by now everyone is aware of the wicked weather that ripped thru the area last saturday afternoon. quite a few randos' are glad the call was made to move the 300K event to sunday, too. we missed some of our friends who could not stay around to do the ride, but 21 randonneurs lined up to roll out at 7am sunday morning.. with just a slight chill in the air, Alan dropped the flag and off we went. the pace was easy going and the group was together through the 'new' roads in miles 3-4 and we all missed a turn together! back on the route, we started motoring a bit more, out to chatham co. where Bryan pulled a cheeky snag of the county line. things remained calm and together, Mike told me about the neil young gig he'd just seen (jealous). we were on to lystra and jack bennet, before the climb finally broke us up. annette pleaded for an easy go up the hill, umm, OK? plenty of hills thoughout the day anyway...
from here on to snow camp it was a pretty run with 10 riders sharing the fun. the first control in snow camp was a quickee. the Kamms ran, Tim too, fearin a leaky front tire, he hoped to buy a few minutes to work on it in siler city, 11 miles up the road and control#2.. we were there in no time, and another short stop ensued. the first 100k was done in 3 1/2 hours. nice.. once again, chris & annette were off and Tom jetted after them. Tim finished his tire fix and we were all together on the road in a couple minutes. in three miles, it's country roads again, and coleridge rd. goes on for about 9 miles. the rollers begin too. they come and go in near perfect weather; at the half we're in the mid-fifties.
the turn-around is busy. the store is rocking with patrons. after church folks and the like. the little Hardee's stops taking orders! I get my card signed, put ice in my bottles, and scarf down a bar, banana, and get prepared to go. Ian and Mary show up with refreshments, and Tim is there. the lead couples invite me to join, but I hang back for Tim. after just a few miles back on the road he sends me on, his legs not wanting to go too fast. solo time. I start my march, and things go pretty well back to siler c.. this stretch has been a thorn in my side on prior attempts, not today. back in town, Joel has an oasis set up in the lot. he recommends the navel oranges and I oblige him. after a fig newton too, mike and john show up. I wait for them, and Tim shows! he settles in for a PB&J and off we go. It's only 3:10, but the front quartet is about 20 min ahead, forget it..I do some pulling to snow camp, and john is chillin' due to cramping. i jet ahead to do some housekeeping before they arrive. just as we are about to leave, Bryan pulls up! he didn't even snack at joel's drive-thru, he saw us leave and made chase. in minutes the 4 of us are on the road, but within a mile or two, it's bryan and i on the rollers, and by lindley mills I'm alone again. i'm fine with soloing as it's important training right now. getting my nutrition routine dialed in, and tempo making on the new bike is key. hopefully everyone is coming along fine behind me. I kept up the rhythm across old switchboard and castlerock, turned on a blinky for the hwy 87 stretch ( and left it on), and motored on..
given the super temps, I felt I could make it home from snow camp (50 mi) on two full bottles. worked out just right. I also knew I'd make my original soft goal-finish without needing lights. I was smelling my hard goal-finish in 12 hours. with so much riding, and 1 very tough 1200K only 20 something days away, I couldn't senselessly push too hard. still, it was going to be close. if not for stopping to take a photo, and catching a light on the last road, it was a reality. Alan's watch says-7:02. I can live with that. 12:02. pretty good.
I ate some pizza and waited. bryan, mike, and john were along before 8. way to go, fellas.
just one minute off their goal of beating the official sunset..Tim should have been close by but a missed turn in the new part gave him a few bonus miles. an extra post ride treat was a birthday cake for john. happy birthday!
next up- 200K around Hot Springs 10,000 ft climbing. yay! we'll be in before the fleche teams arrive, can't wait!!
a little follow-up on my spring gear break-in/testing:
-finally got a fender to rattle (fixed it)
-rode with the front boxy bag on the rack-really like the access to stuff! bike handles well too..
-took the M/L bag off the back and switched to the medium/banana style bag. basically it acted as a big, fancy tool bag with room to stuff my vest into after the sun was out for good around 125k.
-wool. I chose my joneswares Eddy again. super comfy allllllldayyy..