March 21, 2015
The annual race/fun ride that inspires one to start working out in January to prepare for this event. If 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in your age group, it is a race. If you come in 4th or more, it is a fun ride. One cannot lose.
One may not lose, but you take a gamble on what the weather will be on that day. This time we had temperatures in the low 50's and sprinkles most of the day. Above is one of the parking lots we used as a warm up area. I didn't get warm though, just chilled. On fairer ride days of the past this overflow lot is full of riders' cars.
Ready to go was Jerry Middleton from San Angelo. Besides Christine and myself, there were only two others, Bill Cullins and Dionne Hoelsken, from San Angelo.
Christine all bundled up before the ride. Jerry in the background was placing his bicycle in a convenient place for someone to steal it. He had no such luck so he was forced to ride.
A lonely stretch of the road close to the beginning of the ride. One can see the wet pavement and over-cast day but not the temperature from the picture.
I must confess early on that I was wearing thick gloves and could not easily turn the camera on or off. So I have a lot of blooper shots.
The road is deceiving as it is a false flat. For the first 20 miles, the route is a slight and steady incline interspersed with low rollers.
Rest stop 1. Couldn't come soon enough. Jerry was still waiting for someone to steal his bike and placed it by a sign. He looked for some "For Sale" letters, but no luck. He was going to be forced to complete the ride. I have to correct myself on the number of riders from San Angelo. Christine mentioned that they met Mr. White from San Angelo at this rest stop. He indicated to them that he may start riding with us on our routine group rides.
About mile 31 it stopped sprinkling. I passed a lady and remarked that the rain had stopped and if the wind would reverse direction and push us along, I would not have anything to gripe about. She retorted that she would! Her toes were cold!
TOES? My toes were so cold that they went numb and that is why I had forgotten and failed to mention them in my wishful thinking. When I think about it, my fingers were cold, my face felt frostbitten, my ears were sagging from ice cycles, and my butt was getting numb.
But I kept pedaling.
Christine's story: Well, dear readers, nobody likes to hear about cold toes, fingers, noses, ears, cheeks, sweaty but cold spandex, and rain drops dripping from the helmet, so I won't bother you with such details. And thank you, Jerry, for letting me draft behind you at a critical time.
Off in the distance, another roller. All said and done, one cannot complain about the terrain too much as we only had a 1,827 feet elevation change over the 48 miles.
Rest stop 2. Start of the last leg. All "down hill from here"--except for the constant inclines with seemingly no reciprocal decline.
Finish line and coming up on the staging area. For those who are curious, yes, I was 1st place in my age category. Wasn't all that great of an accomplishment, all I had to do was complete the course, upright, and under my own power.