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Tour De Gap, Buffalo Gap, TX

July 2015

This is a hard ride to review because it's my hometown ride. This is where I train and ride everyday. With that said, the packet and sign up was quick and easy. Your number tag had a chip to record your ride. Beats the ankle bands of the past. National Anthem was played on a harmonica. A first for me, but it got the job done. Start went good, and the routes were marked off with colors. Due to recent road work the routes were slightly tweaked, but nothing major. Due to a week of dehydration ,I only did the the 28mi route, instead of the 56mi. So I did the next best thing for Bike Stuff and asked about the longer route. They said it was the usual route and the rest stops were as good as they have always been. The 28 mi rest stop was well stocked with fruits and drinks. I downed quite a bit of watermelon, which for me on a hot ride as this is the trick. Heat was an issue this year, but we lucked out with very little wind, which is usually the beast of this ride. After the ride there was a drawing of prizes donated by Biketown, Abilene Texas. My concern with this ride is that the after ride events are lacking. A band or something would be nice. The rides that I have been hitting lately have upped the game, and some of us are getting a bit spoiled, but when you figure the money being spent, I also feel a need for a little bit of value. I would love to see this ride grow, but I see some sticking points that need to be addressed. BTW, the proceeds for this ride went to the Food Bank of Abilene. Of course I'm doing this ride again. It's challenging and fun with a bit of everything thrown in. Consider it next year if you can make it.

Interesting ride through the countryside near Buffalo Gap. Packet pickup was easy, and the route (I rode the 56 mile) was well marked. Rest stops were well stocked and friendly. Good food and raffle drawings at the end of the ride.

July 2012

Another year, another great ride. It just gets better each time. And the word got out due partly from Bicycle Reviews at Bicycle-stuff. Lots of new faces, and considering some other rides were going on elsewhere, this was all a plus.
Jim and Kelly MacDonald did their usual miracle to make it all happen. Ultra smooth. Packet pickup, rest stops, course markers, and after the ride raffles. Some actually went away with prizes worth more than the entry fee. And you the rider get to pick the prize. Win/win IMO! Proceeds went to the Food Bank. No need to explain what they do. 10,27,52,77 mile rides are available. The longer rides are a challenge, with the big hills toward the end. So you have to save a little in the leg dept. You're going to need it.
My biggest complaint? { I always have a complaint } THE HEAT ! ! It came out fast and it came out HOT ! This year has been a nightmare for excess heat. The race started at 8:oo am and by 9 it was uncomfortable, and getting worse. Plenty of cool liquids at the rest stops though. Mother nature needs to start reading these reviews. Consider this ride next year. You'll have a blast, and meet some nice folks.

 

July 23, 2011

This was a good ride with all the important bases covered with plenty of nice volunteers. Out of the way for metroplex riders so get up early or better yet get a room. For a July ride, I would like to see a early start for the long routes. The ride seemed to be geared for racers, so if you are a hammerhead then I rate this ride at A+. For the smell the flowers kind of riders, you are forced to do a shorter route because of support stopping at 2:00 plus you would miss post ride activities. The ride still rates A for these riders.

As usual a very good ride. Jim and Kelley MacDonald as usual had their camper out at the starting point, making sure that all the details were taken care of. A TDGap marathon for them. Not sure how they don't go crazy, but they pull it off every year. A special "". THANK YOU"", to them . YEAH ! !
The payoff to all the work is a smooth event. 4 different rides for those who are not racers. The 77 mile route is all there with heat and hills. The 52 mile is the same except you don't do this loop thrown in. Heat this year was a big issue for the organizers and the riders. But, it became a no issue, cause the rest stops were well stocked with water and ice.
The courses are on fairly quiet roads. The longer routes do go onto highways, but there is plenty of shoulder. After the ride, kick back to some burritoes and other food. Sit down and watch the Tour. This has become a tradition at this ride. It's fun.
The neat thing about this ride is it can be changed around quite a bit if so desired. I live in this area, so it could be changed (and has) a little bit from year to year. This years course was just great. All my favorite places to ride were thrown in.
Anyone considering this ride won't be disappointed. Fun and challenging.

