Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hotter N' Hell 2007

Another Hotter N' Hell has come and gone and I have to say that this was one of the best. Everything went right for Aimee and me and we had a wonderful ride.

We left Houston about 10am Friday morning and stopped for an incredible BBQ lunch at Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville, about half way to Dallas. I had the best pork chop I've ever tasted. All along the trip from Houston to Wichita Falls we saw cars and trucks with bikes on or in them. We knew where they were going. We arrived at the Exhibition Center around 5pm and late registered. We were riders 10,111 and 10,112. Then it was on to the trade show. We found some great deals on helmets and bike shorts. Finally, we headed to Duncan where dinner and our room awaited. It's a little under an hour to Duncan. I've stayed in Wichita Falls, but that was before the high prices and two night minimum. I tried Lawton as well, but didn't like it much. Too crowded. Duncan is small, quiet and uncrowded. We've been staying there for the last five or six rides.

After an excellent meal at La Fiesta we retired to the Days Inn and were asleep by 10pm.

We rose at 5am Saturday morning and had the bike on the ground in Wichita Falls at 6:30am. By 6:45 we were in out start position at the front of the pack. TV crews roamed the tandem riders conducting interviews. At 7am we were off. This is the first time the tandem/recumbent group has started before the main body, but I think it's a good idea. We did miss the canon and the jet fly-over though.
Rigtht after the start of the ride we sighted another Seavo. It's set up differently from ours: it has a fairing, different seats, no independant pedalling, no bike mounted mirrors and no rear seat bag. We saw these same folks on Freewheel in June. They were on a sleek black Screamer then. Seeing their yellow Seavo was a treat.

The bikes are still pretty thick in the first 10 miles.

Big Ring and friend.

Bikes passing Rest Stop 1.

The weather was kind to us this year. We had the usual SW wind and some heat, but nothing like last year. It was about 95 degrees when we crossed the finish line this year as opposed to 105 last year.
The routes were pretty much the same as last year. Lots more pickles and pickle juice this year. Lots of young airmen cheering us on as we passed through Sheppard AFB.
We had the bike back on the rack by 1 and we were back home in Houston by 7pm. I can't wait to do it again next year!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Memorial Park - Tuesday

This will be our last practice ride before the HHH on Saturday. The stoker seat is back together is feels and looks fine. No worries there. The weather at Wichita Falls continues to look good and we might do the metric century if all goes well.

One of the things I love about the Seavo is it's stability. The 26" front wheel makes for a very stable and smooth ride. The stoker on this bike, and for all recumbent tandems for that matter, is free to eat, pass the water to the captain, navigate or, as here, take or make phone calls.

There were lots of uprights at the Park tonight. We kept up with several of them and even dropped a few. Marco joined us at our first rest stop. I'm still hoping to get him out to Fushear one of these Saturday mornings.

After we finished 25 miles and headed back to the truck I noticed that my seat seemed unstable. Closer examination showed that the captain seat support bracket had failed. I'm ordering a new one, of course, but it will not be here in time for the HHH. I've brought the bracket to Danny at Cycle Genius in hopes that a temporary welding repair can be made sometime in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Seavo is back and none too soon. Matt over at Planetary Cycles called to say that the new parts were in. It only took me half an hour to put the new parts on and get the bike rideable again. We'll give it a test ride tonight.

The Hotter N'Hell is coming up on Saturday and Aimee and I plan to ride the Seavo. We've never taken a tandem to this ride so we're excited. The Seavo lets us cruise faster than on the old Screamer. We're looking for some faster times on the ride so we can beat the heat. There's more good news. The weather for the ride looks mild compared to past years: temps in the low 90's, cloud cover and very little wind. We had been planning on the 50 but we may have to lengthen our stride to the metric century now. We'll see.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


A new rider joined us this morning for the Fulshear ride. Ben rides a Tadpole Trike. He's just breaking it in. Ben, we hope you join us again.

Chicken Man, Big Ring and Ken discuss the route for the morning's ride.

Aimee and CH climb the gentle rise to Bois D'Arc.

Ken, Ben and Aimee on Bois D'Arc.
Jim, Ken, and Aimee chatting during our 12 mile break at the Shell station.
Debbie at the Shell station.
Stay tuned for the Russian New Year's bash at the Jim's house!

Yours truly and Jim.

Aimee and CH on the Polo Fields route. CH and Keith took off together at the begining of the ride. We never saw Keith again but CH rejoined us at P Wall.

Group lunch at Cue's after the ride. Our favorite after ride haunt, Wings and Things, has closed (sob). One of the things I like best about this group is the good friends I've made.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hotter N' Hell 100

The Hotter n' Hell in Wichita Falls is coming up in less than two weeks. This is the mother of all rides in Texas. I've ridden it several times and I always look forward to it. The ride is on a Saturday. Wichita Falls is about 6 hours from here by car. With 10,000 or so riders spending Friday night in Wichita Falls, accomodations are be tight. A room can go for as much as $250-300 per night and there is a two night minimum. I usually take Friday off and drive up with whoever is riding with me, usually my girls. We spend Friday night in Duncan, Oklahoma where hotels are cheap and plentiful.

