200 kilometers

El Cid led out the Sunday morning M&M crew at what can only be called an enthusiastic pace. At the rest stop, my Garmin was showing an average speed of 18.2. Flying, we were.

From the rest stop, the sane folks proceeded back to the bagel shop. Marko Polo, Todd, Mike Emmons and I proceeded on a different journey across vast stretches of chip seal bound for Farmersville and lunch at Daddy-O’s.

On our journey, Mike’s water bottle cage attempted to exit stage left as the bolt vibrated out. He caught it in time and only had to reattach it. Shortly thereafter, my front dérailleur quit shifting. Had no interest at all in moving the chain onto the big ring. In fact, it wasn’t quite in the right place on the middle ring, so shifting past 42×15 caused the chain to rub. So I did 30 miles at 120+rpm. Good practice, I suppose.

My compatriots let me stop at the Valero in Caddo Mills where we sourced some WD-40 and cured my dérailleur’s ills. My thighs never quite forgave me for the sudden call to sustain 120+.

We worked our way onward in to Farmersville. Pulled up to Daddy-O’s to discover that it’s closed on Sunday. Some local folks directed us down to 380 where there was a Dairy Queen and a Shell station. I was momentarily excited about the prospect of a Peanut Buster Parfait, but Todd vetoed and we went to the Shell station. We passed on the grill and opted for the ever popular C-Store sammiches. I had turkey and swiss and a bag of Doritos.

I added some water back to my bag, and we set off to finish the last 40 miles. Things were proceeding along pretty well until about halfway down Bridgefarmer. I had been hanging back to give my legs a rest, and the rest of the crew had been kind enough to make sure I didn’t disappear. About halfway down Bridgefarmer, though, I vaguely remembered passing Mike. Which didn’t seem quite right. I reached the end and couldn’t quite see if there were two bikes or three. I waited a moment, looked back up the hill, and decided he must have passed me again. So I proceed on to the turn off 546. No Mike. Apparently the chip seal had gotten to his shoulder. I can sympathize. It wiped mine out a couple months ago.

We opted to get Mike back to an easy pick-up point – the Wal-Mart at Exchange & Angel. Todd knew a shortcut. Apparently (and I’ll know next time), shortcuts mean lots of black Texas mud. And, of course, somewhere in the midst of the shortcut, I poked something sharp into my tire. THROUGH a slime liner. The other side of the shortcut about the same instant I discovered the flat, my odometer ticked over 100 miles. I was done. I thought. But Todd wouldn’t let me quit. He had my tube changed before I could argue properly.

We dropped Mike off at the Wal-Mart and rolled on to the bagel shop. I think each of the final three took a different route from USA & Custer back in as we all got separated by the light.

I had a Dr. K (only 25 cents!) soda from the machine at Kroger and pedaled back to the house. Todd was kind enough to join my for the shot down Independence.

I propped my bike at the front door, took off my shoes and socks, and went back to the garage to let myself in. I grabbed a Cherry Coke from the fridge and drank it while eating a pack of crackers on the way to the front door. And there stood my wife.

“Want to go for a ride?” she said.

“Of course!” I said. “Just let me find my legs…”

So I finished the soda and the crackers, drank a quart of ice water, put on some clean socks and headed out the door with her.

We had a great 18 mile ride on our usual short loop. I pushed her some, and she pushed me some – though she’ll never believe that part.

And somewhere along that last 18 miles, I managed my first 200 kilometer ride!

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