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Report on the 2009 Raven Rock Ramble Cycling & Inline Skating Event May 3rd 2009 in Apex, NC

MikeB's picture

With a nasty weather system slowly pushing across Texas days earlier, and finally making it's way to the western part of NC on the eve of the event, this year's RRR seemed 'iffy' at 6am.  I made the 'go call' at about 7 and arrived at the venue by 7.45.  Unfortunately any other skaters made a 'no-go call' making this a solo skating effort.

After strolling around a bit, meeting some cyclists, grabbing a banana, and gearing up it was close to the 8.30am start time.  Thankfully the weather was clearing - mostly cloudy with good temps, and larger and larger patches of blue sky coming over the horizon.  There were some brief rules/regs broadcast at the start by Event Coordinator David Cole, and 1 that comes to mind was "watch out for the speed bumps in the Park's parking lots and entry road - they are big enough to cause 'pinch flats.'"  Pinch flat?  What's a pinch flat?, I thought.  Heck my wheels are solid rubber so speed bumps shhmeed bumps.  Well darn if the 1st bump didn't try to sit me down.  So instead of rolling over the others I just jumped 'em, and we were off.

There were a few distances to choose from so I went with the 50K (30.5m) route and hung back so as not to be a passing hazard for cyclists and to scan a few to see if their pace matched mine.  Either I started too slow or the cyclists were  anxious and went out too fast but it wasn't long before I was by myself.  No problem.  But after a few miles a groove developed + a group of cyclists slowed......gotta tell ya, it was kinda sweet to blow passed a bakers dozen of 'em on a large downhill and leave 'em further back on the ensuing uphill.

The weather continued to clear but the trade off was the wind was picking up.  On the way "out" there was a 1/2 mile on Cokesbury Rd, where I thought "wow, this is some gritty pavement - me no like" but this was soon replaced with a 2.1 mile super smooth stretch on Oak Ridge / Duncan Rd.  Now we were cookin'.  Or so I thought.  This stretch went by very quickly and after a right turn I was skating the 3.3m stretch of Christian Light Rd.  It was gritty, just like Cokesbury, with a chip/pebble topcoat, plus it had a slight incline grade, and was directly into a stiff wind.  UGH.  100 yards ahead was a lone cyclist struggling with the wind too, so I put my head down and eventually caught up.  Thankfully she allowed me to draft for the next 2.5m to the 1st and only SAG Stop.  There was quite a collection of cyclists there chilling out on a variety of snacks and drinks but I'm not one for standing around waiting for my friend Rigor Mortis, so after profusely thanking my cycle buddy, downing some gatorade and a nanner, I hit the road.

The next stretch was a beast - It was my pal Cokesbury and we were going to get intimate over the next 7.5m.  The 1st mile was fine, the next 1/2 mile was nuts - a blistering vibration filled downhill with teeth chattering like it was 20 degrees, followed by a 1/4 mile radical incline that was leaving cyclists standing roadside catching their breath.  Once to the top there was a thought about going back down -- I could have sworn I lost a filling at the bottom.  The next 5 miles was a really good workout with even the slight declines turning into work just to keep the wheels spinning.

With 5m left it was time to pull over for a quad stretch, then again with 2m left.  Eventually Harris Lake Park came into view and I was rolling down the entrance road although this time jumping the speed bumps / shhmeed bumps was interesting, since there was no 'hang time' left in the ole legs.

It didn't take long to switch into flip flops and a ball cap and head to the Long Leaf Shelter for some grub and well wishes from a gaggle of friendly volunteers eager to serve.  There were hot dogs, Rudino's pizza, Panera Bread sandwiches, brownies, cookies, chips, nanners, pbjs, and drinks of all kinds. 

What a great day.  I'd absolutely do it again.  The organization was excellent, the weather held out, everyone was so nice - it was a really fun event.

All told there were 408 participants (407 cyclists & me) raising in excess of $12,000 for the National Kidney Foundation/NC Chapter.   The official RRR website continues to be updated  http://www.ravenrockramble.org/  so check it out and make plans for RRR 2010!



eebee's picture

Have a Cokesbury and a Smile



Hah! What a great skate report!

"The next stretch was a beast - It was my pal Cokesbury...the next 1/2 mile was nuts - a blistering vibration filled downhill with teeth chattering like it was 20 degrees...I could have sworn I lost a filling at the bottom. The next 5 miles...turning into work just to keep the wheels spinning."

And then:

"What a great day.  I'd absolutely do it again."

I love it!! Spoken like a true long-distance skater junkie. The early start, iffy weather, nobody to draft, gatorback, hills and a headwind - and you wanna do it all over again! Oh boy long distance roadskating sure is addictive. 

I really enjoyed the report and am totally chuffed that you took part and didn't let the chance of bad weather stop you. You did well with only one rest-stop in 30 miles. Did you take a hydro-pack of some kind too? 

MikeB's picture

A Rum & Cokesbury

Thanks for the thank you.  Ya, there were parts that were less enjoyable than others, but the good FAR outweighed the bad.  Meeting so many nice people, having good weather, partaking in a well organized event, nice after event buffet, etc. - well these were fantastic bonuses......or is it bonusi?  The teeth chattering downhill was banzai!

On board for the journey was a 40oz camelbak fannypack, plus some skittles and jelly beans just in case.  I bring 'em along as my own personal Scooby Snacks, or UnderDog secret energy pills.....didn't need them though.

After I got home I flopped on the sunroom couch, kinda rollin' and moanin' like a wrestler that gets pushed off the top turnbuckle and lays on the ringside floor half conscious.  A few minutes went by and in the distance I heard, "you're not going to lay there all day are you?!"  To which I vaguely remember whispering, "uhhhh, ya.  I think I will.  That's a great plan.  Good idea - thanks."  Whereupon I took a nearby Rolling Stone mag and covered my face.  Three hours later I awoke with Lil' Wayne and Dr. Dre starin' at me, but hey.....whatever.  I was refreshed and ready for that rum & coke(sbury).

roadskater's picture

Great Report and Congrats on a Solo 50K on Gator

Hey MikeB that was a fun report to follow. It was a great picture of what it's like to be on the road with friendly cyclists for a great cause. That event raises a bundle! Wow! That's twelve times what Carolina Century raised last year. We have a lot more upside potential I hope. I only did the Ramble once I think, maybe twice, but it was a good time, although I remember being in pain (I seem to recall doing a 100k there with Jared, and I think Blossom did the 50K but I'm not sure about it all...could be a dream.) It's great to write it where we can look it up later to refresh our minds about what the roads and folks were like. Thanks for sharing. This Raven Rock Ramble got you ready for Tour de Lions very well methinks! Awesome roadskating, dude.

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