Hot Rocks in Rockwall, TX
August 12, 2017
The day started off poorly as there was a long line at signup early on. They also didn't start signup until 6:30am. The actual signup took a long time as well. It got better later on. Road conditions were pretty good overall, but the few bad sections were either poorly marked, or not marked at all. There was a significant amount of chip seal, but it was worn down for the most part. I also noticed the lack of SAG vehicles on the course. And the only bike shop SAG vehicle was from Richardson Bike Mart. Intersection protection was pretty good for the most part. The course route was poorly marked. There were red arrows on the 62 mile course, but the pavement markings were absent, except for a few spots. The weather turned out very hot getting close to the finish line. The last loop before the finish line was not marked at all that I could see, so I finished with 49 miles instead of 62. Lots of riders doubled back out at the finish line to get additional mileage in. Rest stops were pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the pickle juice that was available at a couple of stops. People seemed to enjoy the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from what I gathered, but they are not a favorite of mine. With a little bit more effort marking the rough spots and marking the course better, they will significantly improve the ride. I hope they do, cuz the Rockwall Rotary is supporting a very good cause.
August 13 2016
For this year's addition of the Hot Rocks, I rode the 42 mile route. I rode this distance last year as well. This year Rockwall Rotary "tweaked" the course. The result was a huge improvement. This year's course avoided Highway 66 through Royse City which has become more congested with traffic in recent years. The course also included more rural roads which I liked a lot. The course was very well marked. Intersection traffic control was as good as it gets and I have done many rallies. I wouldn't change a thing about this course for next year. The First Presbyterian Church rest stop (only one I stopped at) was well stocked with Gatorade, Ice, fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After the ride the ice cream, sandwiches and soup hit the spot. All the volunteers were friendly and parking was easy. Registration was also a snap. As a bonus we got a nice cool morning this year. This year's ride gets an A+ from me. Thank you Rockwall Rotary for a great rally.
As the name suggests, this is usually a very hot ride. However, this year it was not the case. The skies were cloudy, we had a north wind, and we even had some light drizzle for the first hour or so. Attendance was good. I heard the announcer say that over 2000 riders were there. Everything ran smoothly. There were many rest stops (which was greatly appreciated). I wasn't sure about the new route (42 mile), since it had multiple loops in it. Turned out I had no problems with it either with the signage or the flow. It was a welcome surprise. Plenty of hills to give you a workout. Great traffic control. It was fun!
I think they did a good job with the 100k course with all the constraints from the construction on the local roads. I have been doing this ride for years and it is always one of my favorites due to location and only two weeks out from the Hotter N Hell 100, great tune up ride. Rest stops were great again this year and my highest accolades to the great job of law enforcement. Not only were the intersections very safe but all the policemen knew exactly how the course was set up on the first part of the 100k and provided great directions.
Thanks for a great ride and we will see you next year.
another very well run rally by the rockwall rotary. slightly different route this year due to road construction with two different start times. 60 milers at 7:30 and the others at 8:30 since the 60 milers did an 18 mile loop that came back thru the start/finish area before the shorter routes were started. my only pet peeve is the lack of route maps. there were none to be found when i registered at 6:30. none in the goody bag either (if my memory serves me correctly, this has happened before) . the web site needs to provide a pdf of the registration form also. alot of us "day of registrants" perfer to have our form filled out prior to arrival. //mb
Love the new 42 mile route - it kept us off of 66. The weather and intersection support was great. Rest stops were good too. Signage - meh, could use work.
August 8, 2015
This year 2015 was the worst organized ride I have ever been to...35 dollars for 4 pins and a number and a fair sandwich at the end. Registration was a pure joke...the rest stops under staffed and very little there. Route great police support great but the race started late and had city truck
About a mile into it on a closed road blocking riders? I would not recommend this ride to anyone and will not be back.....25 years and you can't get it right......good luck.
Some good, some not so good. The good: the course was awesome. Lots of rollers and not so big climbs that were not difficult but still fun. Road surfaces for the most part smooth(more on that later). Friendly volunteers. Well placed rest stops. Easy parking(i got there early). Great lunch afterwards provided by Applebee's. Intersection and traffic control just about flawless by local law enforcement and volunteers. Good route markings. Tailwind heading out making for a fast escape to country roads.
Thank-you to all the volunteers and sponsors. Thanks to local police/sheriff, etc for the traffic control.
The not so good: 1)
packet pick-up for pre-registered riders was abysmal. Long, long lines and only two lines open for A-L and M-Z(i think). You guys need to go see how the Goatneck organizers run pre-registered packet pick-up. I don't think I have ever waited longer than 3 minutes for pre-registered packet pick-up or longer than 5 minutes for rally day registration at the Goatneck. It would probably work better if the registration tables were moved into the area under the stadium(where lunch was served…more room and you could spread out the registration tables and serve more cyclists to expedite registration.
2) I only stopped at one rest stop and it ran out of ice and gatorade. It was early in the ride and at the 30 mile mark(?). This should NOT happen!! More ice arrived as I was leaving the stop. Too late for other riders. Very limited selection of snacks at the stops. PBJs were great and always appreciated. I think the 30 mile stop had oranges as well, but I did not see anything else offered. Water jugs kept running out of water(lukewarm since no ice) with riders having to wait for the volunteers to refill the jugs before they could refill their water bottles.
3) Marking of road hazards is a must…large and larger potholes were NOT well marked!! The potholes I saw had to be anywhere from 8-10 inches deep and some at least a foot to a foot and a half wide. These were marked with orange paint around the immediate hole, but nothing more. I saw several riders hit these holes at full speed/high speed and crash or at least flat out. I'm sure some damage occurred to some bicycles. The potholes MUST be marked with the same orange paint on the roadway with warming arrows, "caution" , hashmarks, and/or signage. These warnings need to about at least 25-30 yards before the hazard so the riders have time to react, adjust, move, and survive. I have seen excellent hazard warnings at Aledo, Peach Pedal, Goatneck, etc. So, it can be done. Having only an orange painted perimeter around the hole and nothing else is inadequate and reckless. It is difficult to see hazards when in a large group, pace line, or when the rider is heading into the rising sun. Early markings would really help.
With such a great course and volunteers, this ride could be a must do north Texas ride if the above issues were resolved. The course gets a 9 out of 10. Volunteers get 9 out of 10. However, with the dangerous aspects of rest stops running out of ice and gatorade, and the hazard markings along with the issues at registration, the ride as a whole gets a five out of ten in my book. I do not think I could recommend this ride to my friends at this time nor will I probably return.
We brought three family members to HR this year after a 10-year hiatus. Two did the 13mi and one did the 59. We all came away happy. But that might be because of these two reasons: 1) Doing the 13mi route means you don't need a lot of rest stop support (and both riders commented there wasn't much at the tent) and our 59mi rider doesn't stop so he passes by the rest stops anyway; 2) The roads are REALLY good. Very little rough chip seal and tons of great concrete and some newer asphalt. We liked the after-ride lunch and really enjoyed the numerous choices in beverages at the end - perhaps the best selection of free give-away drinks we've seen.
Intersection control was world-class. Hope the Public Safety departments that assisted are given a well-deserved "Thank you". On that note, I can't understand why more people don't shout thanks when passing through controlled intersections...
Others have commented on the bad potholes which, if we're referring to the same section, were mostly confined to one section of roadway fairly early in the 59mi and I assume part of the 40 as well. The lead pack of the 59 traversed this at rather high speed and it was indeed dangerous. I've seen rides like the Peach Pedal weeks ago actually use "flagmen" (they had one at a bad RR crossing) to warn folks ahead of it. Signage would help too- have seen that as well but needs to be WELL in advance and VERY attention-grabbing.
Our two 13mi riders really wanted a low-to-mid-20s-mile ride that was a loop. No one we know really likes to do out-and-back and to do it basically twice is even more undesirable. Would like to see organizers provide a loop course in mid-20s.
