Thursday, August 12, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy
Sunday August 8, 2010 

The Biscuits and Gravy ride was to have an early 7:30 a.m. take off. Assembly area was the North Entrance of the San Angelo State Park.

As I was off loading my bike, Velma Ogan rode over to say good morning. My eyes were barely open and I had had only one cup of coffee before going out to the Park, so I am glad no one took my picture. Would I have looked as bright-eyed and cheery as Velma? No way.

Ninety-one of us lined up to ride either a 40, 62, or 100 mile route. Rick Ogan and Brian Bucklund were already lined up.  

Chad Freeze, far left mentioned he was riding the hundred, so I thought I had better get a picture of him when I could. Otherwise, it would be days before I saw him again. I was right. Later, I found out he had completed the hundred miles in 4 hours, 48 minutes at an average speed of 22.5 mph. That is about the speed I ride when I am lucky enough to catch a downhill. Good job, Chad. 

The first leg was to take us through Grape Creek and out into farm and ranch land.

I liked the grove of trees and the stillness of early morning.

Soon, the stillness ended and we headed straight into the wind. (It was another one of those days the wind was in your face from four directions.) The gentleman in front of me was a stranger, but I hung on to him and drafted off of  him for miles. Never got to thank him for pulling me as he kept going when we arrived at the first rest stop. 

Rest Stop #1 had all the essentials except one. The porta potty company delivered the potty at the next corner. Hence, the seemingly sparse number of people at the stop.

The route was quite scenic (for our neck of the woods) as it included cotton field, ranches, and ranch land.

Somewhere along in here I settled into my comfort zone (robotic pedaling trance) and Ty Johnson came up, patted me, and said hi as he was passing. I was startled out of my trance and jumped so much I almost wrecked. Christine generally wakes me up from my trances, and she has learned to make noise ("You're sleeping again!") before approaching. Ty now has learned that lesson.

Eventually we circled back to Grape Creek, and then we were on FM 2288.
FM 2288 is a series of rollers and we were back (still) with wind in the face. I was looking forward to the return trip since the road seemed to be always going up and into the wind. The return trip would therefore be a dream ride. Right?

Intersection of FM 2288 and Arden Road rest stop. Rick and Velma had long preceded me to the stop. Whereas they decided to continue to ride the 62 miles, I had decided I would take the short ride and just complete the 40 miles.
The riders on the left were overheard to be talking about having ridden the De Leon ride the day before, also. Small world.

Back down FM 2288

On the return trip, I once again passed the retaining wall with the bison emblems by the State Park south entrance.

My return dream ride didn't materialize. My downhills reversed themselves and became uphills, and for some reason I was wind in the face again. Funny how nature can play tricks on you.

Eventually the road leveled just as it was time to turn back into the Park.

And awaiting one and all were friendly volunteers serving--what else--Biscuits and Gravy.
Margaret Charlesworth (third from left) was at this time able to relax and visit with volunteers and riders. Later, she would become quite busy as one of the riders on the 100 mile route was hit by a pickup truck on Highway 67. The rider, a military Lieutant Colonel from Lubbock, at this time, is still in ICU. It was a fun ride benefiting a worth while cause, so it is a shame that the ride had such a downer of an ending.  

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