This morning at 7:00 am was the start of the LSR Two Flags Brevets in Denison. There were 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k routes to choose from. I didn’t hear a count of how many rode, but it looked like a pretty good turnout. I rode the 200k. This route went east from Denison through Telephone and on to Direct, before turning around and following the same roads back for a ways, then dipping into Oklahoma and looping back.
I really liked this route. There are some hills at the beginning, some rolling hills at mile 100, and some tougher hills near the end, but most of the route is fairly flat. There is an abundance of the tall trees that you always see in East Texas, and the majority of the roads were really low traffic roads.
I didn’t get off to a great start, discovering at mile 11 that my Corsa’s cassette nut had unscrewed itself. I knew there would be no cassette tool to be found on the route, and I almost turned around, rode the 11 miles back, and called it a day. But through all the trials and tribulations I’ve had on these long LSR rides, I’ve never DNF’d one. I decided I wanted to finish today’s ride, too.
I tightened the nut the best I could by hand, and rode on, but by the Ivanhoe control at mile 33, it had backed off again. Nelson jammed a multi-tool in the end of the nut while I turned the wheel, and we got it tighter that way, but by the Direct control at mile 60, it had backed off again. I managed to get it tighter at that control. It wasn’t as tight as a cassette nut should be, and the smaller cogs made some noises here and there, but the bike shifted perfectly and the nut never backed off again.
Big surprise, the wind was tough. That seems to be an unchanging theme this spring, and today was no exception. I was very glad to get the tailwind at mile 90 where the route turns north and crosses the Hwy 78 bridge over the Red River into Oklahoma. The road soon turns more west, and starts climbing out of the Red River valley near mile 100. It was on that climb where three big dogs came after me. I remember thinking that a hill at mile 100 on one of these long rides is tough enough without three huge dogs chasing you.
My asthma didn’t seem to like the howling humid wind, with all the spring stuff in the air. At around mile 110, I thought I was hearing coyotes yipping off in the distance, then realized I was hearing my own wheezing (It probably can’t be good when you mistake the sound of your own breathing for coyotes).
At mile 126, the route crosses the Texoma dam back into Texas. This is a great view from a bike, but going south up on that dam against today’s wind was brutal. Then right after that are the toughest hills of the day. I ended up with 133.9 miles and finished in 10:12. I chatted a while after the ride with Mike and Nancy Myers, a couple from Kansas who ride a RANS Seavo, then had dinner with LM. I’m sure we’ll have some great adventure stories from the 600k riders, but 200k definitely reached my quota of riding pleasure for today.