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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas Hell Week Day 5: Leakey Death Ride

Yesterday we did not ride due to cold, wet weather and perhaps a touch of wimpiness. This morning I arise early to meet Steve and Dave for the trip to the donut shop and then on to Bandera for the death ride. We travel in companionable silence through the dark to the park where the ride starts. Bill and Mike are meeting us there.

We arrive at the park right when dawn is beginning to lighten the sky. It is cold outside, and other than a quick bathroom trip, we huddle waiting in the van trying to decide what to wear. Learning that Bill and Mike are only doing the 80 mile ride, I worry about my ability to maintain the pace and keep up with Dave and Steve. After this ride, we always drive to Waring for Steak Night, and it would make me feel awful if I was too slow and we did not arrive in time.

Bill and Mike drop early in the ride as we pace line towards the first store stop in Vanderpool. There is a significant climb before the store, and many more afterward. The scenery is crazy beautiful. We are the first to reach Vanderpool, but a group pulled in not long after us. Steve takes off for the start of the two climbs to Leakey. I know the next 15 miles are hard ones. Still the climbing goes well and it seems only a short time before we are at the next store stop. Traditionally, and this year is no different, we have barbecue at this stop.

The rest of the ride went too quickly. We meet Greg S., Jeff P., Greg Z., and Joe C. in Tarpley, but we head out before them. Near the end, the guys are revving up for the last green sign. I just don't have the desire or energy, but I am able to keep them in sight and catch up before the end of the ride. Bill and Mike are waiting at the end. On to DQ and then steak night.

I am starving. Everyone laughs at how quickly I finish my meal and am on to dessert. Hmmm. Wonder if they had THREE older brothers to compete with;-) It didn't feel to me as if we rode as hard as we did last year, but a great day.

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