The Return of the Reclining Flyers

The original Reclining Flyers race team, Paul, Greg, Steve, and I headed to Kansas to visit the RANS factory and let Greg pick up his prototype Xstream. We had dinner with Randy and Kim Schlitter yesterday evening, and test rode bikes today.

This was a truly fun trip. Randy and Kim were great hosts, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to pick his brain and see some of his new design ideas. He’s a visionary in the industry and a design genius, I think. If you’ve never heard it, this interview with Randy about the history of RANS is pretty interesting.

If you ever get a chance to tour a factory that makes airplanes and bicycles, that’s a blast, too. And to top it all off, we got to ride bicycles. That Xstream has to be the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden, and we had lots of other new toys to hop on and pedal, too.

The company on the trip was outstanding, too. Usually, to have this kind of conversation with these guys, I have to yell over the 20 mph wind we’re pedaling against, while huffing and puffing to try and keep up. A special thanks to Steve, for driving us all the way there and back, to Paul for saving my bacon with the extra cycling shoes he brought, and to Greg for contacting Randy and putting all this together.

Kids outside the candy store.

Look at all the new toys.

Checking out the goodies.

Ready to ride.

Randy and Kim on the tandem, me on the Xstream.

Video of me in the parking lot.

GDB DFW Airport ride

I hadn’t done this GDB weekly ride since last year, and the route is quite a bit different. It’s still a fun ride with not a lot of climbing and no killer hills, so it seemed like the right ride for me today, since I’m just a little over a week after thyroid surgery.

Paul, I, and the rest rolled out right at 8:00 am and started the mostly downhill ride out to DFW Airport. As usual, we missed some traffic lights, and regrouped a few times, but we rode a fairly brisk pace.

After stopping at the Shell station where the airport loop starts, we were joined by Robert and Brian. It was great to see you again, Robert, and nice meeting you, Brian. I aired it out a bit on the loop, but the first part of the loop was uphill and almost directly into the wind, and was definitely tough. The other part that was really tough was just after the turnaround at the control tower. This was also uphill, and even more directly against the wind.

The trip back after the loop is always tough, since it’s 18 miles of mostly gradual elevation gain which seems to suit the uprights in the group better than me, and I’m usually blown up from a faster pace around the loop, but I felt pretty strong today, and Paul set a pretty reasonable pace for the small group we ended up with here, so I was able to hold up my end of the conversation for the most part, although my incision is so close to my vocal chords, I was getting a bit hoarse at the end. Paul and I joined Terrie and a bunch of the other riders for lunch afterwards, and the barbeque and ice tea went down very well.

The GDB folks are always friendly, and this is always a fun ride. I need to do it more often, and we need more ‘bents on it!

I notice some strange data on my gps software map, so I think the ride data needs some correcting. I’ll post it later.

Edit: I didn’t have any luck with Motionbased correcting the ride data like it usually does, but doing it on my own, it looks like I ended up with 56.0 miles and a 16.4 mph average. This is the first time I’ve seen that kind of error from the Edge 305.

FWBA Bicycles Inc club ride

After debating all week where to ride today, I decided to do the the 60 mile route of the FWBA Bicycles Inc club ride. This ride starts at 8:00 am at the Arlington Bicycles Inc, so it’s close to home, and it’s also across the street from where Rose works, so I was going to have lunch with her at 12:30 or so after I finished my ride. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan…

First, Rose told me this morning she was going to be too busy today to have lunch with me. Next, I showed up at the ride start at 7:30 all ready to ride ………………. except I forgot my shoes. It was 8:00 am when I returned with my shoes, and the riders were already massed for the start. When I signed up, I found out they were out of 60 mile cue sheets. I figured no big deal, if I end up by myself, I know the roads in this area well enough to get myself back.

By the time I got on my bike, everyone was already taking off. I was soon passing riders one after another when, as I passed Cheri Brown, she had a flat. Mark (I can’t remember his last name) and I stopped and fixed her flat. We were almost to Venus by the time we caught many riders, and the group we stopped with in Venus were all riding the 100 mile route. They were all saying I should join them. Since I just found out that I won’t be able to ride next weekend, I thought maybe I should be doing a longer ride this weekend, so I said what the heck, and joined them.

While the 60 mile route turns around at Venus, the 100 mile route goes south out of Venus, then turns west and goes to Grandview. It then turns north to Alvarado, then back the Venus, then back north to Arlington. The group of seven bikes I ended up with took long breaks at the stops, and tended to scatter a bit on the road. But it was a lively group, and I enjoyed riding with them. It was almost 4:00 pm when we finally pulled in to the finish.

I ended up with 99.5 miles and a 15.7 mph average. Total climbing was 3140 feet.

My New Stratus XP

I bought this bike on May 17th, but it needed a little work.

I finally got around to getting photos taken of the assembled bike this evening. There’s probably still tweaking to do, but this is getting close. I ended up with my Sunlite bag behind the seat. I installed my 24 tooth granny chainring yesterday.

I’m still not sure this thin RANS seat pad and cover is going to be comfortable enough for me. Anyone want to trade their regular RANS pad and cover for the one inch lower thin one?

Photos show the beater wheels (old mtb wheels with 1.25 Kenda Kwest tires). I have HED wheels with Continental Grand Prix tires for my go-fast setup. Once I get the seat thing worked out, I do believe this is going to be one truly comfortable bike. I may try a few brevets on it, although it’s a pretty safe bet that I won’t be able to keep up with Paul on his.

Ready to take off

Cruising the ‘hood

Unclipped and ready to stop

Rio Vista Rumble 200K permanent

One week after doing my first century of the year, I did my first 200k ride. It was the Rio Vista Rumble permanent route. 17 Lone Star Randonneur members left out of Lynn Creek Marina at Joe Pool Lake at 6:30 am this morning, heading southwest through Alvarado and Rio Vista, then looping back east, but more to the south, through Blum for a return ride through Itasca, Maypearl, and Midlothian.

The south wind was howling early, but the clouds with it were certainly welcome. That wind was brutal on the first part of this ride. I managed to stay with the main group all the way to the first control stop in Blum at mile 59. With that first control so far away, we also made an unscheduled stop at a store in Alvarado at mile 30. On the rolling hills coming back from Blum, I was dropped fairly quickly, as were a number of others, and I joined and split with a number of riders all the way to the last control at mile 95 at Maypearl. Ophan Hill, just east of Itasca, especially seemed to spread the group out a lot, and I was very slow getting up this hill. I kept catching individual riders on the downhills after it.

I left the last control with the main group, but as fried as I already was, and with the hills I knew were coming, I had no intention of staying with the group, instead getting up close and personal with my cue sheet, and riding at a comfortable pace, by myself the rest of the way. 1 mile north of Maypearl, the route turns onto Old Buena Vista Road. I don’t know how many of you have ridden the hill on this road, but it can be a pretty tough hill when it’s 100 degrees, and you’ve ridden 100 miles already. I was at 4 and 5 mph for a good stretch of it, but I didn’t stop.

The ride finishes up blasting down the big hill on Lake Ridge Parkway from Cedar Hill. I flew down this road so fast I ended up finishing just 7 minutes behind the group. I finished in 9 hours and 25 minutes. Total miles were 127.0, total climbing was 4500 feet. My on-the-bike average was 15.5 mph. 9 hours and 25 minutes isn’t exactly a blazing time for a 200k, but it’s faster than I thought I’d be able to do the ride today, and I had no health or mechanical issues, so I was pleased with the ride.

Rio Vista Rumble route