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Italy 300k Brevet #2 - CycleOther

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Italy, Texas
United States
Lone Star Randonneurs
94F / 34C
Total Time = 11h 50m
Overall Rank = 1/20?
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

For those unfamiliar with a brevet, it is simply a long distance ride, not a race, that is unsupported. Therefore, this is simply a ride report from my experience on Saturday.

I'd like to title this ride report as, "This is what happens when Gina falls head over heels, puppy-dog, high school drama, chick-flick movie disgusting love for a guy." Okay, so maybe 'love' is too strong of a word to use for someone you just started dating, but ya' get the point!
Event warmup:

I got up at 5 am to get ready for the ride, but I'm really not sure I got anymore than 2 hours of sleep that night...this after not sleeping more than 2 the previous night. Actually, each night this week I could count the hours per night slept on one hand. So, the fact that I got up and got moving is kind of amazing to me. Headed out a little before 5:30 am from Allen to drive to Italy (about an hour drive).

I made it there with no problems and had plenty of time to get my stuff together and sign in. I decided not to wear a camelback since the furthest distance between controls was 38 miles. I also decided against packing the helmet light because I really REALLY wanted to be finished by dark. This helped save some junk that I had to carry around all day. I did put my bento box on my bike and I did have my head/tail lights and reflective gear with me as they are required for the 300k riders.

I was surprised that so many people showed up, especially so many of the people who just flew back in last weekend from doing the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200k brevet. Those people are so hoss! I would say there were probably around 30-40 people there and pretty evenly split between the 200k route and 300k route. I was riding the 300k route which was a little long at 191 miles. This was almost perfect to what was on my schedule for the day (180 miles).

Anyway, as 7:30 am approached, I was chomping at the bit. All I could think about was let's get this knocked out so I can spend more time staring at my guy's adorable smile :) FINALLY, the control opened and we were off!
  • 11h 50m
  • 200 miles
  • 16.90 mile/hr

Italy to Dawson (28.2 miles)
We took off at a great pace. It was so nice out that morning...I was actually kinda cold at first since it was in the lower 70's and the humidity wasn't bad. The 200ker's and the 300ker's are together between these two controls. The group almost immediately split into the fast group and the slow group. I of course, was in the fast group, simply because the faster I rode, the faster I was done! I was so glad to see that the pace was never allowed to drop. If someone started slacking at the head of the line, another person was quick to jump up front and take control. I was guilty of being the bull whip a couple of times. I was talking to a couple (Val and Robin) and they mentioned how they wanted to be finished by dark too. Darkness currently falls around 8:!5ish or so, therefore, giving us close to 13 hours to finish the ride. This is totally doable, I think anyway. Val and Robin recently moved here from Durango, CO so I'm thinking they have to be good hill climbers. I'm sticking with them!! Anyway, that first stretch went by in a blink of an eye. In fact, I didn't want to stop at the control. Sharon was waiting outside to sign our cards in case we didn't want to go in. I was like, sweet, okay let's keep a truckin'! However, everyone else had different plans and to my dismay, everyone was dismounting. No, no no!!! Fine, I jumped off too and dashed to the bathroom real quick. Luckily, Val and Robin weren't staying long and were ready to get going again. As we were about to pull out, the slow group is arriving. One of the guys, Gary the Regulator, looks at the brevet cards and notices that this control doesn't open until 8:45 am. "Wait guys, you better check your brevet card, because the control didn't open until 8:45, you may be here too early." Val looks at him and says, "So what?!" Ha ha! Loved it! I liked Val and Robin because they were like me and out for the ride, not for the stupid medal you can get, etc. It's all about having fun and seeing new places. We were safe on the control time though. The pace on this stretch was at over a 20 mph avg. I was happy :)

