08/15/1998 - Hot Rocks - Rockwall, TX, S.French
43 miles - 16.5 mph
This ride was exactly one week after our last day of biking near
Seattle on our Backroads vacation. We got up early and headed over to
Rockwall this year instead of staying at the Clear Lake B&B. It only
took about 50 minutes to drive over there. The organizers had changed
the route again this year and also had changed the starting and ending
points of the ride. It used to start and end at a high school, but
this year was moved to another site (a new high schools?? we didn't
look that close!). The parking at the new site was pretty far away
from the registration desks, which is unfortunate. We arrived in
plenty of time but ended up getting started late because of the walk
required to get our packets. The route keeps getting better and
better as the organizers refine it. This year we headed much further
east and north through the small towns of Nevada, Josephine, and Royse
City. The 43 mile and 62 mile routes stayed together until about 5
miles from the end. The was absolutely perfect allowing people to
wait to decide whether to stretch their ride another 20 miles. Once
you've got 40 miles under your belt another 20 doesn't seem so bad.
Anne and I only did the 43 mile because we picked up our pace a lot.
We usually do 14 mph, but this time we really pushed and bumped our
average up to 16.5 mph. The route helped a lot, being flat with
reasonably good road surfaces, and the weather was very fine with
moderate temperatures and _no_ wind. At a couple of points we spotted
flags and they were completely limp.
This is the best we have ever done on a bike rally. We both felt very
strong during the ride and very tired once the ride was over!
Things we remember:
- Hanging with the faster riders
- nice rolling hills at the beginning (Anne remembers this but I have
no memory of it) then flat from that point on
- Really bad road surface near the 25-30 mile point. Compressed gravel
- being passed on both sides by some stupid bikers running in a pack
We got "swmarmed". I yelled at them. (But most of the bikers were very
- Stopping at the rest stops was very hot since there was no wind. We
skipped the first two rest stops and only stopped twice to get water
and some fruit.
- I saw a guy with the number 18 on his back. I asked him how
he got that low number?!? Turned out to be James Welker who I
work with! I didn't recognize him and he didn't recognize me until
we started talking. The numbers were handed out randomly and he
didn't do anything special to get such a shall number.
- At the end we packed up our bikes and left without going back to the
festivities. It was just too far away from the car to mess with it.
Had we been able to park in a close-in parking lot we might have
stayed. But we'd have to arrived an hour early to get close-in.