Special thanks to Peggy and Mark M for organizing this ride. I had a blast. Some hardcore randonneurs might argue that the weather was too great or the route too easy, but it was still a grand adventure for this old f*rt.
We rode 7.5 miles from Lynn Creek Marina to the start of the ride in Duncanville, then at 8:00 am, Saturday, we were off. The route went out to Italy for the second control, then on to Dawson for the next. Winds stayed as light as I think I’ve ever seen on a long ride, so the southbound part of our ride never turned into the beating that a big headwind can cause.
After another control at Wortham, we arrived at Teague at mile 106, and stopped at a Dairy Queen to eat. Very hungry by that time, I had an extra long chili cheese dog and a blizzard. While I have been known to eat this very unhealthy meal on rare occasions, this was the first time I had ever downed anything this obscene on a randonneuring ride, and it wasn’t long before I was reminded why.
I felt like I had a concrete block on my stomach, and was just hanging on for the next 35 miles, through the Donie Post Office control, and on to Mexia. We made a longer stop at Mexia, rigging for darkness before pedaling on, and by the time we left, my stomach had settled. The easier pace because of darkness also helped, I think, and I felt good the rest of the ride.
There are serious time constraints for a fleche. You can’t finish too early, nor spend too long at one control. We were somewhat ahead of schedule by the time we arrived at the Hubbard Post Office at mile 164, so it was nap time there, before we moved on.
At Milford at mile 188, Linda M met us with hot food and coffee. I think you have to be a randonneur to really appreciate how great that was at 2:00 am. Thanks, Linda! It was a quicker stop at Maypearl at mile 204, but we spent a good while at the next to last control in Venus, at mile 215.
After a couple of stops for light battery replacements, we arrived at Lynn Creek Marina well within the proper time, and I had completed my first fleche. I had a great time, spending 24 hours riding and cutting up with this group. Mark did a great job with the route. His experience and expertise were obvious, having us on the best roads at the best time to be on them, and telling us what to expect and watch for on the entire route.
With the ride to the start, I ended up with just short of 243 miles, and another great rando adventure was in the books. Thanks for having me along, everyone!
360K Fleche route