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Vernon Burnin - Vernon, TX

August 2015

Good warm up (literally) ride for Hotter N' Hell, as the terrain is fairly similar. As you would expect, heat and winds are the major challenges. Packet pickup was easy, and the routes were very well marked with more than adequate rest stops. Food was provided at the end of the ride, and there were lots of giveaways! Moderate sized ride, perhaps 200 participants.

August 20, 2011

I've done this ride for several years and it continues to improve. All the major bases are covered plus some extras. I rate this ride A+.

 

August 2009

This is a great ride. Smooth roads, well supported, well marked, little to no traffic. On the 62 mile route only about 6 cars passed either direction. Great facility with ample parking. The route is the same as past years, but if it ain't broke don't fix it! Pizza and door prizes wait for you at the finish. It's worth the drive from the D/FW area just to get out of all the traffic and city congestion. I have done this ride 4 times in the last 6 years and have never been disappointed.

August 18, 2007

Before I begin this review I want to say that for the past couple of weeks I have felt like Pharaoh as the towns hosting the bike rides have been plagued by crickets. In DeLeon the crickets were actually hopping all over the starting line, there are crickets in your hotel room, the after ride showers, etc. The ride organizers are not responsible for this, however, it is just an anecdote.
I became fed up with the Red Hot Chili Pepper ride last year when they failed to open their pool after the ride as they had promised, so this year we made the long, overnight trip to Vernon for the Vernon Burnin’.
Registration: Registration was available online through active, or by mail. There was no separate category for tandems and no small T-Shirt available. This is a small ride, there were no problems with traffic, parking, or packet pick up. Registration gets 4 of 5.
Route. Comments pertain to the 38 mile route. The route was color coded and marked with panted arrow on the road; there were no signs. The first part of the route was rural with very little traffic. There was a stretch along US 183 but it had a very wide shoulder. There was also a stretch along US 287, a very busy freeway, but the organizers of the ride had actually gotten permission to cone off the right lane, so there was no danger to the cyclists. A color coded map of the route was provided and was very clear and easy to follow. Route gets 5 of 5.
As we rode the route I felt like Pharaoh again as the route now had a plague of frogs. There were hundreds of dead frogs on the route, some still intact, others smashed beyond recognition. The ride organizers were not responsible for this, however. I can only assume that these “plagues” of crickets and frogs have something to do with the wet weather this year.
Rest stops. These were well stocked with fruit and cookies. Rest stops get 5 of 5.
Rider support. I don’t believe there was any mechanical SAG on this ride, and I almost needed it, as my tire began to bulge alarmingly, but we were able to finish without incident. There was one pickup truck patrolling the route, and he always checked to see if we were OK. Still, there should have been some mechanical SAG from Wichita Falls, so support gets 3 of 5.
Post ride. There were showers provided, and pizza after the ride, this gets 5 of 5.
Summary. Despite the long distance and the light rain, a very enjoyable ride and good alternative to the Red Hot Chili Pepper ride.

 

August 26, 2006

The 2006 ride was great. It was well supported and organized and hot. One thing most people don’t know about this ride is about 20 miles of it is thru the Waggoner Ranch, 500,000+ acres under one fence. The road thru the ranch was brand new and as smooth as concrete. More people should do this ride. It has almost no traffic and is a lot of fun. The organizers did a great job.

Another great year at Vernon. This ride should have more participants, but I guess everyone is saving it for the HHH the next weekend. Rest stops are well placed with sufficient supplies to meet your needs. 100K gives you a challenge as the last 15-20 miles head west/southwest and you get to fight the ever-present wind. Showers at the end were great using the Vernon College gym. The number of door prizes gave you a great chance of winning something…I got a Camelpak. For the price, you should come out to this ride. Downside: Pizza served at 11:00 so if you got in after 11:45 you were pretty much out of luck. Also, they ran out of ice water and Power Aid at the finish line and your choices were down to buying a $1 drink or going to the gym for the drinking fountain. However, I will do this ride again next year.

August 20, 2005

This is an under-rated, and under-attended but very good bike ride. It's often touted by the Vernon Jaycees as a warm-up ride for the HHH 100, which is probably why it's so scantly attended. Only about 255 riders this year. But this 100K ride is a much harder ride than the HHH 100K. Deceptively so. Most cyclists won't want to do them both on successive weekends (not enough recovery time for the HHH) but it's worth skipping HHH one year to give it a whirl. What makes the route deceptive is thinking that it's going to be a flat, fast ride of 62.66 miles. Wrong. You start out cycling SW and quickly realize that 1) flat means pedaling all the time, and 2) the roads aren't really flat but always slightly inclined. A 10 - 15 mph wind out of the S/SW makes those slightly rising roads all the more challenging to keep cranking along. This is the rule (with some breaks when the route turns eastward) all the way to Grayback and rest stop #4 where you finally get a tailwind that makes the 11/12 miles to Harrold a superb, cycling pleasure. This is also where you might see wild turkeys or as I did, a pack of javelinas running across the road. The 'hell' on this course is the final 12 - 15 miles on FM 1763 down to HW 287. By the time you reach this section, after rest stop #6, the winds up, it's hot, and you've got those flat to slight inclined roads that seem endless in length. The headwind really hurts you. They ride organizers do a good job on road coning off one of the two lanes on Hwy. 287 that you must be on before getting off on the service road. This plus a good, wide shoulder makes it pretty safe to maneuver. The rest stops were quite adequate with water, PowerAde, really good bakery cookies and orange quarters. The only shaded rest stop is the one under Hwy. 287 at Harrold. Some 'tent shade' on #6 & #7 would be greatly appreciated. SAG and medical support was highly visible although I never saw anyone needing help from either. The only complaint I can make about this year's event was that there were no showers available at the King Phy Ed Center as they were being renovated by Vernon College. That news broke my spirit more than the headwind on FM 1763. 

August, 21, 2004

This is a great little ride. The number of riders is very small (maybe due partly to the fact that it was scheduled to rain), but the route is a good warm up for the Hottern' Hell, which is always the following weekend. The route is mostly flat, with a few rollers, but nothing dramatic. This year the weather was unusually cool and there was no wind, making it a fast course. The Jaycees serve free pizza afterwards and have an awards ceremony with a raffle for goodies. It's a great atmosphere and more intimate than the bigger rides in the area. Worth the trip up.

August 16, 2003

Vernon Burnin is held each year the last weekend before the renowned Hotter'n Hell Hundred. The ride features a non-sanctioned race with medallions given to top finishers in various age groups. The racers are provided a separate start so that those cyclist who prefer to 'tour' are not hassled by the speed seekers. Six rest stops are well stocked with water and electrolyte replacement as well as the typical cyclist goodies (bananas, oranges, cookies) Course is well marked with paint on the road, color coded to match the maps (each distance a different color). Corner marshals are provided for critical areas. Terrain for the 100K has some rollers between mile 30 and 40 but nothing too severe. There is one steep short climb about 12 miles from the finish. Other distances are basically flat! This year the weather was almost perfect -- the last 15 miles were into the wind (funny the same thing happened last year -- wind out of the West - go figure). There is pizza for all cyclists at the ride's end along with free showers in the Phys Ed building of Vernon Junior College (the ride's start/finish point). There are a number of motels in the area as well as a campground (only 1 mile from the start/finish) for those who wish to arrive the night before.