Waco Wild West Century, Waco, TX
October 21, 2019
I just finished the Waco Wild West 100 2019 bike rally. My family and friends enjoy going to Waco, and we're really looking forward to the rally. The sky was overcast and the temperature was pleasant. As we lined up for the start, I overheard someone mention they dropping the 100 mile route due to lack of interest. Looking back, that was a sign of things to come. We rode the 20+ mile route. Heading out was pleasant. There were plenty of police at major intersections, no cars in the road (although they did mention at the start to watch out for cars since it was an open route-another sign). But that's where the niceties ended. There weren't nearly enough volunteers. Arrows were painted on the road at each turn but no one was there to also direct. There was no rest stop where they said it would be until 18 miles into the route and it was only a little water stop. Once we hit the major country highways coming back there were no police at most to help with traffic. You were on your own. There was a long stretch of maybe 4 miles where if you didn't ride on the bumpy shoulder, you got honked at by the speeding cars/trucks/18 wheelers. After finally reaching the nice long, smooth, tree-lined stretch alone the river heading back to the staging area, riders were lead off that path on to a demonic route with pot holes, busy intersections with no police help, and plenty of cars to finally reach the staging area. The volunteers there were super friendly probably due the the sugar high from all the candy! I've never seen so many adults stuff plastic bags with hand-full after hand-full of Halloween candy. There were plenty of water/Gatorade coolers but no cups. There were some oranges and bananas but that's all I saw. All in all, it was an adventure that we otherwise would have missed out on. I spent the morning with family (who left me to go eat at Magnolia Table) and dear friends, and we got some outdoor exercise and returned intact.
October 7, 2016
A perfect day for a bike ride. A very well-organized event. Check in and parking was a smooth operation. Volunteers were in abundance and very friendly and helpful. The start went off easily and on time. Intersection control was great and no problem with the signage. The organizers were able to schedule the ride to coincide with the arts festival and First Friday so there was plenty to do before and after. All in all, a fun time!
It was my first time to ride Waco Wild West and I rode the 68/69 miler. It was easy to find and there was plenty of parking. Check-in was smooth and there were plenty of volunteers to help. It started on time but it was awkward getting all of us across the bridge that was more narrow than the street used to stage us. The organizers should consider moving the start line further up at the end of the bridge. We didn't start to spread out until we turned onto MLK but from there on it was okay. There were a number of us riding together until the 30 mile mark when the 100 milers went a different direction. I stopped once and it was at the 40 mile mark. It was a popular spot since multiple routes came together at that point. A volunteer was split off from the others as I approached and announced that other volunteers were there to hold our bikes. As I stood in line, another cheerful volunteer literally ran off and filled my water bottles to save me time. The course itself was fine but seemed to have a lot of turns so there was some slowing and extra braking. There was one stretch under construction (nothing the organizers can do) that had a lot of gravel for just under ½ mile but still navigable. There was a longer stretch that had heavy gravel and a number of the intersections had gravel so some extra braking and different paths through those turns. Overall, police and volunteer support at intersections was solid but just too many cars as we came back into downtown Waco so we were stopped at a couple of lights and riders had to clip out. A little disrupting and disappointing to be 65 miles into the event and then we have multiple stops waiting on cross traffic. Additionally, there was at least one other event underway with lots of pedestrians and closed off streets that made the final mile a little harder than expected but again, nothing the organizers can do. There were some folks to cheer us on as we finished which was a nice touch. The promise to "fill our helmets with Skittles" was true (tasty too). We could pick from the big candy bars and there were multiple tables with snack size candy bars of Milky Way, Snickers, etc. and fun size packages of Starburst, Skittles, M&Ms, etc. All in all, I think the event was solid and I plan to ride it again next year.
October 8, 2016
This was my first time to do this ride. The ride itself is good scenic ride (52 mile route), the hill coming up the frontage road by the interstate was tough one. Roads for the most part were pretty decent. The ride did have a few draw backs though. Starting at packet pickup the Friday night before, I registered early and they couldn't find my packet. Signage: we you are in a pace or a big group riding it is hard to see the arrows painted on the road, might look in to spending a few dollars and buy some poster board to mark the way. When I got to the rest around mike 40 I was out of Gatorade and low on water. I was glad to see that rest stop, but to no avail they didn't have any water and the Gatorade was concentrated so with out water they didn't have Gatorade either. Mind you the ride started at 8am and I was at this rest stop around 10:20 or so. It was kind of disheartening to think that I was going to run out of something to drink before I finished. Luckily it wasn't that hot!! When I did finish I looked for some water and Gatorade and once again to no avail I didn't see any. One part of the ride did make me a little nervous, that's riding the frontage road and the cars existing off had no clue there were riders out. I do have to say that there were officers at all the major intersections stopping traffic.
