Cruisin' de Hood (ride report)
Don't know if any of you rode this today but I would certainly recommend giving it a try next year. Ride starts and finishes at the medical center in Granbury, TX. Arrived about 7:30 and checked in. At least 200-300 people there when I arrived. Decided with the strong winds to only ride the 38 mile route since I haven't been getting many miles in so far this season.
Start was well organized (for a mass start) and went off right on time. With the initial small hills, the ride spread out pretty quickly. For the most part, I rode it alone since I didn't find a group that was really matching the tempo I was riding. Everyone else was either too fast or too slow. Rest areas were about 10 miles apart and appeared to be well stocked with water, power aid, energy bars of various types as well as oranges. Volunteers are very friendly and encouraging at every turn. A couple of rough railroad crossings were well marked with warning signs and even a volunteer or two. SAG support seemed to be everywhere along with motorcycle riders that seemed to be keeping an eye out for problems as they patrolled the route.
This part of Texas has some very nice scenery. Hillier than the Metroplex but the roads chosen for the route that I was on were for the most part very good for bikes. Chip seal is always an issue out in "the country" but didn't seem to be a problem on the 38 mile route at least. Lots of farm land, horse ranches and wild flowers. A couple of small towns on the route but no traffic issues to speak of.
The ride offered a "detour" up to Comanche Peak. According the volunteers, it is 695' elevation gain over the 2 mile road to the top. Rest area with water and photos from the top were available. What the volunteers didn't say though was that about half of that elevation gain was on short, very steep climbs. According to my GPS, they were in the 10% grade range. Hard to believe, but it felt steeper than that a couple of times. Ride back to the finish seemed to be mostly downhill with a tailwind (Very welcome at this point). At 11:30 when I arrived, there was a good bit of activity going on in the finish area with some canned music along with subway sandwiches, pizza and drinks for the riders.
Overall, a very nice ride. Weather was pretty cooperative other than the South wind. I will most likely ride it again next year.