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Cotton Patch Classic - Greenville, TX

September 16, 2017

Another great Cotton Patch ride. Weather was great. Check-in was smooth. I got there early and had a fantastic parking spot. The signage and traffic control was superb. I enjoyed the route improvements. Much less time on IH 30 frontage roads. The Cub Scout rest stop was great. It was all a lot of fun! I'll be back next year!

Did the 74 mile route – relatively flat, overall, but not the greatest road surfaces… I would estimate about 40% chipseal, half of that new, and a lot of highway travel that required riding on the shoulders (although usually wide), and occasionally dealing with rumble strip. There were also a few two-lane bridge sections to deal with, with no shoulder to use – although police/emergency support / traffic control was very good at all locations. Had two flats near the Tawakoni bridge, both from metal wire pieces that were probably from lost retreads, a result of having to spend most of the day on the shoulders. Rest stop foods were standard fare, nothing special, but volunteers were friendly. Wine sampling at Mile 57 was a plus!

September 17, 2016

Thank you to those who attended the 2016 Cotton Patch Challenge. We tried some new routes this year going South instead our traditional northern routes. We are asking feedback from those who attended our ride. Go to our website and there is a connecting link to give us feedback. We are giving out a prize in a raffle to all who complete our survey. We did have a tragic side note to our ride this year. A rest stop worker at our first rest stop (Center Point Christian Church) had an accident in his car and was killed a short distance (1/4 mile) after leaving the rest stop when it shut down. The resulting accident closed down US Hwy 69 for hours during clean up/investigation and diverted traffic unfortunately to our finishing routes that paralleled Hwy 69. The result was high volume traffic on our routes at the finish. We hope the cycling community is understanding. We did not have a contingency plan for this type of scenario.
This year we also had to compete with Emmitt Smith's new Gran Fondo bicycle event in Frisco on the same day. We were not aware of his event until they formally announced it in May, 2016. We acknowledge the quality of the event and the great cause that they serve and do not want to complete with their event in the future. We will coordinate with them next year to avoid a conflict on the same date…..Sincerely Dr Dan Reinboldt Cotton Patch Challenge

20TH Anniversary ride and I've been doing it at least 12 years if not more. Really enjoy this ride, well organized, good courses, good support from both police and volunteers, great attitudes from the volunteers and weather was good. I didn't pre-register this year but sailed through registration. Lots of fun after the ride – music, bandstand set up with seating, and the iced fresh fruit "smoothie table" right after the finish that a lot of riders miss – always a welcome treat after the ride. I got a beer bracelet but someone said you couldn't get beer until after 12 – didn't wait to find out since needed to head back, but grabbed a corn dog and some other food truck stuff – there was even a guy doing small wood fired pizza. They just make this a fun event all over (and then there is the rest stop with a wine tasting hosted by one of the sponsors). I'll keep coming back to this one. Recommend you put this on your September ride calendar.

We're regulars for this annual ride, and this year featured completely new routes. Due to time constraints, I decided to do the 36 mile route. While I can't speak to the longer routes, the 36 mile route was very nice, with excellent road conditions and very light traffic. There was one significant issue that affects all routes - the long stretch along the busy I-30 access road near the end of the route sort of took the shine off an otherwise outstanding ride. Maybe the organizers can find an "alternate ending" for next year's rally. As usual, the staff and rest stops were excellent, and it's nice to have a little festival to hit after the ride (although we didn't stay long this year). Look forward to next year.

I did this rally a few times before and enjoyed it every time. At their ride's 20th anniversary, they came up with some new routes this year. I love it and I will be back for sure! The new routes headed south. The road surface was nice with very few chip & seal sections. The terrain was mostly flat with some minor rollers. My favorite part of the ride was the 2-mile long bridge across Lake Tawakoni. Another of my favorites was the "beverage" tasting at mile 53 on the 75-mile route.
They provided fruits at all their rest stops but I would like to see other snacks at the later rest stops though.

I always enjoy this event. It is a high-energy, well-organized rally. Registration and parking was smooth. It was well-attended. Traffic control was outstanding (as usual). I forgot to pick up a map, but the signage was great and I didn't miss a single turn. There were new routes this year with the routes heading south rather than north as in previous years. I enjoyed the new route, but I also like the old one. I would be hard pressed to pick one over the other. I still had a lot of fun and am looking forward to next year.

Parking was easy, with volunteers directing traffic. Sign in at day of event was fast. No maps provided at sign in. Another pointed out there were flyers on a table with a map of all the rides. The routes were marked three ways: red arrows on signs to indicate turns, orange arrows spray painted in the road to designate a turn and the routes were designated by colors, with several small lawn flags planted at corners. The mass start was in the town square and all routes headed south. The weather was clear, humid and cool at the start and wind was calm for the first three hours of the ride. Temperature four hours after the start was 90 with 49% humidity heat index 94. The 36 mile course was mostly downhill for the first 12.5 miles of the route, with miles 6 to 10.5 downhill on a straight, wide, smooth shoulder of highway 69, this section was surprisingly fast. The rally was well organized with sag vehicles and motorcycles riding through the route keeping track of the number of riders remaining. A section of FM2947 was resurfaced with older cracks, some of them wide visible and marked with spray paint. All routes returned toward Greenville on a five mile stretch of access road before turning north. One thing that stood out was the traffic control provided at intersections by law enforcement, have never seen better traffic control at other rallies ever. The volunteers throughout the ride from registration, rest stops all did a great job. Looking forward to doing this ride again.

Cotton Patch Classic 2016: First-time rider, and only did the 18 mile route, but had a blast. Will be back next year for a longer ride. Loved the enthusiasm of volunteers all along the way, and the small things like fruit smoothies at the finish. Only downside for me as a first-time rider was the stretch along the I-30 access road. Kudos to Greenville and their traffic control along the whole route. Looking forward to next year!

 

September 19, 2015

Great ride - weather conditions were good allowing for a moderately fast ride. Good to have volunteers manning the turns. 2 mile stretch on 69 going out with narrow shoulder and lots of cracks which was the only bad section of the ride. Rest stops as usual were friendly - they all waved when we went by. Mixing the rally with the local festivities was impressive. Especially the Landon Winery wine tasting in the town square. (note for next year, bring designated driver if participating in the wine tasting)

Have been doing this ride for a number of years, and the $25 advance registration is reasonable. Headed to ride on i-30 by GPS said take exit 96 but I saw sign along highway saying to take Exit 93 for Cottonpatch Classic. OK, maybe a better way? Took the exit and - no more signs. Do I go straight? Turn? No more signs. Wound up getting back on I-30 and following GPS. Got to registration (I was early preregistered to be told they were out of XL t-shirts (almost 45 min before race start). Wait - shirt one of the benefits of pre-registering to assure you will get a shirt in your size? Kind of disappointing. Weather was great compared to heat and humidity so really nice day to ride, no winds to speak of. The road shoulders the first 10 miles were abysmal - lots of cracks, most marked, route signs saying "stay on shoulders (most didn't, causing some driver "reactions" to blocked lane but almost can't blame riders due to how bad some of the cracks were - enough to grab a bike wheel. Rest of route was usual mix of chip seal. Good to see the rest stop with wine tasting again. Rest stops were friendly as always and the smoothies at the end a nice treat - thanks to the group that does that each year. Still a good event, but stay off the shoulders the first 10 miles.

A good time! Weather (rain) held off for the most part; no wind outbound and big tailwind from the north all the way back. Long stretch from Wolfe City rest stop to next one, which was only 7 miles from finish. Having attended C.P. before, this stretch can be BRUTAL with a southerly wind so shouldn't have stops spaced out more than 10 miles. Downtown Greenville is sprouting more food and beverage establishments but you do have to look for them. Landon Winery is a gem in the middle. Rally 'Round Greenville is the celebration in which the rally is featured, so live music & vendors are a part of the enjoyment. Unfortunately, the threat of rain may have limited particiption this year. Looking forward to 2016.....thanks Landon Rest Stop (Wine Tasting) Girls & Guys!

September 20, 2014

Have done this ride before - good routes, mostly flat but some inclines, good signage and turn control, hazards spray painted, friendly people, good support, nice tech fabric T-shirt, and a table with free fruit smoothies right after the finish and a lot of food and fun options after. What's not to like? Well, the starting time. 9am is late for what is still hot Texas weather. Jump it up at least an hour and it will be even better. Heard a number of comments on this. I'll ride it again.

I really enjoy this ride. It's close to where I live and it's always well-run. The "Rally 'Round Greenville" festival held in conjunction with the tour was a lot of fun also and made for a full weekend. The rest stops and volunteers were great! One rest stop even offered wine tasting. Bonus! The brisk south wind made the last fifteen miles a challenge, but there is nothing the organizers can do about that. I'll be back next year!