Would I do this ride again? Not sure, it really wasn't worth the long drive to do it.
This was my first try at the Wild West 100 so I do not know how this year compares to prior years, Some of the things I did notice is that it was very easy to get to the starting area in downtown Waco. There was plenty of parking near the starting area. The package pickup was very smooth and easy even though I registered online just two days prior to the event. The scheduled start time was 8am and we were no more that an minute or two delayed. The ride had great support from law enforcement at every intersection of concern. I always make a point to check bicycle-stuff reviews before I try a new ride and I was very happy I did for this ride. The input from 2015 about the spray painted arrows was priceless (who ever wrote that thank you). I was at the back of a group that was not watching the arrows and they just rode past out turn. I whistled and hollered but they kept going. I made the turn and figured I would get caught soon enough. I liked this ride well enough to try it again next year.
Well done rally and a perfect day for cycling. Registration was easy. Rode the 68 mile course and roads were typical, mostly worn chip seal. Rest stops were well supplied with bananas, oranges and cookies. The stop in Crawford had muffins. Volunteers were helpful and enthusiastic. There was an entire line of cheering volunteers when we went past a rest stop around 38 miles. Good police support out there especially toward the end when you head back into town. Police were at all intersections controlling traffic. Fortunately there was a group of about 5-6 of us riding together, so they always let us through. Nice finish as well. Lots of candy at the end, and if you asked the right people, you could get a beer as well. Always one of my favorite rides. I'll be back.
October 10, 2015
Been to this ride several times and really gave it high marks. Not this time. First they changed the date. I did some asking and found out that permits would not be issued for the event on the normal date because of Baylor Football. And so no art fest after the ride. This was the cherry on the cake for many of us. Packet pickup ? What packet ? Didn't get one or a t-shirt my size. They said they had plenty of youth small and med. I wear large/ xl. No water bottles like in the past. Not sure what has changed but I'm not liking it. Start was delayed due to ?????. national anthem was sung so fast that many of us got our helmets off and the song was almost over. Small issues, but they are adding up.
So we get started and we start noticing no signs. Spray painted arrows poorly placed, and once again riders taking wrong turns that will take you MILES OFF COURSE. I realize those who mark the course are from the area, but many of us are not. And the kicker,........two of the colors were white and blue. No biggie right ? Except the utility company has over half the route marked with blue and white arrows ! Change course arrow colors. Rest stops were good. Nice people, good food. So there you have my humble opinion. Not sure I'm going back. This was a no brainer in past years. But too many things have got to happen. I'm three hrs away. Long drive for a poor ride. Hook back up with the art fest folks. Or hire some bands and food trucks.
This event is usually scheduled in September in conjunction with the arts and crafts festival. Missed the festival, but the ride was still fun. The registration area was relocated, but still ran smoothly and efficiently. The route was scenic and pleasant, especially since the temps stayed in the 70's for the most part. Volunteers were great and the intersections that needed it were controlled. SAGs were everywhere! The sweet treats at the end were great, too. Another great one!
