Monday, June 15, 2009

Two Fat Cyclists Go North

Among other things, this past weekend, we went to the Collin Classic bike ride. We decided, as I mentioned to you last week, to ride the 34 mile route. In bike terms, this is about a 50K route, which would be something like a "half marathon" of biking, I guess, since the full-on courses are 100K. The distance should not have been a problem for us, except that, as I mentioned last week could happen, it was HOT people. Crazy hot. Not just a little bit hot but crazy hot. And humid.

These were the other people going 34 miles.

It was already a heat index of 85 when we lined up at 7:50am. Choke.

We got to the start location and unloaded the bikes, and my brake was sticking. We didn't get there a ton of time before the ride was to begin so we, no scratch that, I headed out to find the bike repair tent to have them check it out. S stood in line. Then he did finally followed me over there. He was miffed I had to go get the brake checked, I guess. Or just in a generally bad mood. I don't know. But, I got the brake fixed and we made it back in line in plenty of time. PLENTY of time.

Those people in the distance - they were going 55 miles.

There were WAY more people at this ride than the Mesquite ride last weekend. I'd say at least 2500 people. And they had us staged out in groups - furthest to shortest distance. The 55 mile people took off first, then the 47 mile people, then us, then the 22 mile and then the 15 milers.

There were more people at this one, but I would not say it was a better ride. The weather notwithstanding, the Mesquite ride was better run, nicer rest stops, and at least as nice of a course. The Mesquite ride was much nicer. Not that this one wasn't nice - it just wasn't last week's race.

We headed out on the course.

I figured, since last Monday's post was also about a bike race, I needed to find ways to make this post interesting. At least in some way different. So, I risked my life and limb to take photos and VIDEO for you from the actual course. I know, I know, you're forever eternally grateful, even though it probably will do nothing for the interestingness of this post. Blogger says interestingness isn't a word - how can that be?

A dash cam video.

That video right there is the first "dash cam" video I took for you. This was my idea after going to the Indycar race last week - I mean, dash cam videos are cool at an auto race, so I thought you guys would like a dash cam video from the bike ride. Right? Right?

This one was just as we were heading out. It sounded like a pretty morning, didn't it. It really was still fairly bearable at this point. And the grasses and trees are still green - this heat is just settling in for the summer. At this point, we were not in a whole lot of pain. Yet.

The fact that the sun already looks hot in these early photos should have been a clue to us.

Another dash cam video

OK, maybe this one really sounds more like a pretty morning, since the bird is audible. That is, just to let you know, not me asking, "which way" at the end of the video. It was a fellow rider, who was about 11.

We passed a golf course.

And lots of green fields.

And amber fields, too.

But, just as we got going - and it started spreading out...

Someone had a bad wreck up ahead of us.
They sent in the ambulance and paramedics to pick him up.

We all waited for them to check on him and get him in the ambulance.

We waited on bridge over lucky was that?

I mean, if I was riding by, I might not have see this pretty little creek.

And, it's OK to point this out, because in the end, the injured guy was a little scraped up but he was fine. Just fine. So, don't get your panties in a wad about me pointing out the pretty creek when a biker was down. It's just a sidebar. Really.

I'm sure this delay was the difference in our time.
Cough, cough.

Let me reiterate that everyone turned out OK.
It was OK!

Finally, they got him loaded up and taken care of.
And we were on our way again.

There were very pretty parts of this ride...
and from the pictures, a lot of shade.

But, there really wasn't a lot of shade. I think I just photo graphed the shade because it was so pretty to me when we passed into it. And out of the sun.

Also along the route - corn.

Corn will not be this high in Indiana until late July, early August. The saying in Indiana is the corn will be "knee high by the 4th of July." It still sort of doesn't seem right to have corn this high this early. In Texas, though, they can plant much earlier and get a crop in before the extreme heat and then sometimes they also plant after the heat, before the winter, a second crop.

We went through several lovely tiny towns.
Like Squeezepenny, TX.

We were glad to see the first rest stop.

S headed on over to check it out.

The rest stops, while more numerous, were not as nice. They had some slimy bananas, but no oranges. I was really craving an orange. And, they had some cookies and snack mix. And water and sport drink. But no bike repair or masseuse. We filled up and rested for a second and then got back on the road.

