When we decided to use the Mule as the symbol of our cycling group there were a number of obvious influences.
An offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, the mule has evolved over time.
They are considered more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses
Less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys.
We likened this equine beauty to our cycles, a beast of burden to carry ourselves and our internal saddlebags - away from the conventional routes of life.
To be obedient, responsive and to go where directed.
Unlike our historical pioneers who used the mule practically to their full potential, my literary route was seemingly not so comprehensive.
Mules feature more commonly in Southern American Literature than any other creature.
Characteristically they meet their demise by a variety of different ways, which is often integral to the storyline.
Overwork, asphyxiation, drowning, beating, gunshot, train collisions, even decapitation by an opera singer have all featured.
In "Blood Meridian" written by Cormac McCarthy - 59 specific mules are killed and dozens of other mules die in a plunge off a cliff.
Truman Capote's also gets all 'Muled up' in his racy "Other Voices, Other Rooms,"
His poor Mule named John Brown is found hanging from a chandelier in a dilapidated antebellum mansion with a spittoon tied to its leg.
Seemingly it is acceptable to write about Mule hardships - a trait that is not lost on some of our riders.
|Left to Right - Bobby,Duncan, Philip, Manuel, Simon, Neale, Craig, John and Mark S|
|The Guys saw the Camera before me and tried to jostle me out of the shot|
|So I crossed over and sneaked up the outside|
|Sun Glasses hide the pain|
This years Katy Flatlands saw the ride change its course significantly both from a start location and the actual route itself. Most of the route was reasonably decent but there were sections that could see many of the Mule riders visiting the dentist in the next few days.
The Ride started out from Cinco Ranch High School and much excitement was in the air with the knowledge that our MULES "Summer" Strip had finally arrived and was being auditioned for the first time at the "Starters Gate". As usual our stable was located in PRIME TIME location - Right next to the start.
The Katy Flatlands has always attracted the a good showing and as the MULES ranks grow so does our participation in these events which saw us eclipse the 20 Rider mark for the second time this year.
The start looked interesting with Lightning, and dark clouds looming over the direction to which we were heading and before long rooster tails from the Mule train resembled the actions of a 200 yard car wash, --- All Foam, Froth & Spray!!
We started fast - As we do! And remarkably held it all together for at least 45 miles when Lee had a flat tire. At this juncture we decided to split allowing the 100 Mile riders to get going while the 65 mile (Yes RIGHT) riders to wait for Lee.
As it happened the 65 Mile riders took a wrong turn and ended up doing 95 Miles and showed their true strength and combative spirit. Special Shouts to Ivonne & Armando who both shattered their personal bests.
The sun baked down on wet roads and created a Turkish bath like atmosphere which overwhelmed Paddy & Barry who both suffered from Cramping & the effects of Heat.
In the end everyone finished what they set out to achieve and the "Afters" saw an abundance of Adult beverages consumed and the ride remembered with laughter.....and tears.