It was a fun ride, but it was some tough climbing on a recumbent. It was 2700 feet of climbing on the 100k route, but it felt like more, because of the way it laid out. I learned early on that the best way to climb a hill on a recumbent is to use your downhill speed advantage to take a run at it on the downhill leading to it, then hold speed as long as you easily can going up the hill. Of course, that doesn’t work for a hill that’s preceded by a long flat, or a long uphill that’s preceded by just a short downhill. And that’s what this ride had so much of: a short downhill followed by a longer uphill. Of course, that would gain you elevation, but then you’d give it all back in one big downhill, then it would be back to short downhills followed by longer uphills. So Greg and I kept passing uprights on the downhills, then getting passed back on the uphills. I’ve never seen 5 mph on my bike so many times in a ride. Even after such a fast start, I only ended up with a 17.0 mph average.

I had my doubts about getting up a few of the hills, especially toward the end, and it didn’t make it easier seeing so many riders walking their bikes, or laying beside the road. It was some good hill training, and I can see I need more.

There were lots of law enforcement people and volunteers all along the route. I thought they did a really good job, and everyone was very friendly. All in all, I thought it was a great ride. I’ll do it again next year, but I’ll make sure I’ve done my share of hill training beforehand, again.

Senior Games Fiasco

My first Senior Games did not go smoothly. Everything seemed fine when I arrived at the Texas Motor Speedway Saturday morning. The race routes were to be on a public road that makes a 5 mile loop around the racetrack, and everyone was gathered in a gated parking lot on this road. There was a PA system, canopies over the registration tables, an ambulance, and 70 riders getting ready to race. I was one of just three recumbent riders. Bob O’Connor was there with his P-38, and Gary Schmidt from Alpine was there with a Tour Easy.

The first hint that there was trouble in paradise came shortly before the first race was scheduled to start, when the Texas Motor Speedway people showed up, and unceremoniously evicted us from the parking lot, then locked the gate. We were instructed to park beside the road we were to race on (right next to the No Parking signs). They also locked the large restroom facilities which were just across the road, leaving some distant porta-potties as the only remaining restrooms (the porta-potties didn’t seem all that far away to those of us with bikes, but the non-riders were complaining about it).

We were told the Fort Worth Police, who were supposed to be there to help with traffic, weren’t there, but that there were plenty of volunteers to control traffic, and the races started. We raced the 5k time trial, then the 10k time trial, then the 20k road race. The other two events were supposed to be today. With all the cones marking the routes, and volunteers handling traffic, I didn’t see any problems with the races, other than a down rider near the finish line of the road race. I stopped to check my times in the 5k and 10k time trials, but left while they were still working on the road race results. That would prove to be a serious mistake, because they canceled the remainder of the races right after I left, and I made a 45 minute drive back to the Texas Motor Speedway this morning to find that out.

I don’t know exactly why, but as was explained to me, the ambulance left when we were evicted from the parking lot. When a rider crashed near the end of the road race, and was lying injured in the road, with no police or emt’s close by to respond, the race organizers apparently considered the liability possibilities, and thought better of continuing the races with no police or emt support.

The Senior Games rely on volunteers to conduct the different sports, and the volunteers running the cycling events of the Dallas Area Senior Games didn’t get the job done very well this year.

Tuesday Night Texas Wheels ride

I did the Tuesday night ride with the Texas Wheels this evening……….. sort of. Apparently, Tuesday night is their night to do climbing work, and Mark Metcalfe wanted to do a flatter route, so he and five others (including yours truly) split off the main group of 20 or so, just south of the first bridge on Lake Ridge.

We rode the same route through those neighborhoods that Rose and I used to, then after passing Britton Park, Mark’s wife turned around and called it a night, and the pace really picked up. We were climbing one of those hills on FM661 heading south to SH287, against a south wind, and I glanced at my gps (an awesome new toy, btw), and saw we were doing 20 mph! After we dropped one of the riders and his friend stayed back with him, Mark slowed the pace some, so they could rejoin us, but it still ended up being an 18.6 mph average for the 30 miles, and no stops. That’s what I call a brisk ride!

After crossing 287, we rode some rural roads I hadn’t ridden before, circled back to Britton Road, then went back the same way we had come, through those neighborhoods on Grand Peninsula, and back down Lake Ridge.

I’ve never known much about the Texas Wheels because they don’t have a web site. This ride starts at 6:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they try to finish before dark (but I always carry a light if I’m going to ride that close to dark………… one problem and you are finishing in the dark).