September 27, 2014
I really love the Arts and Music Festival vibe around the Waco Wild West ride. This was the 30th annual ride and I enjoyed the 50 mile route for the most part. The first 30 miles or so are quite fun with good roads, good shoulders and few really nice climbs. The end of the route is also fun, going east of I-35 and through Baylor University. However, a large group of us got lost in the middle due to no road markings at one intersection (Old Crabtree and Spring Valley in Hewitt, TX). It cause the group to fracture and some went backwards and a few of us soldiered on. We ended up having to feel our way towards I-35 and then taking the access road for about 5 miles before feeling our way east and back to Baylor U. While we eventually found the route again and had some fun doing it together, it was a bit nerve-racking and dangerous riding along the I-35 access road and through one mix-master. I talked with some others who lost their way at another point along the route as well. There are also a couple points where a Police presence or volunteer presence should be available…like taking a left on a fairly major two lane highway (Old Laverna? or something). I'm from Dallas and my good friend is from Austin and we really enjoy meeting in Waco for this ride. We will absolutely keep coming back, but would really like to see clearer, more obvious and thorough route marking in the future. I'd like to give a shout-out to the Scout Troop at Rest Stop #3 on the 50 mile route. They had enthusiasm in spades and were ever-ready to serve incoming riders by filling water bottles and bringing food out to them. To make that experience even better, I'd recommend the cheering squad stand further out from the food and drink area b/c some of the cheering right in my ear was a bit unsettling as I was trying to get snacks. However, I do appreciate their service and vitality. Additionally, they could provide cold, wet paper towels for riders as they dismount if they'd like to offer something away from the snack area. One final note on that, due to the enthusiasm of the Scouts, I noticed them almost stepping on some bikes/wheels as they were running to and fro from the snack table. They could tone down the enthusiasm a bit and focus more on the service. Just a friendly critique.
Another day of fun from the folks in Waco! Everything went off without a hitch and the weather was very accommodating. Plenty of support at the intersections and from the SAGs. The exuberance at the rest stops was entertaining. The route was scenic and, at times, challenging. I'll be back next year.
Well organized ride with several hotels at the start/finish (or easy drive Saturday a.m. from DFW). Route and surfaces are great with some real nice scenery. We did the 50 mile this year. Rest stops were all well stocked and the people staffing them were very friendly. Arts and crafts fair at the start/finish is nice with plenty of parking. The weather was great. Colorful t-shirt and lots of other assorted goodies in the packet. We would like to return for this one every year schedule permitting!
Great ride with very enthusiastic support. Skittles galore. Could have used some signage at the highway into the start. GPS routed us off on the wrong side of the river and the cross bridge was closed off for the event. The Porto potty situation could use a little improvement. There could be a couple out in the parking areas. Many rest stops only had a single unit and one was leaning up against a pole. It had a kind of fun house effect with a pretty severe angle. There was one stop on the 67 mile route where the 100 split off that routed across a set of RR tracks and a busy street (controlled). The 67 route was then sent back across the busy street 2 blocks down(uncontrolled) and the tracks again back to continue on the route. Other than these small issues, great ride and successful event! Great job by the organizers. Has the potential to give the HHH a run for its money.
September 28, 2013
Waco puts on a good ride. The Arts and Music Festival adds to the festivities and fun. There were more than a thousand riders participating this year and for good reason. Everything was well-organized and smoothly run. Signage and intersection control were super. We even managed to have a tail wind on the last leg in. And yes, there are hill around Waco! The volunteer support was great, too. It was fun to see the individual twists each rest stop exhibited. Plenty of goodies! I'll be back!
September 22, 2012
It's been a few years since I was last able to do this ride. It was great then, but it was even better this time! Combining the ride with the arts festival really enriched the experience. Everything was well-organized (check-in, parking, etc.) and the rest stops were well-stocked. It was a lot of fun! Thanks, Waco!
Very, very nice ride. Organization was top notch, rest stops plentiful and directions spot on. Nothing negative to say at all. You should definitely mark this ride on your calendar. I rode the 100 mile route. Wind was strong the first 45 miles but a nice tail wind the last half. The festival was very nice also. Thanks for putting on such a nice ride.
September 16, 2011
The ride, as usual, was a blast...maybe even blastier given the new route – it took you off the access roads bordering the highway & set you down plunk into the country...I saw plenty of burnt vegetation & double-paddy burgers wait'n to happen. Always hated ride'n the access roads; who wants to see pukey motorists give'n you the red eye when you're totally knackered? Waco's become'n quite a bike-centric haven ie., large, clearly identified bike lanes in the city (ignored by motorists haul'n bikes!) and a elevated thoroughfare out there in country near the Brazos for runners, cyclists, and the like. Once the convention center is up & running, the WWW could become the cooler (as in weather; maybe as in vibe) version of the HHH...watch it happen!
Great job again this year. Different route than the prior years and much improved. I loved it. Excellent route directions and super friendly at all rest stops. I rode the 100 mile route for me 70th century. Extremely large festival at the end unlike prior years. Many, many people turned out and all kinds of little shops, food and alot of different entertainment. Keep up the good work. This one gets better every year. Thanks.
