The Lonestar Rando Group is a great bunch of people and one of the treats of a ride is the pre-race dinner on longer rides, or the post-race dinner on short ones - if you can find enough people. I was sad this time. Putting out fires at work kept me from making it to the pre-race meal.
The morning started out a little cooler than predicted and I was happy that I had brought my jacket. This ride started fast with Bryan McKenney and two other riders. Bryan and I started fast, working at 24+ and we were down to 3 riders by the 5 mile point. Byran was using this as his last training ride before Texas Hill Country so he was hammering all day long. I was hammering because that is how I ride. The third rider, who I didn't know, was doing the 200k and sat in for the first 30 but dropped when it got hilly.
I dropped off Byran's wheel at about mile 40 but caught him just as we got to the first control at 62 miles. We averaged just over 20 with better than 2500' climb. I was in and out a little quicker than him so I rode alone for about 6 miles until he caught me. Then we rode together for another 10 then he out clmbed me on his bent and I chased him into the next control at mile 101.
When I got off my bike, I found that I had lost a bolt on my cleat and had to rip my foot out which turned my cleat sideways. I was in and out of the control fast, but stopped about 1 mile down the road to fix the cleat. I couldn't find my tool and Bryan stopped and loaned me his. He said he would drop me on the hills if I couldn't keep up, but wouldn't leave me behind due to mechanical problems. I straightened the cleat and got clipped in and Byran and I rode to the turn around at mile 126 together.
When we got to the turn around I had to step off the bike with one foot and loosen the straps on the shoe so I could pull my foot out. I walked into the store with one sock and one shoe, got some drinks and headed back to the bike. Getting off the bike proved easier than remounting the bike though. It was rather comical. We were out of the turn around in 6:45 with over 5000' climb and we were at the low point of the ride so we had the hills to do backward plus we were climbing up hill.
Byran again dropped me on the way back and I didn't see him at CP 4, which was CP 2 in reverse, but I caught him as we came up to CP5 at 5:30pm or 10 1/2 hours into the ride with 190 miles down. He said he thought he had dropped me for good. I told him I get stronger as the day goes on. The truth be told, I think I may fade less. We got our food and put on our reflective gear and lights and left out of the last control and rode together for about 10 miles.
This time I left him on the hills and headed toward the finish just as it was getting full dark. I rode on my own until Mineola, which was easy because we were on a 22 mile section with no turns, but once we got there I needed to try to read the cue sheet. This proved to be hard since my glasses were fogged and I was permanently clipped in unless I wanted to take my foot out the shoe. I stopped once in town to read the sheet to see that I needed to go 6 miles to the next turn. Then as I was riding I realized the glasses were so bad that I couldn't read the garmin. So I stopped again and tried to do a back bend to get to my bag and find something to clean them. I gave up and relied on my seeing the road signs and my fading memory for the turns.
Also, somewhere during this stretch, I tweaked my hamstring and had no power up the hills without standing. So, with all of my faffing around and my slower pace, Bryan caught back up to me. He had his garmin preprogrammed so I let him do the navigating and pressed as hard as I could with my messed up leg. Byran had a target of 14:30 to finish so we pushed as hard as we could with 14 hours of hard riding already on us. We pulled into the Walmart parking lot at 9:28 with 252+ miles.
Next time you see Bryan ask him about sleep riding.
Garmin total was 252.72 back to the car with a total time of 14:30 and a riding time of 13:50. Total average was 17.5 with a riding average of 18.3. Not a bad day.
My apologies to Gary and crew that rode again on Sunday for not making the 200k permanent, but with the messed up cleat and the tweaked hamstring I decided to call it a rest day and came home and go bowling with the family.