We rolled into the parking lots on the outskirts of downtown Houston at 6:45am this morning. It had rained overnight; the roads were wet and there was some fog clinging to the tall buildings surrounding City Hall, where the race started. We heard at the packet pickup that around 5,000 people had signed up to ride but I think the rain and the possibility of some storms kept a lot of them away. I’d estimate around 2,000 – 3,000 riders showed up.
It sprinkled for about a minute shortly after the first waves of riders went out for the longer routes, but then stopped. Since we were doing the 40 mile route (long route was 60) our large group went off about 30ish minutes after the first riders. Once we got out there we heard some thunder and even saw some pretty intense lightening but thankfully it ended up skirting the city to the south.
Unfortunately towards the halfway point – about 20 miles – the regular rain showed up. And it didn’t stop until I after I crossed the finish line some hour and a half later. We got soaked. Water was pooling in my cycling shoes, both my shirts were soaked through. The water was running down my back and into my shorts. It was all sorts of great stuff! Ended up seeing only one person wipe out due to the slick roads, but I heard there were plenty. Saw a handful of riders pulled off with police, and ambulances/fire trucks assisting them with injuries I presume. I also couldn’t believe the number of flats people got. I guess having hybrid cross tires on my Cross-Check really helps instead of skinny slicks.
Today I also became of a member of the “can’t unclip in time so you fall over” club. I came up to a group at a stop light who couldn’t decide if they were going through of going to let the one car waiting to go first. Half started going, half didn’t and started yelling, I slowed and was forced to stop and I couldn’t unclip my pedals so down I went. I didn’t get hurt or anything, it’s mostly just embarrassing. I was more pissed I fell on the drive side of the bike, but my gears look ok. And the worst part? I was like 300 yards from the damn finish line. Argh.
But, all in all, the ride was a great success. Despite the bad weather, there were thousands of cyclists who came out to ride through and see parts of their city they don’t normally see. The roads were in pretty good shape for the most part, and I have to give a lot of thanks and respect to the Houston Police Department and Sheriffs and volunteers that helped with traffic control at the intersections and keeping us rolling. You guys were awesome. Thank you!
I’m really getting into this whole organized ride thing. I love riding with other cycling enthusiasts of all skill levels and age. [Most] everyone is always super friendly and helpful. The snacks at the rest stops are great fuel bumps and there’s a good bit of satisfaction when you cross that finish line. I’m already signed up for the Bluebonnet Express in Waller, TX next Sunday!