LSR Two Flags brevet

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.

Cheeburger! Cheeburger! 200K permanent

Steve, Peggy, Ray, Nelson, and I rode Nelson’s Cheeburger! Cheeburger! 200k permanent today. This route leaves out of Van Alstyne and heads straight west to Forestburg, then makes the return trip. It crosses the upper reaches of Lake Ray Roberts in four places, gving some great scenery there, as well as offering some great views of the rolling hills around Forestburg. We started the ride at 7:30 am.

I threw way more clothes than I thought I’d ever need in the truck before I left for the ride start, but when I arrived in Van Alstyne, it was 44 degrees, so I put on everything I had. It warmed up nicely within a couple of hours, and turned into a beautiful sunny day, in spite of the cloudy day forecasts. Forestburg is just 15 miles from Montague, where the worst fires were, but we saw no fire damage on the route, and there was no smoke in the air today.

The nice little ENE tailwind we had on the way to Forestburg quickly turned into a hard blowing ESE headwind after we turned around, making the second half of the ride much tougher. The 17.2 mph average I carried into Forestburg quickly faded as we headed back. I always seem to wear out late in these rides, when I’ve made one of my marathon bass fishing trips the day before, and today was no exception. I hit the wall at around mile 80, and was pretty much just turning the pedals after that. Any time I end up in that situation, I always think back to Mark Metcalfe’s thoughts on the subject: “You’d be surprised at how many miles you can still ride, after you’ve reached the point of just being able to turn the pedals.” That thought always seems to help me finish these rides.

Near Valley View on the return route, at mile 84, I passed the 10,000 mile mark on my Corsa. That’s easily the most miles I’ve ever put on one bike. As usual, I had a blast riding with this group. Thanks for having me along, y’all! We finished up with a great dinner, and I headed home, thinking I would get there before any rain arrived. I was mistaken. At 8:00 pm, I was sitting in the parking lot known as the Dallas mixmaster, in a hail storm. I think it was all small enough to not damage my truck, but I’ll have to check in the daylight tomorrow.

I ended up with 126.5 miles, and finished the ride in 10:20. My Garmin showed 4,700 feet of climbing.

Peachy Keene 200K permanent

Jeri Baughn became the first person wanting to ride the new Peachy Keene 200k permanent owned by yours truly, so I joined her for the ride this morning. Mark Metcalfe also came to ride with us. It was 56 degrees at 8:00 am, ride start time, with high humidity, dark clouds, and an already howling wind. The wind and humidity made it seem much cooler, and I put on my leg warmers before the ride started. It ended up sunny and in the low 80′s in the afternoon, a big change from morning, like some of these spring days can be.

Jeri said before the ride that she would likely struggle with the time limit, especially with the wind, so Mark and I didn’t try to stay back with her, and rode ahead almost from the beginning. But we also rode an easy pace. Mark was nursing a gimpy knee (and no matter what Mark tells you, it was NOT me that let 20 pounds of air out of his rear tire), and the morning coolness and dampness had my asthma flaring up pretty quickly, so we were both content to ride an easy pace.

This route starts in southwest Arlington, and heads southwest through Kennedale and on to Keene, then to Cleburne for the first control. Then it heads pretty much straight south to an information control west of Covington, then on to Itasca, then Maypearl, and Alvarado, before returning to Arlington. It’s rolling hills much of the way to Cleburne, but the trees surrounding the narrow roads helped to keep the wind off of us. South of Cleburne, there are fewer trees, and the wind was pretty tough. Just past Itasca at mile 65 is the trip up Orphan hill, then it’s all easier riding down to the valley where Maypearl is, and with a tailwind the rest of the way.

On the few days he rides slower and I can keep up with him, it’s always a blast to ride with Mark. His knee held up ok, so hopefully, he’s well on the road to recovery with it. Today’s ride was a reminder that there’s nothing wrong with riding an easy pace on one of these long rides, and it can be a lot of fun. I’m usually trying to keep up with riders that are faster than me, and tend to be wiped out after the ride. Tonight is the least tired I’ve ever felt after a 200k.

Thanks for a great ride, Mark. Unfortunately, Jeri missed a turn, got in time trouble, and DNF’d. I hope she is able to finish it next time. I ended up with 124.6 miles, and finished the ride in 10:35. My gps showed 4,200 feet of climbing, which is a LOT more than the 2,400 feet that bikely showed, but still one of the easier 200k permanents.

Peachy Keene route