Nicki, Nicole, Julie and Sandra after the ride, showing off their bike license plates with their names.
The Longhorn 70.3 is coming up on October 25, I have been training hard with Tri Zones this year to try to beat my time last year. Today was our first ride on this year's bike course. About 8 Tri Zoners showed up to ride the entire course. No problem on the first 10 miles around Decker Lake, we've all ridden it before and knew what to expect there- hills! If you haven't ridden it, it's mostly just lots of rolling hills, but there is a very steep hill immediately after the turn from Lindell onto Blue Bluff. It's not long, just steep, but if you aren't ready for it, it will get you. I saw some strong riders walking up that hill at Longhorn last year, so be ready for it.
Gilbert, Nez Perce, and Decker are backwards from last year, and Taylor is new. That area is rolling but nothing too crazy. At the corner of Taylor and Blake-Manor, we waited for Coach Tracy and a group of Tri Zoners doing some shorter rides, and we waited, and we waited. I was sorry I didn't get to see Tracy, Jody, Kristen and everyone else, but we really wanted to be finished as early as possible to get off Webberville road before it got too busy. On to Lockwood and Parson where you really have to watch the bottom of the big hill, a bump there is enough to knock water bottles out of cages, so I slowed down a little. Then onto Littig, which is mostly flat. The only thing to watch there is some big cracks in the road, they're mostly to the right side so if you ride more in the middle of the road it's easy to avoid them. Monkey road currently has a sign! We'll see how long it lasts. Even with a sign it's easy to miss Monkey road, just remember it's the next right after Bitting School Road. Monkey road is fairly hilly and has one short steep hill.
Nicki's friend Alysha set up a water stop for us at the corner of Monkey and Upper Elgin. Thanks so much Alysha, we all appreciate it so much! After the water stop, I rode with Nicole on Upper Elgin and Hog Eye roads, they are slightly rolling but nothing major. Nicole and I slowed down a little at this point and just talked while we rode and enjoyed the scenery, we had a head wind for a lot of this portion, but it wasn't too bad. It's not the most scenic route, but I kinda like Hog Eye. Turn onto Blake Manor and water stop 2 at East Metro Park (thanks again Alysha!!) I was feeling great at this point and we only had 20 miles to go!
Nicole and I caught up with the fast group at the water stop and headed out with them. The head wind was stronger on Blake-Manor. I stayed with the fast group awhile, but they started to pull away from me a little, especially as we went down the hill toward Webberville Road (FM 969). This is another place to be careful if you ride the course, you can really get some speed on the down hill on Blake-Manor and then realize at the last minute that there's a stop sign around the bend at the bottom of the hill, and Webberville can be busy. I got to that point and made my right turn but didn't see everyone else, I knew they were just ahead of me, then I realized I thought I saw someone down the road on the left before I turned. No way they turned left! I must have said 20 times "be careful on the down hill on Blake-Manor right before the RIGHT turn onto Webberville". I rode alone for awhile on Webberville assuming that if they really had turned left they would realize right away and turn around. They did realize, but I guess I got a good head start, it was awhile before Chris and Andrew caught me and then we pulled over to wait for everyone else. Webberville from Blake-Manor to Taylor has no shoulder so it's definitely a place to be careful, the traffic wasn't too bad while we were out there, but the earlier the better. Past Taylor, Webberville has a small shoulder, but also heavier traffic. The wind was pretty strong on Webberville this morning too, head/cross the entire time.
We decided to turn onto Blue Bluff instead of Decker Lane since Decker is busy and under constrution right now. Up the last hill and we finished the Longhorn course! Woohoo!!! I felt great the entire ride and I ended up riding it at a faster pace than at the race last year!
This is a link to the GPS info from the ride motionbased map just after the ride