July 24, 2010

Not sure why this ride was not posted on the calendar, but we did it today and it went without a hitch. The ride was 11, 27, 52 77 mile routes. All very well marked. A new start/finish point made the start much easier than in the past, and the way it was set up,as you finished the announcer knew who you were and before you hit the finish everyone knew who was finishing. A nice touch.
Proceeds went to the Food Bank of Abilene. The routes were challenging. Hills and higher speeds were the norm for the day.
Reason? No wind.( well not much ). Heat did not become an issue till much later in the day. Rest stops were themed and that was nice. Sag support was there and ready for any mishaps. After the ride they held raffles for nice prizes. And the Tour D France made an appearance via a large television set up by the food tables. Yes....plenty of food. To those who didn't know about this.....sorry you missed a good ride. The folks at Bike Town have gone way over on making this a great ride. And it seems to get better all the time.

 

July 2008

The Tour D Gap ride was a very good ride. Alot of effort went into this ride and the folks at Bike Town went above and beyond to make this ride happen. Mechanical staff was on hand for last minute repairs before the start. Maps were clearly marked for those who needed them. Rest stops were good and plans are to make them even better for next year. A nice scenic route that is challenging with some good size hills. I'll be back next year.

July 28, 2007

Yesterday was the 2007 running of the Tour De Gap and I was told by a volunteer sitting at a laptop in the finishing area that close to 300 riders participated. Goldilocks would have loved the weather as it was not to hot and not to cold...just right. The course is run south from Buffalo Gap and is on roads that are either remote country farm roads or roads with very wide shoulders. On the way back north you go through one of the biggest windmill farms in the world on hwy 277. Very scenic and nice. A sheriff's vehicle was on patrol for the riders the entire day with a flashing light. Stops are staffed by friendly volunteers and provide the needed fruit, fig newtons, and cold water. At the finish you could have all the barbeque brisket, hotdogs, corn on the cob and watermelon you could eat. This is a great ride; the best I've done this year, and I've done Peach Pedal, Stephensville, Commanche, and a few others.

July 2006

I’d ridden Stephenville recently and a lot of Abilene cyclists were telling me how great the roads were in their area and I should come ride Tour de Gap in a couple of weeks.
So I did.
Just over three hour drive from Dallas and got a room in Abilene and had a pasta carb load at a nice, quaint local Italian food restaurant that night. The next morning checked out and drove 10 miles south to Buffalo Gap (pop. 450) which is where the ride starts/ends.
This was the 23rd Tour de Gap the announcer said. There were maybe 200 riders. It was a prize money race so it had a fast front group. The 70 mile (one I rode) route is down south and then back north. Going south is descending and coming back on the second half is to the north and uphill. Good layout since that time of year wind should be out of the south. (As it turned out we had a strong north wind and 40 miles uphill into the wind was tough).
On the second half you are climbing toward a ridge with hundreds of high-tech 3 propeller windmills. In the entire 70 mile course (except in the last few miles of the end) I don’t remember seeing any building – house our store.
Rest stops were every 30 miles apart and supplied with just the very basics. They ran out of bananas fast. Bring a camel back and water bottles and food/shots.
But it was a very friendly ride. Pace lines formed up and fell apart due to the conditions of wind and hills. It was one of those rides where everyone seemed to be a stranger to each other but giving a hand (pulling, offering a water bottle, handing a bonker a shot) as best as each could to just get through it. Toward the end there was much conversation and acknowledging a tough, but good ride.
Afterwards there was barbeque and socializing under big trees and tables.
The buzz was that Landis had won the time trial and had the yellow jersey.
I can definitely recommend Tour de Gap. But be ready for a tough one.