Sunday, November 22, 2009

Moonshine 100km, November 21, 2009

As part of a year-end celebration that included an evening get-together and awards ceremony, NC Randonneurs could start the day with either a 100km or 200km brevet, both leaving from and finishing at the Natty Greene Pub and Brewing Company located in downtown Greensboro, NC. Just a block from the pub stands its namesake: a tall statue of General Nathanial Greene, an important Colonial figure who figured centrally in the theme of this year’s ride (lead-in picture). Greene was known as George Washington’s “most gifted and dependable officer” after whom many places are named, including Greensboro.

By the title of my post, you can decipher which route I chose. But that still leaves some explaining. Could I have deviated, as the title might imply, a bit off course? After all, wasn’t this supposed to be the Natty Greene 100km? What’s this moonshine monkeyshine business?

Cyclists gather just before dawn for our sunrise start.

Our small splintered group managed to get out of town after a few false turns. For whatever reason, our cue sheet was in English. But the two guys “leading” our splintered group were P-B-P anciens and I think they must have still been thinking in French. They were able to save us though when, at mile 2.7, they spotted something in French: Lafayette Avenue. We were back on track! After finally reaching one of the few level portions of the scenic course—that wiggled from side to side and up and down up to Madison, NC, before returning to Greensboro another way—I was able to pull out my camera and catch a picture of Chuck riding into a slight headwind.

After crossing the Dan River Bridge at the outskirts of Madison, I turned onto Market Street, a few blocks from the control. But my direct progress was thwarted, since the street was cordoned off and a throng of people was gathering in the downtown area one block ahead. The look on my face when a passer-by informed me of the nature of the hullaballoo must have confirmed her suspicion that I was not from around there. The first clue may have been the fact that I showed up at the annual Moonshine Festival dressed in lycra with water bottles on my bike. But luckily, giddy with promise, no one was paying me any attention.

Blend in or not, I just had to gratify my curiosity and conduct some cultural research. A task made easier, since I was obliged to find my way to the control to get my card signed for ride credit! Off my bike, I threaded my way along the barricaded street past pedestrians admiring antique vehicles. Could they have been involved in bootlegging at one time or another?

The sweet aroma of home-cooked stew led me directly to the control. Though not yet ready, the cooks offered me a taste as I stood nearby admiring their work. I didn’t want to disappoint and relished their local version of Brunswick stew. Upon my inquiring what ingredients they used, one of the cooks rattled off a list of known common ingredients and then with a twinkle in his eye added: “And for taste, a little rabbit, squirrel, deer . . ."

The sweet aroma of Brunswick stew!

Inside the Dan River Coffee House (control), I ordered—surprise!—coffee. I sat sipping by the warm fire looking out the window mesmerized by the steam liberated from the cauldron that tantalized helpless passers-by.

I was awakened from my momentary reverie by the arrival of RBA Tony Goodnight and additional riders.

Diligent Tony stopping in and taking a moment to see that everyone is accounted for and doing well.

One of the riders, Bill, from Tennessee had the coolest jersey of the day, at least from my biased viewpoint as a physiology instructor. Not only, that, Bill shows us the proper way to drink coffee—in a cup and saucer!
He even has the pinkie finger thing down, or is it up?

The Republic of Anaerobia jersey replete with coat of arms and motto in Latin. I’ll get you started on the Latin lesson. Just fill in the blank. It reads, “I came, I saw, I _______ .”

Gotta get going. I almost forgot that the clock was ticking!

We spot more cool vehicles as we leave town.

Hey, let’s sneak a peek inside this jewel!

“Hey, somebody throw the ‘fresh’ ‘possum in the stew that's under Jethro's left front tire!”

Climbing out of the Dan River basin and then crossing several tributary creeks made riding on the return interesting. Sort of like visiting the Republic of Anaerobia again and again. I think I’m a naturalized citizen.

A little later, as I approached one intersection, I spotted a couple of cyclists who didn’t appear to be just taking a break. A road sign was missing.

Good old-fashioned navigating with a map! After a team meeting in survival orienteering, we were soon on our way, all the more confident we were on track. I’ve noticed the scenery is much better when you know you are on the right track!

First things first. When I arrived back at Natty Greene's . . .

I got my control card signed.

And then sat down where I wouldn’t stink up the place on the veranda outside . . .

to a post-ride bowl of hot, hot chili and a cold, cold glass of water in the shadow of General Nathanial Greene standing guard.

I’m celebrating the fact that today’s ride put me just over the 5,000 RUSA km mark, my publicly stated goal for the year.

Thanks to all my riding buddies this year and to the RBAs, Permanent owners, and ride volunteers for making it possible!

Oh, yeah, back to the question of whether or not I deviated off course. That’s what I was told by two cyclists who finished after me but who were in front of me leaving Madison. But then they said they were joking. They’d stopped for a break at a convenient store, setting up the leap frog. What are riding buddies—even newly found ones—good for if they can’t pull your leg? Interestingly, my new friend Steve said over our bowls of chili that of all the types of cycling events in which he’s been involved over the years randonneurs are the friendliest cyclists.

With that, I guess there’s nothing more to say, other than . . .

Let’s ride!


Mark Norman Vickers said...

Dean, You couldn't have said it better!! As a Greensboro resident and cyclist it was such a great scene to watch my friends depart on the "End of the Year" ride!! A beautiful day, a great evening!! and such friends. Truly, randonneurs are the nicest people around.
Congrats to all who road!!

Come back to Greensboro again for another ride (I think Tony has that in mind) and enjoy our community.


Mark Norman Vickers
RUSA #190
Greensboro, NC

Doctor on a bike said...

Whoa. 5000km. Many congrats. Sounds like it was a great way to finish it off, too

bphilli259 said...

Bwahaha! Komrade, ve will get your Anaerobian passport ready as soon as the goats get out of the printing press! Thanks to all involved for a great ride & party. Bill Phillips, Bristol, TN

ToddBS said...

Congrats on a monumental achievement. And thanks for making me google the company that makes that jersey I'll be picking up some of their stuff ;)

Mike D said...

Let me pile on with that congrats. That is a fantastic season of riding you just did.

Mike / Raleigh

bullcitybiker said...

Great ride report, and félicitations on your 5K KM achievement!

dean furbish said...

Thanks for the kind remarks, folks!

Definitely not the trailblazer here, I've been lucky day one to have been surrounded by very talented yet modest encouragers. I'm still just trying to hang on.

With the slate of NC rides scheduled for 2010, there's a good chance an NC Randonneur will do 10K km. I'm not saying it will be me. I'm just saying!

Anonymous said...

Add my congrats to that.

Sorry to have missed what looks like such a fun time and great ride.

Hope to see you on the December Tar Heel 200k.


sag said...

Congrats Dean, on a great accomplishment and another fine report.


PS: Does the NCR 10K Challenge come with a special medal? :-)

Sridhar said...

Hey tewarish!

Congratulations on a fantastic achievement. You are a great role model!! Looking fwd to riding a lot in the year ahead...