Monday, October 11, 2010

Tour de Fire Ant

 Tour de Fire Ant
Saturday October 9, 2010
Marshall, Texas
Unusual circumstances including a recent trip to Europe restricted Christine's and my riding to 16 and 13 miles respectively since the Fort Davis Cyclefest. So when it was time to saddle up at the Tour de Fire Ant, we wisely choose the 45 mile route.

We had looked forward to this ride for some time as we had never been to Marshall in far east Texas, the Piney Woods area, and just knew that it would be pretty country. We were not let down.

The bicycle tour is in conjunction with the city's annual Fire Ant Festival.
The festival is held in the court house square, and vendors set up early.
By the scheduled start time of 9 o'clock, the sun was shinning brightly, there was no wind to speak of--a beautiful day for a ride.
Two hundred and eight of us lined up for the start. The 100K lead out followed by the 45 and 30 milers. The 10 mile family ride was a nice route through town and started last.
The first 10 miles were into the sun, so one will have to take my word that the scenery was nice as picture taking would not have been productive.
Rest stop #1. Almost all of the rest stops had some theme and had costumes to go along with the theme.
The ride route took us past heavily wooded pine trees on almost every road.

Our route did not take us to Shreveport, Louisiana, but we continued down the road for a few miles before we turned to another side road.

Across from rest stop #2. Trees, trees, tall trees.The stark contrast of the area with central Texas is dramatic.
I could not pass up this photo op. Jonesville is even on the Texas map.

And down more of the picturesque route.
We were tempted to follow this side lane as it was so pretty, but discretion won out.

Nearby Jefferson was holding a motorcycle rally, so we met cyclists coming and going all morning.

Eventually we arrived at the area from which the ride derives its name. There are a series of hills, each with a name, and Fire Ant Hill is the longest.

Fire Ant Hill was a long 4% grade which was fine with us, as we hadn't ridden much in the last three weeks.  

Then you were rewarded by rolling down the hill.

Two more hills awaited us.
I only take the pictures, they do the signs.

After Freddy Ant Hill, the ants

lead us back to
which lead us to

Note the sponsor on the right side of the sign. At the finish line, there were free pizzas and FREE Michelob beer. I was chosen to be designated driver so Christine had a well deserved lunch.

The ride was outstanding in its scenery and support by the various volunteers. It is a highly recommended tour. And, there is more to see and tour around Marshall. We hope to publish that article in a few days.


  1. Hey, great to have the pictures of the route - had been "bitten" by the Fire Ants somewhere around 45 miles, was hurting some, so not in any state to really take in the scenery and roadside humor!! A memorable ride for our group from Pineyhillscyclists,Ruston,Louisiana.

  2. @Anonymous: I remember seeing some cyclists with jerseys that had "Pineyhillscyclists" on them. Yellow theme jersey if I recall correctly. It is great that you have an active group and attend rides together.

    I liked the roadside humor and the announcements of the particular hill you were about to encounter. Sort of put a personal touch to it.

  3. Roy and Christine. Yes I was one of those with a Pineyhillscyclists Jersey. I want to inform you guys about one of the world's greatest rides.I rode it way back late 70's and early 80's before emigrating to the USA, from South Africa. It is The Cape Argus Tour and is 110 Km around some of the most magnificent mountain and ocean views imaginable. I am returning in March 2011 to ride the Argus again. When I last rode there were around 1,200 entrants. For 2011 the organizers are closing entries at 35,000!! Check out the web page and other sites and you should aim to do this one!!
    Ian Macaskill, Ruston, Louisiana

  4. @Ian Macaskill. Wow! Good luck! I looked at some websites covering the Cape Argus Tour. One site had some great pictures, and as you said, beautiful scenery.

    I am afraid the Tour is a little out of my league. One site had the number of entrants versus the number of finishers. At least 200 every year do not finish. And it sounded as if they were big time racers.

    I wish you the best of luck and let us know how you do on the Tour.

  5. I say your blog is awesome:-) Happy New year and goodluck to your blog!