Posts Tagged ‘tour depepper’

I count myself a lucky person.  I was fortunate enough to get to do two rides, back-to-back, in the same month.  If you’ve been riding, running, or tri-ing for a while you probably have figured out it’s a little expensive sometimes.  I am on a budget, both of time and money in regards to my “hobby”.  Therefore, I usually only do one ride or race activity per month.  However, because of a lucky set of circumstances, I got to ride the Tour dePepper on June 9th and the Tour d’Italia this past Saturday.

This was my fifth Tour d’Italia and was my best so far.  For those that haven’t caught on yet, the Tour d’Italia is in Italy…Texas.  We have most of the world’s great places here in Texas: Paris, Italy, Athens, New London, and Rhome.  There might be others, but I haven’t discovered them yet.  Italy is a small town in Ellis County south of Dallas County, where I live.

The Lone Star Cycling club puts on the Tour d’Italia each June to benefit the Italy High School athletic program.  There are rides from 12 miles up to the 100K that I rode this year.  I’ve ridden the 40 and 50 milers in the past.  However, I like to ride the TDI (as it’s called for short) because much of it runs through Navarro County to Italy’s south.  That’s where much of my Texas ancestry comes from.  Riding the TDI helps me remember places where I grew up as a kid fishing with my grandfather.

Though this is my fifth TDI, it is only the second 100K that I have finished.  I was plagued on the first three by mechanical issues, mostly breaking spokes.  The second year I had the Fuji, but only rode the 5o-miler as the Fuji and I were not completely up to making 63 miles.  However, last year I finally broke the barrier and rode my Trek for the full 100K and this year, finished in good time with the new and improved Fuji (and me too, I think).

The course for the TDI runs over a lot of country pasture and farm land through Navarro County, although it does get near the Navarro Mills lake area for a while.  One of the best rest stops on the tour is the 30-mile stop at the park near the dam.  These guys put out a great snack feast for the riders with fig newtons, plums, and nectarines. It is also the first spot on the tour where you can get a towel soaked in ice water.  In June, that’s pretty helpful.

This year, as we rode west on Highway 31 toward the 30-mile point, and just as we were going to turn north to the rest stop, we saw something interesting.  A lady rider was walking her bike back to the turn from further down the road.  Not too unusual.  I’ve missed turns before.  However, just as we were turning, she asked, “Where does the 30-mile route turn?”

What?  I had looked at my Garmin just a little back and we had crossed 28 miles.  Most just encouraged her to turn with us, but she also learned she had missed the 30-mile turn quite a while back.  By the time she made the rest stop, she had her 30 miles done.  I didn’t find out what happened, but she had a couple of choices: finish out with 50 or 60 (she had also passed the 40-mile turn), or SAG back and finish with her 30.  Yep, she done had her 30 for the day.

The TDI course is a lot less hilly than the Tour dePepper I rode the week previous.  I was able to keep up a good pace.  By 30 miles I was still at 14 mph average.  I started losing it somewhere near the fourth rest stop around 45 miles.  Even though we had some south wind, it wasn’t atrocious and it didn’t benefit us much as we turned north.  Though the morning was cool for June, it began to heat up as we crossed over 3.5 hours.  However, everything held on pretty well.  I finished up my 63 miles in 4:49; breaking five hours only about the third time since I began riding.

The TDI and the Tour dePepper will finish up my Spring riding.  I am glad to end it on a good note.  I’ve put three good 100K rides together this Spring: Head for the Hills, Tour dePepper, and the TDI.  I’m going to ride round here for the next couple months while I get ready for the Hotter-n-Hell in late August.  I have a good running/cycling/swimming schedule put together, and  if things hold together, I should be able to do the 100-mile in under 8 hours.  At least for now, the bike is doing well and I’m doing well.  Enjoy your Summer.  Happy cycling!

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Yesterday, sweetie, my daughter, and I traveled to Dublin, Texas for the 2012 Tour dePepper Race.  I do call this ride a race because there are winners, though the winnings are cases of Dublin Dr. Pepper.  However, I still count all of the riders as winners because by that definition, we all got to have Dublin Dr. Pepper at the rest stops.

