Memorial Day Ride

I printed 50 cue sheets for the Memorial Day ride, handed them all out and left a few people wanting, so I’ll call the turnout about 60 people. The ride was a repeat of last year’s; the long route took riders from Hagan-Stone Park to Saxapahaw and back. Each of the three routes stopped at Homeland Creamery.

There was a moment of concern at the start when I learned that the bridge on Woody Mill Rd was out. A detour was suggested and announced to the group, and all was well.

I fell in with my usual crowd and made the trek to Saxapahaw. It’s a hilly ride, and it didn’t help that we faced a headwind most of the way back. Here’s the detour-adjusted cue sheet (total mileage: 66.4):

L Hagen Stone Park Rd
X 421
R Liberty Rd
L Dona
L Monnett
R Coble Church Rd
L Phillipi Rd
L Hwy 62
R Alamance Ch Rd (SR 1005) STORE
BR W GSO/CH Rd (Kimesville goes left)
Just after stone dam
X NC 49
Just past Yesterday’s Grill go:
L Snow Camp Rd STORE
R 2172 (Moores Chapel Rd)
L Church
X bridge and BR to STORE
R Moores Chap Cem Rd
L Snow Camp Rd
L S NC 49
R Timber Ridge Lake Rd
R Smithwood Rd
R Bowman Dairy Rd
Optional Detour to Homeland Creamery:
X Hwy 62, continue on NC3360
Stop @ Homeland Creamery
Return to 62, go R
R on Coble Church to rejoin route
L Coble Church Rd
X Hwy 62
L Watchtower Rd
L Monnett Rd
R Dona Rd
R Liberty Rd
L Hagan Stone Park Rd
R into HS Park

Saturday saddle test

Saturday’s ride was all about covering some long, flat miles. Or so I said. Really, it was a chance for me to spend a few hours on an unfamiliar saddle, and have several folks along who could listen to me gripe if the experience wasn’t good.

Early, rain fell, leading to a rash of calls and emails asking if the ride was on. It was.

By the time we left the parking lot of Christ Community Church on Air Harbor Rd, the temps (still chilly) were starting to climb and the sun was shining. Our route was simple:

Navigate to Hwy 150 north.
Ride until we got tired of going north.
Turn around and ride back.

Doing all of this netted us 53 miles, at an average of about 19 mph.

Oh yes, the new saddle. My Fizik Arione, which I’ve always thought of as a friend, was starting to annoy me in a variety of ways, comfort-wise. In the old days — maybe 20 years ago — the solution was simple: Cough up $20 bucks for a new saddle, and if you didn’t like it, sell it to someone else for a small loss.

These days, $20 has inflated to $100+ — and often much more — making the buy, try and see if you like approach a bit riskier.

So, instead of shopping my way to a more comfortable solution, I decided to give the Competitive Cyclist saddle demo program a try. I went online, ordered a demo kit, and a few days later a hardshell case carrying 11 saddles was delivered to my door.

Saturday was my first day testing a different saddle. I’ll get in another 60+ miles tomorrow in my quest to find the perfect seat. And after I wrap up the demo I’ll post my impressions — the good, the bad, etc.

A hill-filled Thursday Ride

Does your typical ride just not have enough hills to satisfy you? Try this, last night’s Roaming Ride:

L Regional Rd
L Pleasant Ridge
X 68
R Cude Rd
L Ballard
R N. Bunker Hill
L Stafford Mill Rd
R Beeson
L 150
R Pepper
L Haw River Rd
R Pumpkin Ridge Rd
R Piney Grove
R Benefit Ch Rd
R Warren
R Haw River
L Linville
L 150
R Bunch
R NW School Rd
L Alcorn
R Edgefield
X 68
L Pleasant Ridge Rd
R Regional Rd

Or, for extra credit, do it backward. Technorati Tags: , ,

Greensboro to Virginia and back

Saturday’s ride got off to an earlier start than usual, about 9 AM. We rolled out from Christ Community Church on Air Harbor Rd; our plan was to ride to the Virginia state line and back. “Deadwood’s Two State Dead End Ride”, we called it.

The first half of the ride covers familiar roads; Lake Brandt, Witty, and Hwy 65. There is a fair amount of climbing, though it’s mostly gentle grades. Headwinds were the order of the day.

North of Bethany, we crossed the Dan River, passed the Shiloh Airport and started to wonder what we would find in VA.

Perhaps the governor, hanging out waiting for our arrival?

Rumor was Miss Virginia and Jerry Rice had been up all night, anticipating our arrival.

The border was our carrot, which made the increasing number and gradient of climbs a bit more bearable. After dropping down a 12% grade on Snead (and noting that we’d have to climb it on the way back) we started into a series of short grinders. Lots of dogs watched our slow progress, and a few stepped out into the street to greet us.

After hitting Garrett we started looking for the VA border. After a bit of hunting around we settled on a place: The end of Craig Rd. No governor or Miss Virginia; just a sign noting the end of state maintenance. Good enough.

The return was no easier. We split into three groups, and cruised back at a steady but hardly hammering pace. The wind seemed to have turned into our faces, too.

Start to finish, we ended up with 71.1 miles. Here’s the cue sheet:

L Air Harbor
R Lake Brandt
R Witty
R Hwy 65
L Crowder Rd
L Settle Bridge Rd
L Priddy Loop
R Hwy 770
L Snead Rd
L Price Rd
R Center Meeting House Rd
L Garrett Rd
R on Craig Rd
Turn around, R Garrett
L Price
R Snead
R Hwy 770
L Priddy Loop (continue 1/2 mile on 770 to store)
R Settle Bridge Rd
R Crowder
L Hwy 65
L Witty
L Lake Brandt Rd
L Air Harbor

Jack’s Creek

Our group’s usual follow up to the Burnsville Metric is the Jack’s Creek (PDF) loop. So we loaded up after breakfast this morning and headed over to the starting point, Blossman Gas on Hwy 19E. John L went fishing instead, so Susan, John P, Stuart, Jim and I rolled out at 9 AM.

