Monday, March 7, 2011

Pedal Thru the Pines

 Bastrop, Texas
March 5, 2011
Brrrrawesome. What people will do in the name of fun. The ride was great and as expressed--awesome. The but--Texas is going through a typical spring period. Thursday we hit 90 degrees. Saturday we woke up after an early morning rain, temperature in the low 50's, and 20-25 mile an hour wind.
Pine Trees at the Bastrop State Park Entrance
 Knowing the forecast, Christine and I arrived at Bastrop early Friday afternoon to take a few pictures of the upcoming ride through the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks.
Road starts off fairly level.
 I correctly feared that I would be wearing warm gloves and I can't take pictures on the go with the thick gloves.
Stands of Loblolly Pines. Some reach the height of 98-115 feet.

 Loblolly pines run from Southeast Texas, to Florida, and up to Delaware.
 The exception is this isolated region of loblolly pines that comprise much of Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. Hence, this area is called the Lost Pines. This atypical stand of pines is believed to have been left by the last retreating Ice Age. Natural pines as seen at the entrance as well as the loblolly pines provide a very scenic bike ride.

The road begins to slope downward.

With several nice drop offs. Of course as every biker knows, for every down there will be an up.

 Evidence of the forest fire a couple of years ago.
 Photos of inclines are never dramatic.
 The road looks like a waving ribbon but some of the inclines are quite steep as will be demonstrated later.
The route will take us past the Bastrop State Park Lake. Canoe rentals are available.

 As well as fishing--Texas style.
 Unique in this area as well as the lost pines is Spanish moss.
Last of the nice warm pictures.
At line up time, it was quite chilly. Most of the conversations centered around the weather--and what am I doing here? Christine remarked that it could be worse, it could still be raining.
There was a consensus that if cyclers had any sense, they would put a motor on their bikes. Another commonality was the reduction of the mileage from the norm. Christine and I have been riding the 62 mile route, this year we agreed on the 27 mile. I forgot to mention that the 20-25 mph wind was from the north.
Attendance was down a little this year, undoubtedly because the weather forecasts tipped us off that it would not be a sunny spring day. Even so, there was a large number of riders who filled the expansive horseshoe drive in front of the Bastrop High School.
And off we go. Other shots of the route were presented earlier. This shows some of the upside of the ride. Christine walked up a couple of the tougher hills but still did quite well four months after her hip replacement. She was there for the downhills anyway. It is hard to stay with her on a decline.
Remember the remark that it could be worse, it could still be raining? At this point of the ride, it did start raining although a short rain with no lightning. You know the type--just wet enough to throw road grim on your back. 

We came upon a scenic overlook which gave us a chance to make an adjustment of Christine's saddle. Since we were taking a shorter route, there was no hurry or sense of urgency.

Rest stop #1. Well stocked with food, drink, and cold, friendly volunteers.

Christine strolling thru the pines. Others struggling thru the pines.
My Garmin showed several inclines to be 11-15 % grade. I do not recall if it was this incline, but one I was watching showed the grade at 11%, and then the road steepened. At 17%, I stopped watching the Garmin readout and concentrated on continuing to pedal. Post note: Jerry, when I downloaded the ride, the hill registered 22%.

Red bud tree. About the only indication of spring on this particular day.

Christine wanted a picture so one could see the rain drops on her sun glasses. Didn't work..

Rest stop #2. The last one before town and the finish line. These volunteers had no protection from the wind.

Highway 71 on the way back from the two State Parks was a series of rollers.
During this incline, my chain slipped while shifting gears. A SAG car was immediately there and the driver stood  between me and oncoming riders. We have a habit of riding up a hill with our heads down. Result is to run into a person stopped on the side of the road. I know, I still have some scars to prove it.
At the end of the ride, a nice lady wanted to take my picture in front of the porta potties as her friend had donated the potties and wanted a rider in the picture. So this is the way I will end another story of a great ride--and put this one in the can.


  1. Hi, I'm interested in doing the Pedal Power bike ride in Fredericksburg this year, so I googled it and I came to your blog. Looks like you had fun last year. :) Y'all did the sixty mile ride, right? I'm wondering how long it took you. I've been biking for about two years now, and I'm wondering if I should do the 23, 36, or 60 mile ride. Do you have any advice? :)



  2. @Sarah. Indeed, we did have fun riding the Pedal Power. Some of the stats were: we rode 62.27 miles; pedaled for 4hr, 43 min; rode at 13.2 mph ave; wind from SE at 15. If I read my notes correctly, we finished at 3:30 p.m. Even so, they were still serving lunch. Think they stopped at 4 p.m.

    The above may let you compare your current biking rides and help you decide which route you wish to take.

    Now, personal opinion. If at all possible, do the 62. The Willow City Loop is the heart of the ride. Shorter routes would by-pass the loop. True, the loop has one monster hill, but if you noticed from the above story, Christine has no qualms of pushing her bike up a tough hill because she loves the downhill.

    Also in your decision making, note that we "played" for about an hour and a half taking pictures, spending time at rest stops, visiting with our group and others, and changing a tire. We were there for the fun--not to see how fast we could go.

    Hope to see you there. We will be the ones just riding along and having fun.