A great ride! Also a tough ride. Not sure how many showed up, but there were plenty of riders. Registration, smooth and easy. I like the choice of shirts, bottles and mugs. Different. Rest stops were great IMO. And here is a new one for me. At one stop, they offered cold boiled potatoes! Sounds awful, until about 45miles into a ride. Salt and pepper shakers are there, and after you spice em up, and take a bite, its like DAMM THATS GOOD!! I ended up eating four pieces. Don't knock this super carb until you try it. Okay so far. And then after the second to last stop, somehow the paint guy missed where we were supposed to go. Bunches of riders, me included, went quite a few miles before other riders alerted us. Going back to the screw-up point, we still almost took another wrong route. Don't know what went wrong here, but I'm sure it'll be made right next year. Wind and hills were the order of the day. But thats what I really came for. The challenge. It did not disappoint. After the ride? The art fest, food, family fun, and lots of stuff for kids to do. I walked around for over an hour eating and talking to other riders. I'm planning this for next year, but will stay two days instead of one. Consider this ride in next years ride plan. You're gonna love it!
Super ride except some one stole some pavement from the country roads ?? About a mile of very rough riding through the rocks and dirt, other then that was a great ride & will do it again. Rest stops were great .. the cold boiled taters were very good & the pickle pops were a great change from all the sweets.
Things that I really like about the Waco Wild West Century: ·
Done in conjunction with the Arts Festival, created a nice post-ride environment - new ·
Crossing the historic suspension bridge and later, the Bosque river – new ·
Little final loop through downtown along the bike lanes - new ·
Encouraging cheering people at "the hill" on Old Lorena Road and at the finish line ·
The potatoes and smoothies at one of the rest stops ·
Great sag support, friendly rest stop workers, and police-controlled intersections at major intersections
Some improvements for next year: ·
Some unpaved sections on the 67 mile loop – should I switch to a mountain bike for this section? ·
The rest stop at the loop for 67 milers seemed understaffed for the volume of riders that pass through this one (50 & 67 milers)
Thanks for a really nice ride – good attendance, well organized, and still has a small, homey vibe to it!
Rode the 67 mile route at the Waco Wild West Century. It was a fun ride and a lot better since they eliminated the access road. Rest stops were well stocked this year and the porta-potties at the entry were easy to find. The start line doubled back from the parking area making it tangled and slow start. The ride has enough challenge for all levels of riders. Registration is a huge area and well - confusing. Volunteers worked hard and were happy to serve. Will be back next year.
In spite of the wonderful volunteers and the very worthy cause, I'll likely never do this ride again. The start was a disaster. Instead of the wide boulevard of years past, the organizers elected instead to force the entire group down to a one lane pedestrian bridge making it nearly impossible to get past the wobbly, slow riders who decide to start up front. Next, the course was a mess with unpaved sections all over the place, most of which could have easily been avoided. Finally, the finish was unthinkable. Riding several miles through unprotected, heavy city traffic is treacherous enough when you're fresh but after 100 miles? Please.
Personally, I used to like riding past the M&M plant but that's also gone.
FYI there's a whole bunch of us that are going to take a pass on WWW 100 in the coming years.
Two weeks down the road and there's one more thing that, it seems, deserves to be mentioned…
It continues to be an irritant that after paying my day-of money, which is more than the pre-paid amount, I was told the t-shirts in my size were gone even as there was a huge pile of them mere feet away. Those were for pre-paid registrants only. Seriously?
That sort of thing is ugly and has no place at a fun event. If you run out of shirts then you run out of shirts for everyone but never deny a paid participant, especially one who's paid a premium, something they might have been looking forward to. It's not about the shirt at all, it's about the treatment.
September 25, 2010
Great ride again this year. Beautiful day for a century. Virtually zero wind the first 60 miles then the winds came. Went up to about 25 mph. The rain stayed away though. Routes marked perfectly, rest stops had plenty of goodies. Very nice t-shirts and water bottles this year. Many colors and I love the design. They always have lots of candy at the end for you. Route seemed slightly different this year but it was great. I think they avoided some of the rougher roads which is very welcome. Was a few patches of dirt/gravel to go thru where the roads were being repaired but nothing serious. Thanks for putting on a great event again this year and can't wait till next year.
