Pics From The 2013 Richardson WildRide!
This is my fourth year to ride in the Richardson WildRide! Against Cancer rally. Previously, I rode the 16 mile loop in 2010, the 40 mile loop in 2011 and the 40 mile loop in 2012. This year my goal was to complete the 64 mile loop. This might not seem like a big deal to some of those weekend warriors out there who do 64 miles before breakfast – but let me give you some perspective. If you read this blog, you’ll know that I’m a practical cyclist who only rides for fun or transportation. I am not athletic, I don’t ride for sport, nor do I even own a ‘proper’ road bike. Most of my longer rides are 14 mile (each way) commutes to my office, and my last, longest ride was last year’s 40 mile WildRide loop.
So, the 64 mile loop was a big deal to me.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to ride it alone. My buddy, Jason, who just got back into cycling this year, decided to join me. I was glad, because he was just the motivation that I needed to complete the task. Jason rides a lot, but hasn’t completed a 64 mile ride either.
Like the previous 3 years, the start of the rally was really impressive. There were hundreds of cyclists at the start, arranged in staging areas for each group of riders (64,40 and 16). You can see the difference in types of riders as you move from the fully-kitted 64 mile group at the front, all the way to the more casual 16 mile group in the back. With our baggy shorts and heavy, fat-wheeled bikes, Jason and I looked a little out of place waiting in the 64 mile staging area. With all due respect to those in tight shorts, who ride super-slick road bikes – we just don’t ride that way. Quite frankly, until this 64 mile ride, I didn’t think there was ever a need.
It’s very impressive watching the start of this rally, where you see a huge mass of riders rolling down Plano Road. As always, with fresh legs and high spirits, I really enjoy this part of the ride. This good feeling kept up for the first 20 miles of the ride, so much that we skipped the first rest stop. By the time we reached the second rest stop, just past Lake Levon dam (which happened to be the 40 mile loop turnaround) we were still feeling pretty good.
This was the point at which we needed to decide to push on and do the 64 mile loop, or turn back. We pushed on.
Since this was the first time for both of us to venture out this far, we didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, we were greeted with a couple of really nasty rolling hills. We still had some good strength, so they weren’t too bad. Facing them on the return trip was a problem. Beyond that, the extended 24 mile loop took us deep into open country, where there were some amazing views.
We started to get tired.
On those long country roads we were exposed to some nasty wind, paired with the late morning sun. Our baggy shorts were sails and our bikes felt like they were loaded with bricks. The energy level dropped fast. By the time we returned to the rest stop at Lake Lavon dam, our bodies were starting to shut down. Bonk was hitting us hard and we still had 20 miles to go. We drank and ate as much as we could at each remaining rest stop, but recovery was getting harder and harder as we pushed to get back to the start. The last few miles were the worst, but ultimately we made it back.
It wasn’t a fast ride – an average of 14MPH – but we succeeded with our goal (and we weren’t DFL).
To add insult to injury, we had the brilliant idea of riding to the rally, which meant we had to ride back home. That was the worst 2.6 miles of my life.
Would I Do This Again?:
As we were making our way up Shiloh Road, hitting all headwind, we were saying never again. But, since we’ve had a day to recover, our thoughts go back to those riders wearing skin-tight shorts, rolling on ‘proper’ road bikes and had practiced on prior weekends. Perhaps, if we are better prepared, we would do it again.
Here are my pics from the ride. Click here to see the entire set.