By: Suzee Bolton
The Farmersville Chamber of Commerce Fourth Annual Trick It Up Bike Ride still has a few trick up its sleeves. Most awesome, while others are questionable depending on your skill level. With a population of approximately 3300, Farmersville is a rural community that takes pride in its historic downtown. The city is diligently returning each store to the historic period beauty and doing a very nice job. Charming antique shops, restaurants and a center gazebo makes a browse downtown delightful.
This is the last local rally of the season for the Dallas metroplex cyclist. Farmersville has earned the reputation as a cycling friendly destination. Trick It Up is one of the reasons and the other is access to the North East Texas Trail. The start was at the small Onion Shed situated across from the city park, where access to the North East Texas Trail is gained; to locals is known as the Chaparral Trail; which is the first section of a 130 mile Rails to Trails project that runs from Farmersville to New Boston. For more information on the NETT visit www.northeasttexastrail.org.
As we arrived we were greeted in typical small town fashion. The Fire Department provided morning refreshments and the ladder truck served as our starting line. The local auctioneer, Clay Potter, MC’ed informing us about pre and post ride information. This is where we were reminded about four of the tricks this rally had up its sleeve. First; Saint Arnolds Brewery from Houston Texas would be providing a complimentary post ride Beer Garden. Second; Clay Potter Band would be entertaining us. Third; Rotary Club would be providing post ride hot dogs, chips and drink. Last; “Scare at the Shed”, a children’s Halloween carnival, would be taking place upon our return. This town knows how to turn a bike rally into a super fun family event
This year the rally offered a new route 100K along with 30, 40, and 50 milesand hosted 304 cyclists. Having done the 30 mile route last year 40 miles was my destination and was questionableas I had injured myself earlier in the week doing intervals, but I just had to do this rally again because it was such a fun challenge and besides it is my home town. The morning was bright with mild temperatures. After the singing of the national anthem andthe blowing of the fire truck horn, followed shortly by the blowing horn of a passing train (which everyone seemed to love) we headed out. I rode with a young friend and many of the riders from Plano Bicycle Association, PBA, for the first leg.
As we approached the distance split we learned another trick that was up the sleeve of this rally; which way to go. Although the road was marked with colored arrows none were associated with a distance and only if you knew your color did you know which way to go. Upon asking the officer at the intersection he seemed unclear too, but I suspected I knew as I had ridden almost each leg of this rally on my own at other times. I made the turn for the 40 miles. My young cycling companion left me in his dust, PBA eventually went around me and I was left at the back of the pack of 40 and 50 mile distance riders.
I started off good, but now we came to another trick this rally had up its sleeve. Hills, did I say hills? You are thinking this is northeast Texasprairieland, there are no hills. Oh, but that is where you are wrong. There are and there are plenty; some steep, some are nice rolling hills that lead to one another for an easy climb, but make no mistake this ride has plenty of hills that appeal to even the most seasoned cyclist.
A few miles into the turn a pack of about 25 motor cyclists began passing me. It was cool watching them enjoy their passion as much as I was enjoy mine. At about mile 15 my foot and knee started having stabbing pains as I climbed. It is not my intent to frighten you away from this ride due to the hills as I am still a bit of a beginner and was injured earlier in the week, yet I have successfully ridden this area in the past with no issues. I stopped to rest a few minutes and began again. After passing a field full of long horn steers I began to weep, not so much due to the pain, but because I knew I was going to have to SAG out of the ride and have never had to do so before. I paced myself so I could get to the first rest stop. Two miles before the rest top I simply had to stop again and “rest.” This was the last trick I discovered, rest stops distances seemed a bit too far apart as I saw other stopping early to rest because theycould not wait any longer. Finally I arrived at the rest stop at about mile 21. I attempted to contact the SAG wagon, but being the impatient local that I am, I called my sister to come get me. She arrived, we loaded up and I asked her to drive me the whole course.
So we took off on the wheels of a car this time. We had more fun watching each cyclist and stopping at the rest stops. At rest stop two my sister asked me if I had any money as she was low on fuel. Of course I did not, but I saw three of my Cadence Cyclery Team mates at the rest stop and asked them if they happened to have money. No questions asked they just started digging. Grant had two dollars and Jim gave me a 100. Wow, I just love these guys so trusting and giving. We stopped in Celeste and fueled up.
After arriving back in town with my head held low from SAGing out of the ride, many encouraged me stating there is no shame that everyone SAG’s eventually, that is why SAG is offered. I took my sister to the Rotary Club Booth and bought her a hot dog, for non-rally participants itwas a bargain at a buck. Then we hit the Saint Arnolds Beer Garden where I numbed the foot and leg pain with a great dark beer called Santo. Here it was a reunion atmosphere with cyclists chattered about the ride and having fun sharing the things that we are most passionate about; cycling and beer. All the while listening to the crooning of the band and watching little ghosts and goblins trick or treat at the larger Onion Shed.
Along with the Tricks it had plenty of Treats. In four short years Farmersville has taken this rally from a simple bike ride to a community event. Although it is not on the scale of some of the other rally’s that have been around for years, they host a fantastic rally and I know they will continue to improve each year. Who knows, one day Trick It Up maybe on the bucket list of cyclists across the country as a must do rally, much like Hotter N Hell. If you have done it COME AGAIN. If you have not, you missed out and need to make a plan for next year.