FWBA County Road Cool Breeze ride

Steve, Greg, and I joined this FWBA club ride, and left from the shopping center at Sublett and SH287 in Arlington shortly after 8:00 this morning. It wasn’t a very big turnout for an FWBA ride, but there looked to be 25 bikes or so doing the 60 mile route.

I was on seriously tired legs today. I don’t know if it was from Goatneck or the 800+ miles I’ve done this month (probably both), but I struggled to keep up with the unusually brisk pace of the main group, and spent as much time off the back as in the group.

This ride tries to stay on small, low traffic roads south of Arlington and Fort Worth, and makes a lot of turns to do it. In fact, I think it makes more turns than any club ride I’ve ridden. Today, we seemed determined to see how many of those turns we could miss. There were bonus miles to be had all over the place.

At around mile 47, my chain jammed. I was only stopped for a minute, but that was enough to put me far off the back of the group. I recognized a turn that would let me shortcut and probably catch up with the group, so I took it, but then missed the next turn and ended up far off the route. I decided the only thing to do was just ride in by myself. I took the shortest route I could think of from there, and arrived back at the parking lot a couple of minutes ahead of the main group. I ended up short about a mile from the other riders. I’m feeling really guilty about that mile, but somehow I think I can live with it.

As usual, there were lots of questions about our bikes. I enjoyed the always friendly company of the FWBA riders, and especially enjoyed having Steve and Greg along. I’m usually the only recumbent on these FWBA club rides. I ended up with 56.0 miles and a 16.2 mph average.


I, along with a nice turnout of rbenters, rolled out of Cleburne with the masses at 7:32 this morning. I resisted the temptation of having so many rabbits to chase, and kept my pace pretty moderate on the first part of this ride. That’s always the most crowded and dangerous part of a ride like this, plus I knew there were some tough hills later in the ride (and my struggles with hills this year are well documented), and I’m planning on doing a club ride tomorrow. So, a sane pace for this ride seemed to be the way to go.

There were no real problems with the mass rollout, and we were soon in the rolling hills. I had forgotten how difficult riding with huge numbers of upright bikes in rolling hills can be. They’d pass me on uphills, then surround and roadblock me when I’m ready to pass them all on the downhills.

I only made two stops during the ride, both at the same rest stop, at an intersection we went through at miles 13.5 and 47. I can’t testify how the other rest stops were manned, but this one was well stocked and had lots of friendly folks. When I carried my Camelbak in to refill it at mile 47, I immediately met a guy with a pitcher of ice water who promptly filled it. Now, that’s service!

Twice, early in the ride, Steve had pulled over and waited for me to see how I was holding up against the hills. I repaid his kindness and concern by passing him while he was in a rest stop, and never letting him catch me again.

There were a couple of rough stretches of road on this ride (that short stretch of new chipseal was awful), but most of the roads seemed pretty good to me. Traffic control was outstanding. I never had to stop at all. The route was well marked, and every turn well staffed, too. The Paluxy and Brazos rivers, along with all the surrounding hills, make some great scenery on this route.

I was slow up several of the hills, but really didn’t have any problems at all. Near the end of the ride, I was reminded that a good many riders aren’t really prepared for a ride like this, as there seemed to be a bike under every shade tree, along with a rider either sitting down, or laid out. After riding up Goatneck Hill, at mile 50, I had an average speed of a little over 16 mph, but I felt good enough at that point, I put the hammer down a bit the rest of the way, reached 35 mph on several of the remaining downhills and held good speed on the next uphills, passed a lot of riders, and ended up with a 17.1 mph average.

I enjoyed this ride a lot, and will definitely do it again. I finished with 69.5 miles, a 17.1 mph average, and 4:03 of riding time. I finished at 11:50, so both of my stops were pretty short. My gps showed 2800 feet of climbing.

