08/10/1996 - Rockwall, TX - Hot Rocks (also known as the "Rockwall Rotary Ride") - S.French
40 miles about 14.5 MPH

This year we decided to drive over on Saturday morning instead of staying at the Clear Lake B&B like we did the last 2 years. Turns out that driving over that early, we left at 6:30am, makes the trip a 45 minute drive! When we would drive over on Friday night it would take over an hour. We had some fairly heavy rain on Friday and the forecast was for more rain on Saturday. It was overcast when we left home and stayed overcast and cool all day. The wind started from the east at about 5-10 mph and shifted into the south about halfway into the ride. Overall, very nice biking conditions.

We arrived at the high school about 7:30am. The ride started at 8am so we had a lot of time to pick up our packets and get the bikes in order. They were giving away bike helmets to the first 1000 (?) bikers. But we didn't want one, anyway, the line was pretty long for them. These folks supporting Hot Rocks get the most corporate/business sponsors that I've ever seen. They got 48 businesses to sponsor the ride this year. I know this because I'm wearing the T-shirt right now and I counted the names! The T-shirt this year is nicer than before. The sponsors are listed on the front with a cool bike picture on the back.

The organizers planned a new, better route this year. Last year and the year before they had a route that included a large loop in it. We'd bike east along I-30, turn off to the south, turn again to the west, then north back to I-30 and repeat that loop. They must have gotten a lot of complaints about it. I mean, we _are_ in Texas, and _we_do_ have a lot of farm land to work with. So this route went north from the high school a short distance then turned east and headed into Royse City, TX. Then south across I-30. Here's where the 60 milers turned off for a 10 mile excursion along the access road, out and back, to merge back with the others on the south side of I-30. The route went south, then west. The 60 milers then tooks another small loop through some very expensive homes. Don and D'ann said that these homes were gigantic and the loop was well worth doing. We'll do it next year if the route holds. The route continued north and crossed I-30 and headed back to the high school.

The route was very flat, probably the most flat route we've done. It's usually a difficult ride because of the heat, but not this year! Highs were only in the 80s. It was very nice.

Lasting impressions:

  • They had stew again this year! Yeah, I know it sounds weird eating hot stew at mid-day, at the end of a bike ride in Texas in August, but it was _good_! And the bagels were great.
  • I'm glad we went through Royse City. The Clear Lake B&B has a Royse City address but we had never seen this little town.
  • The organizers had a lot of very friendly police controlling traffic. They did a great job stopping traffic and keeping the bikers moving along.
  • They offered cash prizes for the racers this year. We saw packs of racers blazing along _way_ faster than we were riding, passing us up and disappearing from sight in front of us. I remember this happening last year in the loop. We were completing our first loop when the racers passed us completing their _second_ loop! Yow!