Dawson to Mexia (25.9 miles)
This is where the 200k and 300k part their ways. Val, Robin, and I were the first to take off and I was ready to start crankin'! Val has a great pace going and I think his wife is right behind us. We were moving so well. I already start imagining how early we could finish and how I could be back in Allen. Well, my daydreaming came to an immediate halt when I hear Robin yelling at us from a ways back, "Wait!!! I think we missed a turn!" What?? Like, just missed a turn or long time ago missed a turn? Turns out we had been riding for almost 5 miles in the WRONG direction! Son of a @#^$%*(*&!!!! All three of us started cursing like sailors. I immediately turn around and am ready to hammer back to get back on track. I notice another woman had been following us...I don't know her name, but to me, she was 'Too effing slow, Suzie' and had to be axed from the group. The three of them are now riding together a ways behind me and I'm like, "Let's go, let's go, let's go!! Bitch and pedal, bitch and pedal! We can do both at once!" We finally make it back to the course and I was still so freakin' pissed! That's about a half hour right there that we just screwed ourselves on!! Why didn't a look at the cue sheet?? Why did I leave my fate in the hands of others?? What time would we be finishing now?? Anyway, we were finally all back together and Val is back to pulling. It wasn't fast enough for me though and these billy goats from Colorado were not climbing fast enough for me! So, I would jump up front and pull and pull and pull and pull. I'd then go to the back of our 3-man group (like I said, Suzie had to be sacrficed). Robin never would pull and Val kept dropping the pace below what I wanted. We were with the wind or something and could really cruise here and I'd get way mad if the pace dropped below 20 mph and I really preferred it to be around 22 mph. I just wanted to scream at Val, "There is a bomb on your bike!! You can't let your speed drop below 20!!" I tried to stay calm, but I was like, we gotta be done NOOOOWWW!! I wondered if and when we'd ever catch those in front of us. I knew we'd catch the slow group eventually, but I was afraid the fast group was a distant memory and that really ticked me off! Val and Robin start playing the 20 questions game about my triple. I'm not a big fan about discussing it, but fine, we can talk about it if you will freakin' talk and pedal, talk and pedal!! Since when is the mouth connected to the legs?? Multi-task people!! Anyway, I finally had to cut the cord and ditch them. Sorry, guys, you just don't understand...MUST GET TO BACK TO ALLEN!! I finally make it into Mexia and am scrambling to find the control. As I see it, I also notice ALL of the bikes. I had caught them!! Not just the slow group, but everyone!! They were all there!! How in the world we made up our time in a matter of 25 miles I have no idea, perhaps someone had a mechanical. Either way, I'll take it! I jumped off my bike and bolted inside to get my card signed. I decided I had enough liquids to get to the next control. Right now, moving was way more important!! I got my card signed and practically took a flying leap on to the bike as I saw another guy sneak out of the control. Ha, he thinks he's getting away, sucker!!

Mexia to Teague (13.3 miles)
I hated that there were so many controls on this brevet that forced us to get off and sign in, however, Sharon said that they were like that to keep everyone honest. Personally, I think it's sad if a person has to lie about something like this and really, it would only affect themselves. Anyway, this was such a short stretch that I thought, surely I can survive to the next control before filling up. Is 76 miles too far to go on two bottles alone?? Nah, didn't think so! :) So, I take off and quickly pass the dude I saw sneak out. However, I realize I now have no idea where the heck I am going so I stop to pull out my cue sheet. He passes me and then I immediately get going again once I see where I am headed. I catch back up to him and he's like, "Did you sign into the control? Cause I was there pretty fast and I didn't see you." Umm, yeah, I signed in...I just took a 30 min. detour and caught your a$$, so STFU! I think he was just making sure I didn't miss it, but he done pissed me off so it was time to ditch him. And from this point on, I would be by myself for the remainder of the ride. I was really cruising these few miles, but I was still trying to get over the whole 30 min. deficit! Sucks how such a little mistake can have such a BIG loss! I roll into Teague and get stopped at the stupid railroad tracks. There were TWO trains that were playing criss-cross. Talk about wanting to throw a temper tantrum right there in the very street!! For the love of all things holy, you have got to be 'effing kidding me!!! I was there probably close to 10 min. as one would back up while the other moved forward and then they'd switch. They'd get so close to the intersection at times, but not quite. I'm glaring at the conductors, but I think they were taking pleasure in driving everyone crazy. They finally moved just enough for me to get by and I quickly jumped across and the control was on the other side. This time, I ran in, got more drinks, something to eat, bathroom, and card signed. Stupid, attendant had trouble reading a clock and kept staring at it. It's 11:42!! Just sign it!!! Boyfriend in Allen, need to be there now!! I quickly refill my bottles, slam a candy bar and jump on the bike.