LSR 160K populaire

I had a blast on this ride, although it did get a wee bit hot in the afternoon. Around 20 of us left out of the Duncanville parking lot promptly at 7:00 am, and I was instantly off the back of the group, as I had forgotten to do my inhaler, and I stopped to do that. Steve and Peggy hung back with me, and it was only a couple of turns later that we found Greg and Ray stopped, waiting for us. I figured the main group must have really been hammering already, and both Greg and Ray had ridden hard the day before, and said they weren’t going to stay with a hammering group. So, the five of us rode the rest of the ride together, although we did run into various other riders at times, including Terry.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to keep up with the faster rbent riders: have fresh legs while catching them the day after a hard ride, and I can kind of keep up (as long as the hills don’t get too steep). I was the only one of the five in the group that hadn’t ridden yesterday. I’ve been trying to do a fair amount of tempo riding on these long rides, since that’s what seems to be working best for my long recovery, and I did it a lot on this ride. Sometimes that put me off the front of our group, sometimes lagging off the back. I did a bit of sprinting, too, but when the last couple of sprints I did quickly raised my heartrate to 4 beats higher than I’d even seen this year, I figured I was getting tired and had better ease off the sprinting for the rest of the ride.

The pace of the lead group was plainly too much for some other riders too, as we caught a group of them before the first control in Maypearl. They were quicker out of the control than us, though, so it was just the five of us again when we left. The wind had picked up a bit, and it was getting kind of hot when we reached the turnaround at Covington, but it wasn’t terrible hot or windy yet. By the time we got back to Maypearl for the third and last stop, though, it was seriously hot. We made a quick unscheduled cool-off stop in Midlothian at 85 miles, and finished the ride just before 3:00 pm.

It is truly fun to do one of these rides with this many recumbents and friends. Thanks, y’all. Good job!

Beanstalk 100K populaire

It was indeed a fun gathering. We didn’t get far down the road before making a wrong turn. I had moved to the back of the group to make sure we had everyone back after the wrong turn, and talked to everyone as I moved back up in the group. I spotted Paul, Ray, Daniel, Robin, and Mark and Linda Metcalfe in the lead group ahead, so decided to speed up and join them. That proved to be easier said than done. They were taking photos, laughing, cutting up and such while I was huffing and puffing for all I was worth trying to catch them. After I finally did, I told Paul I was going to hide his fairing while he wasn’t looking.

There was a bit of light rain when we stopped at the turnaround in Tom Bean, but only a very short stretch of the road back was wet. The trip back was fun. I felt good, and since I had been wheel sucking most of the day (when I wasn’t trying to catch up, that is), I took a nice pull near the end, keeping us over 20 mph for a stretch.

There were some randonneuring first timers, both recumbent and upright, at the ride. I hope all the new folks enjoyed the ride. I was among seven rbenters who stopped in McKinney for lunch afterwards, and while I was tossing down entirely too much food, I had a great time chatting with the group. Great ride, everyone, thanks!

At the start.
At the start

Lots of recumbents on the ride.
Lots of recumbents

Paul, me, and Ray.
Paul, me, and Ray

FWBA Muddy Doggy Stinky ride

This ride left out of the Alsbury Park and Ride in Burleson just after 8:00 am this morning. DJ showed up to ride with me, but got a call and had to leave before the start, so I was the only recumbent. This was probably the smallest turnout I’ve seen at an FWBA club ride. I guess most Fort Worth riders were at the Peach Pedal. I started out with intentions of doing the 100 mile route, but there were only three bikes doing this distance, and I was unable to hold their pace after a few miles. Rather than ride the entire 100 mile route alone, I joined Jerry and Larry, a couple of riders doing the 70 mile route, at a pace that better suited me.

This route goes from Burleson out to Venus, where the first stop is. Then it heads out to the rolling hills southeast of Venus, then loops around and goes west to Alvarado for the second stop, then makes a long run down Renfro Road from there back to Burleson. It was a really tough head wind going out. I didn’t really try to stay in constant contact with Jerry and Larry, choosing a more comfortable pace of my own that saw them drop me on the hills, then me catch up on the downhills.

At around mile 30, south of Venus, turning off Hwy 157, Jerry went down hard on his left side when he hit a patch of gravel. The way he landed, I was afraid he had hurt his hip, but all he had was scrapes and gouges on his arm, knee, and hand. We stopped there a few minutes so he could wash his wounds and recover a few minutes, then rode on. The wind was southwest enough that, even when we turned west toward Alvarado, it still felt like a head wind.

When we pulled into the last stop at Alvarado, the 40 mile group, which was doing a smaller loop, was already there, as were a couple of faster riders doing the 70 mile route. They all left a few minutes before us, but with a wind finally at our back, we passed all of the 40 mile riders on the trip down Renfro Road. The last several miles of it before I-35W is a mostly downhill stretch, so I opened it up and rode alone the last few miles.