Now, right after this rest was the turn off for the 22 mile route. We should have taken it, given I was pretty sure the sunblock I had put on was already sweat off, the heat was really pretty unbearable already, and it was only going to get hotter during that extra hour of riding for the 34 mile course. But, we didn't. We kept on.

This recombinant bike enthusiast was at the first rest stop too.

When he wasn't broken down making repairs, he was passing us.
He passed us at least three times.

Once you are on "your" course, there is little bike traffic as compared to the main loop.

This would be the 34 mile section. I was dreading the hill up there in the distance. There were way more hills than I remembered when we drove the course earlier in the week. Or maybe the heat made even the slightest incline into an unbearable hill.

And, here's a bit about the conditions of our riding:

1. As mentioned last week, I am better at the hills than S is.

2. We learned this week, and really, during that fated week of practice in Austin, too, that S is better at heat than I am.

3. #2 trumps #1. There were times during this race when S was ahead of me - even on a hill. I was sufferin, people, sufferin.

Final dash cam video.

But the good thing about a good hill is it usually has two sides, and you can go to your heart's abandon down the other side. With the wind in your face. That video is of a quiet downhill jaunt.

The second rest stop was near horses.

They wandered over to be friendly once we had some food.

We didn't feed them anything. They were pretty to watch, though, while we tried to recuperate in the shade for a minute.

Once you come back around to the "loop" you meet up with other racers again and there's more "traffic." This is also proof that S was in front of me for most of this race. That's him, #1008.

I didn't take any photos at the third rest stop. It was about the same as the others. No horses, though. And at that point, I was no longer in a picture taking mood, you see. Not at all.

And, that's me. Shortly before the end of the race, actually. We could practically SEE the finish line, but I had to stop and rest in a patch of shade. I was toast. Literally and figuratively. My arms are SO BURNT that I'm glowing. It's not pretty. We stopped three times along the side of the road in shade for a little rest in the last 10 miles of the route. The heat was fierce and I just can't take the heat, people. I just can't. Thank you, S, of course, for capturing this monumental moment for me. I like to capture photos of myself when I look the worst. Ahem.

After we finally made it to the finish line we headed to the HS cafeteria for some air conditioning and some food. When we finished the race, the heat index was 99 degrees. 99! 99! 99! God help me. We finished in just under 4 hours. If you take out all the times we rested, we did amazingly keep our super fast speed of 10mph. I do think that part is amazing, and I think it means we went faster than 10mph during the first half of the race. We had to. Because I was not going fast on the second half...not that 10mph is fast, but I mean, I was not going as fast as I normally do. And S would wait for me from time to time. You know, when I gave up and went to sit on the side of the road for a second. Or five minutes. Or ten. You get the idea.

Clearly we were not so slow that everyone had already left. And, there were several people still out on the course. But, there were also lots of people who rode the 47 and 55 mile routes - lots of them - maybe even fair to say MOST of them - that finished before us. This is another place where the Mesquite ride was nicer - the post-ride food was not mediocre HS cafeteria fare. It was better.

The heat. The sun. The heat.

This week's bike ride - it was just really, really hard. Harder by a million times than last week. Very hard. Tough. A real test of our endurance. And it wasn't the distance - it was the heat, at least for me. In case you didn't get that by now. We both went home, took a shower and slept all afternoon. No joke. There's another bike ride next weekend in Italy, Texas. If its as hot as it was Saturday, we might be off the rides for a while. We might just have to ride ourselves in the early mornings and evenings. Welcome to Texas in the summer. Its not pretty. I hate it. And, I'll stay indoors, thank you. But, I'm still glad we're biking for exercise and that its something we can do together.

See you tomorrow!


  1. Sounds like you are "warming up" for the Wichita Falls "Hotter than Hell" ride coming up later this summer.

  2. As a fellow "translucent woman," I feel your pain and I am so proud of you for pushing through. It is difficult to explain to our beautiful, olive skinned friends that our skin and bodies will begin to crisp at 70 degrees. You did it- you represented for all of the northerners in the hizzouse. You should be so proud!


  3. CONGRATS!!!!!

    If I had a bike trailer and my 7-yr old was a little better on the bike, I'd bring the family up to Italy to ride with you next weekend - maybe another time...


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