Sunday, February 28, 2010

Burma Loop

Far background: Ty. Foreground: Marlon, John, Wilbur, Velma, Rick, and Bill who was just completing his ride.
February 27, 2010

The forecast was outstanding considering it is still February. It was to be a high of 63 and the wind 6-8 miles per hour. No excuses, so a social ride was called and I am glad we did it. Notwithstanding the social aspect of a group ride, Christine and I have a planned 100K ride at Bastrop next weekend. Whereas we have been having the opportunity to get in some rides over the winter months, the Burma Loop of 39 miles was to be our longest ride of the winter. We needed the distance to get ready for "Pedal Thru the Pines." Previously we had been able to practice for the first 10 miles of “Pedal” by riding Allen Lane. The Burma Loop would help us get ready for the next 52 miles of the ride.

Granted, even if we were not getting ready for some ride we would have called a social ride for the heck of it. For the heck of it, 10 of us showed up to get a jump on the official riding season. The riders were: Christine Buckstead, Ty Johnson, Christine Jones, Roy Jones, Gene Linthicum, Marlon Miller, Rick Ogan, Velma Ogan, Wilbur Thomas, and John Woiton.

Assemby point was the intersection of FM 2288 and Arden Road.

Wilbur, Velma, and Rick
John and Marlon
Roy, Ty signing ride sheet, Christine B., and Gene
At the appointed time, we took off en masse, or so I thought. Of course, Velma jumped out into the lead, with Rick, me, and Marlon chasing. Soon Gene over took all of us and lead all the way to the Arden/Burma intersection. As I mentioned, I thought we took off together. I noticed Ty was hanging back but didn’t give it too much thought as many times either he or Rick will hang back and talk with folks who may be a little behind the others. Later, I found out that just as we took off, Ty lost a cleat. He stopped to put it back on and didn’t think it would take too long. He didn’t use the card with rider’s cell phone numbers on it to halt us or tell us he was having trouble. It was too late to call by the time he had to get a rock as a hammer to fix his shoe. Instead of a social ride, he rode the first nine miles at time trial speed to catch up to us.

Everyone stopped at the Arden/Burma intersection to talk, take liquids, and make sure we still had all of the group together.
Rick, Ty, Gene (note Gene's neat bike) and Christine B.
Christine B., Marlon, and Velma (lady behind the hand)
Christine J. "She'll be coming round the corner when she comes"
John. Had to turn around at this point to get some "honey do's" accomplished.
Wilbur. Always in a relaxed state. I am not sure I have ever seen him perspire.
Christine B. and Marlon. Equipment check.
Gene, Ty and Rick.
The next leg was Burma Road. I started off riding and talking with Gene and Ty. The first time the road started a little incline, they kept riding and talking and I lagged back farther and farther. Then the parade of passing cyclists began. Wave goodbye to Marlon; wave at Christine B., wave at Velma, etc, etc., until Christine J. passed me, and then it was time to get serious—stop goofing off and start riding.

Wilbur pulled in behind me and I heard him say, “I’m going to get you back for what you said about me in your blog. 7%, 8%, 9%, 10%, 11%, 12%.”

He did that on at least three hills, but interestingly enough, 12% was the steepest grade encountered—at least while he was trying to bug me and rattle me. We, of course, did not turn around and go up "the Wall," so Allen Lane with the 14% seemed to beat the local inclines. But on the Burma Road trip, the only defense I had against Wilbur was to drop farther behind, and that’s the way it stayed until we were cresting the intersection of S. and N. Burma. I thought the crowd was at the crest of the hill, so I stood up and pumped to get ahead of Christine J., so the crowd wouldn’t know that I was last. But it was just Rick, Wilbur, Chris, and I at the crest. They knew I was last, and that is the way it could have stayed if this keyboard would stop telling off on me.

Going up Highway 87 to Grape Creek was a little surprising. The 6-8 mile an hour wind seemed more. However, as Chris has pointed out many times, the problem with a low wind velocity is that it feels like you have wind in your face no matter in which direction you are riding. And it was true again for almost the entire ride. The only other complaint was that one car seemed to try to come as closely as possible to each one of us without side-swiping us. This part of 87 has four lanes. The group ahead of us complained about the same car when it caught up to them. I didn’t think about trying to get a picture of the car to see if I could read the license plate number, so I just hope we never meet folks like him again.

The above compaint off my chest, the lead group was patiently waiting for us at the convenience store at Grape Creek. I always look forward to that particular stop, as they have some of the best chocolate milk drink around.
Marlon, Rick, Gene, Ty, and Velma at Grape Creek.
Ummmm. Chocolate (Roy and Wilbur)
Marlon, Gene, Christine B., Ty, Rick, and Velma (About ready to take off).
Leaving Grape Creek, we started on the last leg of the ride. Probably about four miles into the leg, the lead group was stopped on the side of the road. Ty had a flat tire and was fixing it.
Marlon was teasing him about getting a flat and fate stepped in.
What are the odds of TWO having a flat at the same time? I looked around and Marlon was on the ground fixing HIS flat.

Flats are mostly spectator events except for the  performer.

...except this time we had TWO performers.

After the flats incident, the rest of the trip was anti-climactic. All we had to do was pedal over the rolling hills of FM 2288. So ended another episode in the ride history of San Angelo cycling. May there be many, many more.


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