I took off from the Cleburne High School at 7:30 this morning, along with 2,500 or so other riders, and did the Goatneck Bike Ride. This route is just under 70 miles of almost all rolling hills. Since I’m faster than most downhill and slower than most uphill, I never try to ride with anyone else on this ride. I just ride my own pace, passing a lot of bikes on the downhills and getting passed by a lot of bikes on the uphills.

The roads were in fairly good shape this year, except for a stretch of brand new boulder seal at mile 39. Traffic control is always good for this ride. The only problem I always have on these hills is getting slower riders out of the way on the downhills so I can pass. Everyone thinks to move right if they’re climbing slow, but they’ll spread all over the road on the downhills, never checking behind them for anyone trying to pass.

I rode fairly well (for me) today, finishing the ride at 11:34 am. I climbed both County Line Hill and Goatneck Hill in my middle chain ring, and never had to use my granny gear at all. Some years, I don’t manage that on this route. I made one 5 minute stop at mile 47, and ended up with a 17.4 mph on the bike average, which is good for me on a ride with all these hills.

Goatneck 70 mile route.

West Out & Back 255k

I rode the West Out & Back 255k route yesterday. It turned into one of those tough rides that serve to remind me that, big surprise, I’m not bulletproof after all.

I joined rando friends Stephen, Sharon, Vickie, and Pam for a 6:30 am start at Lynn Creek Marina at Joe Pool Lake. From there, the route goes south to Italy, then on to West, then back. Pam had knee issues early, and we made a couple of stops and rode a pretty easy pace.

I had no problem with that. I’d already decided that I would need to ride an easy pace in this heat, and brought my lights and reflective gear, even though I figured we’d be done hours before dark. Stephen and Sharon, riding a tandem, felt great all day, but Pam, Vickie, and I all suffered from the heat before the day was over. The temperature reached 100 by shortly after noon, and we hadn’t even reached the turnaround point at West by then. By that afternoon, the temperature was 108, and we were seeing 114 degrees on the road.

I was fine when we made an unscheduled cool-off stop at Malone at mile 95, but by the time I reached a small store at Milford, at mile 111, still 7 miles short of our next control stop, I was barely moving, and feeling like I couldn’t go on. Vickie had also stopped at this store, also feeling overheated. I had fallen behind Vickie and Pam when I had a flat at mile 97, but picked a spot right beside Vickie on the store floor to rest, cool off, and recover. I looked so bad that the couple who owned the store did their best to talk my riding companions into not letting me continue. But of course, that didn’t happen.

We continued on, with frequent stops the rest of the way. I did a better job of keeping cold water poured on my arm coolers, and never got that overheated again, though I can’t say I had much speed or strength the rest of the way. Vickie and I finished the ride at 9:16, 14 hours and 46 minutes after we started it, and the rest of the crew was a few minutes behind us. I ended up with 160.1 miles. And thus ended another great rando adventure that brought on the thought: “What was I thinking?”

West Out and Back 255k route.

FWBA Bicycles Inc Club Ride

I took off from the Bicycles Inc store in Arlington at 8:00 this morning to join the FWBA Bicycles Inc club ride. I rode the 61 mile route, which heads south out to Venus and then back. I fell in with a group which seemed to be about the right speed for me and rode with them all the way to Venus without stopping.

Cheri Brown was among the group. The group kept picking up speed along the way, and even though they slowed down twice to let Cheri rejoin after she had gotten dropped, I still arrived in Venus with a 17.7 mph average, a much faster pace than I had intended for the day. After riding 62 miles Thursday and 30 miles yesterday, a bit easier pace was what I had in mind for today.

The other riders in the group were all doing the 80 mile route, so I headed back from Venus alone, and eased the pace quite a bit. But, halfway back, a faster group caught me, and I joined them. I couldn’t resist pedaling past the entire paceline on a long downhill run, and of course that made them hammer the rest of the way, so I paid the price for my fun.

I finished the ride before noon with 61.1 miles and a 17.4 mph average for the ride. That was an early enough finish that I joined Rose for lunch. She works nearby. I believe it’s nap time now.

FWBA Bicycles Inc 61 mile route.