This was my first year doing this rally. My teenage daughter and I rode the 63 mile route (actually 62 miles). Overall, this was an enjoyable ride. There was ample parking fairly close to the start line. Packet pick up was quick, and we were glad to get shirts (nice tech shirts) even though we registered online the day before. There were lots of port-a-potties and a portable hand-washing station (always appreciated). We loved that they had some fruit and water at the start. The route was your typical country ride with lots of chip seal, but it wasn't bad. The route was fairly flat and there was traffic support at the major intersections. The route was well marked. The smoothies at the finish line really hit the spot. I have only two complaints. The first is the motorcycle volunteer that nearly hit my daughter while making a careless turn into a rest stop. The second was the distance between rest stops. They told us that rest stops would be 10-12 miles apart. That simply was not true, and it proved to be a problem. This was my daughter's first long ride and she did it on her hybrid so she really needed the breaks. Well we decided to skip a rest stop that was only 5-6 miles from the previous one, but it turned out that the next rest stop was close to 20 miles from the next. Others struggled due to this as well and had to stop at the side of the road. 10-12 miles should mean 10-12 miles. Period. As for the rest stops, they were pretty bare bones with water, Gatorade, fruit, and some cookies. We enjoyed the grapes. But I don't understand why rallies that offer longer routes don't offer something a bit more substantial such as peanut butter and jelly. Anyway, we stopped for lunch at the winery and the food was good and service excellent. Enjoyed the music and some homemade ice-cream at the festival afterwards. All in all, a good rally that I would do again and recommend.

 

September 21, 2013

Great event again! My ONLY complaint about the event was the north wind – what a beast! The tailwind helped a LOT when we finally made the turn but by then I was pretty much done.
The event was well supported, well-staffed and well-marked – the signage was exceptional and included volunteers with big flags to help point the way (none do it better – my opinion). Ended with 62.213 miles at 17.2 mph average even with the north wind. Thanks to the town of Greenville as well as all of the other towns along the way including law enforcement, EMT's and volunteers!!
BTW – the band at the end was way too loud for folks having lunch at Landon's, I would suggest moving them to the other end of the street next year, please. - Ed

Wonderful weather for the ride (how do they do that?). Roads were ok - chip seal but the rest stops were great and so was the signage. Appreciate the help in finding a parking spot too. Most visible T I've received this year.

Nice job, Greenville! Good 41 mile route and nice volunteers. Such a BEAUTIFUL weather day to ride (especially with tailwind going back in). I agree with earlier post: band much too loud in close quarters. Also: more food vendors for riders would have us linger in the post-ride area. We like having the opportunity to have a bite right away, and would be a good souce of revenue for local businesses. All-in-all, a good time......I'll be back next year.

Awesome day for a ride! The wind was tough, but came at our backs at the right time. Route was well marked and the roads were pretty good. It might make sense to sweep the course early to remove the broken glass and dead animals, but hey, it is Texas…. There were some major cracks in the road surface at the edges occasionally and could have used some bright paint. The routes were very well set up with incremental bailouts along the longest route. The dedicated bike lane into town and under the finish banner was a lovely touch. Support along the road was encouraging and competent. Some riders could use a refresher on bike etiquette. There were a lot of silent passes even on the inside with no notice. Hats off to the planners at Greenville for a ride well executed!

good rally... glad to see they did away with the race so the organizers/volunteers could concentrate on the rally only... one gripe however, were the placement of the cones where they discontinued at the early part of the route.. instead of simply ending the line of cones, they were angled to the right and blocked the lane the cyclists were in... caused alot of panic for the lead pack (25-30 riders) to dodge the cones, but fortunately no crashes i was aware of... //mb

Rode the 63 mile route and though it was windy had a good ride. There were way too many chances for it to go South quickly though as the cracks (large ones) in the road were too numerous and unmarked. At a minimum they need to be painted, I know that's a LOT of paint, maybe better yet would be to find another route if the state/county can't maintain the roads. Brian Faulkner

September 15, 2012

Another great day for a ride! I rode the 41 mile route this morning. It was my first time doing this ride and my 4th ride this year. Lots of friendly folks both on the road and at the stops. I had very few cars pass me going the same direction until the last few miles and then only a couple. All but one pulled way over and gave plenty of room. I did not preregister but it did not matter. I walked right up to the table and was finished in seconds. The usual road surfaces and no wind. My number was in the 460's so probably around 500 riders. The start was smooth. We were staged around the corner from the loudspeaker so we could not hear what was said. Not a complaint, just an observation. The route is an easy ride, very gentle rises and long smooth descents with the exception of one hill that was steep. They had a group cheering at the top of the hill passing water to riders as they passed by. I thought it all was well planned and well run. I will be back.

Pros: Good roads, good selection of distances, easy packet pick-up, good signs and directions, good support, good food, good rest stops and good fun before and after the tour – really? What more could anyone ask for! Just an outstanding event overall. Cons: There was a bit of a mess concerning the "miss-printed statements about a bicycle "give-a-way" raffle. The tent for the "free" smoothies was a bit "hidden" or at least tucked behind Landon's. And pedestrian vs. bicycle traffic around the Courthouse was pretty bad and needed better control. I WILL do this on again! Just a really good time!

Couldn't ask for better weather for a ride! Temps were cool, skies were overcast, and the wind was negligible! A well-organized and executed ride. Rest stops were well-stocked and the volunteers were eager to help. I especially like the traffic routing back into town at the end of the ride (bike only lane). This is one of my favorite rides.

I have completed over 20 events this year, and out of all of them, this is my #2 ride! The event day was a nice cool day, with some rather strong wind, but VERY good roads that were smooth for about 80% of the overall ride. Only some chip seal. They coordinate the Cotton Patch Rally with the downtown event where they have food, refreshments, and 2 live stages with a variety of talented acts performing. PROS: This event was VERY well planned out. The downtown markings were well thought out with easy parking at numerous locations available (great maps as well of where to park on the website). Registration was a breeze as well as package pickup was very simple and friendly. Course: EXCELLENT markings. Almost any potentially hazardous item was marked on the entire 100K course. I was quite impressed. All turns were marked and/or manned with a volunteer to direct accordingly. There were also "Rest Stop 1 mile ahead" signs to let you know if upcoming RS. The 100K had some VERY challenging hills in the mid-course of the ride. It was cute they had marked it up with "Hill 1, Hill 2, Hill 3, One more hill to go, Keep it up, last one!" and even a smiley face at the top of the hill. They even had a water stop on top of the hill with volunteers there to cheer you on. It was awesome! Rest Stops: The staff at the stops were Awesome! Very friendly and helpful. The Rest Stops were the BEST I have ever seen. Grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, pickles, cookies, Gatorade, water, ice, even peanut butter sandwiches on some stops. They were pretty much every 10-12 miles on the dot almost. Cons: The finish line. There was not "official" finish line. You just arrived downtown, and you were done. It would have been nice to have some sort of finish line to show your completion, and maybe some volunteers just to be there to give you some kudos. Also, the materials showed there were going to be showers available at the end manned by the Baptist Men that would have towels, soap, shampoo, etc, nobody knew where that was. I asked one person and they said it was at the courthouse, but there were no signs and could not find it. Another person mentioned it was at the YMCA that was 15 blocks away. I went there, and they had no towels, so I ended up "drip drying". Overall this was my #2 favorite event behind Lake Tahoe. Very well staffed and a GREAT ride. I will make this a yearly event for me!

September 17, 2011

My husband and I rode the Cotton Patch Challenge this weekend and other than the killer wind, the ride was wonderful. Great volunteers and route well marked. I also liked the fact that it did not have many turns. My husband has been riding for years but I am a newbie. This is only my 3rd organized ride so as a beginner I do have a few suggestions for the organizers….we pre-registered but did not receive the raffle tickets for the mountain bike giveaway, we got the band for the free beer but no one could tell us where to get the free beer and the manager at the winery was rude, you ran out of sandwiches for the end of ride meal, ice is a wonderful thing to have when it's hot.

We picked up our packets at Plano Cycling and Fitness. It was nice to have that step out of the way, but we didn't get the free beer wristbands. On ride day, my husband and I rode our tandem on what we thought was the 63 mile route. The routes were well marked, but the road out of town lacked signage for which routes the turns were for. I saw a sign marking the 21 mile turnoff, but never saw any signs distinguishing the 58 mile turnoff. We asked the volunteer at the turn if the turn was for all routes and she shook her head "yes". As it turned out, we ended up on the 58 mile route when we were trying to do the 63 mile route. Shame on us for not memorizing the map more closely!
We stopped at the 30 mile and 50 mile rest stops and they were well stocked with cookies, fruit, water and gatorade. Saw a number of cyclists sagging in, either the wind or the chip seal must have gotten to them. We took advantage of the free showers offered by the Park Cities Baptist Church. What a wonderful experience that was! Towels, shampoo and conditioner and body wash were all provided. It was so refreshing. It sure is nice to get out of the sweaty cycling clothes after the ride. We skipped the free sandwich and opted for a full meal at the Landon Winery. The service was great and the menu made it hard to choose from all the selections.
Regarding the free beer, at the start of the ride the announcer very clearly stated that the beer would be served at the end of the street near the band. I guess a lot of people don't pay attention to the pre-ride announcements!

