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LSR Italy Brevet (300k) - Cycle

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Italy, Texas
United States
Lone Star Randonneurs
98F / 37C
Total Time = 10h 52m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I was finally able to do another Brevet with the Lone Star Randonneurs. Again, was supposed to do the 200k, but with the bike challenge against the boys this month, I had to go for the 300k, plus, I'm getting addicted to this long distance riding.

After having a crummy week, decided to go ahead and book a hotel room for Friday and Saturday night in Italy, just to get away for awhile and that way I wouldn't have to get up super early to get to Italy (about 2:15 away) or drive home really gross, besides, I was going to Tyler State Park on Sunday so I could just stop there on my way home.

I left work on Friday and headed to Italy. Decided to take the scenic route on the way there by taking Hwy 31 to Hwy 22 to FM 667. This route took me through Athens, TX where I decided to stop and eat at a little Italian restaurant, which just made me laugh...stopping in Athens to eat Italian on my way to Italy. I made it to Italy sometime after 8 pm and went to check in. The hotel was above a gas station, which sounds weird, but it was a really nice gas station, that looked new and was stone and brick. It had a Grandy's, Stuckey's, and McDonald's and then across the way was a Pizza Inn and Subway. So as I'm checking in, I see Brannon who was one of the people I rode with on the last Brevet. Woohoo! A familiar face and someone to ride with the next day! As I'm talking to him, I find out there is a problem with my room, the room they reserved for me was "Out of Order" whatever that means. Hmmm, this isn't good, I start thinking about driving up to Waxahachie or somewhere else close by. However, they decided to give me a suite instead. Awesome. Then began lugging of all my junk upstairs. For the last Brevet I was so nervous and was all prepared before I left town, but this time I guess I felt all experienced, etc. so just threw stuff in the car and thought I would get organized the night before, so that meant I had bags and bags of different crap that I had to dwindle down to just enough stuff to cram into my pockets. Not much going on that night, just talked on the phone (I'm a girl, what can I say) and got ready for the ride in the morning. Tossed and turned all night for some reason, not sure why because like I said, I wasn't nervous about the ride, I knew that I could find someone to ride with and I knew how the rides worked, even if I was alone, the que sheets are easy to follow.
Event warmup:

Up at 5:15 am to eat some breakfast and get ready to go. Headed downstairs around 6:30 am to get my que sheet and sign in. I decided I really wanted some OJ so bought a bottle and sucked it down before the ride (big mistake). As I was signing in, I noticed there were lots of people at the ride, but very few were doing the 300k, only like 6 of us. What the heck? The last Brevet, I was the weenie for going short while everyone else went long and now the reverse. Someday I will be on the same page as the rest of the group. But Brannon and Pat were doing the 300k so I was excited to have half the group together from the last ride, I enjoyed riding with them. As I sign in and grab my que sheet, Dan asks what distance I'm riding and I say the 300k, he tells me I need to ride with Todd because he's fast. But I don't wanna go fast! I just want to have an easy fun ride. A 'new to me'girl shows up and she is debating whether to do the 200k or the 300k. I tell her that I'm doing the 300k and that she (Sharon) should too. She asks me if I will ride slow and I tell her yes, but Dan was like, "No, she's a fibber, don't listen to her." Do what?! I am not a liar thank you very much! He quickly ushers her away and tells her to go ride with Gary. Humph! The group begins to gather and I realize that I am the only one without a camelback. Hmm, maybe I should have brought mine (I brought it to the hotel, but just couldnt' commit to it, I hate camelbacks!). I looked at the que sheet and the longest distance between controls was 50 miles. That's a stretch, usually I have a 2 bottle per 40 mile limit, and once we were underway on the ride, I quickly realized that 2 bottles was sufficient for maybe 30 miles. I then notice people with polar bottles. Dang it! I have one of those, why didn't I bring that? I clearly was not thinking for this ride. I just got all giddy that it wasn't going to rain, that I didn't think about anything else. In fact, I was riding extremely minimalist today. I decided to ditch the bento box, it annoyed me when I would stand to climb hills, my knees would rub against it. Also decided not to carry any extra perpetuem. I didn't have enough room to carry enough to be worth anything anyways so why bother. Almost didn't bring my helmet light because I really didn't think we would be out past dark, but got nervous of mechanicals, etc. that might slow us down and force us to finish in the dark and I really like having my helmet light. I decided to once again be at the mercy of the controls for food and water, since I still can't come to grips with a bike trunk. As I was driving to Italy the previous night I was telling my sister this and how I didn't want to look like a dork with a bike bag and she says, "Gina, you already look like an idiot in that bike get-up, what harm could a bike bag do?" Guess she has a point. Anyways, 7 am approaches and then we all head out. Yea, time for a good ride!
  • 10h 52m
  • 187 miles
  • 17.21 mile/hr

Italy to Control #2, Dawson
So I casually take off, prepared for the long day ahead. La de da, what a beautiful day...just waiting for everyone to kind of group up as we head out. That's when Dan comes flying by me and says, "Come on Gina! Todd's up there!" Ugh, do I haveta? Of course, I go with Dan because I'm an idiot. Why can't I ride with my groupies, Pat and Brannon? Okay, so they probably don't consider themselves groupies of mine, but we had a good system going at the last Brevet, why mess up a good thing? How come Sharon gets to ride back there? Is it because she's pretty and I'm not? Is that it? Just because I'm not blonde and beautiful doesn't mean I have to be stuck up here. Why Dan thinks I can ride fast is beyond me, he's never ridden with me, he doesn't know how slow I am. Anyways, we catch up to Todd and I hang behind them while they chit chat. Okay, I can handle this, and if it gets too hard I can drop back. So as were riding we glance back and can't see anyone else, see we're going too fast already! Dan was doing the 200k so he can go fast if he wants, but I gotta survive 300k. Dan says that he is doing the 200k with Pam (another pretty blonde). Umm, okay, let's see, there's Todd, and there's me, and no Pam! Apparently, riding with Pam just meant, being on the same course as her and waiting at the controls...guys! We reach Avalon and head south on FM 55, into the wind. I don't like this, but it's not THAT bad yet and I just kept telling myself that it would only be bad until a little ways after the first control and then we would head up north for a long time (I tried not to focus on the fact that we had to finish into the wind). Oh, this is about the point where the orange juice seeks revenge on me, I had to go to the bathroom soo bad. That's all I could focus on. So, we're cruising along and just talking and Todd cycles to the back so I'm next to Dan talking and then glance back. Dan senses what I'm thinking and says, "Todd's back there." Yeah, that's who I'm supposed to be riding with, remember? You're the one who got me into this mess. We ease up and Todd rejoins us and then we continue on. Dan notices I don't have a camelback and worries that I won't have enough water and starts talking about bonking in the heat. Great! Now I feel wonderful. Then he starts talking about bike fit, apparently I have that wrong too. I'm off to a swell start. We once again lose Todd, but I stick to Dan's wheel as we head onto Hwy 31 towards Dawson. I'm really not liking the wind now. We reach the control and I've learned my lesson: in and out mucho pronto! Plus, I had to pee so bad (didn't have to worry about this issue the rest of the day though) I head for the bathroom and this old lady beats me there, I know I let a granny beat me, but I've got on cleats, it's hard to move fast on a slick floor in those things. There's already someone in the bathroom so decide to buy my food and water first and then go back to the bathroom. As I go to set my stuff outside, Todd arrives. I head back in, go to the bathroom and come back out. Todd is ready to go. Geez! I think all he did was run inside to get his card signed. Dawson is where the 200k and 300k split so Dan was going to wait for Pam. He says to Todd, "She can pull you if you will just wait at the stops for her to go to the bathroom." What am I? A work horse? So we take off as I'm shoveling in my granola bar.

