09/21/1996 - Grand Prairie, TX - Grand Prairie Grand Prix - S.French
approx 27 Miles 14 MPH

Anne was sick for this one. So I met Alan at his house at 6:45am (the ride started at 8:45am) and we packed up and headed over to Grand Prairie. I'd heard the organizers were apparently trying to draw more people and had setup a nice camping area and offered a speghetti dinner on Friday night and pancake breakfast on Saturday morning. They _always_ have a speghetti lunch after the ride. Alan wanted to keep the miles low so we did the 50 kilometer. We took a new route down there and arrived early. It was chilly and very, very clear Saturday morning with a very light breeze that slowly picked up during the day to, maybe 10 mph. It was wonderful biking weather. We picked up our packets (I got Anne's for her), headed for the car, and prepared the bikes. They park the cars about 1/4 mile away from the start and had setup the roads to run the cars on the opposite side of the road than was usual. It felt very strange driving down the left side of the road, kinda British. We biked over to the start and got in line near the back. They started the 100K bikers first, then the rest 15 minutes later. The 50K was a true out and back. They had very good rest stops every 7-8 miles (which is very frequent). We stopped at the 1st, third, and (I think) fifth. The ride was pretty flat with only a few fun hills on some very new roads. The route was mostly the same as last year except for the part where they routed us onto the new roads. Also, last year they had routed us into a residential area that wasn't very well marked and lots of people got confused and ended up cutting a few miles off the route by turning around and returning too early. They'd fixed that this year and we didn't go into the residential area. At the turnaround point there was a small town that was quite busy with lots of trucks and cars going both ways on bad roads. Luckily we didn't spend much time there and the traffic was generally fine over the rest of the route. This year was just like last year (without the wind). It seemed that 80% of the ride was during the first half! After the turnaround it just felt like a breeze biking back to the finish. I have no idea why this was so since there wasn't really much wind. Last year the wind was _very_ strong for the outgoing leg of the trip. We rolled into the finish, biked over to the car and loaded the bikes up. Then we drove over to the speghetti dinner. I was looking for that guy with the pierced nipples from last year, but I couldn't find him! They had a tent setup with a line already formed for the lunch. We got in lunch, got our speghetti, picked out a table and started eating. Some other folks came by and we talked for a bit about the ride and other stuff. Very friendly people on a really nice ride.

Lasting impressions:

  • Speghetti lunch. Best part of this ride.
  • The ride started at the lake and ended at the lake. There was a bridge that crossed the lake we traveled over that had a wonderful view both ways of the water.
  • Excellent weather, cool, slight breeze, clear skies.
  • I think there was less people here than last year. Of course, this day competes with lots of fall activities around DFW. The Plano balloon festival, cowboys game, food/crafts festivals in downtown, other stuff.
  • Nice, long-sleeve T-shirts. The goody bag was filled with stuff including cookies, golf tees, and some "wound dressing". The wound dressing was marked as good for "radiation dermatitis". Hmmm... did we go by a nuclear power plant and not notice it?!