Day 30 – Lockhart, TX to La Grange, TX – 60.77 miles – Elevation: +1,932 /-2,047 feet
Today was a 60 mile day mostly in the rain. I was wet and cold and it is one of those days I ask myself OMG why am I doing this, did I really think this would be fun? Surprisingly, tomorrow the answer will be yes but don’t ask me now. And yes, we did ride on Easter.
The route was very rural and somewhat desolate with few services available. In fact, it was so desolate that we had to make our lunches in the morning again because there was no place to buy lunch along the route. Nevertheless, there were lots of sites to see and lots of photo opportunities.
Day 29 – Blanco, TX to Lockhart, TX – 63.38 miles – Elevation: +2,267 / -2,979 feet
It was a chilly and windy morning to start the 62 mile ride today and it didn’t warm up much all day. The weather is very hard to adjust to. Yesterday I was riding in shorts and a short sleeve jersey and I was soaked with perspiration. Today I was riding in my winter gear and I was still cold at times.
Today was also a wake up call on how dangerous cycling can be. One of the riders crashed and had to be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, it looks likely that he will not be able to finish the ride. One of my biggest fears is that I will hurt myself and not be able to finish the ride. OK, maybe my biggest fear is getting killed by a crazy driver but not finishing is high on my list.
Day 28 – Kerrville, TX to Blanco, TX – 59miles – Elevation: +2,430 / -2,713feet
While today was a short day at 59 miles, it was a difficult day for me. The Texas hill country on this portion of the route had a lot of short steep climbs, up to 10% grade. In addition, not all Texas drivers have the patience for bicycles moving slowly uphill in front of them. In fact, we had one pickup truck pass us on the right hand side of the pavement driving across the grass of people’s front lawns. That was a first for me and I hope it never happens again.
Nevertheless, the hill country is nice but somewhat desolate with scattered farms. It is so desolate that we had to make our lunches in the morning because there was no place to buy lunch along the route. Luckily there was a nice café in the morning and a Dairy Queen at the end of the route.
Day 27 – Concan, TX to Kerrville, TX – 73.03 miles – Elevation: +2,956 / -2,881 feet
Today was a gorgeous 72 mile ride mostly along the Guadalupe River. They call this area of Texas the hill country (glad they don’t call it mountain country) and it has a nice roll to it that makes cycling a lot of fun. It was also wonderful to have trees and shade again. Now if we would only get off those chip seal paved roads.
Today was also a turning point for the ride since we passed the midway point. We all stopped for pictures. Also, note the boot fence. I guess it is a Texas thing.
Day 26 Concan, TX – Rest day at Frio River, Riverbend Resort
As much as I enjoy riding my bicycle, I think I’m really enjoying not riding it just as much today. I took the opportunity to take a walk along the river next to my tent.
I rarely nap but I did fall asleep after lunch today, so I guess I needed the rest. A day off also gave me some time to reflect and I realize it’s just as important to look at how far we have come as it is to look at how many more miles we have left to go.
Today we were treated to an excellent fiddler after dinner.
Day 25 – Brackettville, TX to Concan, TX – 73.91 miles – Elevation: +2,215 / -1,860 feet
Today is the last day of the West Texas Triple Chain Ring Challenge (my own name for the last three days) with a 74 mile ride. I can definitely see a change in the vegetation along the route. Everything is getting much greener and there is more water.
We are staying at the River Bend Resort and I had the option of sharing a cabin with three other people or to sleep outside in my tent. I chose to sleep outside. I’ll tell you tomorrow if that was a good idea or not since they are forecasting rain. Tomorrow is a much needed rest day.
Considering this is a remote area and the possibility of rain, I guess I will get the opportunity to spend a lot of down time in my tent.
Day 24 Comstock, TX to Brackettville, TX – 76.23 miles – Elevation: +1,539 / -1,804 feet
According to Bubba, today is the second of the three hardest days of the tour. It was suppose to be 72.7 mile day in western Texas along US Route 90 or fondly known to me as shake and bake highway. To make matters worse my GPS screen locked up and we missed a turn adding an additional 5 miles to the route.
While preparing this post, I realized that the posts are always all about me. Therefore, I would like to share a little bit about the other riders. Attached is a photo of the only tandem on the tour. I don’t want to sound sexist here but Colleen and Randy are unique in that Colleen is the captain of the tandem. Normally the man is the captain, but due to Randy’s visual impairment Colleen performs the job. Needless to say, they appear to be the happiest riders on the tour.
Day 23 – Sanderson, TX to Comstock, TX – 81.71 miles – Elevation: +2,500 / -3,625 feet
Today’s 82 mile ride was the hardest day of the previous year’s tour, with only about a third of the riders finishing the route. Of course, knowing this had many of us nervous about the day. The route maps and weather reports were being checked and rechecked regularly. The general strategy was to get out early before the headwind started and the temperature got too hot. Unfortunately, that strategy fell apart for me when I broke my front shifter cable and had to stop to repair it. Nevertheless, I was able to finish the ride.
Day 22 – Marathon, TX to Sanderson, TX – 54.56 miles – Elevation: +571 / – 1,647 feet
Today was the kind of day cyclists dream of with mostly downhills and tailwinds. It was a short day with only 55 miles and we knocked it out in about 3 hours and 25 minutes saddle time. I am not about speed, so you know it was an easy ride. We can use an easy day in preparation for an 82 mile tomorrow.
Today Bubba was shaving heads. Only a few brave souls took him up on the offer. How do I look?
While I really could have used the rest, I took the time to go into Great Bend National Park. However, I must admit that I did doze occasionally in the van. There was frost on my tent in the morning and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag, but this may be my only chance to see the park and I wanted take advantage of it and take some time to smell the desert flowers.