Joe Pool Dam ride

I did my final ride of the year this evening after work, joining Mark Metcalfe for 25 miles on the Joe Pool dam.

I ended up with 169 rides this year for 6,708 miles. That’s an average of 129 miles a week. This is in spite of the fact that I was recovering from lung surgery in January, and doing chemo from February to April. All in all, a good riding year, I’m thinking. My recovery has come a long ways.

Dixie’s Little Stop 123K permanent

Greg and I joined Steve on this ride this morning, leaving Italy at 7:30 am. This is a simple out and back route that goes southwest down US77, turns south on FM308 at Mertens, then east on FM339 to Dixie’s at Mount Calm, then back.

The wind was already howling when I arrived in Italy, and the roads were so wet, you could swear that it had been raining. After mine and Greg’s ride of a few weeks ago, I swore I wasn’t going to ride in 40 mph winds again, but in spite of the forecast for 17 mph winds in the morning and 20 mph winds in the afternoon, there were 40 mph gusts long before we reached Mount Calm, making the first half of the ride brutal. There were several hills that would normally be fairly easy for me, but today I was in granny gear pedaling at 4 mph up them. Some of the crosswinds were very scary, too, on stretches going to as well as coming back from Mount Calm. And the fact that I picked up a bad cold this week didn’t make any of it any easier.

On top of everything else, Steve had the flat from hell at around mile 25, that ended up taking us three tubes, two co2 cartridges, and way too much time to fix. This, plus the less than 12 mph average we were having against the wind, and the fact that we didn’t get started for several minutes after 7:30, put us in time trouble, and we didn’t arrive at Dixie’s until 11:37, one minute before the time limit!

Coming back from Dixie’s was a whole other story, with an on the bike average of over 20 mph. I hit 41 mph coming down one hill, and there are no hills on this route that deserve that kind of speed, on a normal day.

We survived another adventure, finishing without further disasters. I ended up finishing in 6 hours and 37 minutes, with 77.0 total miles, and an on the bike average of 14.9 mph. A Subway sandwich definitely hit the spot after the ride. Thanks, Steve and Greg.

River Roll to Up a Creek Sports 205K permanent

Greg and I rode the River Roll to Up a Creek Sports 205k permanent today. We left from Davis Drive, just south of Green Oaks in north Arlington, at 7:30 am. The route quickly gets on the bike path along side Green Oaks, between River Legacy and Village Creek, heading west, then takes some city streets to Gateway Park, goes through all sorts of stuff at Gateway (including carrying your bike up and down stairs at one point), finally getting on the Trinity Trail, and following it all the way west until it ends. It then goes to Benbrook lake, following the park road on the west side of the lake, then heads west to Aledo, does a loop to Willow Park then south on FM5, circling back around to Aledo, then takes the same route back to the start.

On a good day, this route would be slow, because of all the park and bike path stops and turns. But today, the wind was brutal, and I didn’t think Greg and I were ever going to finish it. There were lots of scary moments from the cross wind, and at one point going downhill while headed south on FM5, 11 mph was all I could manage.

There is nothing to block the wind in the Aledo area, and every time we topped one of the hills there, the wind was just incredible. Headed north, coasting down one hill southeast of Aledo, I reached 45 mph. That’s faster than I coast down either Texas Plume or Goatneck Hill. It wasn’t the steepness of the hill as much as the tailwind. But when we had to climb that same hill against the wind later in the ride, it was one of the toughest stretches I’ve ridden in a while. I was at 4 mph much of the climb, but I did reach the top without stopping.

The traffic on parts of this route, particularly FM1187 just east of Aledo, and FM5 just south of Willow Park are so bad that I won’t be in a hurry to do this route again. Of course today’s wind made the traffic even scarier. The finishing touch for the ride was when Greg flatted just three miles from the finish.

In spite of the fact that we were in and out of all the controls fairly quickly, it took us 11 hours and 44 minutes to complete this ride today. I finished with 129.1 miles. My on the bike mph average was a blazing 14.0. But we survived another epic adventure, with no major disasters and equipment in tact. Thanks, Greg.