This was my first year at Waco Wild West (WWW), riding the 65 (68) miles route. The weather cooperated to provide a wonderful ride. For a rally that is 26 years old it seemed a bit unorganized maybe because you pass through the Que line to get to registration, and signage was lacking. Sign-up went quick once it could be located, the only toilets at the start appeared to be a dirty small stinky public park facility. The water and sports drinks were placed unlabled at the side of the registration area on a wall. Rest Stop 3 was actually 2 stops if you rode the 65 mile and it was only allocated supplies for one stop so they were out of drinks and fruit only left with a couple of cookies when the 65 miles made the Coyote loops and the 50 milers were just pulling in. The milage on the maps were a few miles off. The directional arrows were not always easy to follow. Positive: This was a very fast course, I was well over my average rally speeds the first 40 miles. The volunteers at the rest stops were pumped and friendly. Most of the ride was smooth beautiful and peaceful. A few hills along the access road provided interest (steep). I will definately be back next year.
Really love the WWWC and we make a special point to participate in it each year. This year did not disappoint. There is so much value for your money on this ride! Great looking quality T-shirts in your choice of electric colors (not your typical Gildan), candy galore, pre-ride free snacks, - what is there not to like about this? The course was well marked, traffic was stopped by friendly police officers at heavily traveled intersections. The ride has a really friendly home-town feel to it. There are a few challenging hills, but for the most part, this is a flat and fast course. Saw plenty of Sag support provided by the LBS. The rain did come a bit later in the ride, but we were done with the 65 miler (actually 68) by then. Thanks again for a really nice ride – we will be back!
September 26, 2009
Excellent ride in every way. I have ridden this ride the last 6 years and it gets better and better. Could not ask for a more perfect day to do a Century. Maximum winds of 5 mph and temperature in the high 60's at start time. Mars candy is a sponsor of this ride so lots of candy at every stop. Registration very smooth, excellent police support and everyone very friendly everywhere. Sno Cones at the finish with more free candy. Keep up the great work and will be back again next year.
I do a lot of rallies but this was the first time doing this one due to the distance from dallas... wife and i did the full century on a tandem.... great roads and plenty of support... well planned route... some decent hills that only the 100 milers see and some really good hills after the mars rest stop ... we made only one stop at mile 58 (other than the mars candy stop at mile 78) and it was well stocked with super friendly volunteers... made for a long day driving down and back plus the 5+ hour ride, but if you have all day to devote to a rally this is a very good one... mb
I normally do Bonham this time of year but they got too expensive so I decided to go to Waco. With a few tweaks, this can go from a good to a great ride. Lots of convenient parking. I preregistered and packet pickup was easy. I got to choose my t-shirt and water bottle colors - very nice. I did the century and the majority of the roads were good with the exception of a few county roads which were horrid. I'm surprised I don't have missing hardware on the bike. Also, I'm sure that when the routes were first laid out, the Mars plant was probably out in the boonies. Now, it's in a heavily trafficked area with few controlled intersections. Do we have to go to the Mars facility?? How about moving the Mars rest stop onto a more rural route? The volunteers were great and the rest stops were well stocked. On the fence about going back.
This was our first year to ride in this rally and we completed the 100 miler. This was also our first century after completing two 100K. The registration/packet pick up was flawless. The weather conditions were perfect for the day. They had a well-organized staggered start. The ride was beautiful and very peaceful. The roads were in good condition. Only one small stretch was rough, but overall, I was very pleased. The volunteers at all the rest stops were enthusiastic, very motivating, and very helpful. They just couldn’t do enough for the riders. The distance between the first and second rest stop was too far, but other than that, they were well spaced out and came just in time! The route was well marked. In a couple of the more trafficked areas in town, I got a little concerned about missing turns due to all the car traffic, but that was just in a couple of spots just after the factory stop. I wish they had an official finish line. When we finally came in, it was a bit of a let-down as nearly everyone was already gone. Guess we should have ridden faster. I was really glad we went down to Waco for this ride. This will definitely be in my to-do ride list for next year. I would highly recommend it. FYI, be prepared for a number of hills on the last half of the course!
