Yesterday was the annual Paws and Puddles charity bike ride, hosted and benefiting the Animal Alliance of Galveston County. This is one of the few organized rides here in the midst of the summer heat, but an important training opportunity for those of us planning to do the Hotter’N Hell 100 in August.

This is the first time I had done this ride and I was surprised to see how small the turnout was. Compared to The Space Race, which starts from the same venue, the number of vehicles in the parking lot was probably 1/3 or less. Still, the organizers of the ride did a good job. All the rest stops had tasty goodies to snack on and they took care to have ice and cold towels to help cool us down. Once or twice they ran out of water but they quickly replenished.

I had planned on doing the 80 mile route but unfortunately I fucked up and missed a ~10 mile spur that the 80 milers take at the beginning away from the 60 mile route – or possibly it wasn’t marked correctly. In any event at the end of the ride I only had 67 miles done rather than the 78 miles the route called for.

And as if I needed a reminder, riding hard during the heat of a coastal Texas summer isn’t the most pleasant experience. Once 11 AM hits the character of the ride completely changes to one of fun to outright masochism. My equipment told me it was between 97 to 98 degrees on the road during this time frame (actual air temperature was likely only 92) and at that point I just couldn’t keep my body cool enough to ride at speed comfortably. Plenty of heart rate left, but the muscles do protest instead…

But hey, at least they had Pickle Juice Sport around for those crazy people like me that enjoy it.