Wednesday, April 13, 2011

three great rides=one great bike test=rando time

Yo, A! rides
 Yo, A! Miles of smiles :o)

on sunday, march 13, NC cyclers gathered from near and far to remember our beloved Adrian Hands. known for not driving (my kinda guy) and pedaling to events, most rode to the start of this mini-Fleche, which began in Hillsboro, on the Eno River.. 3 friends-Bryan R, Bryan H, and David S met at my place and off we went into the dark around 6am. I delivered them right on time to Jerry P, at 7am, so we could head to chapel hill. we arrived at Adrian and Padmini's place in no time where we exchanged pleasantries, and watched A's son Ian prep his bike. 

Now we were 6 riders with special guest Adrians' ashes in Ian's  pannier! the sun was coming out and we had a good time rolling on up to H' the weaver st. market we met Branson, Jack, Rich, and some others I didn't know. A hearty breakfast ensued and off we went to the courthouse. wowzer. the crowd was BIG. bikes everywhere, and lots of folks. After a few words, the men put A's ashes in the river. A's brother spoke, and Padmini too, who told us to get on the road! Ian said he hadn't been to many funerals, but this was the coolest one ever :) we got the bikes together and off we went- lot's of reminders of Adrian out there, license plates etc. but I loved the pics hanging on the velos...

a few hands
 we just couldn't have had a prettier day. amazing! around mile 10 we missed a turn, who cared? Branson knew all the roads and had us back on route in short order. winging it and enjoying the ride was A's style, so bonus miles were de rigueur. riders came and went as we made our way through parts of Durham, RTP, and into Cary. we filled bottles and stopped for indian food (of course!) before making it to the Buddhist Center. here's Jerry's bike cinnamon girl, stocked to party:

it took a bit for everyone to arrive, and more socializing took place, and we had a little parade, led by the illustrious ( and dear friend of A's) Gilbert Anderson.

mr funky bike

the cermony was touching, funny, emotional, but more than anything, filled with love.
it was great to see everyone and share our love of Adrian and cycling together. a very special day indeed. a  frequent comment was that regarding Adrian's unselfishness on and off the bike. I too, was shepherded by him, on my first 300k, with that amazing coolness only he possessed. he made it seem OK, all the way, into the night, following me on his fixie with a small light stuck in blink mode. i'll never forget it. nor will I forget him..

3 amigos after the Yo A! day...

 brevet #1 on the Boulder-

after one more shakedown ride, it was time to kick-off Al's series in morrisville..
200K. this used to be the "season opener' , but thanks to Tony's winter action, this ride was a sprint before we settle into the longer rides of the series.. I'll say this now- I was humbled and impressed. a lot of folks are riding strong. NC is on the rando map!
we rolled at 7am. there was a change to the route, but not today, a bridge was closed so we headed out the old way. Bryan H and I pulled quite a bit to mt. Lystra where some little bitty climbers took the points. we were all together for the next major sections and again the Ti and Carbon quartet took the rollers into snow camp. short stops ensued, and our gang met them as they were leaving Joel's oasis in siler city. card signing formalities, reloading bottles, and gobbling fig newtons broke the crew a bit more. Tim and Annette jetted ahead with us in pursuit. it was Bryan's first 200, and I didn't want him to think it was all run-and-gun, but we were hustling. back at snow camp, tim was scooting out, as we arrived. another short stop and off we went. 

most storytellers on this day will say it was the big winds causing all the hustle and bustle to catch some push for the retour. whatev... they were swirling!  another element was a fairly big temp range-I left at 6 and it was 39 deg. it was about 45 at the start, and slowly crept to the low 60's. peeling layers was the game. Bagless Bryan had a funky look going on late in the ride! (if he comes to the 300, I'll loan him a bag) I chose bare legs lathered in Mad Alchemy's uber secret coffee Embrocation. worked great. arm warmers and a vest over a JonesWares wool Eddy jersey and their sprint base. perfecto. 
back to biking. I basically led bryan (when not grabbing a little wheel) point to point back to nc hwy 87, where we both were stuffing warmers  and along comes bryan r, jerry and chris, and a few others. we jumped the wheels and rode chicken bridge with the tri-types and stayed with 'em to parker herndon. the warmth had me drinking a bit so we filled real quick at andrew's store. we hammered jack bennett, and battled winds on the lake. cruised across lewter shop and fought serious traffic down thru carpenter to morrisville. 

the front folks were 10-15 min ahead of us. good job! we chilled out a bit, and in no time others were tumbling in. our time was 7:30. i'd say another dozen showed over the next hour, that puts about 2 doz., or half, back in 8.5 or less. really impressive on a rolly course with bitchin' headwinds. note to self..drink more (but not Al's homebrew)

so far, I lloooove the new bike. very fast, responsive, and comfortable. 
*also of note were two other new bikes ready to travel. chris' blue gunnar w/S&S, and
Keith's (doc on a bike) surly traveller's check. very cool and rando-centric!