Dawson to Control #3, West
I jump beind Todd as we head back into the nasty headwind. Gah, this sucks! We reach Hubbard fairly quickly though and Todd pulls back a ways behind me, I look back to make sure he's okay and let him catch back up as we head on towards Mount Calm which was anything but Calm. Okay, so the wind sucks, but we will be turning soon and it's so pretty out here with the rolling scenery and all the crop and hay fields. I'm just pedaling along and I guess my helmet straps or something was making a noise because I could have sworn it was Todd to my back right (I'm blind in my right eye so don't have peripheral vision on that side). I go to say something to him and realize he's not there. I panic and look back and see him a couple hundred yards behind me, whew! So, I ease up to let him catch back up to me. That's pretty much how the ENTIRE ride went. I would pedal, freak out when he was a ways behind me, ease up to let him catch up to me, we'd exchange a few words, then repeat. I think he didn't like riding with me, but Dan insisted I ride with him, so he was stuck with me whether he liked it or not. Finally, at mile 54 we turned on to FM 2311 to head north. Instant gratification! Ahh, it was wonderful. Finally, we could cruise. This section also had some nice downhills too. It was a quiet road and fairly smooth. Most of the roads that day were pretty good, even the chipsealed roads were fairly packed down so wasn't as bad as it could have been. We ride through Leroy and into West. I tell Todd that I'll go as fast as I can so that we can get back on the road, but he's says he'll take a few minutes at this one. Good, I can relax. The name of the gas station was The Czech Stop, I walked in there and quickly realized I had forgotten my lederhosen, at least, that's what I felt like with that loud music going. This store had a big bakery in it that apparently every person over 60 knows about. I fought my way through the geezers to the restroom where there was a line. Ugh, Todd isn't going to like this, hurry hurry people! So, I'm standing in my bike get up, helmet and all because taking stuff off would be wasting time. I quickly notice all eyes are on me as I click along in line. Finally one lady asks where I rode from, so I tell her that we started in Italy and are doing a large loop. A stall finally opens so I duck in, but she's till asking questions, "So how far are y'all going to ride." Me, peeing, "187 miles." Her, "Wow, is this for something? Are y'all training for anything." I sit there as I'm still peeing because she doesn't get the hint. Why does this have to be about something, can't I just ride to ride? Civilians, they have no idea what they are missing, the view is always better from a bike. I almost opened my mouth to mention that I was training for the double iron, but I knew that this would just spur on more questions that I didn't have time for. "Nope, just riding." As I bolt out of the bathroom. I buy some big waters, some fritos, and some trail mix for the road. Todd gives me some ice for my water bottles, good for about 5 minutes. I'm inhailing fritos and ready to go. Todd is still filing up etc., so I felt good that he wasn't having to wait on me. He goes in to buy some more water as I dance around outside, stepping in gum. Grrr! At least it was on the heel and not on my cleat, that would have been bad trying to clip in. He's filling his camelback with ice when this old woman comes up and she's holding out a quarter. At first I thought she was trying to give us money because we looked pitiful slurping down liquids and inhaling food like we hadn't eaten in three days, but she just wanted some of his ice. Anyways, I chugged almost an entire water bottle standing there hoping my camel like qualities would kick into effect so that I could make the long haul to Itasca, this was the long 50 mile stretch. Todd squeezed an extra bottle of water into one of his pockets and said that I could have some if I needed it. Good to know, just in case. Finally time to roll out, I wasn't a fan of this rest stop because it was so crowded in there and didn't have large jugs of water.

West to Control #4, Itasca
Alrighty, the ride of truth, could I make it on the two bottles of water. We had signed in at West around 11:15 so we were also approaching the hottest part of the day, yep I'm stupid. But we were going with the wind mainly, so that was good. As we headed out of West we rode back into the countryside filled with crop fields. We even saw a crop duster that was zipping back and forth. That reminded me of riding back in Lubbock. Those crop dusters used to love to scare the crap out of us. They would sneak up behind us and swoop so low, you'd swear they were going to touch your head. I could always imagine them just laughing their heads off as we almost lost it on the road. Everything seemed just peachy as we headed up through Penelope and Mertens and on up to Milford. I can't think of anything too memorable, it was the same pedal pedal pedal, look back, ease up, yak for a coulpe of seconds then resume the solo ride. When we reached Milford, we had to turn back into the wind. Ugh, I hate wind. I tried to tell myself, it's keeping you cool, it's keeping you cool. Alright, well if a hair blow dryer is cooling, then I guess this wind was too. It was just a blowing furnace and I'm rationing my water as much as possible, but I'm losing it. My mouth was so dry, and the water in my bottles was about at the boiling point. I could have brougt some noodles to boil and had carbs on the go. Need cold liquid now, can't drink liquid magma anymore! Where is Itasca?! Does it really exist? I continued to look back and slow up for Todd and I thought, he has more water, but I refused, I thought to myself, nope, you got yourself into this predicanment for being too stubborn to wear a camelback, so you can suck it up and deal with it. I know the mileage to Itasca so I finish off the last drop with a couple miles to go. I finally see the gas station and am so excited, see, told ya' I didn't need anymore stinking water (If I could have stuck my head under the drink fountain I would have). Again, I'm trying to hurry in and hurry out so Todd doesn't have to wait for me, but then I see him setting his stuff down in a booth. Woohoo! I can eat my food like a human being, with chewing! As we sit there, I have my poptarts and he bought a ham and cheese sandwich. I'm looking at his sandwich thinking, man, I should have got a sandwich. Then he says to me, "Wow, those poptarts look good." So we traded half a sandwich for a poptart, sweet! I've discovered Todd drinks and eats some crazy stuff on these things. I guess everyone has their little things that work for them, but he would buy a V8 and then a chocolate milk and chug them, ugh, makes my stomach flip just thinking about it. He did however get an Icee at this stop which sounded pretty good. We filled up our water bottles with ice from the drink machine. I accidentally hit the Sunkist lever and soda went all over my arm and leg. Great, that's going to be sticky! It wasn't though, I think my body detected liquid and said, gimmie gimmie gimmie! So, we were finally filled up and ready to go.

