Tour du Rouge Day 6: Gonzales to New Orleans
May 11, 2018
The last day! An "easy" 80+ mile cruise into New Orleans. There were headwinds today, so every group was going a little slower. I took it easy, hanging back most of the ride, until we got to the last rest stop. With 20 miles to go to lunch, there was a looming 3:00 deadline. This last 20 miles was on a nice bike path on the Mississippi River levee, with a medium headwind. In other words, exactly the conditions I train/commute in every day. I was ready for this, and booked it alone at 20mph to get to Audubon Park with enough time to enjoy lunch. The 3:00 deadline was for our Police escort into town. We cruised in as a group, picking up more riding companions from the New Orleans Arc chapter, and rolled to the finish line. A flurry of celebrating, packing, eating, drinking and more celebrating took us late into the night.
For those who are new, I'll wrap up the trip with more details on this ride. Organized by the Arc of Houston as one of their fundraisers, the Tour du Rouge this year had 50 Riders, raising $2,500 each (totaling over $150,000), and over 20 crew handling all the logistics and support. Every morning we eat breakfast at the hotel buffet, then pack up our bags and drop them off in one of the SAG (Support and Gear) trucks. All 50 riders will roll out of the hotel together, with a Police escort out of town. As we get rolling, the riders will naturally form many groups, where riders going the same pace stick together and draft off each other. The fast group would average over 22mph the whole day, and the slow groups took it easier at 16-17mph. The crew lays out route markings and signs along the way, have given out laminated route cards, and digital maps to download to our devices. The crew has at least 4 rest stops set up with ice water, Gatorade, and all sorts of snacks. One will also have a good lunch. There are several support vehicles driving back and forth while riding to assist with any problems. Two mechanics from the BikeBarn will be there to help change a flat, exhausted riders can jump in a van (though nobody wants to), and there's even a photographer taking pictures. When arriving to the next hotel (I'd get in between 2-3:00), there's a large tent set up in the back of the parking lot, and there are snacks, drinks (beer) and chairs waiting. Bags are delivered directly to the room, with A/C on, ready for a shower, and a massage team ready to rub down tired legs. All hotels had a pool, a popular hang out spot, before dinner is served by a mobile catering crew back in the parking lot tent. It's a well-run machine. Everyone there is really friendly (as you'd expect from bike people wearing spandex most of the day), and everyone has a lot of fun, and a lot of great riding!
Tour du Rouge