Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tour De Braz

Since I didn't have my regular stoker this weekend, I was relieved when Debbie agreed to stoke Saturday and Coleman on Sunday for the Tour De Braz. I thought Coleman wanted to stoke on the Seavo, but when he showed up at 5:30am as planned and saw the Seavo on the rack I realized that maybe we had had a communication failure. Coleman admitted he wanted to stoke the Flevo Back to Back, which is the bike I prefered to ride anyway. That made my day. We unracked the Seavo and quickly loaded the Flevo which was already disassembled in the garage from yesterday's ride. We left only a few minutes behind schedule to pick up Danny. We arrived in Alvin about 6:30 with plenty of time to set the bike up and register.

This is the first organized ride I've done on the Flevo. This bike always draws a crowd. Everyone wants a picture of it. Most people today asked if the bike is homemade. I told one young lady that Coleman and I were Siamese twins joined at the head at birth and that this was the only bike we wanted to ride now, even though we had been surgically separated. "For real??", she asked. During the ride we heard only one or two, "He's not pedaling back there," but many "You're going the wrong way" calls as we passed bikes along the way.

Although he'd never ridden it before, Coleman took to the Flevo immediately. He seemed at ease right from the start. This bike can be a challenge to get rolling, but our first push off from the start line was smooth and steady.

The weather today was the same as yesterday: windy. The Flevo, however, was untroubled. This bike eats headwinds. I passed more DF's on this ride than I have ever passed in my life and it was a great feeling. I'm not used to reaching rest stops ten minutes ahead of my friends, but I think I can live with it. Coleman is a strong rider so I'm sure that that had alot to do with it, but there has to be a huge advantage in having the power of two riders and the wind resistance of just one.

I used to do the Tour De Braz regularly in the 90's but I haven't done it in the last few years. It's about the same size as in previous years. It looked to me like 400-500 riders in the parking lot. It still starts in the Alvin Community Center parking lot. The four of us (me, Coleman, Danny and David) selected the 50 mile route and all of us but David chose to register the morning of the ride. By this time they were out of the 50 mile route maps. Almost all of the critical intersections on this ride, however, were manned with uniformed officers to stop traffic. Even though there was a last minute change in the route because of a train derailment we had little trouble finding our way. There was, however, one turn in the last 10 miles of the ride that was totally unmarked. I was lucky enough to see a group of riders taking that turn, but others, including Danny and David missed it. They showed up at the finish line 10 or 15 minutes after we did.
The T-shirts were pretty disappointing. Plain white with a small Tour De Braz logo on the front and the back filled with the usual ad. They bore no art work, no year and no ride date.
The Danbury Fire Department provided a misting for riders hitting the rest stop in Danbury. This was probably the best rest stop of the ride.

The Danbury rest stop was well stocked, including David's beloved pickle juice.

Here's Danny taking a break. It's a great feeling to have your technical advisor accompany you on the ride!
The last 10 miles of the ride from Danbury were all tailwind. Coleman and I cruised easily at 20-21mph all the way to the finish. We had a little rain outside of Danbury, but it didn't amount to much. It was enough to cool us off a bit but, of course, it stopped as soon as we pulled over to put our cameras in the storage bag to keep them dry.
At the end of the ride we passed on the Sloppy Joes at the finish line, but did have a few Blue Bell popsickles.
This is the most fun I've had on a ride in quite a while.