Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tour de Rooster Tail

Saturday May 23, 2009

Generally I do not write up a review of local group rides. However, the second ride in a three part series of “Preparing for Burma” was an interesting ride. The route was from Mary E. Lee Park to Knickerbocker-Seven Sisters-Christoval, and return via 277 and Knickerbocker Rd. The ride is about 45 miles so it is a fair workout.

Scheduled time for take off was 9 AM. List of characters in this episode were Alex, Brian, Christine, David, Donna, Dorothy, Elaine, Mark, Marlon, Nancy, Quirt, Rick, Roy, and Velma. So the fourteen of us (so you don’t have to count) showed up and ready for take off. Ooops, Donna forgot her shoes. Been there done that. We chose to wait for her, so we shot the breeze in the meantime.

The forecast was great. Sixty-eight degrees at start time, increase of about two degrees per hour, wind 3-6 miles per hour (yes I am talking about San Angelo, Texas), and zero chance of rain until 3 P.M., and then there was a 30 percent chance of rain. But, we would be through before 3, so here we go.
Nancy's New Bike

We had some strong riders in the group, as a matter of fact, 12 strong riders. Number thirteen and fourteen were always in sight of the group, however. How do I know they were in sight of the group? Next topic please. But Alex hung back and had a nice chat with numbers 13 and 14.

Knickerbocker was our first rest stop. Sorry, no pictures as I was too busy swigging my drink down and sucking out the contents of my energy Shot. Elaine had to turn around at Knickerbocker so if I have any more references to #13&14, it will be #12&13. As I think about it, the next time 12&13 might be mentioned would be at the end of the ride. So hold that thought.

Rick and Velma thought about turning around because of a previous commitment in the afternoon. Although I was not in on their decision making, I think it was that THEY thought as fast as the first leg was, they would have time to finish the ride, attend the scheduled event, and have a pleasant, satisfying day. Sorry Rick and Velma.

The next leg of the journey was to cross the Seven Sisters. Now getting ahead of my story, I counted nine hills this time, not seven. Could it be that two distant siblings joined them or I started counting speed bumps as a hill? Anyway, the spread between the lead group and caboose was not as great as might be expected. Hey, notice I didn’t talk about #12-13. But, I can not tell you who the lead group was; about eight riders were waiting for me at the 277 intersection.

Decision time. Sometime in the morning, rain clouds had started accumulating and an occasional flash of lightning could be seen. Do we turn left and try to beat the rain? Or do we turn right and go to the convenience store just past Christoval? Now, if anyone has read over two of anything I have written, he knows that I was hiding when the higher IQs were passed out. So, I assured everyone that the forecast, in which I had total faith, said that it wasn’t going to rain until 3 P.M. So we turned right.

At the time, the rest stop was a real treat.

Dorothy had scheduled a sag from hubby from Christoval, so we were down to 12. So, change what I said, if I talk about # 12&13, make that # 11&12. Well, we 12 either may have tarried too long, or not long enough. Just as we decided it was time to go, there was a light sprinkle. Donna wondered if we shouldn’t sit it out and let the rain go past. Mr. Ten Watt Bulb said “No, it’s not supposed to rain”. Well, we crossed the highway to head back on 277, and you could see a wall of rain just ahead. Now, since I wasn’t in front, I could not turn the stampeding bikers around or have them change directions. So, shower time: fully clothed. Now a nice shower wouldn’t have been bad, but if you weren’t in the lead, the back tire of the person in front of you throws off water like a ski jet. Hence Rooster Tail if you have gone asleep and forgotten what the ride was titled.

While mulling over what to name the ride, I considered Tour de Wet Jersey. However, VERY quickly more than my jersey was wet. The next thing I noticed after the wet jersey was that my shoes and socks were filling with water. So Tour de Wet Feet. But then I noticed that the curve in my saddle was catching water and saturating my chamois--but I couldn’t get away with Tour de Wet Butt so I settled on the next best thing—Tour de Rooster Tail.

Just a side-bar. We go on so many “Tour de --------" that Christine thinks the Tour de phrase is over-used. So I over-ruled her and will still call it Tour de Rooster Tail. Just as I am getting over my left eye black eye (from a fall), if I say Tour de anything one more time I will have a right eye black eye (not from a fall).

So, back to my story, if there is one. After going through two or three more intermittent showers, the sky ahead was starting to clear. I realized my mistake. I had checked the forecast for San Angelo. I did not check the forecast for Christoval. Live and learn.

Finally we turned onto route 584 which becomes Knickerbocker Road, and people turned up the RPMs again, and “we” spread out again, at least # 11&12 did. Just as the last person passed #12, HE had a flat. Have you ever seen your group of cyclists ride off into the sunset and drop behind the horizon while you stand there looking at a flat tire?

I will spare anyone the details of fixing the flat. Suffice to say, it had been so long between flats that I almost forgot everything about removing/replacing the back tire.
It has been said that if you give a monkey a typewriter, given enough time, the monkey will produce a novel. Well, given enough time and I can fix a flat.

Remind me not to become #12 anymore. No one noticed my absence until they arrived at the destination. And then Christine just thought I was at my usual bringing up the rear pace. So, just as I finished fixing the flat and started my ride, Christine rescued me again (ref Beginners Page # 8 when I had to be rescued). She gave me the option of finishing the ride (stout fellow) or sagging. As we pulled into the beach parking lot, most of the group was still there. I HAD to show everyone my flat tube, otherwise everyone would think that I am as slow as I am.

Now let me finish this by an attempt at saving face. I wound up with a 16.4 MPH average, even though I was the last in. And so not to lose face, I will not ask any of the others what their average was.

P.S. The San Angelo forecast turned out to be wrong, it rained like heck at 1:30 PM.

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