In case you don’t know, Dublin is famous as being the one place on Earth where Dr. Pepper is still concocted with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar.  In the early days of soft drink (or as my Papa called them, “Soda water”) production, sugar was the primary sweetener.  However, when sugar became very expensive and corn syrup quite inexpensive, all the manufacturers switched sweeteners.  Even though both products are sufficient in sweetness, some of us do notice the difference.

The bottling works in Dublin does not use corn syrup but still chooses to use Imperial Pure Cane Sugar as their sweetener.  They developed quite a following round these parts and for a time people were traveling to Dublin just so they could score a few cases.  More recently, Dublin had begun to branch out their distribution to some larger markets.  They are a very small bottler and the “big” Dr. Pepper was able to arrange for them to quit making their original brand.  Something about a trademark issue with the bottles.  Feel free to check that part out for yourself.

But, as part of the town’s Dublin Days where they celebrate the history of the bottling works, there has been a ride set up for the past four years to raise funds for an organization called “Kids Across Cultures”.  This group raises funds and supports works in other countries to benefit the health and education of children.  The Tour dePepper is one of those activities to raise funds.

Normally, I would not have even known about the ride, but I got a notice about it in my email.  When I told it to my sweetie, she was very interested in us going.  Normally, her time when I’m on a ride is quite boring.  It was good to learn about a ride where she could do some exploring herself.  When we talked about it, even my daughter wanted to come along.  So, at a VERY early time, we headed out on a Saturday for Dublin, which is southwest of Stephenville.

We arrived at the Dublin High School, which sits about a mile east of the downtown area.  We got slightly lost at first because we were told to look for the stadium, but the first stadium we came across was only nearly an intermediate school.  People were just starting to pull into the parking lot near sunup (about 6 AM).  The Tour dePepper is a young ride.  This is their fourth year.  However, they were well organized and ready for the riders.  It’s not a large ride (yet) and as such it does have a more friendly feel than some really big ones.

We started off at 8AM, after a warning not to run over any turtles.  Our route for the 100K distance would take us first to the east of Dublin, then south to a point just west of Hico.  There we would turn east to a small community of Carlton where the 34 mile route split off.  We would continue on and do a loop further south that would carry us through the small town of Gustine before making it back to the road leading to Dubling.  At that point we would have in about 50 miles, with about 15 left to go before finishing in downtown Dublin.

If you sign up for this ride, bring your climbing legs and a climbing bike.  There are HILLS!  Out of the total 64 miles we covered, I can only recollect about four or so of that being anywhere near level.  On the road that started and ended our loop through Gustine are some of the biggest hills I have seen short of the Beast in Tyler’s Beauty and Beast ride.  And, there’s not one hill like this, but two in a row.  I took my Fuji on this ride and the bike held up really well (I think I did too), but it would have been better to have taken the lighter and better geared Trek for this one.

The rest stops for this ride are some of the best I’ve seen.  All of the volunteers for this ride were uber-friendly and they weren’t puttin’ on either.  They meant it.  We had watermelon at almost every stop along with home-made cookies.  Some rides offer cookies, but you will often find the packaged kind if you’re slow like me.  However, there were no shortage of home-baked cookies on this one.  Pickles were in abundance on this ride, which I haven’t seen much of lately.  Salty pickles can really perk you up well when you’re starting to lag.  I also do not want to forget the copious quantities of Dublin Dr. Pepper.  Now, normally, I wouldn’t want a soft drink while on a ride.  They tend to slow you down.  However, by 45 miles out, I was definitely ready for a Dr. Pepper in the shade of a large pecan tree.  It was good, too.

This ride was hard.  Either choose one of the shorter distances (they have 9 and 34 miles), or get ready to train before coming.  It’s early June and the weather is getting warm.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at the cool morning we had.  I didn’t start feeling the heat till about 3 and half hours out.  By the time I finished at five hours, it was getting toasty.  By the way, who says you have to go to France or Belgium to ride cobblestones.  When they turned us onto the final approach in town, we ran right over cobblestone streets.  I don’t recommend them much.

