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Rise Across Texas Challenge Day 6

Yes, I’ve been delinquent in keeping up with the posts…so we’ll get the next two days taken care of between now and tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday was Day 6 of the Rise Across Texas Challenge from Bastrop (lost pines area) to the Rise School in Austin and then joining another 120 riders for a fun-ride out to the Salt Lick restaurant in Driftwood, Texas.  The video is HERE. You’ll notice that I’m one-day off from the video’s ride day “number”…that’s because I started counting on the day we arrived in Orange.  Today’s ride started with great weather and a pretty crazy ride out of the hotel area that had more hills and turns than we’d seen so far…not much time for warming up.

After arriving at the Rise School, we got to meet some of the kids, hear from the super passionate folks at the school as well as a listen to a great talk by coach Gene Stallings who was partially responsible for starting the Rise Schools in the first place.

At that point, the “celebrity ride” started (video HERE) and we picked up about 120 day riders and a few celebrity riders such as Kevin Livingston as part of the fun and for the haul out to the Salt Lick…for another lunch (?).

In all, the ride to the Rise School was straightforward and enjoyable. The hills were fine and the wind had not yet picked up.  The ride out to the Salt Lick started to suggest the wind and hills of the next day’s ride….

Over-all, you can see that it was about 4 hours on the bike and right at 50 miles with about 2100 calories burned; that said, I think the wind and hills probably made for more work than RunKeeper could calculate.

One of the funny things to notice in the ride graph below is the correlation between the increasing green line (ELEVATION) with the fairly flat to decreasing blue line (SPEED).  Any big spikes in the blue lines towards the end of Day 6’s ride was the fun down-hill parts of the ride out to the Salt Lick.

Rise Across Texas Challenge Day 5

Tuesday was Day 5 of the Rise Across Texas Challenge from Brenham to Bastrop (lost pines area).

First and foremost: THANK YOU to everyone who has donated!  It’s rewarding to see folks reading this blog and see the donations continue to come in. Very nice and very appreciated. If any of this inspires you to help out the Rise School, credit cards accepted here: To Donate: http://bit.ly/RiseRide

In general, Tuesday was a much better day from a weather perspective but still had it’s fair share of hills and wind; the day started wet but by the time we had lunch in Giddings, the sun was coming out.  And while the ride continued to on to Bastrop, I have to admit that I opted out of the second 35 miles of today’s ride on a two-lane, no-shoulder road. That said, I’m back and ready to start Day 6 in about an hour from now.  My last day on the ride will be tomorrow, Thursday.  I’ll find a link to Steve Hicks blog and post it here for everyone who wants to continue to follow the ride.

In the pic below, you can see the first half of the day’s ride. I’ve included a bit of additional data below the picture for variety’s sake.  The BLUE line shows a graph of speed over distance; the GREEN line shows elevation over that same distance.  So you can see at mile 14.6, at the blue dot on the map under “Union Hill,” we had climbed a hill to 483 feet above sea level (from about 390) and had slowed to 12.7 miles per hour.  This is a great way to remember you least favorite moments on the ride.

One of the great things that the trip planners put together was a history document for all the areas that we rode through.  Day 5’s lunch was in Giddings and the history doc had this to say:

“The lunch stop will be in Giddings, seat of Lee County. The 1897 Lee County Courthouse is an effervescent reflection of the Romanesque Revival style of the late nineteenth century. Designed by J. Riely Gordon, the dean of Texas courthouse architects, this massive red brick and white limestone building dominates its site just off the commercial section of town. With semicircular entryways, dormer windows, and a tall central clock tower, this building makes a memorable impression on visitors. Gordon designed more than a dozen courthouses in Texas around the turn of the century, including notable examples in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Waco, Waxahachie and Marshall.”

Finally, the day ended with a 60th birthday party for both Steve Hicks (he and his wife Donna started the Rise Across Texas Challenge) and Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.  Asleep at the Wheel and Clint Black played some great country music for these two freshly minted 60-year-olds and 500 or so well wishers.  The good news is that they can both handily kick my butt biking across Texas…so I have something to strive for.  impressive all around.  Of course that made for a later evening that usual (usual means passing out at 9pm) so we’ll have to see what impact that has on today’s ride.

Rise Across Texas Challenge Day 4

Monday – Day 4 of the Rise Across Texas Challenge.  Wow – I gotta say that today…was challenging. Actually, it sucked. It was much harder than yesterday and 25 miles less.  Wet and painful.

