Monday, May 30, 2011

Fancy Foot and Leg Work Populaire: May 29, 2011

Janis likes the Benson Mule Pull Populaire. Today she owned it, staying ahead of the boys from start to finish. Sure, she had a head start. Thirty minutes. But that was all she needed. I bet she’d be great at handicapping horses. That's her with Martin post-ride in the parking lot of the start/end control, Swift Creek Coffee House, Garner, NC.

Since joining RUSA in 2009, Janis, along with her regular riding buddy, Andy, has done a 200km ride each consecutive month: 26 now and counting. And since the announcement of RUSA’s P-12 in January, Janis has done at least one monthly sub-200km Populaire. Truth told, Janis is well on her way to eclipsing 5,000 RUSA kms this year.

Somewhere in between prepping my bike for the start and obtaining a receipt and signature on my permanent card, I’d noticed that Mike H had worn his bedroom slippers to the start. It was good that I didn’t tease him, for I later learned that they weren’t bedroom slippers, but the latest in haute couture clothing: Sanuks, which according to the web site, “They're not shoes, they’re sandals.” According to some reports, they are extremely comfortable. Martin quipped, “They’d be perfect if they came with pedal cleats.”

But there’s more. After removing his Sanuks, dude then pulled what looked like a glove liner over his foot! Was I looking at cycling socks with toes! What in the world?

Like I said, no crime in wearing bedroom slippers to the start of a ride. That’s cool, dude. But socks with toes? I began to calm down once I learned that Mike’s wife bought them for him. What self-respecting guy would dare instigate the first move on something like that?

I had a very similar experience years ago when my wife bought me some low-cut athletic socks. No way was I going to wear those thingies in public, especially around by basketball buddies. Well into the 90s, my athletic socks sported colored rings just below the knees. Only after learning that “His Airness,” you know, “MJ,” wore low-cut socks, did I reluctantly don them, initially, only to cut the grass, however.

And so now it is with these Injinji things, except that I think Mike is way ahead of the curve on this one. In fact, I gave my wife permission to pick up a pair for me just in case this thing goes viral and all the cyclists show up with them at the next brevet. I don’t want to get caught with my toe socks off. Discreetly, I formulated a backup plan: I did some checking and learned that I could get some mail order from Nashbar.

In spite of the engaging pre-ride fashion show, the three of us started the ride on time. Aversboro Rd carries us through a section of Garner, where we saw a number of banners congratulating the hometown phenom, Scotty McCreery, winner of this year’s American Idol announced just last week. On the way back through Garner, the huge outdoor YMCA pool looked especially inviting. Kids of all ages were enjoying themselves.

On the uphill on Rand Rd, just a few miles into the ride, I spotted the first mule of the day in the pasture across the road from Rand Elementary School. Perhaps Monk would understand, or at least relate to, my need for sighting at least one mule on this ride.

Later, on Holland Church Rd, we spotted a huge, beautiful blue heron near a pond.

The route is surprisingly rolling, catching all of the creek beds on the way to Benson rather than following a comfortable ridgeline. Martin had a good workout, since he was attempting to single-gear it to Benson on his superfluous-gear bicycle. He wasn’t complaining. At one point, in fact, he was doing some one-legged pedaling. Mike and I couldn’t figure out whether Martin was cramping, had “hot foot,” or was just showing off. According to Martin, he was “training.” That’s his story. As a witness, who must stick just to the facts, all I can say for sure is that he was doing some pretty entertaining one-legged gyrations.

At the outskirts of Benson, our group of three passes Janis who is on the return. Familiar with Benson, Martin shoots to the front and straight to Burger King, while Mike and I pull up short, deciding to tether our bicycles outside Miss Maude’s Café on Main Street. Benson is an “open” control. Mike taking care of paperwork during "down time" inside Miss Maude's Cafe, Benson, NC.

We order iced tea, and after a few indecisive minutes, inform the waitress which lunch special we’ll have from those posted on the menu board sitting on the counter. The waitress comes back fifteen minutes later informing us that we can’t have lunch yet. We then locate a breakfast menu and reorder. By now, Martin locates us inside Miss Maude’s Café (the bikes parked outside are a dead giveaway). He mentions that by now Janis has a huge lead on us. After serving us pancakes and eggs, I was impressed that the waitress asked if we’d like some syrup and butter to go with our pancakes. It was just a few minutes before 11 AM when we began to eat. The three of us had a great time in spite of the delay.

"Fact" and "Fantasy" (l-r), according to Martin, inside Miss Maude's, or, if you prefer (r-l), according to Janis, "Dean Martin." Have it your way.

On the return, Mike and I discuss topics I enjoy immensely: nutrition and hydration.

After a few more rolling hills and a more dedicated sun bearing down, I requested a brief stop in order to put on some sun block. A couple of us use the occasion to obtain additional fluid.

A Harley Davidson at the next-to-last control triggered some stories about Martin’s two-man Blue Ridge Parkway bicycle excursion last year, particularly what it did for his conditioning and confidence. A great story.

Back in Garner, Janis is awaiting us. Even after getting our cards signed and obtaining the obligatory cashier receipts, the four of us stand around in the parking lot chatting for some time, the warm sun beaming approvingly. At one point, we cajole Mike into modeling his toe socks for Janis’ sake.

I’m telling you, it’s the next big thing. I’m getting me some toe socks.

Oh, yeah, read the reviews. You might need to get a sock size larger than you normally wear, and that toe beside the big toe that is longer than the big toe in some/many/most/all people? Apparently the design hasn’t caught up to that evolutionary fact yet.

By the way, while I doubt that the next ride report will feature pedicures, you never know who might step up, putting his or her best foot forward.

Thanks, guys, for the great ride!



skiffrun said...

Fortunately, I have been banned from commenting on this particular blog report. Otherwise, I might be disputing certain statements that are clearly in the realm of fantasy.


skiffrun said...

One fact, not fantasy:

The "Benson Mule Pull" populaire was hillier than I expected.
Seems to me I once said that about "Get 'er Dunn".


Anonymous said...

Hi, skiffrun . . . M!

There have been several guesstimates of the total climbing on the Benson Mule Pull Populaire. Bottom line, like you say --- it is not flat.

I "advertised" with RUSA 2000 ft just to get people like me interested. :)

Two separate Garmin accounts this year alone indicate a low of 2127 ft, on the one hand, and a high of 2522 ft, on the other.

My guess is that it's closer to 5000 ft when I ride with the likes of you, Janis, Mike D, Mike H, Mike O, Bob O, Lynn, Lin, Maria, Alan, Jerry, Sridhar, Gary, Sara, Chris, Steven, Bryan . . . Just 'cause you guys make me work!


Anonymous said...

The reason Martin is training is because he knows I am going to drop him on the next ride. And to that end I went up to NJ and rode a 400K with the Jersey Boys, Ren and Rob Mortara. So Martin train all you can but in the end , "Y'all gettin' dropped!"