Sunday, October 4, 2009

Paluxy Pedal

Caryn and I decided to do Paluxy Pedal, despite the effects of her lingering cold/allergy/funk. We ran into James Irwin, who was wearing the new jersey for the first time and Lisa Marshall who was also wearing an SMU jersey. It was cool, mid 50's and overcast. Paluxy is famous for the Wall, a short but steep pitch of 19%, which comes about 37 miles into the ride. A noted dearth of recumbents suggests that the route has plenty of hills.

I saw a cyclist that I see often, wearing a TCU Cycling jersey. I asked him about it, and it seems a local Fort Worth businessman makes them to sell. Sounds like a copyright infringement to me, and takes away from Tyler Elings and the club selling jerseys to alumni.

I also noticed a Wake Forest Demon Deacon kit, also based on Rock Racing, they changed the design much less than we did, and I have to say that their kit resembled a bumble bee.

When we finally arrived at the wall, Caryn taking it easy due to her chest cold, we witnessed a stunning spectacle in front of us as riders were dismounting or falling over! The road surface, which was usually chip seal during most of the ride, resembled cinder and crumbled asphalt. You see a very steep pitch before you that curves to the left, with a rocky wall on the inside of the steep section. Caryn thought it wasn't the wall and forgot to drop down into the 39 until she was half way up. Afraid she would unship her chain, she waited until she had no choice but to try, and the SRAM worked just fine.

I was just ahead of her and saw that this was a terrifying climb, mainly due to the people who are collapsing, leaping off their bikes and falling over. It is about the same as Summit Street (in the valley behind Cedar Hill) but the road surface on this "Wall" is horrible. After the turn and the 19% it becomes a 12% then shallows out and you are done. One guy in an all grey kit passed me, just inside me at the steepest pitch. The thin high schooler we saw a lot during the day walked up, he didn't trust his ability. The rest stop is at the top, with Boy Scouts handing out little patches (purple and neon yellow, were these left over from 1991?)

Unfortunately this little climb aggrevated my knee, and the rest of the ride was uncomfortable. Amazing how a 19% pitch can make the usual 8,9,10% climbs seem like child's play.

The ride is worth doing with a competent group, and it has beautiful scenery. Toward the end, it was shocking to see so many cars were in the "Creation Evidence" parking lot. Amazing that so many fall prey to charlatans.

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