Thursday, October 8, 2009

Variety Six-Pack: Tar Heel 200 Permanent, October 4, 2009

The variety six-pack? There they are—Tarheel riders this past Sunday at the turn-around contrôle in Tar Heel, NC—(from left to right) John, Andy, Dean, Gary, Janis, and Maria.

Why the grin on my face? The photographer was an absolute hoot. The impromptu team photo was snapped by a lady who was apparently taken by our brightly clad group hanging out in Tar Heel. Spotting the camera in my hand, she volunteered to take our group picture. She “barked” feigned orders for us to hurry and get lined up so that she could be on her way and attend to the rest of her pressing obligations. Later, “Miss Congeniality” bade us farewell and wished for us a safe journey.

Mid-week last week, the only thing I knew for certain was that I was going to ride my Permanent come Sunday. The only question was whether anyone else would be able to come out and play. A couple of regular riding buddies had other commitments. Although riding Permanents, like fly fishing, ranks high on my list of enjoyable solo activities, if given a choice, unlike fly fishing, I’d rather ride with others.

Sometimes organizing a ride can be as spontaneous as falling into a game of pick-up basketball. The main ingredient of course is someone itching to play. The weather was also a co-conspirator Sunday and, for some, the hunt for the R-12 Award. Additionally, by signing up for a 2010 RUSA membership in October, two new riders were benefitting from a free RUSA membership for the remaining three months of 2009.

In response to my mid-week call to ride, I became more excited with each inquiry. In truth, I was expecting perhaps one other rider besides myself.

Well before the 7 AM start, one could find five vehicles in close proximity all parked on E Church St behind Burger King and in front of Subway’s in Benson. Riders introduced themselves as most had never ridden together. Then we were off. One rider has provided a great account of the ride located here with a wonderful storyline. My account, which follows, is more of a picture scrapbook.
Morning sunrise as we head toward Dunn. Soon we will be waking. The only creatures awake at this time of the morning are crowing roosters and barking dogs.

Gary, Janis, and Maria on a cotton morning.

Gary, Janis, Maria, Andy, and John near Godwin, NC.

Anatomy of a randonneur. Work gloves and work shoes, Andy gets the blue-collar, lunch-pail award. Talk about looking at old problems in new ways, I’m stealing his idea of attaching a small saddlebag up front, and writing an article about it. Don’t tell him!

Andy again, this time at the Stedman contrôle. Since joining RUSA earlier this year, Andy’s ridden a Permanent every month. I finally got to ride with him. What a sense of humor! Looking forward to many more rides with him and reading his ride accounts.

Super Randonneur Gary is certainly a friend of local cycling and cyclists as an officer of the North Carolina Bicycle Club (NCBC). Which reminds me: the NCBC is hosting its Fall Rally and Picnic Lunch this coming Sunday. I’ve enjoyed Gary’s company on several rides and conversations on a variety of subjects. His mild-manner demeanor belies an intense determination. I’m still mad at him though for beating me in our “sprint” to the Cumberland County line sign on the way back from Tar Heel. I guess my end of the conversation just before the incident just wasn’t engaging enough.
One intrepid lady, can you believe Janis used to commute while in Charlotte? With her plaid skirt, she’s set a new standard for randonneuring wardrobe. Since joining RUSA, Janis has a string of seven consecutive months of riding Permanents!

One of RUSA’s newest members, here’s John. Although he just received his RUSA number, John rode Alan’s 200km Anniversary brevet in August. I’m indebted to him for alerting me to a slight wobble in my rear Gatorskin tire that I thought I might have corrected by remounting it 180 degrees. Look for John on more brevets. Chasing each other, he and Gary were the first to reach the penultimate contrôle.
Maria won the coolest jersey award with her Old Kentucky Home Tour jersey. The Tar Heel 200 Permanent marked her longest one-day ride. Congratulations, Maria! I enjoyed our conversation on science education and the mention of Cincinnati chili. I’m sure she has an informed opinion or two about Xavier, Cincinnati, and Kentucky basketball. By the way, a lot of thought went into the urban background configuration for this shot in order to bring out the green, silver, and skyness of the jersey.

Break time under a Spanish-moss covered tree near Tar Heel, NC.

John impressing us with his tube changing talent at the penultimate control in Erwin. When John applied the CO2 cartridge, we noticed a coat of ice forming on the valve stem. The obvious question is: Why? When our inquiring minds turned to Maria the physics teacher for an answer, without batting an eye, she responded that it was an application of the ideal gas law: pV = nRT. Any more questions, people?

I’m thinking that if there were enough interest (meaning Alan served enough home brew) we could have a bicycle-related science seminar at one of our monthly NCBC meetings. Byron could bring some water snakes, I could bring some woolly worms, and Maria could take bicycle physics questions from the audience like why a moving bicycle doesn’t tip over. Heck, even this guy might show up at the seminar.

Haven’t I seen him somewhere before? On a RUSA or NCBC ride?

Cotton crop on Old Fair Ground Rd after clearing Dunn.

Cotton sunset.

I had a fun time and was glad that I got to meet and ride with each of the riders. Ya’ll made my day!

Speaking of fun times, looking forward, you’ll not want to miss Mike D’s Showdown in Black Creek Permanent on October 17th, which coincides once again with the annual Festival in Black Creek, NC. Bug him for ride details. Here is Mike’s hilarious account of last year’s ride.

Let’s ride, soon!


Anonymous said...


Awesome pix and report. I like seeing all of those new faces in the Park!

Mike / Raleigh

sag said...

Yes, a lunch pail! I must get one.

Great report, Dean. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting and riding! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun! I'm hooked. Hope to see everybody again soon.

bullcitybiker said...

What a great group! A big welcome to our newest riders and RUSA members.

Doctor on a bike said...

Sounds like it was a great ride. (Why must I live here and not down there with you guys?)I rode the OKHT again this year (in case Maria saw someone in a RUSA jersey) and she's certainly ready for Randonneuring after that event.

Michael King said...

Wow! great post! Thanks for sharing! :)

Michael in Charlotte