The Rosedale bike ride is an annual charity ride that is held at the Samsung plant in southeast Austin. What makes this ride special is that the school who host(Rosedale) it and the students who attend it. The kids are regularly roam the halls are considered the highest of special needs students. All of whom have one of multiple disabilities that prevent them from leading any otherwise normal life. What it does not do however is prevent them from learning all that they can. One of the highlights of the race took place when The Lady and I were sitting on our bikes near the front. Bonnie, one of the schools students momentarily took control the microphone and gave a short speech. I’d being lying if I said I understood most, if any, of what she said. But ,I know few people who could stand in front of such a large crowd and give a speech. Boonie did it with a handicap. She is an inspiration. After her speech, which rightfully ended in a roar of applause, a group of UT band members played us off to “Deep in the Heart of Texas”
The ride had 3 different routes, a 62,42, and 20 mile. I later learn that there also was a 2 mile kids route, which involved them riding around the parking lot. The Lady and I had chosen to do the 42 mile for various reason. She was super tired from a very long week of work and I…was not sure I could do a 62 mile ride quite yet! Plus we had planned to hang out with some friends after the ride and neither of us wanted to be drop dead tired.
The routes went through the Pflugerville back country, winding through fields of wheat and cotton. A few lakes, notably Pflugerville lake and smalls streams jotted the landscape. Mostly though the scenery was simply country homes, churches, and vast fields of green. Ohh and cows, lots and lots of cows.
The Lady and I arrived at 7:30, an hour before the 8:30 start. The organizers has set up 4 tents sent up for registration, which proved to be more than enough and thus we didn’t have to wait in a line. And you could pick up your pack the day of! Because who wants to drive to pick it up another day? We signed in then hightailed it back to the car. The forecast called for a high of 83 so we dressed appropriately, unfortunately the temperature at that time was 52. Twas a bit chilly as some might say. And by some I mean, me.
Here’s The Lady and I waiting
At 8 or so we left our little climate controlled room, took our bikes off the rack and headed over to the starting area. There was a people already there, probably no more than 40 in total. The starting area was split up by route choice. The 62’ers were in front followed by the 42’ers and then the slackers, ohh sorry 20er’s 😛
Scene when we arrived.
And15 minutes later
The groups started in the above order. We waited maybe 8 minutes after the last rider of the 62er’s left before we were given the go ahead to take off. While we waited the announcer treated us to a couple of his original songs. Funny stuff. Then Bonnie took the stage mentioned above. The UT band played and off we went. The Lady told me that it was one of the better starts that she’s seen. She attributed that mostly to the fact that the ride was not a race, so people were more, lets say, normal.
The Bump in the Road
We started by turned down Palmer and heading to the Cameron intersection. There were cops there to halt the cars and the right lane had been block off for us, much to the annoyance of drivers I’m sure. We crossed over onto Cameron rd. when I noticed a sadly all too familiar sound. Thump. Thump. Thump. I looked down to confirm and yep, flat tire. After 1.3 miles, I had been gifted a flat tire. I came to a stop, and started the process of changing my tire. Now I have to say that quite a few people asked if I was ok as they went by, which was awesome and also tiring. After the 20th time of saying that I was good, well it gets old. It took me about 10 minutes to change the tire, mostly because my little pump kept refusing to keep a seal of the valve.
By the time I finished the last rider of the 20ers passed by. I spent the next 15 miles retaking my rightful place amongst the 40er’s. This turned out to be pretty easy given the nature of most of the 20’s, they being either new to the sport of simply doing a joy ride. This was also aided by some unknown force which I’ll get to in a second.
The Second Stop
Before the second rest stop, I skipped the first one, I rode along side three 72-74 year old Air Force Vets. Get guys, one had a rather interesting story about a second butt hole that I’d rather not repeat! After that lovely story concluded I came upon the steepest hill of the course. It was a -10% grade that accelerated me to a respectable 35.8mph, Damn Americans and our lack of metric!. Good times. Shortly thereafter was the second stop.
I pulled off to hit the head(bathroom for you non-nautical people). Right across from the port-o-potties were 2 horses whom looked liked they could use a good petting on the head. So I did.
The stops main attraction was a table filled with food. Naturally quite a few hungry people crowding were around. Orange slices where the most popular item, but various Fignuten type cookies were also laid out.
