I headed out to Aledo this morning and did the 73 mile route of the Ride for Heroes ride. I hadn’t done this ride before, but Aledo is fairly close to home and I figured I could use some hill climbing work on Parker County roads right about now.
It was the chilliest morning we’ve had in a while, 44 degrees as I arrived in Aledo. I was already wearing arm coolers under my jersey, so I just added leg warmers and full fingered gloves, knowing it would warm up quickly. Sure enough, the hills kept me from getting too cold before it warmed up outside.
This is one of those routes that really doesn’t have any flat stretches. It’s up one hill and down another for most of the 73 miles. That makes it impossible for me to do much drafting. I was pretty much on my own, watching all the uprights pass me on the uphills, then blasting past everyone on the downhills. I noticed though, that the further I got into the ride, the more people I was passing on uphills. All the miles I ride does serve to give me good stamina in these rides.
There were some tough hills. It was a reminder of why I have a 26T granny chainring on the Corsa. I was in that granny gear three times on this ride. I was dropped by a dog on two consecutive hills. He ran along with all the bikes for two or three miles. I’d pass him on the downhills, but he’d run right past me on the uphills. There were some great views from the top of some of the hills.
The toughest hill for me, probably because it was so late in the ride, was the hill on Old Springtown Road at mile 50, just a few miles after the 62 and 73 mile routes split. But in spite of the fact that I was in the granny gear for a short stretch of that hill, I still passed three uprights on it. One guy, who obviously didn’t have nearly the gearing I did, was pedaling a 40 cadence or so. There’s no way I could do that and keep pedaling.
Recumbents were hard to come by today. I saw rbenters Vicky and Bob before the ride (great seeing y’all!), passed a woman on a low racer early in the ride (was that Shelley?), and saw a man on a faired LWB briefly at the start, but that was it. I saw Bob again just after the ride. He had done the 62 mile route and had already eaten and was just about ready to leave as I finished the ride and got ready to go eat. They give you a meal voucher at registration, and serve burgers after the ride. It was either a very good cheeseburger (possible) or I was just very starved after the ride (more likely), but I did enjoy that burger.
I wasn’t exactly a speed demon on the bike today, making two stops (and having to wait in line too long for a porta-potty each time), and finishing the 73.3 miles in 5:03. That was to be expected, since I’m still at my winter weight and haven’t been riding a lot of hills lately. Some of the roads were rougher than I would like, but I have to say that I enjoyed the ride and will probably do it again. I’m never in great shape in April, and this may be a good first pay ride for each year, to remind me how far I have to go by HHH time.
Ride for Heroes 73 mile route.
Here’s a graph from my Garmin showing how up and down this ride is. Note the long climb on Old Springtown Road at mile 50.