Three and a half weeks out from what will be my first organized ride of the year. Going to get a roll call of anyone else planning on going.
Ride website: http://www.sspilotclub.org/
Route with profile (44mi): http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=783870
My review of this ride from last year:
Ride: Spring Fever, Sulphur Springs Texas.
Bike: Barracuda Mk.I. 14speed vintage build with custom paint and Shimano 105 Golden Arrow group.
Official Distance: 44miles
Route Topography: generally flat with gentle rolling hills throughout.
Weather: low - 46 deg, high - 57. Clear (Sunny) skies. Very light winds (thank goodness!)
Time on the road: 2h 47min
Average Speed: 15.7mph
We finally got a weekend without rain, and just in time for my first scheduled organized ride of the season. I had been planning to make this ride since the end of last season and happy that I was both in shape and the weather cooperated enough to make it happen. To put the weather situation into perspective, the previous weekend the Dallas/Fort Worth area received anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of rain in 2 days. This was also the first major outing for the Barracuda Mk.I. I had a number of rides on it around the neighborhood and in town since first building it up over the winter so I felt confident that nothing major would be wrong with the bike. This ride, however, would be the first organized ride and the first ride much over 20 miles for this bike and me. I must say, the old steel frame was a joy to ride, especially on those long flat stretches where you could just cruise along at an even pace and soak in the scenery. Your legs nearly effortlessly pedaling under you even when the roads were tilted upwards just ever so slightly. Even though the steel frame couldn't soak up all of the roughness that comes with some of the east Texas roads, I never once wished for a modern aluminum frame as I rode along in comfort.
Roads were generally good, though there was a fairly long stretch of the generally rough chip-seal roads that anyone who has done any riding in rural Texas knows about. Country highways with enough shoulder to ride two abreast or very lightly traveled Farm-to-Market roads made up the route. The typical make up of rural charity rides of the region. I thoroughly enjoy riding these back roads, seeing the farm lands, the untouched forests and small communities along the way. Though, I must admit, as we passed a couple of the dairies there was a scent on the air that gave you a little extra incentive to pick up your pace a tad. We also say many other animals, both domestic and wild. Happily I saw no loose dogs being a problem to any cyclists. I saw only one dog not behind a fence or on a leash during the ride - and this one was curious about the mass of cyclists passing by put appears to have no intention of chasing any. Its owner was also near by keeping a sharp eye.
Rests stops were well placed, though the last one could have been a few miles earlier as it was fairly close to the end any many riders were passing it up and heading on to the finish. Each rest stop was very well stock with home made cookies, drinks and water, oranges and other fruits. More than enough to compliment my own supply of food to keep me going strong straight through the end of the ride. There was a restroom at each stop, and the wait for them was brief if any at all when I passed through. Major thumbs up to organizers for having the stops worth stopping at for more than a stretch.
When it was all over there was more (by more I mean much more) great food waiting for us. Stew, desserts of all sorts, along with live music let us relax and recover from the ride in the wonderful weather. I was very happy with this ride, both from the standpoint of the organizer's ability to put on a great ride - and also from my own performance and the bike's. I still have a lot of strength to gain and a few pounds to lose to be where I'd like to be - but for late March I think I'm not doing too badly. The 44mi route was generally flat and didn't pose much of a challenge in that regard - but certainly made for a great day of riding. This ride is definitely one that will be back on my list for next year.
More Reviews: http://www.bicycle-stuff.com/reviews...er_springs.htm