Monday, June 15, 2009

Siler City Express Permanent, June 13, 2009

Back in February, while on the Nottoway Ramble Permanent, a scenic 215km jaunt through the historic tidewater area of Virginia, the route owner, Ron, and I schemed to ride a subsequent Permanent come June. Why June?

Ron’s February ride marked the eighth consecutive month he’d ridden a brevet or Permanent of 200km or more. Continuing the progression, a June ride would qualify him for the R-12 Award. Ron is no stranger to North Carolina randonneuring, having completed the brevet series out of Morrisville. So when he chose Mike D’s Siler City Express for his qualifying ride, he knew exactly what he wanted:
. . . some hills; a couple of steep climbs; great scenery; and a few barking dogs thrown in for motivation to get the adrenaline going.

Sridhar and I agreed to join the fun.

Ron’s recumbent drew a lot of attention along the route. Several retired regulars at the convenient store in Erect wanted to see how it worked. A small group gathered outside to see Ron off. Closer to Seagrove, a lady outside her house, watching us pass by shouted, “Recumbents are cool.”

We traveled without incident until Sridhar flatted on the last hill on Ophir Rd. He changed the tube only to have the valve stem on the new tube malfunction after it had been inflated. At the turnaround, Sridhar noticed some mountain bikes in the back of a pickup and borrowed a floor pump from the owners to top off his tire pressure.

At the turn-around control, watching all the people come and go—motorcyclists, boaters, mountain bikers, weekend vacationers of all sorts—I noticed a fellow wearing an Operation Red Sleigh T-shirt. As he walked by, I said, loud enough for his benefit, “There goes a cyclist.” Later, we chatted about area cycling. I asked him if there weren’t a fair amount of climbing on the Operation Red Sleigh ride to which he responded, “You’ll get your exercise.” He then asked us what roads we’d traveled. When we mentioned Ophir and Flint Hill, he nodded, adding, “You’ve had a workout.” The conversation ended with our new friend plugging his July charity ride out of Seagrove, which provides toys, meals, and necessities to children and their families just before Christmas. Check out their website here complete with a rocking You-Tube video on a worthy cause.

Leaving the Mt. Gilead control, Ron and I played cat-and-mouse up and down the hills. I think he has a special downhill gear mounted somewhere in that chain and pulley system spanning his bike.
The hills, rolling countryside, and ridgelines provided scenery that alone made today’s outing worth while. The afternoon pop-up thunderstorms in the forecast never materialized. Rain never threatened.
Afternoon temperatures climbed into the low 90s. Several times I cleaned the perspiration spray off my sun glasses caused by road buzz on the fast descents over the chip and seal road surfaces.

When Ron said he wanted to stop long enough in Seagrove to eat something, I quickly agreed. Even though I thought I’d been eating and drinking enough fluids, I was surprisingly thirsty. I quaffed three tall caffeinated fountain drinks and one ice water in addition to eating a grilled chicken sandwich. I was rejuvenated, and didn’t suffer too much climbing the rollers on the backside of Old Coleridge Rd.

Congratulations to Ron on qualifying for his first R-12 Award!


Charles Lathe said...

Dean and all,

The Operation Red Sleigh ride in July is an absolutely great charity ride. Firemen, sheriffs, and state patrol stop traffic at every intersection and wave riders right through. The routes are well marked, the scenery is great, and lunch at the finish is all you could hope for.

Regards, Chuck

dean furbish said...

Hi Chuck, wasn't that you I saw on You Tube of the event? I'd heard it was a great event. Your endorsement lends credence. Thanks!

Charles Lathe said...

Dang Dean,

I hadn't seen the You Tube video, but I am in there, amn't I?

Anonymous said...


Indeed you are at 1:53 or so.

Here's the video.