54 Mile Loop to State Highway 19

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode to Eustace, then did a loop out to SH 19. I stopped at Purtis Creek on the way back. I ended up with 54.6 miles.

I worked enough hours early in the week that I didn’t get to ride at all before Thursday. But, I managed 40 miles Thursday morning and 30 miles Friday morning, so ended up with just short of 125 miles for the week. I just barely finished Friday morning’s ride when the storms hit. If I had tried to ride the 40 miles I got up intending to do that morning, I would have gotten caught in the storm.

I ended up with 599 miles ridden in August. That’s not really as many miles as I’d like for a summer month which had five Saturdays and five Sundays, but I guess it will have to do.

View to the west just before I finished Friday morning’s ride.

Today’s route.

2014 Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred

I traveled to Wichita Falls yesterday and rode the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred today. This was the eighth straight year I’ve done the 100 mile route at HHH. I finished the route today, but it wasn’t easy. With the miles I’ve been riding and my fitness level, I had no illusions about being able to challenge my personal best time at HHH, but like always, I did hope to make it around the route in less than six hours. I didn’t accomplish that this year.

I stayed at the Lamar Baptist Church recreation building again this year. As always, the hosts there did a great job for the riders. And I enjoyed my visiting with friends last night, most of whom I hadn’t seen since last year’s HHH or longer. But, just like last year, there were some cancellations by riders, and there weren’t as many recumbent riders as many previous years. The bike show was great fun as always, too. The weather at Wichita Falls was trying to live up to the ride’s name this year. It was 103 degrees this afternoon.

Things didn’t start out smoothly at the ride. A quarter mile after the start, my Garmin quit. Apparently, its battery has reached the age where it won’t hold its charge overnight, and you need to leave it on the charger until right before a ride if you want it to last out the ride. Since I always have it on the charger at home, I had no idea this would happen. I really missed the heart rate monitor. With the extra adrenaline a big ride like this brings, it’s easy to misjudge how much effort you’re expending, and that heart rate monitor is a good way to tell that.

But the first sixty miles of the ride were a blast. I rode with friend DJ Boyd, who I used to travel to HHH with every year, while we only lived five miles apart. Now I only seem to see him at HHH. His riding mileage was down this year, and he wasn’t sure how strong he would finish 100 miles, so we were both trying to draft some, and conserve enough energy to finish strong. At Burkburnett at mile 60, DJ stopped at the rest stop, and just like I had good sense, I rode on.

I don’t know if it was because I had misguaged my early effort from not having my heart rate monitor, or if I rode too hard after turning against the considerable wind later in the ride, but at mile 82, I cratered. I had leg cramps so bad I had to stop, and I was on and off the bike the rest of the way. I don’t have an official time yet from my timing chip, and of course my Garmin didn’t record the time, but I think I finished the 101 miles in something like 6:20. Not good, but like they say, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. I felt very much like the bug today.

Still, it was a fun trip, and for the eighth straight time, I completed the 100 mile route there. No small accomplishment for a lung challenged old f*rt, I’m thinking.

The sea of cyclists at the start.

Friend DJ at the start.

The HHH 100 mile route.

EDIT: Here is my timing chip result. It wasn’t too impressive this year, but I was still 17th in my age group, so I guess that’s something. That time is too low though, again this year. It makes me wonder if the chip ignores the early start we recumbents do.

Ride to Ben Wheeler

I took off on the F5 from the east edge of town and rode to Martins Mill, then on to Ben Wheeler. I had ridden as far as Ben Wheeler before, but didn’t like any of the roads I turned onto there, to ride further. That statement is still true. I tried several more roads from Ben Wheeler and still didn’t like any. Bicycle friendly roads are in short supply in this part of the state.

I made a stop at the convenience store at Martins Mill on the ride out, at mile 33, and coming back, at mile 65. I also made a stop the the Purtis Creek State Park on the way back. I ended up with 94.8 miles. It was 95 degrees when I finished, so I guess you could say I had a 95 and 95 kind of day.

I was running out of gas at the end, but felt a lot better than I did on the 100 mile ride I did a couple of weeks ago. The Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred is next weekend, and I’m ready for it, I think, as long as I don’t get carried away with my effort.

I had one 41.3 mile ride during the week, and I won’t be riding this weekend, so my total mileage for the week is 136 miles. I’ll probably just do one short ride in the early part of the week, next week, then wait until HHH to ride again.

Today’s route.

Martins Mill Ride

I took off on the F5 this morning from the east edge of Gun Barrel City and rode to Eustace, then to FM 2709 and on to Martins Mill. I stayed on FM 1861 more on the return trip. I finished the ride about 12:20 in the afternoon, and it was already almost 100 degrees. The heat has been tough lately. I ended up with 54.4 miles. I had ridden 90 miles during the week, so I ended up with 144 total miles for the week.

I really like to start most of my rides from my driveway. That’s been a challenge ever since I moved here. There are really only two roads out of town, Main Street in Gun Barrel City, and CR 4006. I have occasionally ridden Main Street when I start a ride early, but traffic gets too intense on it any other time. So, that leaves CR 4006. It’s always been rough. The part of it that’s within the Mabank city limits is kept in a decent state of repair, but the last mile of it, which turns off just a mile from my house, has been very rough ever since I’ve lived here, and the number of deep holes in it more recently has had me thinking about giving up starting my rides at home.

But it wasn’t that stretch of road that finally became the deal breaker and had me start loading my bike on a rack on the back of my truck, and starting my rides elsewhere. After spraying sealer on a couple of miles of CR 4006 past the roughest stretch, road crews spread massive amounts of gravel on it. It’s far too much gravel for me to tackle with the road tires on my F5, so for the last week, I’ve been driving to a better place to start my rides.

For the three rides I made during the week, I drove to the Mabank city park to start the rides. This morning, I drove Main Street to the east edge of Gun Barrel City, and started there. The supreme irony of it all is that even after all the gravel has been spread, no road crew touched the roughest stretch of CR 4006 at all. It still has all the bicycle-eating holes it had before (see photo below). Thanks for nothing, Kaufman County.

County Road 4006, one mile from my house.

Today’s route.

Martin Mills Metric

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode to Martins Mill. It was misting a bit as I took off, but the roads were dry, and weather.com was only calling for a ten percent chance of rain, so I figured it wouldn’t amount to much. By the time I got through town, it was a steady rain, and it rained for the next 20 miles. So much for the forecast.

By the time I got close to Martins Mill, the roads were dry. I was glad to see that. I don’t like riding on wet roads. I never got any sun on the ride, but the stiff north wind had dried the roads pretty well for the return route.

My chain had gotten a bit noisy lately, and I was surprised to find that it needed replaced, when I checked it last night. I borrowed the chain off the Corsa to use until I get one. It’s long chain, 11 1/2 feet, 276 links. It should have lasted longer than the less than 2,000 miles it did.

I ended up just short of a metric century, with 61.6 miles for the day. I had already ridden 90 miles this week, so had 151.6 miles for the week. I finished July with 630 miles for the month. That’s more like the mileage I need to be doing this time of year. The Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred is this month, three weeks from now. I need to get in another century or two between now and then.

Today’s route.