As we continue with our story… I could really feel the asphalt taking its toll as I turned right off of Highway 6 onto FM 2988. (Not to mention the need for an even more padded saddle!) Thanks to some guy named Jacques or Ian or Eddy or something like that, I was talked into going for the full 100K instead of just my planned 25-mile course. Now, there I was, just a couple of miles from rest stop number three and it was nearly 10:30 in the evening…
Nah – I’m just kidding – don’t take me seriously. Although I know I do have a tendency to come across as a pretty serious individual! But, as you remember from our last installment, I had just thwarted that attempted burglary on Tompkins Road after losing control of my bicycle on that downhill, crashing through a chain link fence and leaving balloon-tire-sized tread marks up the back of the burglar as he was carting the television set toward the trunk of his car. I’m sure the sponsors of the ride will receive a letter from those folks thanking them for the heroism of one of their ride participants – and possibly enclose a bill for some chain link fence, approximately 35 feet of flower beds, seven ornamental yard flamingos, a storm door, and for some carpet cleaning due to some more of those balloon-tire-sized tread marks.
But, what the heck! – back to the ride…
I had managed to gather quite a following once other riders found out that I had been riding bikes since I was about five years old. In fact, I was leading a pack of roughly 750 riders south along Mitchell Road. Now, I know that 750 is kind of big for one pack and more than a couple of times I sprinted upwards of eight or nine miles per hour thinking maybe only about 300-or-so would make the break with me – but nooo! – the whole stinking group of 750 were right there with me – right on my tail. What else could I do but to lead them on to the finish line?
As I made the turn onto FM 1488, I could see the lead pack of the 62-mile route riders coming in on the road off to the left. Had I been riding alone, I would have stopped for a while and let them pass. But, with the gigantic mass of riders behind me, the force was too strong to stop. Fearing for my life, I continued on down FM 1488 knowing that the multitudes of riders swarming onto the road at six mph had forced most of those 62-mile riders into the ditch – more than likely resulting in a mangled pile of wheels and spokes and chains and twisted flesh. Fortunately that’s why the ride organizers made sure to have plenty of SAG wagons along the course.
Meanwhile, the pack behind me had grown to over a thousand – and I think that number was including a few dogs, armadillos and a varied assortment of farm animals. As we headed toward the last rest stop, we were pushing an average speed of around five miles per hour. The pack was devouring everything in sight. (After all – remember? – we are on the 25-mile route – we’re gonna get hungry!) We had become a black hole – nothing could escape our ever-growing force. Rest Stop Six stood tough for a while (gotta hand it to those Boy Scouts!) but soon even they gave in and ran for cover. The rest stop was history in a matter of moments. The U-Haul with fresh supplies previously en-route to the rest stop was overtaken by renegade 25-milers near the end of the pack – picked clean in a matter of seconds. We rolled on.
Just a mere four miles from the finish line, the pack had grown to nearly two thousand. I was in the lead simply because I knew I would be run over – I and my bike ground into asphalt much like the cyclists of the late 19th Century were – but that’s a different story. I had never ridden this fast for so long. I feared for the devastation that would surely befall the finish line if this pack kept growing like this. Could nothing stop us?
Stay tuned for…
BLUEBONNET EXPRESS RIDE REPORT – PART SEVEN
(And pray that they haven’t run out of hot link wrap arounds at the finish line!)
Enjoy the ride!