Saturday, November 19, 2011

Third Annual Fall Finale Forty-Mile Country Path Ramble

The Third Annual Fall Finale Forty-Mile County Path Ramble is scheduled for Saturday, December 17. Get it on your calendar now, before you read the rest of this post. Go ahead, I'll wait.

This event has sort of become an end of fall tradition for me and a few of my fellow bicycle aficionados. I'll have more to say about specific details later. For now, however, I plan to ride an unsupported, approximately 45-mile mixed terrain (mostly gravel) ride from my house, and you are welcome to join me.

Since there is no support, no sag, and no T-shirt, and since this is simply a group of friends riding bicycles, there is no cost to participate. Last year about 28 persons joined me, and it was great fun.

I conducted my reconn ride today and took a few photos along the route. Due to the fierce wind today, I seriously doubt that there will be this many colorful leaves left on the trees by then. But at least you can get a little taste of what the route is like.

The route is generally north and west of the northwest corner of Denton County. There are some rolling hills out there. Some of them are a little steep in places, but they are not terribly long.

There are no services of any kind along the route, except the fabulous and historic Rosston General Store somewhere around the mid-point of the ride.

But there are tree-lined creekbeds, wide-open wind-swept prairie hilltops, and a heaping helping of rolling, rural landscape. And lots of gravel.

Some of these roads are a bit rugged in places. In some areas, the loose gravel has been worn/rolled away and there is a smooth, fast dirt road exposed that allows paved-road like speed. However, there are also a few areas with recently placed deep, marble-y gravel that forces my skinny legs to slow it way down.

I've referred to this ride as a "ramble". That means the basic intent is to ride at a conversational pace, stop for photos, and maybe even pause for a snack a time or two. I've been known to pack a thermos of coffee for myself, and would encourage others to approach the ride the same way if you like. If you do, plan the entire day.

Others might be interested in riding the route as a "tempo" ride. That's fine. I'm thinking about preparing a map and/or cue sheet for those who wish to ride faster than a "ramble". I'm not committing to the map/cue sheet thing, but I am thinking about it.

As in years past, I'll follow this post later with a few more details about how all this works. The objective for today is to formally announce the date so you can make plans. I hope that everyone who came last year will come again. And if your friends are well-behaved, and will not get me in trouble with my pickup truck driving neighbors, you are welcome to bring them too.

Oh yeah, one more thing. For all veterans of the Ramble, you might remember the guy with the catfish heads on his fence posts. Well, it appears that he's added some variety to his fence decorations lately. I'm not sure this coyote will still be here on December 17, or that you'd want to see it up close by then anyway, but I'm sure there'll be something to amuse you somewhere along the route.


  1. "No Services?" Actually, I found people grabbing all the tire fixit stuff out of my hands when I got a flat last year and even advising on the finer points of tire maintenance and camera f stops. I do hope the Rosston cycling model is there again this year! Truly an event not to be missed.

  2. I hope you have an excellent turnout again. That date might be the single worst date of the year. Semester end the day before. Christmas concert practice the morning of. And Christmas concert the day after. So certainly no Pondero Ramble this year.

  3. The Ramble sounds like such a great time for all. Sure wish I could join the band of merry ramblers. I'm taking Thanksgiving week off to take my family to southern Indiana for a get away so that will probably be all my out of state trips for the rest of 2011. I, too, hope you have a good crowd and a bunch of fun!

  4. I'm still in gravel envy, but I wish you a good turn out. I just ordered some route maps that promise to solve my deficiency, so I'll be out there as well as soon as I can manage.

    Ride safe out there.

  5. Hi Chris,
    I hope to make it, shoulder permitting!
    Paz :)

  6. I really hope I can make it this year. I need some new scenery to look at.

  7. I wish we could get a few of you out-of-towners, but it is good to see the interest of some of the local veterans. As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, I'll start obsessively watching the weather.

  8. Cant wait to make it again this year. Coming up from Austin this time.

  9. sApuska, as you can imagine, over the 38 or so miles of gravel on this route, there is a wide variety of gravel conditions. Most of it, in my opinion, would not be a problem for 700x32. There are typically a few segments in which new, deep gravel has been poured that will prove a challenge to us all. Overall, if it were me, I wouldn't avoid this route if I had 32mm tires.