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Garland L. Parise’ Pineywoods Purgatory - Lufkin, TX

October 1, 2016

Have been meaning to writing a review for some time of this event, as I am perplexed why no one has commented for years about it. This was the 25 anniversary of the event and as part of the riders giveaways this year, special pilsner beer glasses were given to the riders. We have done this Lufkin ride about 7 times through the years and it is always a special day. Really is a nice event with great rest stops, sag support, and fajitas to eat in a covered unique finish line area. (which basically a rodeo area)

October 2009

Better and better each year. An absolute perfect day for a ride. 5 mph winds 70 degrees. Rest stops were all very well stocked and friendly. Very yummy fajitas afterwards. All routes very clearly marked with virtually no traffic in the hills. One of the most beautiful rides I have every done. Takes your breath away. Keep up the good work and well worth the drive.

October 4, 2008

First ride here.  Came 270 miles, based on the rave reviews from prior years.  Really expected an "event".  Instead, got another bike ride, albeit, a really pretty one.
Pros:  Super nice staff.  Support staff was the best.  Pre-game carb load was great.  Ride had the best scenery of any I've ever done. Pavement, for the majority of the ride was very smooth.  Fajitas were pretty good.
Cons:  Link to brochure from their web-site was for 2007 bike ride, which indicated free beer and music.  They've nixed the beer (evidently due to TABC losers deciding too much fun was being had.)  Geez, this is Texas, not New Hampshire.  We need beer (or at least let it be known that you've killed it and we can stock up ourselves.)  No live music. One rest-stop ran completely out of water, power-ade, fluids of any kind.  That should NEVER happen at a bike rally.  A little pricey without the added attractions.
Man, I was really looking forward to this one.  I wanted to stick this one on my yearly calendar.  Hate to be the downer guy on this one, but for a 270 mile trip, probably won't be back.

My second year at the Pineywoods Purgatory, and this is another of my favorite rides. The scenery is worth the drive and the price of admission. I rode the 72 mile course, plenty challenging, well marked, pretty good roads. I did not like the most of the stretch on Hwy 7, lots of fast moving traffic and not a lot of shoulder. This would be my one suggestion for the future, to perhaps lessen the amount of time on this stretch of road. SAG support was visible, and the last rest stop had a smorgasbord of goodies.

Scenery was good, rest stops adequate, the marking of some of the route was inadequate, and communication with the volunteers was poor. My son got lost on the route and my wife rode in the Sag wagon looking for him. The volunteers had no communication with each other or the police. Don't know if we will be back next year. Not as good as I had imagined after reading about it on the internet.

We drove 3 hours for this ride. The scenery was the best of any ride I have done. I rode the 100 mile route and climbed 3850 feet according to my Polar CS 600. 2nd most I have climbed next to Sherman, TX which was 4050 feet. We registered the night before and they did not have any 2XL shirts. Pre-register only. That really bums me out especially when I am paying $35. No beer or music after like they had advertised. I am not sure if I will make the drive next year. Main reason I went is to notch another Century under my belt. This was my 28th one.

October 6, 2007

This is hands-down the best T-Shirt Ride I've ever attended. The rest-stops were ALL WELL stocked ALL DAY, there were Police-men/volunteers at every major intersection untill ALL the riders were in, SAG support was visible everywhere, motorcycle guides were great [though they quit when it rained. :-)], and the post ride feast not only had FREE SHINER BOCK (in addition to the public favorites) but made sure the beer/fajita buffet stayed open until ALL the riders had arrived. I've NEVER seen support like this before. Because most rides lack even decent rest-stop support and post-ride activities I've all but sworn off them. If they were to take a lesson from the folks at PineyWoods then I would drive 3+hrs each way and not complain, but alas the only well supported ride is in Lufkin. This is my first of many Purgatory Rides (I'm sending my money for 2008).

Incredible event. My wife and I drove 3 hours each way to attend this ride. Support was great, the route was beautiful and the people were a joy to associate with. I've never enjoyed so many "downhills" and the fajitas were fantastic. If you're a flatlander like myself note the "downhills". More people should have stayed around for the band afterwards. They are a great bunch of guys and played well. I did the 102 miles in a little over 51/2 hours. I'm sure the 50 to 60 miles of rain helped keep riders cooled down as we tracked up and down the hills of East Texas. I will be back next year. What a fantastic weekend for a couple of 50 year old adventurers. For those that didn't make it this year, save your fuel money and drive down next year. It is truly a wonderful event.


October 7, 2006

This was my first pwp and overall the best rally i have ever ridden. the roads and the scenery were great along with well stocked rest stops manned by friendly people. the weather was perfect, low 80's for the high and light winds. parking was easy and plentiful right next to the start finish line. the course (102mi.) was mostly smooth rolling hills with a few steep ones on the home stretch but nothing too challenging, very fun. the post ride activities included a free fajita dinner in the civic center with free beer and massages. there was plenty of room for everyone and the food was very good. i cant think of anything to suggest for improving this event. pencil this one in on your '07 calender and you'll be glad you did.

