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Monday, April 5, 2010

Danbury 205K Permanent - solo

With the NC Fleche absorbing a good number of the regular randonneurs this past weekend, I opted to go solo and try out John Bovine's Danbury 205K Permanent on Saturday April 3. Riding solo has the advantage of knowing that you are truly riding your own ride. If I feel like taking a break somewhere besides a control, I take it. Although that kind of independence is generally true for randonneuring (not Audax), let's face it - if you are with a small group or even one other rider, you are less inclined to split off. That said, I still prefer having a few people to share the ride.

John met me at the Citgo in Whitsett a little before 7 a.m. with the control card, cue sheet and last minute instructions. The route is an out and back that follows a northwest direction through Guilford and Rockingham counties before the turn around at the Stokes County seat of Danbury, close to Hanging Rock State Park. I would characterize this ride as challenging as it has a lot of rolling hills. The real hurdle was Phillips Road off of NC 772. One section of about a quarter mile long sports an 18 percent grade and I contemplated getting off and walking, but forced myself to get up it by repeating the cycle of standing for 10 pedal strokes and then sitting for 5. I have a compact crank (34/50) and a 27 tooth rear cog, but it was still a struggle for me.

On one part of Phillips Road I encountered a gentleman stopped on the other side with a Windsor touring bike. I pulled over to inquire if he needed anything, and learned he is 70 and is working on getting in shape. His bike was outfitted with some nice Ortlieb panniers on the back and a homemade rear view mirror bracket made of a long piece of PVC pipe. Another mile down the road I heard the sound of a couple of dogs tearing across a yard and hitting the pavement behind me. Fortunately I was going down another little hill so outran them handily. On the way back from the turn around, I was prepared with Halt! spray and nailed them. If a dog stays on its property and barks, no problem, but once it gets on the road after me it's open season.

There is a very enjoyable 7.5 mile stretch (River Road) that follows the Dan River just after crossing it. Traffic is heavy and extra care required in a couple of spots - about 3 miles along US 158 west of Reidsville and a couple of miles of Summit Avenue adjoining US 29. In both cases the shoulder is non existent - the pavement ends immediately to the right of the white stripe.

No mechanical issues or flats - I've been satisfied with the Specialized Armadillo tires that I put on late last year. I got back to the Citgo station at 18:19, certainly not a great time but considering the terrain I was satisfied with my total time of 11 hours 19 minutes. Thanks to John Bovine for setting up the permanent and coming to pick up the route card at the end.


  1. Nice report, Bob. I need to get out there and tackle that route. Mike / Raleigh

  2. Glad to hear I'm not the only one to struggle up Phillips Rd! 18% grade.. a guess or a firm number?

  3. Branson,
    The 18% is from John, who said when he first pre-rode the permanent his riding partner had an inclinometer. John didn't tell me that until after I completed the ride - he just said I would probably have to stand up on the hill!

  4. Hey Bob-

    I don't doubt the 18%- just curious. And I meant to congratulate you too. That's a challenging route, especially with no rabbits to chase!