Firecracker 100 - Stephenville, TX
July 6, 2013
I have been participating in this ride since 1988 and I have seen lots of different routes. The best routes in my memory were when the ride started in downtown Stephenville. Those were the days of big routes, big hills and big crowds. Even as little as 3 years ago the routes were still a very nice ride. Something happened.
The crowds have dwindled lately, mostly due to the fact that the route quality and support have been leaving a lot to be desired. For some reason the organizers quit using small FM roads and went to the shoulder of Highway 377 last year. They were told emphatically by many riders and reviews on this site that they made a bad choice. They had a year to look for new routes and better roads.
Unfortunately, they chose to stay with the same routes. Bad call. The worst part of their route management was that they KNEW none of their routes were the mileage that was promoted. The 62 was really 55 and the 40 was really 32. When I tried to ask them about it they acted like they had no other options.
As a cyclist, I have other options. I don't need to go to Stephenville any more. No more hotel room for the night. No more dinner at a local restaurant or breakfast at a local spot. No more lunch after the ride. I'll just stay home and ride from my driveway. It is bound to be a better experience.
Ride directors need to figure out that it is ALL ABOUT THE ROUTE. That is the product that you are selling, followed closely by how you support the route. I hope that the nice people in Stephenville can figure it out and fix their ride. Until then, I am out.
Firecracker 100 (or 91k). My 8th straight year doing this ride. Clearly I like doing this ride, but there were a few issues this year. I have no problem if they have to change the route at the last minute, but given that they are staging an actual race, they need to announce it to the riders. Quite a surprise when you are gearing up for the final push in the last 5 miles and then you are suddenly at the finish line. As far as the route goes, overall I liked the old route better except for the finish. For the new route (last year and this year) the finish is better but the route is a biq 'square' and the nearly 20 miles on Lingleville Rd is painful with chip and seal with lots of traffic. Pre-registered online with no problem. Packet pick up took less than a minute. Only sign for restrooms are to the small ones near the pool. Race was scheduled to start at 7:50, but that was missed by at least 5 minutes (in the past they've started us right on time). Route was well marked. It appears they changed the start and finish compared to the published maps, which cut out around 5 miles. Signs with large arrows marked the route. Moving the finish to Frey Street is more dangerous as the turn into the school riders have to navigate the raised crosswalk marker then across a 4 ft strip of pavers, that's just waiting for a crash. The finish from last year Harbin onto Sloan is much safer. Most of the traffic was pretty understanding of the riders taking up portions of the road. There were cheerleaders and boy scouts cheering the riders as they came in. Showers were available in the locker room. This year has left me with mixed emotions; hopefully the organizers will consider the concerns of the riders.
We drove up from Houston to take part in this ride. It was disappointing to say the least. We had registered for the 100K but by the time we got to the first rest stop, all of the chip seal had done us in. The Cowtown road over to Lingleville Road was smooth and had some nice rolling hills. We arrived at the 2nd rest stop to be told we only had 11 more miles to go. How could that be when my bike computer said we were at mile 22? So we took a right onto Lingleville onto more chip seal to head to the finish line. Are there no better roads to ride on around here? When we crossed the finish line my bike computer said 33 miles. I thought this was the 40 mile route- did we miss a turn? One of the volunteers at the finish said they had to cut the route short due to construction. Hmmm, they didn't say anything about that when I picked up my packet that morning (although I was registered for the 100K). I was bummed with the route shortage and the chip seal and the fact we drove 4 hours to get to the ride & stayed in a hotel to ride 33 miles. The volunteers at the rest stops were really nice and I loved the purple T-shirt, but that's not enough to get me to come back and ride next year.
July 7, 2012
Had never done this ride before but was excited for it, especially when we saw it was the 40th anniversary for the ride, which should mean they know what they are doing. They don't. At the start there is one bathroom in the gym, one stall and two urinals = long wait in line. Some men got out of line and I heard them say…"I'll just wait and go at the first rest stop". Glad I didn't get out of line because there were ZERO port-a-potty's at the first rest stop…What is up with that. I hydrate the night before and that morning and now I have to wait another 12 miles…terrible. Add to that luke warm water (not enough ice) and well, let's just say after doing this for 40 years I would think they should know how it's done. Route was fine, no problem with that but I'll have to see that they fix their support before coming back.
Yes, support was lacking in all areas. There should be more signs directing people to all the bathrooms in the gym (there is more than one) and every other building within walking distance. They said the changed the route for better roads. Well those were the worst chipseal roads I have ever ridden on. Traffic everywhere in the first and last few miles in town, and even had to go through a traffic signal in the left hand turn lane with no control other than the light itself.
I was probably middle of the pack and one rest stop lacked water and ice. Never saw the root beer floats either.
I will not be going back to that ride anytime soon. There is no way that the shoulders of those roads will get any smoother unless someone does something about it. The Kiwanis all across Texas should start a letter writing campaign to TXDOT and tell them to stop wasting taxpayer money on chipseal and fix the shoulders.
