05/04/1996 - Fort Worth, TX - Cowtown Classic - S.French
33 miles, about 13 mph

The Cow Town Classic is held on the south side of Forth Worth near Anne's brother, Tom and his family's apartment. So we usually do the ride then go by and visit them for a while. This year was no different. After the ride Anne and I met them at the Luby's cafeteria (my favorite!) within walking distance of their apartment and Joyce, Emily, and Amelia walked over to meet us for lunch.

The ride started at 8am. We left the house at about 6:15am and met Alan and headed over in two cars. The weather was a bit chilly (well, chilly for Texas in the summer is about 55 degrees) with a 15-20 mph wind out of the northwest. This is a very odd direction for around here. Last year the wind was out of the south. The ride heads straight south, then turns southwest for a few miles, then straight back north to the finish line. Usually the ride is very hard during the first half because of the wind, then at the turn-around point, it gets very, very easy due to the south wind. So this year it was the opposite. The first half was very easy and it got much harder at the turn-around point. We found, that this actually is better because the temperature is much nicer later in the day, and the warm wind is easier to take than a cool wind. Also, the road surface on the 1st half was bad, very rough and bouncy. While on the return trip it was smooth, smooth, smooth!

There were a lot more people there this year. We parked and walked to the signup tent. Although we _should_ have, We hadn't pre-registered this year and needed to get signed up, get our free water bottles and T-shirts. In 1995 the Cow Town Classic was cancelled due to a tremendous, record-breaking hail storm that blew through. The organizers still had T-shirts left over from 1995, 1994, and earlier. They didn't have any left for 1996, so they let us pick out one from the previous years. The water bottles were left overs from 1995 too. I expect it'll take a few more years to recover from that hailstorm.

We were a little later than usual, so after we'd registered and got the bikes ready, we just went ahead and headed out. The other 33 milers had _just_left a few seconds ago, so we were timed perfectly. They had setup 18 mile, 33, 55, and 100 mile courses. We decided that the 33 was for us because the 55 is really too long. I sure wish they'd had a 40-45 miler. That's my favorite distance.

This route has very few hills (I really don't remember any that caused alarm) and lots of medium distances with slow turns. The route back going north had a lot a straight-aways, then sharp left turn, short distance straigt, then sharp right turn. We crossed railroad tracks a couple of times on that part of the route that Anne and I remember clearly from last year.

In would remember what was coming up just prior to getting there. This happens sometimes, but for me it seemed to happen more rally than usual. While driving into the wind Anne and I practiced our technique of drafting. Anne'd be in front and I'd be within inches of here back tire. We'd bike along this way for a few miles with me drafting her, then we'd switch. This works really, really well making the wind much less difficult to deal with. Alan joined us a few times too.

The ride started about 8am and we rolled in about 10:50. Just enough time to change shirts and head over to Luby's for lunch. Alan had other comitments, so he packed up and headed home.