Peachy Keene 200K permanent

I joined friends John and Susan Pogue on their tandem and rode my Peachy Keene 200K permanent this morning. We started the ride out of southwest Arlington at 7:30 this morning. It ended up being a lot tougher ride than we expected.

Peachy Keene goes south through Cleburne on to just west of Covington, then turns east, going through Covington, Itasca, then Maypearl. Then it’s north back to the start. We started out against a strong south wind. Wouldn’t you know it, just as we turned back north, a front blew in and the wind swung to the north. So we rode against a strong headwind most of the ride. But the front didn’t cool things off much. It was 93 degrees in the afternoon.

After we left the Maypearl control at mile 80, it was obvious that John and Susan were slowing down. By mile 90, they were moving so slow that I started having serious doubts about whether or not they were going to be able to finish. I made the decision to ride on ahead alone. I figured I could always drive back and get them if I needed to.

By mile 122, coming into the south edge of Kennedale on Kennedale New Hope Road, just 2 1/2 miles from the finish, I was pretty tired myself. It was at that point that my route became blocked by an unmoving train. I walked over and spoke to a man at the park there, and he said the train had already been there an hour. He told me he thought the train must have derailed, and wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.

There was no easy detour. The last intersection before the tracks was a few miles back, and the only roads I could think of that would be sure to get me around the train would be more miles than I wanted to ride, and take me through a pretty bike unfriendly part of Arlington to get there.

I stepped up close to the train, and looked. It appeared that the end of the train was less than a half mile to the west. In a flash of brilliance (hey, it seemed that way at the time; I was tired), I decided to walk around the end of the train.

By the time I had walked close to a half mile, I realized that it had been an optical illusion. It was not the end of the train I had seen. It only appeared that way because the tracks started curving at that point. The train stretched on for as far as the eye could see. I looked around, saw no one in sight, and quickly stuffed my bike under the train, crawled under and past it myself, then snatched up my bike. I didn’t have to walk nearly as far on that side of the tracks. There was a side street that came near the tracks, so I hopped on my bike when I reached it.

At one point while I was walking those large train track rocks, I glanced at my GPS and noticed that my heart rate was 159. My max heart ride from the ride was just 160! I arrived at the finish control, which is an Easy Mart store, went in, bought vitamin water, and got my card signed. When I came back out and attempted to put the vitamin water in my seat bag, I realized there was no seat bag on my bike. I was never out of sight of the bike while in the store, so it didn’t take me too long to figure out that I must have lost it at the tracks.

I walked around to the back of the store where my truck was parked and put my bike on the rack. I was thinking that I needed to jump in the truck and hurry back to the train. Bad idea; my keys were in the seat bag. So, I did the only thing I could think to do. I hopped back on the bike and rode back to the train. The train was still there. I walked down the tracks and sure enough, there in the middle of the tracks, at the point where I crawled under the train, was my seat bag.

I had just reached my bike again when my phone rang. It was Susan. They had decided to DNF shortly after I left them, called her brother, and he had picked them up. They came looking for me, but must have arrived at the train while I was traveling around it, so they never found me, and here she was now calling me to let me know they were ok, and make sure I was.

I finished the ride (the first time) in 10 hours even. I ended up with 124.5 miles for the ride proper, and another 5 miles revisiting the train. I also walked probably close to a mile on train track rock. I’m a tired camper.

John and Susan with their new tandem.

Coming up to Orphan Hill at mile 70.

Peachy Keene 200K route

Work commute

I rode to work all five days again this week. We’re finally getting some cooler mornings. It was in the mid-50′s this morning. Afternoons are still 90 degrees or close to it, though.

We had just enough rain yesterday afternoon to wet the roads, and I went down after lightly hitting the brakes on Westcreek Drive on the way home, a reminder of how slick the roads can be with just a little water on them, especially after not getting any rain for a while. There was no damage to my bike, and only a scraped left knee for me. There were lots of drivers around as witnesses, though. That’s always embarrassing.

2011 days ridden to work: 162
2011 commuting mileage: 3957.8

Work commute route

Work commute

I rode to work all five days this week. Monday and Tuesday afternoons were both over 100 degrees. Tuesday afternoon was 107 degrees. That’s the hottest that’s ever been recorded here this late in the year. Tuesday was the 70th day of 100+ degree temperatures here, also a record.

Cloud cover on Wednesday kept the temperature under 100, and a front on Thursday cooled it into the 80′s. Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of 100 degrees here this year.

2011 days ridden to work: 157
2011 commuting mileage: 3835.2

Work commute route

Cowtown Classic

I rode the 60 mile route at the Cowtown Classic yesterday. This ride starts at the Crowley North High School, so it’s only about 4.5 miles from home.

I spoke to Joe, Diane, Eddie, and Mark L before the ride, and saw Mark L again afterwards (great to see y’all!). I like the route this ride uses, but it’s not a great route for speed. It’s mostly tiny Johnson County roads, with lots of turns, gravel in many of the turns, and some rough stretches of road. I didn’t hear how the turnout was, but there looked to be several hundred riders.

I rode to the start of the ride, then home again, so ended up with 69.7 miles. On the ride itself, I had a total of 60.3 miles. I only made one 5 minute stop and finished the ride in 3:21. My on the bike average was 18.4 mph. That’s probably about as fast as I can do this route, almost 1 mph faster than I was on it last year.

Here’s Mark Leuck’s video from the ride. I’m behind right behind him in the video for the first couple of minutes before he pedals away from me.

Cowtown Classic 60 mile route.

This morning, I pedaled about 4 miles at Lake Benbrook.

Work commute

I was off Monday for the holiday, but rode to work the next 4 days. The last two afternoon rides home, it has been 87 degrees, and after all the 100+ degree temperatures this year, that doesn’t feel hot at all. As this article points out, this year, Texas had the hottest summer ever endured anywhere in the United States, at least since they’ve been recording such things.

In spite of the record heat and the fact that I’m a 60 year old lung cancer survivor, I rode 827 miles in June, 840 miles in July, and 790 miles in August, so I think I did well this summer.

2011 days ridden to work: 152
2011 commuting mileage: 3712.5

Work commute route