Sunday, May 9, 2010

Allen Lane

Allen Lane
Saturday May 8, 2010
Christoval, Texas
"It was deja vue all over again."

Wind 18 plus from the ENE; the day's high was to be 65; and we decided to climb some hills. Allen Lane is a little over 7 miles of good hill repeats, and although the return trip is generally more downhill than up, there are still some good challenges on the way back. Right as you begin, there is a long 11.5% grade incline, immediately followed by a 9.8, 9.7, and 9.5. The smaller hills didn't count. They were there just to keep us warm.

So who would voluntarily get out on a chilly, windy day to climb some hills when the alternative was a fireplace and popcorn? Nine of us decided to play hammerhead (definition:  a committed bicyclist; an aggressive or adventuresome cyclist). Actually, I think it was eight hammerheads and moi--a ball-peen hammerhead (definition: a wanta be hammerhead). The eight who were there to climb hills were Brian Backlund, Donna Durbin, Chad Freeze, Christine Jones, Dorothy Langdon, Rick and Velma Ogan, Liz Rappe, moi--Roy Jones--the ball-peen head.
Assembley point: Toni's Restrauant (closed) outside of Christoval on Hwy 277.
Donna, Chad, Liz (almost hidden), Brian, Velma, Christine, and Rick. We waited for Dorothy to arrive. 
And when Dorothy arrived, like a well trained pit crew, Donna and Rick worked on her bike getting it ready to roll. Dorothy (center) got her equipment ready. And Christine-left with clip board-looked official while watching others work. (I think she had been taking lessons from me--look busy--do nothing.

One other attendee who cannot be overlooked: David Durbin wanted to be support and gear. Besides providing encouragement and support, David agreed to take some action shots with the camera. This was to the liking of Christine who always accuses me of taking behind shots when I insist I am taking pictures only FROM behind. It used to be a running joke, but now she is getting more serious about not getting in front of me when I have the camera. Any way, off we went and note that Christine got well ahead of me to remain photogenic.
Brian, Liz, Rick, Christine, Donna, Velma and Chad way ahead. Dorothy by me in the back warming up.

As soon as we turned off of Highway 277 onto Allen Lane, we started up the first 11% plus grade hill. There were a series of 9+% grades and then another 11+% grade.

Chad and Velma leading the way up one of the steep grades.

Velma toughing it out.

Rick right behind.

Brian and Donna



And moi--Roy. Hey, this is a no-one-left-behind ride so I have to make sure everyone got up the hill(s), right?
One always has to make excuses for trailing to ensure everyone is all right. For me, one of the many excuses is I kept being distracted by the road side attractions. (Editor's note. Hey, that's my line.)

Always one more tough hill before the turn around point. David did a great job catching us as we sped past him. Some of the group sped past him--some of us were satisfied with an almost still shot by this time.
And Christine.
Upon arrival at the turn-around point, it was time for a drink, snack, or just conversation.
The wind generator direction is a first clue as to what we were going to face on the way back. As we were approaching the turn-around point, going down a hill with the wind to our backs, I was grousing to Liz that we would be going back up hill and into the wind. She admonished me with, "Just enjoy the moment." Wise advice. Don't complain about the deep water until you are over your head.
And off we went. Immediately as one left the turn-around point, an 11+% grade confronted the rider. But after that, on the return trip, there was more downhill than up (with several noteable exceptions) so the trip was rather fast. 
Back at the start. Decision time. Do a repeat, or go home. Chad, Dorothy, Donna and David decided to call it a day so Brian, Christine, Liz, Rick, Velma, and I started off on a modified repeat.
Almost ready for take off.
On the way back up the Lane, there were more distractions to hinder my serious hill climbing workout. Oh well, spring will not last long.
Mayfield Ranch modified-repeat-turn-around place. Liz, Velma, Rick, Christine, and Brian.
Just as everyone was ready to go back, I wanted a picture of some thistles I had seen on the road to our rear. I decided to go back and told everyone not to wait on me. Not too far back were some examples of what I wanted. The group left, but Rick came back and waited for me.
OK. I was happy, so it was time to head back and try to catch up with the others.
Rick and I started back. I tried to keep really close all the way back as Rick's size and suitcase make great wind blockers. On down the road, we caught up to Christine as she had stopped, turned around, and was pointing at a flower she spotted that was really pretty.
And soon, the ride was over. The sky was still over cast, the wind was still blowing, it had not warmed up all that much, but the tranquil country side made it even more enjoyable.


  1. a repeat??????????? groan. I will NEVER ride with you guys. I will volunteer as photographer, documenter, writer, water bottle carrier, but not a rider. Good for you. You guys make the rest of us look bad.

  2. @Steadfast Ahoy! There's a real good group of people who go on the rides. Their company takes all the "pain" out of the adventures.

    A side note: I frequent your blog and enjoy your stories.

  3. I did not call it a day, I rode back to my house which was another 40 miles back north.