Thanks all the great volunteers that supported this ride; without them there would no ride. My wife and I support several rides a year and understand the demands on the volunteers. Packet pickup at Plano cycle was quick and convenient. We are seasoned riders and ride a sanctioned ride every Sat if one is available. We also travel to other cities for rides we enjoy. Rest stops were plentiful and well stocked. Routes were marked well. The city of Greenville has been supportive hosts of this ride which we have ridden for years. We thoroughly enjoy small town environments. Free beer, bike give-a-ways and food after the ride are not high motivators for us to ride. I'd rather support a local restaurant after the ride. Routes, environment (friendly town) and safety are top motivators. Just FYI, we did not get free beer bands or raffle tickets (or info on either) in our packets. The wind was challenging but not a controllable factor. The chipseal and speed on Hwy 34 was our biggest challenge. Thanks again for continuing to offer this ride.

Haven't participated in this rally since mid-90's (!) Was planning on going to Waco, as I've done so many years previously (when it was on same day as Bonham, usually one week later.) The Greenville C.O.C. talked this shindig up nicely, so I decided to go there instead. Glad I did. Spent the night at the Super 8, much cheaper than other hotels advertised on website ($64 + tax). The restaurant/winery that held registration and post-ride lunch was quite a surprise in downtown G'ville...will plan on spending more time there next year. Showers were available, too. Rode 41 mile course, little traffic, roads okay (usual chip seal). Outbound northbound/ inbound southbound...with rollers, too....wind kicked up and made for a hard ride back to start. Enthusiastic volunteers, can't think of anything bad. Look forward to attending next year, and bringing more riders with me. Good job, Greenville! QUACK!

 

September 2010

September 18, 2010This was my first time to ride in the Cotton Patch Classic and it is a great ride. I did the 63 mile ride and the route was extremely well marked with volunteers at every major turn to make sure we went the right way. Registration was fast and easy. The rest stops were great. The fresh cantaloupe at the rest stops was a great treat. Cold and delicious! Towards the end of the ride, some of the rest stops were getting low on water and Gatorade. Also, I did not see any SAG vehicles along the route until the very end. Fortunately, I did not need any SAG help, but I don't know what I would have done if I had needed help. The only suggestions I'd make to improve this ride would be to include the SAG phone number on the route map and to make sure they don't run low on water at the break stops. Otherwise, this was just great. The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Thanks to the organizers for putting together such a great ride. I'll be back for sure! 

Nice ride out of Greenville last Saturday. The 100k route was mostly flat with a few hills thrown it to keep it interesting. I only used one rest stop at 40 miles that was well stocked. Signage was great with someone at every turn. Hope to be back next year!

Great ride as always. Weather was very nice with minimal winds. Yummy sandwiches and strawberry smoothies at the finish. Also a nice town festival around the square at the finish. Alot of the town folk turn out for this every year. Will be back next year. Thanks.

My wife and I did the 30 mile route—it was our first time doing the CPC. Registration and packet pickup went very smoothly and the line to the port-o-potties seemed to be moving quickly. They ran out of 2x shirts—this is such a popular size I hope rides start ordering more of them. The shirt is really nice—not that fancy a design but the wicking type shirt is great (the wife loves hers).
The route was well marked and very straightforward—out, 2 right turns and then back into town. Each intersection was marked and staffed. I don’t think there were as many support vehicles on the road as I see at other rides. I noticed the occasional SAG vehicle and saw one of the bike shops helping someone roadside with a mechanical breakdown.
The rest stops were all very well stocked and well staffed with very friendly folks. The after ride shower was a HUGE BONUS. Many, MANY thanks for the Baptist Men for this!!! We thought it was a great ride and will definitely be back next year.

As always a great ride. The musician at the start sets the atmosphere for a good time for all. Registration and the start seemed to go smoother than years past. The rest stops, for the most part, seemed well stocked (the final rest stop before getting back to Greenville seemed to have problems keeping some supplies, but the folks were friendly and helpful). The route is nice with some pretty scenery and rolling hills. One thing the organizers might look at for next year is monitoring traffic on Hwy 34 on the route back in. There was a lot of traffic and several vehicles sped by riders without giving much clearance. A couple of sheriff deputies patrolling might ease the problem. I will be there again next year. Thanks to everyone that put the races and rides together and volunteered their time.

 

September 19, 2009

Cotton Patch Classic gets the t-shirt of the year award. Not a cotton t-shirt but a polyester "DRI-GEAR" shirt. this is one shirt that goes to the front of my closet. - John

A resounding "hats off" to the organizers and volunteers of this year's Cotton Patch Classic! The race and tour were handled seamlessly and efficiently. Even the weather cooperated. Well done y'all and thanks for putting this one on!

I rode the Cotton Patch Classic for I think the 6th time, and I believe this was the best one yet. The routes were clearly marked, volunteers were friendly, the turns were well protected, and I did not experience any long lines at the two rest stops I used (I did the 55 route). I saw a couple of tires being changed by SAG support. Overall, one of the better rides of the year- Well done, Greenville! BTW, am I the only one to note the irony of the Cotton Patch Classic giving away the only all polyester ride shirt of the season?

The 2009 Cotton Patch was a great ride. The weather was perfect, the people of Greenville went out of their way to be friendly, and a great bunch of riders.
The routes were marked very well. The markings for the rough areas of the road were very valuable. I really liked having a volunteer, with a flag, at every turn and major intersection. The folks at all the rest stops went out of their way to make sure the riders were seen too.
The festival that went along with the ride was also a fun time.
This will not be my last visit to this tour.

Over all the ride was great. The only concern I have was the nutritional aspect. This was the first ride I have been to where they did not have food items consisting of carbohydrates or protein. Having to stop at a gas station for food on these rides should not happen.

Heck - We are lucky when a ride has food. See spoiloed

I rode in the 09 cotton patch challenge and it was my first but I guarantee it will not be my last one. I ride in about 7 or 8 a year all over Texas and the cotton patch challenge is one of the best that i ever rode in. I am looking forward in riding in the 10 ride. Also the best t shirt that I ever got on a ride. Keep up the good work

September 20, 2008

Thank you to all in the cycling community for your support of our event this year.   We try to improve our event every year in an effort to make it a better experience for every level of rider.   This year was the 12th year for the OmniSYS Cotton Patch Classic.   We had our best year ever with over 1,100 participants.   We realize that the price of gas places an added financial burden in traveling to bicycle events.   We are committed to providing the best entertainment value for the bicyclists attending our event.   We will continue to improve our live music, traffic control, festival activities and food after the event.   Please post your remarks on John Sandowski’s website.   We want to hear what you thought of the event.    You may e-mail me (alineme@geusnet.com ) any of your suggestions or comments about the event.   We thank our many sponsors of the event, especially our title sponsor for the last 6 yrs, OmniSYS LLC.    Their faithful support includes website hosting, printing of promotional materials, employee volunteers and financial backing.    We will be back again next year on the 3rd weekend of September (September 19th ) to Rally Round Greenville.  

Great ride. They had a flag person at almost every turn. Not that you needed them it would have been hard to miss the big turn arrows. The rest stops I stopped at had cookies and some delicious fresh fruit, although I could have used a fork for the cantalope. The Barbacue sandwhiches at the end were some of the best I have had. And they had enough for even the last riders.

Another great ride. The weather couldn’t have been better. This is a well-supported ride that you don’t want to miss. Great goodies and the barbecue sandwiches and smoothies were a real hit! I know I’ll be back next year.

This was a great ride. I cut out the hills and just did the 54 mile ride. Road surfaces were decent for the most part.
Organization was outstanding. No glitches with the rally as far as I could tell. Rest stops were good. All good.
This would be a tough ride though, had there been any significant wind out of the south, which would make for a long finish into the wind.

September 15, 2007

I would like to thank all the bicycle community for their support of our event again, for our 11th year.    We had about 240 volunteers who donated their time to make this event an annual success.    We all know that none of the bicycle events would be possible without the help of our armies of volunteers.    I encourage you to express your opinion about our ride on our website or John Sandowski’s.    We “work” for the tour riders.   This year we made the transition to expand racing and the festival.    Our objective is to create a better entertainment value and unique event for our participants.    Our two day event this year attracted 860 participants, our best year ever.   We would like to thank OmniSYS and the rest of our sponsors for their support of the event, they are an integral part of our success.    If you want to relive the experience, return to our website (http://www.omnisys-inc.com/cottonpatch/index.htm ) for pictures and also John Sandowski has 200 pictures posted on his website (http://www.bicycle-stuff.com/photo2007/07_08_Greenville/page.htm ).    We look forward to seeing everyone back in 2008 on the 3rd week end of September - September 20, 2008.   Bring a friend next year to help us Rally Round Greenville.     