We had it all:  rain, bad traffic very close to the shoulder, rolling hills into Brenham, 30 mile-per-hour head winds, and 18 flat tires (EIGHTEEN!!!) across the entire group.  Grrrr.

In this picture, at the start of the day, you can see the wet streets on the highway; we were on this highway for 30 miles at the start of the day.

Basically, in about 30 minutes, you’re entirely wet, there’s mud all up and down your back, and your shoes are soggy.  When the trucks go by, they blow mist and wind at you that come close to knocking you over. nice.

In the picture below, Jim Crow changes one of THREE flat tires for the day. In a group of about 20 riders we had 18 flats. Which is probably a record.

And in the picture below that, you can see the flags at the Comfort Suites in Brenham standing STRAIGHT out in a 30 MPH headwind that was absolutely miserable.  This is what we rode into for the final stretch up to the hotel.  arg.  It was blowing hard…but hey: “hot breakfast!”

Finally, the stats for the day: 60ish miles and 2300 feet of rise and fall. The little break in the map is where I forgot to turn RunKeeper back on…but it seems like it wasn’t that big of a gap. Off to the right is Conroe (see previous map).

I’d write more but I’m going to bed; tomorrow we ride at 8:15!

Rise Across Texas Challenge Day 3

Sunday was Day 3 of the Rise Across Texas Challenge, the second and biggest day of riding, and took the group from Kountze, Texas to Conroe over the course of 85 long miles and nearly six hours on the bike.  It was without question the farthest I’ve ever ridden in a single day…that’s probably true for most of the folks on the ride (except Jim Crow who has done much longer rides).

And, unfortunately, the group had it’s first big fall and injury: Al Koehler hit my back wheel while we were drafting and took a significant spill while we were riding at about 21-22 miles per hour:

Despite the fall, Al completed the day’s ride and is the well-deserving star of the day’s segment that you can watch HERE.  Day 1’s episode is equally well done and you can watch it here.

Stats for today are as follows:

Nearly six hours on the bike covering just over 85 miles at an average speed of 14 miles per hour…which is a pretty good average pace.  The rise and fall of the road was 2673 feet and we theoretically burned about 3900 calories. We stopped for lunch in Cleveland, Texas which you can see right around the 50-mile mark below.

Over all, the 85 mile ride felt pretty much like yesterday’s 59 mile ride…although I don’t know how many more miles I could have gone after that 85th mile.

After a night in Conroe’s Best Western, we’re off to Brenham, Texas which is about 61 miles away. There are threats of thunder storms that may cause a change in plans but we won’t know until later in the day.

there ya have it.

Rise Across Texas Challenge – Day 2

Day 2 was the first day of riding; the group went from Orange, Texas at the Texas-Louisiana border to Kountze, Texas.  Some of the early circles near Orange were due to the kick-off ceremony.  We had beautiful weather and the wind only kicked up towards the end of the ride.  I’ve got a feeling these were probably the best conditions we’ll see during the entire trip…but we’ll see.

Stats for today are as follows:

59.9 miles in about 4 hours (the chart below says 4:53:30 because of starting and stopping the RunKeeper iPhone app).  As a side note, I like RunKeeper – if you bike or run – it’s highly recommended…although, it helps the iPhone eat batteries so I’m trying a variety of things to prolong the battery life.

RunKeeper says that, in total, we climbed 1900 feet; the “Trek guide” suggests that it’s closer to 1000 feet of rise and drop.  Finally, it looks like about 2700 calories were burned.  Not sure if that’s accurate, but I’m starved at the moment.  Here’s the route marked with 10-mile increment on top of Google Maps from RunKeeper:

Rick Perry, The Governor of Texas, joined us for the entire ride today (see picture below).  Two thoughts:

  1. Lesson learned:  whenever possible, ride with the Governor…the police escort rocks
  2. The Gov can ride for real (wish I could say the same for me).  He led the pack for good bit and finished strong.

The people were great – especially the crowd in Orange; the ride was not as hard as I was fearing…but tomorrow is 83 miles compared to today’s 59 as we head off to Conroe.

So far, the two most common things to see along the ride are road kill (all variety) and Chihuahua’s (alive & in yards; no, I don’t know why).  For day 2: One flat tire; no injuries; and a Super 8 Motel in Kountze…all good.