This was the first time we did this ride. I think it was the 2nd annual. Held in a poor section of Oak Cliff in southwest Dallas, it took us about 45 minutes to get to the staging area. It's staged at the Calumet Community Center.
Parking seemed like it was going to be a problem. The guides were parking cars all over the place, in the parking lot, in the grass, in the tall weeds, everywhere. But there didn't seem to be a lack of space, and the guides were using every bit of it! It promised to be a very hot day (again). The ride started at 8am and we decided to skip the 62 miler and opt for the 40 miler. Good thing too. We had friends coming over for dinner and work to do when we got back home to prepare for it. 62 miles would have wiped me out and made the evening difficult.
The first 10 miles of the ride headed south through town and had some very rough roads. Lots of pot-holes, railroad tracks (bad ones!), and stop lights made the ride hard, and packed the riders together more than we like. We also were biking faster than we usually do trying out our new post-vacation legs. We upped our overall speed average from about 15 mph to 17 mph. Pretty good for Anne and me. After that first 10 miles things changed as we headed out into the country. We were right up on top of the Cedar Hill antenna farm when we took a northwest turn away from Highway 67 and headed down toward Joe Pool Lake. The ride downhill was great and opened onto a long, 15 mile flat stretch that crossed the Lake, ran northwest along the west side of the lake, then crossed back on the way to the finish line. We picked up Steve on the hill down and road with him until he turned off to his car. Maybe we'll see him at the HHH next week, he's planning on going. I'm supposed to stand at the starting line and yell "Hey Steve!" and he's going to answer me "Hey Stewart!". We'll see....
The ride had some fantastic views from the hills around Cedar Hill, and the lake was very nice. There was a light, hot breeze that seemed to be in our face the whole route. We never figured out how that happened. Maybe we picked up the speed enough to have aparent wind in our faces the whole time. I don't know, but with the heat, it wasn't welcome.
We were both careful to drink a lot of water and refill our camelbak's often. It worked great, except I think I was getting a bit overheated near the end. Probably from pushing to get the average up, and the temperature climbing into the high 90s.
At the 39 mile mark we stopped at a rest stop. This was not a good sign since the ride was supposed to be 40 miles! The support folks assured us we had 5 or 6 more miles to go and a good climb. Ugh. We were ready for the end and this was not good news. So back on the bikes and keep chugging. It was more mental than anything else, we both felt good and probably could have kept going for the 62 miler (except maybe for the heat).
We arrived back at the Calumet Community Center about 11:15 am. That's almost exactly three hours total, counting rest stops. Pretty good for us! We packed up the bikes and headed home. Although the roads were rough at the beginning, the rest of the ride made up for it. Now that "Hammer the Hills in Duncanville" is gone, this ride will make a nice replacement.
One more thing, this ride covers some of the same route as the Grand Prairie Grand Prix, but taking it backwards.
And finally, we only stopped at 2 rest stops, at 20 miles and 49 miles. I probably should have stopped at more, but we wanted to push and see what we could do.