOG shouted out in an attempt to provide banter. Sonic Boom carries his water bottle in his jersey pocket. It must have jumped out when he attacked on the hills. Mother Theresa was kind enough to stop her uphill momentum to recover it and find its rightful owner. Another example of how she earned her nickname Mother Theresa.

Once all were assembled GOG pointed the way for those looking to do 20 -25 miles. The Love Train had a time constraint and was willing to lead others back from that point. Love Train chimed in, “Wait if we do Luther and then turn on 751 to the Strawberry patch and then head back we should get maybe 30 miles” . “Yea that sounds about right” GOG replied. “I would like to do that, anyone wanting to turn back then can follow me” Love Train announced. No one was ready to turn this early in the ride and all were looking for the challenge that Luther had to offer.

“OK then you lazy Thorns let’s stop sittin around and ride” GOG shouted as he rolled past the group.

Gradually the Thorns reestablished themselves as did the Stems, and then the Roses. GOG was now looking to make sure those who had indicated the need to go shorter distance were matched up with the Love Train once the group was ready to make the turn onto 751. This proved more challenging then he realized as The Love Train was up with the Thorns and the other two were now behind GOG.

To GOG’s relief the Love Train was coasting on ahead in anticipation of letting the other two join him on the route home. “OK Tanya That is The Love Train up ahead in yellow” GOG shouted to make sure there was no miscommunications, and in hopes that the Love Train heard that others were on their way. Bump and Rub decided at that moment to join Tanya and follow the lead of The Love Train. She was anxious to be serenaded by the crooner as he so often does while riding with the ladies in the group.

The Thorns and Stems both then headed out to conquer the hills of Horton Pond as it reaches towards Farrrington and the final route decision point for the rider in the group. The Thorns were in full attack mode and spent no time dropping the stems. The stems rode well together. GOG was pleased to see Mother Theresa matching him as he pushed to sustain the speed and momentum up each of the hills.

It was learned later that Lance and Sonic Boom had a great shoot out the entire length of Horton Pond.

The group looking to do extra the hills and miles of Big Woods included:

Sonic Boom
The Rabbit
Dessert Flower
Scott Clark
Just Wendy

Those headed back via Holland Chapel included:

Mother Theresa
Lance Minor
Don shupe
Chris Elliot
Immortal Man
Tall Paul
Two Timer
#1 in the Bush

“Have a Safe Ride” was shouted out as the two groups headed in their separate ways.

Some debate took place on if the Stems should extend their miles by riding on past Holland Chapel and doing Martha’s Chapel instead. “Na, I got some extra miles and hills I can throw in at the end” replied GOG.

With that those in the lead signaled the turn onto Holland Chapel with all others in tow.

The ride down Holland Chapel (aka Waffle Run) was uneventful and filled with more conversation as the hills were nonexistent on that road. Several of the cyclists used that road as an opportunity to recover. They did so my slowing their pace and falling off the pack. This was rectified by GOG as he asked those in the lead to wait momentarily at the Strawberry patch. As they waited they were passed by CSH. GOG immediately recognized Josh Carter (Moving Violation) who was tucked nice and neat in the double draft line. “Josh You Traitor, You ASSHOLE” GOG shouted out as the pace line went by. Josh later met with GOG at Brueggers and told him that the CSH group was asking why Josh was a traitor and an Asshole. He he he.

Once all the Stems were back together the group rolled on down Luter Shop towards the County Line Sprint and then onto Cary Glenn. GOG rolled up to Lance to inform him of the sprint that would likely take place soon and how to recognize the finish line. As he was explaining this B3 make his play for the line. This spurred Immortal man to respond as did Lance, and Two Timer. B3 had the lead up until the last moment when Immortal man clipped the win from B3. And again Two Timer was heard Giggling about the antics as she did on last weekends ride.

The pace slowed as the group made the turn into Cary Glenn and the hills known as Nicole’s Roller Coaster. Lance and GOG discussed the merits of momentum and how much would be required to glide over the top of the first climb that lay ahead. “I will follow your Lead” Lance announced. What Lance has not learned is that GOG’s Mass is his only asset on this section of road. Lance is tall and lean and mean but his body mass pales in comparison to GOG. However Lance has a much better BMI than GOG who’s BMI index suggests that muscle is not a large component of GOGs Mass. The two crested the first hill with little effort; it was the next two hills that Lance demonstrated what a LOW BMI index can produce as he scampered up the next hills leaving GOG to struggle with Gravity and the lack of momentum generated by the long flat sections of road between those final climbs.

The pack was held up at the light on Carpenter Fire Station and Green Level to allow Mother Theresa, #1 in the Bush, and B3 to regroup. “I bet you wondered where we were” shouted #1 as she rolled up to the group. “Na, I had you in my mirror” GOG assured her. The group was directed to make the right turn and all fell into single file now that they found themselves on a busy road as it heads back into Cary.

At one point the cyclists were held up behind a long line of traffic being shuffled and directed into and out of a church parking lot by a police officer. Chris Elliot was struggling to pull his foot free of the cleat. “Catch Me, Catch Me” he cried as he attempted a track stand in the middle of the bike group. Several riders grabbed at him as he slowly crawled past wobbling as he threw the handlebars from side to side in an attempt to keep the bike upright. Then in slow motion he leaned away from those holding him, and just then popped out of the peddles to brace his fall. “Looks like Group LOVE” Lance offered as he watched the event unfold.

The police office watched this unfold and realized she needed to get the group of cyclists on their way before they hurt one another. She signaled the group to slide on past the line of cars and make their way to the light at highway 55.

All thanked the officer as she held up traffic for them.

