Saturday, March 27, 2010

Susan Peak

Saturday March 27, 2010
Walling Pecan to end of Susan Peak and Back

Six dedicated San Angelo Bicycling Assn. members participated in what turned out to be an overall training ride. Actually, there were eight. Christine Buckstead turned around after about 25 minutes as she had some auditions to judge at ASU. The eighth and probably most appreciated was David Durbin. He came out to SAG and brought bananas, oranges, and Gatorade for the weary. The six who will be applauded include Anda Greeney, Ty Johnson, Christine & Roy Jones, Velma & Rick Ogan.

Early line up. Roy Jones, Christine Jones, Velma Ogan, and Anda Greeney.

Of the many reasons for the kudos, the forecast was a 25 MPH wind and as we later found out, with gusts of 31. That was what the Weather Channel said. Many times I think the gusts were more than 31.

The first leg of the ride was great. The 25 MPH pushed us along at a nice clip. The next leg, into the hills, slowed some of us down even with the help of the wind. Therefore, the trip out to the end of Susan Peak was a training ride of hill climbing.

As I was doing my best to keep Velma in sight--unsuccessfully most of the time--I was not taking pictures of the ride. Anda was not in sight after the first hill. David was dutifully waiting at the top of ever major hill offering us liquids or treats. Near the end of Susan Peak, I thought to pass the camera off to David, and he was kind enough to take some action shots. 

At the turn around point, Ty who had started a little late, caught up to us and joined the group. 
Turn around point rest stop--courtesy of David. Enjoying his hospitality: Roy, Ty, Anda, Christine J., and Velma.

Then the fun began. Remember the saying "for every downhill there is an uphill?" The return route was almost as bad as going out. And remember the wind? For the next 18.89643724 miles, the 25 gusting to 31 wind was either in our face or a forward, angled cross wind. So began the rest of the training ride. Wind resistance and hill climbing. At the beginning of the return trip, I accepted Velma's assistance and drafted.
Thank you Velma, but the hosting was too short. As we were going down a little decline, my front wheel shimmied dangerously. I almost lost control. It stopped for about 5 seconds and then shimmied again. I just knew I had a flat. I stopped and checked my tires. They were fine. David stopped for me but I didn't have to SAG yet. Christine stopped to see what was going on. The only thing we could figure out is that a cross wind gust hit me and put my bike into an unstable condition. I was happy not to have had a flat, but by this time Velma was a small dot on the horizon, and that is the way she stayed until we got out of the hills. Then she just took off.

Speaking of taking off, Anda and Ty were leading us by decameters.
Anda and Ty taking turns at pulling.

Anda and Ty taking one of the turns that went from cross wind to in your face.

Velma. Same curve. I would have been happy to pull 100 yards or so IF SHE WOULD HAVE WAITED FOR ME!!
Chris. You can see on her face the Computrainer mantra; relax, keep those rpms up, light pedals, focus. 
Roy. And on my face, a complete blank.

Would you believe we still had to pedal down parts of this?
And speaking of pedaling, on a slight decline of 1 or 2%, I stopped pedaling. The wind slowly but surely stopped me cold. That was part of the reason we had to pedal down even steeper declines. 

Remember, I had mentioned that Rick Ogan was on this ride also. He had completed his previous engagement, changed, rode from his house, and met up with the group. He kept going until he reached Christine and me just past Rocking Chair Ranch . He had come to pull us to the finish line.

But first we had to stop and watch the turtles sunning themselves at Lipan Creek.

And we had to watch the cows watching us.

Time to head out again.

Christine's 15 seconds of glory and fame leading Rick and me. Then we got behind Rick like little ducklings behind their mother and arrived with everyone patiently waiting for us. Thank you Rick. It would have seemed much longer had you not pulled us in.

Happiness is the completion of a hard training ride.

Celebrating victory over the elements.

Thank you David Durbin for riding SAG for us.
Last but not least. Christine showing off her new equipment. After almost 10,000 miles of cross-chaining, her chain, chain rings, and cogs said enough is enough.

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