Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Spectator's View of the Morrisville 300km, April 25, 2009

Having volunteered to work the turnaround control at Seagrove, I’d planned on arriving well ahead of the lead group of riders. But as it turned out, I was running a little late that morning. It didn’t matter, though, since opportunity knocks when least expected.

After navigating both the detour to Alan’s home and the aisles of the Siler City Food Lion—filling my cart with randonneuring munchies, drinks, and fruit—my morning journey led me for the first time onto the brevet route just beyond Siler City.

I hadn’t planned on meeting the riders on the course. But there they were. Due to lax security, I was able to command several different vantage points and witness brightly clad randonneurs wheeling past.

Here comes Wes at the front in the stylish, yellow, Swedish P-B-P jersey.

Mike, JD, Joel, John, Lynn, Glenn, and Joe Ray rush past me a few miles after Siler City.

For the first time in my randonneuring “career,” I was able to witness the front runners at the 100km mark. Soon the small group of lead riders would tackle the hills near Coleridge, NC. I would be there, too, this time. It was exciting to watch!

Joe Ray, who had been near the back of the lead pack coming out of Siler City, was the first to scale the summit on Coleridge Rd.

One minute Joe Ray, Justin, Lynn, and Wes are in “downtown” Coleridge.

And the next minute they’re gone.

I wasn’t the only one caught up in the excitement. On his blog, Chuck reported an occasional friendly wave from a porch-sitter and farm-vehicle operator. The contagion spread as the mercury climbed. A few dogs got wind of the event and wanted to join. Even the cattle, known for elevating the nonchalant to an art form, could not completely ignore the events unfolding before them.

Since I wasn’t riding, I signed brevet cards and had the luxury of meeting each of the 22 riders reaching the Seagrove control. I’d learn some successful habits from not only the first riders to arrive at the control but the last. I’d also share in the disappointment of a few riders who abandoned on a sweltering day when temperatures were 20 degrees above normal, peaking somewhere in the low 90s. There had been little time this spring to acclimate.

I’d like to give a special mention to the handful of Virginia randonneurs visiting our state. I know the weather could have been better. Usually, it is—normally, it rains on Alan’s brevets!

How hot was it on the Morrisville 300km?

Look, Keith’s head is on fire!

Just off the collegiate race season, Justin relaxes before the return.

What do the frontrunners do? They relax, hydrate, and eat.

Mike refueling and planning a strategy for the return. You’ll not want to miss his entertaining account of the ride (blog entry below) along with his sage advice about riding your own ride.

Chuck is one of those experienced riders who rides his own ride. A great conversationalist, yet Chuck has an uncanny ability when riding alone to note and appreciate different aspects of the journey: history, nature, and scenery.

Mike is first to leave the control.

Justin and Lynn leave the control next.

New RUSA member Lynn has already amassed 700km in April!

Smiling Joe Ray off to find some more hills to climb!

Keith, another Tidewater rider and coast-to-coast PAC Tour finisher.

On her first-ever brevet, Kim from Virginia blew out a tire before Seagrove. According to Byron, she quickly fixed the flat, booted the tire, and was on her way again. By the time she reached Seagrove, the threadbare tire looked suspect. Time for a new tire.

Kim changes a tire quicker than a mongoose knots a cobra. After watching her, I wanted to find a flat tire to fix. Maybe we can coax her into putting on a clinic next time she’s in town.

Dueling cameras. Gary and Sara have done a lot for cycling with the North Carolina Bicycle Club.

Don’t be fooled by Sara’s pretty pink bicycle and innocent-looking—if not stylish—black fenders. It hasn’t rained on one of Alan’s brevets since the fenders arrived last season. On the other hand, word is—people at the Almanac have begun paying close attention to “rain maker” Alan’s brevet schedule. Something has to give! Stay tuned.

I enjoyed hearing Glenn’s account of a long-distance ride he took that ultimately inspired him to join RUSA.

JD, Joel, and Glenn. Joel’s dad, Richard, raced again in Sebring this year.

Don’t mess with recumbents. You really don’t know what they might be packing.

Monsieur Byron, le plus photogénique randonneur dans le monde.

John M, our first Super Randonneur of 2009 leaving the pits.

Tidewater randonneurs John H and Ron enjoying themselves. Look them up if you’re interested in doing the historic Nottoway Ramble Permanent in Virginia’s Tidewater Region.

Tidewater randonneur, Bob, readying for the return.

Geof at the turnaround. Check out the handle-bar tape and bags. I can’t wait to see some of Geof’s pictures of the ride, especially the long horns. Riding his bike to the 300 start, Geof had to detour along with the four-wheel vehicles!

The dapper Bee Team at the turnaround outfitted like the A-Team.

Very little afternoon shade.

Congratulations to all the participants! Although I missed a couple of spots with the sunscreen, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with you at the randonneuring Hoboville in Seagrove, and especially being entertained by your quips and stories. Thanks!


AHands said...

Thank YOU Dean for volunteering!

Doctor on a bike said...

As I remarked elsewhere, THANK YOU for all the support ( emotional as well as nutritional AND mechanical).

By the way, Kim completed PAC tour a few years ago and was the one who got me ready for my transcontinental with them.