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Riding for the Ranch

What a beautiful ride. On June 2, I rode in the second Ranch Ride that benefits the Soaring Wings Ranch in Conway.

You couldn’t have asked for a better early summer day. It was almost chilly and overcast the morning of the ride. There were no complaints from anyone. Last year this thing was a scorcher, apparently. Had it been just a few weeks later, the same would’ve been true for this year’s version. But kuddos to whoever dialed up the beautiful morning.

Since I’m writing my entry on the ride way more than a month after the event, I’m going to do my best to remember the details.

As you can see from the Strava info up at the top of the post, I did the 50-mile ride. There was a 34-mile ride and a family ride that was something like 10 miles. This was my third 50-mile charity ride of the year, and I was looking for it to be the fastest of the three, as well.

Mission accomplished. The low temperatures, lack of wind and lack of sun definitely didn’t hurt. I started near the front of the pack and settled in with a small group of folks moving at a pretty good clip.

There’s a pretty hairy descent early on in the route. After the first big climb of the day, it flattens off for a bit, then we turned right into a small little neighborhood, and then left down a crazy steep hill before having to swing another left in pretty short order. I’m still trying to figure out how I didn’t end up in someone’s front yard after whipping down this sucker.

This is really my only complaint about the entire ride. It’s either divert through the neighborhood or go bolting down the hill straight and turning a sharp ride onto a bigger highway with traffic. Neither is really appealing, this section of the route may need to be rethought all together, I’m not sure how, but I’d be open to some changes.

It’s really unfortunate, because the ride is a beauty, and I would love to head back out that way on a solo ride someday, but don’t want to fly off my bike in the process. So, if there’s a more sane way to get around this little ridge, I’d love to know what it is.

Anyway, after surviving the downhill, it was pretty flat for a while. We still had a fairly good group going. We were probably averaging in the low 20s at this point, just the pace I was looking for. a

A mile or two down the road was another big climb. This is where our little group got good and blown up. I had heard about the hills on the course, so I made an effort to do a little climbing in the weeks leading up to the ride, so that the hills wouldn’t leave me gassed. These bad boys were a little bigger than I had expected, but I made it through.

I passed some folks on the way up and think I may have gotten passed also on the way up. But once I got to the bottom, I was alone for a while. Eventually a group of us were back together and we motored on until the first rest stop.

My breakfast was gone, so I wanted to swing in to get a little grub and a drink, before rolling on the rest of the way. Only two others in our group stopped. It was a couple that I would finish the rest of the ride with.

The rest of the group that we were with flew on past, along with several others as we enjoyed a little rest.

We didn’t stop long, and were back out on course. The three of us were taking good long pulls at the front of the group and we were starting to gobble up some of those that had passed us while we rested.

Some of the folks we passed hung on for a while, but the majority weren’t able to hang. The three of us powered on the rest of the way. Another few hills, and some beautiful landscape to look at. It was great.

On the way in, the sun started peaking out. Couldn’t have been timed any better. The fast guys were all in already, I think we were the second group of 50-mile riders in and a large number of 34-mile riders were coming in.

It was just an absolutely perfect day on the bike.

The volunteers were awesome. This group also puts on a marathon every year, and were top notch at the rest stops, keeping us safe on turns and at the festivities afterward.

I’ll definitely be back out next year. But I may walk my bike down that crazy hill.