First time for this ride. Did the 62 mile route. Break points were well stocked, well spaced, and the volunteers were very nice. Road surfaces were good, with just a little bit of well worn chip-n-seal. I wasn't too crazy about the route itself. A little too much "urban" cycling for my taste. Lots of time spent on either the shoulder of a two lane highways with too much traffic, or in the middle of some town with too much traffic buzzing around. The one thing that bugged me the most about this ride was the route maps. They looked like my 10 year old drew them. The were pretty much useless. Couldn't tell what road you were on. No distanced between break points. Just a waste of paper.
I rode 26+ miles in the Waco Wild West Century ride on Sept. 26th. I was very disappointed in the organization, traffic support and rest stops. Probably won't go there again.
This was a first time, for my family, to participate in this ride. I have to admit I was impressed by the organization and the thought that went into this ride. The registration was easy, parking was close, the ride started basically on time and the routes were everything that you would want in a fall morning ride. The 50 mile, really 52 on my computer, was challenging but very doable. The length between the first and second rest stop on this route was more than I thought it was going to be. We didn't stop at the first rest stop because it was just 8 miles out but then the next rest stop was not for another 14 miles. I was ready to see it when it came into view. This ride was worth the gasoline it took to get there from the Metroplex.
The ride organization is just fantastic in Waco. Definitely worth the drive. I rode the 50 mile route and had a good time with it. The terrain was fairly flat and fast with an occasional 6 percent climb. The only "hilly" part was the next 10 miles along Hwy 84 after the Candy rest stop. If you haven't done the Waco ride before, the M&M's Rest stop is certainly a highlight. The staggered start was done very well and traffic seem minimal considering the population of the city. On the return route, drivers gave you plenty of room when they passed you. Overall, this ride was well enjoyed. Be sure and enjoy some lunch at one of the local restaurants near the start/finish. Good food. Good times.
This was my second year riding and it was another great ride... The organizers and staff @ the rest stops were awesome, the 26mile route was the same as last year, great roads and ya gotta love the hill after the 2nd rest stop... I will surely be back next year...
Two years ago, WWW was my first organized bike rally and I plunged right in to the 65 mile course. At about 43 miles I thought my legs were going to fall off. This year, I made the WWW my first century, and at about 90 miles I thought my legs were going to fall off. I don’t know if I love the Waco Wild West because it was my first ride and turned me into a bike rally junky, but I think this is a really fun ride with a lot of VERY enthusiastic people involved. Rest stops on the 100 mile route were stocked very well with the essentials and then some bonus goodies. The people at registration, rest stops, and the start/finish are the best. Everyone is so pumped up to have us come to Waco. Yes, that stretch between Mother Neff State Park and where we rejoin the shorter routes on the service road is really long and boring, but there’s not too much traffic out there and I never got the feeling I was off course. Saw plenty of SAG vehicles, plus they had a number on the route map that we could call if we got in trouble. This was my third year for the Waco Wild West, and I hope to return many more times.
This was a great ride. I did the 100K. There is little to no chip-seal on this route. Where else can you ride up to a candy factory and fill your pockets with candy?
Organization was flawless. Course is pretty flat with one series of hills that aren't too bad. Nice T shirts too, and they even had medium sized shirts for late entrants.
Riding along the Brazos early morning then going out to Central Texas countryside was awesome. Great support with the rest stops being A++. Mars candy factory is my favorite. Love driving from metroplex to Bear country.
Highly recommend this ride! Come support the fine folks of Waco.
September 29, 2007
The Waco Wild West Century committee would like to thank all the participants, sponsors, and volunteers that made this years ride a great success. We had over 1100 riders and proceeds were donated to the United Cerebral Palsy Children's Camp, the National Bone Marrow Registry, Mother Neff State Park, Texas Bicycle Coalition and Cameron Park Bike Trails.
One of the Waco Wild West Century reviews posted on bicycle-stuff.com stated that the 26 mile route was actually 34 miles. The distance was rechecked with a calibrated bicycle computer and the route length is in fact, 26 miles.
We appreciate the feedback we have gotten about our ride. We will continue to make improvements to insure the Waco Wild West Century will remain one of the premier rides in Texas. The 24th annual ride will be September 27, 2008.
