By Ron Hawks:
The Germanfest Muenster, Texas bicycle ride, held on April 30th, turned out to be a spectacular day. As I was riding up the morning of the ride, I was concerned about the wind as the day before Muenster had wind gusts of up to 40+ mph. Although the wind was blowing in the morning, it was forecasted to slow down a bit in the afternoon which is very unusual for Texas. With this being my fourth year in a row doing this ride, I prepared myself for a challenging day in the saddle with a hilly terrain and a strong southern wind in my face for the last 15 miles.
My wife and I arrived at 10:00, about an hour before the rally, and proceeded to register for the ride. As always, registration was very smooth as we were in and out within 5 minutes. After getting our bikes ready, filling up our bottles and stuffing some gu’s in our jersey’s we were ready to head over to Eugene’s RV and see the rest of the Wheelbrothers. The team had a great turnout with Eugene, Dieter, Matt, Jed, Wally, Chris Powers and Chris Suggs.
The ride started at 11:00 sharp with a 15+ mph headwind for the first 10 miles or so. Surprisingly enough, the main group of 40+ riders held together through most of this section. This is very unusual, as what normally happens, is a handful of strong riders try to go out as hard as possible, so that the main group can get whittled down to 10-15 riders at the most. It wasn’t until roughly 20 miles in, that this attrition happened once we started to hit some of the steeper sections, where a couple of guys started to hammer up a 7% grade which split the group wide open.
Once the group shrunk to a manageable size, we started to hit a long stretch of rollers with a nice tail wind to help us over the next 20+ miles. On one descent, I remember thinking to myself that we were going pretty fast. As I quickly looked down at my computer, I saw 53 mph which caused me to start tapping my breaks before I started to go too fast. Although I’ve hit 50+ on numerous descents in California, I was very surprised to hit speeds like that in Texas.
At mile 45 or so, you make a right turn to head back to Muenster. This is normally the time that you are greeted with a strong headwind, along with some of the tougher climbs on this route. Surprisingly enough, the headwind wasn’t anymore than 5-10 mph which was good news for me. As we hit some of the steep climbs, including my favorite one which is the last real climb around mile 50 where you top out at 12%, a few more people got dropped as the pace picked up a little bit. Once we got over the last climb, we had a good group which worked together pretty well all the way back into town.
Although I didn’t stop at any of the rest stops, the volunteers at each stop where along the side of the road trying to give the riders water and bananas. It reminded me of a feed zone when your racing. After talking to my wife after the ride, she said the rest stops were well stocked and the volunteers were very friendly as they held your bike when you went to get some food or they would just fill up your bottles if you pulled over for a quick refill.
As always the Wheelbrothers were more than happy to pick-up some people along the way including my wife who had a chance to ride with these guys and enjoy their company. We will definitely be back for the 2012 ride and look forward to great time.
Everyone should know how modest Ron is, he placed 4th overall in this race and is a wonderful representative for the sport. His passion and dedication to the sport, is a inspiration to all of us..
To view the event details of the 2011 Germanfest Muenster, Texas Bicycle Ride – Click Here