Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Colorado River Bikefest
Colorado River Bikefest
34th Annual, Ballinger, Texas
April 25, 2009
The Colorado River Bikefest, sponsored by the Ballinger Noon Lions Club, is unique in organized tour rides. Instead of focusing on hills, more of which I am sure they could have found, they focused on letting people ride for fun. I imagine most years the ride is a fast, fun ride, but this year, read below.
On Highway 83, there were some rolling hills but no third chain ring grind; instead, they provided us with a 23 mile an hour wind in our face to make us think we were grinding up some tough hills. To place things in perspective (I will attempt to inform rather than whine), each 5 mile per hour wind is equal to a 1% grade. So, a 23 mile per hour wind is equal to a little over 4% grade. Now, make that for 25 miles until the route turns into a cross wind and you have the Highway 83 part of the ride. Twenty five miles of a 4% grade of hill…and we do it for fun and recreation.
I felt a little whine creep into some of the above, so backing up a bit--the ride was to start at 8:30 from the Courthouse. That gave us theoretically plenty of time to get up, drive to Ballinger, and prepare for the line-up. Even so, it still seemed early. We were in good company; Brenda and Chuck White were already there when we arrived. Shortly thereafter David Durbin arrived--which I am so glad he did when I get back to my ride-story. Gene Potter was present and ready to ride, I think two other bikers from San Angelo were with him, and I saw Dan and Leann Waldron at the sidelines. Later on, a man on a recumbent told me that Doctor Charlesworth was riding also. I didn’t get a count of riders but it was respectable.
Chuck and Brenda First and Second Place on 30K
There were three main rides available: a 30K, 60K, and 100K. All started on Highway 83--straight into the wind. For the most part the road surfaces were decent. The traffic was surprisingly accommodating to us. I mentioned that I was glad David was on the ride as he provided the lion’s share of drafting. For most of the ride up 83, a group of five of us was in a draft line, with three of us taking turns at the lead. However, as mentioned, we left David at point longer than anyone else. And when he would drop us on some hill, he would patiently wait at the top for us to catch up. The field of riders kept getting smaller as the ride went on. Some turned at the 30K turn, a larger group turned at the 60K, and a few of us die-hards kept going.
A BIG Thanks to David for letting us draft on him
As mentioned, the ride from Ballinger headed out Highway 83 and goes past Paint Rock. I had never been to Paint Rock before so that was new and it was tempting to turn off where it advertised the Indian paintings but that will have to be a separate trip. At 765 we finally turned out of the wind into a cross wind that hit us in the left shoulder. If anyone was hoping for a let up, they were sorely disappointed, and the highway sign said Eola 13 miles. I had read about a cross wind technique of leaning into the wind to assist in keeping upright but this was the first time I remember practicing it. It felt weird leaning the bike but it did seem to help control the bike. At Eola, we turned with the wind at our backs—about time. From Eola through Lowake to Rowena was smooth sailing. Perhaps one of the most torturous parts of the ride was going through Lowake around lunch time and smelling those steaks frying. A little past Lowake Inn, there was a rest stop but the oranges and bananas didn’t stave off the steak craving. Leaving Rowena there were a few hundred yards of head wind that just beat some of us up. Finally, we thankfully turned north to Ballinger with the wind to our backs. Good way to end the ride. Did I mention that the 100K (which usually means 62 miles) turned out to be over 69 miles. Now that was meant to be information and not another whine. I have been on 110K rides that ranged from 60 miles to the 69 at Ballinger. If it is in the ballpark…what the hey.
I would bet that without a high wind, the Ballinger ride would be a fast, enjoyable workout. I will have to try it again next year to find out if the assumption is correct. Everything is a warm-up for HHH, as they say, so the Ballinger ride is only 30 some-odd miles short of the big one.
Until the Next Time
at 8:25 PM