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Mineola Pedal for Paws, Mineola, TX

(Formerly Mineola Metric Century)

November 2016

The 2016 Mineola Pedal for Paws started at the Mineola Nature Preserve on November 5, 2016. The weather the day of the ride was light rain, temperature 59 and calm wind. The weather stayed the same throughout the ride. The ride was well organized, the small parking lot at the Nature Preserve was full with volunteers directing cars to park on the grass adjacent to the parking lot. Registration was easy, signs for registration lines, on site registration. At the registration table were an assortment of various Cliff Bars. The volunteers at registration mentioned there was a bike giveaway and red beans and rice after the ride. The map of the route indicated the route would be marked in red arrows until a particular route split, then that route would have a different color arrow until the route rejoined the red 65 mile route. The course was hilly and a good hill workout. The first rest stop at New Hope was a pleasant surprise: it was still open for these late starters and indoors. Outside they had a bike rack, inside the church were fruit, water, sport drink, pickle juice and a volunteer offer sausage biscuits. Sitting down indoors was a great relief from the weather. At the finish, a volunteer was waving riders into the Nature Preserve, there was a large bike rack at the finish, complimentary red beans and rice and live music from a duet playing oldies. In addition, the ride had a massage therapist taking donations for the ride charity, the Animal Preservation of East Texas (SPCA.) Of all the rides I've been to this year, this was the best organized. They did everything right.

This was my third year to enjoy this ride. Check in was quick and easy. Goodie bags had usual T-shirt and chap stick but also included a set of bike tire tools. Nice touch. Ride start is at a Nature Preserve then all routes travel through heavily wooded east Texas piney woods on mostly typical chip seal county roads with some rolling hills. Rest stops were well stocked and staffed by very helpful and friendly Mineola area volunteers. Road SAG was provided by members of Bikers for Christ who carried tubes and tools. You could skip all the rest stops except you should stop at the last one. At this one the Boy Scouts were serving Cherry Apple Cobbler they had baked in a Dutch oven over a camp fire at the rest stop. Back at the Nature Preserve finish, there was a two-piece band playing classic rock and we were served some awesome beans and rice. Nice way to finish after a country ride. We will ride again next year!

This was my first year to do this ride. Check in was quick and easy. The weather was unpleasant, raining from the time I started until I finished, but that's the chance you take with outdoor activities. The ride start is at the Mineola Nature Preserve then all routes travel through beautiful East Texas piney woods on mostly chip seal Farm to Market roads with LOTS of hills, two of which are beasts! Due to being unprepared for the rain, I decided to take the 40 mile cut-across and end my ride earlier than planned. This was the only really rough section of road for the entire ride. It was down an asphalt topped County Road, and some of the asphalt was washboard rough. You had to be really careful in this area, particularly on the descents, due to the rough AND wet road surface. The rest of the route was as expected for Texas FM Roads. Rest stops were well stocked, pretty evenly spaced, and staffed by helpful and friendly volunteers. The last rest stop (Crow) was by far the best. At this one the Boy Scouts were serving hot cherry apple cobbler, fresh baked in a Dutch oven over a camp fire onsite. This came right after the last MONSTER hill, and was a welcome treat. Intersections were manned by members of Bikers for Christ who did a wonderful job, with one exception. The folks manning the intersection of Loop 564 and Farm Road 1801 were trying to stop riders in the middle of a wet descent (we had the right-of-way, with no stop signs) while waving cross traffic (who had the stop signs) on across. This was dangerous and unnecessary, but thankfully all the riders got through unscathed. All other intersections were handled very well. SAG was evident all along the route, from the Bikers who carried tubes and tools to an area bike shop in their van. There was also at least one pickup truck and trailer providing SAG if needed. The sun came out and it stopped raining at the finish, plus there was live music, red beans and rice, and a free beer. It was a nice finish to an uncomfortable, wet ride. I highly recommend this ride providing you like hills, as the scenery was very nice. I'm going to work on my climbing and, weather allowing, I'll be back next year.

