Ride offers picturesque view of Crossroads' rural scenery (Video)
- unverified comments
Thank you for your submission.Error report or correction
Finishing Saturday's 32-mile Riverside Ride bicycle course in a little more than three hours, I certainly wasn't a Tour de France first-place winner like Lance Armstrong, but I sure felt like one.
The annual Victoria Kiwanis Club Ride kicked off at 8 a.m., but not before music and lots of pancakes at One O'Connor Plaza. The 185 registered riders were each given a route map and a route color to follow. My ride buddy, John Rodriguez of Corpus Christi, and I chose the 32-mile course.
Riders were given a vehicle escort through downtown by Fire Marshal Ron Pray, north on Bridge Street then went through Riverside Park. I guess we had to ride through Riverside Park since the ride is called Riverside Ride. In previous years, the ride started and ended in the park.
Through Old Victoria, we found ourselves on Moody Street, heading west. I thought we would turn right at the Lower Mission Valley Road as in previous years, but no, we continued west on Moody Street/U.S. 59 until we reached the first rest stop at Aloe Elementary School. Fruit, water, Gatorade and plenty of friendly smiles greeted us from volunteers manning the rest stop.
After enjoying refreshments, we thanked the volunteers and headed up through Quail Creek subdivision. John was lagging behind me a bit and I noticed a rider just ahead of me turning his bicycle to the right and left while making quick glances in my direction. Once I approached him, he sheepishly confessed that he saw my yellow jersey and thought it was his wife, who was also lagging behind. This rider and his wife, John and Marcia from Corpus Christi, later met up with us and rode part of the route with us.
The ride took us through some rural subdivisions with nice houses and lots of front and back yard spaces.
I'm somewhat of a slowpoke - 12-13 mph is a comfortable pace for me - so there were riders constantly passing us. I didn't mind, just so long as I didn't finish dead last. I was also happy to have John as my ride buddy. We kept pace with each other and chatted, making the ride go by quicker.
John and I, along with John and Marcia, passed a Lutheran church where a group gathered in front for a funeral. The mourners waved at us and we waved back at them as we continued the ride.
At the second rest stop, we weary riders were served refreshments by Queen Victoria, Danielle Renee Smith, and another attractive volunteer. A few riders availed themselves of the nearby port-a-potty before hitting the road.
My bicycle's odometer was giving out false information so I had to rely on John to tell us how many miles we had cycled. I didn't want to be one of those "are we there yet" types, asking the mileage every few minutes so I just enjoyed the Victoria County scenery as it whizzed by me at a leisurely 12 mph.
After the second rest stop, we riders encountered a few cattle guards on the road and carefully took them on head-on. One turn of the wheel while crossing cattle guards could mean a nasty spill for an unfortunate rider.
We passed a few pastures and I waved at the cows lounging in the grass. I remarked to John that I hoped we weren't served hamburger for lunch.
When we reached the Upper Mission Valley Road, friendly drivers across the highway waiting to cross motioned for us riders to cross first. We thanked them and continued on.
Entering the Lower Mission Valley Road, we noticed there was little or no shoulders for bicycle riders, so we were mindful of traffic coming up behind us. Bicycle etiquette calls for riders to shout "car back!" to their fellow riders up ahead. This reminds them to ride single file and allow safe passage for the motorist.
The final rest stop was under the Loop 463 overpass. More fruit, water, Gatorade and smiles from the Boy Scouts volunteers there.
Heading down Lower Mission Valley Road, we passed through the green light and were sailing down Moody Street to reach the finish line at Goodwin and Bridge streets. As we passed that intersection, we were cheered by ride volunteers, then treated to a hot dog lunch where only hours earlier we feasted on pancakes and sausages.
All in all, a great ride put on by the Kiwanis Club and numerous area sponsors. Next up: The Wildflower Ride in Cuero on Saturday, April 14. Anybody wanna come with me?
Eric Jensen is a copy editor for the Victoria Advocate, and an avid cyclist.