Sure enough, there at the IHOP at 5:45, having spotted my car with the bike on top was Dieter. We chewed, did things no one could do for us, and talked physics with the early morning assistant manager. Jed called asking which way we would go, and we made a plan to meet. A few folks D knew from a previous ride came in, and soon it was time to go.
Jed was right behind us as we pulled off the hwy, and we all showed up together at Cleburne HS. Surprisingly little mud in the field adjacent to the start, and we picked up our packets (Jed and me) and registered (D). Weather so far, high overcast, but a hint of a red sunrise ? sailor take warning. Ran into Thomas and Mark (Berry), and had plans to get started with them. Due to fumbling around at registration and general disorganization, and inability to locate Sean, Jed Ken and D started about 7:32, having missed the National Anthem and Invocation of the Protection of Our Lord. Auspicious to say the least.
Finally getting started, we held a slower pace for the first 10 or so, calling Sean on the phone, and looking back for him. At the 10-mile 0rest stop, executive decision made to go on ? who knew whether Sean would go full or 40 and we had an itch to get into the hills. So away we went. There was ample babeage.
I don?t remember much about the first 30 or so, generally good roads, a good bit greener than last year due to the rain, and about the same number of people. Having downed a couple of extra tall Fosters at the Outback in Burleson the night before, I started sweating profusely by 15 miles, and at the rest stop at 20, which is delightfully at the top of a hill, I?m pretty sure I smelled like the Schlitz brewery on a warm day. But with a goo, water and refilled fluid bottles, we were ready again, and set off. It was about this time that Jed got us in behind this dude with sculpted muscles on a carbon rocket, and we tucked in for the first high-speed run of the day. It was mostly down hill, but up a few small ones, and we were flying low for about 10 miles. Then
we hit a REAL hill and this guy dropped us like peanut shells.
Made it up that one, and still game, Jed got us on another guy, some triathlete in blue with a couple of followers. Further back in the line this time, we followed this one and made great time for another 8- 10 miles. This was the deal, well back in the pace line and flying. Of course, blue triathlete eventually took off, leaving all of us wishing we could stay with it.
Beautiful morning still, with little wind, high clouds for shade, and moving fast enough that the humidity didn?t kill us. We rolled along into Glen Rose about 9:30 or 10:00 or so, and started back to Cleburne. It?s a nice ride along there, and we took our turns, picking up and losing some, and even seeing a few friends. We were close enough now to start counting rest stops and miles to the finish. Sometime along in there the sun came out for real, and when you stopped, you realized how hot it was, how sweaty you were, and how much fluid you needed to replace. It was after glen rose that we got to the hill that D an I had to walk up last year. This was when I was glad I had the triple! Up and over and into a few long flats and mid-sized hills that this ride is famous for.
At the 20-mile-out stop, we met up D?s friend Eugene and a few pals, had the traditional pickle juice supplied by Jason Whitten, cooled off and planned our final approach. The hills here are not too bad, and it?s a matter of bringing? it home. Skipped the last rest stop, despite ample talent stopping off there, and went for the finish. 9, 8, 7 miles to go, holding a decent pace into the out-of-season northeast wind. Then we hit the outskirts of Cleburne (wait, Cleburne IS an outskirt!), and rolled on towards the HS. Crossing the line with three red shirts side-by-side, I?m sure it made a sight. (Who ARE these worn- out old men??!!)
Eugene came in a few minutes later, and apparently there was a bad crash when a car got impatient and pulled out in front of somebody, who cracked up pretty bad. The church guys ran out of hot dog buns, there was no pizza, and so we retired to Jed?s truck for the traditional post- ride Shiner. Ken got cramps pulling off his socks, to much amusement, and it was time to go.
All in all, a good Goat neck, though we missed having a larger team. We got a few opportunities to work on changing leaders on pace lines, but were not well organized. We might want to get together a few times for this kind of work, but it?s pretty hard with the schedules we keep. One suggestion is the Red Hot Chili Pepper ride, around Joe Pool Lake coming up August 18. I think registration is by mail ? I wasn?t able to find an on-line registration in a quick review. Anyway, there?s a 40 and a 60 miler, starting in SE Dallas and going down around
Midlothian, etc. Probably about as hilly as Goatneck, but shorter.
See you all soon.