Steam-N-Wheels is the one race per year that Christine and I participate in. Located in Abilene some 90 miles up the road from San Angelo, it is a popular event for the San Angelo cyclists.
One person stated he counted 25 from San Angelo, I found a few.
Bill and Debbie Yohman along with Velma Ogan.
Rick and Velma Ogan
Janis and Gene Potter, Christine in background.
Lucy Jochum once again showed up at the event and was caught primping for the ride.
Line up time. It seemed like a smaller crowd this year. Weather was great, so attendance may have been influenced by transportation cost.
Rick and Velma on their tandum. Incidently, they came in first place, tamdum category. Christine lined up, more about her later, and Brian Backlund. Brian did not place in his category as he hung back and rode with us.
Head of the line up with all the fast hopefuls.
Mike Blakeman held back and rode with us, too. He was a big help as we took turns in the lead.
Kathy Walker all smiling and happy as well she should be. She came in second in her category.
Marlon Miller (facing camera) wearing his New York Yankees jersey. Marlon came in 49th overall if I remember correctly.
Tamra Roberts, hard to see as she is just in front of the man with the red K, came in first in her category. Devin (not shown) came in first in his category, and Bill Cullins (not shown) was second in his category. As there was not an official awards ceremony, the count of how many San Angeloans placed in the race is still slowly being reported.
And we were off.
The first part of the ride was every man for himself--it was a race afterall. Christine always has excess adrenaline on these rides and was way ahead of me. Usually in 20-30 miles she uses up her energy and I catch up and we ride together, or by reverse, I leave her behind. But in the meantime, I tucked in behind a large guy and drafted for a while. A little later, Eddie Trevino from San Angelo and I took turns at lead. We were doing quite well and making good time. Then I experienced another attack of cognitive dissonance. Down the road I spotted a familiar figure in the process of changing a tire--Christine! Now, Steam-N-Wheels is a race--every man for himself--right? She had dropped me and didn't look back. So I should just wave at her and keep going--right? Stop or keep going? Stop or keep going? It was a race--right?
You guessed it. A race is just one event. Leaving her to change her own flat could have a long term impact. So I stopped.
While changing Christine's flat, Mike Blakeman also stopped. We decided to form a team and take turns at the lead. Worked quite well.
At rest stop # 2, Brian Backlund was waiting for us and started riding with us as well as taking his own turns at the front.
The course had plenty of rollers but straight stretches also make up a good deal of the route.
The field of wildflowers was expansive.
More of the straight stretch. But trust me, there were plenty of rollers. The steepest was a 6% grade, so there was just the long haul versus teeth grinders.
A patch of blue bonnets came upon me so fast that I almost did not react in time. I was not concentrating on scenery as this was supposed to be a race.
Close to the end of the ride the route was mostly level and the wind was finally to our backs.
As repeatedly mentioned, Steam-N-Wheels is a race--and a tour. I have mentioned what a few of the San Angeloans did in the race but have not revealed Christine's or my results. If they were going to be announced in the newspaper, the headlines would read:
LOCAL LADY SHINES IN ABILENE RACE!!
LOCAL MAN BOMBS IN ABILENE RACE!!
Christine was first in her category. I was not in the top three.
Oh well. There is always next year. And I have a whole year to help Christine practice changing her own flats.
As for me, a race is a good way to identify one's weaknesses to work on, so I have a year to work on my
STRENGTH, ENDURANCE, AND SPEED!