04/19/1997 - Mesquite, TX - Mesquite Rodeo Ride - Stewart French
40 miles, 13 mph

Alan, Anne, and I arrived at the Mesquite Rodeo in Mesquite about 8:30am. The ride started at about 9. They had a huge tent setup on the east side and were parking cars all around the Rodeo grounds. A set of orange markers were setup all over the parking lots. We didn't know at the time, but the markers were setup for a criterium course. They marked off a course that snaked all around the Rodeo parking lot completely surrounding the Rodeo itself. On our return trip back from the 40 mile ride we crossed the course to get back to our car while the race was going on. None of us had seen a criterium live before and those bicycles were really moving!

We got our bikes ready and headed out. The course was a very large series of turns that snaked south and east then back north toward the west shore of Lake Ray Hubbard. Each turn was well marked and usually had one or more police officer directing traffic. This was an extremely well organized ride! The day itself was cool with little wind (that I can remember). The limp flags at the Rodeo told the tale. The turns were actually a very nice effect. The temperature was mild.

The whole ride was broken up into a lot of short straight-aways then a 90 degree turn, over and over. This made the ride very short (mentally anyway). Their were a few hills, but nothing gruesome. One was marked at the bottom "Bubba's Hill". It was a nice little hill; Alan though it might rival one of the sisters, but it seemed pretty easy once we were over it. In fact, they were all like that!

After the ride we got in line at the tent for the free lunch catered by Outback Steakhouse. They had grilled chicken sandwiches with all the fixins for everyone. Someone was giving away free ice cream from a truck in the parking lot, and we helped ourselves! After that we stood around and watched the Criterium race for 15-20 minutes. Zip, Zoom, watch em fly! Truly members of "Team Testosterone" in action.

Things I remember.

  • My wheels were new on my bike and hadn't had there 1st adjustment yet. My old Trek wheels that came on my Trek 520 started to disintegrate at the end of last season. The spokes appeared to be pulling the rim appart and cracks were appearing all around the edges. Very strange. The folks at Richardson Bike Mart ordered me two new wheels and put them together for me at the end of last season. Now the spokes had stretched a bit and the rear wheel wasn't round any more. As I biked along the wheel would flex and I could feel it doing it. Very strange feeling. I took my bike in after the ride and had the spokes tightened and rims trued.
  • There was a long, long line to get to the free lunch. But it moved pretty fast and we got a chance to talk to people a bit.
  • Alan pre-registered but they had lost his forms. The workers handled it real well and got him along while we waited.
  • Anne is absolutely positive that the Texins Power Cycling class is helping her technique, power, and endurance on the rides (starting with this one). I'm not completely sure, but I think that those classes are messing up my knees. It's either that, or the new aerobics shoes combined with Naz's class. I've found that shoes make a huge difference in the aerobics classes. The wrong shoes can screw up my back, knees, and ankles faster than just about anything. Anyway, to find out about the spinning class, I'll have to get my shoe problem figured out, get healthy again, and start back in with spinning. See what happens then...