Bikes, Bugs and BBQ

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

Sorry, no pictures (that is a story for L’s Blog).

So L and I did the Tour de Rock this year. Last year I did the 50 mile ride which at that time was as far as she went. This year they added a metric century otherwise known as 62 mile ride. They also had 30 and 50 milers for the advanced riders and an 18 mile family ride. We signed up for the 50 miler but I knew in the back of my mind that we would go for the 62. What’s an extra 12 miles? (A sane friend reminded me that it’s 63360 Feet.)

The start was slated for 7:30 but due to rain and thunderstorms in the area they pushed it back to 8am. This gave us more time to try to figure out ways to stay dry (like that would matter). As we moved over to the start our friend Daron (he’s a race organizer) said that he had a spot reserved for us in the front. Yeah, right! We moved back to the 50 milers expecting to average less than 20mph. The horn went off and there we stood. Actually, it wasn’t that bad considering there were about 400 or 500 riders out there. We were off for the very careful less than 10mph ride through the rest of Burns Park. We had to do the One-Footed Bike Shuffle (OFBS) as we waited to cross the narrow wooden bridge. Soon we were on our way.

Somewhere in the crowd L was able to find some extra protein in the form of a flying creature. L almost coughed up a lung trying to get rid of it but resigned herself to augmenting her diet in the end. Tasty!

Leaving Rose City we had to cross some train tracks. Everyone was still a bit bunched up at this point and I just barely missed a couple on a tandem go down hard right in front of me. They were okay and I believe they finished the race. Drafting was tough as the person in front would always toss up a rooster tail. Yes, I’ll have the country road for breakfast.

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We made a quick pit stop (potty break) at the first rest area and then were back on the road. Getting off the main highway was nice and we were able to pound out about 18 to 19mph throughout the next 10 or 15 miles. We finally came to the cutoff for the 62 mile race. Go left and head home to do the 50 miler or turn right and do an extra 12 mile loop for the metric century. I asked L how she felt and she said, “go right”. About 5 more miles brought us to the next rest area but we blew through it opting for eating while riding a the behind the tree pit stop to save time. The rain had finally stopped and the road was actually drying up some. It was still cool and we rode on. Met up with a guy on an old school Schwinn. He suggested we go to his place which was closer than the finish and catch a ride to the finish line. Funny guy. L started to lead out and he finally dropped off the back.

The next rest area was at Plantation Agricultural Museum State Park in Scott, AR (somehow I always get in something about a state park in). We were somewhere around mile 45 so we thought it would be a good time for some nutrition other than the occasional bug and sport beans. Bananas, Gatorade and a granola bar and we were out of there. The sun was starting to come out and it was about to start getting muggy. We rode well for a while but when we turned to start heading west towards town we hit the wind. Our pace slowed to about 15mph as we creeped along past the golf course clubhouse that has some very cold Gatorade. We kept going. A group of 4 riders caught us and we tagged along with them for a few miles to get our average back up then dropped off as we came into town.

The Community Bicyclist

It was getting warmer as we came across the last of the rest areas, we kept going. This was around the 50 mile mark. If you asked me what I learned about my wife on this race it would be that 50 miles is her tipping point. She started to sing. First we got the hamster dance song then we broke into classic tv theme songs. I made her stop when she started the Three’s Company song. We rode into North Little Rock with the help of police at the intersections and soon caught on to another group of riders that were tooling along at about 19mph. They got us to the river trail. We were getting tired but I didn’t want our average to drop so I took the lead and pulled us to the finish. I checked my odometer and it said we had gone 64.58 miles at an average pace of 16.7mph. I’ll take it.

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Now for more food. They had bbq set up for us along with Gatorade, water and ice cream. Life was good. It was just noon and we had to get home to get cleaned up and go to the little ones’ softball tournament. What a great day!

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