dailymile 225 Miles in November Challenge update

Well, I’m approaching the last week in November and I’ve cycled 170 miles out of 225 miles in the dailymile 225 miles in November challenge. I hope to have another 30-40 miles of cycling on Saturday as I will ride to the Ciclistas Urbanos social ride in the morning. That’s another 15-17 miles one way plus the social ride then the ride back home. I think I’m going to be sore tomorrow.

Another Group ride with Ciclistas Urbanos

I have been falling behind on my November 225 mile challenge so I figured the ride that Cyclistas Urbanos was doing was a good way to pack in some miles in one day. I contemplated on riding my bike to Edinburg as a way to pretty much double my miles but I decided against it. Perhaps another day.

Today’s ride takes us to the Farmer’s Market at the Alhambra in downtown McAllen followed by a trip to Marco’s Burgers and Fries in Mission (Sharyland). Afterwards, a stop a Bike Masters for eye candy before heading back to Edinburg. Usually, we ride on out from El Patio Cafe at 8 am but this time we pushed it back an hour and took off at 9 am.

Ciclistas Urbanos had a good turn out for this ride as the suspected reason was to try Marco’s Burgers. Today’s gathering turned out to be thirteen cyclists of all skill levels. Despite the wind gusts, the ride to McAllen was fun as you can hear the chatter of people talking and good spirits over coming the strong wind. As with all good group rides, you go as fast as the slowest cyclist. The pace was at about 8 mph with a stiff wind in our face. There was some seperation between the front and the back of the group so we waited for them at one of the corners. I took this opportunity to snap a pic of them riding.

The first stop was a quick breather at the community garden in McAllen. I had no idea this had existed until now. Next to a fire substation, the garden is thriving with a variety of plants and vegetables. The garden is well maintained and is completely hidden from the street. Very nice. As far as I know, there are no community gardens in the Mission area where I live.

Working our way through downtown McAllen’s busy streets, we arrive at the Farmer’s market at Alhambra. This was also my first visit to the market. Walking in you are greeted with many local farmers and distributors promoting their wares. Anything from organic vegetables to grass feed lamb chops. I bought some delicious Orange Blossom Honey and some Walnuts. That honey is going be great with my Peanut Butter sandwiches! Lots of open space with a large enclosed room for beverages. A juicer was on hand to create fruit juices of your choosing. I tried out a Watermelon and Cantaloupe drink. Very delicious and refreshing!

After mingling and purchasing a few items we mounted the bikes and headed out for lunch in the Sharyland at Marco’s Burgers. It was only a four mile ride to the burger joint and more chatter was present during the ride. I believe it was due to the wind being on our backs giving us a good push. Nothing like a free ride.

Marco’s Burgers was a great stop for some good burgers, converse and an opportunity to replenish expended calories. After a while we got on the bikes for the short hop over to Bike Masters bicycle shop.

Bike Masters  was only one block away from Marco’s Burgers. After parking the bikes we went in to look around. Wow! they had a lot of bikes and tons of accessories to look at! The owner of the shop came out to greet us and show us around. He gave us a quick demo of carbon bikes that Trek are making and how they are made. Very interesting on how the bikes are made. The parts of the frame are extremely lightweight and strong!

Refreshments as well as patch kits were passed out to us as we mingled and looked around. One of us even found a bike they are interested at purchasing and will come back for a second look. Many road and mountain bikes and a few urban bikes to look at as well as a large selection of accessories and parts. The staff was nice, friendly and helpful. This was certainly a good stop and appreciate their hospitality.

After the stop we headed on back to Edinburg using a new route. Actually there were two different routes back that we could have chosen from. A few took one route while the majority took the route that went around McAllen. The wind was on our backs and there was only one mechanical problem that was quickly fixed.

We rolled back to the El Patio at about 4 pm on what was a good long ride. For some it was the longest ride that have cycled but they made it. Memories to file in our memory banks for later retrieval. Overall the pace was at 8 mph, slower than I would like to have ridden, but we did have someone who had their personal best for distance. That’s awesome!

Now I need to ride on Sunday to catch up for the week, but after the Cowboy game.

Riding with CU

This week I decided to go out riding with the Ciclistas Urbanos cycling club in Edinburg. I ended up being the webmaster for their club so you will find a similar post on their site.

Today’s ride was with without Mark Pena and his family as they were out-of-town. As a result we were left to fend for ourselves! No problem, today’s ride ended up being a small group of three. Those that did show up (Virginia Gause, David Reyes, Ray Garza and Raul Rodriguez) enjoyed a good breakfast with interesting conversation.

David Reyes came up with the idea to ride to the highest point in Edinburg, the Russell Road overpass. Overpasses is what passes for hills around these parts of Texas. I’ve never been over that part of town so I was game.

The weather was just perfect, not windy and started in the low 60’s warming up to the mid 70’s as the day progressed. The route that David had planned to us to the North-East section of Edinburg and the ranch country. I had never ridden over to that part of town and was excited to check it out.

The first stop was the Historical marker at the Hillcrest cemetery. I spotted the signs for it and rode on over. The marker is dedicated to the early African-American section for the cemetery and the history of it. We parked our bikes and took a walk among many unmarked graves in that section. There were several billboards describing many of the people buried in that section and we managed to find a family that was mentioned on those signs.

Hopping back on the bikes we headed on out towards Russell road and took off East through the back roads and through ranch country. Plenty of cows and a few dogs along with pleasant weather made for a very nice ride. On the loop back we road up the overpass and stop to take in the view.

The ride down was exhilarating as you pick up speed. I topped out at 22.9 mph as I had to keep an eye on a car that was behind me. None the less it was fun! We worked our way to the De Alba bakery to stop for a bite to eat and conversation. It is during these conversations with Raul Rodriguez that new ideas bubble up. In this case it’s a spin on the Adopt a Highway program but instead of cleaning up sections of highways we clean up sections of Bike Routes. Pick your favorite bike route and go out and clean up the debris that you encounter. Some cities do not have the manpower or the equipment to sweep the road or just don’t do it at a regular basis. So, instead of depending on the government to do something, take matters into you own hands and adopt a bike lane and clean it yourself. I have my favorite route where there are wood splinters on the road and I plan to go out and clean it up my self.

The day was getting late so we go back on the bikes and headed out to finish the ride back at El Patio. The distance ridden was 16 miles with a total ride time of 2 hr 30 minutes.

Not a bad way to spend Saturday morning. I hope to ride again with them sometime soon.