Saturday, December 27, 2008

H.O.T. Bike Race May 2008

H.O.T Bike Race
Brady, Texas
May 10, 2008

By Roy and Christine Jones

Saturday May 10, 2008 Brady hosted the H. O. T. (Heart of Texas) 65 mile bike race. San Angelo was well represented in turn out.

The morning was over-cast and cool. Wind was 11 plus and in one’s face except for the last 10-mile leg. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As mentioned, it was a race and everything is going to be from the perspective of non-racers. Knowing our places, Christine and I lined up in the back row to keep out of everyone’s way. Indicative of the day, the leaders of the pack were ½ mile down the road before we got out of the parking lot. No problem. Some guy jumped his chain as soon as he got on the highway. His friend stayed back with him, and two other guys weren’t paying attention so didn’t even start with the group. So, we weren’t last at the start. The “slow” group dropped us at the second hill. From that point on Christine and I were pretty much by ourselves and had a nice ride touring through the country side at our pace. Did I mention the hills and wind in the face?

Besides our interesting start, the second clue that this was a race and not a tour was that the first “rest stop” was 26 miles from the start line. And no porta-potty. The second rest stop was the standard “12 miles”----make that 15, and no porta-potty. The third rest stop was the standard “12 miles”---make that 14. There was a porta-potty, but after 55 miles, who cared.

Back to the “race”, everyone has to beat someone to maintain dignity. Well, the two guys who hadn’t been paying attention passed us around mile 20. The guy who slipped his chain turned out to be on a mountain bike, so he and his friend were still trailing us. Later, about mile 30, a guy had broken his chain and was waiting on SAG. So I was thinking, all right, we are going to beat a mountain bike and friend, and a broken chain DNF. But as luck would have it, about mile 45, the mountain bike and friend gave up and caught a SAG in. That put us last so everyone still upright on his bike beat us in.

Have I yet mentioned the hills and wind in the face? Well, by the time the mountain bike gave up, the overcast skies were long gone and it was in the 90’s. What was said to be wind to the back/downhill turned out to be hot, shifting wind, and more rolling hills, some of which were in the downhill direction. Remember the previous hills and wind in the face? By the time we got to the easier section, I was pooped and close to dehydration. My legs were taking turns cramping and playing gotcha. A hip muscle would lock up, then the thigh would cramp, then the ham-string would contract making it very difficult to pedal. Never mind that my hands were numb, feet hurt, bottom would go numb, lift up in the saddle to get circulation and as soon as it would wake up, it would start hurting. Solution was to sit back down and let it go numb again. Hurt less.

We bicycle for fun, recreation, and health. Sometimes that is like saying I wrestle wild bears for sport. But just as soon as the lactic acid leaves our legs, we will be looking forward to our next tour. Forget racing, it’s too lonely in the back.

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