Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mt. Nebo

Mt. Nebo
Saturday, February 13, 2010
A pre-Valentine ride to preempt all those bonbon treats seems to have been a good idea in retrospect. But in truth, on Wednesday when the Saturday ride was still a flip of the coin, the forecast called for 59 degrees and 10 mph wind. The ride was called. Of course, wind forecast crept up to 15 mph, but the ride was on.

Eleven of us assembled at the State Park Headquarters to start our approximately 30 mile ride. Cast for this day’s ride included: Aaron Glass, Brian Backlund, Ty Johnson, Christine Jones, Roy Jones, Dorothy Langdon, Marlon Miller, Rick Ogan, Velma Ogan, Liz Rappe, and Wilbur Thomas.

Start Time. Marlon Miller, Rick Ogan, and Brian Backlund.

Wilbur helping Liz get ready.

Ty Johnson. Planning his strategy?
We started out Mercedes, Arden Road, and then turned onto 2288. Almost from the first turn of the pedals, Velma set the pace. It was a good thing the wind was almost to our back as each time I glanced down at the odometer, it was on 18 mph or so.

Almost three miles out from Grape Creek, a person pulled up beside me and then proceeded to pass. It was Aaron. Somehow Aaron had showed up for the ride without a bike. Dorothy had an extra mountain bike and let Aaron use it. Aaron, on a mountain bike, was heading to catch up to Velma, Rick, and Ty who had taken the lead and were setting the pace. Amazing--but he continued to amaze me throughout the rest of the ride. I hope he shows up at our mountain bike time trials as he will be a real contender.

Aaron Glass at Grape Creek stop on a mountain bike.

The Grape Creek convenience store is always a welcome stop. Not only is it a convenient place for us to stop, re-group, and attend to any personal needs, but they have a chocolate drink for 99 cents! Excellent recovery drink and at a nice price.
 Dorothy, Rick, Aaron, and Velma

Liz looks rested up and ready to go.
Liz, Velma, and Dorothy.
Just as we were ready to pull out of the parking lot, Christine announced that she had a flat tire. Luckily it was on the front and Ty and Rick made short work of the task. But, they had time enough to reminisce about
my bringing a spare tire to the infamous December ride. It will take a long time to over-ride that blunder.

Brian left us at Grape Creek and doubled back to the start position. He had to work later and didn’t have the time to finish the route. At first I felt for him as he was going to have to go back over the 2288 hills, and our route was relatively flat for the remainder of the ride. HOWEVER, it was a trade off as we were going into the wind with nothing but plowed under cotton stalks to provide a wind break. I will wait until sometime that Brian can complete the entire route before I ask if it was a fair trade off.

Velma mentioned that she didn’t know the way from Grape Creek. I told her to go straight down the road until you can’t and then turn right. She and Aaron took me at my word and they became the lead group—not the pace setters. The rest of us rode in a group, and I wanted to stop and take pictures of the riders in front of Mt. Nebo.

Marlon and Dorothy at Mt. Nebo
Mt. Nebo might not look like a big deal for people from other parts of the country, but for us sitting on the edge of the Edwards Plateau, we will claim any "mountain." We probably have about four routine routes that present a climbing challenge. Mt. Nebo is not one of them but in the middle of cotton field country, we take pictures of prominent humps.
After pictures, the larger group started off again. Way on down the road, Velma and Aaron complied with the normal protocol of a social ride. They chose a major intersection and waited for us to catch up.

Shortly after the March/Wren intersection, we came upon Hwy 87 and turned left. Probably about 100 yards later, we turned on Grape Creek Road on which the ASU Meat Market is located. The market was closed but the location provided another re-group opportunity as we were close to the O.C. Fisher dam.

Group at ASU Meat Market; a good stopping place just before the dam.

Turning onto the dam, to me, is always the low point of the ride. It may be only 6.5 miles in distance and it may be perfectly level terrain. But it is the LONGEST 6.5 miles; the ROUGHEST 6.5 miles; and the wind is ALWAYS in your face. And the wind is not my friend.

About mile two, Rick and Velma decided to get the ride over with and pulled away. About mile 4.5, Ty, Aaron, and Marlon pulled up and away. What a time to fade. Only two miles to go.  I saw Rick and Velma stop just as I hit the ¼ mile marker. Ty and party were just behind them. OK, OK, it was not a race. It was a social ride. Who cares about who finishes when or where. OK, OK, I do a little bit as I am “working” my tail off three times a week chasing a little silver guy and secretly hoping that I can chase real people more closely.

Christine mentioned her motto is to be “Stronger, faster, farther.” My motto is going to be “Less far behind.”

On the way home, the State Park longhorns were grazing closely to the fence. We are as proud of our longhorns as we are of our Mt. Nebo.

When this one started pawing the ground, I knew I had worn out my welcome so we headed home after another great group ride.

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