Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fredericksburg Fall Foliage Frolic

Ein prosit der Gemütlichkeit-and a toast to the Hill Country Bicycle Touring Club.
Fredericksburg Fall Foliage Frolic
Saturday October 30, 2010
Fredericksburg, Texas

For 11 years the Hill Country Bicycle Touring Club has been hosting an outstanding ride at Fredericksburg. The club seems to be as laid back as the ride. For example, the website for the ride states that those riding the longer rides can start any time between 8:30-9:30 AM.

Some of us arrived Friday evening to enjoy the flavor and atmosphere of the German heritage village of Fredericksburg. Jerry Middleton, above left, Christine, and I arrived a little early, and after checking into the hotel we went outside to the veranda, sat in the rocking chairs, and chatted. We were waiting for Dorothy Langdon, above middle, to arrive and go out to eat. A short distance from the hotel was the Bavarian Inn, one of our favorite places to eat. Besides bratwurst, Chrisine made sure she had plenty of carbs in her system for the upcoming ride.
As we were eating, a gang of gaily dressed clowns came into the bar area. Our waitress said that it was a cycling club, and each year they dress up and make the rounds of the bars in town.
I went over to the group and asked a big clown if they were the Hill Country Bicycle Club. With a big false tooth grin he said yes. Foot note: The next day each and every one of the HCBC members denied being clowns. I thought it was neat that a club would get together and go out for a social outing even if they were just clowning around.
Bright and early (sort of) the next day we were finally ready to take off. Since the start time was between 8:30-9:30 AM or whenever, we had agreed to meet at the registration area about 8:30 and plan on leaving at 9. Jerry was there at 8:30. Christine and I were going in circles trying to load and check out of the hotel, and Dorothy was waiting to follow us out to the staging area. We probably got there just before 9 and Jerry had been standing in the chilly parking lot waiting, and waiting, and waiting for us. But first, I wanted their picture. We mounted to take off, and I remembered I hadn't put on my heart monitor (actually the Garmin told me), so I went back to the truck to put it on. Off we went. About two miles into the ride, I wanted to take a picture of some scenery--I left my camera back at the parking lot somewhere. I told Jerry I was turning around and he let Dorothy and Christine know that I had dropped out. Backtracking, my camera was on the rear bumper, right where I put it as I was putting on the heart monitor. It was safe because all of our delays resulted in our being about the absolute last riders to take off.
Now that I had my camera, I wanted some shots of our route as I knew the gang would wait for me at the first rest stop. After maybe five miles on highway 16, we turned off onto Morris Ranch Road.
Morris Ranch Road was relatively flat so one could make pretty good time. Up ahead I spotted a human being on a bike so I wasn't all alone. I passed about six riders trying to catch up to Christine and the others so I did not have the distinction of being the last rider to reach rest stop one.
Spanish goats were fat and healthy.
Neat rock house with two inviting rocking chairs on the porch.

The winding road was nice, but look what caught my eye on the right hand side of the road.
The deer ran in front of me, then beside me, finally it took off and jumped the fence.

Christine, Dorothy, and Jerry were waiting for me at the first rest stop. They were studying the route map as the decision to go short or long was at this stop. Everyone agreed to hold the route to the 50 mile one.
The route began with a deceptive flat area. "If it stays like this, this ride is a peice of cake."
Texas terrain is like Texas weather. Wait a while and it will change. And we hit some good hills. As I recall, this one topped out at 10% grade. When I mentioned it to Jerry, I got a "I really don't want to know."
In our travels, this is too common of a sight. Some blight is attacking our oak trees and killing them off.
The hills continued. The good thing was that they may have been steep, but they were short. I think this one was about 8%. Jerry didn't want to know.

At the top of one hill, we had to stop and let the ranchers move their ewes and lambs from one pasture to another. I was too fancinated to take the picture, but the rancher had a working dog that was having a ball encouraging the straglers.
To date, our weather has been too warm for the leaves to start turning.

Christine and Dorothy waited on Jerry and me to climb a measly 10% grade. Of course, the real story is we are gentlemen and believe in "Ladies first."
Give Christine a good downhill and she is gone. She is the little speck on the top of the hill. The hill coming up registered 11% but as Jerry didn't want to know the grades, I only told him it was just 1% more that the last hill.

We turned right on Frederick Road and this stretch alone was worth the ride. We had the wind to our backs and there must have been at least 5 miles of winding downhill before we intersected with FM 2093.
Despite not much rain lately, our streams still have a little water.

Joy ride over. We turned on FM 2093 for the trip back to Fredericksburg.

A rancher's gate and halloween decorations caught my eye so I pulled over to admire his (or her) efforts. As we had said all along the ride, it is not a race--enjoy.

Jerry joined me at our unofficial rest stop.

Hang in there Frankenstein. Halloween is tomorrow.

A lot of the farmers and ranchers along the routes had decorated their gates, fences, houses, and fields with symbols of the season. If they do this for halloween, I would like to see their Chistmas decorations.
On the way to town. They call this region hill country for a reason. At the bottom of one of these hill is a turn-off to go back to the rest stop #1 which serves as the return rest stop. Christine in her love for downhill speed flew right past the turn off. I got a call from her saying she would just wait for us at the top of the hill. Dorothy, Jerry, and I chose to go to the rest stop.

