July 23, 2011
Bummer. Not the ride, the rider. But first...
Three hundred fifty three showed up for the annual Tour de Gap benefiting the Abilene Food Bank.
As I was wandering around, I came across a few people from San Angelo. Rick Ogan. (Rick, I needed you at mile 5.81 when my front tire went flat--had to fix it myself--and with the help of Liz Rappe' and Christine. We managed, but I looked around for you first).
Shane Plymell--a local San Angelo racer. And a demon on the time trials.
Scott White. Another local racer and incidentally placed 6th in his age group. We will get him into the time trials before the season is over.
Brenda White. (Scott's mom). Brenda and her husband Chuck were regular riders on our group rides until they started a business that took up their spare time. Good to see you again, Brenda.
Before I could run across the other riders from San Angelo, it was line-up time. This was the front line of the 77 mile racers. Close up front were Chad Freeze, Scott, Shane, and adopted San Angeloean Lance Bowers.
The rest of us--52 milers, 27 and 11. In the crowd, I did not spot Gene Potter, Neal McSpedden, Brian Backlund or Marlon Miller (were your there?)
I did spot Rick and Velma in the line up. That was the last time I saw them until the finish line.
National Anthem was played by trumpeter Jose Gonzalez, and then
we were off. As mentioned, a little over 5 miles into the ride, my front tire went flat. By the time it was fixed, we were by ourselves in the pack. Oh well, we are used to it.
Second clue about how far behind we were: we started meeting the 27 milers on their return trip and rest stop two was still around the corner.
After rest stop two, we turned right onto highway 83. Nice that it was flat, as we--again--had a 12-15 mile an hour wind in our face. I actually stopped one time to see if my brakes were dragging since I was laboring and going slowly. Nope, my brakes were fine. It was just the rider.
Upon leaving the metropolitan area of Bradshaw, we hit the cross wind so the going was a little easier...for some.
I was going to use this ride as a gauge to see if I could finish the 52 miles in an equivalent time to get me to Hell's Gate before the cut off time at the Hotter'n Hell Hundred. Well, as one could tell, I did not finish in time to make the cut off. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't have even made it to the Purgatory Gate if they had one.
One has been hearing about my problems on the ride. This is Chad Freeze, one of the San Angelo racers. At about mile 30, his bike went off the road--maybe with the help of another racer--. Chad was knocked out. He had staples on the other side of his head, scrapped arms and legs but at this moment, it appears nothing is broken. Except for his helmet.
Chad has just a little over four weeks to heal and get ready for the Hotter'n Hell Hundred. He is signed up for the elite pace group riders.
And another boo boo. The previous day, Christine and I were at the State Park on her second--AND LAST--mountain bike ride. Or at least so she says now. As she fell, she hit her chin on a rock. Her left fingers were jammed--now swollen, and fell on the scarred part of her leg from the hip replacement.
As I rounded the corner at the State Park, I saw her sitting by the side of the trail, the bike down. I asked her if she were just waiting for me or did she fall? She said, "I fell, but I didn't break my fingernails."