Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday April 23 Group Ride

Starting line up: Ruan, David, Donna, Velma, Rick, Dorothy, Christine J., Christine B., Brian, Mark, and Curtis.
The original plan was to do the Burma Loop. However, among the various considerations, Rick said he had driven out that way and a lot of the pastures on the route were charred. And, at that time, we were still waking up to the smell of smoke. Starting at the equalization channel bridge and going to Knickerbocker and up Guinn Road was a good choice. No fires were on that side of town--yet. 

We started at 9 a.m., which to Christine and I is quite early. However, as we started, we met some of the local riders already coming back from their ride.  
Tamara Roberts
Rita Grafton
I think this is Anda Greeney.
The morning was nice and calm--until about 9 a.m., our start time. And then the fore casted 14-18 mph wind started, and, of course, into our faces the first 15 miles. I was lucky enough to draft off of Christine Buckstead as she pulled me toward Velma, the little speck up the road.
Soon we hit a slight incline and Christine B./Velma took off. I didn't. Rick yelled for me to latch on as he, David, and Brian passed me. I did for a while and then they took off. I didn't.
'Nuff said.
The route has one good hill. Velma was on top just circling to see if we were going to stop for a breather. The plan was to go on into Knickerbocker as a stopping and re-grouping point. I signaled for her to go ahead and take off. I didn't.
I wanted to stay and document others' suffering as much as I was. Dorothy came by with a smile, so I stayed to see the next person suffer.
Donna came by with a smile. No fair.
Curtis Oliver hadn't broken a sweat yet.
Christine J. came by with a smile and wink.
As a last resort and vindication, I asked Mark to pretend the going was hard. It would have worked if he too hadn't smiled.
Just before Knickerbocker, we met a lone rider. I didn't recognize him, but he was friendly. That qualifies him to ride with us next time.
How can you tell it's spring in West Texas during a drought? The mesquite trees have green leaves.
Re-group area. We were to meet Cindy and Jerry Middleton at the Post Office.
Cindy and Jerry looking rested after the ride from their ranch. Christine J. replenished her fluids.  
Visiting is an important part of a ride.
Velma, Dorothy, Donna, and David.
Christine J. insisted upon slathering her nose with sun screen and zinc. So I insisted on taking her picture. Although she took some good natured teasing about her "make-up", she insisted that Easter is the wrong season for a red nose.
From Knickerbocker, we headed down (or up?) Guinn Road, wind, of course, still in our face,
which still didn't seem bother Curtis too much. He was doing fine and is fairly new to cycling.
Brian and Rick cruising along. I drafted off them for a while and then they took off. I didn't.
So therefore, the majority of riders was waiting for me at the turn-around point.
Except for Christine J., Jerry, and Cindy. When Rick passed me earlier and said that Christine was with Jerry and Cindy, I knew that Christine was back there just talking their ears off.
Cindy encouraging Mark onward. Mark has been playing soccer for a team and his legs were sore from using other muscles in his legs. I can empathize with him, but wait until mid-season when his running muscles complement his cycling muscles and watch out.
Before we left, Donna insisted on taking a picture with a new addition to the group pictures--can you find Waldo?

 Wind to our backs. Finally. And everyone took off. I didn't.
 At our last re-group stop, Jerry has that "I dare you to tell me the elevation of a hill" look. (For backgrounsd see Fredericksburg Fall Frolic for the rebellion of a hill's % grade.)
Curtis deep in thought--we forgot to tell him it's not allowed on our rides.

 Ruan and Velma--ready to go.
 Group approaching the backside of the Windy Ridge Ranch hill.
 True to it's name, the words "Windy Ridge" have been blown away by the wind leaving only the announcement of Ranch.
 If one stops to take pictures, this is what the road looks like--devoid of riders front and back.

 Go straight to cross the equalization channel overpass or turn right to go to the cars.
 We chose to go right.
 Riding is all about people having fun while torturing themselves.
 Christine J. was intrigued with Curtis's Air Force decorative window. Reminded her of the WW II nose art on her uncle's bomber .
All too soon the ride was over. But we have next week's windy Ballinger ride to look forward to. Hope all can make it.


  1. With all of the fires, I've been wondering if you guys have been able to make it out.
    Actually, I've been wondering if you still had homes. Glad to see you're doing well.

    Weather here has been unpredicatble. When it's supposed to rain, it's nice but I've already made a commitment to something else. My ride today was a complete washout and it was back to the treadmill. My cummulative mileage is still on track for the season so I'm comfortable hitting spin classes right now.

    I also noticed that you have the same place in the pack that I usually take. I'd like to be a team player but I usually wind up being a solo artist.

    I don't blame Christine J. for her "make-up" either. I'm already slathering on SPF 70 and I haven't been on a ride over 55 degrees yet. Call me cautious.

  2. Looks like a nice ride. We'll have to make it next time.

  3. @Debbie. It was a lot of fun. Missed you and Bill. Hope you make it for tomorrow's ride. If not, see you at Ballinger.

  4. @ Edie. San Angelo is an interesting town in that it is a small metropolitan center surrounded by winter wheat/cotton farmers and goat/sheep/cattle ranchers. Really appeals to me (Christine) since I grew up on an Illinois farm. It was our ranchers north and east of us who suffered from the fires. Much dry grass/scrub cedar/mesquite trees. 20-30 mph winds. Nothing to stop the fires in that kind of land. Our 159,000 burned acres have no fodder for the animals which survived. Fire is finally "contained" now.

    As dire as the above sounds, one of our most favorite areas to ride burned first--the Ft. Davis Mountains area. Beautiful, rolling foothills. Much livestock lost. Our fire began from lightning (no rain). The Ft. Davis fire began from someone's lighting a fire in an abandoned house out in the middle of nowhere. (Can we say illegal "imigrant?") At least 100,000 acres burned there and many homes. So sad. BUT, we Texans are a hardy lot. Farmers/ranchers have had many hard times and will come back. I've been here since 1977 and neither my Texas-born and bred husband nor I can recall anything like these fires.

    New Englanders are similar the we southerners. Rock ribbed. Grateful to our God for our lives and blessings. Tornados, wildfires, noreasters. We count our blessings and go on.

    It is Easter, after all. Alleluia!

  5. I am very happy to see this beautiful pictures..This pictures looks awesome..Thanks for sharing!!