Katy Flatland Century
We 2016 rode the Katy Flatland Century on our tandem. This is a large well organized ride starting and ending at a local high school. We rode out tandem on the 100K route which included some suburban riding and some country roads. This provided variety and a great ride for the Houston area and draws us to drive down from DFW once a year to enjoy the extremely flat terrain on a tandem.
The weather in July is of course hot and humid but unlike other rides it allows for starting at or before sunrise. Great organization along holding the ride on Sunday means low traffic. Lots of good hotels are very close to the ride so out of town riders are well provided for.
We enjoyed the ride an plan to return again.
The Katy flatland ride was my first century ride. I read someplace this was a good 'first century' ride. The ride course is roughly South to North and back. It's not completely flat, the course climbs a few hundred feet as it goes North. The ride was scheduled to start at 0645 in the morning. However, at 0630 there was an announcement that the course was ready, and we could start then!
Course support was good, with police officers at key intersections, and volunteers at many others. I did manage to miss one turn around mile 65. Since I saw no other bikes with me, I am pretty sure I was the only one who got 'lost', so it was probably my fault. There was a phone number on the supplied map, and a nice lady on the other end got me back on course. Fortunately, my detour only doc me an extra mile or so.
Rest stops were organized and well stocked with the usual banana, oranges, gatorade, etc. PB&J sandwiches were also in abundance along with pickle juice.
The only downside was the temperature. It was nice and cool at 0630 when I started, but the temperature had climbed to over 100 by the time I finished around 1530.
This was my first Katy Flatland. I did 100 miles, and my wife did 28. Although the start/end is minutes from my house, we registered online and picked-up the packets two days before. I am glad we did, since we received an email the day before the ride saying that over 2100 riders had preregistered and to expect a crowd at the start. We did not receive a T-Shirt for the ride, but did get some nice backsacks with the KFC logo. Riders were able to purchase t-shirts if they placed their orders before July 1.
We arrived less than a half-hour before the ride start, but did not have to wait in much traffic. The start was at Tompkins High School and there appeared to be enough parking. The ride had an open start, which made it easy to get going.
The first rest stop was very busy. I skipped it and went to the second, but had to wait in a long line for only a few porta-potties. All of the other rest stops following were fine with either short lines, or no lines whatsoever. The rest stops had bananas/oranges, power gels, cookies, pickle juice and a couple at the end of the ride had hoses with sprayers. Overall, well-stocked rest stops.
The roads were mostly smooth, with well-placed signs and police giving the riders the right-of-way at every intersection I hit. There was also a photographer on the route. I found my picture (and bought it online), but unfortunately, could not find one of my wife on the 28-mile route.
Overall, a great ride, and I look forward to next year.
July 17, 2010
thanks go out to the Southwest Cycling Club and all the volunteers for putting on another great rally... roads were in good shape this year, and the route was basically the same as last year .. traffic support was as good as can be expected .. only thing i'd recommend would be to move the finish location to be just prior to the stadium entrance on katy fort bend road, rather than have to ride thru the stadium parking lot back to the original start line - that portion would then become a cool down trip back to the start area .. overall another great rally, worth the weekend trip from dallas to houston.... mb
Very fast ride. Almost zero hills. Very well organized and gets better every year. Cannot think of any negatives. Worth the drive from Dallas. Roads super smooth. Almost zero chip seal. Averaged 22.0 mph over 100 miles. Keep up the good work. Thanks.
July 18, 2010
another great rally put on by some great volunteers... roads were in good shape this year, and the route was basically the same as last year... one good change to the route was the elimination of the short out and back towards rest stop #3... this year the route continued on past the rest stop and eliminated the turn-around.... traffic support was as good as can be expected .. overall another great rally, worth the trip from dallas to houston.... many thanks to the ride organizers and volunteers that made it possible... mb
July 19, 2009
Nice ride this year. This was the first year for the new location. The ride started at 7:00 for the 100 milers. Since there was a 4 way stop everyone had to stop at it took us 23 minutes to finally park. Because of that I was 5 minutes late leaving with the 100 milers. The gate monitor would not let me leave to catch up and made me wait to leave with the 40 milers. Didn't start out good but the signage was great and the rest stops had lots of ice and goodies. The salt source at every rest stop was the mini salt package. The kind you get with the plastic knives and spoons. I guess they wanted us to swallow straight salt or mix it in with our water. Nice shirts and a ride finishing pin. They were very on top of riders not wearing their numbers and calling them out thinking that they were riding for free and not paying. There were several they called out that had them on but they couldn't see them. I didn't wear mine for I was late already and of course someone called me out. Made us feel very uncomfortable. This was my 34th Century and averaged 19.2 mph. Only climbed 400 feet in the 100 miles.