Just recently completed Paris and Goatneck rides. I would not recommend this ride and will not be back. There was a major heat advisory on the day of the race and the organizers end up starting the race late. I understand that the registration line was horrible but you can't delay the start in that kind of heat. The hazards on the roads were not well marked at all. The rest stops were a joke. The first rest stop I stopped at on the 59 mile course was already out of gatorade. The remainder of the stops on the course had no gatorade, just water and orange slices and very long lines to get to two water jugs. For a ride that has been around this long, it was not good.
Silly me! I guess organizers don't know of this website and its reviews from cyclists. A few years have come and gone and the rest stops get worse and worse to the point of ENDANGERING the participants' health due to lack of important supplies, i.e., GATORADE WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS 100 DEGREES PLUS!!!!!!!! RUNNING OUT IF IMPORTANT FLUIDS IS NOT AN OPTION!! NO SODIUM REPLENISHMENT until the last 10-mile blink-and-you'll-miss-it handoff of pickle juice shot bottles. Last 10 miles IS TOO LATE.....damage done. Stopped by one rider about a mile from finish and he was dry-heaving, not to mention numerous other riders camping out beside the road in distress. At the finish I noticed more than one very fit female (triathlete condition) lying on the ground, looking not well. Rockwall Rotarians: THANK YOU for your hard work staging this event, and THANK YOU, APPLEBEE'S, for the tasty lunch afterward! Still, a letter directly to the Rotary Club from participants (myself included) will hopefully avert another uncomfortable situation for the 30th anniversary of Hot Rocks next year.
Although I've done many other bike rides, this was my first time to do Hot Rocks. For brevity, I put my comments in a numbered list:
(1) REGISTRATION: I pre-registered. However, the earliest pre-packet pickup was the day before the ride. Also, they didn't have my shirt size... they gave me an XXL instead, and informed me that I could exchange it the next morning, but the lines were incredibly long and, because it seemed I wouldn't be getting my shirt exchanged by starting time, I didn't do it. Then they delayed the start by 20 minutes on a day when everyone *knew* it was going to get very hot. Instead of the usual Star Spangled banner, prayer, call-out to sponsors, and/or a count-down, there was simply an unexpected BANG! Everyone went at the same time, instead of the usual, more organized, staggered method that is safe. For the first 20 miles people were jockeying for position... pros and newbies alike. Not good, very unsafe.
(2) REST STOPS: There were plenty of rest stops, and they had the essentials, meaning food and drink. Ice, water, gatorade, oranges and PB&J finger sandwiches... but that was IT. I'm not a PB&J fan, so there wasn't any carb/protein snacks for me, other than what I brought myself. If there was anything else at any of the rest stops, I didn't see it. Comparing this with other sponsored rides I've done, it was sadly lacking, at best... I mean, no bananas?! Some stops had shade and a few chairs... definitely needed in the Texas heat.
(3) THE COURSE: I chose the 59-miler. The weather was 83 degrees when we started, and around 100 when I finished. There was wind at one point, not too bad though. Turns were very well marked, with arrow-signs. The local police did a *great* job blocking the traffic, of which there was a fair amount. SAG vehicles were present. The first 40 miles were easy stuff... essentially flat rural and country roads... very nice. A few potholes, marked with red paint (not really visible in the sunlight though... fluorescent paint would've been much better). Suddenly, the last 20 miles got unexpectedly hilly, and much more difficult! The road conditions also became more variable and less smooth. I swear, the toughest hill was 5 miles from the finish line! Overall though, a good course... hindsight reveals I should've saved my legs more for the last 10 miles, and I'll do that next year.
(4) SUMMARY: Overall rating (1 to 10), I'd give it a 6, because I personally didn't have a bad time (but others obviously did). The course and location were fun and reasonably scenic, and there were plenty of bikers from all callings to talk to and have fun with. However, the disorganized registration, confusing, late, non-staggered starting, and below-par rest stops were disappointing, especially for such an reputable, established event. I don't know what happened to the volunteer organization behind it all... something definitely went wrong. I will still recommend the event to others, but with caveats... and I'll also go again next year. Maybe it will have improved... we'll see.
August 9, 2014
Did the 40 mile route this past weekend at the Hot Rocks Bike Rally. A good rally to prepare for the HHH-100 ride. Registration was a breeze. Very little Chip and seal on this route. The only poor section is when we head west on route 66 after the third rest stop. The rest stop, now that is a different story. Notice the supply of ice was in short supply. This ride has been going on for a long time. The organizers should know by now how much ice they should have.The first rest stop had peanut butter/jelly sandwiches. Why not at the other stops? Bananas and oranges is ok. How about some other items that contain some carbs ?? The ice cream bars at the finish was a nice touch. I have ridden this ride about 10 times since it is close to Dallas. Hopefully next year the organizers can it least solve the ice problems
Could not attend last year, but cyclist friend told me of new 40-mile route that was MUCH less brutal than old route........true, thank goodness. Let's keep that new route the same. Quality of roads good there. Bad stuff was the minimal offerings at rest stops, with exception of pb&j sandwiches. That's very good, but would like to see those at all stops, or maybe those peanut butter pretzels, which fit the bill for protein AND much-needed salt. Pickle slices or spears would be nice. Rest Stop 3 (the one we saw twice) had pickle juice but you didn't know unless you looked carefully. And yes, lack of ice was very much a problem. Nice t-shirts (design & fabric).
August 10, 2013
Just rode the Rockwall Hot Rocks Metric Century. The really bad: No ice available at the on course rest stops. If you need to charge $5 more to provide riders with ice, then do it. I was at two different rest stops where I was told the volunteers were told not to give out ice. Both were out of ice when I got there, though a truck pulled up with 3 20 bags, they still wouldn't give me any. They needed three times that much anyway. It is Texas in August. You are going to need LOTS of ice. Plan for it. Also, at most of the rest stops the few chairs and one pop up shade tent were being used by the volunteers, I certainly don't begrudge the volunteers the shade but having chairs and a tent for the riders would have been nice.
A suggestion: Move rest stop 8 after the family riders are finished up closer to the u turn on John King blvd. People were dying on that stretch and having the rest stop 1.5 miles from the end at noon makes little sense. A least that stop was stocked with ice.
The good: The end of the ride had ice cream, Popsicle's, and cold bottled water. Some of that stuff on the course would have been nice.
The really good. The traffic control and rest stop volunteers. I always appreciate that they are doing their best to make the ride enjoyable.
Rode the 63 mile route. Major intersections had good support. All the rest stops after the Nevada stop had no ice. For a ride of this size, you would think the organizers would have figured out the logistics to prevent this from happening. I think the addition of the out-&-back loop near the end to add the extra few miles to make a 63 mile ride was weak – I would have left the distance the same as 2012. I like the terrain and the majority of the roads are in good shape – will ride again next year because everyone deserves a second chance.
The ride seemed a little light on participants this year, but decent turnout none-the-less. The roads were pretty good (more good than bad), little chip-seal: normal. Signage was less than adequate this time as the wind, what little there was, blew some of them into a position indicating the wrong direction. In addition, I REALLY didn't like the red arrow thing AND colored circles pointing directions for all routes, it was a bit confusing the first couple of turns until I got used to it – perhaps ditch the colored circle PLUS the red arrow and go with only colored arrows next year. Temperatures were a little on the warm side but not outside expected. The Jersey material T-Shirts were really cool – how about a choice between a pin or a T-Shirt next time (Trick-It-Up did it last year), I have SO many T-Shirts! - Ed
August 11, 2012
I was almost late but I was guided direcftly to parking. Hard to estimate how many riders so lest just say there was a real big crowd at the start. This is a fairly flat ride EXCEPT in the first five miles there are two challenging hills (on new chipsel even) that can get your heart beating before you have had a chance to warm up. After 8 miles it was either old warn shipseal of butter smooth road. I was impressed that on the 57 mile route the rest stops were set up every 5 miles or less. Many roads were narrow two lane and there was traffic but I never felt threatened. It helped that there were police officers at every major innersection. - John
The past reviews on this ride are completely accurate. On the whole this is a well organized ride – well marked route, great volunteers, great SAG and bike shop support, adequate rest stops and decent traffic control. The problem with this ride is the route. If you do this ride be prepared for chip seal, two lane roads, and lots of traffic. I can live with either or both of the first two conditions but when you add traffic and aggressive drivers it's a deal breaker for me. Unfortunately,this ride serves up a generous helping of all three for most of the ride.