Itasca to Control #5, Waxahachie
We were recharged and feeling on top of the world again. Plus, we were going into another tailwind section. We headed out of Itasca around 2:45 and it was around 40 miles to Waxahachie. Piece of cake! Oh how the heat had affected my brain. The stretch to Maypearl was nice and winding and with the wind and was very peaceful. At Maypearl we turned on to FM 157 and things are still good and we're cruising along. We reach FM 875 way faster than I thought we would and I'm thinking, man, we've only got 16 miles to Waxahachie, we've just about got this thing licked. However, as we turn on to 875 the sign says, Mountain Peak 4 miles. We look at each other and Todd says, I don't like the sound of that. Yeah, me neither. This section we thought would be just a kinda bad crosswind...well, make that a really bad cross to head wind. This is where I got cranky. Yeah, the getting low on water thing wasn't that enjoyable, but not that big of a deal. I get frustrated though when I can't move through the wind and so I start fighting it. The 4 mile stretch to Mountain Peak was just awful, the wind was knocking me out of my aerobars, it's a chipsealed road, it's hot, and I'm watching my speed go 15...14....13...12... I reach Mountain Peak and while I wouldn't call anything in this part of Texas, Mountain, there was definitely some peaking to it. At least the road here curved so that you were with the wind, but by this time, you had no speed anyways and it was a fairly steep climb. I quickly run through almost all of my gears as I'm cursing the hill. I make it to the top and oh goody, back into the wind @#%%$^ I look back and Todd is a fairly good distance behind me so I tell myself to just relax stop fighting the wind and just take it easy, Todd has the right idea. So I slow up. This road had some pretty good little steep climbs, so that with the wind, our "only" 16 miles to Waxahachie felt more like 116. After passing the outskirts of Midlothian though, the wind was marginally better and I was finally seeing speeds on my computer that I could live with. I'm riding riding riding and realized I hadn't checked back for Todd in awhile. I look back and I don't see him at all. I slow way down, keep looking back, still not seeing him. I get worried and pull into a driveway and decide to wait a few minutes and if I didn't see him shortly I was going to ride back to look for him. Todd finally comes around the bend and I'm relieved, he tells me to go on and not wait for him, but I was out there for the ride, not to race, I wanted someone to ride with. Besides, who was going to read the que sheet for me, lol. After plugging away at what seemed like an eternity we finally make it to Waxahachie. Our route took us through the heart of Waxahachie on streets with lots of trees so the shade felt wonderful. We stop at the control and I buy more water and the forbidden gatorade. Eh, I figure my coach probably didn't approve of fritos and poptarts for fuel so a little gatorade on this ride couldn't hurt at this point. Just 30 more miles to go, we were going to make it...unfortnately, this last section was into a cross to head wind the entire time.

Waxahachie to Control #6, Italy
Alrighty, we signed in at Waxahachie around 5:00 so we had tons of time to finish in daylight, which was our ultimate goal. We take off into the wind and I just grit my teeth and bear it. I'm still having to tell myself to calm down in the wind though, I butt heads with it too much. As we head out of Waxahachie we ride towards this lake. The road curves to go around it by the dam, but I'm just looking at that water and thinking about how good it must feel. I could just go straight, the pavement continued into a parking lot, I could get some good speed, catch some good air and just go flying in to the cool cool water. Okay, so I didn't do it, but I envied the people hanging out in the water. The lake proved how bad the wind was though, it was quite choppy. I'm having to slow up more and more for Todd. I reach the turn off for FM 984 and completely stop again. Once again, he tells me to go, but I won't have it. We continue on FM 984 which had a section that was under construction that was extremely rough. I couldn'd find a good line anywhere. Luckily it only lasted a couple of miles. I keep pushing through the wind and make it to Bardwell where we would turn on to Hwy 34 and ride it all the way back into Italy. I get to the intersection and pull off into some shade to wait for Todd. I waited a few minutes here and I started to get a sinking feeling. He shows up and says he needs to stop for a few minutes, he doesn't feel well. He tells me to go on, but I'm not going to leave him if he's not feeling good. True, there were still a few others behind us, but I didn't know how far back they were because we hadn't seen them since the start. So, we go in the gas station where they had some booths. He eats a popsicle and I drink some more water. They had a grill there and I'm looking at the menu of fried chicken, hamburgers, frito pie, etc. and I say, "Man, that food is looking pretty good." I think that made Todd want to hurl because it was his stomach that was off. One of the guys that worked there told us about some trails out at Lake Bardwell that were for mountain bikes, horses, and ATV's maybe. He said they had over 20 miles of trail cut so far. Hmm, might be worth checking out sometime. I rarely ride my death machine (mountain bike) anymore. Todd finishes up his popsicle and we decide to give it another go. I decided that I was not leaving Todd's side from here on out, I didn't want him passed out somewhere on the road and I ditch him. Todd had new life though and rode great all the way back into Italy. I think the wind had shifted a little bit to more out of the South southeast, rather than south southwest that it had been in the morning. Hwy 34 didn't seem too bad with the wind. We reach the Italy city limit sign which was 5 miles from our ending point. Little towns crack me up with their city limits, they'll push them out as far as possible just so they have a larger area to award tickets to make money for the city. It was only 5 miles though and we were so excited. We reach home and go sign in at 7:30. So, total time was around 12:30 hours with a little under 11 hours riding time.
What would you do differently?:

