122 Riders participated in the ride in remembrance of Marilyn Fulper, a local rider who was struck and killed by an inattentive driver running a red light on Cantrell Road.
This stretch of road through a canopy of large old pecan trees is a favorite of many riders.
The weather cooperated with blue skies and comfortable temperatures, though few folks in this part of the country would have complained about a little rain.
The ride was a pretty relaxed affair, with two rest stops positioned along the 63 mile course and cold watermelon served at the finish by the fine folks of the nearby Hardin Farms market. I only heard of a single 2-bike crash and didn't encounter anyone along the road flatted or in distress, which made for easy SAG duty, though I did get a call to pick up one friend near the finish who was suffering from cramps.
I always find it a little disturbing when event riders act as if they are on closed roads, and there was a bit of that behavior here as usual. In one large pack, riders were taking the full width of the road even as I approached from behind them and lightly tapped my horn to be sure that they were aware of a car back. It may have been obvious that I was there on their behalf, but riders should always give drivers as much room as possible, and at the very least stick within their own lane.
A large reminder that the ride was taking place on open roads.
For the most part, the route was lightly traveled and the roads were good as the tour rolled through pecan groves and row-crop fields. Blondes may have more fun, but my redhead friend Robin has a pretty good smile going here!
And Diane, aka: Mrs. JBar, can give anyone a run for the money in the smile-on-the-bike category.
The first rest stop was a busy place! The ride got high marks from participants.
After several years at Chainwheel, Sarah Miller (r) has gone to work with Diane at Garver, LLC.
Garver has a great employee fitness philosophy and serves as a sponsor for many local cycling events, so it's a great fit for Sarah and team Garver!
Tish Fallis was on hand doing the event photographry. Her photos can be found here. Tish does some great work. Keep her in mind if you need a photographer!
Hardin Farms provided cold watermelon and refreshments for riders at the finish.
I usually see little along the way when I take part in event rides. Though I often pledge to do otherwise, my usual mode is to stick with the fastest group I can hang with, minimize stops and finish in the best time that I can manage. Driving SAG gave me a chance to see another side of the ride. Though I usually end up with congenial folks, the conversation is seldom as relaxed as what I heard from the groups that were perfectly happy with a 4 1/2 hour metric. There's a lot to be said just enjoying the ride.