Suburban Assault

My First Wild Ride

with 2 comments

I’ve always seen myself as a solo cyclist. I preferred the peace and solitude of my two wheeled treks around town. They gave me a chance to unwind and reflect on my life, opening up a new perspective of my surroundings. While they are fun and relaxing, they are also a bit lonely.

This last year, I’ve rediscovered the enjoyment of participating in group rides. They would range from a small gathering of friends to some of the larger Bike Friendly groups in Dallas. I’ve even hosted a few with BFR. It only seemed logical to sign up for the 2010 Richardson Wild Ride.

My First Time:

I’ve read a few things about the Wild Ride and drew some conclusions based on the description on their site, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was for a good cause, but didn’t know much about the actual ride. I had talked to a few friends about which of the three different routes to go with. The 16 mile route was very doable. I’ve done some longer rides, so the 40 was an option as well. The 64 mile route, however, was a bit too much for a first timer. Also, since I wanted to pull together a BFR team, it made the most sense to do the shorter route and accommodate the different skill levels of our riders.

The BFR team didn’t seem to come together as I had planned, but I still wanted to do the ride.

The Morning Of The Ride:

I’m more of a casual rider. However, I hate that classification, so I usually just call myself a Bicyclist. What I’m not, is a weekend warrior road cyclist.

I figured that since I’m only doing the 16 mile route, the least I could do is ride my bike to the event. When I arrived in my blank jersey and baggy cycling shorts, while on my steel, road-converted mountain bike, I felt a bit out of place. Dozens of riders had already arrived, dismounting their super light, super slick road bikes from their vehicle bike racks. Spandex and team sponsored jerseys were the dress code – I didn’t get that memo. The riders themselves seemed distant, yet focused on the ride ahead. Although I have a lot of respect for these riders, the first thing that was running through my head was what the hell did I get myself into.

The Rally Line Up:

The start of the ride was set up with three staging areas – one for each route of the rally. The front area was for the 64 mile group. The one behind it was the 40 mile group. I was in the last group, with the 16 mile riders. Once I arrived, I started to feel more at home because many of the riders in my group were more like me. The bikes weren’t as slick and some of the attire was a bit less fitted. I could actually see some faces with smiles of anticipation and excitement and less with determination and drive. Riders were hanging out and taking pictures. I could ride with these folks.

The Start Of The Rally:

Eight O’clock rolled around. After the national anthem and a few words from the organizers, the ride started. The first two groups rolled out in a flash, then ours started. Our pace was similar to some of the Bike Friendly rides that I had been on. The only difference was the level of organization and planning that went into this rally. At every traffic light, a local police officer was holding up traffic and allowing the cyclists through. As much as I like the grass root nature of the Bike Friendly rides, I could see that when you run a group of several hundred cyclists, this amount of organization is needed and appreciated.

The First Leg:

As the cyclists merged onto northbound Plano Road, many of the rider groups started to blend together. Obviously, some of the more determined riders pulled ahead. But given the nature of such a large group and everybody setting their own pace, I had lost the sense of our 16 mile group. So, I just followed the crowd.

We made our way into Plano – east then north – mostly holding together as a large group . Eventually, we came to the first group split at East Park Boulevard. The 40 and 64 mile groups went right to head towards Murphy, Wylie, Lavon, Nevada and Josephine, while the rest of us in the 16 mile group went left, back into Plano. I could see small pockets of my original group reappearing as we made our way back to the start.

The Ride Back:

The group for the ride back was a bit less unified. The 30-50 people surrounding me had now dwindled down to 4-6. I couldn’t tell if I had gotten far ahead or fallen far behind. At this point, the only thing I could do was stick with it and finish the route. I passed a few people while a few others passed me. I started to notice that the once happy and excited looks were now focused and determined.

Eventually, we made our way back into Richardson. The last leg of the ride was up Campbell road. (BTW, When I wrote, UP, I was being literal.) Even though most of the rally was pretty smooth, with very little headwinds and very few climbs, Campbell was a little less forgiving.

When we arrived back at the start, I realized that a handful of us had actually gotten a bit ahead of our group. At the finish, it was nice to kick back and watch the satisfied faces of the other riders as they rewarded themselves with some great snacks and cool beverages.

My Conclusion:

I’m glad I decided to do this ride. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the type of ride it would be. However, as I rode through it, I discovered it to be a rewarding and exciting rally – tied to a great cause. I think next year, I’ll try the 40 mile ride.

Written by dickdavid

May 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The ride into Wylie is pretty decent. I wish I could have done it in an event like this, though.
    Sorry I couldn’t be on your team, but I’ve been having to focus on short commuter rides as I’ve been plagued of late with a rash of broken spokes.

    So…I went into work instead of riding.

    Until I rebuild a couple of wheels, I’ll be riding under 10 mile routes.

    Michael R

    May 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

  2. […] 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 […]

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