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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Howling Grits" Populaire

Jerry Phelps recently put together a permanent populaire that he named "Howling Grits", and four of us (Dean, Sridhar, Jerry and myself) met Saturday January 23 at Farrell's Lakeside Store near Farrington Village to add to our mid winter training miles. Jerry lives only a few miles from the start, but somewhere between his house and the store, he lost my card and cue sheet so offered me his own. There was a control about every 10 miles which I suppose is part of the idea of a populaire, as they are designed to "break in" new randonneurs and not get them too discouraged wondering when the next control point is going to come up.

Temperatures started out a little brisk (around freezing) but not quite balaclava level, although keeping the top of your head and ears covered was important. We took off down Lystra Road, and before long encountered "Col du Lystra", a nice little challenging climb. I remembered this hill from a charity ride last summer (Cup n Cone Tour). The route overall had a good amount of climbing (1500 ft according to the RUSA website).

The roads were wet at the beginning due to rain the day before. This is when fenders are nice to have - they don't do a lot of good in a downpour but are helpful afterwards. I used my bike with fenders - the other one doesn't have enough clearance for them. I discovered some handy "Sheldon Nuts" during the process of mounting the fenders (named after the late Sheldon Brown who suggested them to Quality Bike Products). These move the fender bracket out from under the fork crown/rear brake bridge if you have side pull brakes with recessed mounts, and allow for better up and down adjustment as well as not having to remove the brake caliper to remove the fender.

We stopped at the General Store Cafe in Pittsboro for lunch (sorry, grits are not served on Saturdays), and the terrain was a little less strenuous the remaining 30 miles. About a quarter mile from the end, with Farrell's Store visible in the distance, Jerry was about 100 yards ahead of us. I heard Dean say "Let's reel in Jerry" so the three of us shifted to our next higher gear and went after him. Dropped him, no. But we all did turn in to Farrell's together. There were several other cyclists out enjoying the sunny skies and mild afternoon temperatures. I remarked that this would be a good training ride for Maria who says she needs to work on hill climbing.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, I enjoyed your report. Thanks for posting. It was great to meet and ride with you. Looking forward to the next ride.

    Jerry has done a great job designing this populaire route. It was an added treat to have him along as tour guide.