Teague to Jewett (24.9 miles)
As I am heading out the group is just now rolling in. I'm surprised they didn't catch me back at the train dance. For some reason my sense of direction was totally off and I thought I was in Groesbeck so the directions on the cue sheet didn't make sense to me. I take off the wrong way down a street and then realize that perhaps the cue sheet is right. I decided to try to ask someone where the street I needed to turn on was so that I didn't miss it. I see some dude raking leaves or something in his yard and ask him where China street is. He says, "Oh, you're on the wrong side of town." Okay, this is a town of surely less than 1000 people. Opposite side of town turned out to be 5 blocks. He acted as if I was in Dallas needing to make a turn in Fort Worth. He then goes on to tell me, "Yeah, it's over there. I used to live on that street and then my wife and I got divorced so I moved back in with my mother over here." Dude, does it look like I care about your life story?? I quickly take off and am finally on my way to Jewett! I knew these roads because Jewett is a client of ours. I was worried that I might run into someone I know there since I have spent so much time in that town working on one project or another. Everyone is so nice, but they like to talk and I was in NO mood to talk today! Oh, my gosh, right before turning on to FM 39, a CAT ran about 50 yds in front of me. This wasn't no dog, it was a CAT, a wild cat!! I've had people tell me it must have been a bobcat. It was tan, had a short bobtail, big, big paws, and was the size of a like a lab dog. That kinda scared the begeezus out of me! Glad it carried on across the road and into the woods. Heading down FM 39 was a little aggrevating because it felt like a headwind, yet I was still moving at a pretty good clip. Nothing else of realy note on this stretch. I made it into Jewett and refilled my bottles again and once again with the card signing, ugh!! Got to love Texas for it's friendliness, but not today people!! Anyway, I was back on the bike and off to Groesbeck!

Jewett to Groesbeck (28.4 miles)
Now, I'm really going to Groesbeck, lol. My sense of direction had finally returned and I knew where I was at. I had to head out of Jewett the same way I came in on FM 39 and I saw the group maybe 3-4 miles behind me, go by. They were all pretty much still one big group. I wish I was riding with other people, but I just can't go that slow today, priorities!! FM 39 in this direction was much more fun, but I can feel the wind slowly start working it's way from out of the east to more out of the north. This is not going to be good since I have to head north back to Italy later in the day. Again, nothing too exciting on this stretch. Once I turned on to SR 164, it was a pretty smooth road with some good rollers so I was having fun. I rolled in to Groesbeck and realized it's much bigger than I had thought it was. I was hoping not to run into my employer...he has a ranch near there and was there this weekend bailing hay and moving cattle...yep, did I mention I was in TX?? Luckily, I didn't see him and didn't have to waste time on chit-chat. In Groesbeck, I bought more drinks and something to eat and was ready for the final 70 mile stretch.

Groesbeck to Mt. Calm (29.5 miles)
This is where the beat down began. I was battling quite the crosswind on this section and therefore, the pace was dropping and I was constantly calculating in my head how much longer things were going to take. This was a nice stretch though because there was practically zero traffic. I probably could have counted the number of cars I saw on one hand, which was nice, but then again, that meant I was out in BFE and I hoped I didn't run into trouble. Clint called me right as I was rolling through Mt. Calm and was about to turn into the control. So talked to him for a few minutes and he wanted to go watch the game that night. Okay, I can do that, just let me knock out the next 38 miles and I'll be on my way!! Ugh, now I REALLY wanted to be done! I tried to hurry through the control, but the ladies there were all excited about us crazy cyclists. The 200ker's had rolled through there earlier so I got to hear all about that. Felt like I was nodding and talking as I walked out the door. I just can't stop people.

