Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tour de Pepper

Dublin, Texas
June 11, 2011

Dublin was celebrating the 120th anniversary of the establishment of the original Dr. Pepper bottling plant. Usually, we stop in Dublin to have a Dr. Pepper float and pick up one or more cases of original Dr. Pepper when we do the Melon Patch ride at De Leon. So we had never ridden the Tour de Pepper and never knew what we had been missing.

Edie of Elicit Substance and I have occasionally discussed preparation for the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in August. Now, Edie is from Massachusetts so the climate, terrain, and conditions are quite different from Texas. So I will give her another Texas training tip.
This is how Jerry and Cindy Middleton are training Friday afternoon for the Saturday morning Tour de Pepper ride. We had them hide the drinks with little umbrellas as this is a family oriented blog.
Saturday rolled around and riders gathered at Dublin High School for the start.
Five hundred of us lined up for various distances. There were a 9 mile ride, 34, and a 62 mile race. (At the start line, the officials announced that the 62 mile race was really 70 miles, but I didn't see anyone change his bike into the 34 mile starters).
We decided to ride the 34 mile, had no intention of competing, and therefore did not care if we were just in front of the 9 milers.
The National Anthem was played  before the beginning of the race. Good ole deep-in-the-heart-of-Texas-spirit folks took off their helmets, put their hands over their hearts, and Christine and another lady sang right along with the music. Maybe more did but not within earshot. Then off we went with a staggered start.
Early on I was trying to keep Christine in sight and right behind her looked like a familiar rider. I lost track of Jerry as he was right behind me in the line up. Cindy woke up with a sore throat and decided  not to aggravate the condition. I didn't spot Bill and Debbie from San Angelo, so I am not sure they made the line up.
However, the closer I got to the familiar rider, the more it looked like "Cowboy". Sure enough, it was Martin Robertson from below the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex whom we met on rides last year. Sorry Martin, I didn't see you at the rest stop to get your picture.
And then I thought I rolled up behind Jerry. Tall guy, nice jersey, must be Jerry. I wondered when he passed me, but in a mass start, one is more interested in avoiding other riders. Later at the first rest stop, Jerry rolled in and "thanked" me for waiting on him. I mentioned we lined up just in front of the 9 milers. Well, some 9 milers started up in front of us. When they were told to hold up, they just stopped and Jerry had to screech to a halt not to hit them. Then he found himself like a boulder in a swift current with riders passing around him on both sides blocking his start. That explained why the rider I was behind had on a white helmet when Jerry was wearing a blue one.
Look familiar? Remember Juanita from Rising Star whom we rode with on the Ballinger ride? She was planning on riding the 70 mile route and didn't stop at the first rest stop so we just had a short conversation. But, good seeing you again.
Christine was ready to leave by the time I arrived at rest stop 1. She was rested and full of fire the whole ride. It was like old times chasing her around rural roads and getting left in the dust. Remind me not to replace her other hip if it goes bad. Both Martin and Juanita asked where Christine was as I was by myself. I had to admit she was "way up there somewhere".
I was impressed that a tank had most of its water--unlike the tanks around our area.
Hills. While there were only two hills that registered 6% or so, (sorry Jerry, it just slipped out), most were long inclines that tend to wear one out.
Jerry mastering the hill. He was plagued by a bum knee and malfunctioning derailer all day so the hills were not his favorite part of the ride.
This terrain was more to our liking.
With Cindy's being grounded by a sore throat, she missed out on a lot of horses on the ride. Cindy is a competitive equestrian, so Cindy, here is a series of horse pictures just for you--three of the five miniature horses neatly alined for a portrait.

There was a very nice paint horse also, but I am not sure what happened to the photo.
A stretch of nice scenery. We're not accustomed to seeing green.
And speaking of nice scenery, I finally caught up with Christine and was able to ride with her--for a while. Then she sped off and I found myself touring alone.
This was at the top of one hill. I think the rider must have cramped up as I watched him try to mount one time, but his leg never got over the bike. Been there, done that.
More hills and scenery.
The major intersection in Carlton, Texas. A lot of our little towns are nearly ghost town stage.
Team work. If Rick had been on this ride, I am sure he would have stopped and helped out also.
My type of rider--the touring tourister. See something interesting, stop, and look. See something interesting, take a photo. Unfortunately, this year we can not stop and smell the flowers.
See something interesting and take a photo. One can get a lot of ideas on different kits on the rides. This one will result in an unique tan line on the back.

End of the ride. Not quite the yellow brick road but close enough. Dublin still has a lot of brick streets from the past. Please, don't modernize. We like you as you are.
 What more can you ask for? Christine is waiting for me at the finish line, cold Dr. Pepper in hand, and a saved shady spot under some grand live oaks. As part of the celebration, the riders were provided with all the original Dr. Pepper they could drink. It would be interesting to know how many cases we went through Saturday.
Riders at the finish line awaiting announcement of the race results. Chad Freeze from San Angelo raced the 70.1 miles and came in 11th. Yes, for Chad to place 11th, that meant Dublin attracted some pro racers at the event. So, great job Chad!
 Not all of us are racer material. Jerry arrived at the finish line, came over to us, and in a loud voice stated "I hate cycling"!! This drew some stares and chuckles as we were all bikers. Here he is still voicing his opinion about the number of hills. Even Chad, later on facebook, mentioned the hills, more hills, and---. By next Saturday, Jerry will have forgotten the aches and pains, the derailer will have been fixed, and we will take off again on some ride.
Strangely, none of us placed in our 34 mile race, so we left to go take a shower at the High School. Event directors, take note especially if the finish line is a distance from the start line, i.e., your vehicle. Dublin had a bike coral! Valet parking with a ticket to claim your bike. And a shuttle to take riders to their vehicle so they could come back and load their bikes from the finish area. Real neat arrangement.
We, being sturdy bikers, chose to ride our bikes back to the start line. Just had to get in one more hill.
Once showered, bikes loaded, and feeling refreshed, we took a tour of the town's celebration.
Fun things for the little kids.
Fun things for the big kids.
Dr. Pepper, take note. I think this photo would be a great poster for next year.
The sand sculpture behind Christine, Cindy, and Jerry.
The Dr. Pepper fountain store and museum. The lines for both attractions were extremely long so we decided to wait for the De Leon ride for our Dr. Pepper float.
Remember the soda delivery trucks? This old Ford truck was loaded with 7 Up.
More than one sign in town cited Dr. Pepper, Texas.
Nice park area touting Dr. Pepper.
I will end the ride write up with this banner. If I by chance forget what weekend the next ride will be held, all I have to do is go to this write up to refresh my memory (memories).


  1. I can see why there would be a competitive race field if you get free Dr. Pepper at the end.

    Glad to see Christine is getting back her form.

    Thanks for the secret training tips! I can see that I'll have to make some modifications to my training. I wonder if Bike Nashbar sells those little umbrellas that were hidden from the camera.

  2. I got hot and thirsty just reading this post! Christine is amazing. Her photo and bio are probably on the wall at her physio's place as a Number One Achiever. Nice sunny post. It's raining here all week.