The group was now in cool down mode as the final miles laid ahead. The route on into the finish had the group split as some riders were planning a direct path back to their homes and not to the parking lot behind Brueggers. Those splitting off included
Tall Paul
Immortal Man
Lance – who was headed to CSH to purchase a helmet. He no longer wanting to be vulnerable like a soft shelled crab.

The others followed GOG as he lead them the back way to Brueggers via Crabtree Crossing Parkway.

In the end the Stems did only 32 miles. A miss calculation by GOG who was expecting to see closer to35 miles. The pace was a solid 16.8 mph (without stops to regroup).

It was learned later that Elise Cobb (Popsicle) clipped the rear wheel of Jim as she was drafting him on Big Woods. She went down hard and broke her color bone. Fortunately there appears to be no need for surgery. We wish her a speedy recovery. The Thorns clearly play way too hard.

This write-up is provided by Lee Duncan (Sonic Boom) A Thorns perspective.

Thorns Du Jour
Jim Cobb – The Rabbit
Elise Cobb – Popsicle
Just Wendy
Lance Minor
Craig Scott
Green Flash – aka Killer Bee – aka – Desert Flower – aka – Abominal Snowman
Sonic B-M

Give Them Something to Talk About

After a well condensed prologue with the broad group, the light at the High House transition to Green Level West was like a Christmas Tree Light at a Drag Racing event. The engines revved, the wheels spun in anticipation ....and they were off. This was the international dateline for the Thorns to riot in civil disobedience. The Green Flash wanted to spill first blood as he coaxed the new visitors along the snarling precipice and into the gravity canyon marking the highly confusing road change from Green Level West to Green Level Road West. The guested Thorns were up to the challenge and gripped and ripped it through the Western Cary countryside. Despite the high speed, there was good pace line work and cooperation along the way. The new Thorn challengers were keepers for sure. Sonic B-M got into the action at one point utilizing excessive hip action consistent with a Bee's Waggle dance, which chucked his water bottle a country mile from its unsecured nesting spot. The Thorns were un-phased by this violent H2O distraction and journeyed on. After a painful ascent, the small crew rested at the Luther Rd turnoff. Lance Minor (new guy) was extremely feisty in the hill section (in a good way) despite his "I haven't been on a bike in months" response. That whole situation seemed a little too familiar --as Capt Carbon typically acts in this fashion (beating everyone up and then stating that he had been resting on a CraftMatic adjustable bed for the last 2 months feasting on Cheese Nips). This was too much to bear so I shouted at Lance Minor...did Capt'n Carbon send you to torture us??? Sir Lance never answered as a honorable night would. After a few minutes of resting, the group had consolidated with the Stems and Roses once again. GOG used the opportunity disclose the rules for our "choose your own adventure" for the day. If you want x miles go this way..if you want xx miles go that way..and so on. A few seconds later Mother Theresa arrived carrying Sonic B-M's water bottle she found on the road as a humanitarian mission, an obvious ploy for sainthood.

With the new instructions, the group moved out with conviction..And on they went..through Luther..through the 751 quick turn, and through Horton's Pond. The group consolidated one last time ..and GOG gave a suggestion that the Thorns should provide Sonic B-M "Something To Talk About". Little did anyone know, that the adventure would provide plentiful antics for our weekly blog.

Before pulling out on Farrington road, I had told the Green Flash about Craig's X sleeper cell activity the week before. That he cruised cooperatively along until everyone was toast, and then he worked his magic by turning the screws. But this week, Craig X declared he pulled a hammie and was not up for horse play..oh the dreaded hammie. So Craig was willing to play nice for a while. The Green Flash wasn't taking any chances and was ready to dominate in the Power section of the road course. Like Fabian Cancellara, the Green Flash has fantastic power capacity, especially on the long haul flat the group worked to shuffle behind and hang on as we cruised to 64. This continued on until a car decided to teach the Peleton a lesson and swerved by..neary brushing the group upon its passing. What happened next was a little more exciting than anticipated as the Red Light led to an Oh Crap Moment by the driver of the vehicle. Let me say this--words were exchanged of an enthusiastic nature. But everyone had survived well enough and the crazy driver sped off too, so the group continued on down 64. At this point the miles starting weighing on the Thorns, and Big Woods was going to be a major test.

Jim and Elise Cobb were working together to overcome the conditions and Just Wendy was putting forth an incredible performance of endurance and tenacity..especially since she had done a long run the day before. In coordinated fashion the group made their way up Big Woods with the Cobb Clan taking a more sensible and consistent approach where we'd meet up with them at the turn. We all thought to ourselves, thank goodness we only have to do Big Woods once... As everyone gathered at the Jack Bennett turn ...we waited for the Cobb crew or any others that were continuing on. Then an ambulance approached us and passed by at a high rate of speed..where were they going so fast? Moments later a car pulled up and confirmed that there was an accident by a couple people on had to be the Cobbs. So the condensed Thorn colony jetted back up Big Woods until arriving at "The Preserve"....Jim Cobb was actively helping and confirmed that Elise had hit his back wheel and had gone down--likely suffering a shoulder or collarbone injury.

Out of great concern we rapid fired questions at him ..and he explained everything and said the had made plans to have the bikes picked up and return to Apex for further Medical care for Elise. After the Thorns confirmed that nothing more could be done to help, they circled back and did Big Woods for one last time. Then out on Lystra, Marthas Chapel and the Berry Patch to Weldon Ridge Blvd. At the turn, the group realized that someone had stolen Just Wendy, which confirmed that Cary Park is in fact the land based Bermuda Triangle. After waiting - Craig suggested that he would go back along Berry Patch and would meet the group next time.

With just 2 riders left from the original Thorn group, the 2 cruised back to the Thorns and Roses club house. Both were very thankful for their caring and thoughtful riding buddies.

Total miles was 52.8

Ave speed was 17 +/-