Mt. Calm to Italy (38.3 miles)
On the home stretch! I knew this section was going to be brutal, but I tried to think positive. And really, the first 10 miles of it weren't too bad since it was still more of a cross wind rather than a headwind. Well, then it was time to turn on to FM 308. Holy Headwind, Batman!!! Here's where I almost started crying like the big fat girl that I am!! There were times I was pedaling with all my might and only going about 12-13 mph! It was killing me! I felt fine, but the wind was too strong and was definitely winning! Definitely reminded me of the Lubbock days. Once again, I started thinking about how much longer it would take me to get there. My pace had been over 19 mh for most of the day, but this section killed that! The temp had only been in the lower 90's that day, so really didn't feel hot, but that warm dry air was brutal! I was really having to ration my 2 water bottles. I started taking small sips on 2 mile intervals. My mouth was getting so dry it was hard to swallow. So this just added to the misery of not being able to move very fast. I was wishing that the group would catch me, but I knew they had to be a ways behind me...they take too long at controls. Within the last 15 miles I see cyclists ahead of me. Yay! Maybe they can help me and provide some draft! I don't know what the heck I was thinking...if I'm gaining on them, how the heck are they going to help me go faster?? Turns out, it was 5 of the guys from the 200k route. I quickly went around them, but Ray caught back up to me to talk awhile. Turns out he had made a few wrong turns that day as well. Still, I'm surprised that I would catch any 200ker's. He eventually dropped back and it was back to my lonesome self. I was so glad to finally turn on to SR 77 because that meant it was only 6 miles left to Italy. I could see the water tower in the distance, but it felt like I was never getting any closer, if anything, the thing was sprouting legs and moving further away from me. The wind continued to pound me as I inched along. Those last 20 miles or so I was SERIOUSLY considering hitching back to Italy. I saw so many trucks go by and it would have been so easy. I can't believe I was considering jumping in a truck so that I could get back faster. Told ya' I was pathetic. Somehow, Italy finally came! I rolled in at 7:20 pm, so not only did I beat the dark, but I had ridden 200 miles faster than I had ever before. And it would have been faster if it weren't for all of the stupid stopping on this ride. My ride time was 10:56 (18.3 mph avg.) so I had almost an entire hour worth of break time, grrr!!
What would you do differently?:

Not miss stupid turns. Ditch people immediately if they can't talk and pedal at the same time!
Post race
Warm down:

When I got to Italy, I had to get my card signed one last time. I hop off the bike and immediately slam into the wall! I was dizzy, lightheaded, and having trouble standing up straight. Good thing the wall was there to catch me. I tried to bend over and gain my composure. I've got to walk into the store. I literally was stubling through there grabbing on to shelves, etc. to hold me up. I must have looked like a drunk. This is a big gas station and I can tell people are looking at me. The attendant asks if I'm alright and I say yes, just sign the card...gotta get to Allen! I then stumble into the bathroom and crash on a toilet which is so disgusting to me, but standing no longer felt good. I didn't allow myself to sit there long though. I walked over to the sink to try to wash off my face and just calm down, but I think it just freaked me out more because my face was so grey looking, it was weird. Perhaps it was just the lighting in that place. I have never felt like this after a ride, and it wasn't pretty. I was finished though and I wanted to be back in Allen so bad! I bought some liquids and a snack for the return trip. I told myeslf I'd feel better once I got that stuff down me. I walked over to turn my brevet card in and then went to load my car. Through the bouts of having to bend over to relieve the lightheadedness, I managed to get everything chunked in my car. It was such a disaster back there, but I didn't care, as long as everything was in the car, I didn't care about it being tidy.

