A drizzly mist hung in the morning air. The forecast predicted rain, but the severity and timing were constantly changing. We thought that it might just pass us by. I was poised at the starting line with our Dallas JDRF contingency of 5 riders and we were anxious to start.
The route traversed through some of the back roads around Glen Rose, Texas. Unfortunately, early on at the 15-mile mark the predicted rain did indeed start falling. Luckily the temps were in the 70s so it was not cold, but the rain was enough to get you soaked and run down to your socks and shoes. I am not sure the actual weight increase of water-soaked socks, but it feels like an extra 5-pounds strapped to your ankles. At one point someone asked, “Should we turn around and go back?” Well, I can’t get any wetter so might as well push on.
Despite the rain, the countryside was nice to ride through. Country houses lined the road broken by large ranchlands complete with cows and donkeys and a few horses (but no dinosaurs). The course was a hilly one with short, steep climbs that offered little reprieve. Overall there was over 2800 feet of climbing. At mile 37 there is a steep 10% climb section. At the top there is a sign that states: This is not the Wall. I chuckled out loud. You’re working hard up that hill and I felt the sign was teasing me. Sure enough, tougher sledding was yet to come.
Several miles later, a white spray-painted note on the pavement read: The Wall. Here it comes. I looked forward to this challenge all ride. It hits you quickly. There is no chance to build any momentum. You’re right into an 6% grade…and that’s just the beginning. The grade just keeps steepening…8%, 10%. You’re out of the saddle and pumping hard. 12%, 14%. Legs are burning. Heart rate is off the charts. And you’re just starting to hit the steep part. At 15% grade I was barely moving and struggling to balance the bike. I was pushing 400W and I needed more power, but I just did not have it. I had to dismount at that point and walk up to the steepest ascent that was a 19% grade. Just to give you a frame of reference, riding up Pike’s Peak is an average grade of 6%. The famous Mont du Chat mountain that is part of the Tour de France is a 10% grade. Glen Rose’s wall is indeed quite formidable. Though I did not ride the entire hill, I did make it to the top to receive my patch.
After the wall, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way home. Finally, the grade tilted in my favor with a bit of a downhill most of the way home for the last 10 miles. I clocked in with a (paltry) average of 14 mph and was on the bike for a little over 4 hours. More importantly, with your support Team Lance-a-lot raised almost $25,000 for JDRF to help develop treatments for T1D and ultimately to find a cure. Team Lance-a-lot is the top fund-raising team in the DFW/Oklahoma region and ranked #13 nationwide. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I really felt that you were with me as I rode…just be glad you did not have to get as wet.
2021 season is in the books. We’ll start to look forward to the 2022 quest.
Go Team Lance-a-lot!