Today’s forecast called for an 80% chance of rain, but there was nothing but sunshine when we started. We cruised over the first couple of climbs, descended into the valley, and spent the next hour-plus cruising along the Toe and Cane Rivers. For the most part the roads are relatively flat and smooth. Other than a stop to change a flat (mine) we settled into a steady rhythm.

The sky got progressively cloudier and about 10 miles out a few drops fell. Nearby, John was getting slammed by a storm, and the non-cycling spouses were hiding out at the NuWray Inn. But, a few drops were all we got. We kept rolling up out of the valley, and down 19E to the parking lot.

Roaming Ride

The Roaming Ride continues. Tonight we rode out of Oka T. Hester Park.

The route:

L Vandalia
R Wiley-Davis
X Groometown -> Grandover Pkwy
L Vickery Chapel
R Kivett
L Riverdale
R Hwy 62
L Coltrane Mill
L Burnetts Chapel
R Drake
R Kivett
L Harris > Drummond > S Holden
L Bishop
R Groometown
R Wiley Davis
L Vandalia

26.6 miles. Plenty of hills. Perfect weather. Great ride.

The pack’s getting faster while I’m getting older

Used to be that February rides were easy. Cruise for 25 miles or so and call it a day. But no more. Riders are getting stronger so rides are becoming longer and faster. Case in point: Saturday’s 45 mile “Let’s Piss Off Fred Ride.” Why the LPOFR? I’ll get back to that.

I don’t warm up easily, so the first 15 miles or so are always a test. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, everything hurts. And then I’m just fine. I can roll along in the bunch pretty easily, and climbing becomes much more fun. This start slow, finish (relatively) fast mode of mine seems to be a function of advancing age. But it meant that while the first hour of yesterdays ride was no fun at all, the last 2/3 was great.

As for the name of the LPOFR, it’s because the ride passes Pleasant Garden town limit signs several times. The first time we did the ride Fred made the mistake of complaining about this; so now he has a ride named after him. Here’s the route:

L Vandalia
R Wiley-Davis
X Groometown
L Vickery Chapel
R Kivett
L Riverdale
R Hwy 62
L Harlow
R Muddy Creek (Frazier?)
L Cedar Square
-> Coltrane Mill
X 62
L Old Randleman
R Steeplechase
-> Hunt
S on Hunt
L Kearns Hackett
L 22/Appomattox
R Hagan Stone Park Rd
L Tabernacle Church
R Neeley
L Talbot
R Alliance Church
L Ritters Lake
R Randleman
L Old Randleman
R Harris/Drummond
L Bishop
R Groometown
R Wiley Davis
-> OTH Park

Total distance is 44.8 miles.

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Hills and chills

I had a hard time figuring out how to dress for today’s ride and erred on the side of being too warm. About 14 of us rolled out from the corner of Hwys 150 and 68 and headed north toward Madison. The route was a new one — it started like the typical Belew’s Creek ride, then headed east rather than west. Madison to Gold Hill felt like a long series of climbs. I threw in one minor surprise, a stretch of smooth dirt road, and dubbed the ride Gold Hill-Roubaix. It’s an incredible ride and well worth the trouble. Here’s the cue sheet:

150 E
L Eversfield Rd
L Athens Dr
R to 158, then L
X 68
R Ellisboro Rd
R Gideon Gr Ch Rd
R Ellisboro Rd
L Mineral Spgs Rd
R 704
X 220
R Bald Hill Lp
R Baggage Rd
L Washburn Rd
X Gold Hill Rd -> Griffin Rd
R 65
L Price Mill Rd
L 158
R Lake Brandt Rd
R Scalesville Rd
X 220 -> 150
Continue to 150/68

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A trip to Caraway, and Halloween

After much-needed rain that fell through most of the week we had perfect cycling weather yesterday and today. I stepped out of my house early yesterday, saw rain clouds, and wondered if anyone would show for the ride to Caraway Mountain and back. No worries – we ended up with about 20 who rode the 48.7 miles to CW and back.

I haven’t been getting a lot of miles lately, so I was feeling the Saturday ride. That’s why I started this morning’s Halloween Ride feeling sluggish and not particularly in a hurry as we made our way out of town. I got caught at a series of lights, so I was surprised that I found myself behind Stuart Larry David and John on the long climb up Fleming Rd. By the turn at Pleasant Ridge a group had formed, we hopped on board, and I just worked to hang on. By the time we hit Scalesville I felt like my legs were working.

Good thing, because the pace kept creeping up all the way home. Total for the day: 35.6.

Here’s the Halloween cue sheet, if you’re interested:

Start @ Cycles de Oro
R Mill St
R Westover Terrace
L Green Valley Rd
R Lendew St
L Cornwallis Dr
X Benjamin Pkwy
R Hobbs Rd
X Holden Rd
X New Garden, becomes Garden Lake Dr
R Northlake Rd
R Fleming Rd
R Pleasant Ridge Rd
L Summerfield Rd
R Oak Ridge Rd
X Hwy 220N -> Scalesville
R Lake Brandt Rd
L Hwy 150
R Spencer Dixon Rd
R N. Church St.
L Archergate Rd
R Yanceyville
R Cornwallis
L N. Elm St.
R Sunset Rd
L Huntington Rd
R Northwood St
L Battleground Ave (Traffic!)
R Mill St