The weather was great – the temperature was much cooler at ride's start! The event was well-organized and well-attended. The route for the short ride was smooth, with a series of rollers to give you a little exercise. After ride refreshments were tasty! I thoroughly enjoyed this ride!
I've seen many people gritch about chip & seal roads on Texas bike rides, and I think, "That's just a part of Texas roads". Not the preponderance. But in Rockwall, it was the preponderance. Whole lotta chip, and not enough seal, if ya ask me. Those of us riding the 45 mile route also got the experience of riding the last 15 miles without a rest stop. 5 in the first 30, then nothing except a two-lane road with significant traffic and occasionally no shoulders. Add rumble strips on 276 for an additional challenge. Understocked rest stops, too. Great people, place and start (now that they've separated the starting gun and spooked horse). Only a significant course change will get me to come back.
This ride had become notorius for bad routes/traffic, but the promise of improved routes (and no nearby alternate rally was an option) had me attend. Did 45-mile route.
Pleasantly surprised and relieved. True, the first 8 miles were a challenge (hilly before you got warmed up, and serious chip-seal). Some roads were like riding on glass. The infamous road (I believe 1771) southbound from Josephine to Royce City/rest stop @ school used to be very nasty, but it was smoothly paved and we had a tailwind, too.
We were all kept off the I-30 service road which made a huge difference, as well. Nice sandwich lunch at the end.
NEED TO IMPROVE: Seriously poor food offerings at rest stops. For a rally that has been going on this long, bananas, oranges and fluids only are a slap in the face. At least offer cookies, pretzels, and/or pickles.......something! And the LACK of quantity at the Boy Scout stop just outside a subdivision was out of even the basics! Dangerous!
A bit of an awkward start; staging was confusing, as people were lined up on both sides of the street. No Star-Spangled Banner, just a gun. All-in-all, a good time and will attend again if the route stays the same on the 45-mile. Thanks to all the enthusiastic volunteers for their hard work!
Need to keep working on this route. On 45-mile route 276 was horrible! Extremely rough and extremely fast traffic. Anyone who does these rallies knows what the Texas road conditions are like, but this road topped them all. Won't do this one again unless route is further adjusted. Really need police assistance where they put "hazardous intersection" sign on service road with two-way traffic and entrance ramp with highway speed traffic coming across your lane, and major intersection after that also unassisted. Those two intersections were very dangerous. Organizers, police, etc. were all very friendly. Food at end was great, but agree with comments about the rest stops.
August 9, 2009
Last years map (if it was that new) and this years route didn't match. And all the roads listed for out of town part are not on any map I could find. - John
With so many riders, volunteers and support people gathered together, you'd think some one would take a moment to play the Star Spangled Banner or America The Beautiful over the PA before the race. They do this at both the Mesquite and Cedar Hill rides and it is inspiring to see a few thousand riders remove their helmets as a sign of respect, before we roll out.
I rode the 20 mile route and up to the first rest stop, it was a nice rolling ride. But after mile 12, I was on the I-30 service road. What's the fun in that? I guess you have to ride the longer routes to get he first class experience. Unless that changes, I don't think I'll be back. Also wish the Rotary could find some way to take us near beautiful Lake Ray Hubbard.
This was my first Hot Rocks. and will probably be the last..
Had heard there were traffic issues and long rides on a road shoulder.. and those issues were confirmed...after riding many other N Texas rides, Cedar Hills, Mesquite, Cleburne, Weatherford, Burleson, this was some of the worst routes (43 mile), road conditions, and traffic I have ever experienced. The registration was fine, support was good, rest stops were plentiful and well supported, but the actual ride course was terrible. It is apparent that a good local ride can not occur in Rockwall. The road conditions, extreme traffic, amount of time riding along I-30, and road kill smells was totally not enjoyable. I would strongly suggest either a suspension of this ride or a complete revamping of the course is needed. The word will continue to spread that this is not a ride to sign up for..
I rode the 43 mile route. Good support most of the way and all of the rest stops had the basic water, Gatorade, bananas, and oranges. There were several places where police support would have been nice to see, like when we turned onto the I-30 service road. My husband and daughter rode the 10 mile route and where it turned from 549 onto the I-30 service road, there were NO police to stop traffic and assist the riders. These are the most inexperienced riders on the route, with lots of little kids, so where were the police to stop the traffic for them? Enjoyed the post ride sandwiches and tent set up, but I agree with the reviewer that said the National Anthem should be played before the start.
I rode in the 43 mile (blue) tour. The t-shirts were nice and the 1st rest stop was nice, but I don't think I will be back unless they change the route. After leaving the 4th rest stop we were on a road where the drivers did not like the people riding the bicycles at all. The road was BAD, and the drivers were as BAD!!! ~ Ric
This was my first organized bike event so I did not know what to expect. We did the 100K route. I was very impressed with the police support that was in abundance, the SAG vehicles that were always around, the SAG support along with cold drinks and fruit at each of the rest stops, and the bicycle repair folks that were at some of the rest stops. The ONLY thing that will keep me from coming back was the road condition. The chip seal vibrated my teeth loose! My hands and feet were numb when I finished. A dangerous hazard on one of the country roads was not marked or flagged. There had been about 12 deep core samples taken out a across the road that were the size of dinner plates and the holes were very close together. Very flat and hard to notice until you were right on top of them. That could have caused some major damage to bikes and bodies. Not griping, just want the organizers to be aware of this hazard. All in all, I had a good time! Thanks to the Rotary Club and the City of Rockwall!
“I rode the 57 miles. This was a tough one with winds around 20 mph. Among the good things, excellent police support in all major intersections, great people supporting rest stops, registration fine and fast and very nice lunch & ice cream after ride. Now, the bad. Roads with extreme traffic made this ride kind of dangerous. Then, looooong lines to get some drinks at rest stops. Please, work on planning safer and more scenic routes for next year. I’m sure the number of riders would increase a lot”.
Great ride this year. I did the 57 mile. First time in the last 3 years this ride was construction free. Of course the standard chip seal on Texas roads but overall great ride. Police support great, rest stops had plenty of stuff and everyone very friendly. Will definitely be back next year.
August 9, 2008
Decent experience, but agreed with my other riders that we would probably opt against this one again.
Well organized, best police patrol I've seen, after-sandwiches were great along with ice-cream. Perfect timing with HHH coming up in two weeks.
Fairly well marked, but the 20 mile cutoff point marker was missed by quite a few of the riders.
Rest stops were perfectly placed but were pretty standard (Gatorade, water, oranges, bananas. Pickle juice at one.) Rest stop personnel were the best.
The killer for us was the road conditions. Way too much chip-and-seal. For the 20% of the ride that was smooth pavement, it was great.
Otherwise, prepare for numb hands and butt. If you're not concerned about bumpy roads, you will probably like this ride. If you want a smooth ride, you might look elsewhere.
compliments: friendly and welcoming staff, lots of police, relatively flat course, on-time start, very well planned, GREAT after ride food, water, ice-cream...really over the top! I rode this ride last year, this year and will ride again next year even though I'm driving from north ft.worth! LOVE THE RIDE!
complaints: very little or no ice at the two stops that I was at (24 mi and 44 mi), need more salty stuff...I cramped up big time with only 3 miles to go. sucked it up and rolled in. PLEASE start the ride earlier to minimize the lenght of time we are out baking!!
