I’ve done most of the regional tour rides two to three times now. The first time I started tour rides it was pretty nerve-wracking. The second time I did some tours, I had a better idea of what I’d go through, and though there was still plenty of excitement, my worry-meter had dropped pretty far down. For events that I’ve ridden a few times (like Flower Power, Dam J.A.M., and bike MS) worry is pretty much gone, replaced with the “Let’s have fun!” feeling of going out for a good, long ride.
But Tulsa Tough… that’s a beast of a different nature.
Before I begin, I just want to say thanks to Chris Wilcox and family as well as the Tulsa Wheelmen, for putting on an excellent event. Very well organized, awesome course, and great volunteer staff. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better first race (though maybe an easier one). Second thanks goes out to my fellow riders who made me believe I could do this (at least until I was dropped… more on that later).
[Update: looks like I came in 17th out of 34. I’ll take it, and gladly.]
I am not a racer. No no, don’t try to convince me otherwise. I believe I can be fast, and climb pretty well, and my endurance has definitely increased. But a racer? No. I questioned whether I could be a racer until I was lined up at the start of the Cat 5 race yesterday morning. The Cat 1/2s (the super-racers) were coming by in the other direction, a large pack. They flew by us doing at least high-20s, and the column of air that whooshed by was worthy of a semi-truck.
Our great cycling community puts on awesome rides, ranging from long, leisurely, scenic routes to all-out torture-fests. Here’s a breakdown of the rides for 2013 in Tulsa and the greater Green Country area.
Good ideas often start small; as simple suggestions. So when Danny sent out an e-mail to the team suggesting we take up the Strava Quarq Power Trip Challenge (100 miles in a single ride on February 22-24), it was just that. A long ride on a closed loop. Simple. From those humble beginnings, we get the Team Superior 5xR (or the Riverside 110, if you prefer… but acronyms are really cool, especially when no one knows what they mean), a 110 mile ride consisting of five loops around the Tulsa Riverside trail system.
If you live anywhere within 2 hours of Pryor, OK, then you have to try this ride. This was the second year for me to do it, and it’s hard not to count it amongst the top tour rides in the region.
By early September, the oppressive summer heat usually breaks, giving way to cool morning starts and warm to slightly-hot afternoons. This year was the same, starting just on the edge of chilly when you first clip in. Ride lengths range from the 1/4 Dam (31.62 miles) to the Whole Dam J.A.M. (109.4 miles). Like long, flat roads? Like gently winding, tree-lined streets? Enjoy hilly rollers? Gotta take it up a notch with some massive climbing? There’s something for everyone on this ride.
Until yesterday, I had never really listened to the lyrics of Oklahoma!, and how it says right there in the chorus “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.” I shoulda paid more attention.
The route was nicely planned, with all the climbing taking place in the first 42 miles, and the last 25 miles mostly a straight shot south with some light rollers. On a calm weather day, that would’ve made for a good workout on the way out, and a nice paceline ride on the way back.
The weather had other things in mind. The wind started out light (10 mph range) as we headed north to Sperry and then west out to Skiatook Lake. And other than some very short-notice turns (like the one after the Tall Chief Dam downhill, or up onto Javine Hill Dr.) the route at that point was very nice. Wide open countryside, great views of the lake, and roads that were mostly smooth and lightly traveled.
Unlike 2011, the day started off beautifully. Temp was in the mid-60’s and overcast, and travel time down to Muskogee was a lot quicker – amazing what happens when the road isn’t obscured by torrential downpours.
My wife and kids were joining me on the drive down, to watch their first mass start. Afterwards, they would take off to the Renaissance Fair that was opening on the same day, 7 miles away.
Once there, I got all my gear ready, and threw my bag of post-race gear into Bret’s truck so I wouldn’t have to wait on the fam – or make them rush coming back from the fair. It was at this point I started to get nervous. See, there was a bunch of us going for the 100 today, and most of the people going that route were wearing some kinda water pack. I had opted to just bring my water bottles. First, the pack makes me hot – and I do terrible in heat. Second, it carries about 3 water bottles worth of water, which means more weight than most of the riders would have. Third, I was counting on the weather and the rest stops to see me through. Only time would tell if this strategy paid off.
It’s that time of the year again: tour season. We’re pretty fortunate here in Tulsa to have a relatively large cycling community for a rather small metropolis. That means we also have quite a few tour rides to test our mettle and enjoy the rolling, rural terrain that is North-East Oklahoma – known as Green Country. Below are descriptions on the first five tour rides coming up.
The event of the year for Team Superior arrived – the 2011 Oklahoma Bike MS – The Mother Road Ride! Hundreds of cyclists, hundreds of volunteers, hundreds of miles, all for one great goal – supporting the fight against MS!
Our team had some 40 participants, all ready for a rough first morning. The temp started out in the mid-50’s, wet roads and drizzling. It had the makings of a day where most cyclists would look outside and seriously reconsider. But not us. Nope, we gathered up our sweaters, pants, rain coats, and rolled out. Continue reading Rolling Route 66 – The 2011 Mother Road Ride→
As the old saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. Long, straight roads that appear to go on forever. Temperatures that ovens envy. Endless skies, and miles and miles of nothing. And once a year, nearly 15,000 riders gather in north-east Texas for one of the largest organized rides in the U.S. This was the 30th anniversary of the Hotter ‘n Hell 100. Continue reading Beating the Heat – The 2011 Hotter ‘n Hell 100→