Firecracker 100 100k ride. This was the 7th consecutive year I've done this ride. It's a 1 ½ hour drive to get there, but clearly I think it's worth it. The organizers are quite enthusiastic and it's always enjoyable to have them cheering for you as you finish the ride. Pre-registered on line and the packet pick up took less than a minute. Pre-assigned numbers shows me they are quite organized as they manage the registration process. I liked the color coded number by route. The facilities are good and there are showers available. Ten minutes before the start there was no line in the restroom. The ride used a new route this year, which I felt was good. There were wide shoulders that allowed for safe riding. The new finish is a big improvement over the prior route which required negotiation of several busy intersections. After the 40 mile mark the hills, while not overly steep, kept coming which was a good challenge. The organizers provided a lot of support on the road, with police, pickup trucks and motorcycles. A big plus was they provided support to the lead pack with a truck protecting us from behind and a motorcycle that would come along side to help traffic safely negotiate their way around. The route was marked by large signs at intersections and additional arrows on the road. I enjoyed the ride and plan to return next year.
Love the "unsanctioned race" format, and the traffic controls / escort leaving town for the lead group. Registration was fast and trouble free. Plenty of chipseal in the back part of the course, but that's unavoidable in this part of the state. Nice "interval" type course with rolling hills throughout, wide shoulders most places, fairly low traffic roads, unmistakable turn markings. Frequent, visible SAG presence.
Don't usually use / need rest stops, but fumbled a bottle while riding in the pack, and had to stop around mile 48 / Rest Stop 4. Was there around 10a, they already reported being out of Gatorade. There was also none at the finish either, though I saw at least 100 gal of mix stashed there? This was the only real evidence of disorganization I saw, and was my only real complaint.
July 2, 2011
The organizers and volunteers that put this ride on were great. Lots of enthusiasm and friendly faces. Picking up my rider packet was a snap. Plenty of pre-ride treats. Raising of the colors and the National Anthem were very well done. The announcer said this was their largest turnout - 420 cyclists. But, a nice morning for cycling was marred by the dreaded TXDoT chip seal. The route out of town on Hwy 67 was relatively new chip seal; but, it wasn't too harsh. The route back into town on Hwy 281 for the 43-mile route was very recent chip seal and it was rough. Rest stops were manned by eager volunteers and had bananas, oranges, pickles, pretzels, peanuts, cookies, fluids, and ice. There were also wet, cold cloths/towels for a cooling wipe down. Nice finish line festivities and showers. But, unless the Firecracker 100 folks can find something decent to replace the routing on Hwy 281, I won't ride there again. That shoulder will never be suitable for my taste.
Very well put together. Directions were perfect, police support at intersections, great support thru out the entire ride and everyone very friendly. Rest stops had all the goodies to get you thru. Wind was 10 to 15 mph, climbed to about 100 degrees. Minimal traffic and always love the country side scenery in Stephenville. At the Dublin rest stop, mile 50, they had Dublin Dr. Peppers for an Octane boost. Taste delicious ice cold. Would recommend all rest stops to have them for cyclist since they help sponsor the rides and not just the one in Dublin. They Dublin stop also had some very yummy Dr. Pepper Brownies. Delicious. Thanks for a great ride and will be back again next year. Thanks.
Not a very good experience or a good event:
I do not recommend this ride. I have been riding for 10 years and have never been in an accident. During the Firecracker 500, I went to the hospital because of a lack of disregard by this organization to make aware of impediments in the road that would cause an accident. As an experienced rider, I'm conscious of the road and always make sure that safety hazards are pointed out so riders behind avoid them. I decided to breakaway and do the 46 mile route riding at the time, on my own. The next thing I know, I was in an ambulance. I was told two other people hit the same area in the road after I left in the ambulance. I learned later that it was a lip before a bridge that was covered with gravel. I was knocked unconscious suffered a concussion and bruised up pretty bad. Thank God for helmets. This is negligent on the part of the committee handling this ride. I remember seeing lots of deep holes all over the place and none were marked. Gravel was not cleaned off the road in most areas. Hey, I understand you cannot make it perfect, but to not mark (white paint) dangerous areas and clean gravel is a complete disregard to the safety of the riders. Also, the road I had an accident on was very busy without much of a shoulder. I was found in the road unconscious.
Sorry, I don't complain but when you wake up in an ambulance not knowing what hit you or what you hit, this is complete disregard to the rider's safety on the part of the organization putting on this ride. Also, there was zero numbers to call or make contact with anyone from the organization putting on this rally. If you have this on your site, I am sure you will put me in contact with this event's organizers. It's sad I want to help and get a nice ride in and I end up in the hospital with a banged up nice bike. It needs a lot of work to get it back on the road. You can say "oh he had bad luck". Look, I never complain and love to ride. I want the people putting this on to avoid future accidents. If I was a sponsor, I would second guess sponsoring this ride.