The next 10 miles went along nicely. Every now and then I would slow down to chat with other cyclist. Learned a lot about a double seater from this lovely married couple. In general, quite pleasant. Then I took a turn and was hit by The Force. I later learned that the wind speed out there was 15-20 mph, which is enough to give one a rather large amount of despair. But as the saying goes, misery loves company, and I had a lot of company! For about 4 miles I along with the other 40ers, the 20er’s had long since hit their turn around, peddled on.
After a few minutes I can across a rather large fella. Not large in the waste area, more like 6 foot 6 large and his friend whom was more on the normal end of the height spectrum. We chatted for a bit and then formed a pace line of 3. This was the first time I’ve ever done it, but it was simple enough and The Force was giving me ample reason to learn quickly. I’m still not sure how well the larger guy was able to draft off of me, but when he was in the lead, it was like the flowers started to bloom. It made the following 6 miles to the next checkpoint go a lot smoother. After devouring a couple of orange slices I waved goodbye to my new friends and set off alone.
Around mile 28, I came upon a rather nice little hill. It wasn’t anything that I don’t encounter on my usual ride, but it was steep enough to give most a workout. I think my Garmin said it was a 6% incline. I saw another cycling up ahead whom was struggling and decided to get next to him and try to give some encouragement, I know there are days where I need it! Turns out he had a small radio that was at the time playing Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim. I was able to get him to slow down and sing the song with me which seemed to help. I waved goodbye and wish him luck when we topped the hill, which had a pretty church at the top.
On the next hill though sadness happened.
This is a derailleur hanger. It’s usually made of Aluminum and is fairly cheap. 8-20 dollars.
You can see here with it attached to the bike frame and derailleur
It is designed to break in case an accident occurs. The idea behind it is that if said accident occurs, the hanger can break so the bike doesn’t. Alright, sounds like a solid idea! Except mine broke while pedaling up a hill, instead of during a crash. Sad times indeed.
My broken derailleur hanger
Where it is supposed to be attached
Poor thing even looks sad
Luckily I was only about a quarter mile from the next turn where race officials were directing fellow riders. One fellow biker was kind enough to let the officials know what happened, so that by the time I walked there the CAG, never found out what it stood for but it was just a support truck that drove around picking up bikers like me, was already on the way. About 10 minutes later the truck showed up and I along with another saddened racer was given a ride back to the starting point. Luckily The Lady had finished about when the truck picked me up, so at least there wasn’t much waiting for her.
The truck dropped me off at the registration area which was fine by me. I walked my defeated steed back to the car and put him on the bike rack. Then it was off for some BBQ! I think here is where the only truly disappointing thing happened, as far as the ride setup went. When I signed up online, one of the cooler things was that BBQ would be provided after the race. Sweet I thought! Except The Lady informed me that there was a suggested donation for whatever you decided to get. Seemed odd to me, but it’s a charity ride after all, so no worries. I went up and ask the lady for a nice pork sandwich, she then looked at me as if expecting me to pay so I asked if she took credit since that is by and large all I carry.The answer, no they did not. This struck me as odd because for an event of this size I would expect them to have one of those Apple/Android card readers. But no, nothing. I asked if I could get it anyways because paying was simply a suggestion. She gave an annoyed sigh and agree to give me the food.
But a few things here. I’ll preface this with, yes I did get my sandwich.
It’s either a suggested donation or it’s not. Whether someone does or does not donate should not matter. It’s also why I hate tipping! I rather they just increase a waiters pay and include that in the menu price. Next you should say before hand that the food will be free but that donations would be happily accepted. And finally, I think that in this day and age that you would have a credit card reader. I know that if they had one I would have happily paid the price. Heck I would have bought 3 sandwiches with a side of beans!
Having done my little rant above, would I the Rosedale ride again? Without a doubt! It’s a fantastic cause that is worthy of supporting and the ride itself is beautiful. Next time though I’ll have to remember to bring cash. 😉
Some friends of ours happened to live a few miles from the race point and graciously offered their showers and snacks. After showering and grazing, we played a game of Gloom. Great game if you’ve tried it.
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Thanks for reading!
Here’s their dog, Tex, in his Yodo suitby