Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rip Roarin' Ride - 08

The Rip Roarin' Ride was held today in Liberty Hill, TX. The route follows more or less the same roads as the Armadillo ride until it reached Burnet, at that point, the route was directed back to one of the rest stops instead of proceeding north through the town into the state park.

There were somewhere between 400 and 500 riders judging by the numbers they were giving out to the riders registering at the event. I has pre-registered and got #14 jersey number.

I took some pictures before the start and noticed my battery was almost depleted. I had checked the battery before I left and it measured 2/3s full, but that was a false reading. I was a little aggravated at myself given I have an extra battery and could have swapped them before leaving.

The ride started at 8am and proceeded generally toward the northwest. I found myself in pretty much the lead group and kept up pretty well, there seemed to be about 25 people in the group. The 79/103 mile route diverged about 13 miles in and only 7 of us were on the longer route, I was a little surprised by that. We stayed pretty much together until we reached rest stop #4. We all stopped there for a rest, and I left before the remainder of group. Before leaving, I did check my bike computer (I usually don't really look at it except for the total time), and we had averaged just over 20mph for about the 1st two hours. That probably was a little too fast for me and I may have used up more energy than I should given the ride was only 1/3 done.

I rode the the first part of the loop back to rest stop 4 by myself, as it turns out, the prior group I was with caught me about 1/2 way through the loop. I stayed with them until we go back to rest stop 4. For the 103 mile route, the next part of the ride was to retrace the loop in the opposite direction, meaning, once again, you'd end up back at the same rest stop. During that portion, I saw no one else going my direction, but did pass a dozen or so riders riding the loop in the opposite direction. Part of the loop is through open fields meaning livestock could be on the road. Fortunately, that never occurred, but it did mean you had to ride over a whole series of cattle guards. They are pretty bumpy, but something you have to deal with when out in the Hill Country. The reverse direction on the loop seemed more difficult, the wind had come up some by then and I think the uphills were steeper in that direction.

After the 3rd visit to rest stop 4, the route followed pretty much the same path back to the start, which meant going up an extremely steep climb, from looking at it, it doesn't seem all that steep, but the grade increases the farther up the hill you go, it does test your resolve, that's for sure.

For much of this portion of the ride, you didn't see any other riders except when reaching the next rest stop. That's pretty understandable given only a small fraction of the riders do the longer distances, and just a tiny difference in speed after many hours can space riders quite distant from each other. Since I normally train solo, this is not much a concern for me. It does cost speed, from the lack of a draft and pacing though.

I finished up in just under 6 hours, a good time for me. They had some BBQ sandwiches available, that was appreciated.