Please provide me with at name or contact for this event. Thanks
This was my first (and likely last) firecracker 100. I gave it a shot because some people have said it was decent in the past, but it's a long haul from the FW area. Registration was easy and things started smoothly. Intersections were manned at the start of the ride and a low volume of riders made it easy to negotiate the busier portions of Stephenville. Route 67 was annoying but manageable chip-seal. I took this in stride..it is Texas after all. The ride from CR 175 and until 281 was nice, though some rough potholes could catch you out. Pretty country, good rest stops, cheerful people, etc. Once we made the split of the 45/67 milers the ride soured. 281 is a crappy shoulder, bad surface, bad size and somewhat littered with hazards. The reviewer below that was hurt at the bridge is completely correct in the assessment of that area. The only reason I negotiated that area safely was that other people had stopped and were yelling for us to slow down. I slowed because I trusted there must be a reason..even as I was going over the lip I could barely see it. It was significant even at ~5 mph. The ride on 281 is not fun, traffic is going very fast and can't always give you a wide berth. Coming back in to town it seemed all police/volunteers had just gone home. The turns weren't manned and we had to cross 67 on our own. We finished at 11:30, which I assume is a reasonable amount of time and those corners still should have been manned. The finish line was festive, no complaints there. Some protein source would have been nice, but fruit is ok. I hate to say it but I just can't recommend this ride.
I rode the 100k at the Firecracker 100. I've ridden this ride for the past 6-7 years. As always the organizers are very supportive and enthusiastic. They always have people at the finish line applauding the riders coming in. The restroom facilities are a little sparse for the size the event has grown to. Time to invest in some porta potties. Given that this event actually has a race component the ride turns out some top riders. The course is undulating but the hills are not very steep which makes for a fast pace and enables a large group of riders to stay together through the entire ride. Even though the ride is 90 miles from where I live I always have this one on my ride calendar.
July 3, 2010
The threat of rain kept a lot of riders away this year, but the weather turned out OK on ride day and everything was great. The rolling 60 mile route was the same as in years past and overall organization was smooth. The Harley riders are always helpful with traffic control on the roads and helping to protect the cyclists, although overall traffic was pretty light. The ride date was changed this year so as not to conflict with the Waxahachie ride and, according to one of the organizers, pre-registration was more than double from last year. The Fourth of July time frame in Stephenville is more festive anyway. This is an easy location to get to from Dallas or Fort Worth.
Just completed the intermediate route at the firecracker 100. I risked the chance of rain and was glad I did, the weather was actually pretty good. The clouds kept it from getting hot and I didn't get much rain at all. The rest stops were excellant and the roads were pretty good, less chip seal than most of the rides in the area. I overheard one of the volunteers state that he thought there were about 350 riders this year. I hope enought people catch on to this one to keep it going, only bad part for me is the distance from home, I drove about 120 miles to get there, but it is on my "do again" list, I have done about 20 of the local rides and this one ranks in the top third in my opinion. Plenty of hot dogs and dr. pepper at the end along with entertainment.
June 27, 2009
Our group rode the 100k (60 miles measured distance). I've been coming out to this ride for many years because it is one of my favorites.
Although I always fear the small size may end this rally, I appreciate the freedom from chaos that goes with it. The course is hilly, but nothing you can't get over, and the scenery is nice and peaceful. My favorite rest stop is the Dublin rest stop, which offers ice cold Dr. Pepper and Dr. Pepper brownies, yum!
This rest stop alone brings me back every year. It's an oasis after about 50 miles of riding in the heat. Showers, food, a covered area to sit under, and a live band await you at the finish. It's a 2 hour drive from Dallas, which makes for a long day, but it is well worth it.
This ride has it all. 2nd only to the HH100. The local police provided an escort through all intersections on the way out and well beyond. Rode the 100K, which measured out to be 60 miles, but it's the best local ride hands down. One high point is the road surfaces. Everything is smooth minus a little chip seal on the way back in (last 10 miles or so), but everyone needs to experience this ride. Registration was quick and easy, and the rest stops were well stocked and excellently placed throughout the ride. Minimal traffic on the roads throughout the ride. We had to go through a few intersections on the way in and wait at lights, but everyone around knows what's going on, and doesn't mind you moving to the front. Great ride. It conflicted with the cow creek ride this year, but it's well worth the extra drive to experience the ride!
