With forecasted highs in the low-90s for yesterday, it must have sounded something like a cold wave to an eager group of seven randonneurs riding the Tar Heel 200 Permanent out of Benson, NC. The group consisted of Cole, JayJay, Jerry, John, Isaac, Tim, and me. Here are some of the heat-seeking randonneurs at the start.
In spite of the heat index, for the most part the pace was up-tempo—as if personal tests of endurance—turning the event into a great training ride. Tim challenged first, once we turned onto Wade-Stedman Road. He streaked from the back of the pack on his single speed to the front, pulling strongly. But it was Isaac who earned the “King of the Mountain” jersey, barely nipping Cole at the crest of the bridge over I-95.
Then there was Jerry, arriving back at Benson first. Although he did not threaten the course record held by Mike D, Jerry’s time of 8:53 was respectable considering all the obstacles he had to overcome: 1) sit-down breakfast (Stedman), 2) sit-down lunch (Tar Heel), and 3) obligatory ice cream stop (Stedman). Back from his recent ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI), Jerry entertained John and me with funny stories from that event.
I finished under ten hours, time enough to haunt the Stedman and Erwin walk-in beer caves and prepare as many ice socks. Speaking of which . . . Here is the “catch of the day” shown off by John.
Somebody identified this big boy as an albino sockeye, a state record, we are told. This begs the trivia question: Which NBA player—of all time—had the biggest feet? (Here is the answer.)
We were a little disappointed that the paving at/near the Averasboro Battlefield Museum had not progressed from two weeks ago. Instead, we were treated to an authentic pre-Civil War era road? The hard-packed surface posed no problems for our bikes, and the route saved us some bonus detour miles.
I’ve been studying what makes Tim such a strong rider, and I made a few discoveries. On the one hand, Tim rides hard nearly every day. That’s got an awful lot to do with it. But there’s something else. Hint: Look closely at whose bike he’s riding. (If you can’t read Italian, just type “Basso” into an on-line Italian-English dictionary for a translation.)
Not only that. Check out his rocket propulsion system: fuel canisters disguised as drink bottles adjacent to tiny booster jets, which he rotates counterclockwise into position just before takeoff. Tim calls it his “RUSA approved CO2 turbo boost rocket launcher.” Tim’s selling the parts cash only, but not the technology.
It was great having a chance to ride with everyone, including JayJay with whom John and I had the opportunity of visiting at ride’s end over sodas. I also enjoyed getting the chance finally to ride with Cole and Isaac. Here’s to many more RUSA outings.