The rest stops were well stocked and plenty of volunteers. The ride marshals were very helpful and right on top of things. SAG vehicles were also right on top of things. There was only one negative about this ride. I thought at first it was just me not paying attention, but I later discovered from talking with people that they also did not see the sign to turn onto the 40 mile route. At the last rest stop there were lots of people talking about it. Needless to say none were too happy about having to ride 55 miles when they signed up and trained for 40, including me. We could have SAG "ed out I suppose, but most all of the ones complaining had too much pride to do that. Another complaint I was hearing was the signs had colored arrows but why couldn't they have put the mileage below the arrow. There were also 2 different routes which were differentiated by a dark green arrow and a light green arrow. People were complaining about that being too confusing and why couldn't they have been totally different colors. Overall it was a good ride!
the ride moved back to rhodes stadium this year rather than at the katy mills mall as in the past several years... hopefully next year they can get it back to the mall which allows easier access and parking ... the route was great but as the previous reviewer stated, there seemed to be toooooo much concern for bandit riders... i'd recommend only requiring visible ride numbers at the rest stops... many thanks to the volunteers and those responsible for putting on a great rally ... mb
July 20, 2008
This is a great ride and well worth the drive from Dallas to Houston. Seems like in the last few years the turnout is diminishing somewhat, possibly due to high gas prices this year. Great route and great weather this year with dry roads and little to no wind. Sags were seen everywhere on the 100 mile route and the feed areas were well stocked. The ride start area being at Katy Hills Mall makes it very easy for arriving and leaving afterwards. Thanks go out to Northwest Cycling Club for putting on this event. MB
July 15, 2006
The good - Location was easy to find, I had picked up my packet on Saturday, so I have no comment for packet pickup, except to say that depending on where you parked you could be almost a good half mile or more from the packet pickup. The course was flat as promised and over 70% of the ride is in the country on nice roads, some better than others, but none of the notorious North Texas chip rock!! I did not like that most of the other 30% of the ride was on roads that were more traveled, even with the wide and smooth shoulders that we were riding on. It is just something about cars and trucks going by at 70 MPH. Most intersections were manned; however there were 2 in particular that were not manned and the signage were misleading. Both times the groups I was riding with split up while we figured out which way to go.
The Bad – I can only say that we are spoiled in North Texas with our rest stops and the volunteers. At the start there was only 10 Port-a-potties for all 2,500 riders. The start was advertised as 7:00. The race director began talking at 7:00 and we finally started at 7:10. Then to keep the start organized they started in groups of about 100 riders or so. No organization to which riders started first or last. I was in the first group, so I have no idea how long it took the whole ride to start. The day was HOT, when I finished at 5 hours it was 100. I rode with only 2 bottles and stopped at the 30, 50, 70 and 90 miles rest stops. At the 50 mile rest stop they were out of ice by 9:30. The volunteers were discussing if they needed to go and get ice, the 70 mile rest stop was better; however it was setup under one 12X12 tent. No place to find shade and they were also out of ice. Finally the 90 miles rest stop was better, a nice large tree and chairs under it. Unfortunately, a large congregation of local people had gathered to cheer us on and they were all taking a break under the tree while sitting in the chairs. While I was there a rider came in that was cramping and definitely in need of shade and a rest, no one offered him a place to sit. The finish was simple; however the Katy Mills Mall parking lot is a great place to start but a terrible place to finish. There was on large tent provided by the ride and a few other vendors; however on an asphalt parking lot it was just too hot to stay around.