First time for us to do this ride. Only one shortcoming worth noting...a serious lack of toilet facilities at the start of the ride...bad enough that you could be late for the start, but it was all good after that. Real good traffic control through town and rest stops that seemed to come about every 6 miles which could be a lifesaver on hot days like Saturday. I got hot and I saw a number of folks that really seemed to be suffering from the heat. SAG support was everywhere so I am certain that anyone that needed assistance was able to receive it in a very timely fashion. Rest stops were well personed with friendly folks and fully stocked. Traffic was very light and the countryside on the 60 mile route was scenic and still colored with a good representation of roadside wildflowers. Having Elvis perform at the finish line might seem a little corny to some, but I enjoyed it while I sat around in the shade and cooled off. If you have never been to this ride, give it a try next year. Save a little time after the ride to go downtown and view their beautiful courthouse and surrounding buildings. A stop at the Stephenville Museum would be in order to become a little more familiar with the history of this area.
Great ride, Nice routes, light traffic, good quality road surface, Best Sag anywhere, cool showers after the ride, VERY WELL WORTH the drive. For some folks it may sound silly to drive 90 miles to ride 60 miles, but we use a lot of these rallies for training rides for up coming races & etc. It’s well worth the extra time to get out of the city, and ride for miles without the having to deal with traffic lights, congestion, etc. The Fabulous rest stops make for a nice break when you need it. I would HIGHLY recommend this event for any rider in the area.
Thanks for the great hospitality shown by all volunteers. Registration was quick. The goodie bag contained the most I have ever seen. I stopped at all the rest stops along the 40 mi route and all were well stocked and riders well served. Signs were everywhere, but I would suggest an extra one ahead of the turn off of 67 to CR175 so that riders could know to begin to move from the shoulder to the lane to turn left. Police were there to control traffic, but it is a little awkward to pass waiting cars on their left and cross in front of them at the turn. When no cars were there I could see there would be no problems, but I had a line of cars to negotiate and other riders were weaving around them. As stated just a suggestion. Next year I may go the longer distance just to avoid the 281 section. The shoulder is nice and wide and not much debris but I am just not a fan of riding along that kind of traffic. Now to that Boy Scout that tracked down every rider after they crossed the finish line to offer them a bottle of water or a Dr Pepper he had just pulled out of a cooler of ice, you deserve an “Above and Beyond the Call” merit badge. I watched him for 20 minutes wearing out his sneakers running from cooler to rider in that hot sun while dressed in full uniform. You are a credit to Scouts everywhere.
June 28, 2008
Could someone please explain where all the cyclists were for this ride? The Firecracker 100K usually draws about 400-500 riders, and this year it seems there were only about 150 or so, and that’s being generous. I understand that gasoline prices are high, but it seems worth the drive to insure that you’re away from traffic and can enjoy a scenic ride. The sponsors really get behind this event. They advertise the best sag support and deliver- Harley riders, Bicycles Inc. trucks and local drivers make sure that everyone is covered. This ride has all the right ingredients, and thumbs up to the volunteers, the National Anthem singer, the lively emcee on the p.a. system, the Tarleton State campus venue and the Tarleton State cheerleaders!
This ride is truly worth the long drive to Stephenville (2 hours from Dallas). It's a nice, gently rolling course with very little vehicular traffic.
We stopped at 3 rest stops on the 100K and were greeted with the friendliest people! Lots of goodies at each stop.
Everything is top notch as you finish--showers, a live band, and grilled dogs under plenty of shade.
I've been coming out here for years and am worried about the low turn out they had this year. I hope they don't cancel one of my favorite rides!
I would venture to say the Stephenville ride was short on riders this year because it fell on the same day as the Cow Creek Classic. That coupled with the price of gas and its a no brainer. Waxahachie draws alot of DFW riders. We chose to drive to Stephenville instead of Waxahachie. Why? We think its a better ride. What makes it so interesting is you never know what the weather is going to do, and the weather changes make it a different ride every year. Registration is always a snap. In out done.
Ride started a few minutes early which is rare. I didn't stop at the first rest stop, but the second and third on the 43 mile route were stocked with all the goodies. Personally, I did not care for the sports drink made by Dr. Pepper especially for the ride. But there was water and lots of ice.
Sag support was everywhere. Motorcycles, pick-ups and a Bicycle Inc. mechanic on the route. My wife flatted between the 2nd and 3rd rest stop. A lady with the ride pulled up almost immediately, called for help. Before they got there, a lady with a Fort worth cycling group, who wasn't even doing the organized ride, stop to help. Gotta love that! They had it pretty much repaired when the ride support showed. Two BMW cycle riders flew past, but turned around to see if they could help. Now talk about a ride with support.This ride had it. The showers and hot dogs at the end were great.Its nice to get the road grime and sweat off before the ride home. We will defiantly be back next year, conflicting dates or not. Oh yeah, almost forgot, the ride was windy and hot this year.I love those "10 to 15mph" southerly breezes.
I'd like to recognize the area law enforcement for their support on the ride. I believe every intersection has police or volunteer support at them. And they were not sitting in the shade or a car, they were out on the road in the heat. Well done to all the officers involved.
Top Notch and it shows. One of the best rides there is. I chose this over the Cow Creek ride because of everything. This ride gets better every year. Absolutely one of my favorite rides. Maybe they could add a 100 mile route one year. I will always choose this ride over any other ride any weekend. Keep up the good work and definitely see you next year.
