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February 17th, 2009:

Valentines Day Ride & Wallers County Line BBQ (4th training ride.)

Another weekend ride, training for the MS150. This week we started out near Zube Park off of 290 and Roberts Road. That’s pretty far out past the Hwy 6 loop, which is out side of the Beltway 8 loop with is out past the 610 Loop. It took me about 45 mins just to get out to the meeting spot!
When I got there and met up with my friend Mike, I realized that we had done this ride before last year. It’s a pretty nice ride. The route has an L shape to it with a 10 mile loop at the end before you come back the way you came from. Fluor was the sponser for this ride and they did it up pretty well. Two rest stops that were fully stocked. I think they really went a little overboard with the candy, with it being Valentine’s day, but the riders liked it. Restrooms were a bit of a problem with none at the starting site (an elementry school) nor any at the rest stops. But for a guy it wasn’t too much of a problem to find some bushes. Ladies on the other hand, I feel your pain!
Weather was overcast with some wind blowing. No real chill in the air, but it was cool with the wind. I had shorts and a short sleeve shirt on, then with a thin wind breaker jacket on top. No long fingered gloves, but I did see quite a few with LOTS of clothes on. I personally was more worried about rain, but it stayed away during the entirety of the ride for us. The good organization of Fluor got the ride started right on time at 8am.
The first leg of the L had a pretty strong cross wind that hit us at a 90 degree from out side. Not much of a problem, but once we made the turn on the L, it was directly infront of us. It was strong, but it wasn’t slowing us to 14mph speeds. We got into some easy pace lines and were able to keep it at 15-16mph. After the second rest stop and starting the 10 mile loop, it got to be lots of fun at that 5mile mark where when we came back there was a strong wind on our back. That’s when we all realized we’d be having wind on our back the enitre way home! Woot. Miles were eaten up by 20mph speeds. I did make mental note of the BBQ restaurant on the way back , so I could stop by after the ride before going home for the day. Interesting note – in one of the photos, if you look closely or actually go to flicker and look at it big, you can see parachute jumpers coming down. Yeah! We pass by a parachute jumping business. Looks kinda fun!
The last leg of the ride was tough, mostly cause by that time we had spent 3 hrs on the bike. It was beginning to be the upper limit of my current level of training. Luckily we still have almost 2 months of time left before the final ride.
Got back to the start/finish area in just over 3 hrs. My timer was a little off, missed 2 miles of riding from not remembering to start the timer after leaving the last restop. Did some stretching and then headed over the Waller County Line BBQ. Time to eat.
Basically it’s a large gas station with a mini mart and restaurant area all rolled into one. There is a saloon/bar/dance club next door. But it was closed. Inside the restaurant I got in the line and heard the majority of peeps ordering the chopped beef sandwich. I did the same, all the way, onions and pickles, and I got the “spicy” sauce, which everyone seemed to avoid. I thought, too hot? Picked up a cold shiner from the open tub of ice and paid about $8 for everything. Sandwich was big and messy. Funny thing though was the sauce wasn’t spicy. It was more sweet than anything else. I was wondering if they gave me the wrong sauce? Hopefully next year when I return for the ride, I can convince others to come with and I can try out more of their BBQ plates. Until then, enjoy the pictures!