For a few months I've known about the Lions Bike Ride, which starts a few miles from my house. Andrea and I had talked about riding, but we didn't make our final decision till the last minute.
As usual, I'll give my critique of the tour. There were multiple routes, which included a 47-mile and 55-mile distance. The routes listed above were both routes I have cycled several times before, so there wasn't any new scenery. I've always liked the routes, but I was hoping to see something different.
The aid stations where top notch. Lots of friendly, smiling faces with all the typical food and drinks. My favorite aid station was the one located on HWY 90, which was serving breakfast tacos!!! I saw the sag wagon and ride Marshall's often, which made me feel secure that they were keeping a close eye on the riders.
Now for the bad.... We arrived early for race day registration. We signed up no problem at the last minute. I was a bit disgusted to pay nearly TWICE the price and did not receive the goody bag. Those who pre-registered seemed frustrated as well. The line to pick up race packets was long and slow. With less than 10-minutes till the start time there was easily 100-people still in line trying to get their packets. Thankfully for those people in line, the race didn't start on time. I'm always frustrated when a race is scheduled for a "rigid start time" and THEY can't seem to enforce the rules they established. The first wave departed about 20-minutes late. Most riders couldn't even find the start line. There were no signs, cars, or ANYTHING stating the start line location. The only way I found it was by talking to another rider, which rode the prior year. As we got in place we found a single guy shouting out instructions at the front. Well, I guess that is what he was yelling. The bikes were stacked 50 yards wide and 100+ yards deep and he didn't have anything to amplify his voice.
The other issue was one of safety. The police were a hit-and-miss at the intersections. About 50% of the intersections were blocked beautifully for riders, 25% had police in the area, but the police didn't stop traffic for riders, they merely kept a watchful eye. The final 25% had no police support. Of the final 25%, a few were significant intersections.
Andrea had a rough ride. With less than 10-miles to the end we stopped at the final aid station. As she was getting off her bike her foot got hung on her pedal cage, which resulted in an ugly fall. During the fall her right knee struck the asphalt and left her with a significant avulsion over her knee.
We cycled the 46.5 mile route. At the end, my bike computer read 47.8 miles. I had a good ride. Part of me wanted to take off, but I couldn't leave Andrea behind. She was having issues with her seat and I could tell she was not comfortable. I still had a good time cycling for a respectable distance.