The 2007 Coton Patch Classic was an enjoyable experience. I rode a trike recumbent this year and got plenty of strange looks and friendly questions. Once again the organizers and volunteers did a fantastic job. It's too bad that there always seems to be ride conflict on the day of the CPC. This years temperatures made it much more enjoyable than last year's heat. The fresh fruits were a welcome change from oranges and bananas. There were ample restrooms at the start but not enough at the rest of the ride. Thankfully there were other alternatives available, at least for the men.
It seemed like there was more chipseal on the route than last year but the only brutally-rough patch was a few miles north of Wolfe City. The Leonard hills were fun except for that last bigun, and the smiley face at the crest was a welcome sight. The wind was pretty nasty on the stretch before Wolfe City and despite being much lower to the ground it really sapped my strength. SAG and other vehicles were constantly patroling the course. I decided to SAG several miles past Wolfe City. The pizza, smoothies, and drinks at the end were great and I hung around town a while to look at the festivities. I'll be putting this one on my calendar for next year.

Did the 41 mile ride out of Greenville today and overall it was a good ride. Portions of 69 and 34 were smooth as glass and the rest was worn chip seal. Rest stops had plenty of food including cookies, grapes and cantaloupe (nice touch!) The earlier rest stops could of used more than one porta potty though. All the intersections were staffed and the route well marked. Congratulations go out to the organizers for this event. I know it takes a lot of work for the 16 different races and the tour routes and the grand prix and arraigning for the vendor booths and everything else that had to be done. Pizza and drinks were available at the finish. Nice t-shirt too. Same time next yr.

Great Ride with Great Support. I was only dissappointed in the obvious disregard for safety/authority by the single rider who chose not to wear his helmet...even after being pointed out by the Mayor. If it's a rule it should be enforced, if it's not then it should be stricken.
It's still a great ride that I'll continue to support, and one of the few that I still participate in.
Thanks to all the staff/volunteers for a great ride.

A staggered start by distance might be a good idea if the ride keeps getting bigger. I saw young children (and even a little girl on a bike with training wheels) mixed in with serious roadies at the mass start. That’s a safety concern for both the adults and the kids. The ride coincides with downtown events including a go kart race that looked kind of silly to me, but I’m sure 800+ bikers in spandex looked silly to the go kart crowd. Road conditions were awesome on the 41 mile route. Hwy 69 north and then the section back to Greenville from Wolfe City had some of the smoothest pavement I’ve experienced in a while. Rest stops were well stocked and manned by friendly volunteers. All major intersections were controlled and turns were clearly marked. I’ll definitely be back next year. The downtown area had little festival going on which included vendors selling crafts and food. I went for corn dogs and left my riding partner to keep an eye on our bikes on the courthouse lawn. A group of local urchins had to be shooed away after showing too much interest in our bikes. They wanted to see if the bikes “belong to anyone”.

 

September 16, 2006

Overall a good ride through Hunt and Fannin counties. Routes were well marked and rest stops were good. I want to point out that the Wolfe City FD consistently does an outstanding job with their rest stop. Way to go guys and gals!! Downtown was a bit chaotic what with the 57 different events going on. Will do this one again.

This was a pleasant ride. Parking could have been a challenge had I not got to Greenville so early. Registration was easy and painless. The routes were pretty well laid-out and marked--in particular one road marking caught my attention. It was labeled "Dogs" with an arrow pointing a bit up the road and off to the left...and, there were dogs. I appreciated the warning. The route out was pretty smooth and very fast (we had a hefty tail wind). The lateral leg was a bit lonely but well marked. The return route was pretty brutal because of the winds but there were rest stops at just the right points. Everyone was friendly and helpful. It was also interesting to watch the racers but sad to pass those who had crashed painfully. It was also nice to see a bicycling event as a part of a larger celebration. I will ride this ride again next year.

This was well worth my long drive to get there. Thanks to all the volunteers and great folks who made this ride go so smoothly! I've never been to Geenville but with the detailed maps from their website I was able to find everyting very easily. Most of the stops had watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes, which I thought was a great addition to the usual fare. I was impressed with the way hazards were marked and amused by the smiley-face at the top of the biggest hill. Anyone who missed a turn on this ride must have been sleeping. The road surfaces were mostly good with only a few short sections of rough chipseal. The wind was great on the north leg and brutal on the south but that's just part of the challenge. The pizza at the end was delicious and the fresh fruit smoothies were certainly relished by this hot, tired rider. I even got to chat with the fine fellow who does this website. I'll definitely be back next year.

I would like to thank all of you that participated in our 10th anniversary ride of the OmniSYS Cotton Patch Classic. Each year more of you participate in our ride, this year was our best with 720+ bicyclists. We try to improve our ride every year for the benefit of the riders. Each year we listen to our riders and then re-evaluate for changes in the coming year. Please post your comments here or send them directly to me at my e-mail: alineme@geusnet.com . This year was our first year to have our bicycle event on the same day as the Lions Club Mini-Grand Prix car races. This year is also the first year that the Chamber of Commerce added vendors to the event. We think these additions helped to make a better entertainment value for the participants and make it a more unique experience, not just another bike rally. We invite you to return next year and bring your families and friends. We promise to entertain your families while you are “beating yourself up” on the course. Thank your for making our event a success this year! …..Dan Reinboldt, event director

The Cotton Patch Classic is definitely worth putting on your ride calendar. The ride coincided with a festival in historic town square of Greenville. Consequently, parking was chaotic. It was difficult to find a place to park and there wasn’t anyone around to direct us. Thankfully, registration went smoothly. I did the 63 mile route. Scenic, well laid out course with turnoffs every 5 miles or so for riders doing the shorter routes. The Leonard Leviathans were steep, but manageable and provided some fun downhill screamers. Real bugaboo was the return into the wind with what seemed like an endless though gradual uphill for much of the return trip. Averaged 20 mph going out, but only 16 mph back. Road surfaces were mostly excellent. Course and road hazards were extremely well marked. Course monitors did a great job directing riders through turns. Alll in all, a great ride. Will be back next year.

It seemed to me that there was someone with a flag at EVERY turn. - John

This was my first time to ride this and wanted to see if it was worth the 2 hour drive from Fort Worth. Since this was my first time I had no clue where to go once I reached Greenville. The maps on-line did get me inside the "ball park" but it was dark and I could not drive and look at map. I think they could have posted "this way" signs to guide the first timers to right place. This brings up my second point, the bike ride is held in conjunction with a festival. It just so happens the ride start/finish point and the festival are all in the same place. When you get to town, parking is where ever you can find a space, then when you finish the ride (come up to the finish line) you find yourself in the midst of the towns people out enjoying the festival. So now you have to navigate your way through the crowd to your parking place, then try to get out of town, it can be challenge, especially if you have never been to Greenville. The town had several roads closed off for a cart race, so depending on where you park it could be a challenge to get back to your vehicle. I would suggest that you move the race start/finish away from the downtown festivities. It is a good idea to hold a race in conjunction with a festival but I think they need to be in separate locations, just for ease of getting in and out and safety of the people enjoying the festival. With that being said, that was the worst of my experience. The route was along good secondary roads that were for the most part lightly traveled. The scenery along the route was awesome, except for the skunk that crossed the road right in front me, but hey,I got to see some of the local wild life. The route was rolling hills, a couple of good climbs but nothing difficult. The route is a north/south route so the last 30 miles (I did the 100K) was into a 16 -20 Knot head wind - earned your lunch that day, saw a lot of people struggling. Typically the winds are out of the S- SE in Texas so plan on a head wind for the last part of the route. Maybe the organizers can look at more of east - west route and you will not have to battle the head wind on the way back. All of the turns were staffed by volunteers, so it would have been very difficult to get lost. I wanted to say thank you to those volunteers. I stopped once and the rest stops were well stocked and staffed with helpful volunteers. Overall, this is a good ride, I did enjoy myself, the last 20 miles was painful, but then again you need something to challenge yourself and a 20 knot head wind will provide that challenge. If you have a USCF license you can enter the race and see if you can get into the prize money. Not a lot of people (couple hundred at the most), good roads, good support, good ride. Thanks to people of Greenville who put on this event.