At the finish, in ride leader Stan Ford’s vehicle, homemade peach sorbet was waiting for us. Of all the treats I’ve had at the end of a ride, this had to be number one on the list. I was searching online for a recipe when I got home. A bunch of us ended up standing around eating peach sorbet, and swapping medical horror stories. Of course, I have no trouble trumping everyone else’s medical horror stories, these days. I ended up with 69.8 miles, and a 15.7 mph average.

CT Scans

This first scan is from November, 2007, and brought about my surgery and diagnosis. The lung cancer tumor is circled in red.
ct scan

This next scan is my most recent scan. I think it looks pretty good, don’t you agree?


Puttin’ on the Styx 200K permanent

Steve and I rode the Puttin’ on the Styx 200k permanent yesterday. We were the only recumbents in a group of 8 bikes. We left out of Rockwall at 6:30 am.

We kept a fairly moderate pace all the way to the first control at mile 15.1. It wasn’t much further down the road before the pace picked up. As usual, Steve and I were riding off the back of the group, and were slow noticing that Jeff Elmer in front of us had been dropped. We took off, and after riding at 25 mph for a good stretch, caught the group. However, I was too blown up by then to stay with the group, and told Steve I was going to have to slow down. He could probably have stayed with them, but agreed that it was a faster pace than he wanted, and we slowed down, though still riding a brisk pace, mostly at 19 to 21 mph.

We were just a couple of minutes behind the group as we pulled into the next control in Kaufman at mile 41.8. We left right behind them, and watched as they pulled further and further away from us. George Elizondo would later tell us that Mark Metcalfe was taking pulls at 23 mph, Charlie and Pat on their tandem were taking pulls at 23 mph, and Richard Wittenburg was taking pulls at 21 mph. It would have been fun to see how long I could have hung with that kind of pace line on a flat route last year, but there’s no way I could do it for any length of time right now.

The ride took us into Gun Barrel City and Seven Points at Lake Cedar Creek on roads that were WAY too busy for me to be comfortable with. Our next control was supposed to be at Seven Points, mile 70, but we couldn’t find it. After circling the area, with vehicles backed up every direction at the main intersection, we finally found a store clerk at the Shamrock, who knew that the store which was supposed to be our control had closed. We were standing outside the Shamrock, debating what to do, when I saw the group appear at the intersection, and I shouted at Mark, asking what to do. He said not to worry about the control, that we were covered.

Jeff had come in a few minutes behind us. We took a break at the Shamrock, then continued on. Somewhere on the 30 mile stretch to the next control, fatigue started to set in on me from the earlier fast pace and the heat. My feet were screaming at me from all the miles of chipseal on this route. Steve and I slowed somewhat on this stretch, and he was starting to have to really wait for me on the hills (there wasn’t a really big hill on the entire route, though).

When we arrived at the next control at mile 103.3 in Crandall, George was waiting there. He had hung with the fast group for more than 70 miles, then had to ease off. I still showed a 17.2 mph on the bike average when we pulled into the control. That’s faster than I would have thought I was capable of for a century, in my present state. Jeff was just a few minutes behind us, and we took a longer break at this control, to cool off and give our feet a break. Steve and I both shed our shoes.

Steve and I rode with George and Jeff the rest of the ride. I knew I was going to have to ride a slower pace for the rest of the way, and the easier pace that George and Jeff set was welcome. We made an unscheduled stop at around mile 116, and again cooled off and rested our feet. I laughed as I noted that George, after riding his upright, put his feet up to rest them, while Steve and I put ours on the floor to get a break from the recumbent position. There were some rolling hills on the last part of the ride, and we did get a break from the chipseal here, but also hit a couple of stretches of really rough roads. There are quite a few small lakes and ponds in this area, surrounded by some of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. We arrived back in Rockwall just before 4:30.

I completed the ride in 9:57. Total mileage was 131.7, with an on the bike average of 16.4 mph. Total climbing was 3600 feet. George, Steve, and I stepped into the nearby Luigi’s restaurant for a good Italian dinner right after the ride, and traded war stories of the day. I enjoyed the ride a lot, but this route is never going to be one of my favorites, due to all the miles of chipseal, and the high traffic roads in Gun Barrel City and Seven Points.