Fire Ant tour, Gatesville, TX
June 10, 2017
This is the first time I did this ride. The ride started at 8 am. For folks live in Dallas, it's a two-hours drive. So either you get up EARLY to hit the road like I did or you can plan a long weekend in the area. It's a boutique ride with about 200 riders (my estimate). The long route is 66.6 miles with 2,100 ft elevation change. It consists of three loops, which give the organizer flexibility to change things up from year to year (doing some of the loops clockwise or counter clockwise, or switching the order of the loops, for example). The ride took us north to the small towns of Turnersville and Mosheim. In between were miles of beautiful open fields of grassland, mixing with some hills that provide great, scenic views the whole time. Majority of the roads are smooth and low traffic for good riding. I was tired from fighting against the head wind so I made more rest stops in the 2nd half of the ride. The folks at the rest stops were very friendly. They had plenty of ice, Gatorade, pickle juice, fruit and cookies at all their rest stops. Obviously this is a ride that worth going back year after year for some out of town riders as I met a few that day.
June 13, 2015First time I have done this ride. Have heard good / bad about this ride from other riders at other rides, but decided to see for myself. First we had to get there. Using the Fire ant web site we went to the address stated, only to be led to a medical facility. No cyclists around except the ones who were also lost. We call the local P.D. They led us to the Civic Center, where the event was being held.
Once again I have a peeve about no national anthem, or prayer. Mention of a fallen cyclist was mentioned, and that was appreciated, but I do feel American sporting events should have a pre-event ceremony. The ride - hot and humid ! Course was laid out well with cyclists in mind. Early part of the ride was on a busy road, but that quickly ends and the beauty roads begin. Beautiful roads . Hills, and false flats were plentiful, as was the twisty turning roads. I happen to like these kinds of road. Markings were fair. It would help if markings were given at intersections that are paved. After the intersection, another set of markers to let cyclists know they really did go the right way. Most of us "DO NOT KNOW" your roads. We come, we ride, and hopefully we don't get lost. Rest stops were good, with the usual stuff we riders need. Folks were friendly and nice. After ride events were nil to none . I don't mean to sound picky, but these days an after event has become the norm. Last week, a food truck competition in Graham. Other rides have bands and food for the riders free, or at least available. This ride is 20yrs old. It remind me of rides I did 20yrs ago. More proof of this is the fact that after we left we went to a bike shop in Waco. They had just found out about the ride on Fri. I may seem critical on some issues, but the facts are the facts, and this ride has the potential to be a biggie, but is not keeping pace with the way rides are now being held. They are blessed with facilities, parking, and beautiful roads. But rider turnout speaks volumes. Collin Classic is also on this weekend. Actually a much closer drive for me. So,which ride gives me the most bang for the buck ? At this point, I'm not sure I'll go back. Please give me a reason to ride those nice roads again.
June 11, 2011
This was a great ride as always. It looks like the turnout was in the 150 rider range, maybe more. Due to road construction, the first part of the ride was altered for all of the distances and the organizers did a great job of creating a nice back road alternative. The weather was hot and windy and you could see from the slouched positions of the bike riders at the finish that they were spent and glad to be done. But where was the grill meister and the grilled hot dogs? The watermelon slices? Unless I missed something, there were no post- ride offerings like in the past. I would have gladly added a few bucks to my entry fee for some food. It would have helped before the drive home.
The ride distances are 10, 30, 50 and 62 miles. If you need to overnight in Gatesville, book a hotel/motel early because for some reason, they fill up.
This is always a challenging ride. The 63 mile route has plenty of hills, false flats and no traffic. The route starts out in a northerly direction so you end up riding against the south winds during the second half of the ride. This year it was wind and humidity that beat cyclists down. The Exchange Club volunteers do a great job and they do cater to riders’ needs- good rest stops, sag support and grilled hot dogs under the shade trees at the end of the ride. It is worth the longer drive to Gatesville for the experience of a good ride. I believe this was the 15th year for this event.
The Fire Ant Tour lived up to its name this year because it was hot, humid and windy .This is a small (200 riders or so) well-organized ride. There is very little traffic to worry about on any of the routes. There is a rest stop point where you can elect to take the extra 10 mile loop for the 100K route or just finish out the 50 mile ride, depending on how you feel. Gatesville is about a two hour plus drive from Dallas. The Fire Ant Tour T- shirt logo is one of the best around.
June 14, 2008
This ride is now in its 13th year. The Gatesville Exchange Club seems to always be well-organized, from registration to rest stops to sno-cones at the finish line. I heard the announcer at the beginning of the ride say that five sag vehicles were available on the routes, so the support was there. This ride is a laid back setting on a pretty challenging, scenic course (10 mile, 30 miles, 50 miles and 100K). Conditions this year were hot and windy but, with only 200 riders and low traffic on the roads, you can focus on the ride and visiting with other cyclists rather than fool with busy intersections and o