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10.14.2006

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: the Denton Power Rally

October, 14, 2006
Denton, TX
Distance: 32 miles

(Riders: Baad Kitty, GingerClip, Marc, Penutty, and Capt Bob)

Blood on the Highway

Everyone remembers the lovely, precautionary tale Blood on the Highway that we were required to watch in Driver’s Ed? (Don’t pretend that you didn’t see it. They have been playing that some movie for 60 years now, so if you’re alive and you drive, then you’ve seen it.) Well, it was just like that but with fewer cars, more bikes, and less blood. (I see you rolling your eyes, thinking to yourself that this sounds nothing like Blood on the Highway. Well, remember that I have a film degree, so I can explain the multitude of similarities, but that might get a little boring unless you have movie snacks. Maybe some popcorn with butter and raisonettes thrown in for good measure? No? I can wait while you run to the kitchen. No takers? Okay, then. Back to the ride review.) The zombies knocked the cyclist down, ripped him off his bike, and then began chewing on the leg stump that was still clipped into the cleat, while the legless cyclist tried to drag himself to safety. (Oops. Sorry. You know, my main analytical paper in film school was about slasher films, so I think I got a little sidetracked. Sorry.) I guess I promised you blood, so I better get to it.

First there was attempted blood, then there was stranger blood, and finally (gasp) there was Potter blood!

Attempted Blood

Penutty, Capt Bob, and Marc had long since left me in the dust, leaving only Baad Kitty to keep me company (thanks, Baad Kitty). All of a sudden there was the long, loud sound of a car horn. I moved father over to the right and some jackass in a sedan comes pulling up beside me, only about 18 inches away despite the fact that there was no one on the other side of the road and he had plenty of room to go around me. So flicked him off and he reciprocated. It is the universal sign language after all. And then as he pulled in front of us, it became clear that he was purposely getting a close to all the riders as possible, all the while blasting away on his horn. Baad Kitty stood up on her pedal, ready to take action, blasted off, yelling “Somebody needs to get that bastard!!” All she needed was a cape. She was ready to take him on. As Marc later pointed out, the driver had committed assault with a deadly weapon, and even though I gave my contact info to the ride director to give to the cops (she already had his license plate number) I have not been contacted. I guess no one cares that he basically tried to run 100 people off the road.

Stranger Blood

As we pulled into the first rest stop there was a cyclist being loaded into an ambulance. Apparently, he was hit by a car as he was trying to get off the road and into the rest stop. I don’t have any gory details, but if you are into that sort of thing, just scroll back up and read about zombies.

Potter Blood

As we were approaching the second rest stop, the Potter clan was all riding together again (I guess maybe they all love me after all). The rest stop was on the opposite side of the road and there was oncoming traffic, so we all yelled out “slowing” then “stopping” and “turning” all the while also giving hand signals. Now I know you think that was overkill, but true be told it did me no good. Next thing I know I hear someone behind coming up fast and cursing, then I am flying and sliding across the pavement and into the ditch. Some idiot was riding with her iPod on and her head tucked, so she couldn’t see or hear anything, including me and all the rest of Team Potter. Luckily, my bike was fine and all I had was some very minor road rash and some bruises. So much for the blood, huh? It wasn’t much, but it was there.

(Capt Bob, Penutty, Baad Kitty, Marc, and the chick who ran me over)


Sweatin’ to the Oldies

I’ve got nothing for this topic. The weather was overcast and not hot at all. I mean even though it is Texas we do a have few days here and there that are less than 100 degrees. But since I wanted to talk about blood and tears, I couldn’t very well leave sweat out, now could I?

Tears on My Pillow

About 5 miles into the ride, I made a comment to Baad Kitty that I felt like I was going to cry. Now this has happened before, but I never actually cried. Well 20 miles later, the floodgates opened and I started bawling. We had just gone up an incline (I won’t call it a hill, b/c Capt Bob will no doubt correct me and tell me that there are no hills except the hills on RAGBRAI XXXIV), and I was breathing hard. At first I thought I was wheezing and then I realized I was sobbing. Yep sobbing like a little girl. Then I started crying my eyes out. Penutty checked on me and Capt Bob checked on me. I think Capt Bob might have been a little weirded out by the whole thing, but Penutty seemed to take it in stride. It was pretty funny actually, riding down the side of the road, bawling for no reason. Then 2 minutes later it stopped and then 10 minutes after that it started again. Odd, but there you have it.

Epilogue: Let the spinning wheel spin

Overall this was a good ride and I will be back next year, but there are some kinks that need to be worked out. The registration was easy, the goody bag was great, the rest stops were well stocked with food and friendly people, plus there was food before and after the ride. The route was fine except for one section of horrible road, but that was manageable and short. Mostly the 32 mile route was on country roads or was on larger roads with huge, smooth shoulders. The route was fairly flat. The rest stops need to be moved so that they are all on the right side of the road rather than the left. My accident wasn't the ride organizers' fault, but could have been prevented by better rest stop placement. Can't say that I enjoyed being thrown onto the pavement and sliding into the ditch, and that is why even when it is difficult to find space on the right side of the road it is worth the effort. If they get the rest stop placement worked out, it will be a little gem of a ride. Unfortunately, this year was a little dangerous.

(GingerClip, Baad Kitty, Capt Bob, Penutty, and Marc after the ride)

For the first time, the Iowa Division and the Illinois Division of Team Potter got to experience the wonders of a Texas Rally. Bad roads! Blazing heat (more on that in the sweat section of this review)! 500+ riders at a small rally! Free T-shirts! Free food! Free water bottles! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I like free!!! And I think that is common to all the Potters. Where will we strike again? No knows for certain, but I can guarantee that there will be bikes, booze, and raucousness!

Ride on!


See other reviews: http://www.bicycle-stuff.com/reviews/10_october/Denton_power_rally.htm