First time for me to drive down to this quaint, gorgeous little town. Absolute best ride of the season with great support, nice roads and first class organization. This year attendance was down according to organizers and that was a shame since it was an outstanding ride. The post ride swim in the Tarleton gym was a great way to cap off a challenging and great ride.
Highly recommend this ride to all. Don't miss it in 2009.
June 30, 2007
The Firecracker 100 was well worth the hour drive to Stephenville. The roads were good, a few miles of rough chip n seal but overall good. The rest stops were well stocked with a variety of stuff and very friendly volunteers. The intersections were well monitored. Anyone wanting to do some hill training this is a excellent ride for that. Thank you to everyone involved with this rally we will be back next year.
This was my first year to do this ride and what a fantastic ride it was. I did the 60 mile route. Turnout was low, probably b/c of the all the rain we have had. The weather turned out perfect. Registration was quick and the start was well spread out and on time. The route and the roads (for the most part) were very good. This ride has lots of rolling hills and it seemed like we did rode more uphill than we did downhill. The route is similar to the hills at goatneck, but probably more uphill climbs. This ride probably would (and should) be more popular if it wasn't 2+ hours from Dallas. The post party was very nice with free hot dogs.chips and a band playing. This ride was very challenging and should be on your schedule Kudos to the organizers of this ride. I will make this part of my annual schedule going fwd.
What a GREAT ride, one of the best! Well worth the drive from Fort Worth. In my opinion the top combination of smooth roads, good hills and nice scenery so far this season. Probably the last coolish ride we can expect until October... Very well organized. I left with the racers, which I wholeheartedly recommend as the traffic control is superb. Unfortunately after several miles I couldn’t hold their pace, but it didn’t matter – navigating the course was easy, there was sag support all over the place, and intersections were well-controlled. (Except for the last major intersection on the course, where cyclists were forced to negotiate a major highway with no help whatsoever.) Plenty of food and drinks after the ride, and a nice t-shirt. All-in-all, more for your money than most charity rides. I look forward to returning next year!
July 1, 2006
The Firecracker 100 in Stephenville is another exemplary ride that other ride organizers ought to look to for inspiration and instruction. This year's ride attracted not as many riders as some of the bigger rides closer to the D/FW Metroplex, of course, but given that it was a long holiday weekend the turnout was fairly good. Registration was fast, friendly and painless - and indoors! The start of the race and the groups rides was staggered, with the racers going out first and those of there just for the fun of the ride going out as one big group (all of the various distances in the group ride started together). The Start/Finish line was made all the more special by the enthusiastic pre-ride festivities and the great send-off we received from the supporters when the ride started. The weather could not have cooperated more pleasantly, either. There was little wind and it was in the upper 70's and lower 80's all morning. The course was borderline challenging with lots of hills (some may argue that some of those rollers weren't truly hills, but that's semantics), but nothing insurmountable. Rest stops were manned by great people and great food, with all stops having plenty of folks to hold your bike, fill your bottles, etc. This finsih was awesome with most riders sprinting to a finish, cheered on by more great supporters. After the ride, hot showers were available, and hot dogs/chips and the can't-be-beat Dublin Dr Pepper afterwards was great. I also really enjoyed the three-person singing group at the end of the ride - I personally thought they were quite good! All-in-all, even if I wanted to complain about something, there was far too much good about this ride to overrule any objection I might drum up. This is definitely one I will return to next year!!!
Another good year for this ride. This was my third year to participate and it is worth the drive to Stephenville. Road surfaces are good and traffic was not bad. Ride was well organized as always. Lots of racers and fast riders showed up to challenge yourself against on the long route if you like to try to ride fast. Good job Stephenville. I hope to be back.
This is a scenic ride close to Dallas/Fort Worth with some nice hills. I did not pre-register, but was in and out in less than one minute. The organization is top notch with friendly volunteers, adequate rest stops, a good route, and a full blown Finish Line with entertainment and food. They are also smart in that they let the racers go 10 minutes before the full ride peloton. I would have liked to see traffic assistance at two of the later intersections on the 100k route, but was glad to see it on the early crossings. I will do this ride again.
Another great year for the Firecracker in Stephenville! I rode the 43 mile route and found it fairly challenging and fun. Flat runs mixed with challenging climbs and long descents. The organizers always do a good job getting this ride to be a success. My only complaint has nothing to do with the organizers at all. It's TxDot. Ugh.. They RUINED that great stretch of smooth pavement coming back on 281 back into Stephenville. I was looking forward to it and was disappointed to see it gone! Oh, well. The new surface wasn't too bad considering that I've ridden on roads that were far worse (think Hot Rocks 2005 on that 10 mile stretch of new "rock&seal"). The food and entertainment is always a treat. The live band sounded great and the true country hospitality of the area always shines through. I look forward to this ride every year, along with other the other rides in the area (Melon Patch Tour, Gorman Peanut Tour, Comanche Cyclone and the Goatneck).
