Reaction of locals in Leasburg NC July 24 (101 F): "How can you stand to be riding in this weather??"
Reaction of locals in Leasburg NC Nov 6 (44 F, damp): "How can you stand to be riding in this weather??"
There is a narrowly defined window considered by most to be "a good day for a ride", something like 65 - 75 F, sunny, and no wind. Venture outside of those parameters, and you open yourself up to be considered at least slightly lacking in common sense.
If possible, it is generally a good idea for those of us seeking the R-12 award to grab the first opportunity each month for a 200K (or longer) ride. Bryan Rierson put out a call for interested riders to join him last Saturday on the Leesville - Leasburg - Leesville permanent, departing in the dark at 7 a.m. The weather forecast was decent, but like all forecasts not infallible. Little showers of rain accompanied me during the drive to north Raleigh that morning. After signing in with route owner Byron, we (Bryan and I) left on wet pavement and within half an hour were into some moderate but steady rain. The temperature was slightly warmer than predicted (40s instead of 30s), but by the first control (Red Mill) we were cold and wet. Bryan attempted to activate some old chemical hand warmers he had, with limited success.
We pushed on, eyeing what seemed to be an elusive patch of lighter sky further ahead. By the time we reached the second control (after climbing those challenging hills on Moores Mill Rd), our feet and hands were closing in on (or had arrived at) numb. However, the skies were starting to look more promising ahead with even some patches of blue visible. Stopping for a break at the Leasburg turnaround, it did appear that the rain was over. We searched in vain for some dry socks in the convenience store, and lunch pickings were limited to the usual shelf snacks.
The return was an improvement - an overall elevation drop accompanied by some tailwinds and warming sun. Kemp Rd ("Rollercoaster Rd") is always challenging. The last stiff climb up Boxelder Dr (that 28T ring was mighty helpful) brought us back to Ray Rd. While waiting at the corner we turned on our lights and saw a couple of cyclists heading down Ray in our direction. "Hmm, it would be nice to get pulled in by them" commented Bryan. We made our turn onto Ray and then I mustered what remaining reserve I had and put the hammer down to catch them, with Bryan on my wheel. I think I only caught them because they were on fixed gear bikes. We enjoyed about a mile of drafting before the two "locomotives" turned left while we continued straight before taking our own left at Howard Rd. Total elapsed time: 10:47 (2:38 faster than the scorcher ride on 7/24). L-L-L continues to rank as one of the more difficult permanents in this area.