The Cotton Patch Classic was certainly no Hotter’n Hell Hundred but for a small tour ride it was done very well. Registration went well, it started on time, the turns were easily noted and the rest stops were laid out adequately. Just a bit of information for the intermediate rider: This is not an easy ride for either the 53 mile or 100K – especially for the 100K. Either of these rides requires one to be well trained and prepared for a 20-30 mile stretch south back to Greenville that is virtually all uphill and usually into a stiff south wind. This difficult south home stretch also starts right after enduring a set of very steep hills north of Leonard on the 100K tour. The Cotton Patch 53 mile and 100K tours, because of their almost continuous hill climbing, are significantly harder that the 100K at the Hotter’n Hell and both rides present quite a challenge for the intermediate rider.

Parking and traffic: This ride starts in Downtown Greenville, so the parking is spread out in a number of small lots. There were ushers who directed you to where they wanted you to park. It was about two blocks away from the registration, no worse than a long walk across a high school parking lot.

Registration: This was available online through BikeReg, and by mail. There was no separate Tandem category. I arrived early. The line for the registration was very short, everything was well organized and I got my packet in 5 minutes. There were about six porta johns at registration and the line went very quickly.

There was no separate tandem entry but a small T-shirt, very colorful I might add, was available. The rest of the packet had a combination of junk mail, a sports bar, and a little first aid sewing kit. Also, some kids were giving out free samples of that power jell stuff. Registration gets 4 of 5.
Route: (Comments pertain to the 54, actually 56, mile route). This is the part of this ride I like the least. Whereas most rides will go out of the way to find quiet country roads, the Cotton Patch seems to look for the busiest, fastest roads it can find. The ride starts on US 69, and although there is a wide shoulder there are also a lot of high speed cars and trucks. The route improves somewhat as it turns onto FM 272. It was on this leg of the route that we witnessed a strange phenomenon, clouds of tiny bugs flying in the lee of the trees, in the shade. There were lots of them! You could see the clouds of bugs across the fields as you rode by. Luckily, we only rode through one cloud. My stoker has smooth skin and they didn’t stick to her; I am hairy and got an armful of them. Luckily, they didn’t bite.
Anyway, the route took a turn for the worst again as it went northeast on SH 78 from Leonard to Bailey. A very busy, high speed highway with NO shoulder. Very unpleasant. You then went southeast on SH 11, which at least had a shoulder, although so rough it made the worst Collin Classic chip seal feel like a silk road. You finish up the ride by taking SH 34 straight back into Greenville.
Now, there are myriad small county roads that could be utilized for this tour if the ride directors would go out an look for them. If they could get off these busy highways their tour would be much more enjoyable.
Map: This was not really detailed enough to construct a GPS route with, as the intersections were obliterated by the thick route maps. The map should have been broken down into a different one for each route, rather than having a 21 mile map on the same sheet as the 64 mile one. Also, the organizers of the ride apparently consider Fannin county to be undiscovered territory, as there was no detail on this part of the map. The distances between rest stops were well marked, however. The routes were color coded, but there were no color coded markings on the road, and the color coded flag wavers from previous years were nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, it would be hard to get lost on this route because of its simplicity. I give the route 3/5
Rest Stops: Very hard working, friendly volunteers. A good selection of fruit, not just sour oranges and unripe bananas but ripe bananas, sweet grapes, sweet watermelon and sweet cantaloupe, and the fruit was kept cool. There were also store bought cookies, Powerade and water. Rest stops get 4/5.
SAG. Three major bike shops were represented, Plano Cycling, RBM and REI, with trucks. There were also several large pickups patrolling the route. SAG gets 5/5.
Post Ride: As aforesaid, the ride starts in downtown Greenville, so there were no showers available. You ended the ride right smack in the middle of a festival, but first there was free pizza and smoothies. You could then tour the festival, for my part I would have liked to shower first, and the ride organizer’s should take a page out of the Melon Patch’s book and offer a shower at the nearest school. In spite of this post ride gets 4/5.
Mainly because of the route, I will probably be doing Sherman next year; if busy high traffic routes don’t bother you then you will probably enjoy this ride.

 

September 17, 2005

Again this ride is deserving of the title "Classic". The roads are mostly all smooth and high speed with an insignificant amount of the demon "chipseal". This course is fast and built especially for those riders with the areo bars and the tri-spoke wheels. I would say it is impossible to get lost on this course unless you tried real hard. Road markings, signs, course monitors, policemen, whew! I was afraid that if I even looked like I was going to stray I would get bonked by one of those giant flags the monitors held! The rest stops were first class as usual with plenty of variety. Even shaded areas under the tents for rest. The pizza at the finish is a great touch. There were about 800 people there. Why thousands don't ride this event is a mystery to me. Great job guys. Keep the course like it is...see you next year!- N.W.

Pre-registration was much better this year than last - a lot faster. There were signs directing traffic into town and and volunteers directing parking. Rest stops were well stocked and numerous. All the volunteers were welcoming and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Route markings were great and each major intersection was manned. They even had road hazards were identified with orange spray paint! Once out of town, Hunt and Fannin counties have some scenic countryside and the pizza and cokes at the finish were much appreciated. The people who put on this ride got it right!!

This was my first time to ride The Cotton Patch Classic in Greenville, TX and I greatly enjoyed the scenery and the roads were impressively smooth for the most part. The one strip of chipseal was not too bad and at least it did end! As a single female rider there was one thing I noticed that concerned me and that was from mile 19 to the last rest stop at the Wolf City fire station I only saw 2 sag vehicles. There was one stretch of road (not sure of the road name, but it was the little country road where the racers went left and the 41 miles went right) that was very lonely and could have been very dangerous if something would have happened, because there was not one sag vehicle at all along this strip and the riders were very spread out as well. All in all the ride is great and I would tell others to come out next year, but I think more consistent sag vehicles would greatly enhance this ride!

Thank you to all the bicyclists that supported our ride again this year. This was our 9th year and this was our best year for attendance and $ raised. Each year we use this website, onsite interaction with cyclists and our own observations to improve the ride. We are striving to make this event something that you can bring the whole family to and yet spend some quality time on the bike, whether it be casual or serious. We want to make your experience at our event unique - warming up with live performance by a concert violinist, downtown courthouse atmosphere, lots of volunteers on the course (color coded flag marshals at corners, sag and rest stops - over 200 volunteers on event day), variety of live entertainment, rides for kids, child ID and free fruit smoothies and pizza. Our Rotary board will re-evaluate this year's event, keep the good, refine any rough edges and add something new for next year. Please give us feedback. We want to hear the good and the bad. We hope to see everyone back next year and tell your friends about your experience in Greenville..Dan Reinboldt Event Director PS We do apologize to the riders needing a port-a-toilet at the last two rest stops - the company who delivered them placed them at the wrong intersections!. 

I really liked everything about this event. You could tell that a lot of hard work and effort went into it. It was well organized and executed from pre-registration and packet pickup on until the post ride festivities blended in with a town square Family Festival. Although there was a great turnout, this ride has a really nice small town feel to it. Everybody was friendly and helpful. The volunteers were visible and plentiful from the time that you hit town to the time that they waved goodbye to you as you left. This was the first rally for my six year-old. We did the 6 miler. He had a blast! We had a pace car convertible up front and two of the town's finest following along off the back. Everybody was so nice and encouraging to him! There were even local and state dignitaries who made it by the start line to shake his hand and wish us a good ride. The rest stop was cheerfully manned, well stocked and inviting. The only thing that was missing was a cheering section at the finish for the kids. (Add that one touch and you will make this an even better experience for the young riders.) But in truth, one of the locals and his family were doing a great if not raucous job of that from his front porch just as we were coming off the final climb back into downtown. The best thing about this ride.as soon as we started out for home, my six year-old was already asking about coming back next year. Nicely done all and thanks for a lovely time!

I rode in the 63 mile tour at the Greenville Cotton Patch Classic on Sept. 17 2005. The registration people were very competent and congenial. The weather was ideal - nice and clear. Of course, some streets were kind of bumpy in town, and there was chip seal on the lesser roads. But after we got going, the stretch from Celeste to Leonard is some of the prettiest scenery in this part of the state, and the advertised dogs didn't even come out to chase us! The rest stops were well run and the cookies, fruit, and drinks sure hit the spot. (I even met John Sadowski) The last hill north of Leonard was a challenge - last year I stayed over 9 mph but bonked on the way back to Greenville. This year I only went 7.5 mph, but afterwards felt a lot stronger than last year. Highway 11 sure could use a wider shoulder, but that is a TxDOT issue, and nobody seemed to have any close calls. Much to be appreciated are the volunteers that kept us going in the right direction - no turns were left abandoned and the sag wagon people seemed to always be there for anyone who needed help. I would recommend this tour to anyone who enjoys riding a bike at any level. 
Afterword - the music before and after the ride was unique and well worth listening to: Rigo Murillo, the violinist performing before the start of the tour, was really good, and at the end of the ride, Mr. Narramore was solo whistling a medley of traditional hymns through the sound system - it sure beat hearing the top-40 country count down!

