Saturday, March 28, 2009

Steam-N-Wheels 2009

Starting Line Up

Steam N Wheels
March 21, 2009
Abilene, Texas
By Roy and Christine Jones

Steam N Wheels is an annual Race-Tour sponsored by the City of Abilene Recreation Division and the Abilene Bicycling Club. It features a kid ride, 21 mile, 32 mile, and a 48 mile race or tour route. Awards were given for the first three places in each division of the men’s, women’s, and tandem bike categories. The announcer stated that almost 250 riders were registered. The course was rolling hill country with some flat roads. Excellent traffic control support was provided by police and volunteers, and the rest stations were stocked with drinks, bananas, cookies and friendly volunteers.

Seven riders (whom I saw) from San Angelo showed up; David and Donna Durbin, Marlon Miller, Christy Compeau, Lucy Jochum, Roy and Christine Jones. Lucy had been grounded by her doctor for a while so she rode the 21 mile route--smart lady as the wind was 20 mph in your face for the first 25 miles of the 48 mile route. My (Roy’s) “grounding” by my doctor had just been lifted so I was going to test the waters. If the going was rough, I could make a turn and go the 32 mile route. Well, the going was rough but stubbornness over-rides brilliance and I made the turn to go 48 instead of the 32. The other San Angelo riders did not know my decision until the next rest stop. Why? They were so far ahead of me that I think I was even out of telephone range. But, as their routine, everyone patiently waited at each rest stop until I got there. They were definitely on tour mode as I slowed them down completely. As a matter of fact, If Christy Compeau hadn’t waited with the others for me; she would have placed in the top three of her category.

For David, Donna, and Christy, it seemed that it was, “Wind, what wind”? And Marlon, he left us at the starting point never to be seen again. But as I found out later in the ride, the wind was taking a toll on Christine. Probably about 20 miles into the ride, Karen Woodcox from Brownwood and I started taking turns drafting off each other, and that is how I at least made it. About 35 miles, I saw a familiar figure on a bike ahead of Karen and me, and I told her it looked as if we had caught up to my wife. Sure enough, Christine was plugging up a hill as we over-took her so we all drafted on each other until the last rest stop.

At the last rest stop, we finally turned with the wind. EVERYONE--but one--got his second wind and flew to the last turn into the park. As we left the last rest stop, Karen and I saw Christine and David disappearing over the horizon. Karen said, “Let’s go catch them.” I said, “YOU go catch them and tell them I will be along later.” And I was alone again but at least the wind was to my back. David held up at the turn to make sure none of us over-shot the turn. As such, you can not tell from the official race results what he really did. That goes for the entire group which waited on me throughout the ride. But really everyone seemed to have come to the ride for the enjoyment, not a trophy so all in all, it was an unforgettable experience in a lot of ways. As the event is within easy driving distance from San Angelo, it is hoped that next year a good turn out from San Angelo will occur and some of our riders will get the winners’ prize mugs.

Previous Week Celebration

Why David was so fast at Steam-N-Wheels (secret energy food)

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