I headed down to Cleburne this morning, to ride the 69 mile route at Goatneck. Like most rides like this, this one was crowded at the beginning, especially with how far back I started, and so it was a bit slow the first few miles, before things started to thin out enough for me to be comfortable speeding up. It’s a pretty hilly route for a hill slug like myself, but it’s a fun ride with great scenery. I was taken with how low the Paluxy River was; that’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it. But the Brazos was flowing nicely. There was a stretch of new chipseal on the 69 mile route, but most roads were, as Robert said, in great shape. And the traffic control was great.
It was the usual challenges of riding among thousands of uprights on hills. I would pull out and pass everyone on the downhills, then watch most of them pass me on the uphills. I didn’t stop until after Glen Rose, at around mile 40. Greg was at the stop, but I only talked to him for a second before getting in line for the porta potties. After a quick pit stop and downing two bananas, I checked how long the lines were, waiting for water, and decided to ride on. I had planned on making this my only stop, but now would need to stop again for water.
At the mile 50 rest stop, just before the Goatneck Hill climb, I stopped, and found a woman waiting with a pitcher of water, so it was a quick Camelbak fill up, and I was on my way. The south wind was picking up a lot by the time I reached Goatneck Hill, but you never seem to get much wind on the steep part of this hill. It was a bit hot climbing it, along with a couple of the other steeper hills, but I never felt overheated. In fact, I felt good the whole ride, but I did start to fade at the end.
I finished at 11:41, with a total of 69.3 miles, 3:58 on the bike time, and a 17.4 mph average. I put my bike up and headed for the shade to down some fluids and relax. I ran into Mark L and Dan D, but didn’t really see anyone else I knew. Mark and I talked and cooled off in the shade, and as it became obvious that no one else we knew was going to show up any time soon for a lunch trip, the nearby chicken sandwiches got to looking pretty good, Mark bought me one (thanks, Mark), and we sat and had a sandwich.
This is always a fun ride, and like all summer rides around here, there were plenty of people who seemed to be reaching beyond their capabilities mileage-wise, and some were in difficulty beside the road near the finish, even as early as I came in. Goatneck always seems to be well run and attended. I’m going to try and make this ride every year.