Muenster Rally 2008

Hello all, here’s a synopsis of what occurred this Saturday at the Meunster bike rally, held in Meunster, which is pretty far north of Dallas, in the rolling prairie that has creeks which flow in to the Red River drainage.

Amy and I woke up early, packed the bikes, and headed out around 7:45, thinking that we probably needed the time to get there and find a good parking spot. We DID find a good parking spot, right in front of the Junior High, but when we arrived, it was about 57 degrees, and I think we were a little unprepared for it. However, it warmed up by the time of the start, and we rolled off to do the 100K with several hundred other riders. Attending for the Pirates of the Peloton were Andrew Popsack, Rocky, Bill Kleinman, and myself. There were a couple of other strong contenders, including Chris Powers, some riders from Tenzing, and a lot of the usual clubs from North Texas and Oklahoma.

Andrew took the first strong pull for the Pirates, but when my turn came I took my pull, pulled off, and was surprised to find a lot fewer people either able or willing to work. We ended up in a rotation of about 8 to 10, with an estimated 40 other riders out there all just humming along with a crosswind off to our left. We made the turn past the first feed zone, and then Chris and I believe a Colavita rider jumped off the front and got about a 30 second lead on the rest of us. I knew this was dangerous, but I also knew it was early, so I took some solid pulls, especially on the uphills, and I think we caught up with them after about 15 minutes. Then the other Colavita rider went off the front, and I went with him. We got maybe 15 seconds up on the pack, now down to maybe 25 or so, and stayed off, until again Chris Powers bridged and sat on, and then allowed a select group to catch up. I think there was one more attempt by he and one other rider to get away before the second right hand turn, but it was reeled in. Powers has this unique standing climb at high cadence that just whips me. I prefer to stay seated.

The pack of again about 12 or so entered the middle part of the ride doing some work and enjoying the scenery, which was pretty lush, as we rolled over 1-minute hills and proceeded towards St. Jo. But at the same place where it happened last year, as we climbed over one last hill to get back on to the prairie, most of the rest of the riders were dropped, leaving me with Powers, another Bikes Plus rider, one Colavita rider, a McKinnery Velo rider, one other guy that I really can’t remember, and then myself. We got up to the prairie, looked over our shoulders, and saw no one. So, with the winds moderate to minimal, we rolled tempo through St. Jo, and then over towards the last 1/3rd of the ride. We even beat the setup of one of the feed zones, which was hilarious!

With about 15 miles to go, we agreed to head toward the last feed zone, but we were definitely eyeing each other as we pushed it up the hills and over the top. We were all running out of water, and I was definitely starting to cramp on my left rear hamstring, and there were warnings from my calves. I also have GOT to find a saddle I can survive on – they both need work, not my ass. But at 8 miles or so, I made a rookie mistake, not thinking, and sort of half-wheeled Chris on a climb, and he called me on it. I verbally apologized, and we synced back in, but shortly after that the CV rider and powers stormed up a hill on their feet, out of the saddle, and I had no way to respond. The other B+ rider sat on our wheels and I later learned that the MV rider was basically riding for Chris. They got anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute up the road. Sometimes I could reel them in, sometimes I couldn’t. Somewhere along the way the unattached rider cracked and fell back, and then it was just me and the MV rider, with the B+ rider sucking wheel, protecting his rider up the road.

I never gave up, however, and with my hands in the drops, I pushed as hard as I could in the 2-man-plus-one pack that I was in, and we finished in about 2:30, with the leaders roughly a minute up. I shook hands with the McKinney Velo rider, and the other Bikes Plus rider, told them I had had an excellent time, thanked them for their company, and rolled back to the car to get my recovery drink.

Looking back, I think the biggest mistake I made was trying to get in to that 2-man break with the CV rider. We probably didn’t have the horses to make it work, and I was honestly surprised at how good I felt. The climbs were pretty easy for the first 2/3, and again, it was enough to make the selection. Finishing 3rd, after my 1st place last year actually makes me feel pretty good, and I held my own with the other riders. I stayed fueled, though I probably should have eaten something maybe midway through. I’d like to have a teammate up there, but this stuff is HARD, and INTENSE, and I don’t know just how strong everyone is. Popsack is great, but I haven’t talked with him about his ride. Bill K seemed to have a strong ride, definitely finishing inside the Top 50, I would think.

Not wanting to squander such a great day, I got back on the bike and rolled out the course backwards to go find Amy and ride back with her. I saw her, Carla Strauss, her husband, Harold and Marilee Gaar, and Darlene Jones. I met up with several iBikers, and we agreed to have some together time to get some great knowledge spread around to enhance their experiences. Amy broke a PR on her ride, and looked just happy and beautiful. We stopped at the DQ in Sanger, got some ice cream desserts, and enjoyed each others’ company on the way back home.

I hope this bodes well for the summer – I needed a ride like this to reaffirm my potential as a cyclist and as a racer. Hanging with Chris Powers for 95% of a ride is a source of pride for me, and I hope I can continue to do well after I get back from the bike camp in Moab.



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