Saturday was the Aledo Ride for the Heroes, in Aledo TX. It was a fundraiser ride, to benefit various small community fire departments and police in Parker County. This was the 10th anniversary ride, and I opted to try the 73 mile route. Now there was a disclaimer on the main page, that Parker County has hills, but having lived in the Collin County area for almost 9 years, I didn't believe them to be serious. Hehehe...
The weather forecast, which had been marginal early in the week, had steadily improved, until it was forecast for sunny skies and almost no wind! You don't get better than that in Texas! It was even darned chilly (48deg F) just before the ride started. Most folks were dressed in arm warmers, jackets and tights or leg warmers to be able to strip off layers as the day warmed.
It was projected that there might be upwards of 1100 riders at the start, for routes of varying lengths--8, 23, 35, 44, 62, and 73 miles. Wanting to test myself a little, and log my most miles for the year, and in fact since I don't exactly remember when, I chose 73 miles. The route was fairly narrow for the first 10 or so miles, and crowded with lots and lots of riders. Riding the recumbent, I don't go so fast UP any inclines (aka hills), but I do descend rather faster than most of the DF riders. This created a problem for me, as I was unused to descending in heavy bike traffic on the 'bent, and kept having to brake so as not to run up on someone's back wheel. Plus folks were all over the road, (we had police closing off roads for us to safely occupy the whole road) so it was ill advised to weave through them.
Things thinned out quite a bit as routes peeled off, and folks stopped at the first couple SAG stops. The SAGS were well-supported with Portables at each stop, typical ride chow, and the neat thing, enough volunteers who would offer to hold your bike upright (no kickstands) while you took care of business! I kinda like the idea of Bike Valets!
After SAG 2, I became concerned over my speed and time (I am not speedy going up hill, and it turns out Texas isn't flat! I have been thoroughly disabused of the idea that Texas is flat! In fact, the Garmin says I climbed some 4000+ feet Saturday! YIKES! No wonder I was pushing to make 12mph avg... Anyway, after SAG 2, I skipped past the next couple SAGs, and lost count of which one was next. So when I did stop for some food and liquids to refill with, I asked what SAG it was, and it turned out I was at SAG 6! I had expected it to be #5, so I was actually encouraged. I knew the cutoff for the 62mi route was just ahead. When I left the SAG, I decided to continue with the plan of the 73 mile route, as I got to the cutoff before they closed the 73mi loop.
As other folks will tell you, if you find their ride reports, there were some "interesting" hills on the north part of the route. In particular, I liked the downhills, as I was able to make up some lost time. I may not climb well, but I descend like a bat outta hell! Unfortunately, after every nice downhill, we were forced to climb right back out of the valleys, slogging up all the hills, and hills, and more hills. "Please, God, enough with the hills already!" I do recall saying that more than once on this ride!
The ride ended with a long, 1-mile slog up a hill to the I-20 overpass. Some kind soul even wrote in chalk at the bottom "Last Hill" for all to see. Then it was downhill to the High School, some nice food, and the van to drive home. The ride organizers were even prepared enough to keep good food on hand for those of us out on the 73mi route who were slow. I did NOT finish last, nor was I the last recumbent on the route! I did 73mi in 6:06 ride time, or approx 6:45 total time from the starting bell at 8:30. So I spent less than an hour stopped, which is a lot better than I thought I was doing. Next time I do this ride, I will know better than to think Texas is flat. But at least at the end of the day, the only thing I felt, was TIRED!
Here's what my ride data looks like from the Garmin.
Aledo RFH by monkeywrangler22 at Garmin Connect - Details