2006 Pineywoods ride was one of the best centuries I have ever ridden. Did it singlespeed on 42/17 gearing. No problems but plenty of uphill work. I rate the difficulty of this ride about 7/10. Best traffic control I have ever experienced in any organized ride. Good stops, clean roads, a dog here and there. Beautiful countryside. Started on time. I don't think many people rode the century but I still saw sag wagons and motorcycle support on the century leg. Will return next year. Organizers all over the State could take some cues from the Lufkin folks. They get it right.


October 2005

Ride was cancelled due to the hurricane.

This is a great ride and very well supported. A great pasta dinner on Friday night at the downtown civic center with a slide show of the previous year's ride is fun to attend. On Saturday the race usually starts around 8:00 with a BIG sendoff. The reststops can't be beat! Themed and manned by local businesses, the volunteers really put on a great spread for the bikers to enjoy. Sag wagons and motorcycle escorts abound! At the end of the ride, there are free fajitas and free massage as well as the best slide show of the DAY'S current events. It is a great weekend of riding through the beautiful hills of east Texas. On Sunday morning, the Angelina Bicycle Club sponsors a recovery ride of about 25 miles to those who need to limber up before driving home. This is one of the best rides for it's size in Texas. 


October 2, 2004

This event certainly lived up to it's advanced billing as a top-tier  ride. This was my first Purgatory ride and I recommend it to all riders in (and out of) the area. The ride directors are to be commended for a great experience...all the things that one expects from a good bike rally are here...great organization, large area for registration and package pick-up (the Garrison Civic Center) and a noticable care for the riders as evidenced by the delay in the start time for a rain front to pass. Rest stops appeared to be well manned and stocked, although I did not stop at any. The only negatives that I'd mention are that the roads were largely the chip and seal variety (some more "mature" than others), but this I viewed as a trade off for the beautiful course through the piney forest. One area that needs addressing however is an area about 2 miles in distance on CR 1911 between two "country" bridges. These bridges had wooden planks for us to ride over that required a balancing act and the road between them was unbelieveably appeared that they just poured tar over tree roots and left it at that. Outside of this issue, this was a fabulous  event and one that was worth the 3 1/2 hour ride to Lufkin. I plan to make this an annual family experience!


October 4, 2003

It was a little cool for my wife and I as we started out on this ride. The start line was a little crowded, would have preferred a staged start. Registration was fast and easy. Each goodie bag was slightly different. Seemed about 1000 riders total. The route was excellent, we did the 62 and although I had been warned that this was a hilly ride, and there were some hills, they were all easy. Sag support was always obvious as were the friendly motorcycle escorts. The rest stops were well supplied and very friendly people. I was in awe at one rest stop staffed by middle school cheerleaders (looked like anyway) all running around smiling offering to stand there in the chill and hold your bike while you went and did whatever. Overall the road conditions were excellent, only a few little rough patches. Traffic control was quite good. This ride may become my new favorite over the Tour de Italy. Oh, did I mention the excellent food after the ride, most impressive.

This is my third time to do this ride and every year it is better that the last one. This year the course for all mileages were changed and they were great! Part of the course took us through the Angelina National Forest, beautiful! The roads were very good except for about a 2 block ride through the town of Huntington, the shoulder was very small and in terrible shape, but it was short. Rolling hills with great and I mean the BEST rest stops of any road ride that I have done this year. Pecan pie, brownies, Krispy Kreme donuts, fruit, ham sandwiches, hot dogs, water, juice, Gatorade, cookies, and much, much more. Photos were taken at the rest stops and some of the rest stops had bike stands for your bikes. Sag wagon were everywhere, police officers at every corner, routes marked, food and massage afterwards. I would guess and say around 900 to 1000 riders, a mass start, but very smooth, no crashes or problems. The ride has to get a 10 rating. After the ride, I emailed the ride director and told him how much we like the ride and he said that they are already working on the 2004 ride with more improvements! Anyone who has not done this ride, please try it in 2004, you will not be disappointed. Lufkin goes out of the way to please the riders. And did I mention, great T-shirts!

This is an amazing ride in East Texas. My father started this ride 13  years ago; however, he passed away about a month  before the second  year of the ride due to a heart arrhythmia. He was  an avid cyclist  and had ridden many century rides including the  Hotter 'n Hell, and  Beauty and the Beast, and many other rides many  times. His goal was  to make this ride the best ride ever with  challenging hills and great  rest stops and organization. Since he passed away,  the Lufkin Host  Lions Club has taken over the ride. Although I do  think my dad would  do some things differently with the ride, I think  the Lions Club has  done a wonderful job with it.
 Please come on out and ride with us if you can. I'll  be working the  Parise Family rest stop. So if you ride the century,
 I'll probably  see you!