Waco Wild West Century Committee Member
Excellent support, route markings, and a challenging 100 mile route. It’s really nice to hear the guys with the PA sound as excited when you finally cross the line as the ones who made it more than 3 hours earlier! Rest stops were well stocked and eager volunteers. This was a challenging route, with wind, hills, gravelly road (in spots) and little shade outside the rest stops, one that you say thanks when it’s over but think creative wording when you see another hill into the wind. Thanks!
What can be improved:
Put an contact number on the route maps. Useful if someone needs SAG support or is simply lost.
THE GOOD: What a great ride! Lovely country, GREAT route marking - an arrow painted clearly on the road at EVERY turn and a few on the straight. Excellent traffic control with real police at most intersections. A great ride for beginners as it's mostly flat and there's even a 10 mile for families with little ones. I went down the night before from Dallas so had paid for the spaghetti dinner. (Not bad, and some fruit and snacks to take along after.) Very organized start, friendly and well stocked rest areas (fruit, water, gatorade). Nice t-shirt, too.
THE BAD: The one concern I had with the second rest stop on the 26 mile route - POISON IVY. Quite a bit and no one pointed it out. Some of those Camp Fire Girls who were running around barefoot may be in for a not so nice surprise. Also, I saw another rider almost lay her bike down in it. It was right beside the drink tables. The 26 mile route was actually 34+ miles long by cycling computer. The map showed the route "starting and ending" a little way out from the line, but that's another 8 miles, folks. I would have eaten something at the 2nd rest stop and conserved my water better had I known there was still that far to go. Why not just call it a 34 mile route? By about mile 33, I was pretty thirsty.
THE UGLY: The left turn at the soccer field park is dangerous and needs a policeman. You have to come to a complete stop right before a pretty good hill and there are cars coming fast in both directions. Those cars coming over the bridge cannot be seen far enough away to make a safe left turn. I saw a few riders dismount and "run" their bikes across the road. I probably should have done the same. (Ride organizers this was the green marker with the "frowny face" - I assume for the upcoming hill.)
In all one of the very best fall rides on all counts. Everyone who organizes a bike ride should go do this one and copy their fabulous plan. I'll be back.
YEEEOOOWCH! No one can predict or control the wind, but shoot....I forgot how hilly the 50-mile route was! Challenging ride, good markings on the roads but very few intersections with traffic control (not even volunteers with flags). The few SAGS I saw were near the end.
SUGGESTION TO ORGANIZERS: I saw the T-shirts from previous years for sale at registration, and I thought the 2005 design was most excellent (that year's ride cancelled because of Hurricane Rita). Do ya think we could see that design for 2008? Thanks for the nice blue shirt this year.
Rest stop gangs were super, and a big "ATTA BOY(S)" to the Boy Scouts and Dads who were doing the 50-mile route!!! Kudos, as always, to Gene & Annie in the REI van for your support (ummmm....beef jerky!) K' Duck
October 1, 2006
I rode the Waco Wild West Century, 100 miles, for the first time. I’m not affiliated with the ride, its sponsors or any clubs and have ridden most of the rallies this season. I was nearly first in line at day-of registration ($25) so I can’t speak to how well they handled the late arrivals. They did have a spaghetti feed the night before and pancake breakfast the morning of the ride at a nominal cost. The goody bag contained a t-shirt and water bottle and the volunteers were all friendly and helpful. Maps were available at registration. The starts were staggered by distance with sub-categories for tandems and 18+ mph 100 milers. I guessimate about 1000 riders attended. The course was about 50% chip and seal and marked with color-coded paint for each route. I particularly enjoyed the section through Mother Neff Forest which had a fast downhill and was not only shaded, but helped cut the wind. The rest stops were staggered a little farther apart than some century rides I’ve done. Most rest stops had signs and were represented by different groups. I stopped at the 35 (???), 57 (Boy Scouts) and 85 (Masterfoods) mile rest stops and they all seemed to have enough energy bars, bananas, oranges, ice, and Gatorade except the 85 mile stop had “run out” of Gatorade by the time the 100 milers arrived. Police support was hap-hazard. Only a few intersections had them actually directing traffic. Some seemed to merely sit in their cars and monitor the situation. I only noticed SAG four times on the route and most of it was in the last 15 miles. There were a few volunteers cheering at the finish line even for the 100 milers. I wish the same could be said for the food vendors which were long gone with the earlier crowds from the shorter courses. They had more bananas, oranges and free water/cola, but nothing with protein available to minimize 100 mile ride recovery. This is not a pampered ride so don’t expect free food or masseuses at the end. Come prepared to be self-sufficient with bike repair and some of your own food/hydration to fill in the weak spots in support.
