Sunday, July 30, 2017

Z Tour

Z Tour
Princeton, Illinois
July 15, 2017
The ride begins at Zearing Park in Princeton. No line up picture?
 That is because at Z Tour, you unload your bike and go.
The first time Christine and I did the ride, we arrived early and got our bikes and gear ready. Then hung around the registration area waiting for the 8 a.m. start.
A little after 8, we got the hint that it was a free start.

Just go.
Historic Hennepin Canal. Upon completion, it shortened the distance between Chicago and Rock Island by 419 miles. They changed the routes and I didn't pass any of the 32 locks but the Hennepin Canal is pretty anyway. It offers scores of miles of gravel lanes for biking or hiking.
 Lots of rollers.
 I was impressed by the well maintained home and large yard.
Picturesque old iron train crossing.
 Z Tour did not have a shortage of volunteers assisting riders.
Once again, doesn't look like much in a picture, but the rollers were pretty good.

First rest stop was in Tiskilwa. Motto is "Gem of the Valley". Nice, but it also means you have to climb out of the valley with 11% inclines.
Beginning of crest to get out of Tiskilwa.
Flat breather time.
Just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

Second rest stop was in Wyanet. Long story follows:
Wyanet had two set of directional arrows (not color coded).
I asked one of the volunteers which set of arrows do I follow.
She must have noticed that I was a little older (79) than the routine rider, so she pointed me the way to go.
Some miles down the way, I saw a sign that said finish line in 6 miles.
No way! I was riding the 100K route, but 6 more miles would put me at a little over 30.
The volunteer must have "assumed" that I "should" be doing the 30. I was not sure how to get back on the 62 mile route so I doubled back, and got on the 50 mile route.
Because I knew Christine was riding the 50 mile ride. When we met, I turned and rode back to the finish with her.
So, by riding with Christine, I did a 55 mile ride.
Why follow Christine?
Making sure I didn't get off the route again!!
Captain Swift covered bridge coming up.
The Captain Swift was rebuilt in 2006.
Built entirely from wood using 1800's concepts but complying with up-to-date road standards,
Captain Swift is the only two lane covered bridge in Illinois. Princeton also boasts of the historic Red Covered Bridge.
As Captain Swift is about 1 mile out of Princeton, we quickly came upon the finish line at the Zearing Park.
Besides a warm welcome,
 Z Tour organizers had a lot of cute displays,
a live band for entertainment,
and a short line for

Food! Great hamburgers, cole slaw, beans, and cookies. Did Christine enjoy the ride, scenery, food, and being back in her native stomping ground? The face tells it all. And me? I have seen the 30. 50, and half of the 100K, so I have to go back and see the other half of the route.
Great job Z Tour!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tour de Gap

Tour de Gap
Buffalo Gap, Texas 
July 22, 2017 
 Line up time for an 8 a.m. start. Jerry took some better pictures than I did so with his permission, I am using some of his start and riders shots. Thanks for your help, Jerry.
 It was reported that about 270 of us lined up for the start. Present from San Angelo in the line up were:
 Rick (Center)
(Had to add iconic pose by Jeffri started at the Tour de Agua)
David (Center)
Mel and Martha
Steve, Brenda, and Matteo (Not pictured but Marcus was somewhere in the crowd) 
and a group shot of Jerry, Brian, Jeffri, Rick, and myself back row.
Not many shots were taken for the first 30 or so miles as the terrain was flat for the most part or with slight inclines. And of course the forecasted 13 mph wind was in our face, so we just tried to pace- line and endure.
Rick to the rescue. Lady on the right had a flat tire. Seems just about every tour, Rick will stop and help someone with a flat. David, Brian, and lady are looking for a spring that sprang from her wheel housing. (Never found it). 
 Now the terrain became a little more interesting. Small but fairly frequent rollers such as the one ahead of us.
 Finally we turned onto Highway 277 and the rollers roll on into Abilene. Thank goodness we would eventually turn to the right toward Buffalo Gap.
 And roll.
 And up. In all fairness there were dome declines, but it is hard to take a picture while rolling downhill.
What is remarkable about this shot? Shade. First road shade in about 40 miles. Average temp while we were riding was 92. My Garmin showed a high of 105 off of the road surface.
And we had some traffic on 277.
Long false flat.
And a long up.
 As we turned toward Buffalo Gap, the statue marked a horse farm--and our last rest stop.
The Buffalo Gap road is infamous among riders for its two torturous hills.
 But first there is a "warm up" hill.
 Followed by a 11% climb.
Followed by another 11% climb.
Nearing the crest still climbing. 
But a good long downhill.
 Decline for the most part continued on into town as Buffalo Gap sits in a valley--a gap.
 Nearing the finish line. The sheriff's department assisted us to safely make the turn.
Another group of volunteers as they take note of the bib numbers to account for all of the riders.
Waiting for us was a rested up Christine as she did only the 27 mile race.
Afterwards there were food and drinks.
 David, kicking back after the long ride. I think I forgot to say that our group did the 100K.
Post ride of Jeffri. She fought the heat and won the battle lasting out the 100K.. Martha and Mel in the background looking rested after their 27 mile ride.
Once again we wish to thank the Abilene, Buffalo Gap, and Taylor County organizers, sponsors, and volunteers for all of their hard work in pulling the ride together and making the ride enjoyable and safe for all. Thank you!!