Monday, June 22, 2009

Tour de Burma

Tour de Burma
Sunday June 21, 2009
San Angelo, Texas

The fourth annual Tour de Burma was held in San Angelo on June 21, sponsored by the YMCA.
Whereas the first three “Tours” were races, this year it was changed to a non-competitive tour. The routes included 18, 48, 65, and 100 mile rides.

The weather was quite nice at the 7 a.m. start. Skies were overcast and a slight breeze (13mph) from the SSE. The sky remained overcast throughout the ride and the wind, San Angelo fashion, increased about a mile an hour each hour. San Angelo fashion, the wind was in our face going up Highway 67 toward Mertzon and shifted to come out of the southwest in order to provide an in-your-face cooling effect while on the Burma Road back to Arden. The recent rains plus the overcast day drove the humidity to an uncharacteristic level for San Angelo.

The into-the-wind sections of the route provided an excellent opportunity to practice one’s drafting technique. Thank you, Velma. And thank you unknown Air Force person. And speaking of the Air Force, there was a great contingency of participants from Goodfellow, Lackland, and Sheppard AF Bases. Most of the individuals were honing their skills to participate in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), a week long 472 mile ride in July. Also courtesy of the Air Force, Alex Roberson rode as Ride Marshall this year. It was a first time addition to the ride, and Alex’s job was to ride the 100 mile route and assist anyone needing help or call in for the SAG unit. Last time I saw him he was with the last person riding the 100 mile, and they were probably about 40 miles out from finish.

Christine, Brenda, and Chuck White rode the 48 mile route. It was Chuck’s longest ride to date and Christine stated he did an outstanding job. And Scott, you had better watch out or your mom will drop you on a near future ride. Speaking of fast, I rode the 65 as did some of the other club members. Now we all started at the same time, but just as I started on Burma Road, I waved at Bret, Tamra, Christy, Rita, and others going the other direction. So? It meant in a very short time, they were already 15 miles ahead of me. And Jack Lomax, riding the 100 miles passed me on Arden and waved to me on his Burma Road return. Sort of depressing—BUT—I can always blame it on Velma for not pulling me faster up Highway 67.

At about mile 22 there was the turn-off to Arden Road and the first rest stop. I glanced and there was no porta on the prairie, I still had liquids to drink, and energy foods in my jersey in case I bonked, so I kept going. Should have stopped. Everyone at the rest station soon caught up to me or passed me so I didn’t have the benefit of getting blood circulating back into certain parts of my body and didn’t gain time or distance on anyone. So I made sure I stopped at the Arden/Burma Road rest area. Thank you John, do you realize how good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are when you are tired and sweaty? And they are nutritional as well. Generally if something tastes good, it is not good for you—like ice cream that Christine feeds me after the ride. But, it is a toss up as to the “best” food on the ride as the giant chocolate chip cookie at the Burma Road rest stop keeps me from declaring the PB&J first prize. It would have taken several more PB&J/chocolate chip cookies and a nap to come up with a declared winner.
Having a full stomach has its pros and cons on Burma Road. You can glide down the hills faster but the added weight is heck on the uphill. All that energy that was gained by the food is wasted trying to get up a hill. My body prefers to store the energy around my waist to use in a pinch some other day. My body seems to never, never want to use the energy in the here and now.

Now either a brag or an insight into my stubborn streak that never serves a good purpose: I could have saved some of my energy on Arden Road on the way back in. Since Christine rode the 48, she was back at the finish area long enough to get bored and decided to drive out to see how I was doing. My Rescuer and ray of sunshine
I was close to Jamison Road so I wanted to at least to get to Whiskey City before hitching a ride. At Whiskey City, it was just a “short” uphill to the Park entrance so why not go on in? Now really, had I just loaded at Whiskey City, no one would really have known as there were less than 10 cars at the Chaparral Pavilion and none of them belonged to club members, so no one would have known if I “finished” or not. I could just say I did, and no one could dispute me since they had already left. Oh well, there is next year and maybe I can finish with some of the San Angelo people so they can vouch for my finish.

Whiskey City, or Liquor City, is a vestige of the history of San Angelo. S.A. used to be a dry city until 2005 requiring dealers of “demon rum” to locate just outside of city limits. Although at the location there are only one small liquor store and a now dog grooming business the site is still known by its more colorful, “historic” name.
Picture of the first Burma start at the old Whiskey City

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