November 7, 2015

Good old Texas weather provided us with another wet Saturday. At least the temps weren't too bad. It stayed in the 60's for most of the ride. Everything was well-organized. Parking, because of the wet conditions, was probably more of a challenge for the late comers. Even with the rain, about 100 riders managed to show up. The volunteers were great and helped cheer everyone up. The course and signage were fine. Plenty of hills to give you a workout. The post ride festivities were fun with hot red beans and rice, drinks (including Michelob beer), and a band. Challenging weather or no, this is still one of my favorite tours!

November 1, 2014

This was the 12th bike rally I rode this season (all within 3 hours of the DFW metroplex) and was by far my favorite ride. The 69 mile course was fun, scenic, hilly, and had very little traffic. The loop around Lake Hawkins was beautiful and so was the view from the rest stop at the Nature Preserve. The rest stops were spaced out pretty evenly and had friendly volunteers and lots of home baked treats. Each rest stop also had a huge map of the course, with distances between each rest stop, which was great to reference. Sign in was a breeze and parking was easy to find. The goodie bags had a nice t-shirt, water bottle, chapstick, etc. The red beans and rice at the end of the ride really hit the spot. I'll be back next year. Great job, Mineola!

This is a great ride for a great cause. This was my second year making the trip to Mineola. The weather was not so friendly this year and made for a smaller ride. Close to freezing temperatures at the start. As I was a brand new rider last year, I didn't realize how much of this ride is chip seal. It's a lot! Nonetheless, this is still one of my favorite rallies. Easy packet pickup, ample parking, additional port-a-potties at the start this year, and friendly volunteers. Good support at the turns for the most part. The route is very scenic, but you will work. Lots of climbing on the 69 mile route from the very beginning. They still need to improve the route signage. It was better than last year in some places but still a problem spot or two. We got off course with only 3-4 miles to go and I had to sag in for the first time ever. That last section crossed over the beginning of the course and it was hard to tell which way we should go. We ended up deciding to turn right when we should have gone straight. And as there were signs all along that stretch, we didn't realize we were off course until we hit 69 miles and were still in the middle of nowhere. As it would have been around 8 miles uphill in fast traffic to the start from there and the rider I was with was hurting, we sagged in. Thankfully they gave us a number for SAG and someone came to pick us up in less than 10 minutes and they were very apologetic, recognized the problem, and were very open to suggestions to improve for next year. The rice and beans at the end hit the spot. I would definitely recommend this ride and will be back to tackle the hills again next year.

November 2, 2013

This is always a pleasant ride. The weather was great and the fall colors were vivid! I'm not sure if there is a single flat spot around Mineola-plenty of hills to challenge you. The ride was well-organized. No problems with signage and the rest stops were fine. The red beans and rice were tasty after the ride. We enjoyed the music. Post ride fun included an antique car show and the Iron Horse Festival. This is a fun event!

