Benbrook ride

Rose and I headed out to Benbrook for a short ride this morning. Greg joined us on the VK2. It was a beautiful, cool morning, but the northwest wind was howling. Other than a few blocks around the neighborhood, this was Rose’s first ride in a long time, so it was good to see her back on the bike.

I ended up with 26 miles. That, combined with my three commute rides gave me 101 miles for the week. I’m thinking that’s not bad, considering it was my first week with shingles.

Work commute

It was 50 degrees as I rode to work this morning, and 75 degrees as I headed home this afternoon. Today was my first ride since I was diagnosed with shingles on Sunday. A recumbent bicycle seat is usually the most comfortable bicycle seat of all, but with the worst of my shingles rash on the middle of my back, that seat back was no fun today. I’m thinking I’ll try to ride to work anytime I feel up to it, though, since I’ll likely not try any long distance rides until I’m well.

Work commute

I rode the bike to work today. It was 59 degrees this morning, then 78 degrees as I headed home. I ran into a shower just as I left work, but it didn’t last long, and the roads were dry before I made it halfway home.

I took a detour at Risinger Road, turning right and checking out where it dead ends. I really don’t like riding on Sycamore School Road coming home, and I have found an alternate route that will keep me off of it. Tomorrow, I’ll try it out. Risinger Road and Carolina Drive dead end, less than a city block apart. It turns out you can navigate the barricades with a bike, with just a bit of walking. That will let me ride neighborhood streets rather than Sycamore School Road. Thank you, google maps.

Team Bent 360K Fleche

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