The 300k…

The 300k, brought to you by Alan Johnson and friends.

Saturday April 24th

An important note

Before I start I must say this would not have happened for me without the help of three people:

Thank you all. Without your help I might be stuck somewhere between Siler City, and Seagrove right now.

The ride

Here is a link to the route I rode

What a ride. I left the house around 5:30am, and biked to Morrisville to sign in, pickup queue sheets etc. I met up with my fellow Randonneurs (I very much enjoy being part of the club :-) and showed off my new drive train. New chain rings, chain, rear derailleur, rear cassette, cabling. Hell even new brake hoods and a polish :-D.

The ride kicked off at 7am. I sped along -maybe a little too fast- behind only the tandem duo Chet and Cindy. The pack quickly caught up to me though, just before the turn onto Lystra… Ferrington road I think. It was good to ride with the pack, having a group of skilled riders breaking the wind for you makes pedaling easier. We stretched out a little on Jack Bennett, I eventually fell off the pack around Chicken Bridge.

The last ride was a mostly solo event for me, but this time I rode with a fellow from Boone NC named John Pertalion. He was a strong rider, always smiling we rode into through Snow Camp, Siler City, and into Sea Grove. There was a point where John mentioned possibly falling back due to cramping, fall back I thought… I am the one about to fallback. It was good, our bursts of energy seemed to be just slightly out of sync, thus we kept a good pace.

On Fork Creek Mill road I saw foothills and noticed roads that the towns people named Mount something, or something Mountain road. I thought, its on now. Aside from the long stretching ascend to the check point at Seagrove I think the worst was behind me though. Looking back I think Coleridge was tough but at the time I owned the hill section -just a nice burst of energy.

But back to the ride into the control. That damned mile or so was looong. It had enough of a grade to slow me down, but it was not undulating, just steady. At the top I was greeted by a group of folks stamping control cards and filling up water bottles, sharing sunscreen etc. A great bunch of folks they were, salt of the earth. I had a bunch of power bars, but I followed the advice of my little nurse and stopped for real food. It was fast food, which is something I seldom eat, but it worked. I remember thinking the high salt content in the burger and fries was likely a good idea. The fabric of the jersey I had on was white from the salt I had expelled. John did not stop to eat, and I did not see him again on the rest of the route.

I set off alone, which I don't mind… for me there is some amount peace that comes from riding solo. My pace felt good, I absorbed the experience. Aside from some knee pain I was all good. The bike was in fantastic shape, the shifting action never felt so good. I thanked Gilbert many times on this ride. My pace was accelerated as I was hoping to catch up with John again. I did not go too fast though, it is hard to catch up after a long sit and I learned that struggling to do so can wear your body.

At the Siler City control I met up with Dean Furbish and Mike O. I had seen them come and go while eating in Seagrove, and it felt good to see fellow riders. We took off at roughly the same time, I had the fire in me and tried to push the next 10 miles to the Snow Camp control. I felt good when I got there. Mike O was right behind me as I pulled up, and Dean pulled in moments later. Milk, Tums, ibuprofen, and Gatorade that is my pick of poisons.

We left roughly together, I might have pedaled out a bit ahead. During the next 10 miles I felt good, the rolling hills were becoming hard on my knees, and the rain started to come. It was mostly a drizzle, no thunder/lightning which I like; riding through all the elements year round I have come to like a light drizzle, especially when it washes away the sweat. The only issue here was that I had taken off my cycling cap earlier and due to the road rash on my arm from earlier in the week I was wearing a long sleeve RUSA jersey. At a little abandoned gas station on NC 87 I stopped broke out a fresh jersey, my cap, and the rain jacket that Gilbert provided. Mike O stopped to throw on a rain vest, and Dean waved as he went by.

The next 10 or 15 miles were up and down for me. I quickly started to degrade, my knees hurt and mentally I was drained. Luckily about half way in I caught a second wind, I ate an energy bar, swore at myself a little, and then my head became clear. My pace felt good and I was having fun. The rain also stopped shortly after putting on my jacket… Doh!

I pulled up at the store on 15/501 to meet Mike, Dean pulled in right after. It was getting dark and I did not have a light to read the map. Thanks to Gilbert I now had an additional rear light so I took my small Planet Bike blinky and clipped it to my chest so I was able to read the route.

Jack Bennett is so much nicer coming in! Mike had suggested I leave the rain jacket on as the ride down could get chilly, the advice was good. I got in a tuck, shifted to the tallest gear, and listened to the generator whirr as I flew into the night. I rode with Mike O. down Lystra to Ferrington, and then fell into the bright lights of Dr. D.

Dean and I rode in together, I had enough light to make it, but Deans lamps made riding in the dark easy. The drizzle started again as we got into Morrisville

We pulled up to Alan's house at around 9:25pm. My goal was to be there before 10pm so I was stoked. 190 miles in ~14.5 hours, including stops and dinner.

I ate a piece of pizza, chatted for a bit and then hit the road in the rain -which was coming down good now- to head home. At home I dried up showered and ate a wonderful post ride dinner with my Mary. Lamb, hummus, tabouli, and ice cream... what a day!