This was my first trip to Hot Rocks. I had stayed away from this ride mostly due to the bad reviews seen here. All I can say is that I am glad that I made the effort to experience the ride for myself. The venue is easy to find, with plenty of paved parking and a great layout to take care of the riders. The Rotary volunteers do an outstanding job of getting everybody in and parked too. On-site registration and packet pickup was well staffed, efficient and small town friendly. The Hot Rocks t-shirt and water bottle hand-outs sport the ride’s flaming wheel/Rotary emblem logo and look great! The route map hand-out was clearly marked, easy to follow and even included a cue sheet of all the turns. There was food, drink and ice available at the start of the ride. Several area bike shops had their sag vans and mechanics on site. There were plenty of porta-potties as well. Once on the ride I saw sag, medical and ride control out patrolling all along the routes. The only rest stop that I made on the 100k route was around mile 43, and the local scout troop and several adults there had everything totally squared away. Bananas, ice, proper strength Poweraid, shade tents, a porta-potty, and lots of cheering for you as you pulled in and headed back out. Traffic control was much better than I expected from the ride reviews. All of route markings that I saw were easy to spot and follow. Hazardous intersections were noted on the ride map, and with signs along the road to warn you to be alert ahead of time. Police cruisers and officers stopped traffic for the riders wherever the route required. Drivers in the area did a good job of being patient and accommodating of the routes and riders. As to the road conditions, I have ridden several area rallies where the roads included pot holes the size of dinette sets and numerous dangerous hazards. I didn’t see any of those on this route. But yes folks, bumpy roads are a fact of life on the farm-to-market routes of Texas, just like heat and wind come hand-in-hand with the month of August. If you plan on riding any distance rides from just about any city in Texas, you are going to experience the challenge and soul sucking rumble of our beloved chip and seal. I took this ride as a great way to prepare for HHH later in the month and was well rewarded for coming out. The sandwiches, cookies, ice cream and cold drinks along with the shade and hospitality tents were the icing on the cake at the end of the ride. There was even a massage tent if you wanted to give your legs a nice reward at the end of the ride too. Well done Rotary and thanks for listening to the riders to make this a better, safer event. I will gladly be back next year!
Hot Rocks 08 – signed up for the 100K. Everything was going along fine – I was 40 miles into the ride by about 12:15 – mostly by myself. I was trying to keep some cyclists ahead of me in my sights but soon lost them on a curve. Was expecting a water-stop soon – but didn’t see one close, didn’t see any riders, didn’t see any signs … it was brutal and a bit scary.
Fortunately, a Rockwall policeman stopped and picked up my buddy who was about 2 miles behind me -- the last person who rode by the 62 mile sign. We would have been the last two out there without water, signs, etc. Not a good thing. We will not ride this one next year and if we do we won’t ride more than the 43 miler. I believe the problem was that the event didn’t allow enough time for riders like us to finish. I was averaging 14.8-15 miles per hour …
Since we got a ride in – got in about 12:30 – we got to indulge with the good lunch (the sandwiches were the best I’ve had on an organized ride), it was neat, clean, and the ice cream was terrific!
I am not a high maintenance rider. I understand that the quieter roads have chip seal, I do not expect the volunteers to save me from my own irresponsible riding, I do not expect a well-designed t-shirt, nor do I expect a smorgasbord at the rest stops/finish line. I realize these rides are done for CHARITY, and I ride these rallies as though I am riding unsupported (my own snacks, electrolyte supplement, basic tools/flat fixers, money, etc.). Overall, this is a nice rally. This is the second year I have done it, and my only criticism is the last 5-10 miles. I understand that it is getting harder and harder to avoid traffic when riding in and around the metroplex. And they did a decent job having cops to control the traffic at major intersections. However, the stretch of road between Heath and Rockwall was a little nerve-wrecking...even for a seasoned cyclist such as myself. The motorists were angry that they had to accommodate cyclists on the road and at the traffic back-ups. They were very aggressive towards us cyclists making the return into Rockwall very stressful. It would be nice if the ride organizers could reroute the return so that we are not going through Heath/Rockwall that late in the morning. Maybe they could have us do the route in reverse...or plan a new route all-together.
Congratulations to the Rockwall Rotary for putting together such a fine ride. Parking was easy and I was directed to a spot. The registration was quick. Thanks for the nice shirt and new water bottle! The course was really nice with much country scenery. The course was well marked and had plenty of police help at intersections. The rollers in the course were not too taxing until Heath, where there was a very nice incline. That one nearly got me. Rest stops were well stocked throughout with oranges and bananas, water and gatorade. The earlier stops tended to be a little backed up, but this gave me more of an excuse to rest. The personel at the rest areas were friendly and made sure we had everything we needed. Just a small suggestion- the later rest stops on the 62 mile ride could use some kind of salty carb such as pretzels. There were great sandwiches at the end. I finished the 100k about 1:00 and there was still plenty of support and people out on the route to help, no signs of anyone "packing it in". The ice cream was a great topper to a very nice ride. As far as the chip/seal pavement- I didn't think it was too bad, at least it was worn and you could find a smoother spot to ride somewhere in the road. I have ridden much worse roads than the ones on this ride. I will be back to do this ride again next year!
This is always a ride I look forward to in late summer. The parking and after ride meal are always great. Like most rides in rural areas of Texas there was the usual share chip seal roads but most are bearable especially with carbon fiber frames and forks. There was noticeably less police support on the ride this year but still all the dangerous intersections were covered. I stopped at one rest stop on the 60 mile route and everything was just fine. This route has been the same for the last 10 years. If you have ridden around Rockwall area and start the ride at the current location – I do not know how they could improve the route. Many local cyclists use parts or most of the routes that are in the Hot Rocks ride. Rockwall is a rapidly growing community and most cars there are usually understanding about bicycle traffic. Great job Rockwall Rotary club.
August 11, 2007
The good: Nice folks. Very well organized. Very well stocked rest areas. (Nice t-shirt design, too.) Overall good ride for ADULTS.
The bad: The 10 mile ride was actually 16.2 miles long by cycling computer. Don't know whether the other distances were off by this much or not. This was fine for me, but I'll bet it was a shock to some with kids. That was more than half again the distance they had planned. Also, it was mainly up hill. I'd say about 90% of the ride is up. Again - probably not so great for kids and I did see a number of families off on the side with crying children. Fine for adults.
The ugly. The last bit had bad or no shoulders, HEAVY traffic, and virtually NO police or traffic control. (Take those guys out of the country, put up a sign and send them to the dangerous areas.) The end was a pretty good stretch of the frontage road of I30 and with the construction there were SEVERAL 18 wheelers that came past at a VERY high rate of speed. Okay for adults but DANGEROUS AND NOT ADVISABLE FOR CHILDREN.
I will return to this ride again and would recommend it to others, however, I think the designation of "family friendly" needs serious reconsideration.
Also, PLEASE Rockwall Rotrary - RECYCLE !!!!! All those plastic bottles, tin cans and styrofoam plates and not a recycle bin in site!
After reading some of the mixed reviews for this event from years past; I was pretty impressed with the event. Route was plainly marked, police presence at intersections was outstanding, and the roads were in pretty good shape. On my ride on the 43 mile course, I only saw 2 potentially dangerous spots in the pavement. NOTE to ride coordinators: even though many of us did not stop at the last rest stop, only 3 1/2 miles from the finish, with the temperatures as hot as they are in August, it was probably worth having there anyway. If I only carried one water bottle, I would have needed a stop. ALSO, the ice cream goodies at the end were a great surprise.
I rode the Hot Rocks Ride in Rockwall this weekend. This was my first Hot Rocks ride and will be my last. This was the most MISERABLE ride I have ever ridden (and for $35 was not worth it). Note to ride coordinators, you need to start this ride no later than 7:15 and you need to change the course route to better suite bicyclists. Rest stops had very little shade but did have plenty of food and water. Next year if the start time and route changes I will considering coming back.
I really enjoyed this ride. I rode the 100K course
but bailed out of the Heath loop as I was very cooked
at that point. Be warned, there's not alot of shade
on this course so when it's really hot, you really
suffer. I registered the morning of the ride for $35
and was greeted by very friendly folks. I agree with
what has already been related about the shirt - very
cool. The course started out with some rollers but
was mostly flat. Another set of rollers hit at about
mile 30. The route was enjoyable and well protected
for the most part. There was some chip and seal to
deal with and more than once I was passed by someone
going way too fast and too close for comfort. The
rest stops were well stocked and the support folks
were very helpful. One suggestion would be to provide
some shade for spots that don't have trees. I
finished in 5 hours and the rest stops near the end of
the route were still stocked and available. I
unfortunately did not participate in the free lunch
from Applebee's since I just collapsed in my car with
the AC on full. This is a great prep ride for the
HH100 and I will definitely do it again.
This was my first time to ride this ride. The registration was fast and the people were friendly. The start should have started a half hour to forty-five minutes earlier at this time of year. I have ridden numerous cycling events all over the state. I knew that it would be hot but because The Rotary Club had done this for so long I figured it was a well oiled machine. Well, I wasn't impressed. I did not think that the route was sufficiently marked. The route map, on the website dated 2005, had all the routes color coded. But you never saw a colored arrow anywhere on the route unless it was to turn a corner. Not being from the Rockwall area and having never done the ride before, it is very troubling to be riding along and not be sure that you are going the correct way. The rest stops were stocked with all the same food. I love rest stops that are sponsored by businesses from the city, the ride is held in, and they compete with each other for the best rest stop. At this time of year, protein and salt is especially necessary on a lengthy bike ride. I would have given anything for a small peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a piece of watermelon about mile 33. The lack of shaded areas at the rest stop was a problem, also. I hope the Rotary Club will look at the comments on this website and correct these problems. We might do the ride again, if they did.
August 12, 2006
This is my second year riding the Hot Rocks Bicycle Race and I rode the 60 mile route. This year was the 20th year for the ride. Same day registration was smooth and friendly but a bit more expensive than other rides ($35). The original founder of the ride was there and after a few words of thanks, he triggered the staggered starts off with a starter’s pistol. I guesstimate maybe 1000 riders. The course was marked only with signs which had small red arrows. I saw two riders go off course from missing these small signs. Although, the course was said to be the same, the roads seemed smoother this year. Last year most of the course seemed to consist of 95% brand new chip-and-seal and was a very rough ride. The course had a few hills, especially in the last 15 miles, as I recorded 1220 feet of ascent. The 30 and 50 mile rest stops were well supplied with bananas, Powerade, water and the volunteers were friendly and eager to help. Police were at all controlled intersections stopping traffic. SAG was frequently visible on the course. I encountered 4 loose dogs early in the course. The finish area had Applebee’s serving ham/turkey sandwiches with cantaloupe and a brownie. There was music, misting fans, shaded seating and all-you-could-eat ice cream, Powerade, water and colas. They even opened up the cafeteria for those that needed a cooler place to recover. I thoroughly enjoyed this ride and will definitely plan to do it again next year.
This is my third year to do the Hot Rocks ride and I must admit that I may have to miss this one next year, even though it's very close to home for me. First, The road surface has always been hard to handle on this ride. I realize that the organizers really can't do anything about the roads, but it's still a factor for me and how much I enjoy the ride. And, before you think I should just "quit being a wimp" you have to realize, everyone enjoys the ride more when the road is smooth and easy. Second, the price is a little steep. I know it's for a good cause, but when my wife pays $35.00 to ride 40+ miles, that's almost a dollar a mile. We could just go out to White Rock and get better roads and ride for free. Third, I had a flat on this ride and I thought I really lucked out because it happen about 100 feet from a rest stop. I walked the bike to the rest stop expecting that I would be able to use a regular size pump and be sure I was getting the right air pressure back in the tire. There was no pump available and no one that could help me out. On other rides, I've had a broken spoke repaired for me while I got my refreshments. I guess I was expecting to much to think a pump would be available. C'mon Rockwall,,,, you can do better than this !!!!
Rode the 100k again this year - but again decided to skip the 4-mi Heath loop because I was afraid that the last rest stop would close before I could get there. Even though I was keeping a 16-mph average pace, it turned out that I was one of the last riders on this route. I guess the 100k is a turning into a racers-only ride -- maybe the hills scare everyone else off. In spite of that, I thought that the ride was much better than last year. The chip seal was still there, of course, but a year's worth of traffic had pounded it down to a tolerable roughness. The weather cooperated for a while with clouds and some rain that kept the temperature down in the 80's to low-90's until almost noon. Rest stop 5 was moved a little closer in, to a spot where you could actually pull off the road and walk around -- much better than previous years. And every rest stop had plenty of water, sports drink, fruit, and cookies. The 20th anniversary T-shirt design was great, but I have always considered the T-shirts to be one of the best things about this ride. Worst thing this year was following several cars that were trapped behind cyclists who insisted on riding completely across the lane. The drivers were very patient and considerate, even with other cyclists repeatedly passing them on both left and right sides. I know these roads are narrow, and the hills tend to slow us down and make us bunch together, but we could at least go to single-file and motion to the drivers when it is OK to pass us -- share the road needs to work both ways.
This was my first experience with this particular ride. First off, the money goes to a good cause and I tip my hat to the folks that organize this event in its 20th anniversary.
The Good: I pre-registered so check in was a breeze. I rode the 62 mile route and felt it was more than challenging. Especially since it rained into the first 20 miles of the ride. I've never biked in a down pour and other than feeling a little uneasy about slick conditions, I thought the rain was a gift from the biking gods considering how hot it's been in N.Texas. The hills were challenging, the route scenic and the rest stops were spread out between 8 and 10 miles...perfect! The signage was great! Especially alerting you 2 miles from a rest stop. I personally didn't encounter rude drivers or riders. Yes, there were a few riders that thought they were in a time trial (and for those folks, position yourselves at the very front of the start to compete for the cash prizes). This is the first event I've participated in which they award top 3 finishes to male and female. Each rest stop I encountered was staffed with friendly volunteers and stocked with plenty of beverages and food. Just a nickpick suggestion to the organizer - try not to water down the PowerAde or Gatorade too much. These types of beverages are essential to replace sweat and salt and watering them down too much strips away the benefits. The young volunteers at the last rest stop were the best! They cheered you on and applauded your efforts for being this close to the finish. The SAGS were a good bunch too. My back wheel needed adjustment and the SAG that assisted me couldn't have been more courteous and knowledgeable. Many thanks to the Rockwall fire and police departments. The medics were "Johnny on the spot" throughout the ride and the police guided you through each intersection except for the end. (BTW, did anybody else notice some of the mansions along the route? Some of those homes were enormous!!!)
Needs improvement: It seems the police abandoned the last 3 miles of the route late in the morning. We had to go over I-30 and fight our way through two major stop lights (of entering and exiting I-30 drivers). Didn't really appreciate feeling abandoned so close to the end. NOBODY was at the finish to greet you. A fellow cyclist happening to be standing at the finish congratulated me and pointed me in the right direction. I understand the semi-pro/pro riders were done but that's not the end of the event, folks! There were still a bunch of bikers on the road and I felt as if I was on my own.
Overall a very good ride and well organized. The had free food but I couldn't care less about that. Refer to the "Are we spoiled" rantings. I got stocked up with fruits and other essentials along the route at the rest stops. I encourage anyone reading this who hasn't experienced this ride to give it a go. It truly is a good tune-up for HH.
This was my second year to ride this course and overall it was a very enjoyable event. The registration was smooth and plenty of port-a-pots at the start. This is one of the only charity rides that has cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd men and women. This event ride will bring out the semi-pros, which is good to see. The course was over rolling terrain on typical Texas roads. All of the major intersections where controlled by law enforcement and I would like to send out thanks to all of those officers that allowed cyclist to blow through red lights. I did the 100K and the weather was cloudy and cool with light rain in some parts. The rest stops where positioned approximately 10 miles out and they were stocked with all of the essentials ( I only stopped once). I did witness a bad accident and this need to be a lesson to all of the folks who do not have experience riding in a group. There must of have been about 20 cyclists riding in a double pace line. The pace was good (24- 26 MPH) – here is a tip – if you are in a pace line – stay off the aero bars. Aero bars should only be used when you are riding by yourself. A guy in the pace line either hit the back wheel of the guy in front or someone hit his back wheel, either case he went down hard (doing 25 MPH) and took out several riders behind him. I just hope he is doing well, because it was painful to watch. I would suggest that if you are uncomfortable or do not have any experience in riding in a group situation that you go to your local bike shop and participate in group rides. Doing 25 MPH with 20+ riders is not the place for inexperience, people will get hurt. To get back on track, this was a good ride, well organized, plenty of police support and plenty of SAG wagons. I saw plenty of SAG wagons on the course. This ride is a good ride and I will attend next year. Good warm up for the HHH.
Very great ride, hills were tough and that is a good thing. Rest stop staff
were very nice. I will as before ride this ride again.
There is one major safety complaint that not only I witnessed but heard no
less then five other groups talking about the same problem. Toward the end
of the ride were you had to cross the bridge over I-30 to get to the finish
line there were two squad cars with police officers inside. They never got
off their lazy butts to direct traffic or tell the riders when to cross or
stop the cars to let us cross. I was 1/4 way up the hill and an 18 wheeler
started up the hill and was no less then one (1) inch away from my handle
bars, very scarry. Very ignorant on the officers part.
Unfortunately the ride organizers can not be blamed for the ignorance of the
police but it sure has a bad reflection on the entire event.
I will continue to support the ride. Eric Scott, Mesquite, TX
Roads were better this year, with the exception of whatever road that was past the town of Josephine on 43-mile route....(that's where the rain has started those couple of years!). Nice rest stop volunteers, an abundance of SAG and mechanical help, and a nice lunch and misters at the end were great! Entry fee is kinda steep for late registration, but all things considered, including what you'd burn in gas driving further out of the Metroplex, a good rally. I'll be back! Kathy "Duck"
I enjoy every ride I do, no matter the situations. This one was excellent. It had all the elements, a couple miles of bad roads, a couple miles of rain, a couple of good hills, and then at the end a nice bright Texas sunshine! Me and the bro did the 100k to get ready for the HNH and we really enjoyed it and never got bored. I read about some complaints regarding the Police officers...bull crap...they were awesome. If you have a particular problem with an eighteen wheeler on your back, well, pull over and stop. It's something about the weight, but those things can't stop as quick as a Toyota. So, kudos to the 5-0's out there. If you couldn't manage a "thank you" to them at every controlled turn or intersection...maybe you should next time. Quick note on the rest stops: Very good, the folks attending them were very helpful and the poweraid was fine...however, one stop (at a mile I will not mention) had toilet paper that seemed to be of a 300 thread count instead of the "arbitrary" 5000 thread count. This really chaffed my hide. Also, somone knocked on my porta potty when the handle was clearly RED not GREEN! Maybe a sponser could put a little flier in the packet on the color difference? All in all, excellent time, excellent ride, and see ya next year. Jake Bickle
Aug 13, 2005
Sign in was organized and there was plenty of traffic assistance. Other than that I am not so sure what is so great about this ride. The roads are terrible. There is no other way to say it. The last few miles are fine, but the majority of the 62 mile route is horrible. Chip and seal the majority of the way. To make matters worse there was a serious head wind, which the organizer cant be faulted for that. It made the day very tough. The rest stops on the joint 40/62 mile route had very long lines just to get water. That makes it very discouraging fighting the wind and being jolted around on these roads. I was very disappointed in this ride. I can honestly say I will never do this again unless they come up with better routes.
Very well organized rally, traffic control at all intersections, plenty of food at end. registration a breeze. stiff south wind along with a lot of
new chip seal made ride more difficult than prior years. (not organizers fault but
100K. If there is one community that responded to some of the shortcomings from the
write-ups last year, this is it. I tip my helmet to the Rockwall Rotary Club, the multitude of law enforcements, fire departments, personally operated SAG wagons all along the route, and scads of exuberant volunteers for their excellent organization and execution of this event. It showed everywhere. Very cool T-shirt that was too big but I had no problem switching for one smaller. I made a point to acknowledge everyone I could. It was 95 by the end of the ride but the traffic control was still top notch. They were Johnny on the spot to block traffic and let us through. If you were a weenie rider, this was not your day. The wind was a constant 10-15mph gusting to 25-30mph and was a perfect intro to the hotter-n-hell. The entire route minus the last 5 miles was recently resurfaced chip seal and had not been driven on enough to even form tire lanes. This stuff knocks 2-3mph off your average and the toll from the incessant vibration takes a major toll. It's the only complaint I have on the entire event. Well, except for the yellow jacket that flew (or was probably blown) into my face. The little SOB bounced off my shades and stung me on my eyebrow. Ouch! By the end of the ride my right eye was almost swelled shut. Great after ride goodies and lots of really cold ice water. I'll be back.
Well organized ride, went pretty well, too bad about the wind, but otherwise fun. Great finish line food - free food is great and plenty of t-shirts and water bottles it seemed. Much of the road surfacing on the 40 mi route was REALLY rough on the body - not sure I could handle that route again. More cookies at the rest stops for those of us who need the sugar burst ! Thanks to Rockwall Rotary Club for a nice event.
Well organized. Excellent police and volunteer support. A great rally that was marred by extremely rough resurfacing on most of the route, rude drivers, road construction, and a high $30 fee even for those that pre-registered. Rally organizers need to reroute and communicate with the Texas Highway Department to avoid such a mess next year.
Well I guess I have ridden in all their rides. I might have missed one. There have been some changes that have made this ride
vicious. First let me say that the organization, road markings, and police support are all first class. There was however no excuse for the Heath loop rest stop running out of water. That's bush league...and can be lethal to overheated riders.
Next the chip seal roads are simply out of hand. Unless you are into whips ,chains, leather
straps, bondage and pain for sexual pleasure this is no longer tolerable. A strip or two is one thing...but mile after mile of
un-rideable sticky road surface is not acceptable. When the tar starts melting it's like riding on flypaper. Also there is a strange anomaly in this ride. You have repeated sharp 400 -600 meter down hills followed by a 3 mile uphill grade. Then another sharp downhill followed by another 2-3 mile uphill grade. Couple this with a stiff head wind on chip seal roads and this is not pain you want to repeat. Many riders were actually getting physically
sick. You must also notice that your route for the 60 mile has a relatively short time where the prevailing Southern tail wind could help you out. There is mile after mile heading South into the prevalent headwind. Bad
mojo. Grab a hold of these problems right away.
You must change this route dramatically for next year or I predict a significant loss of riders. Pity, it should be improving not getting worse.- Norm Weatherby
From an organizational standpoint, I think the Rockwall Rotary Club does an excellent job, as they have done in the past. When I read some of the reviews, I could get the impression that the Rotary Club does not care about the road surface issue and just did not bother to change the route when new chiprock was laid down this year! I have rode the majority of roads around Rockwall and guess what? - THEY ARE ALMOST ALL CHIPROCK! North Texas bicyclists better wake up and realize that we will have more and more chiprock roads in the future. I'm sure the Rotary Club could have put the ride on loops of high traffic roads through the center of Rockwall but justifiably they would have really heard the complaints then. I have no affiliation with this ride but I like to see reviews that reflect fairness. The weather and road surface did make this an extremely challenging ride this year. Most of us participate in these tours for the experiences. The parking, port-a-toilets, traffic control and after ride feed by Applebees/Bluebell were all top notch. I did read legitimate controllable complaints stated about the ride and thats what we all want to hear about. This website is viewed by hundreds of bicyclists and the ride organizers. We should weigh our opinions more objectively. John's website is a great resource for North Texas bicyclists.
Agree with all! I will not do this ride again.... Can't help the wind, but the road was really tough.
this was the worst ride i have been on! I don't mind the wind or any
other force of mother nature but come on! you cant tell me that there wasn't some one who knew the entire route was paved with chip seal!! The
other problem was the water lines, if you can have t-shirts for every one why cant you have enough water? I will say that the registration
was fast and there were enough pottys. there was also great support along the way! I wont be back next year, the route was horrible and the
price was too high for that kind of punishment.
This is one of my favorite rides of the year, not because it's perfect but mostly because it's a great tune-up for the HHH. The hills (moderate to mild) are at the beginning, when one has better legs for them. There is plenty of chip-seal (ride the HHH and then evaluate your complaints on this one). There is usually a headwind out of the South, when the chip-seal is flat, and this year was no exception. This year the heat and humidity added to the challenge. Rest stops were well stocked. Traffic assistance was great. The only complaint I have is that, on the 43 and 62.5 mile routes, the distance between Rest Stop 3 and Rest Stop 5 is waaay too long, especially on that chip-seal in that headwind. Knowing this from last year, though, I prepared for a self-selected pit stop on that leg. Please add a rest stop for us between these two stops.
Based on previous years' comments, I was expecting a great ride. It started off with great promise with very smooth registration. The route away from town took too long to spread out the riders however. The chip seal was the worst I have ever ridden. The first major rest stop had one jug of water and one of powerade. That is not enough for around 14 miles (I think) and the heat which had to be expected at this time of year. The rest stop where the 43 and 62 mile routes diverged was completely out of water when I was there. There apparently was no water supply there, and they had to bring water to the site.
Whine, whine, whine.
Look kids, toughen up a bit.
That rough chip/seal stuff is here to stay.
So just pull over, hop on the SAG Wagon and let the real riders through.
Just like heat, wind and hills, the road surface is part of the challenge. I remember there was a long strip of fresh chip/seal last year on this route right before one of the rest stops at a school (don't remember which stop that was). This year, that part of the road was smoother. Maybe next year, it'll be even better.
The organization of the Rotary Club is very good. Lots of support along the way at intersections and SAG vehicles on the route. Applebee's was nice enough to provide a bit of food at the finish. The fee had increased this year, but you KNEW that when you signed up.
Next year, there should be more cheese to go with all the whine after the route.
Maybe they should provide a whaaambulance, too.
This is a very well organized ride with excellent police support
at all the major intersections. As a result, I felt very safe on this ride. I
got to the ride an hour before the start. I had no problems parking or finding
registration. I had pre-registered so I had expected to get a T-shirt in my size
- unfortunately they only had Large and X-Large available. Oh well, since they
are 100% cotton I figured I could wash them hot and see what they would reduce
Rest stops were numerous and came at the right times. I would have liked a
greater selection than bananas, oranges, chocolate chip cookies (which were
quite good), water and powerade. I craved a convenience store and finally was
reunited with a coke at about the 40 mile mark. The route was well-marked as I
never checked my map and I was glad to find out that I was still on my 62 mile
route after 30-35 miles into it.
There was about 5 miles of the roughest chip seal I had ever in my life
experienced. The road vibrations traveled thru every part of me and was pure
torture. My only thought was to ride faster. I do not fault the ride organizers
for this but, rather the powers that be who make such decisions.
There was sandwiches, drinks and ice cream at the finish line which was a nice
This is an excellent ride with beautiful scenery and at $15 for pre-registrants
quite the bargain to boot.
This ride was exceptionally well organized and I must say one of
the better rides in the North Texas area. I was pleasantly surprised by
the number of rolling hills throughout the course. Though I will say the stiff
south wind kept the pace a little slower. One of the best things about the ride
was the extremely good traffic control at all the intersections. In addition to
the signs pointing to the turns, there were usually people directing you to the
turns. Cant comment about the rest stops since I did not stop at any. The post
ride food and ice cream was quite welcome. The estimated riders were
approximately 1700-1800. Will be back next year.
To the Rockwall Rotary Club and all the volunteers that worked
this rally. GREAT JOB. The 100K route was very good, mostly flat but with enough
rollers from mile 40 to near the end to challenge the riders some but not kill
them though there was a small stretch from mile 20 to 25 that had the infamous
Texas Chip Seal pavement (couldn't really help that). All the major
intersections had traffic control, and the rest stops, manned by some very
enthusiastic volunteers, were very well stocked with fruit and cookies. We were
even treated to a rare cool day in August. I am sure a lot of riders took
advantage of this great weather and booked some "personal best"
cycling performances. I certainly enjoyed the lunch and treats at the end of the
ride. There was plenty left when I finished the ride at around 11:30am.
I did notice that every rest stop had looooooog lines at the
porta potties. Sure glad I skipped that cup of coffee.
I completely enjoyed Hot Rocks 2004. I grant that the organizers
did not arrange for the wonderful weather but they did arrange for everything
else. Registration was fast and painless (I wish CamelBack would put permanent
clips on the back to hold your number on!). The signs were easy to follow. There
were crossing guards at every intersection - I only had to slow down once. In
one case, a truck had pulled out in front of me at a four way stop. The
policeman had traffic stopped in all directions. He actually motioned me to pull
out from behind the truck and come on through the intersection while everyone
else waited! It was actually embarrassing. I only stopped once during the 100k
but there was plenty of food and PowerAid. There was one bad strip of chip seal
but it didn't last long - otherwise smooth course. They were giving away all
kinds of food at the finish line. I thought the ride was great. I encourage
everyone to come back next year.
I have ridden the Hot Rocks Rally for several years now. I
wouldn't say it is the best rally in North Texas; but it certainly isn't the
worst either. It fits right into my rankings, as a very good warm up for the
Hotter than Hell Hundred every year. Many Dallas area riders arrive early and
ride the twenty mile loop before the official 100 k start to get some extra
miles. This years ride was much cooler and less windy than normal. The
rest stops were numerous and appeared well staffed by enthusiastic
volunteers---although I rode the 100 k route nonstop. Most of the loop is on
lightly traveled FM roads with a short segment of STATE HIGHWAY SHOULDER
and a mile or two of interstate access road. The course is fairly flat with a
few rollers. Most of the roads were fairly smooth and fast; except some rough
chip coat on the 5 mile leg from Josephine down to Royce City. It appeared that
some of the route near Nevada was the same roads as the Wild Flower Ride earlier
this year. Most of the major intersections were monitored by local police and
fire departments. One intersection was controlled by a sheriff on
horseback---this is Texas after all. Seems like the sheriff on horseback is out
there every year. Three cheers for that traffic control, it makes us cyclists
feel much safer knowing they are out there watching out for us. While most of
the roads were pretty clear of traffic; towards the end of the ride; there were
some angry motorists who had to wait for cyclists. They expressed their
displeasure by honking their horns. This intersection was a problem last
year as well; then I received a verbal berating from some local rednecks in a
enormous pick up truck. The rednecks from last year made me nervous---but the
horns weren't especially menacing. At least, the motorists in this area haven't
started closely buzzing the cyclists like the drivers up in Collin County. But,
you can tell that traffic will become a growing concern with this ride due
to the suburb sprawl claiming much of the farm land around Rockwall. I would
suspect that the local Rotary Club will have to adjust several portions of
this loop within the next few years to keep it safe. Finally the T-shirts this
year were white with very cool graphics. I enjoyed the 2004 Hot Rocks and will
likely ride it next year.
The weather was perfect for the ride this year. Cool temps and
no rain for a change. I was glad to see people directing parking lot control -
unlike some other rallies where parking is a free-for-all. There was even a golf
cart running people to/from registration. Now that's service!! I did the 43 mile
and it was a fast start (except for the RR tracks) and a relatively fast ride
with most of the hills south of I-30. The rest stop I used was well stocked
(especially with cookies!!) with a lot of helpful volunteers. The PD control
through the various towns was outstanding. I agree with a previous poster that
the Rotary may have to alter the course or perhaps move the start further out to
lessen our impact on traffic. Rockwell County is growing and I appreciate the
patience showed by the people stuck in their cars waiting for me. Overall it was
a well run event with my only complaint being the road condition on 1777 from
Josephine to Royse City. It was recently "repaved" and is now a
rougher ride than it originally was. I had to drop my speed waaaaay down and it
still shook one of my WB cages loose and I think I lost a filling! Well, I'm
kidding about the filling but it wasn't fun.
Very interesting start to the day.across from the start in the
church parking lot, a few guys decided it was OK to publicly urinate, on church
property no less. Never mind that there were ample port a potties across from
the start line. This is so disgusting and reflects on all of us. Thanks,
Great ride, though! Hard day for me with that south wind. The rest stops were
great. Very friendly folks and the Boy Scouts were holding bikes and telling
riders where the 40 & 60 mile routes spilt. Awesome post-ride meal. The
chip-seal always gets complaints but I find if you lean into the handlebars a
bit, its like a shihatsu massage. The traffic control was great but I too saw
some displeasure on the faces of those stuck at the intersection. Oh well, it's
a Saturday morning, deal with it.
It's hard to add to the glowing remarks already posted about
I just want to thank all the police and fire departments and the County Sheriff
for providing the best traffic control I have ever experienced on an organized
ride. Every intersection was manned by at least one and often several officers.
These officers were obviously experienced doing this type of traffic control --
they were very good.
When approaching an intersection I like to look the controlling officer in the
eye to be certain I had the right of way and was doing what the officer wanted
me to do. There have been times at other rides -- even with traffic control --
when, due to an officer's inattention or inexperience, I was uncertain of how to
proceed. On this ride, I felt completely secure at each intersection. Kudos to
all the officers involved.
It seemed everyone involved with the ride were extremely concerned with our
safety. I even saw an adult Boy Scout at Rest stop # 6 at McLendon-Chisolm tear
off on his motorcycle after a motorist towing a horse trailer that had barreled
past the rest stop with complete disregard for the approaching cyclists.
My only, criticism of this ride is hard to control. Because of the large number
of riders and what appeared to be long lines of backed up motorists at some
intersections, there seemed to be a greater than average number of very angry
and aggressive drivers. This coupled with single lane country roads with no
shoulders always seems to result in aggression with all its inherent dangers. My
sense is that the police forces were very attentive to aggressive driving and
did all the could to prevent it, but it is a large course and I did see a lot of
When these elements combine, I get nervous. We cyclists should not throw gas on
the fire by riding several abreast and disregarding "Car Back" calls
from behind. It only makes things worse.
Otherwise, this was a fun and well-organized ride. Thank you Rockwall Rotary for
holding such an enjoyable event.
I enjoyed this ride on the 14th, except for the stretch between
Josephine and Royce City. This portion of the ride was arguably the WORST rode I
have written on in 15 years of riding. Not only did it beat up my bike, but it
beat up my body, and 4 days after the ride, I am still feeling the effects.
While at the rest stop by the Royce City schools, many of the other riders were
complaining about that section of road as well. That rest station only had 2
Porta Potties which resulted in about a 20 minute wait before getting back on
the road. It took so long to get through that line, I did not even attempt to
stop at the refreshment stands because of the long wait.
I have ridden "Hot Rocks" about 5 times and usually enjoy it. I hope you
will make changes next year so that we do not have to experience the same things
that are listed here.
This was my first Hot Rocks and my guests from the Shreveport
Bicycle Club and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Great organization and beautiful
scenery, rest stops were spaced out perfectly on the well marked route (little
short on the recovery goodies though), don't know what happened with the
t-shirts though, I preregd. and did not get my size. On the other hand, we are
looking forward to this great ride next year. Word of caution, if not for my
carbon ride, that extremely long stretch of state highway vibration torture
woouulldd hhaavvee rraattttlleedd aallll my teeth out.
August 9, 2003
We are fortunate to have so many excellent rides in which to
participate in the Metroplex and surrounding communities and the Hot Rocks is
one of them. The organizers know what they are doing. It looked to me like
approximately 1500 riders and racers participated. I rode the 100K route. The
route was well marked and traffic control at the intersections was outstanding.
The route map in the registration packet is the best one I have seen. It was
very easy to follow, there wasn't too much detail making it hard to read.
Overall the road surfaces were good and the portions of the route on the chip
and seal road surfaces that are so prevalent in North Texas didn't bother me too
much. There is one short segment on the Old Greenville Road in Royse City, just
south of I-30, that had too many potholes. I think it would have been better to
bypass this section which could have been done quite easily with a minor
adjustment to the route (turn right to the I-30 service road before the bad
section for the ride organizers reading this). The weather was perfect until
late in the ride when the rain storm blew in. The gusty winds and wet roads made
for an interesting challenge, but that is Mother Nature, can't control that. I
didn't stop at any rest stops so I cannot rate those but it seemed like there
were sufficient rest stops to me. I didn't participate in the lunch at the end
of the ride but that is a nice touch. There were sufficient porta-potties so
that I didn't have to wait in line too long before the ride. Overall, a great
ride, I plan to be back next year.
Enjoyed the ride! The cooler temps made it delightful. Signage
was good, as was the route (I chose the 43 mile route). The major intersections
were well staffed with policemen. Stopped at two rest stops--the first one I
stopped at (#3, I think) didn't have PowerAde but the next one I stopped at did.
The bananas were a little on the green side, but still edible. The rain made it
a bit messy, but fortunately it didn't hit until late in the ride. The lunch
afterwards was great--sandwiches, brownies, cookies, ice cream, and fruit. Had a
nice time; will do it again next year.
The 2003 Hotrocks ride was its usual superior self. Great
support, good rest stops, good markings and traffic control, good food and drink
afterwards. I did the 100K ride and only stopped at two rest stops so that's all
I can vouch for. If you're looking for a good ride around this time of year look
no further than Rockwall Rotary's HotRocks ride.
Well the "Hot Rocks" ride was as excellent as ever.
Roads: Excellent to superior; 65 % flat, few rollers and grades, couple of fair
hills. Nothing drastic. A very fast course. I didn't stop so flew past rest
stops, which seemed adequate. I also averaged 18.5 so missed the rain! Just a
few drops. This ride is a classic. Negatives: Just one. Those tiny weenie road
route signs on the intersection sign post bases are sort of ok...but not when
that's all there is. Too many intersections were confusing because cars being
held up by police for bikers blocked the view. Which way to turn caused several
miscues for riders. I suggest large signs 100 meters before each turn on the
side of the road with turn arrows for that route. Also...PLEASE, PLEASE indicate
100 meters after the turn that you are indeed on the right road. Accidents do
occur when turning riders, unsure they are on the right route, turn back against
traffic to "check out the course". The sub sandwiches, brownies, and
ice cream drumsticks at the finish were great! Fix the signs and this ride is as
close to perfect as you can get!! Norm Weatherby
Outstanding ride, from the volunteers to the overall course! I
rode the 100K route, and stopped at all the rest stops. All but one were
completely stocked with POWERade, ice, fruit, and cookies. I was in no hurry,
and talked to many of the folks supporting the event. They were all very
encouraging, and made the ride very enjoyable. Traffic control was excellent,
and there were plenty of SAG wagons available. The weather was quite cool for
August, with overcast skies and a sprinkle now and then. There were pretty long
lines at the porta-potties located at the first few rest stops, but South of
I-30 there were no problems. I was one of the last ones in at 1 PM, and
Applebee's still had plenty of sandwiches and brownies to eat. (Unfortunately,
the FINISH sign came down promptly at 1 PM, so I missed that thrill by only a
minute... Maybe next year they could looks to see if any stragglers are still
coming and wait.) I picked up a map several days before the ride, but would have
liked to see the course posted on the web earlier. Overall, I had a great time
and definitely plan to do this ride again next year! Mike Miller
This was an excellent ride with the best traffic control I have
seen. Thank you so very much! The rest stops were well stocked and the porta
potties at the start/finish were in abundance as well as on the ride. The food
at the end was good eating and it really hit the spot. My husband and I did the
100K and liked the route very well. Can't say enough good things about the
traffic support - super good and a big Thank You to all the volunteers. We
will be back next year!