Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lollygaging - Morrisville 300k

My take on Saturday’s 2010 Morrisville to Seagrove, NC 300k is a tardy. UMMM, the dog ate my write-up. Oh yea, I don’t have one of those.

We met in the usual place said hi, registered and RBA Al gave a brief to the riders. I started the day feeling strong and hung with the lead pack until Jack Bennett Road a nice little climb that starts with long false flat. I rode most of the way to the next 2 controls solo completing the first 100k feeling great.

I departed Siler City for the short trip to Seagrove with a group of 5 or 6 riders. My legs were still feeling great for about 10—15 miles. After a little pull on Coleridge Road, I lost some horsepower and slowed. Then I slowed some more and maybe even some more. The next 15 miles were a little miserable but mentally I am in the game and knew a rest waited up yonder!

The Seagrove Control came just in time. I refueled my fuel, and topped off the water. The volunteers at the control were a very kind and most importantly they had sun screen. Although as I dawned the lotion, I figured I probably would be jinxing the entire ride with rain.

I tore out of the control on a mission to make up some time. Flying up and down the rolling terrain and zipping around the corners until I mistakenly made a wrong turn onto Trinity Church Road and explored 4 miles of the wrong road. Finally I looked at the odometer and thought, I should be at the corner in Erect. GRRRRR. I’m sure I said a few words that I learned in the Marines and can’t repeat. The bonus miles kinda sapped my motivation and I proceeded to lollygag all the way back to Siler City.

Do you know what that makes me? A lollygagger. (Bull Durham)

To my surprise Ron and Sridhar were sitting in front of the gas station eating some delicious snacks when I arrived. While I was taking care of the logistics at the control, my jinx prediction became a reality with the first of several showers.

Ron, Sridhar and Matt the ROMA RBA rode on and off together until a stop at the Andrews Store. Notable here was the amount of rednecks coming from a nearby concert that kept buzzing our posse. Insert more colorful phraseology here.One stretch of road was lined with fireflies. However, with the lack of visibility and the slippery pavement, the pace became decidedly slow. Ron and I lollygagged to Al’s house sometime before midnight.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Morrisville-Siler City 200k 2010

Saturday marked the traditional the beginning of the NC brevet ‘season.’ This is not entirely the case with the additional offerings being offered on the calendar. Most of the riders had several brevets or permanents under their belt before toeing the line on Saturday. I still like to think of Al’s 200k as the beginning.

As a side note, Coho bicycles were rolling 5 deep on Saturday. I had the opportunity to check out Jerry’s ride with wood fenders and Wes’s with some serious gold flake. Nice machines gentlemen.

While we prepared bicycles in the parking lot and registered for the brevet, the ride actually starts days prior. It reminds me of a show like the Blue Angles. Their show starts before they arrive at an event. Once the logistics are set up, and the planes arrive. Everything they do when they are at a venue is choreographed. On show day, the real show begins. They march out to their F18s in a ceremony. Each member is introduced as they climb in to the cockpit. The ritual continues one by one. On a cue, number 1 plane taxis followed by the rest. Soon they are in the air performing a masterpiece of precision. The crew and pilots spend hundreds of hours preparing for 10 minutes of flying. A brevet is similar in that weeks of preparation go into a single event.

My preparation for the event in the crucial days prior was horrible and it showed within the first 10 miles as my gas tank emptied. A 24 hour post at work Thursday evening left me drained physically. I had poor nutrition on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I could have done a little better on the food part. The biggest mistake the morning of the ride was not fully topping off the liver glycogen. It only takes a few hundred calories to do the trick. I think I had only1 Gu. OOPS.

After dropping from the pack, I decided to just ride and make the best of it but I still wasn’t eating and drinking enough. Sometime before the first control in Snow Camp, I started feeling a little achy all over. I came up with a plan that would change the day for the better. 1. Drink more water. 2. Eat more chow. 3. Get some electrolytes in the system. Shortly after leaving the control, I felt like great and rode strong. Of course that is easy with a nice tailwind.

