110 riders rolled off last Saturday morning for inaugural Tour De Elvis ride. Our rollout went off at just after 8 am with a police escort out of town.
I had run the Tour De Elvis 5k the night before and then rather than drive back and forth between Albemarle and Charlotte, I just stayed the night at a local Hampton Inn.
Staying was definitely the right choice because I was up at 5:30 for an easy 7 miles. Then, I packed up my car and headed for the Tour De Elvis Ride start.
Driving up, I guess I was expecting a bigger group of riders, but then, I have not done that many rides to be a good judge.
The police escort out of town was really nice. Everyone kind of rode out together. Only once we got beyond the city limits did the pace start to pick up.
There was this one kid on a bike road bike that was as big as he was. When we hit the first hill and the pace went up rather than down. I looked over at him. He was already working really hard. I thought welcome to the world of group rides. He soon disappeared off the back.
There were perhaps 15 of us in a pack.
With every ride, it takes to time understand how the ride organizers mark the course. In this case, they painted tiny directional arrows on the road and placed signs at the turns. However, the signs were right at the turns so on more than one occasion we blew right passed it.
Some were over near Richfield, there was a strange set of directional turns that lead to the rest stop and followed by a U-turn. Some of the guys, I assume, knew the course avoided the little U-turn. By the time, we realized what was happening they were at least ½ mile ahead.
Another guy and I then hooked up a few miles later and we rode the last 40 miles together. We caught a few of the riders that dropped off from the lead group but ended up about 5 minutes behind them. Catching 8 guys riding together is so hard when there is only two of us.
Some of the towns that we rode through were: Richfield, Badin, Norwood, and New London. There are some nice roads to ride in Stanley County. There were no really long hills along the course – at least nothing longer than a mile. A few sections, the traffic was pretty heavy, but most of the sections were nice quiet country roads. There were a few instances where dogs sprinting out, but luckily, this never occurred during a climbing section.
After the ride, the race organizers provided grilled hot dogs, chips, cupcakes, Gatorade, and sodas for everyone.
We finished the ride in 3 hours and 10 minutes, covering 63 miles, and averaged about 20 mph for the ride. And fortunately for everyone, the clouds stayed overhead for most of the ride which kept the temperatures down.
Before ending this post, I want to give a shout out to Peter and his Vac&Dash crew. They did the fantastic shirts for both the 5k race and the Saturday morning ride. And, if anyone is interested, Peter's store also maintains a nice supply of "iBike" shirts which I think are kind of cool looking.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner