Steve, Nelson, and I took off from Winscott Road in Benbrook at 7:30 am. This 106 mile route goes west from there to Aledo, then turns north and goes through Willow Park, before stopping at the second control at Lake Weatherford. From there, it goes north through Springtown, then on to Paradise for the next control. From there, it turns around and retraces its route back to Springtown, then turns east and goes into west Fort Worth, before turning south and returning to Benbrook. This route really has a lot of turns, but between the three of us, we managed to not miss any turn by much, and kept our bonus miles to less than half a mile.
On the way to the ride, my truck temperature gauge showed 42 degrees, lower than was forecast. There was a northwest wind which picked up as the day went. It was cold. The sun came out only briefly; the rest of the day was cloudy. After the ride, my temperature gauge showed 52 degrees, not nearly as warm as was forecast. It was cold. Did I mention it was cold?
This is a hilly route. Most of the roads are very low traffic though, and not rough. There are some excellent views from the stretch you ride just after reaching the highest elevation on the route, which we climbed to at mile 32, and also a very pretty valley with lots of pecan trees just before Paradise. It even manages to climb Radio Tower Hill as it approaches Fort Worth from the west. There was also lots of wildlife on the route, including deer and quite a few squirrels, one of which ran between me and Steve and Nelson, who were just in front of me. We even saw a road runner. This route whipped me pretty well today, but I really do like it anyway.
In spite of my diminished climbing ability this year, I had managed to climb every hill in front of me (except when my chain jammed once) until today. At mile 97 on Paint Pony Road in far west Fort Worth, I was unable to climb the last bit of a 23 percent grade hill, and had to walk it. It was so steep, I had trouble getting traction with my shoes as I walked the bike. If I thought that was the ride’s final insult for me, I was mistaken. At mile 102, a light rain started. The raindrops were so cold, they felt like sleet hitting my face. It only lasted a couple of miles, and had quit before we finished.
As usual, the company on this ride was excellent, and Nelson even treated me to a Subway sandwich after the ride. Thanks, Nelson. And thanks, Steve, for inviting me along. I ended up with 106.2 miles, and 4400 feet of climbing. My maximum heart rate for the route was 180, and I can tell you exactly where that happened. We finished in 8 hours and 40 minutes. That’s a pretty poor time for a century, but on this day, and this route, with these conditions, that’s all I could manage. Thanks, Steve and Nelson!
The graph below shows the elevation and grade percent for the route from my gps. You can see the highest elevation at mile 32, and the 23 percent grade at mile 97 that stopped me in my tracks.