Elm Mott Trot 200k

I headed out to Venus, Tx this morning to join Stephen, Mark M, Debbie, Richard, and Daniel on the Elm Mott Trot 200k. We rolled out of Venus at 7:30 am against a stiff south wind. This route is an out and back, with the first half pretty much all southbound, so you get a tailwind on the return leg.

Mark did most of the pulling against the wind, with Stephen also taking some turns. I was trying hard to stay with the group on the outbound leg, rather than have to ride alone against the wind. The pace was just about too much for me though, and I finally fell off the group a couple of miles before we reached Elm Mott.

I was feeling pretty wiped out at the Elm Mott control, with another 64 miles to go, much sooner than you want to hit the wall, but I have a history of being able to finish these rides by just easing up and riding an easier pace for a few hours after I get into trouble, so I was still optimistic about being able to finish.

I plainly wasn’t the only one blown up by the pace, as Richard fell off the back even before I did as we rode north back to Venus. I was by myself soon enough, as well, long before we reached the next control at Malone at mile 85. I had intentions of just falling back and riding with Richard, but when I talked to him at the Malone control, he said he was just going to take his time all the way back, so I left the Malone control just behind the group.

I was soon all alone again, and rode that way until around mile 104, when Daniel came riding up from behind. He had stopped for a nature break, it turned out, and I had passed him without even knowing it. When we arrived at Maypearl at mile 117, Mark, Stephen, and Debbie were waiting, so we stopped for just a moment and rejoined them.

I finished the ride in 9:11, with 128 miles, and a 15.7 mph on the bike average, and was as wiped out as I ever have been after a ride. I hate slowing down faster riders, and with Daniel, then Mark, Stephen, and Debbie waiting for me, I felt compelled to do my best not to slow them down any more than I absolutely had to, so I really gave it all I had for those last miles.

I’m feeling pretty cratered this evening, but I know this is the kind of ride that will help me get stronger again on these long rides, so I’m pretty pleased with the effort, if not the results. Thanks for hosting the ride, Stephen! Great ride, everyone!

Elm Mott Trot route.

Lone Star Randonneurs Italy 200k Brevet

I drove to Italy, Texas this morning and joined the Lone Star Randonneurs’ 200k brevet which rolled out at 7:15 am. This is the LaBella Rani Duecento route which is actually well over 200k. It goes from Italy south out to Dawson, then on to Groesbeck, then makes a more westerly loop back through Mount Calm. I never heard a rider count, but there looked to be around 30 something in attendance.

The winds were fierce right from the beginning. It was 57 degrees at start time, but the howling wind made it feel so much cooler that I started out wearing a jacket. The lead group quickly disappeared in the distance, but I found a group riding a speed I could hang with, and stayed with them most of the ride south. That helped a lot. Without them, I might still be pedaling somewhere on that route.

There were also 300k, 400k, and 600k riders, and at Mexia, all of the longer riders turned off, leaving only David, Debbie, and me to continue on to Goesbeck. It’s 11 miles straight south from there to Groesbeck. It’s always tough against a south wind, and with todays gales, it was a brutal slog. David is a very strong rider, and Debbie and I fell in behind him.

From Groesbeck, the ride got a lot easier, although there were still several stretches where the crosswinds were so bad, I couldn’t ride much faster than if I’d been going directly against the wind. It wasn’t long after we left Groesbeck before it became obvious that I had burned a few too many matches on the trek against the wind, and I had to ease up on my effort, knowing I would be in trouble later if I didn’t.

I stayed in contact with Debbie and David for a little while, and left the next control at Mount Calm at mile 93 with them after Debbie had slowed and waited for me at one point, but it wasn’t long after that Mount Calm stop before they pulled away from me. Even though they were obviously keeping what was for them a fairly easy pace, I couldn’t hang with it.

I finished stronger than I thought I might, though. I had the usual issues with my aching toes later in the ride, which has lots of boulder seal pavement, and my left shoulder did hurt some, but it did a lot better on this ride, and I finished with 131.6 miles in 9:48 with a 15.1 mph on the bike average, which isn’t bad for me in my present condition (or lack of it), for a ride this long and under these conditions. I need to do more long rides this year than I did last year. And it looks like my shoulder is no longer an excuse for not doing it.

The Labella Rani Duecento 200k route.