The true question from a review is would I ride the Katy Flatland again. The answer is maybe. The 100 mile ride in mid July is a great ride for summer time mileage. The other riders I met and rode with were just as nice and courteous as those I ride with in North Texas. Knowing the shortcomings of the ride and not knowing if they can be corrected would give me doubt.
Thanks to all the riders that gave me tubes, air cylinders and a patch, 5 in
all. Got a hole in the side of my tire and it kept pinching the tube, even
with pathes. 5 hours of actual riding time but 7 hours and 20 minutes to
finish cause of the tires. Because of the friendliness of all the riders,
it allowed me to complete my 14th century.Very hot day, there was an ice
truck taking ice to all the stops since the heat was taking it toll. Later
in the morning the ice truck bought out all of the supermarkets ice and had
no more. Recommendation to those that carry water bottles in temps over 90
degrees, get a camel back. What a difference it can make for you especially
on longer rides of 60 or more. Attimes I saw the sag wagons at exactly the
same spot. Go figure. What good does that do the riders, especialy me with
all the problems I had. Thanks for a great ride
July 18, 2004
I firmly believe that this year has someone new planning this event, someone
who has never ridden more than 10 miles on a bike in his/her life. We were
riding at a good pace, far from the rear of the "peleton" and all
three of the rest stops we stopped at had the same problems, no bananas at all,
one or two cookies, almost no other snacks except oranges and a whopping three
porta potties for 2500+ riders. Marginal traffic control, warnings that one of
the local sheriffs was looking for us wanting to write tickets, a weird comment
about obeying law enforcement because "they have guns an you dont" (do
they not know this is Texas, lots of riders ARE packing, which is irrelevant)
and a new route change that all but did away with the nice shoulders we had last
year made this a very poor ride. Additionally, last year we registered on ride
day and still received a t-shirt and goodie bag but not this year. Even though
this ride is virtually in our back yard and we enjoyed it last year we will most
likely not be back unless the people in charge of this ride change. Try the Katy
RAM instead, much better. PS. A good sized group of people wearing the jerseys
of the sponsoring riding club were in a pace line in the middle of the lane,
when a shoulder was available, blocking traffic, real bright guys. I
almost became road kill by a marked SAG truck! He was loading up someone on the
side of the road and never looked for bikes (or didn't care) before he pulled
out onto the road which forced me into the on coming lane.
We rode the 50mile. Very nice ride. Good roads - only two turns that weren't
manned by volunteers. Lots of helpful rest stops and friendly co-riders. I would
July 20, 2003
This is indeed a flat course. My wife and I did the 50 mile (actually 46.5)
and it had a total of 150 feet of climbing. The road conditions were the best I
have ever been on at a ride, concrete and good asphalt. Almost always had a nice
shoulder. Traffic control was present at most major intersections and some
minor. One word for people new to cycling, flat does not mean easy, remember
that with no hills it is pedaling all the way, whew! Somewhere around 2300
people attended. Start could have been a little more staged. Parking was good.
Rest stops were sometimes in weird places and on the wrong side of the road but
reasonably well stocked with water, sports drink, oranges, bananas, animal
crackers, chex mix and at one, Oreo cookies! Could have used a few more porta
potties at the start, there were long lines. Registration took forever! Will do
this again next year!
The ride, roads and the day were excellent. The marking of roads were great,
the rest stops had adequate drinks etc. But I wish my fellow cyclists would
offer better courtesy to the 4 wheelers. I know some of the folks that live and
work around Pecan Grove, which is often an area the "Flatlander's"
train. It is a known fact that on occasion general common sense is not used. On
the ride Sunday, I saw a group of 4 guys riding a good brisk pace, the shoulder
of the road was more than ample to do their ride. Yet they, chose to stay in the
road 2 apart, on a 2 lane rode. A pickup truck was trying to pass (double yellow
line), they would not let him. This is not the Tour de France with closed off
roads. If you only knew how much this pisses off drivers and gives us a bad rap.
Just because you have 2500 cyclists in a group, that does not mean we own the
roads, we share them. We all know what happen last year to the 2 guys riding in
the bike lane. Could they have been victims of a disgruntled driver? Think about
it, the next time a line of 50 bikes are spread out over 300 yards, maybe you
could let that car or truck "safely" make that left turn and gain a