Yesterday Jenny and I rode in the Cross Timbers Classic Bike Rally at Texas Motor Speedway. We signed up back in January full of hope and ambition and chose a record distance for us: 100k, or 62 miles.
Then life happened. Jenny was very busy with school and battled illness and a foot problem. My left knee decided to quit working properly (update coming later this week). So neither of us got to train for anything close to 100k. Instead, we punted and did the 10-mile course instead. Our goal was simple: to enjoy the ride.
Sunrise at the Racetrack
We parked in the gigantic infield of the racetrack, a place I’d never been before, picked up our packets, and hopped on our bikes.
Time to Roll
Check out my new Southwest jersey.
On the Track
The reason we chose Cross Timbers is the exclusive starting lap on the TMS racetrack for all distances. I’m not a big racing fan, but it was still extremely cool to ride around the track and see how big it is and how steep the banks are. I would guess the banks are 30-40 degrees, perfect for a race car doing 200mph, but a bit unnerving for a cyclist doing 10-20mph. We worried about our bikes slipping out from under us, but we managed to stay upright during our lap.
This is one of the straightaways, soon after coming out of a turn, so there’s still a bit of bank. Look in the distance for the next turn.
Somehow the 10-mile course only registered as 8.5 on my cycling app. Maybe we’re just really efficient. After the lap on the track, we rode two loops around the outside of the track and then finished on the infield. It was a nice ride, albeit a short one. We fought a healthy south wind for part of each loop, but the temperature wasn’t bad since we started around 7:45am.
Cross Timbers had a different feel from the other two cycling events we’ve done, the granddaddy-of-bike-rallies Hotter’N Hell in Wichita Falls and the excellent Goatneck in Cleburne. This one was noticeably smaller, had less support, was less organized, and generally had less energy and enthusiasm than the other two. Hardly anyone was riding our distance, so we felt pretty lonely out there and weren’t always positive we were going the right way. The start was a bit confusing, largely because they didn’t stick to the start times exactly and the announcer was hard to hear. We just started riding with one wave and hoped it was the right one. They were setting up the finish line as we approached, and we actually rode past it because we weren’t sure what it was. At the finish line (once we turned around!), we were greeted by a mother and daughter who were passing out medals and a couple of other riders who had already finished. That’s it. No music, no big party, no crowd of tired but happy cyclists milling about. Perhaps we got spoiled by starting with two of the best bike rallies around, but this one just felt odd, more like a big organized ride than a major event. Riding on the track was fun, and I’m glad we did Cross Timbers, but we probably won’t do it again.
Since we still had some time between the end of the rally and picking up the boys from my parents’ house, we stopped at Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby and hit Donut Land to re-carb. You know how I love irony.