Italy 200K Brevet

I had an excellent day, riding this 200k brevet. Steve, Peggy, and Ray are great company, and it was so nice to be doing the ride with a pack of recumbents who’s uphill and downhill speed characteristics match my own. This ride starts in Italy, goes southeast to Groesbeck, then takes a more westerly loop back to Italy.

As I loaded my bike onto the rack this morning, I noticed how cool it was, and turned around and grabbed my arm and leg warmers, and tossed them into the truck. That was a good move. In Italy, the temperature was 57 degrees this morning, with a stiff south wind, and even after I put the arm and leg warmers on, I was still shivering. It’s hard to believe it made it up to 91 degrees in the afternoon, and with a big time tail wind, it was downright hot the last bunch of miles.

Within a few miles from the start, the four of us settled into a group by ourselves. We passed Nelson. He was doing the 300k, and conserving energy with a modest pace at that point. The southwest wind, which had been blowing at 10 mph or so when we started, kept picking up, and shortly after we turned west on SH-31 at mile 24, it really started blowing. The eleven miles down SH-14, from Mexia to Groesbeck, mile 52 to 63, were just brutal, against a wind that was really howling by then. Everyone arrived at Groesbeck tired.

But most of the miles after that were with the wind, and we really started moving down the road. At the last control stop, mile 93 at Mount Calm, Ray decided to wait for his friend, Dennis, who had had a blowout and another flat, so Steve, Peggy, and I took off by ourselves from there. We had started the ride with intentions of keeping our pace moderate, since it was Steve and Peggy’s first 200k, and I’ve tended to crater myself lately, when I try to hammer too many miles. For most of the ride we did a good job. We would get the pace a bit fast, then catch ourselves, and slow a little. At this point, however, we just kind of took off. There were a few miles west, against a quartering wind which really slowed us down, but once we turned north on FM-308 at mile 101, we really cranked it up.

After we turned onto US-77 in Milford at mile 125, we made a quick stop at an outdoor pop machine, wanting a rejuvenating soft drink for the last few miles, but the machine was out of order, so we just rested a few minutes, and continued on. I can’t believe how strong Steve and Peggy still were as we pulled into the finish! Congrats on your first 200k, you two, that was a great effort!

We finished with 132.2 miles, and a time of 9:30. Average speed was 16.6 mph, for an on the bike time of just under 8 hours. This ride was just too much fun; I look forward to more brevets with these bent riders!

FWBA Green Demon Century

This ride starts at the Crowley High School, goes south on small roads through Cleburne, through Rio Vista, to just west of Covington, then turns northeast and goes through Covington, then north to Grandview, and down small roads, staying just west of I-35W, back to Crowley.

I really like this route. Most of the roads are small, low traffic, country roads. Many of the roads are tree lined, and very scenic. Even the stretches of highways are pretty low traffic roads. There are hills, but nothing really steep, and none are really long hills, either.

Greg joined me on this ride, and we both decided at the beginning to keep the pace reasonable, on not spend this whole ride hammering. And so we did. I finished this ride feeling better than I ever have after a century.

It was 63 degrees with a stiff south breeze when we started at 8:00 am. It actually felt a bit cold until we got underway. It was just a few miles down the road that a few bikes took off ahead of everyone else. Greg and I, both needing to make an unscheduled pit stop anyway, resisted the urge to join this group, and just stayed with the main group. When the 58 milers turned off in Cleburne, there were just six bikes out of the main group headed on for the century: two road bikes, two tandems, and two recumbents.

We kept a comfortable pace for the most part, but the south wind got pretty tough until we turned northeast near Covington. From there on, it was easy sailing, and I do mean sailing. It was a fun, spirited group. The tandems were experts at spotting the city limit signs first, and won all the city limit sign sprints (although Greg did claim the cemetery sign sprint). We also took our time at the stops, and didn’t finish the ride until after 3:00 pm. I ended up with 98.3 miles, with 2967 feet of climbing, an on the bike time of 6:05, for a 16.0 mph average.

My usual winter route roads south of home have gotten very torn up from the oilfield truck traffic. I do enjoy roads without terrible hills for my winter rides on the Nimbus. I’m planning on incorporating some of the roads from this route into some winter routes for myself for this year.

GDB Airport Ride, or Singing in the Rain

It was a fun ride, like the airport ride always is, even though I really don’t like riding in the rain. There was great chat and camaraderie with riding friends headed out to the airport, then a rabbit that I just couldn’t catch as I blew myself up on the airport loop, then feeling the drizzle start, and watching Paul slip-slide on the wet roads as I dragged my tired self back to the start. Did I mention that I really don’t like riding in the rain?

Then, war stories were swapped over a sandwich, while the air conditioner froze my soaked self. Someone remind me to pack a towel and dry shirt next time the weatherman says a 40% chance of rain. I ended up with 54.3 miles at a 17.4 average. It was great riding with you, Paul, Steve, Peggy, and all the GDB folks.