Stephenville Firecracker 100 Bicycle Ride 2010

My first big ride post ACL/Knee surgery in March was the Stephenville, Texas Firecracker 100–a metric century which is 100 kilometers or 62 miles.

I am happy to report that despite continuous rain the day before and a 40 – 50% chance of thunderstorms the day of the ride that it was a go… and I did finish.  There was a race and a ride option offered.  I chose ‘ride only’ which is simply an endurance ride on a designated course on public roads. I have no desire at this point in my life to race.

We did get a few raindrops and a LOT of thick drizzle, but that also kept the temp just below 90 which was nice.  I started to go flat in my front tire near the 3rd rest/aid station, but the volunteer bike mechanic was right there when I rolled up and changed my tube for me quicker than quick.  Rest/Aid stations were set up approximately every 10 miles or so.  ALL the volunteers were FABULOUS!

Sadly, one of the cyclists in our group was rear-ended by a car near mile 40. I was a couple miles back when it happened. When I saw the ambulance and all the cop cars with flasher blazing near the top of the next long hilll my heart sank. I think that was the hardest, longest hill I never wanted to make it to the top of. When I got there they had just put her into the ambulance. Several other cyclists were standing around sobbing and talking with the police. I didn’t know at that point if the person was still alive but decided not to add to the confusion so kept pedaling on to the next rest-stop where I received an update when a few other witnesses road up.

As far as I know she is still alive and at the local hospital. There were a BUNCH of witnesses–cyclists and motorists going in both directions–and the police got the person who hit her. Witnesses told me the person was an older female who was extremely incoherent.

As for the course, it was even a little more challenging than I thought it would be. There were a LOT of hills, so many I lost count.  Most were in the 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile length (a few went on for about a mile+) but some of the grades were quite steep, exceeding 10%.  A handful of riders did drop out by mile 40 and snagged a ride back in the SAG truck.

I started having severe muscle cramps and spasms in my lower right quad (on my good leg) at about mile 35. I was taking my electrolyte capsules, but I really think it was the humidity sucking it out of me as fast as I was getting them down. There were times I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry it was spazzing so bad. But I kept pedaling anyway and I made it! 🙂

It was a great truly fantastic first big ride back after surgery. Challenging, humbling and exciting enough to make me want to do it again! The route was gorgeous, the volunteers were amazing and I ♥ Texas.

Unfortunately, my guys weren’t able to come with me this time so there was no one to take pics during the ride.  Here are a few I snapped from the car (of some of the closer in parts of the route):

UPDATE JULY 10, 2010 – I contacted the ride registrar to gather more information on the status of the rider who was hit.  I have heard back and here is what she said:

Terri W*** is the ladies name who was injured and I talked to her husband yesterday.  She has many fractures and broken bones and is very fortunate not to be paralized.  She had a 10 hour surgery on Tuesday to repair her back, and had surgery on her arm on Thursday.  She is one tough lady and is going to a re-hab facility today. She is in terrific shape [all things considered] and expects to be back on her feet shortly.

Thanks Tracy for asking about her and thank you for riding with us last Saturday.  We love our riders so much and we have been pretty upset(really
upset)that one of our own got hurt, much less almost killed.

For those who pray, I’m certain your continued prayers, good thoughts and positive energy will be appreciated.  Terri W is a strong woman, but she no doubt will have a long, tough recovery & rehabilitation.

21 thoughts on “Stephenville Firecracker 100 Bicycle Ride 2010”

  1. Congratulations on your successful ride! I’m a cyclist also, and I know what humidity can do. The Pan Mass Challenge is a ride across Massachusetts in August, our hottest, most miserable month: 214 miles in 2 days. And of course the year I rode it was the hottest, most humid they’ve yet had (this year may beat our “record.” Safe cycling, and may the wind always be at your back!

  2. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the name of the road. I’m from New Mexico and that was my first visit to Stephenville, TX. Hopefully not my last though…I love it there!

