Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spokes N Spurs: The Ride

As Saturday morning rolled around, so did a thick fog.
Tent for the meal after the ride.
Old storage shed. Behind it is the registration and packet pick up tents.
The ride is held at Spirit Reins, an equine assisted psychotherapy ranch to help children with emotional and behaviorial problems.

Christine thought this was the best invention of the decade. It has a soap dispenser and you pump water with the foot pedal on the bottom. It has a towel dispenser. A nice self-contained sanitation station.
Line up time. Spokes 'N' Spurs for the first time this year held a 62 mile race in conjunction with the tour.
I estimated the attendance to be between 500-700 riders.

Christine all set to go.
About the only time I was ahead of Christine that day.
After the racers left, the rest of us could take off.
I wondered how long it would take for the sun to burn off the fog.
As expected, a little after 10 the fog was gone.
Again, Brian Backlund was patiently waiting for us at rest stop 2.
The ride was pleasant and had scenic roads.
And the wild flowers added to the enjoyment.

Spokes 'N' Spurs is one roller after the other.
Note that the rollers are long. Tends to wear one down after a while.
But the roadside beauty made up for the rollers.
One of the highlights of the day was to go through Oatmeal, Texas, population 20. It is unclear if the name came from a Mr. Othneil--the area's first gristmill owner, or a translation of the name Habermill (Haber being a German dialect word for Hafer, "oats". As often is the case, the post office settled the question and in 1853 named it Oatmeal.

Side note: San Angelo at first was named Santa Angela after a founding father's wife Carolina Angela. Later the town was called San Angela probably because Texans don't like multisyllabic words. But, in 1883, someone at the national post office knew that the male adjective "san" did not agree with the female noun "Angela" and fixed the grammer error naming the town San Angelo. Thus, the post office named Oatmeal and San Angelo.

If one squints his eyes, in the top left one can see a cylindrical structure and something that looks like a shed off to the right.

The cylinder announces the annual Oatmeal Festival. In 1978, the town was about to be taken off the maps and fade into oblivion. A local person decided to organize a festival as a spoof to all the chili cook-offs in Texas. So he got National Oats, the maker of 3 Minute Oats, to sponsor a festival. The meals are served at the shed. The town stayed on the map. The festival is held annually and is the only festival that, instead of a beauty queen, touts Ms. Bag who must be over 55.

As unique as Oatmeal, Texas was this gentleman and his baby. The poodle has a University of Texas jersey (as did the dad), and--look closely--spandex riding shorts.

Baby got a front seat tour of the ride. On the man's bike was a platform over the top tube for the (dare I say dog?) child to ride on. She was secured to her owner by a harness that prevented her from falling off the bike.
We were well fed at the rest stops as can be discerned by Brian and Christine's smiles.
And the smiles continue as we pass by more scenic countryside.

 Jerry, we did not forget you. Sixteen of the "rollers" were 5% or more. Many, like the one above would go up, give you a short breather, and go up again.
But every once in a while just to keep it interesting, they would throw in a 9% hill. The only clue to the hill above is the riders pushing their bikes up. It may not look it, but my Garmin registered 14%. Christine made it all the way up!
Ah, the food tent.
There were after-ride activities for the children.
Demonstrations of horse obedience by a horse trainer.
And good food. Choice of beef or chicken tacos as well as the fixings to go with them.
The after-ride lunch was well received...
especially by Christine as each person had two tickets for an after-ride recovery drink.

1 comment:

  1. I like the liquid recovery, but i prefer red in a stemmed glass. :)