For me, this ride is a mixed bag. I did the 102 mile route which overall is well laid out on fairly good roads. There were some rough spots, but not nearly as bad as I remember from previous years. The 20 MPH wind out of the south was pretty brutal from Canaan Church to Mother Neff State Park, but once past Mother Neff, it was mostly a tail wind. (When the wind is out of the north like the last couple of years, the stretch back from Mother Neff is torture). I stopped at the Oglesby, Mother Neff, and Masterfoods stops. The volunteers were all great, and each stop was well stocked except for Masterfoods which had run out of Gatorade. When we were still fairly close to Waco, SAG support was apparent, but it seemed to be absent on the far reaches of the course. Traffic control was lacking at several major intersections. My biggest complaint is that the food vendors at the end were gone by the time I got in. I’m not the fastest guy in the group, but I finished a little after 2:00 and there were still lots of folks behind me. It sure is a let down to do all of that work only to get back and find out that services are already being shut down. Anyway, it’s an OK ride; I’m just not sure it’s worth the 2 hour drive from Dallas and back.
This was my first 100 mile Waco Wild West Ride. I have to say it was very "challenging" given the head wind and the heat. For the most part I enjoyed the ride and the scenery. I was a witness to an automobile wreck (pickup truck and Van) about 5 miles before Crawford. Fortunately I was about 100 feet from the accident otherwise it would have been really bad and I probably would not be writing this review! The rest stops were good and friendly, however, at least four of them I stopped at either had run out of ice or were waiting for ice...not sure how much of the weather played into it. I was disappointed that nothing with salt/sodium was provided at the rest stops (pickles, pretzels etc...). The hills at the 80 mile mark were very challenging for me given the fact we were fighting a head wind most of the day. On one of the hills I had to stop at a Veterinary clinic to douse my head with water to cool down. I had to ride the WWW to get in my 100 mile ride this year since I was cut off early at this years HHH. Needless to say this ride was more difficult for me than the 3 HHHs I have participated in. So, if you want a challenge...do this ride! (especially if it is hot and you have a 10-15mph head wind)-Kevin
Great helpers at start/finish + on route. Lots of smooth roads with a variety of climbs on the 65 mile route. Rest stops were decent, with bananas, oranges, cookies, and tons of Skittles etc candy.
Clever routing made double use of one rest stop as riders passed by initially, and again if they took the extra 15 mile loop. Unfortunately the stop was not equipped for handling double the visitors, they ran out of ice early. It had only one water and one gatorade drink jug causing 12 minute wait (~25 people) in line for a drink.
Candy factory stop was nice surprise - it was not shown on the map. LOTS more candy and Snickers ice cream bars!
Most routes had few traffic lights because of the rural location. At MOST lights it looked like Waco police used remote controls to put traffic lights in our favor.
Overall experience was great. Registration the night before was quick and all the volunteers were great. Pasta dinner the night before is always nice also. As far as the ride, I thought it was brutally hard b/c of the wind and heat. We had a strong head wind for most of the first 55 miles and the temperature was unseasonally hot with a high near 97. I rode the full century, which ended up being about 103 miles, so the temperature became a factor at the end. Roads were pretty rough(chip n seal) compared to other centuries in Texas I've done, but did have some scenic views in a few spots that made it worth the extra effort. Course markings this year were excellent. The route is mostly flat w/ rolling hills except for a few short steep climbs. The hills near miles 75-80 on the highway access roads will get you breathing pretty hard, but fortunately they are short. Traffic control has room for improvement as there are some crazy highway crossings that you really have to stay alert for. Aid stations were some of the best I've experienced. Definitely nice to have so many friendly locals. My favorite was the last rest stop about 10 miles from the finish. I believe it was manned by a local church and they helped me forget about how tired I was for a few minutes. All the free candy from the local Mars/M&M factory is an extra incentive to come ride. I'll be back next year!
MY......what a BRRRROWWWWWNNNNNNNN T-Shirt! (Quack) -
The 2005 ride was cancelled due to Hurricane Rita