  3. Do you happen to remember where that first photo was taken? It looks a lot like the driveway of the house I grew up in on the right, but I know we’ve thinned out the trees in the fencerow across from it lately.
    There are lots of hills like that around here though. That’s why, as kids with single-speed bikes, we spent more time pushing than riding 🙂

  4. Congratulations Tracy,
    Good for you. I am also an older female who has two hip replacements and a severe balance problem. Some times I worry that people will thing I’ve been drinking since I stagger so much. The countryside was beautiful. I enjoy following your wonderful experiences. This is the only way I can participate.
    So you go Tracy….

  5. Very proud of you, Tracy! Thanks for the up-date on the lady that was hit by the car, she will remain in my prayers. Rehab is hard, but if she can do that 62 mile bike ride, rehab will be a piece of cake! Keep up the great work on the Sew Thankful website, one of my favorites.


  6. Finishing this ride is a real accomplishment, especially so after having knee surgery. You should be so proud of yourself! Since you were taking electrolytes, I wonder what else you can try in your future rides to avoid cramping. Best wishes to the injured cyclist.

  7. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I have 2 new knees and they work but not enough to have this old lady biking. They are 10 yrs old and I am 75 but am working with a trainer and can not at least squat! I think that is a great accompolishment for me.

    Congratulations on hanging in there. Keep it up.


  8. Glad to hear you finish your ride – what proof you’re and it good shape once more. Country side is very pretty and look peaceful. Sorry to hear about the othe lady’s accident and hope she continue improving as fast as possible.

  9. Hey Stephenville is just over the hill from me! How awesome that you bike. My husband bikes but not in races, just for fun. So glad the biker is okay.

  10. Laura, Stephenville really is a beautiful little town. How cool that your daughter and her family live there! I loved my time there and would go back in a heart beat.

  11. Wow! My daughter and her family live in Stephenville! What a surprise to open your note and see that you were in the same spot – it is such a little town but it is beautiful. Congratulations on making the ride!!

  12. Thanks for your kind words, Sue. I just want to make sure you know that I have nothing against older drivers (female or otherwise).

    I did not state previously–but should have–that the witnesses mentioned hearing the police discuss the strong odor of alcohol and that possibly the person had been under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol.

    The witnesses (both cyclists and motorists going in both directions) reported seeing the vehicle weaving heavily before hitting the cyclist. On that particular stretch of road, there were wide (4′ – 6′ paved shoulders) that cyclists were riding in, so the cyclists were not in the lane that the vehicle should have been in. And if the person had stayed in the lane would not have hit the cyclist on the shoulder.

  13. Good for you! I also refuse to let the number of my years designate what I can do. Sometimes the trying is a win in it’s self.

  14. Glad to hear that your finished (hurrah) and that your body is ok (hurrah). I am that older female (75), and if I had struck someone, I would be incoherent too. Give the gal the benefit of the doubt.

  15. Congratulations Tracy, that is quite an accomplishment without having ACL surgery so doubly so with your recovery! Sounds like your knee came through beautifully and I trust your right quad is no worse for the cramping. The scenery looks spectacular. I’m sure it made for a lovely ride.
    May the injured cyclist heal swiftly and completely.
    All the best!

  16. You should come to Emporia, Virginia on the weekend after labor day for the Great Peanut Ride. I am chief deputy clerk for Greensville County Circuit Court. My boss, the Clerk, puts on a bike ride which is always the weekend after Labor Day. There are various rides, all leaving from a campground. The festivities start on Thursday and go through Sunday. Entry fees can include meals, entertainment, a church service and other interesting things like a bird walk, flower walk etc. We are mostly flat. It starts September and the last weekend in September we have The Virginia Peanut Festival of which I am the Chairman. It is the biggest annual event in our community. We go 4 days with everything you can think of for a Festival. Arts/crafts,food,carnival,music, children’s events,Indians, Civil War reenactors, fireworks, live bands, hay rides. It’s a fun month for our Community.

  17. Way to go Tracy! I knew you could do it!!!! You are such an inspiration! I’ll pray for the person that was hit by the car. I hope all is well. How are you feeling after all this exercise?



  18. Gosh what lovely countryside…thank you for sharing your adventures with us, you are such an inspiration to me. Also, I know when I encourage others to excel, it puts me on the spot to keep doing my best, as well, you’re doomed my girl, doomed! LOL hugs and blessings to you and the “guys”.

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