Overall, I place Tour dePepper  in the tops of rides.  Well organized, friendly volunteers, and great rest stops are worth the effort of lots of hills.  The challenge factor is up there.  I do think I can place these hills equal with Aledo’s Ride for Heroes and Weatherford’s Peach Pedal any day.  You’d probably have to go further west to find bigger ones than around Dublin.  This ride made it well worth getting up really early on a Saturday.  I’ll go again.  Happy cycling!

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I’m not going to make this a long post today.  I already spent most of it writing up a post on my “geek” blog; the T.A.R.D.I.S. Server Project about a perl script I put together to fix a problem with my tunes.  However, that blog post did relate to running and riding since it did involve my music on my Android smart phone and how long it’s taken to get everything moved away from iTunes.  Even as I sit writing this post, I am still working on downloading the converted songs from my Amazon Cloud Player so I can have all my old songs back for running.

Last Saturday, May 19th, I made my fourth run of the Head for the Hills Rally in Cedar Hill, Tx.  I was hoping for two good things.  First, don’t get lost on your own this year.  Last year, I missed a turn and ended up in Mansfield.  It’s not on the route, no.  That day, I got almost all my 60 miles in without every crossing the finish line.  I had sweetie pick me up in Midlothian after I managed to get back that far.  Second, I was hoping for a good ride for my upgraded Fuji to see how it might do for the Hotter-n-Hell ride this year.  It did well, after I spent about 10 miles with a frustrating-ly loose crank bolt.  My left crank bolt kept coming loose and wouldn’t you know that Campagnolo doesn’t use metric and doesn’t use a common English bolt either.

I had first thought it was a loose cleat, which wouldn’t have been good news either.  I pulled over when I saw the B&B Cycles van to see if I could get help.  I had put the bolt back somewhat tight with my screwdriver on my Swiss Army knife.  This was the first ride I ran with my Victorinox in the bag and I am glad I did.  The mechanic didn’t have any English allen wrenches so I was going to have to look for a garage or hardware store on the way.

About this point, we see the whole peloton coming back at us complaining about being on the wrong route.  It appears that one of the police officers had set up the turn underneath US67 the wrong way and led us back to town instead of out.  It turned a 64 mile ride into 69 miles for me.  But, at least “I” didn’t get lost this year.

Once back on the road, I had to stop several more times to re-tighten the bolt.  I finally spotted a guy out in his large garage at this house.  I turned around to see if I could borrow a wrench.  Anyone with that large of a garage and a truck that says, “Daves Appliance Repair” on the side has got to have what I need.  He did.  I gronched on the bolt as tight as I could and thanked  him for being there.  Then I got back into catchup mode.

I wasn’t trying to catch up with anyone.  I just knew I was behind my pace.  The Fuji certainly got a workout and so did I.  The rest of the ride was uneventful except for some light rain about 30 miles out.  Everyone I saw coming back had a mud strip on the back of their jersey, just like me.  What fenders!  We don’ need no stinkin’ fenders!

My catchup work had done well.  However, it cost me in the last 15 miles or so.  I had lost much of the gained time when I didn’t have enough left to hold up the pace.  However, I still came in at just under five and half hours for a 69 mile ride.  Not too bad.  But, the Fuji is now awaiting new brakes.

After braking problems with this ride and others, my old Dia-Compe brakes are just not going to last.  It takes way too much pressure on the handles to get a good stop.  I have great pads, but the Dia-Compe’s just aren’t strong enough.  New Tektro R559’s are on their way as we speak.

In two weeks, I’ll ride one that I haven’t been at yet.  It’s the Tour DePepper ride in Dublin, Tx.  I got an e-mail on it this week and it looks good.  In addition, it’s a ride that has something for sweetie to do while I am out.  It’s during Dublin Days and there will be lots going on for her to see as well.

One final note: I also received an e-mail this week that the Dallas White Rock Marathon will become the Dallas Marathon this year.  Who knew that when I ran my first marathon it would be the last White Rock.  So, I am definitely signing up for this year’s FIRST Dallas Marathon.  Then I’ll have that whole first-last-first thing worked out.

Well, I did say I’d keep it short.  But, that didn’t seem to happen either.  Summer is here in North Texas.  Look for the temps to go up along with our minutes per mile paces.  Fortunately, that’s not a problem on the bike.  Happy cycling folks..or running!

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