I jumped in the car and did my best to drive as fast as I could have to Allen. It only took me an hour again which was pretty good considering the traffic during the day time. It just wasn't good enough though, I rolled into Allen around 8:45 pm. I was so happy to finally be where I had been trying to get all day, but I felt horrible for letting him down. We had missed the game. How bad is that, getting in the way of a man's football game?? That's just not right! I don't like it when people get in the way of my football watching and I'm a girl! I was feeling much better at least by the time I got back and even better after eating Mexican, yum!! :) I then tried to make it up to him by driving us out on the town that night and closing down the bar with him at 2 am and driving us back home, but I'm pretty sure I'm still the bad girlfriend. My triathlon habit might be a little out of control at times :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Stops at a ridiculous amount of controls, dancing trains, wrong turns.

Event comments:

Despite my frustrations today, I really did enjoy this course. Most of the roads were pretty smooth and the gently rolling hills were nice. In fact, a few more hills might have been nice. And even though this was my fastest 200 miler, I know I could have done things better today to ride faster...I'm still kicking myself over it.

Last updated: 2007-09-04 12:00 AM
11:50:00 | 200 miles | 16.90 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/20?
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: The ride started in Italy, TX and had controls in Dawson, Mexia, Teague, Jewett, Groesbeck, Mt. Calm, and back to Italy. Fairly flat course with gently rolling hills at times. Roads were pretty smooth for the most part, but most were still chipseal.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2007-09-05 1:01 AM

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Longview, TX
Subject: Italy 300k Brevet #2

2007-09-05 2:10 AM
in reply to: #952250

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Lacey, Washington
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2
WOW, awesome!! Great report--it's like we were there with you.  Fun read, and at the same time, great way to see how you pushed yourself for the "goal"!
2007-09-05 9:54 AM
in reply to: #952250

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Longview, TX
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2

I'll make this the cliff's notes version.  Maybe this is not the best setting for what I really want to say. 

You never cease to amaze me with your abilities.  But please don't go off killing yourself like that.  You're way more important than a silly football game.  I am still having a hard time believing that you were willing, and wanting, to go out to dinner and hang out after riding that far.  Mexican food helps, huh?    If your triathlon habit is the only thing causing you to be a 'bad girlfriend', then I'll definitely take a 'bad girlfriend' because my triathlon habit might be making me a 'bad boyfriend'.

2007-09-05 1:46 PM
in reply to: #952475

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2


I'm guessing he's the boy who was waiting in Allen . Sounds like a keeper to me.

Great job out there, and very entertaining Race Report. You are simply stop being so hard on yourself. Way to kick butt out there!!! And, um, way to survive going out to dinner and closing down the bar afterwards. I would have gone right to bed. Well, Mexican food, and then bed.

Keep up the good work.

2007-09-05 4:00 PM
in reply to: #952250

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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2
Hilarious ride report Gina. Great job on the ride. From the post he left he seems like a keeper. I hope to see you at IMAZ in 2008.
2007-09-05 4:20 PM
in reply to: #952250

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2

First off, AWESOME ride!   Glad you had fun!

I think the dizziness might have just been the lack of water.  Um, 76 miles IS very far on two bottles...seriously.  

Sorry you missed the football game!  Those are fun!

2007-09-06 8:35 AM
in reply to: #952250

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2
Hee-hee... CLINT HAS MET HIS MATCH! Loving it!

Seriously, he's so gung-ho about training for tri's... he could ONLY date someone who is more into it than he is. I'm sure if he didn't have a couple of HIM's coming up, you would have had him riding with you!

Congrats on the 300K Brevet... you are hardcore girl! I can't even imagine it!
2007-09-06 10:13 AM
in reply to: #952250

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Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Subject: RE: Italy 300k Brevet #2
Nice job Gina.  Your RR is hilarious.  I always like reading RR for brevets.  Makes me want to do one.
2007-09-06 1:02 PM
in reply to: #952250

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