Sunday, November 8, 2009

From Frost to Frivolity: Tar Heel 200, Nov 7, 2009

I’ll skip the story part of the ride, since there are so many divergent and contested views of the events that transpired. I’ve decided instead to provide the only true evidence of the alleged incidents. After all, photoshopped pictures don’t lie.

Ron likes a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut with his morning coffee. Problem is, judging by the above picture, it appears that he literally drove his car through the drive through window on the way to the start.

When Ron and I pulled into a couple of parking spaces near Burger King, Sridhar was already at the scene. In all, a group of six of us rolled out of Benson at 7 AM into a cool, slight headwind toward Dunn with the promise of a 30-degree temperature increase and an afternoon tailwind to bring us home.

Someone said that I had promised an afternoon tailwind. Mike O dissented, asserting that I had “guaranteed” one. And so we set to parsing the meanings of “predicted,” “promised,” and “guaranteed.”

Who was this cast of characters? Characters, indeed. There was Alan, Maria, Mike O, Ron, Sridhar, and me.
The main character, Mike O, was off the front most of the day. I've learned a lot about riding from this former New York City bicycle courier. He and Byron have the best eyes in the business for spotting wildlife.

Here's Maria, completing her second 200km in as many months. What a fast learner. If she keeps up this pace, soon I'll be learning from her! Off topic, if you have a physics question, bring it to her.

Sridhar cruising somewhere between Stedman and Cedar Creek. The reason he’s smiling? He’s elated to hear that we’re not turning down Turnbull, or some such, road. It's always a pleasure to ride with Sridhar. Last year, I think we did 1000km together on RUSA/ACP events. While Sridhar and I have talked hours on Russian culture, I learned just yesterday during the ride that he knows German! Zut alors! (Pardon my French).

Then there’s this lowdown guy, Ron. Is he going uphill? I thought this route was flat! You can't go wrong riding his Permanent in historic Tidewater Virginia, which I've ridden twice.

Our “Fearless Leader” Alan with Maria.

Finally, Alan has to put up with me extolling the benefits of aqua purely and shamlessly for the camera.

Now back to the ride, itself.

Riders outside the Erwin control.

A kindred spirit on a townie checks us out. He’s probably thinking we have cool bicycles but funny clothes.

There were signs of a thaw by the time we reach Stedman. Doing Clark Kent-Superman phone booth impersonations, riders wriggled out of top layers emerging as Super Heroes.

If you ever need a Super Hero who can “Ride, Eat, and Sleep,” you’re in luck. Just call Alan, an “NC Randonneurs” Super Hero. Alan already commuted 160 miles to work this week. Hmm . . . with this ride today, that's 285 miles in one week! If you want to go to Paris in two years, ride along with Alan. You'll learn a lot, and I'm sure he'll love the company (Just don't make me commute with you to work, Alan!).

A peek at North Carolina agriculture: is this where shredded wheat comes from?

Hey (or is it hay?), I think this dude was working in the loft of the barn, although I couldn't be sure. We were too far away to see into the loft window.

Also of agricultural interest, we notice that they’ve begun to harvest the cotton on some of the fields near Averasboro.

There was quite a bit of activity at the Jambaas Ranch today: a canine contest. The term “Dog Show” just doesn’t seem to fit the persona of these pooches.

Pit bulls! Every (hundred) one of ‘em!

Nice doggie (I hope the leash and that fence hold!).

Alan and Ron see P-B-P on the horizon in 2011. Both riders reported significant milestones today. Ron logged his 6,000th mile of the year, while Alan surpassed 4,000 miles largely since May. I also believe that Mike O has a string of five consecutive months of rides for his R-12 as does Alan. [note: See comments below. Mike O actually has eight consecutive months of riding a 200km or longer RUSA/ACB brevet.]

On the topic of equipment, the brightness of Ron’s new LED battery powered headlight drew several oohs and aahs.
Riding my Permanent for the first time, Ron provided a fresh pair of eyes, noting that a road sign had been turned ninety degrees. I'm making a note on the cue sheet and contacting the NCDOT. Thanks, Ron. Such advice will benefit out-of-staters who do not know the route.
How cool is it cruising downtown Benson at dusk?
After tethering our bicycles, we regroup across the street at Subways for some camaraderie, banter, food, drink, and tales. The best part of the ride?

Members of the group motivated by the R-12 Award and the upcoming 2010 brevet season announced that they are looking forward to riding a Permanent in December.


y2bike said...

Hi Dean,
Thanks for the ride! I'm up to 8 months in a row now for the R-12.

Mike O

dean furbish said...

Hi, Mike O!

My mistake completely. Sorry about that! The good news is that RUSA knows the difference, unlike me! :)

Thanks for making the ride Saturday a fun time.

sag said...

Nice report, Dean.
Sounds like a nice ride.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. The first hour to Erwin, I was seeing visions of a U-Turn! You are heck of a permanent leader...I am sure you're a great physiology teacher too. Luck students. Spasiba tavarish!


Doctor on a bike said...

Excellent pictures and ride report. What a great day we all picked for riding a 200k. Hope to see you guys soon. Sorry I have to work for the "year end" ride that's coming up