I ride all of the rallies in the greater DFW area and I am a strong, experienced rider. Of the 30 DFW rallies between March – November, the Mineola Metric Century is the most scenic ride and the best designed 100k course of them all. Having ridden it for the second year in a row, it is now my #1 do-not-miss ride. No other 100k course is as fun, challenging, and scenic. Only their marketing efforts and convincing people in DFW to make the drive to Mineola limit its turnout. However, once someone has ridden this rally, they will come back. I have a spreadsheet in which I keep all of the (relative) elevation numbers for the DFW rallies and on a "feet of climbing / mile" basis, this course is the 3rd hilliest of the 30 courses. Those hills, however, are broken up by the scenic circuit around Lake Hawkins so even though it has plenty of enjoyable hills, there's a nice respite in the middle that gives you a second wind for the finish. Things that are great: (1) The 1.5mi police-escorted tour through town. This functioned as a neutralized start and allowed for a little rolling warmup before those of us at the front hit the gas. (2) The small change to the course that took us off 2869 and onto 3540 before coming back to 2869. The smooth blacktop, the gradual climb, no car traffic. Great choice! (3) Beautiful tree-lined climbs. (4) The winding 10mi loop around Lake Hawkins with the leaves falling like confetti along the way and the smooth blacktop road surface. (5) Very limited riding on heavy chip-seal roads. And wide shoulders for riding on US 80. (6) Fun roller-coaster hills leading to the nature preserve. (7) A final, challenging 2mi long climb right near the end over 80 and 49. (8) The course signage, including the "hill" sign around Lake Hawkins, and the road paint. There can never be too many signs and road paint to limit the stress related to staying on course. (9) The post-ride red beans and rice were delicious. That may be my new favorite post-ride meal. Easy to eat, carbs, protein, warm on a cool day. Perfect. (10) The live music duo was very entertaining and a great choice for this rally. (11) Keeping the food and music going long enough for the slower long-course riders to finish and still enjoy. (12) The t-shirt design. Professional and nice looking. (13) I ride in the front groups and don't stop on 100k rides, but the two people I brought, and others, told me that all the rest stops were perfectly done. One thing that needs to be improved: Restroom facilities in the start/finish area. The building has one stall in the men's room. This is not enough for the ride to grow. I drive 1hr 45min (Frisco/Plano) and restroom facilities are important if I am to convince people to drive that long to the ride. Need at least 6-8 port-a-potties in the start/finish area to add to the building's facilities if you're going to get to the 300-400+ rider mark. I tell people, they may even want to stop at the McDonald's near the Civic Center, get an egg mcmuffin, and use their restrooms because it could be a delay once at the ride.

November 3, 2012

This is a beautiful ride this time of year. Love those fall colors! This is a "bare bones" event, but still well supported and organized. Be prepared for some climbing, though, but it's worth it! The view from the rest area in the Mineola Nature Preserve is breathtaking! This ride is well worth doing again!

After riding Beauty and the Beast at Tyler and Freeze Your Fanny at Longview, I fell in love with the rides in East Texas. The area is very scenic, lots of trees and of course - lots of hills.
This is the 3rd annual Mineola Metric Century Bike Ride. They grew from the 30ish riders the 1st year to just under 100 last year, and to 220 riders this year. What a great job!
The routes are very scenic in general but for those who did the 100k route, they were treated with the most beautiful section - The loop around Lake Hawkins. The loop was about 10 miles. With the fall colors started to show and the waterfront on your right, it's one of the most fascinating 10 miles of the whole ride. They also had a rest stop at Taste of Italy (a famous local restaurant). It's a perfect place to take a breather before leaving the lake and heading back to town. The route was hilly, with a 2,760 feet of climbing according to Endomondo on my smartphone. After the ride, one can stopped by downtown Mineola for the Iron Horse festival. Participants from the bike ride got tickets for free foods and drinks.
They do have typical chip & seal one can find in any part of Texas. Some people may also find riding along state highway a little uncomfortable at times.

The Ride in Mineola was awesome. Best Scenery in Texas. For those of you that remember the Edgewood ride that when thru all the pine trees and forests, this is very similar. I think we went thru about 35 to 40 miles of pine tree covered forests. Literally draping over the road. Beautiful. Going around the lake just does not get any better. Roads were great, directions and rest stops were great also. I did the 63 mile route and climbed about 3000 feet. Winds were a little tough at 10 to 15 mph at times. Hills were not that bad but the degree of some of them made a welcome challenge. I LOVE the T-shirts. Best one I have received in a long time. This is a small town ride and super hospitality. I think about 150 to 200 turned out. This is a must do ride and you will see what I mean when you do it. Big Chili cook-off after down town. At the ride they gave you free drink and food coupons. Highly looking forward to next year. Great Job.