Twice a year, Team Portsmouth puts on a great 75 mile supported ride between Sunbury and Edenton, NC. The team staffs two SAG vehicles and loads up plenty of drinks and goodies for the ride. The plan includes stopping for lunch in Edenton before riding back to Sunbury. The weather couldn’t have been better. It was just a little cool that morning. But Ride the Dragon had trained me well for dressing appropriately. It was 48-degrees at the start and expected to rise to 70-degrees by 1pm. I wore tights, a summer base layer, two jerseys, arm warmers, a light windbreaker, a balacava, and full-finger gloves. One rider said, “I wish I had brought tights.” I said, “Give it a few hours and I’ll wish I was taking mine off!” 😉
I’ll bore you with minor bike setup details. Although the ride was supported, I still attached my randonneur rack and trunk bag since I knew I’d peel off clothing layers throughout the day and would need a place to carry it all. I moved my flat/tool kit from my Camelbak to the bike, put the first aid kit in a section of the trunk bag, and switched to a 50-oz Camelbak as well as two water bottles. That removed all but about three pounds from my back. It seemed like a good compromise between having plenty of water (with quick access to some of it) and having less weight on my back. That was good for the hands! Coincidentally, I spotted a Camelbak user who was shaking her hands a bit early into the ride. So I think I’ve “discovered” a cure for hand pressure by lightening my back load. The smaller Camelbak also fits UNDER my windbreaker. That speeds up clothing transitions. 🙂
Our “B-pace” group was quite large. So we broke it into two groups with five minutes of separation. The “C-pace” group was five minutes behind “B-group 2.” I was quite comfortable while waiting to leave. That’s a bad sign as declared by the saying, “If you’re comfortable in the first two miles then you’re overdressed.” But I cooled off a bit as soon as we were rolling. I’m slow to warm up. So I was about 50-yards behind my group after each turn and last to the top of each hill. I slowly closed any gaps once I got my steam going. Another rider’s hands were getting cold about 30 minutes into the ride. A great coincidence was that my hands were a bit warm and I was ready to put on lighter gloves. So I gave her my gloves and slipped on my summer full-finger gloves. My gloves were gigantic on her hands. But I’m sure it made all the difference in the world for her. I was feeling better, too. The inset photo features a tattoo she has on her calf.
The ride was pleasant. The temperature was getting better as the miles passed. My windbreaker has removable sleeves. So they came off first. Later, the rest of the jacket came off. Most of my group ate lunch at “The Downtown Cafe & Soda Shoppe.” I had a delicious BBQ pork sandwich. After lunch it was warm enough to peel off one of the jerseys. I could’ve removed the tights. But I didn’t mind my legs being a little warm. Besides, I was running out of space in my trunk bag! The rest stops were very good! This was especially true on the way back when the chocolate brownies were presented! We also had chocolate covered peanut butter brittle and some other goodies I can’t recall at the moment. SAG support like that is how riders gain weight on long rides. Still, that didn’t stop me from digging-in! 😀
I didn’t take a lot of photos. But there’s one thing I had plenty of opportunities to shoot: COTTON! The areas surrounding Hertford and Edenton are rich with cotton fields. I managed to stop and take a close-up photo of some. A true cotton “ball” is much larger than what you buy in the store. I didn’t think to put something else in the photo to give these blossums some scale. I assure you these puffs are quite large. The return to Sunbury was done without a lot of fanfare. There was a bit of a sprint in the last five miles. It was into the wind. So “sprint” is a very loose term. Regardless, it was good to end the ride with a burst of effort.
With the end of the “cycling season” upon us, I suspect the rest of the year’s entries and the first few months of 2013 will be about permanents or populaires… RUSA stuff. I’m looking forward to more randonneuring endeavors!