The weather for the ride is variable from year to year. In 2005 we had mild temperatures (80-90F) and a moderate winds. The ride was a pleasure. My daughter Aimee and I did the 50 mile route and pledged that we'd do the metric century the coming year. In 2006 it was very hot. We struggled through the 62 mile route, battling the heat and headwinds. When we finished at around 1pm, the bank tower in town showed 106F. We completed the ride but neither of us felt very well on the ride home. We've decided this year to check the weather carefully before deciding what we're going to do. More later.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fulshear - New Friends

Another great ride this morning with Ken, Aimee, Wayne and two new friends, Debbie and Pat. It was a great day for a ride. We started at 7:30 under clear skies and headed north to P Wall. From there we wound our way north to Brookshire. We followed the same route back and ended up with 37 miles. CH was out and about, but we never sighted each other.
Debbie and Pat both work at the Med Center. They ride a pair of gorgeous Easy Racers and are both in great shape.

Wayne is so much faster on his new bike. Ken is the only person I know who is just as fast on his Windcheetah as on his bent. He flies on that trike!

Debbie, Wayne and Aimee are looking at a powered hang glider landing in a field to our left. There is always so much to see out here.

Aimee is petting donkeys near P Wall. It's this love of animals that decided her on being a vet.
Tomorrow I ride in Fulshear with Ken and Gene. It was nice riding the Rans V2 again, but I miss my Seavo already.

Battle Damage

While riding in Memorial Park on the Seavo with my stoker on Thursday, I had a low speed accident. I was trying to negotiate around a post anchored in the asphalt and I cut it a little too close. The left side stoker arm grip, an integral part of the seat, just clipped the post. I heard a crunching noise but the bike kept rolling no problem. We couldn't have been going more than 5 mph. Closer inspection revealed that the stoker seat had been completely torn loose from the frame. The seat bracket that attaches to the bottom of the seat (seen above) failed completely. The rear seat braces also tore loose. No injuries. New parts have been ordered and the Seavo should be back in business in a week or so. I'm disappointed though because there was a HATS (Houston Area Tandem Society) ride today in Fulshear. Oh well.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Fulshear Sunday

Ken and I rode in Fulshear this morning. I usually have breakfast with my two girls on Sunday morning, but it's been raining so much around here that I couldn't pass up the chance to ride again this weekend in the gorgeous weather. We started at 7:30am as usual. The parking lot was completely empty for a change. On the Pecan Hill loop we spotted these riders and roller bladers going in the opposite direction. At the P Wall, Ken pointed out the shot below, noting that the dew was still on the grass.

We usually stop at Don's filling station in Wallis. This morning it was packed with coffee drinkers congregated in the back of this tiny store.

This was a great ride (I've seldom had a bad one).

Saturday, August 4, 2007


I haven't been able to ride in Fulshear for two weeks so getting back out there this morning was a real treat. Joining me and Aimee were Ken, David, Jim, Wayne, CH and Don who has not ridden with us before. Don rides a Vision. The weather for this time of year was ideal: clear to partly cloudy, gentle winds and not too hot. Starting at 7:30am helps too. Wayne has upgraded from his old Bike E to a Bacchettta, with predictable results. He's alot faster now. Scuba Vic wasn't there. I understand from David and Ken that Vic had an unfortunate accident befall his bike last Saturday (when he wasn't on it).

Aimee and I got off to a bad start. Since we transport the Seavo by a Draftmaster bike rack on the back of my Tahoe, it's neceessary to take the front wheel off. Before each ride I always check both wheels to be sure each one is properly seated on the bike and spinning freely. I didn't do it this morning. There isn't much tolerance for error with my Avid mechanical disc brakes. If the wheel isn't right where it's supposed to be, one of the brake pads will rub the rotor and slow the bike down. This morning the bike felt slow, but I wrote it off to the fact that Aimee has been sick this week. At our first 10 mile break with the bike up on the bipod kickstand, I spun the rear wheel without even thinking about it. It didn't spin much at all. The wheel was not properly seated and Aim and I had been riding the first 10 miles of the ride against the back brake. We were much faster after I fixed the problem :o).
There was a light mist on the road for the first couple of hours of the ride. Don and CH pulled ahead from the start and we were not to see them again for the rest of the day.

Aimee, Ken, Chicken Man Jim and Enron Wayne at the first rest stop halfway between Fulshear and Rosenberg. From here we pushed east to the elementary school in Pecan Grove. On the way we spotted a pair of emu's.
We made it back to the parking lot in Fulshear by 11. There we met Pat and Debbie who were just getting ready to ride on their Easy Racers. They haven't ridden with us before but maybe they can join us in the future. Starting this late in the day they're going to be in for some brutal heat.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Another great ride this evening. I snuck out of work a little early and went home to get the bike. By 5:30 I was out at Memorial Park on the Picnic Loop racking up the miles. There was a little rain this morning, but nothing while I was riding. Other bikes arrived gradually and by 6:30 or so it was actually a little crowded. Having company for the ride is a nice change. During my break I met a gentleman who had just retired last week and was looking at tandem recumbents for he and his wife to ride together. He had done his research well and recognized my Seavo immediately. Perhaps I'll see him again.

Ken is out of town this week but says he would like to join me on these Memorial Park rides next week. I'm looking forward to that.

Miles Ridden Today: 26.2

Total Miles This Year: 1722.85