Friday, May 15, 2015

Tour de RACHA

May 9, 2015
Waller, Texas
(RACHA--Ride Against Child Abuse)
Start time was 7:30 a.m. One year they started at 7 and must have received a lot of negative feedback. Now the only ride that starts at 7 that I am aware of is the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in August.
The event organizers announced that they had over 200 riders this year. There are two ways to determine the body count--number of paid participants or just count the people who go to the portable potties.
Brian Backlund from San Angelo attended and had a great ride (more later).
Christine was full of adrenaline and completed her longest ride of the year.
And, of course, I showed up. "Showed up" is very descriptive of my ride.
Start line up. Riders had a choice of 26, 48, or 62 miles. Brian and I were going to do the 48, and Christine was going to see how she felt at the first rest stop as to whether she would go 26 or try the 48.
This is an example of why I was excited to try this ride. The organizers had stated that it was mostly flat with a few rollers.
Waller, close to Houston, indeed was mostly flat. It reminded me of the flat Hobbs, New Mexico ride--but with trees and green grass.
Not sure what mile this was but Christine was still full of fire.
Good scenery all the way.
If one squints his eyes or enlarges the picture, there are some beautiful white water lilies on the pond.

Brian at rest stop 1. He had to wait and wait for Christine and me to get there. He was having a great ride.
Spanish moss in the trees.
Christine was still doing fine and decided to go the 48 miles.
Historical church at the rest stop.
Well, I have mentioned that Brian and Christine were going on the 48 mile route. I chose the 26. At rest stop 1 which was only 12 miles from the start line, my left lower leg was hurting and felt like it was going to freeze up and cramp. My latest malady is that I am being evaluated for a possible herniated disk. I can't walk or stand without being an "8" in pain. The good part is that it is not so painful when I sit. Therefore I can still ride.
The live oak blight that we have seen all over Texas has hit this area also.
But they sure have some great pine trees.
Since I was only going to do the 26 miles, I slowed down my pace and just enjoyed the scenery. At the slower pace, my leg stopped hurting so it turned out to be a great ride.
I was admiring the pretty trees on the right. I asked a person who was riding beside me what kind of trees they were. The answer I got was "trimmed." Duh. Must have been an out-of-towner like me. (Editor's note: They are brutally trimmed crepe myrtle bushes.)
A military person from hilly east Tennessee who rides with us in San Angelo stated that the bad thing about a flat course is that you have to pedal all the time. No resting while coasting down hill.
George Kendall, an 1840s journalist, considered the climate of Texas so healthy that he wrote, "If a man wants to die here he must go somewhere else."
Later, Tanya Tucker, a country and western singer followed up with
"When I die I may not go to Heaven.
Well, I don't know if they let cowboys in,
If they don't just let me go to Texas, boy,
'Cause Texas is as close as I've been."

I think the cows would agree with all of the above. Grass was so tall they could eat lying down.
And the crops in this area echoed William Bollaert (1840s) when he claimed Texas was so rich that "if you plant tenpenny nails, you'll have a crop of iron bolts." Kendall and Bollaert both sound like true Texans.
There were lots of flowers along the way but I never did spot a blue bonnet.
Indian Blanket flower
Thistle flower. 
Brown-eye Susan

All too soon we were back in "civilization" and close to the finish line.
 Christine enjoyed finishing her longest ride of the year. (Editor's note: One fourth of our ride had a 20 mph wind to our backs.)
Brian had one of his fastest averages this year. Maybe partly because a dog chased him. He was concentrating on the dog and missed his route turn. So he went on a 55 mile ride as he had to back track to the designated route. (Chased again as he doubled back).
I finished my route without mishap. I am looking forward to getting whatever is wrong with my body fixed and try the ride again next year. Both Brian and Christine said there were some rollers on their route. Neither complained, so it must not have been too steep or long. I can't wait to find out for myself so we will be putting this ride down on our calendar for a repeat next year.


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