August 23, 2014
Just outside the entrance to the registration/vendor building was the neatest travel accommodations. What more could you want?
Inside the vendor building was Liz and her friends. Registration and shopping completed.
Early the next morning, I took a shot of Christine as it would be a while before we met up. She was going to do the 50 mile and I was riding the 100K (62 mile).
Brian from San Angelo was riding the 100K also. I am happy he did. He pulled me through the wind all day and kept my spirits up.
There were several reports as to how many riders there were. One estimate was 10,800, another 12,000, but we saw bib numbers in the 14,000's. Take your pick, there were a lot of us.
"Day" was getting brighter and brighter. There was some kind of delay, so it was later than usual when we finally started.
Also lined up with the 100K riders was Jesse from San Angelo.
Finally, it was our block's (6th street) turn to take off and soon we passed Pyro Pete. Ahead over the road was the official start line and our timing chips would activate. (Thanks to Brian's pulling me, I was #1 in my age division, just don't ask how many were in my division).
From the start, an example of Brian's pulling me.
Rest stop #1. Brian and I decided to by-pass this one as the ride seemed to have just started.
But later it would drag out. Small rollers like the one in the horizon kept the ride a little interesting.
What was lacking in hills was made up for by a good wind.
Inclines were not terribly steep, just long. However, as I recall, this incline did reach 6%.
Rest stop #2 is a very popular stop. As the 50 milers split off from the group right after RS #1, this stop had the 100 and 100K riders. You can tell it was the more experienced riders who picked up some Tout de France techniques along the fence line.
The previous comment was somewhat justified as the crowd was packed at least a "block" past the tents in the distance, and one can see the continued overflow on the road to the right.
We spent as little time as possible at RS 2 and thus were spared the cluster as the main group left to continue their ride. In the past years, there has always been an accident on one of the declines right after RS 2. We wanted to avoid that delay.
This intersection was the split between the 100 milers and the 100K's. Turn left for the 100 mile, stay straight for the 100K.
On this leg, the wind was behind us. This was a fun stretch of road.
Rest stop 3. You had to line up just to get inside the tent. The day was starting to heat up.
When I spotted the huge dog down the road, my heart beat picked up a little. It was little comfort that the rider in front of me still had both of his legs. As it turned out, the dog was not only friendly, I don't even think he acknowledged my presence.
Yes, it was getting hotter. Every time there was shade you could see riders taking advantage of it.
How hot was it? Garmins are always accurate, right? This temperature was the heat reflected off the pavement. The Sunday paper stated the temp. reached barely 100 degrees by 3:00 p.m., but at 11:00 a.m. the heat was becoming a challenge.
Not a hallucination from the heat. The two on the right were riding unicycles. I think they were part of the 50 milers as the 100K and 50 milers merged at the last rest stop. Brian and I met up with Christine and Jeffri at their 40 and our 50 mile rest stop.
One of the highlights of the ride--Sheppard Air Force Base. If one is trying to justify not riding the 100 miles, this is the reason. The 100 milers do not get to go through SAFB.
A friendly pilot volunteered to take a photo of our group with some other pilots. So I finally got to be in a picture. Also, there was Christine, Jeffri, and Brian.
Brian riding past one of the "small" jets.
Sheppard had a lot of planes on display this day.
Another highlight of the Sheppard stop. Airmen line the street cheering riders on. It was plenty hot, but they all were cheerful and enthusiastic.
Ride was over and Christine was enjoying her favorite recovery drink.
As was Brian. He deserved it after pulling me for 62 miles.
Jeffri just had tea but her spirits were high without a "recovery" drink.
Back at the hotel, Brian and Christine enjoyed their Tour de Hot Tub. Note that I was able to publish a wider shot this time. However, the hotel at our next scheduled ride does not have a hot tub, so this one may be my close out for this year. But, we already have Wichita Falls reservations for next year, so we shall see what I get to publish then.