I'm a beginner cyclist, and this was my very first Cotton Patch Classic. I have participated in a tour nearly every weekend since the beginning of the year (2005) and this was hands down my very best ride yet. I did the 54 mile tour, and loved every single minute of it. The morning was cool, the scenery was beautiful, the course markings were unmatched my any I've ever experienced (loved those HUGE white flags at the turning points). The course was fast and had some nice hills, but was mostly flat and for me this made the ride more enjoyable because I was able to just sit in the saddle and crank out the miles. Next year I'll be back with my entire family as well as several friends. (J.L.A. Dallas, Texas)

I rode the Cotton Patch Classic with my 6yr old daughter yesterday. She is just like me. Though two rest-stops were available she set the pace and pressed on without stopping. I know she can do more than 6 miles but 20 would've been too much. The Police support was great.I'm sorry to the Trooper that had to follow us for 2.5 of the 6 miles! Great ride, great volunteers, and thanks to all for the rally support.

 

September 4, 2004

What a beautiful morning this turned out to be for the 2004 Cotton Patch Classic Tour. A well organized ride, with nice routes, and challenging hills (63 mile tour). All rest stops I visited were well stocked, had a good variety of fresh fruits (bananas, cantaloupe, green grapes, oranges), plenty of water and sports drink, good cookies, and staffed with nice people. Registration was fast (for those of us who got there / signed up late), sag support was visible all the way along. Thanks to everyone who put this one together... it was a good one, and I'll return to those hills one more time next year...

These organizers know what they are doing and I think this ride rates as a top tier ride.  Looks like about 800 or so people participated.  I rode the 63 mile tour.  All the things you expect at a top tier ride occurred.  Easy parking, easy registration, fast course, good road surfaces (some chip seal but not too much nor too bad), well marked course and good traffic control at key intersections.  I didn't stop at any rest stops so I cannot rate those but there was plenty of fruit at the registration area near the start line.  They had a lot of categories for racing with prize money (non-USCF sanctioned I believe) including a category for recumbents.  You don't generally see that at other rallies.  After the ride there is lots of free Domino's pizza, fruit smoothies, cokes and plenty of fruit.  They even had massage tables set up.  My compliments to the ride organizers for a job well done.  Keep up the good work, I look forward to this ride next year.

I did the Recumbent race, 56-mile course. Overall it is a very good ride with the exception of the following dings. There were no race course maps handed out to the racers. I know. "Racers don't need no steenking maps." I was sorry I left at home the one I printed from the web site. Instead, I settled for a marked-up tour map. Both the tour map and the race map indicated it was 11 miles from the Bailey and Wolfe City rest stops. It was seven. The racer's map indicated 11 miles from the WC rest stop to the next one, and 10 miles from there to the finish. There was no such rest stop on the map or on the course. I know. "Racers don't need no steenking rest stops." Finally, there was that damnable chip-seal surface on FM 512 and FM 118 from Wolfe City to the finish. I note that the tour riders got to use TX 34 instead. I'll do the tour rather than the race next year unless (1) they get TXDoT to put a real road surface on those roads, or (2) they move the racers' route off those two roads.

This was my first year to do the CPC and I was impressed. Although the registration process was unnecessarily complicated for non-racers, it's my only "rap"!  The start was orderly and on time with the various racing groups going off in their assigned times with the tour group taking off last. The course was extremely easy to navigate however the additional effort of posting people at every turn only made the event that much more enjoyable.  Rest stops, though I only stopped once, looked to be well stocked with all the essentials including friendly and attentive hosts. The day turned out to be a wonderful summer day. For the most part all routes, short of the 63 miler, are flat with a few rolling hills just before getting into Leonard. The 63 mile route which continues north through Leonard is a bit more challenging with approximately 5 miles of very hilly terrain and one long slow uphill at the end before making the turn back to Greenville. If your looking for a good "first ride" to take a "newbie on,  or if you are looking for a relatively fast ride, close to Dallas with some nice scenery and a few challenges, this is the one!
BTW.To the Greenville Fire Dept.thanks for providing a fireman and a charged hose at the end of the ride. The mist of water he showed us with as we finished was a GREAT touch.Thanks again for a memorable ride.CAS

This was my 2nd tour & I was extremely please will the ride , everyone there were professionals in my eyes. Great job!!! Thanks a lot. Joanne

Overall this was a good ride. I Did the 63 miles and the Leonard hills gave me a good workout. The rest stops had cookies, bananas, oranges, watermelon, grapes and cantaloupe. The traffic control was excellent. Using flags at each turn was a good idea. My only complaint was that registration was a mess. I preregistered and it looked like the the people that registered late were getting through faster. I had to stand in one line to get my form then another to get my number. Why?? AND, even though I preregistered, they ran out of large t-shirts. Fortunately, the t-shirts are very plain so no great loss there.

This was my first Cotton Patch Classic (2004) and it will take some thinking about trying this on next year.  Having just completed the HHH recently (a well organized ride), I am reminded of the small town snafu's.  A messed up t-shirt order left many riders, to include pre-registered, empty handed and waiting for a mail out in the future to claim their shirt.  Rest stops were loaded with cookies and fresh fruit from the Farmer's Market and spaced pretty evenly throughout the route.  Also, I was quickly reminded of the locals that test the top speed of their vehicles when passing cyclists on several occasions.  I heard several complaints about route markings, but they must have missed the large orange painted numbers on the street and the great volunteers with flags at the intersections.  The return route down HWY 34 with its hills and the lovely Southern headwind pretty much stretched the group out and left many legs packed with lactic acid.  I must say thanks to the many Greenville volunteers and the Cotton Patch Classic, but for the average rider, TRAIN for the hills.  LiveSTRONG.

What an enjoyable and well administered ride.  Route marking was outstanding.  (I hope someone from Forney was in attendance and took notice of the methods used to handle the various routes.)  This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite rides. Plain-O Geezer Guy

The ride Saturday in Greenville was a small rally as rallies go in this area, with maybe two hundred riders.  It started  in downtown Greenville and there was a 55 mile and 63 mile route, as well as a couple of shorter ones. Registration was a bit unorganized and several riders expressed their consternation.  But after that little glitch, it was all good. The rest stops were well stocked with watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, grapes and cookies and, of course, power drinks and water.   Police and sag patrols were out and about patrolling the roads. The weather was in the lower 90s (under the normal blow torch for this time of year) but it was humid (rained came early the next day). The roads had rolling hills with a couple of good ones (same as the Autumn in Bonham rally).  There were some chip-seal surfaces for a few miles.  Of course there was head wind and hills on the way back, and for that we're always grateful. At the finish, there were free:  smoothies, pizza, iced down barrels of cokes and other soda. In short, an hour drive from Dallas, Greenville's Cotton Patch Challenge was a very good experience. 

I recently did the Cotton Patch Classic. My only complaint was the XXL tee shirt I had to "settle" for (actually, I wasn't put out by this at all). The course was marked very well. The abscence of heat and wind was a good thing seeming both have been "no-shows" for most of the recent rallies I have participated lately. I found the course to be fast and the roads were pretty good as well.  The hills around Leonard reminded me of a 7 mile section of the ride at Possum Kingdom. They were roller coaster hills and several in our group took their turns playing king of the hill. Overall I would rate this as a pretty good ride. The support was great with National Guardsmen at some intersections and flag-people directing riders down the proper courses, most drivers were tolerant and courteous. I only saw one renegade dog and but he refocused and headed off into the woods (to knock over a few trees I would imagine!). After the ride, there were refreshments to be had, pizza and smoothies, cookies and fruit. Overall, I would give thie ride high marks. I will do this ride again

As the event director of the OmniSYS Cotton Patch Classic, I would like to thank the riders and racers for supporting our event each year- we had 560 riders/racers, our best year ever. Our race events this year drew 111 racers. This year we had over 200 volunteers that were working the day of the event. I think all riders agreed that getting lost on our course was not an option. We appreciate participants caring enough to submit their comments to Bicycle Stuff website and to help improve our ride/races every year. Everything went pretty much as planned this year except for our T-shirt order. Instead of receiving 16% of our order as mediums and XXL, we received 58% of the order in those sizes! The order was sent to one of the largest Dallas area sports T-shirt screeners correctly but somehow was altered. I was as frustrated as some of you, who unfortunately were short changed. We did take a list of those who did not get their size and they will be mailed shortly. Our family festival will be back again next year. We will again have live music, games, climbing mountain, giant slide, tricycle races, bicycle safety rodeo and food vendors. We will again have our local concert violinist, Mario Murillo, play prior to the ride. We want to offer the "rest of the family" an option while mom or dad are out punishing themselves on the road. If you did encounter the trail ride with wagons and horses near Randolph, no we did not plan that but we will check for next year. Hope to see everyone next year.

