Approximately 168 bicyclists registered for the second annual Come and Grind It bike race on Saturday, March 10 with the stated goal of conquering the gravel rounds that surround the communities of Leesville and Bebe, Texas.
The bikers had to traverse 33 miles of county gravel roads in order to complete at least one loop of the race event. More adventurous and seasoned gravel pounders did two laps of the 33-mile course in order to compete in the 66-mile format. Last year, racers took to the Gonzales County roads in brutal July heat, but this time Mother Nature cooperated and her colors blazed brilliantly on Saturday.
Riders enjoyed great conditions all through Saturday morning, with many of the riders claiming the roads were in perfect shape for a gravel pounding event of this magnitude.
“I am really stoked about the turnout here today,” race director Brett Kinsey said. “We had 130 riders last year, but this year 168 registered. The roads were fantastic, with two perfect grooves worn in on the roads and almost no traffic.
“They were the best conditions we could have hoped for.”
The bikers went out at 9 a.m. with a mass start led by the Gonzales County Sheriff Department. After a mile on pavement, the riders turned on to the gravel roads and enjoyed “33 miles of pure Texas bliss,” as one participant from Austin described it.
“I had wanted to do something like this for some time,” Kinsey stated. “I had looked at other venues and up by Rockport when one of my friends in San Marcos told me about Leesville and said I had to check out the roads, the beauty and the topography.
“I went to Google Earth, mapped it, and I knew once I saw it was the place for this event.”
Kinsey said he approached the Leesville Cemetery Association, and was blown away by their support, friendliness and commitment to his event.
“I have been working with Pat Meyer from Leesville, and his group has just been great to work with,” Kinsey said. “They were willing to do whatever it takes to make this event succeed, and they are so friendly and eager to help. I can’t say enough about what Pat and his group has done for us.”
Riders and participants loved the area.
“It was a nice course and laid out just perfect,” Kelly Kirby from Austin said. “The scenery was excellent and we did have anything chasing us.”
Colin Strickland from Johnson City was very enthusiastic.
“I had a blast out there; it was lots of fun,” Strickland beamed. “Gorgeous country side and nice terrain. Well done to Brett for putting this on.”
The women riders also enjoyed the event.
“It was great,” Michele Willis from Georgetown added. “It was our first year and it wasn’t too difficult. It ranks right up there for great course.”
“I can’t say enough about all of the people who live out in this pretty area who came out to support us,” gushed Cynthia Bryan-Williams from Houston. “We would ride by the pretty houses and the kids would run out of the houses and clap and cheer for us. It was awesome.”