Posted by: Budger | June 24, 2007

Training Ride Update – June 23 Riding with the Snakes and Skeeters

Yesterday was another Bike Barn Beginner Ladies Ride at Bear Creek Park.  Bike Barn does this a few times a year.  I went to one in February, so I thought I’d try it again.  For those of you not familiar with this part of Houston, Bear Creek Park is essentially a flood control basin between Eldridge Parkway and Highway 6.  It has a 7 1/2 mile loop of roads, and the plan was to meet up at 8:00 and do as many loops as you want.  The purpose of the ride is to get some tips from Bike Barn staff and ride with other beginners.
There were about a dozen women at the start, and I had the most experience in the group other than the Bike Barn staff.   Three of the ladies that were slow with me had only been riding less than a month.  It was interesting to see where I was a year ago.
Cynthia, the manager from Bike Barn, took us through our safety discussion and there were three guy volunteers, Brad, Robert and Kelly.  She told us that the Eldridge side of the park was flooded and therefore we would only be able to do about 3 1/2 – 4 miles of road.  We headed out and the roads had a lot of debris, potholes, standing water and snakes (I saw two, and I don’t like snakes.)  We had a good time and Kelly rode with me for quite awhile and gave me some tips.  I’m pointing my toes and shrugging my shoulders.  My seat also needed adjusted.  After each loop, we’d stop, talk and provide tips.  Coming into the parking lot, one of the new ladies was ahead of me, and as she started to come to a stop, I saw that she was not unclipping her shoes.  I yelled UNCLIP right as the bike went over.  As she was laying there on the pavement, feet still connected to the bike, I couldn’t help but remember all of the times that I’ve done that.  
After 4 1/2 loops of dodging snakes, potholes, water and being eaten by mosquitoes, the group had dwindled to 6 of us including the 3 people from Bike Barn.  We exchanged phone numbers, and are planning on meeting back out there on July 14, complete with bug repellant.  We had only done 18 miles, but conditions weren’t great, and we’d had some flats in the group. 
I had a great time, and I learned a lot.  I am really starting to get my gears down.  Cynthia said that if we could find some other leaders, she would be willing to put this on the Bike Barn calendar as a regular ride, so I told her that we would see how it was going on July 14, and let her know, and I would be willing to help out as a leader.  
Following are my stats:
Miles: 18.07
Avg Speed: 10.6
Max Speed: 15.6
Avg Cadence: 70
Mosquito Bites: About 20
Snakes – I saw 2.  
Total miles for the week: 28.09 

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