Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"An R-12 here, an R-12 there...

...and pretty soon we're talking real bling."

This curmudgeon says: The RUSA R-12 program is really not about cycling, not about fitness, and not about 'the bike'.

It is a challenge of logistics and scheduling.

If you have the right family and job situation, a moderate climate, and reasonable routes nearby, you can do it.

April is the best month to start.  You'll get eight months done in fine weather, and having eight months 'on the record' will motivate you through the winter.

So just compare yourself to photos of me and laugh heartily.  Then start planning.  April is just around the corner.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fearless Leader Alan's 70th birthday 70 mile populaire

A fine group of NC randos turned out for Fearless Leader Alan's 70th birthday populaire this morning.  Happy Birthday, Alan.

Also, congrats to Dean on his R-72 continuous streak, and congrats to Jerry on his R-84 continuous streak.

Photos at the start:  Photos

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Isn't it ironic?

That we advertise our cycling activities...

...on the backs of our cars.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thanks to the volunteers

Rando Skiff recently wrote a series of articles analyzing the rides of North Carolina randonneurs. We enjoy talking about our epic rides in the wet, windy, cold, nights, uphill both ways, etc.

But we don't do it alone. For every ride in Skiff's analysis, there is a RUSA volunteer who scouted the route, created maps and cue sheet, submitted it for approval, then prepared cards before each ride, and processed the results afterward. Most also exchange a few emails with every rider, and send words of encouragement and then congratulations. And there are more volunteers behind the scenes at RUSA HQ.

So as I look back on Jayjay and my RUSA rides over the past four years, I'd like to say thanks again to the RBAs, perm owners, and admins who made it possible for us to sport 'R-48 Continuous Streak' bumper stickers (see photos).

Today's photos from of the RUSA Tar Heel 200K

Friday, March 1, 2013

Carthage Coffee Run 200K

I rode the CCR 200K yesterday, in central North Carolina.

Cold:   It was 35F/2C at the start, and was predicted to reach 55F/13C.  It never made it.  In fact, it got colder in the morning.  Not bad if you dress for it, but alas, I didn't.  What was I thinking?

A few miles from the start, crossing over Jordan Lake, I was daydreaming about swimming there in the summer.  Shortly thereafter, I got hit with a gust of frigid arctic crosswind.  Instant core chilling wind.  Luckily I didn't have to stop for the next hour.

Wind:  Amazingly, I never fought significant headwinds.  Lots of gusty crosswinds.  And some gusty tailwinds.  Little help, but psychologically wonderful.

Mystery quiz photo:  Click the photo to enlarge.  What is it?  Answer is in the photo album.

Detours:  Sanford was a busy place yesterday...

A construction crew was tearing up the pavement on Charlotte St to work on pipes or cables or something.  Flagmen at each end of the project had reversible stop and go signs.  It took the first flagman a few seconds to realize that I wanted to ride through, but then he dutifully called on his radio to his partner, then flipped his sign to go.  I felt like royalty.

Next, I discovered the CSX railroad crossing in Sanford is being refurbished.  All the pavement was gone, and the crossties looked like they had all been replaced.  I detoured one city block away to the next crossing, then one block back.  The scene was deserted in the morning, but on my return I got to watch track maintenance rigs at work.  Foamer.

Speaking of foamers, when I detoured one block away, I took a photo of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad 'diamond' in Sanford.  That's railroad lingo for the intricate trackwork where two railroad lines cross each other at grade.  See wikipedia.  

Economy:  The economy may finally be improving.  I spotted 'life' in several dormant housing construction projects south and west of Sanford.  Love to see monster homes on tiny lots sprout in the countryside.

Dogs:  None.  Zip.  Nada.  I heard about eight dogs bark at me, but none chased me on the road.  Must have been too cold.

Traffic:  Extremely light.  On Lower Moncure Rd between Moncure and Sanford, I saw or heard more airplanes at the adjacent little airport and in the sky than I did cars.  Most of the day was long stretches of Zen Cycling.  and Zen Ascents.

Auto-peletons:  I hate packs of cars with no space between them...

My first near-miss was on Old US 1 when a pack passed me from behind into oncoming traffic.  The lead car passed safely, but the followers could not see the oncoming traffic until too late.  Lots of horns, scattering, and dirt flying.  Uff da.

Then on my return, on NC 751, the leader of a pack passed me with his right turn signal flashing.  I saw him coming in my mirror, so I slowed before the right hook.  As expected, he jammed on his brakes to turn right.  That left me alongside his lemmings, who all jammed on their brakes and skidded and swerved left and right, stopping awfully close to me.  Stupid tailgaters.

ATT:  I rode the American Tobacco Trail on my return trip.  The section in Durham County from Chatham County to Massey Chapel Rd is now paved.  No more slimy clay mud pits.  Yay.

The entire trail was almost deserted.  In 13mi/21km, I passed only two horses, two wheelchair riders, two cyclists, and maybe a dozen runners.  Empty.  Totally bucolic.

Photos:  Click here to see my photo album.

Conclusion:  Another great day on the bike.