Camelback camelback camelback. Actually, I'd probably do it without it all over again, simply because I hate stuff on my back, and knowing that I survived this time, is only going to fuel my idiocy...told you I'm stubborn. Also, I did really well with soft pedaling up all of the hills and taking it easy, I think knowing that Todd was behind me helped with that because I knew I had the time to do it. I'm so used to having to crank away with my bike club. So that was good, but I need to relax more into the wind and not freak out when I see the low numbers on my computer. I think Todd was a great partner to ride with because it helped keep me controlled. Had I been on my own, I probably would have gone too hard and blown up in the end. Each time I do these rides though, I think I'm getting mentally tougher, just trying to relax the mind and focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Definitely have more work to do in this area though.
Post race
Warm down:

Talked with Todd while he loaded up his stuff to head back to Plano, then headed off for a shower. After degriming I walked across the street to the Pizza Inn. I had been dreaming about it all day. As I sat there eating my food, I'm reading the digital sign that's outside the gas station that's flashing prices etc. It kept showing the temperature and at 8:45 the temperature was 91 degrees, so that should give you an idea of how hot the day was. They said it was supposed to get up to 98 degrees that day and I believe it did. Headed back to the hotel, flipped through the channels and crashed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Eh, this ride wasn't about going faster.

Event comments:

Once again, I had a blast riding with the LSR group, err person. I love new scenery and riding long distances. Every time I do a ride this length it boosts my confidence for the bike leg in the double. I really felt great the whole way today; I mean I was cranky when I was low on water and dealing with the wind, but I never had any stomach issues or any soreness. I felt great after the ride. I wish I got to do rides like this more often.

Last updated: 2006-06-11 12:00 AM
10:52:00 | 187 miles | 17.21 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Wind: Strong
Course: Again, not going to list the que sheet, but here is the short version: Started out in Italy, headed east to Avalon, then south to Silver City, then to Dawson, through Mount Calm and finally heading back north on FM 2311 through Leroy to West, then est to Penelope, north to Itasca, north up through Maypearl, then east on FM 875 to Waxahachie, then south to Bardwell, back through Avalon and into Italy. The course was rolling hills through millions of crop fields and hay fields, very scenic.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Average
Race pace: Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2006-06-11 11:12 PM

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Longview, TX
Subject: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)

2006-06-11 11:33 PM
in reply to: #450721

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DC Metro, slowly working my way to NC
Bronze member
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)
Amazing ride there - great work!
2006-06-12 6:34 AM
in reply to: #450721

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Littleton, CO
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)

I don't manage the heat as well as you do - even if I have water.  Otherwise, you make it sound like a great ride.  I wish I could join you next time!

Great job!

I also admire your sense of camaraderie.  Before tris I was a climber and I can definately recall times where that same spirit got some people home alive, who wouldn't have made it otherwise.  Please don't push your camel qualities too far.  I don't want to read about you being the one who crashes hard!   I may have to check into those polar bottles.  I can't drink magma either!

2006-06-12 6:57 AM
in reply to: #450721

Orange, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)

Nice report Gina!  Crazy riding that's for sure.  I don't know how you handle all that Texas terrain and the heat, that stuff would drive me crazy.  You need to come up here sometime and do Boston - Montreal - Boston.  No crop dusters to bother you!


2006-06-12 6:51 PM
in reply to: #450721

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Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)
That sounds like an awesome ride.  Makes me want to do a brevet now.
2006-06-14 1:02 PM
in reply to: #450721

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)


Great ride.  Sounds like you learned a few things that will help you on the Double. 

I love reading your race reports.


2006-06-14 3:31 PM
in reply to: #450721

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: LSR Italy Brevet (300k)
Thanks for the detailed report!

Sounds like you had a lot of fun! Cool!

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