Sunday, November 29, 2009

Revenge at Black Creek

I rode the RUSA permanent Showdown at Black Creek 200K today. We tried it a few weeks ago in horrendous rain, and we about froze. I tried again today and got my revenge.

High points: There is a new public bathroom in the delightful city park in Black Creek, right behind the municipal building and fire house (click the thumbnail photo). A sign says it is open seven days a week, from 6:30am to 10:30pm. It was immaculate (at least the men's side). I refilled my bottles with sink water. It tasted okay, stayed down, and gave no ill effects. I think this facility makes Black Creek a much more enjoyable turn-around location.

The weather was clear. Temps started right around freezing, and I would guess they rose into the mid 60s degrees F (18 C). It was like an early day in springtime. Traffic was almost nonexistent for most of the day. Secondary roads were empty, the interstates and major roads were empty, even downtowns were empty. I had very few dog encounters in the morning. My guess is that everyone slept-in after Thanksgiving, including the dogs. I enjoyed seeing a train cross my path just west of Black Creek near US 301. (See photos.) No flat tires. No mechanicals. Brand-new blinky pedals worked great. Finally, there was a bright moon in the sky tonight, and I was able to see the road quite well as I headed back to North Raleigh.

Low points: I had a near-miss head-on collision with a full-size pickup truck this morning on Old US 64 (I think). On this otherwise empty two-lane road, the pickup was passing a Jeep headed toward me. I could hear both engines revving, implying the Jeep was refusing to be overtaken, and the pickup wasn't to be denied. Lucky for me, the sound caught my attention, I looked up, and was able to swerve into the grass shoulder barely moments before the pair raced by, side-by-side. I believe the driver of the pickup never saw me. Something new to watch out for.

Other than that, it was very windy. I pedaled downhill in granny gear many times throughout the ride. I have read that riding in wind builds character. I'm not sure what that means, but I hope it is something positive.

Photos with captions

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The bicycling community has discovered The site lets you type a script, and it prepares an animated video. Very cool.

The first video I saw was referenced by BikeSnobNYC:

Now Randoboy has created a hilarious video spoofing an epic ride report:

Amazing possibilities...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

'Twas a warm and foggy day

Eight randonneurs turned out to ride the RUSA Tar Heel 200K today, thanks to a beautiful weather forecast for November in North Carolina. Two riders posted great and funny trip reports with photos. There is nothing for me to add. Enjoy...

Dean's report: Foggy Flatland BreakdownByron's report: Terrific Tarheel 200

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turn up the heat

One day last week, we had the first early morning of the season with temperatures that got a little bit cold. I was bike-commuting along the Tobacco Trail in the pre-dawn darkness, staring intently for unlit joggers wearing the latest in matte black gruppo, when I felt a little shiver from the cold.

Without thinking, I took my right hand off the bicycle handlebar and reached over toward the right, in an attempt to crank up the temperature lever of the heater in my car. When my hand didn't land on it, I reached again. When that didn't work, I looked over toward my hand to find the lever.

Then I laughed out loud, just as I encountered and swerved around some unlits.

Perhaps I should start searching the internet. I want one of those levers for my bike. :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Purple Hair

During their formative years, children assimilate many of the behaviors of their parents. Click the thumbnail for a larger view of one example.

Be careful what you propagate to the next generation. :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Deluge November First (DNF)

Jayjay and I rode the first 25 miles of the RUSA Showdown at Black Creek today, in big rainstorms and crosswinds. It was fun, but we eventually had to admit we were not properly equipped. We turned around at the convenience store on the Bunn Bypass (Old Halifax/Brantleytown Rd at Pearces Rd), rather than risk hypothermia.

We learned a few good lessons:
  • Don't put a Planet Bike Superflash on your bike, then put your bike on a rack on the back of your car and drive to a ride in the rain. This unit is infamous for wet failures, and inundating it with rain at 65mph is not very smart.
  • Wool socks work. I blew the moths out of my wallet before the ride and bought a pair of wool socks from REI. $12 for one pair, mind you, but well worth it. My feet were soaked but warm. Next I must think about the rest of my body.
  • A helmet cover works. It really kept the rain out of my face and reduced the water running down my neck. I covered my helmet with aluminum foil. (Fear not, I wasn't about to buy two commercial products for one ride.) Aluminum foil is highly visibile, it complements my 'lunch pail gruppo' (kudos to Dean for that phrase), and the din of raindrops on the taut foil helped me gauge the intensity of each squall.
  • Hydrate from Mother Nature. When the rain is strong enough, you can look up, open your mouth, and drink a few drops. Just be sure to steer so you stay on the road.
  • Don't put the second half of an Egg McMuffin in a leaking pocket with intent to eat it later. It disintegrates and makes a royal mess.
  • Enjoy comments and belly laughs from strangers. Three senior southern gentlemen had fun at our expense: "You must really want to go bicycling if you are out on a day like today, he he he", one guffawed. The next one followed, "I was going to go buy a horse today, but I don't believe it's fair to the horse, he he he." Laugh with them. You know they are right.
  • Cyclists really can see much better than car drivers. This became painfully obvious as soon as we got back in the car and started driving with rain pelting the windshield and wipers flapping back and forth. Be visible out there.
Oh yeah, there was one other point. As I biked back to the starting point in North Raleigh, the rolling hills didn't seem as bad as I had remembered from the last time. And my bottom wasn't really sore when I got into the car. Then I realized this was only a 50 mile ride, and not 120. Ha, just wait until next time...