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AntonioGG

Camino Real Gravelero--Thorndale, TX 4/17/2021

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Posted (edited)

This ride/race was awesome.  I got there late.  Everyone was already at start/finish.  I grabbed my number plate but only to get food/drink ticket and left it in my car.  I knew the day would be windy and did not need the extra drag from a handlebar number plate (which included the timing chip).  I brought my arm warmers and neck gaiter just in case and I am glad I decided to wear them as the day never got warmer, and in fact felt colder with the increasing north wind.

There is a ton of gravel here with mostly caliche type gravel and a little bit of the sandy but solid type of gravel road.  There are a few paved sections and those were all devoid of traffic.  There was only one sketchy section of paved road to connect. 

The wind was brutal (any ride in the flatlands easts of 35 seems to suffer from wind).   The reward of a tailwind on the return was short-lived and minimized by some tree cover.  But it was very cool once again riding in a group (2 weeks and one day post my 2nd COVID shot).   Still 99% of people doing road and gravel rides don't know how to properly ride a paceline and that's frustrating.  Since I got there late I was behind the shorter ride/family/social spaced people so I tried to work myself up to the 62 milers before the neutral start ended but I was not able to.  I pushed really hard to bridge gaps which was super hard once we turned NNE.  I felt like I could heard Phil Liggett getting all excited narrating the Ardennes classics "THERE'S A SPLIT!".  I settled into a group of 20 or so but there was no proper taking turns but it was an even pace.  We eventually split apart as people just could not keep the pace and caused splits within the group.  Eventually I rode with a guy named Jason who usually rides his gravel bike at Brushy (all the trails) but is not here.  We had a similar age, power output, size, etc. and he knew how to ride a paceline so we stayed together through the climbs and the flats.  We were frustrated with some of the guys we were around, they'd surge so hard when it was their turn that we couldn't hold their wheel, then they'd go off it alone, before they'd just start slowing down and come back to us again.  At around mile 28 Jason said his recovering broken pinkie was hurting too much so he took the 38 mile cutoff and I rode on my own for the rest of the 44 or so miles.  Lots of clover, wildflowers, and dramatic scenery as the sun poked through some of the clouds.  The final 2-3 miles with a couple of sections into the headwind at lactate threshold doing 7-10mph were brutal.

I got to see my old friend Tony who was coached by the same coach and we did the same 12 and 24 hour races as well as supported each other when not racing.  It had been years since I saw him.

The Apache Pass Steakhouse has a pretty good burger.  They smoke them and they must use chuck/brisket for the meat.  Very basic burger but it was tasty.  Their fries were good.  The included beer was basically Bud, Bud light, Lite, or Michelob ultra.  I opted for the Ultra.  It tasted good right after finishing but it's like water almost.  Nobody that worked in the restaurant was wearing masks but many people eating did. They had outdoor seating so I took my food outside, wolfed it down and left for home.

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/5144222142

Edited by AntonioGG
added Strava link
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41 minutes ago, mack_turtle said:

I have zero concept for riding in a paceline and taking turns. This is part of the chaotic fun that is gravel riding: half the people on the course are mountain bikers.

Yeah, rules make it hard.

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Thanks for the race report, @AntonioGG and the info on road surface conditions.  Mr. June Bug is retiring today, and we'll have time now to go exploring and riding during the week.  This area hasn't been on my radar until now.   

I was curious about the Camino Real aspect of the race name, since I have a passing interest in the actual Camino Real route.  I checked in with a friend who rode in the event and he confirmed that there is an historical component to the general area of the race route, so extra interesting. 

Milan County El Camino Real de los Tejas Sites

 

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Thanks for the race report, [mention=29]AntonioGG[/mention] and the info on road surface conditions.  Mr. June Bug is retiring today, and we'll have time now to go exploring and riding during the week.  This area hasn't been on my radar until now.   
I was curious about the Camino Real aspect of the race name, since I have a passing interest in the actual Camino Real route.  I checked in with a friend who rode in the event and he confirmed that there is an historical component to the general area of the race route, so extra interesting. 
Milan County El Camino Real de los Tejas Sites
 

Congrats to the family! I’m only mentally retired.


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2 hours ago, June Bug said:

Thanks for the race report, @AntonioGG and the info on road surface conditions.  Mr. June Bug is retiring today, and we'll have time now to go exploring and riding during the week.  This area hasn't been on my radar until now.   

I was curious about the Camino Real aspect of the race name, since I have a passing interest in the actual Camino Real route.  I checked in with a friend who rode in the event and he confirmed that there is an historical component to the general area of the race route, so extra interesting. 

Milan County El Camino Real de los Tejas Sites

 

Congrats to Mr. June Bug!

There were markers and historical signs all over the place.  The race start at Apache Pass had a marker entering the area.  

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