Sunday, February 26, 2012

Door Key Road

It wasn't officially windy. does not indicate "Windy" until it is over 20 mph. So 17 mph doesn't count--unless you are riding into it. And we have an unofficial ride rule that the temperature must be over 55 degrees.
If it's colder than that Christine wears so many layers she can't bend her knees. So, 60 degrees with a 17 mph wind does not halt a ride. Thus, some of us bundled up (the hearty wore short sleeve jerseys, but not I) and headed out to Door Key Road.
Although we had been out to Door Key Road many times last season, as it is the new location of the San Angelo bike club's road time trials, when I was searching for a picture, it appeared that July 2010 was the last time we had ridden the route as a group ride.
Why was I looking for a stock picture when I was just out on the road? My hands had so many gloves on them I could not press the right buttons on my camera without stopping, taking off my gloves, turning on the camera, etc. So I had to use a July 2010 photo of the road's namesake sign. (No, I am not through whining as I haven't even started talking about the ride yet).
 In order, Liz Rappe', Velma Ogan, Wilbur Thomas, and Christine Jones. "Group" pictures were piece-meal as
 Mike Buck and Gene Potter were eager to get started.
Just down the road as it appears to end, it turns right and straight into the wind.
As I took no pictures on the road, I will just bore you with a description of what we encountered. First we started at 1975 ft. elevation, and 14 miles later we ended at 2338 ft. elevation. The first half of the total ride was an upward climb. There were 14 major blips (to me a blip is a high point of a climb) and a total of 37 blips. So we would climb and climb and climb. The average climb was between 4-6% grade. Add to that the 17 mph wind. For those not yet bored, loosely, each 5 mph of wind equals a 1% grade. So, a 17 mph wind in and of itself is equal to a 3.4% grade. Add that to the hill grade and "voila," we were climbing at 7.4-9.4% grade. (This was added just for Jerry's entertainment as he couldn't make the ride Saturday. All who have followed Jerry's rides know how much he likes hill and percent of grade talk). With the detailed explanation of the hills, elevation, and wind; then my mph average on the first leg is easily understood and I will be whom I do not know.
 As we finally finished the first part of the ride, I was too busy huffing/puffing/telling war stories and wondering out loud if we had ever ridden this road in such conditions to take pictures of the group. As luck would have it, Wilbur and Christine finished their ride and I had the wherewithal to snap a picture.

Now the good part. Whining aside, as one might expect, on the return trip, the wind was to our backs and all of the road generally was back down to our 1975 ft. elevation. What a blast. The return trip was worth the effort going out, so I can reveal that the return trip was over 20 mph average. Sometimes going downhill, I would spin out and be forced just to coast.  
 Mike and Velma at the end of the ride pretending they had been waiting for me "for ages."
 Gene rolled in still full of fire.
 Liz came in with her "I am glad we did it--and I am glad it is over" smile. 
 Hard to tell from the distance but Christine's smile was forced. Can one tell she doesn't like chilly weather?
 Wilbur, laid back as ever. Even though we have had several short rains already this year, most of our pastures are brown. There is a potential of wildflowers on the sides of the road if we get the promised showers next week as indicated.  
 The wind was still whistling in my ears so loudly that I couldn't hear if Wilbur was telling Mike about a fishing trip or a snake on the road.
Arguably, the best part of a ride. The socialization afterward.

Remind me to SAG to the end next time and just ride the downhill with the wind and watch me :  )