Who would have ever thought it. A hearty north wind on the first weekend of July. No problems though. Weather was great starting out. Never did get very hot for me. But even with the mild temperatures, the lack of ice at the rest stops was noticed. I hit the rest stop on 281 and not ice. My wife said the same thing about the first rest stop. The only other "problem" I had was no support at the last two stop lights on the way back in. The lights are evidently not on timers, and 3 or 4 bicycles gathered at the stop are not heavy enough to trip the sensors. After sitting through two cycles of the light, we went ahead and jumped them.
I gave up this ride several years ago because the routes were just not for me. I came back last year to try the changed routes and I'm glad I did. The showers at the finish are great. We will be back next year, north wind or not.
This was my second year to do this ride and the folks in Stephenville put on a great rally. I'm guessing about 500 riders participated. Parking and registration are as easy as it gets. There were also plenty of goodies at the start. They served hot dogs and chips and Dr. Pepper at the finish. Most importantly though, the route was well marked, good traffic control and good road surfaces on the 60 mile (by my computer) route. They included a non-sanctioned race with some cash prizes and looked like plenty of racers showed up to me. I have said it in reviews of other rides but I really like the rallies west of the metroplex
because the terrain is usually quite challenging. About 2000 feet of climbing on this route. The first half of the ride generally descends making the second half more difficult. That combined with a headwind on the second half (the route is designed for a headwind on the first half but the organizers couldn't seem to control mother nature this year) made for a tough finish. I live on the east side of the metroplex and there are a couple of rides west of Fort Worth each year where I will just get a motel room the night before to avoid the long drive in the morning. This ride is one of them and to me it is worth it. Finally, good job on the website too. I like the "Can you stand the heat" and the "This ain't no sissy ride" slogans.
What a GREAT way to start off the 4th of July weekend. The 2005 Firecracker 100 went off without a hitch. Great organization , great route(100K), great
volunteers, great traffic control, great weather, great rally. For those that love the hills...this ride is it!! Very light traffic in the hills of Erath County. I'll be back next year.
DeWayne Shepard (Roadkill)
This is our first time for my wife and I to ride this one. I was a little afraid with all of the questionable reviews in the past years. I am SO GLAD that we made the trip and did the ride. The people holding the ride were fantastic, very friendly!! The route was GREAT. We did the 100k on our tandem. Tons of
fantastic rolling hills. It reminded me a lot of the Goatneck ride.!! I think one of the hills was at least a half of a mile in length. Everyone complained LAST year about the road conditions. I think 90% of the 100k route was butter smooth and some of the better roads that I have ridden on this year !! The rest stops were great with all of the necessities to a good ride. The stop in Dublin was the best with the Dublin Dr. pepper. Add this to the FREE spaghetti dinner Friday night. With the FREE GRILLED hot dogs at the finish. They even had a
troop of girl scouts handing out FREE goodies before the ride started. And to top it all off with a honest to goodness Elvis look a like entertaining at the lunch !! Oh yea .. they had prizes to give a way too.. The wife and I were really impressed with the efforts of everyone who put this ride together !! It has very easily made the top 5 of my rides to do list !!
By far the best supported one day ride I have participated in this year. Well placed rest stops, 7-10 miles apart with tents for shade if trees weren't available. Excellent signage and good food before and after the ride. The roads were all in good shape and the Dublin rest stop with Dr.Pepper cake and real Dr.Pepper was fantastic. The 62 mile route, unlike some rides was actually just about 62 miles (my computer registered 61.1) and the weather thanks to an early morning shower was much cooler than expected (85-90 degrees instead of 95-100 degrees). Sign me up for next year!
This is my second year to participate in the 100K ride. The ride is scenic and the Erath County area is remote enough to avoid a lot of traffic problems. Sag patrol and support seemed to be everywhere. I saw a Harley rider helping out a flat tire victim-he carried a floor pump in his saddlebag! The City of Stephenville seems to embrace this event. Sponsors contributed the Friday night pasta dinner and Saturday afternoon hot dogs and entertainment. Showers and swimming pool facilities were made available on Tarleton State campus after the ride. The cool early morning weather was an accidental plus for the ride too.
Nothing wrong with this ride. Registration was quick and efficient.
They could have put some portajohns outside to take the pressure off of the rest rooms inside.
The route had traffic control within the town. Once you were out of the town you were on a rural country route with some rolling hills
which were a good workout. I did not notice any chipseal, but since we were on a comfort tandem we are not as sensitive to bumpy roads as
the road bikes are.
The SAG trucks were visible on this route, and the motorcycle support.
The rest stops had cold water, sports drink, oranges, cookies and peanuts. The portajohns were generally adequate.