 

August 30, 2003

What a GREAT ride this turned out to be! Although volunteers were directing us to park in a parking garage (who wants to cycle uphill in a garage after 63 miles on the road?), plenty of parking was found on Greenville's downtown streets. Registration was painless! The volunteers were friendly! The routes were well manned and marked! The organizers came up with a good idea this year to keep riders from getting lost -- each rider was given a colored wristband (purple for 47-milers, white for 63-milers etc.) and at each turn-off were volunteers waving flags that matched the color on your wristband. So just follow the right flag and you'd make it home. I loved this ride when it was the Cotton Jubilee in August and I still love it as the Cotton Patch Classic. I'll definitely return next year.

This was my first time to participate and I know that this ride has gotton mixed reviews in past years. However, I thought it was an excellent ride. I agree with a previous review that the course was extremely well marked and very easy to follow. Also traffic control at intersections was superb. The pizza and smoothies after the ride were nice. I wish more of the rides had food afterwards (yes I am greedy). I was going to say that parking downtown, where the ride starts might be a problem if this ride grows much from the 700 or so riders. However, the previous reviewer said there was a parking garage available. I did not realize that. I parked on the street across from the downtown square. I rode the 63 miles but did not stop at the rest stops so I cannot rate those. The one suggestion I have for the organizers is that it would be nice if they kept the streets adjacent to the downtown square blocked off longer at the finish. When I finished, there was plenty of traffic in the downtown area. To the organizers, overall, a great job. I think that the word will get out as a result of the organization and I would not be surprised to see this ride grow in participation. I hope to return next year.

What a great day for a ride in the country. The start was across from the courthouse, which even opened up their facilities for the participants. I rode the 63 mile route which turned out to be excellent. After riding the Hotter N Hell last week my buddy Todd and I took a casual tour approach to this ride , which was great , because we stopped at most of the rest stops. Watermelon and cantaloupe were the highlights for us, and each rest stop seemed to have plenty. Although some of the roads were a little rough, traffic was very light; most of the vehicles we saw were SAG ...it made for a nice feeling. The weather was great most of the day, with clouds keeping the temperature down, and even a few showers in Wolfe City and Greenville , although we missed them both. The volunteers were friendly, especially those manning the rest stop in Leonard. Great traffic support all along the way , but the color coded wrist bands were a little much. We finally tore our's off, and noticed an immediate cooling effect on our wrists. Couldn't quite figure why the 63 mile "red" route had white wrist bands though. I liked the safety issue concerns...writing an emergency contact and phone number on the back of the ride numbers showed that the organizers really cared about their riders. I am sure I will be back next year. This ride makes a nice change of pace from an all out effort on the Hotter N Hell. The organizers should be proud of the great job they did. DeWayne Shepard ( Roadkill)

Ok...the ride has great traffic control, road markings, rest stops, tasty finish line pizza and friendly people. But it has two areas that must be addressed to make this a tier one ride (HHH, Waco, etc). First let's loose the down town start. This is an exercise in masochistic overkill. Move the start out of downtown to a high school stadium, convention center, etc. Next: The previous years writers were not kidding when they fault the miles and miles of chip seal roads. There is about a 30+ mile strip of chip seal roads that makes you feel like you are running a marathon in knee deep mud with an anvil on your back. The physical toll is extreme. Lots of exhausted riders. -10 on the fun department...and fun is what a tour is supposed to be about right? Divert the course to marginal roads, other highways, etc. Anything but tire sucking chip seal. I normally ride the 100K in about 3:08. This ride took 30 minutes longer. I usually average 20+...this time was 17.8 After the ride the recovery will be much longer due to this severe riding surface. Any other riders experience these feelings.? Norm Weatherby

Kudos to Greenville for a much improved ride. I was so disappointed last year, I said I wouldn't be back. But I changed my mind, and I'm glad I did. Registration was easy and the start, though a little disorganized, got off without a hitch. I did the 100K, and the route was well laid out with lots of scenery and very little traffic. I don't know if they changed the route or the chip seal has finally "matured," but the road surfaces were mostly smooth with only about 10 miles of the rough stuff. The two rest stops I stopped at were well stocked and manned by friendly volunteers, and the melon and cantaloupe were nice added touches. The celebration at the end was well organized and there were plenty of smoothies and pizza to go around. I even got the piece of pizza they owed me from last year. I'll definitely do this ride again!

This has to be one of the BEST rides so far this year. Well organized (from direction signs on I-30 all the way to the event) to a breeze-through registration - where nearby a string quartet played). Routes well marked, great traffic control and directions, well stocked rest stops and friendly volunteers at every encounter (good help from the Boy Scouts and YMCA volunteers)- and good food (pizza and fruit slushees at the end along with fun music) - other event organizers should take note. Perfect day for a ride with light cloud cover (a nice change from the hot rides of recent weeks) - nice course, fairly flat so just crank out the miles. Kudos to everyone who helped put this on - I saw lots of very happy riders on this one. Spread the word for next year.

 

August 31, 2002

We appreciate all the support and patience the bicycling community has given our ride in the past. Last year we moved from the cool fall days of October to the hot summer days of August. Our permanent time slot on Labor Day weekend will hopefully give us more consistent weather - hot and dry. Last year we went through some growing pains. We have encouraged and listened to comments made about the event, prompting us to make major changes. This year the Greenville Rotary Club is a co-sponsor of the event. They bring to the event the Rotary experience with bike rides and the manpower to better service bicyclists. Our goal is to have something for every level of cycling, from tricycling, to tours to the serious racer. We hope the changes will make it an enjoyable day of bicycling and entertainment for everyone. We encourage you to return to our website and Bicycle Stuff website, after the event this year to submit your opinion. Again, thank you for your support. Sincerely, Dan Reinboldt - Cotton Patch Classic Event Director - August 2003

Let me start by saying this was not a bad ride, but it lacked the zip and sponsor involvement of other rides ridden this year. Perhaps moving this ride to Labor Day weekend was a factor. Finding parking was the first problem encountered -- signs directing arrivees to parking might be a nice touch for next year. Registration was quick; small turnout of about 500 riders judging from the numbers on the back of riders. Start got off fine; the first leg up Hwy. 69 was nice, smooth and wide shoulders to give riders plenty of room to pass. After Hwy. 69, things got rougher -- especially FM 3247. Rest stops were good, although the first rest stop was running out of water and Powerade 35 minutes into the ride -- it was replenished while we were there. Running low on water seemed to be a problem at other rest stops from overhearing the CB traffic at the second rest stop. Only saw one SAG Wagon on the 27 mile route, but riders helped those in need and I did not see any major problem with the lack of SAG. The city of Greenville should consider sweeping the shoulder and street of 224 coming into town before this event next year. Lots of broken glass and debris to dodge on the home stretch run. This was my 8th tour of the year and maybe I expected as much from this one as the others. Will probably pass on this one next year.

Good ride. Note to the racers: If a slower rider moves right, to the pavement edge, and waves to the leader of the pack to pass then he doesn't deserve to be forced off the edge. Next time I may not move over .

Although it's probably out of the control of the organizers, the road surfaces on this route were the roughest I've ever ridden on. After 64 miles, I was just beat to a pulp. The route itself was easy enough: mostly flat with only a few easy rollers. Even the Cotton Patch Pass, which was prominently marked on the route map, wasn't very steep, just long. Overall, the event was reasonably well organized, but I have three complaints: 1) No sports drink at the 32 and 46 mile rest stops; 2) At the end, the stretch where 224 merges with 34 then merges with 69 was totally uncontrolled and inadequately marked; and 3) they ran out of pizza and smoothies just as I finished. I kinda got the feeling that the organizers were catering to the racers and that those of us who aren't as fast as the rest were pretty much on our own. I doubt I'll be back for this one

I've read the other several reviews and although I concur re: the road conditions, I think the Greenville organizers did an excellent job overall. Signage was great, the rest stops with iced melon and cantaloupe were welcome, and the traffic was surprisingly minimal. ** Note to the organizers: Please please please put a few porta-potties at the start -- at least for the women. Using the indoor facilities at the courthouse is a miserable experience.

I agree with the other reviewers.  I was pulling a trailer so finished late but the last 40 might have been easier with some sports drink.  Worse, I kept promising my trailer contents cookies at the next stop.  yea, right.  Pizza and smoothies at the finish?  A stack of empty Dominoes boxes and a snowcone machine sitting in a puddle.  They should have known how much pizza they needed at 8am.  I paid the same as the first finishers.  There were numerous things advertised in the brochure that either weren't there, didn't happen or I just didn't see them. 

