Saturday, October 7th, my brother, Carroll, and I rode the Paluxy Pedal in Glen Rose. This was my fourth time riding this, and our second time to ride this together.
It’s a beautiful and challenging route through the north Texas hills. The roads are all up or down, seldom level, quite steep in places. The auto traffic is usually light, traffic control at intersections is good, the aid stations well-stocked and well manned with friendly volunteers.
The Paluxy Pedal is famous among north Texas bike rides for The Wall, a brutal climb 3/10 of a mile long with an advertised 19% grade.
This year Carroll and I decided to bypass The Wall. We made the decision weeks ago, knowing the holes in our training, and we didn’t talk about it much once we started the ride since both of us were a little embarrassed to not give it another attempt. But neither of us are youngsters and we were aware of our training and physical condition and knew trying to ride up The Wall would be dismal at best. We’d likely spend more time walking our bikes up the slope than we would riding them.
Our morning started well. We left Granbury with plenty of time to drive to Glen Rose, unload our bikes, get kitted up, grab our race packets, and make the ride start at 8:30. It was a beautiful October morning, in the low 50s, breezy but not brutal. Our long sleeves were perfect.
We finished in Glen Rose about 11:30 am. The ride went well, except that we got a little mixed up with the various routes (there are choices of 29, 39, 53, and 60 miles). Somehow, we finished the day with only 36 miles. It was a big surprise when the finish line arrived so soon. We had planned on 53 miles.
We also had another problem, unrelated to cycling, that happened before the ride started. All I can say and still maintain family confidentiality is we had a UACB (Unscheduled Automotive Control Breakdown). We made every effort before the ride started to fix the problem. We even asked for help, but no joy.
By the time we finally rolled out everyone else had been gone for several minutes. We couldn’t be sure we were even on the correct route until we started overtaking riders.
At the first aid station, Carroll phoned his wife, Jennifer, and asked her to check with the local Ford dealership and see if they could help. That gave us another ten miles to think about our problem until the next aid station came around.
As it turns out, there is no Ford dealership in Glen Rose, and the dealership in Granbury Ford wouldn’t answer their phone, so option #1 was out.
Jennifer found someone who could bring a computer and help us, so we phoned him as soon as we finished riding. Unfortunately, the soonest he could meet us was 7:00 pm. Neither of us wanted to hang around for seven hours. Carroll said, “Well, we came here to ride bikes. Let’s ride to Granbury.”
So we rode our bikes 22 miles north on Highway 177 to our house in Granbury. The ride was brutal. The half hour we rested while trying to decide what to do was enough time for our muscles to cool down and tighten up. Plus the post-ride slices of pizza we probably shouldn’t have eaten talked to us the entire way.
The first eight miles were the worst. There was only about three feet of rough gravely shoulder for us to ride on, and half of that was cut up into rumble strips. It was unnerving to have such an unstable road with cars and trucks passing us at full highway speed.
However, after about eight miles, the road widened, and our bike lane became smoother and cleaner and more pleasant.
We were exhausted when we finally arrived at the Granbury house. We now had 58 miles for the day, and that was plenty. At least we could now enjoy the OU-Texas football game which we’d set to record while were riding. We’d maintained radio (phone, internet, and texts) silence so we wouldn’t know how the football game was going. We plopped down in front of the TV and watched the first half, until it was time to head back to Glen Rose.
By the time we finally made it back to Granbury with both trucks, we grabbed dinner and watched the rest of the game. We finally had the good news, 34-30, at 9:30. Fifty-eight miles and a winning football game. It was a full day.
Paluxy Pedal and The Wall, we will be back.
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“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.”
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