This was a special, busy weekend and most of the Saturday group were occupied elsewhere. Among the regulars there are policemen, firefighters, and military.
However, a few of us felt we needed some more hill practice to prepare for this coming weekend's Fort Davis Cyclefest. To get in all of the activities of this Saturday, an early start was indicated.
The ride was to be a 36 mile out and back. Terrain starts out in the flat cottonland area and slowly inclines to the outlying rangeland hills around San Angelo. Then, after about 7-8 miles, one gets to practice hill climbs.
Rocking Chair ranch marks the beginning of the hilly section.
Thus begins our 5% warm up hills.
One (me especially) needs a running start at the upcoming hill. It looks deceiving but right after the next rise, a climb starts, and, as the road curves to the left, the climb culminates in an 11% grade.
Which calls for a breather. (Just because we are practicing our hill climbs does not mean we have to hammer the whole route; after all we like our easy-going social rides). Brian and Liz put on their "What hill?" faces.
After another 11% climb, the terrain levels out to 5% rollers. (Jerry, you can memorize this and when you get to feeling better, I will not have to call out the grades to you so you can gauge your effort).
The end (18 miles) is in sight. A little ways down the road, we start our last out-going climb that starts out slowly and ends at a 5% grade.
Liz completes the half-way mark without effort.
But my bike needs a rest at the forced turn-around point.
Remember the last climb before the turn-around? Well, we get to roll down for a little over a mile on the way back.
We need downhill practice for Fort Davis as there are some mighty steep drops in the Davis Mountains.
Have fun now; we pay for the ride up ahead.
One more hill and our practice session is about over.
On the flats, we meet up with Dan and Leann Waldron. Dan and Leann had a previous commitment and couldn't start out with us but left from their house and had almost as many miles as we at this point.
Liz and Leann get to chat as we head back to the cars. Although the wind was not really a factor, it sure is nice drafting behind a tandem.
The ride--for Brian, Liz, and me--is over. Dan and Leann start off back to their house which was only about 15 miles to go.
A couple more local rides to go and off to the Davis Mountains.