Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another 45 miles

Today was a GREAT ride. My legs are spent but I am nourishing them with beer and pork chops. Although we encountered some very strong winds, it was by far a better ride than last week. It is amazing to me how that wind shoots across those farms. I wish that I had video taped some of the flags that we saw. We took the same route past Hutto but this time it was just the three of us, for the most part. Todd broke off from the group after the first 10 to 15 miles. It was a lot warmer today, in the mid 70's.

I feel my training improving and with these friends in front of me to chase, why wouldn't I? There is not much more to say today except that we had to outrun this train. That was fun.

My pork chops need to come off of the grill now and I cannot focus on my story.

Next time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

45 miles: Tuesday Afternoon in Hutto

Hooray for the Austin Endurance Cyclists Group. Today's ride was fun but boy was it tough. The wind would not leave us alone so at times some of the tiny hills we did encounter were just exhausting. It wasn't quite as cold as I thought it would be, I finished strong but I guarantee you that I will sleep well tonight. I am wiped out. It took us about 3 and a half hours to ride the 45 mile loop. That's pretty slow but as Patti put it, this is January in Round Rock and the wind blows strong over those plowed corn and cotton fields.

Along for the ride were fellow endurance cyclists, John, Todd, Cliff, Patti, Amy and Heidi. Todd the cycling machine led the pack until it was his time to leave us. I missed him terribly because I drafted nicely behind him while he was with us. After that we all took turns leading and taking a little shelter from the wind. These are all good people and I am lucky to be riding with them. Encouragement, support and friendly conversation is everything you need to get through this ride. Well, that and some GU, Clif Shots, Clif Bars and a few liters of water.

Ya know, there were parts of this ride when we didn't see a single car or person for miles. I really want to ride this route again this summer when it's warmer. Did I mention how chilly and windy it was?

There were some beautiful sights along this route. I saw cute little ponies, cows, donkeys, but the best sights were the Manville water tower, another stretch of smooth road and my truck when we returned to the Salt Lick restaurant.

I have got to sign off and get to bed now. I went to karate tonight and I should have stayed at home. My entire body is tired and I fear my brain is not producing a decent story here. So goodnight all and thanks for a fun afternoon. I enjoyed the brisket and the friendships.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ACA Ride_Cotton Capers: 42 miles

What a day! We met at 1:00 and I was so excited to finally train with our Meetup Leader, Patti - but unfortunately she left her shoes at home. She insisted we go on without her and have fun. FUN INDEED!!

It was a gorgeous day. I thought maybe it was going to be a bit chilly but nah, it was perfect... except for the
WIND. This is the opposite side of town from where I normally ride but wow - it was exactly what I love about riding in Austin. It had everything including very small towns, farms, ranches, cows, horses, sheep, goats, and I had no clue where I was. It looked like I had driven hours outside of town but apparently these beautiful scenes are just past the city limits. There were a few narrow roads but thank God for light country traffic, there was only a few farm trucks and horse trailers which allowed us to ride together more often.

When we were separated from the rest of the group (too slow to keep up with the Elite) I relied on Matt and his map reading skills. I forgot my map on my first ACA ride, "What an idiot! Gawd!" I thought it was amazing to ride up to the New Sweeden Church, I had to take a picture of it. The church was a tiny little place just 30 feet from a cotton field. Anyway, it was when we almost rode up to it the second time that Matt took a closer look at his map. Don't get me wrong, if it was not for Matt I might still be out there trying to find my way back.

I thought it was hilarious riding through Manor. Obviously I was getting tired because this was part of our route, it's just that I never imagined myself cycling on that side of town, so far away from home. The last few hills were killer. I really didn't think I was going to make it up one very long and windy hill but I pushed through and was so happy to be back to my truck. It took us 3 hours which included a couple snack stops to visit with other cyclists and map stops to make sure we were on the right road. This 42 miles seemed like so much more and I am sure that my legs will be hating me tomorrow.

Can't wait for the next ride guys! That really was fun.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It does not feel like January!

Lake-1.jpgKevin took me on another tour this morning. I was still sore from my 2 days of boot camp and he was not feeling 100%. We weren't certain about our route but Williamson County has so many options we just agreed to avoid the dam. I love the flat and pretty scenes so Kevin took me through Avery Ranch out to Sam Bass Road and Brushy Creek.

He told me more about his planned route from Austin to Lubbock. 400 miles in 4 days! As he mentioned all of the West Texas towns that I remember fondly from Barn-house.jpgmy college days, I started to reminisce. And then as we rode past multi-acre lots covered in brown grass I felt as if I was already there. It was beautiful. Sure we're training for long back to back 80 mile rides and we should include hills and intervals in our workouts but this January 3rd, 2009 with the temperature around 80 degrees, a steady 15 mph pace for 35 miles is exactly what I needed.

We made two quick stops to eat our snacks, my Clif Bar and Kevin's homemade healthy brownie concoction that no one else in his family will eat. Brushy-Creek.jpgFor those of you thinking that making 2 stops during a 35 mile ride is pretty weak, I have yet to tell you about the winds. If you have read my other entries from this winter then you know what it can be like and it always seems to happen on the way home too. The sun was out and the temperature was wonderful but those darn wind gusts blowing right in our faces as we travel up the smallest of hills was enough to drain me every time.

Well I am off to bed. Sweet dreams and goodnight. Kevin, thanks again for the ride and I look forward to reading the Lance Armstrong book you bought me.