I'm thinking that the glowing review I just read on this was from one of the organizers...either that, or they were riding some other ride. What a disaster...but it did teach me one very important thing: don't rely on the ride sponsors for sports drink. EVERY rest stop was out of Power Ade, some were out of ice, at the later stops (37 miler) they had bowls of melon & oranges that were cut hours before standing in lukewarm water. Yum, huh? Signs were poor (prior to the 29 mile rest stop had a sign that said 41 turn right...but it should have said 47), and having the riders ride on the left at the end was moronic. One porta potty at each stop...at the first rest stop there was a line of probably 30+ people. The brochure said rest stops will have Power Ade, Mrs. Baird's snack cakes, hay bales "to rest your weary legs", etc...where was all of this? And the fact this ride was just one week after the most organized ride (HHH) makes this one even worse.

I have to agree with the above disappointed rider. There were several major concerns that need improvement: 1) Lack of t-shirts offered in other sizes other than X-Large. It's always interesting to me that t-shirts are ordered at these bike rallies for extra large people when the majority of cyclists are not extra large people. I feel cheated every time. Hum.... 2) At the 2nd rest stop, there was no Gatorade offered, only water. Very disappointing to depend on replenishing your body with vitamins and energy but can't do so. 3) If I hadn't looked at the map, I would have gone the 47 route instead of the 41. The signage at that location was not visible. 4) Coming into town riding on the left hand side so I could make a left hand turn gave me an uneasy feeling. I was grateful no autos were behind me for that time. 5) Where 224 merges with 34 then merges with 69 was not marked at all. We had to pedal through a car wash to get back on track. 6) Who ate all of the pizza? Man, I was really looking forward to chomping down and tasting some real food after all of that water! 6) Lots of debris and broken glass along the road not to mention a lot of traffic on 34. I felt so grateful to get off of the 34 stretch. The best rest stop I saw was the one at the Fire Station where they had a sprayer and lukewarm watermelon. That was the highlight of my ride!!!

I am the ride director of this event. We appreciate any comments concerning our event because we are motivated to improve our event every year. We try to provide something for all cyclists, from the kids at the bicycle rodeo to the serious racers. All cyclists are equally as important to our event. This year we moved the event from the 3rd week of October to Labor Day weekend. This was a learning experience for us but we were very encouraged with the turn out. Since this was the first weekend after HHH and on a holiday weekend, we were concerned how that might affect our turn out. We had a better than expected turn out and are committed to correct any short comings for next years' Labor Day weekend event. Please email me with your complaints and comments so we can do better in meeting the needs of all cyclists next year. My email is alineme@geusnet.com . I will respond to all emails. **  A common complaint noted about our ride has been the road surface. Greenville is in the Paris district of TX DOT. This district has seen a alarming trend of resurfacing roads with "chip rock" coating. There are basically two sizes of chip rock and this district tends to use the large size. The smaller size is much more easier on a bicycle. It usually takes 2-4 years before vehicular traffic makes these roads bicycle friendly. All roads in this area, except state highways, are being resurfaced with chip rock on a rotational basis. Please contact your local representative and express your displeasure with this practice. The response that the local TX DOT officials give here is that this will be the trend in Texas for maintaining our roads. For our event we tried to use as much of SH 69, SH 34 and SH 11 as possible. However, there is now even new chip rock on some of these roads.  ** Thank you attending our event and next year we will promise to make our event better. Check our website after this weekend and the results of the raffle and races will be posted. Thanks for your support of the Cotton Patch Classic.

Cotton patch was a good ride. 63 mile route was on mostly good roads with few turns. rest stops were good and finish line pizza was a hit. plan to do this ride next year.

The following was sent to a rider who forwarded it to me.  Mark, There were 3 main reasons we changed our date. #1: We changed the date to August because we had cold wet weather for 3 of the 5 yrs in October and Labor Day weekend was the only open weekend. #2: Our event was held during the Cotton Jubilee festival in October and we were constantly fighting the festival for volunteers. #3: The final reason we decided to change dates was that we wanted to raise money for the Hunt Co Trail project but the Chamber of Commerce would not allow us to use the event to raise money for that purpose.  **  On paper we were better organized than past years but a key group of people did not come through the day of the event. Coca Cola shorted our order of PowerAde at the last minute despite my plea's with them that we needed 2x to 3x the amount we received. I promise you that next year we will put on a much better event next year. I think most riders would have been extremely pleased with our plan this year. The problem was that the plan was not executed at an acceptable level. We apologize but we will make it up next year. Thanks for coming out this year. 

Overall, this ride was not too bad. The routes were very well marked. The roads were in pretty good shape and my fingers were only numb for 1 day after the ride. Some things that could use improvement: 1) The rest stops could have had more sports drink. I did the 64 mile route, and all but 1 stop had already run out by the time I had gotten there. But there were good points to be fair. There was plenty of fruit and friendly people. The second stop, the boy scouts had sun screen which was great and the last stop had a canopy from the sun which was very nice on the hot day. 2) The food at the end was all gone by the time I had finished. No smoothies. No Pizza. They need to advertise that only the faster finishers will get pizza and smoothies on the brochure. Why can't they ever order enough? I guess I need to pick up the pace next year...

This was my first time to ride this rally. I rode the 63K route and there were both good and bad points. The bad first. (1) most of the rest stops were out of sports drink by the time I got there. (2) bumpy roads on occasion, but that is probably out of their control. (3) no pizza, smoothies or sports drink at the finish. I guess they're trying to tell me I'm slow. (4) The last 2 miles of the ride were downright dangerous. No traffic control on a very busy street. Lucky no one was hurt. Now the positives. (1) Route was well marked. (2) very friendly people at the rest stops. (3) watermelon at most rest stops which was terrific. (4) less than 1 hour from my house. (5) Route map had the distances between each rest stop marked. This is very helpful! I'll probably give it another shot next year, but the traffic problems at the end need to be addressed.

 


October 20, 2001

Great day for a ride, however the wind did become an issue as the ride wore on. We thought the route was extremely well marked with color coded signs and arrows on the pavements. Anyplace traffic could be a factor there was assistance. A nice touch was having the the railroad tracks covered to prevent wheel damage or accidents. The reststops were adequate with banana's, oranges and poweraid and potty. Overall it was a quite enjoyable end of season ride.

This ride is very well organized. There are an army of volunteers and the rest stops were well stocked. Even the T-shirt was of good quality and appearance. My biggest complaint was the fact that the race went off at about 9:15 and the ride went off at 9:20. There really is no reason for a ride to be late. If you ride in this rally be aware that the roads are very rough. They are in great shape, just rough. My hands went numb at one point from the pounding. This ride has rolling hills, but nothing too difficult. I really enjoyed the ride (24 miles) and will be back next year for a longer ride. (editors note: the start was delayed because some riders went to the place where the ride was held last year.)

I enjoyed this ride. I basically agree with the first two postings. I participated in the 24 mile ride (actually was about 23 miles) on this occasion. The race seemed very organized and the volunteers were extremely friendly, enthusiastic and helpful. The freshly asphalted roads were quite rough, with a mixture of gravel on top. I had pieces of gravel thrown from 18 wheelers hit me on two occasions. The intersections were well attended and the rest stops were adequate. More potties would have been helpful, at least at one of the rest stops. The day was somewhat windy as the ride progressed but not at all unbearable. Hills were present but none were killers. The Domino's pizza and particularly the Smoothies at the end of the race were quite welcome. Overall, this was a pleasant ride. I'll plan to return next year. 

I concur that WAY MORE port-a-lets were needed at the rest stops; however, this ride had the friendliest volunteers I have ever encountered at a ride! This is a first class affair, although I wonder which politician's brother-in-law has the paving contract in and around Greenville -- he's not doing a very good job! I will be back next year and I will encourage others to try this event.

This is my favorite late season rally. I invited a friend from Houston to do this ride with me. He brought his 11 year old son who took up bike racing last summer (and he is doing very well). My friend saw this as the perfect opportunity for his son to get his Boy Scout physical fitness merit badge. As for the ride experience itself, Excellent. The weather was great, the route (we did the full 100K route) was well marked and lightly trafficked (although a little rough in spots) and the rest stops and finish line area were still fully stocked and at full accommodation for those of us near the tail end of the ride. This ride is not as well publicized as some of the others. This is the only reason it only drew 700 riders. Let's all give our KUDOS for my friend's son. This was his first long distance bike rally. He did the full 100K ride, maintained a 15 mile an hour average, and of course got his Boy Scout merit badge. 

The ride organizers do an outstanding job on this one. I always feel  welcome when I roll into town and look forward to starting the ride. The  ride started a little late which made some a little antsy. The route was  along rough roads but were well marked. The rest stops were a little weak  but had a the essentials which was all we needed with the weather being so  mild. I certainly plan on returning next year.