And look who we found at the stop!!

Gary (cowboy) from Maypearl, Texas. I think this was about the fourth tour that we crossed paths. If we tried to coordinate our meetings, it wouldn't turn out as well. Later at the ride lunch, Gary said that he had one or so more rides lined up this season, but this was Christine's and my last tour.

After the rest stop, we started on the last leg of the trip.
Two riders taking an unofficial break under a shade tree. No rush, it wasn't a race.

As the lady passed me she asked what I was taking pictures of, the hills? "No, of people-you." Later I rode beside them and we had a nice chat about everything but the weather.
The Fredericksburg area is known for its peaches. People drive a good distance just to buy the peaches in season.

Soon, the ride was over. Entrance into the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park marked the end.

The Hill Country Bicycle Touring Club always has a lunch after the ride. This year they had an outstanding stew, and lots of cookies and candy.

As we were leaving to go home, Christine wanted to back track to a fruit/vegetable stand we saw on FM 2093. I protested as it was "8 miles back down the road." She turned onto 2093 anyway and fewer than two miles down the road was the stand. "Well, on the bicycle it seemed like 8 miles."

Christine was able to but some vegetables and fruit, so all is well that ends well. And the Fredericksburg Fall Foliage Frolic marked a good ending to our touring season. 


  1. How do you figure the grade of the hills? Unless there is a road sign telling me, I have no idea. I am like your friend, what difference does it make?--they're all a struggle to get up and fun to rush down. Now that the long rides are over for the season, what will you two be keeping busy at?
    Still in unending reno-mode here.

  2. Hello. Great blog post. May I link to your blog entry on the Fall Foliage Frolic from the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau's Facebook and Twitter sites?

    Website/emarketing manager
    Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau

  3. Hello,
    I've just stumbled onto your account of the Fredericksburg Fall Foliage Frolic and I really enjoyed reading it and, even more, looking at the pics. It was a really great event, and we were lucky with the weather. As I was driving one of the SAG-cars, I wasn't able to participate in the actual ride, but did the short route later. Maybe it was even better then as it was warmer. Thanks for the positive feedback, and especially for giving Roland Mendoza the credit for his excellent cooking.
    Hope to see you there again in 2011; and maybe at the next LBJ 100 Bicycle Tour [http://www.lbj100bicycletour.org], too.
    Pit Vins
    P.S.: You mentioned the grades. How did you measure them? With your Garmin? Whenever I do that, mine [Edge 305] seems not to be accurate.
    P.P.S.: I like your whole blog a lot!

  4. @Steadfast Ahoy: I have a GPS that tells me the grade of a hill. I have only had it from about mid-season. I can't wait to see what the hill at Stonewall is. I think I set a record of going 2.9 MPH and staying upright. I just barely passed a person pushing his bike up.

    During the winter we continue riding locally. There is a great group of riders here in San Angelo and we all get together and ride on Saturdays. We also ride during the week but for a shorter distance.

    Reno--this spring we re-roofed the house. A roofer steped wrong and came through the ceiling of the computer room. Dust was everywhere until the ceiling was finally fixed. I do not envy you on your renovation.

  5. @Pit Vins: I have an Edge 500. It is fairly accurate as I am riding but on short steep hills, it takes a while to catch up to the grade. Sometimes I am close to the top of a hill before it catches up.

    On the road past rest stop 1 there were at least three hills at 10% and one at 11. But when I downloaded, only the 11 showed up. The 10's showed at 7-8%. This happens when there is a good downhill and then a short steep uphill. The 10% grade is not long enough to register. Regardless, I like to watch the grade to find out why I am slowing down so much.

    I always admire the volunteers that SAG and work the stops. We (the riders) are out having fun but you remain courteous and cheerful as you have to work. I don't think we every thank everyone enough. And people behind the scenes such as Roland Mendoza often get overlooked by us. Tell everyone that helped out before, during, and after the ride, THANKS from all of us.

  6. @Laura: I would be honored if you linked to the post. Thanks. I hope people that view the pictures of the country side appreciate it as much as we did.

  7. I am Jerry middleton, who rode with Roy on this ride and yes, I really did not want to know the grades of the hills. What a really great ride it was though in spite of waiting and waiting on Roy and Christine at the start. Roy and Christine are great ambassadors for the fun of cycling.

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    1. I haven't had a spam problem since blogspot set up a spam filter. For example, as you sent your comment as "Anonymous", I had to retrieve it out of the spam folder to allow it to be published.

      Another good procedure by blogspot, I am notified by email of each comment. This saves me the trouble of reviewing all posts to see if a new comment was made. Your comment for example was made on a 2010 post.

      Where we are having a problem is our club message board. The host does not filter. If you have any solution to public message boards, we would be very interested. Roy.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment.

      As I am still unable to ride my bike, this Sunday we will start a series of blogs covering our three week Mediterranean cruise this past summer.

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