What makes this ride special is the fact that the pool is open for your use after the ride. This is a nice indoor pool and it was nice
to take a swim after the ride. There were also free hot dogs available. One downside is that there were no diet sodas available;
it is recommended that this be corrected next year. When you were eating your hot dog, you were entertained by an Elvis impersonator.
He didn't look like Elvis, but he sure sounded like him.
I give this ride a grade of B, and will definitely try to ride again next year.
My husband, son and I did the Firecracker 100 in Stephenville this last Saturday. It was a very well run ride. We have ridden and participated in a variety of rides all over the Metroplex and this one was definitely worth it. You could tell that the places that should have had gravel on them, had been swept. The 43 mile route was very challenging and enjoyable. The rest stops were manned by friendly, helpful people. We will definitely do this ride again.
What a way to begin the holiday weekend! This was one of the best rides
this year so far. Challenging yet not impossible. These guys did a terrific job of organizing this rally. The traffic control was amazing and
the volunteers were so helpful. All rest stops were well stocked with a
variety of fruit and they had peanuts and pickles. And I truly appreciated the ice cold Dublin Dr. Pepper, I think at rest stop 4. They also had some
at the end of the ride to go along with your hot dogs. We ended up buying a case on our way home. Elvis was a hoot too. If I had a complaint it would
be about the spaghetti dinner. Don't get me wrong - it was good. However, the sauce should not be mixed with the pasta because as it sits on the
warmers the pasta gets mushier by the minute. The brownies were outstanding though. We will be back to do this one next year.
July 3, 2004
This ride is a mixed bag. The good: All the volunteers are
extremely friendly and helpful. The SAG are ever present and watchful, as my
wife was dealing with a mechanical this year as I was dealing with some cramping
issues, it was extremely reassuring. The cheering at the end of the ride is
wonderful, along with the locker rooms, showers and pool use. Registration was
painless and quick, and they even stayed late Friday to catch stragglers. The
town is very bike friendly and excited to have the cyclists there. The routes
were all beautiful scenery. The hills were every bit as challenging as I
remembered from last year, and then some (as I went 20 miles further). Some
people were having to walk up them while others zig zagged up the hill to
maintain momentum. The bad: 30 miles of ccccchip and ssssseal. I felt like I was
riding on one long washboard. Rest stop 3 on the 100k route was out of bananas,
and I didn't see a single banana until the second to last rest stop. Fighting
cramps and no bananas did not make me happy. With our problems we were in the
last group to finish (that, and we are wimps) and the hot dogs were gone,
bummer. No mechanic to be found to help with my wife's bike, even when I asked
rest stop volunteers. Plain paper for the rider numbers was a disaster. Overall
not too bad, best hill training ride so far this year.
The day was overcast and cool until about noon when the sun came
out with a vengeance. I rode the 100K route--or tried to. Not too far out of
town, there was a guy directing people to veer to the right. On the pavement
were 3 lime green arrows turning right, so I went with the group and turned
right. It wasn't until much later that I realized something was odd. I was
supposed to be on the orange route but everyone else had yellow tabs on their
handlebars. When they turned to the right again, I had to continue on straight,
hoping to bisect the orange group's route at their second rest stop. Maybe I
should have memorized the route map, but I am used to seeing "my"
color arrow on the pavement and it wasn't there (and lime green wasn't one of
the route colors which added to the confusion). When one route turns, there
should be straight arrows (of the proper color) to keep riders from making this
mistake. The rest stops were basic and exactly the same, except for the stop in
Dublin stood out for its homemade goodies and Dr. Peppers to drink. Sag support
was everywhere and the volunteers were great. If there were free hotdogs at the
finish line, I didn't see them. However, the shower was a good reward!
As we pulled in to Stephenville, you couldn't help but notice
that there was very little flat land around. One friend mentioned this course
was somewhere between Muenster and The Goatneck as far as climbing. Armed with
this insight, I just rode what I could handle. The 100k route was a strenuous
series of small rollers with a few climbs that required a little extra effort.
My misfortune was getting a flat somewhere around 25 miles as soon as we turned
on to the recently chip sealed road. The SAG wagon inquired if I needed any help
but I was just about finished with my repair. It was good to know they were
there though. The heat and the wind began to take a toll since I lost a good
pack of drafting buddies. Shortly after the Dublin rest stop, some little
"trickster" decided it would be cool to paint an arrow going the wrong
way on the road. Since I didn't have my map and the arrow pointed right, I
turned. OOOOps! The road went back to the "road to Dublin" and so I
managed to get a few "extra" miles for the day. Oh well! The people
cheering at the end was a nice touch. The numbers, as mentioned, were terrible.
They were falling off of riders jerseys all around. There was one final
intersection that could have been better controlled. Making a left turn at a
major intersection around lunchtime was a little dicey. Overall, it was a nice
ride. It would have been better if I was about 20 lbs lighter. With the hot dogs
at the end though, that isn't about to happen soon!