My second mistake occurred at the Siler City control. Once again, I had an exact plan of what I needed to do and started executing upon arrival. I planned to top off water, grab a sandwich for the road, get card signed and depart. I was held up by the lottery players in the gas station. The NC lottery must have some good pay outs because this happened at every several controls on the Fleche as well. Things went as planned, I thought. I headed back to Snow Camp. When I arrived, I realized I left my card in Siler City. OOPS.

I continued with my plan, topped off water etc. Another rider mentioned he saw it sitting on the ice machine in Siler City. I debated returning to get it for a second but thought I should wait to see if Sridhar grabbed it on the way out. He arrived like Saint Nick with the card. SHWEWW.

Another successful ride with some good lessons learned. Thanks to Sridhar for grabbing my card and to Al for a great route, the sandwich and cold ESB at the finish.

Congrats to Mike D and his accomplishment of 100 straight months of at least 100 miles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fleche NC 2010

Fleche 2010 began well before the official ride start. According to RUSA, the fleche is a 24-hour event held on or around Easter weekend. This is an ACP-sanctioned event. No rest stop may be longer than 2 hours…A minimum of 360 km must be covered during the event.

First, we had to recruit team members for the adventure. This proved to be fairly difficult but there seems to be no shortage of the mad itchin’ for adventure. We quickly filled our tentative roster only to have 2 randonneurs back out due to prior engagements. They were promptly replaced and one of these had to back out due to prolonged illness. With that, the team ‘Riders on the Bubble,’ was set with team members Gary, Sara, Maria and me.

Next, Gary liaised with RBA Tony over the route and we received updates on the progress as the route evolved. I must point out Gary with Tony as tutor worked hard on the route and it was evident; the route was great.

Logistics was the next obstacle. We decided to drop vehicles at the finish and car pool back to Gary and Sara’s as the start was less than a mile from their home. This would require a full day driving in the car. My car ride tallied 7 hours. It was worth the trip as I had wonderful hosts and received a full and peaceful night’s rest.

After a quick ride to the starting control, we were almost nearly set for the impending adventure. Wait, no…we weren’t. Gary and Maria had to turn around and get a control card. Good to get Murphy out of the way prior to the event right?

Our route took us out of Apex, NC on the American Tobacco Trail before reaching the first control in New Hill. As we wound our way through the country side, we noticed several cyclists out for a Friday morning ride. It was along this stretch that we noticed the sign for a farmer selling ‘tomatoes.’

The winding route took us to Angier then we bopped to Benson. The temperatures kept rising. We reached the Smithfield control and I was cooked but no time to whine we had more miles to cover before sundown.

Arriving in Mt. Olive, home of the pickle fest, around 1800, I completed the chores were found some shade outside the convenience store to cool off and eat. It was cooler at 85F+ outside than inside the store. Note: chores usually include 1) get control card signed; 2) replenish supplies as required. Today it included cooling down. I ditched my civvies in a dumpster that I thought wouldn’t make too much of a difference when the ride began. This helped rid the bicycle of 2-3 lbs and made the rest of the rout mentally easier. I wolfed down a ham sandwich, a Coke and checked in via Twitter. I received a message from Branson who was doing the virtual eFleche from his desk. He stated the temperatures in Smithfield topped out at 90F.

We reached Kinston in the dark and made our way to Ayden for the next Control. Topping off and carrying some extra water we headed out towards Cape Carteret in the dark. We passed through Cove City, Trenton, and Maysville. The most difficult part of this part of the ride was staying awake and not crashing during the micro-dozing. Finally as the sun was rising, we approached Cape Carteret. I smelled sausage coming from the small restaurants.
We reached the 22 hour control with just enough time to sit and have a cup of coffee and a little food. I mistakenly chose to eat an egg and cheese bagel and when we departed the control I left portions of it out the parking lot and all the way over the intercoastal bridge leading to Emerald Isle.

We were truly on Riders on the Bubble as we headed up the island towards Atlantic Beach. Our pace guaranteed a finish baring any mechanicals. All members of Riders on the Bubble completed the ride. We were greeted by several riders that had completed in the previous hours which added to the motivation of finishing. I think I can speak for all of us by saying we would do it again next year. Thank you to RBA Tony Goodnight for setting up the ride and choosing a great location for the finish.

[I will post pictures later today.]