Variations on the Triple Hump-

with hilly brevets looming and the 1200 on the horizon (it opens with back-to-back 400k's w/12,000 ft of climbing each day!) it was time for some real climbing. new rando david was camping at hanging rock over the weekend, so Bryan R came up with a nice lil' 50-something mile loop from there. we headed out at 6 to meet dave on the hilltop and roll 'bout 9:30..
climbing hanging rock-by car..

the weather was foggy but clearing and heading to the eighties. groovy. it was chilly and I forgot my arm warmers, but had some non-warming goop for my legs. i put some on my arms too. the opening descent was nippy! we all got shiver induced shimmys as we hit 40+ in spots. a quick left onto moore springs just outside the gate and the road mellowed out. there is a country store here. with a hammer nutrition banner above the ice machine. interesting.. we roll a bit, and warm up some. in short order we find markings on the road for '3 mountain madness'. time to head up sauratown. the first 100 ft of this road is straight up. we all settle into our rhythms and grind away into the fog. dew is covering our bikes, arms, and all things around us. i catch bryan in the rear-view about 2 miles up.

sauratown fog

just after this shot we ride into a turn, then head on to the top where the sun is shining. and the road ends. and cell towers abound. we all snack, update our friends and begin the descent. back into the fog and going fast! thanks to the organized rides, the road is marked with S-L-O-W painted across it. on the brakes  and into the turn. cool. no, not cool. i'm flat in back. ease it down to the edge. the challenge tires are rideable flat because they kept the rim off the pavement. no puncture found, I just cooked the tube. the hole was inside and I patched it. i washed up in the little brook rushing down hillside and off we went. no prob. from here. the blackburn frame pump was good at filling the big tire to nearly 90 lbs or so. i'm on a full blown dress rehearsal at this point trying out all my new stuff! 
still foggy, we meander over rollers and quiet roads for a half hour before the blue skies show up on approach to pilot mountain. the boys roll ahead toward the entrance and i steal a nature break. i'll catch 'em, right? a sign by the road (one of those pewter historical landmark types) says the summit is 3 miles west. shortly  beyond the visitor's center, i see david and finally overtake him. he's already spinning his granny gear (1st time since crossing the rockies last summer, BTW). it takes me a bit longer to spot bryan-he's spinning up a switch above me and looking good! i'm feeling it a tad because i'm pushing a 50/23. the chain won't stay on the 26, some cable stretch has me in  a spot of bother! I stop for 45 sec or so and proceed. this baby alpe d'huez is tough to clean out of the saddle. be prepared. the view on top is worth the effort! spectacular. take it in and eat something as your heartrate comes back down, but nature takes your breath away at over 2400 feet of elevation. 

pinnacle overlook
once again, time to descend. this one is technical. the very first right hander is a  decreasing radius scorcher that will put you head-on into the far lane so watch it! it's very switchy and takes just seconds to hit 30+ heading into turns and yours truly cooked the tube again after wondering if the smell was me, bryan, or cars. no joke. the stench of burning brake pads and transmission fluid is in the air..I did another mountainside repair and off we went. the plan was fill bottles at the visitor center. I put a new tube in there too. yes, flat tubes are not up to the high heat challenge. use good ones!

we left pilot behind and made our way to pinnacle where we bought snacks and drinks for the final stretch. the roads and views were great. you get a couple of different looks at pilot as you leave the area. this one is after a grinder, before the only busy stretch we rode: hwy 66..

D & B  catch me..

the road gets quiet again and really fun for the return to hanging rock, we loved it! great rollers, banked turns, and whoopdees' kept us energized. so did the store I spoke of at the beginning. I just had to see what they had inside for cyclists. score! look at the full row of gels, bars, blocks, from Hammer, Gu, honey stinger, and Clif. also on the end were tubes, and helmets! if ya go to hanging rock and forget stuff, fear not, it's here..

damn gooey!

from here all we had to do was climb hanging rock. after splitting points with bryan I was ready to go. no 26 cog, and I hit the 23 about a mile into the almost 2.5 miler. I cleaned it no prob, but there is a good little kick about .5K from the end! yowza! burn!

 this was a really nice day, and we want to do it again soon. maybe a bit longer, too, including a southern return by danbury. watch the list. makes a fun day trip from RTP. 

since it was Paris-Roubaix day, here's my dirty legs at the end. most of it, believe it or not, is brake dust..crazy! 

dirty boy
time to rest for the 300. I've made adjustments to the bike and have everything running smooth. hope to see you all this weekend! Tailwinds!!

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