Sunday, March 8, 2009

2009 Gator Run

See pictures here

Headed into the ride I was definitely nervous. I didn't get to ride last weekend and I was signed up for the 62 miler. My dad asked to drop down to the 42 mile route because the wind was supposed to be above 20mph (for those of you who haven't cycled it gets very difficult to ride into a wind that strong). I was more than relieved that we were dropping down.

Upon arrival the hustle and bustle of all the riders was exciting. You had some really serious riders that were part of teams waiting to take the ride together counteracted by some families and even one guy carry his dog on the front of his bike. It was really funny when he rode, the small dog would stick his head out of the mini duffle bag and let his ears flop in the wind.

The organizers staggered the start to give everyone space and I was in the second group. This would be a futile endeavor though as a train would soon hold everyone in front of us up. As I'm riding along a girl looks over at me and says my name. At first I'm sure it must be how hot I look in biker tights (think Lord of the Dance but totally macho). But alas, it's a girl that works on my client. We chat for awhile and she soon leaves me in her wake as we head up the bridge that never seemed to end. Going up it was a beast and I wish I had a picture. The down slope was awesome and I achieved a top speed of 28mph. This was within the first 10 miles or so which is brutal because it just devastates your legs from the get go and you still have 30+ miles left.

It didn't seem that long until we were at the first rest stop. The rest stop was run by a local church and everyone was extremely friendly. They handed out PBJ, bananas, gatorade, water, and cookies to anyone that needed some. I ate my first kashi bar and then we headed into the line for the ferry. The ferry ride was cool because you have one or two cars and 300 cyclists on a tiny boat. Looking over the bay was quite a site and for some reason I always love the smell of salt water.

The scenery was mediocre at first as cutting in and out of the chemical plants made you wonder if you were in fact giving yourself some sort of horrid cancer just by being there. Once things opened up to fields it was a good ride. People would wave to us from their porches and little kids would laugh and clap when you waved to them as you passed by. I wore my dad's A&M jersey and plenty of people said gig 'em and gave me the thumbs up as I passed by.

I pulled apart from my dad heading into the third stop. I waited... and waited... and waited some more wondering why he wasn't coming in. Eventually after 20 minutes or so I assumed he had skipped the last rest stop in order to beat me to the finish. I pushed out the remaining 8 miles and got to the finish line. Now I started to worry... he wasn't THAT far behind. I decided to take my chances and see if he made it to the car. No dice.

I have no other option, but to wait as my cell phone is stuck in his car. After another 20 or 30 minutes he eventually comes around the corner. He had gotten a flat and had to change out his tube. I now felt really bad because I had essentially abandoned him. He wasn't upset though and for the most part seemed to enjoy the adventure.

Overall being my first ride it was fairly decent. My dad said that alot of the other rides were way more organized and put together. I can see that. Apparently the sag wagons were not able to carry bikers and thus my dad had to change his tire using a CO2 cartridge and wait to blow up his tire at the rest stop. I'm thinking of doing the Tour de Houston next. So after that race I'll have something to compare the Gator Run to.

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