Stephenville 2004 was great. It's a bit of a pain to get to from
DFW area (esp. Dallas). Gotta leave super early that morning (lots do) or get a
room the night before (others do too, or camp). It's a hill ride, but good
hills. Not mountains. The 50 mile Dublin rest stop did not go to the Dr Pepper
factory which was disappointing, but the Dublin Dr Peppers were there -- iced
down -- if you wanted one. Nice T-shirt but doesn't have a bike anywhere on it.
Great showers afterward.
This was my 4th time to participate in this event, and,
regrettably, my last. My 43 mile route turned in 49 miles. The rest stop at
miles 22 (Hwy. 67) only had water and oranges - no Gatorade, no bananas. They
said they were out. The story was worse at the 32 mile rest stop (Hwy. 281) - no
water, no Gatorade, no bananas - only oranges. There was some water coming from
Hico in about 10 minutes. None of the rest stops were mowed and grass burrs were
abundant. The start/finish area is so good and the volunteers are so helpful,
it's a shame to ruin he ride with such poor planning.
Love the terrain out this way--hilly from beginning to end, but
not too many steep ones. Very organized rally. They always give out colored T
shirts. The 100K route was 64-65 miles, but they told us that beforehand. I saw
lots of SAG support, which was important because I was battling a sinus
infection and had moments where I almost pulled off. The rest stop at
Dublin--quite nice. Seems like you pull in, open up a Dr. Pepper, sit down, and
not want to leave. Almost didn't, but saw that a guy who had wrecked earlier,
covered in road rash, was getting back on his bike. I didn't think I'd make it,
but I felt the best I had felt all day on miles 50-60. Going to put Dr. Pepper
in my camelback next time. My ONLY complaint was with the road surface for the
first 30 miles. It was really rough material and made for a very uncomfortable
Reading the reviews for the Firecracker 100 for 2004, it should be noted that the 30 miles of chip and seal
we had to put up with is NOT part of the regular route. Unfortunately in 2004, TxDot had decided to do some
road repair along the way that interfered with the normal routes of the Firecracker.
In 2005, the routes will be back to normal and we can enjoy those nice roads again. Yeah !!
July 5, 2003
What a great day for a ride! Overcast and the occasional drizzle
kept the temp down. Some wind and lots of rolling hills, some harder than
others, but hey, this is an endurance sport right? If you want to take it easy,
go for a walk in the mall!
Excellent organization and support all around. Plenty of volunteers and law
enforcement at turns and road crossings, they even stopped the whole highway
just for me! Well stocked rest stops, healthy fruit and lots of cookies, could
use something salty though, like pretzels. Super friendly people before during
and after. Nice to have a lunch of hot dogs, chips, Dr. Pepper and yes, more
cookies! Great to have showers after the ride too. Nice place to camp and who
needs an alarm clock with the garbage trucks coming through at 4:30am...
The wildflowers were spectacular on the back roads. Would rather spend more time
on back roads than Hwy 6, though.
Excellent ride! Thank you Stephenville....
This is a terrific ride -- very well organized and all of the
volunteers are super friendly. I particularly like the route on this one (I did
the 100K). Hills, hills, and lots of hills, but not quite as intense as
Muenster. And the road surfaces are mostly smooth with very little chip seal.
(Though I saw some piles of chipped rock along the side of FM 847 that lead me
to believe they're about to lay some chip seal.) The long stretch on Hwy 6 had a
little more high-speed traffic than I'd prefer, but it was wide and had an
adequate shoulder. The weather -- overcast with a steady drizzle for awhile --
was excellent. Being able to shower at the end topped of the day perfectly.
Thanks, Stephenville, I'll definitely be back next year.
My wife and I rode this as our third ever bike tour and overall
it was very nice. First the bad stuff: As a new rider I thought they played off
on the "rolling hills" a bit as the hills just kept coming. We did the
45 (43 advertised) route and there were 1500 ft of climbs on it (some 7-8%
grades), 50% more than the 37 mile Cow Creek Classic the weekend before. The
first section of non-highway road was horrible, I would had to have been an
octopus to signal all of the potholes to the riders behind me and I eventually
stopped trying. The first rest stop was 8 miles out at the top of a hill, nice,
the next one was over 11 miles away, confusing. The free dinner the night before
was supposed to start at 6, pushed back to 7. Bowling coupons looked nice that I
picked up as registration opened on the 4th at 5pm, bowling alley closed at 7pm
so we didn't try. Now the good: Plenty of parking. Easy to find registration and
start. Everyone was very nice, only one rest stop ran out of anything (Gatorade
only) and even the police were really nice smiling, waving and telling you to
have a good safe ride. Traffic was nice and light for the most part, the roads
with one exception were excellent. Didn't see much SAG in the way of trucks
(maybe not marked) but the motorcycles were ever present. People cheering at the
end for everyone was a nice touch. Might give it a shot next year.