Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hamilton Hill-Aceous

I remember now why Hamilton calls its ride "Hill-Aceous." And as their t-shirt depicts, they are not even apologetic!
So why did one of their largest turn-outs show up on a hot, windy day in May? The ride is "fun," volunteers are great, proceeds are for a worthy cause, and the roads are some of the best around. I put "fun" in quotation marks. People pay good money to ride on roller coasters don't they? We just rode the roller coasters on our bikes. 
Example of some of the smaller hills. But I get ahead of my story.
Part of the fun of a ride is to go to new places, see new things, and to experience a little of the local flavor.

Christine loves to find a good place to eat to obtain her pre-ride steak. (It may not be the traditional pre-ride carb dinner, but a happy rider rides best).
So Brian and Esmeralda Backlund, Christine, and I headed toward Circle T Ranch's Crossfire Cafe and Steakhouse just outside of Hamilton. 

Circle T Ranch has a private club (backdrop of above picture), a steakhouse as mentioned, a hotel, and
an in-door rodeo arena.
Cowboys were practicing team roping for an upcoming championship roping contest.
Besides a pre-ride steak, as Jerry can attest, Christine really enjoys her carb filled pre-ride beverage. But her biggest delight of the night was being CARDED as she ordered!! That made her day, and I know we will go back to that place on our next visit.
Ride time. Brian and I posed for a pre-ride picture. Fresh, eager, and un-suspecting of the wind and hills that awaited us.
The Hamilton ride started from the local municipal airport.
 This is hanger #1.
 This is the aviation fueling area.
And this is the terminal where one may board a flight from Gate 1.
 Hamilton had a ride for everyone. This was from the back of the start up line, and the kids could ride the 10K route. "Larger" kids could ride a 20 or 30 mile route. For the big kids, there was the 46 mile ride. Christine chose this one. For the grown-ups, there was the choice of 61 or 79 mile route. Brian and I chose the 61 mile ride letting the big boys tough out the 79 miles.
 Wind was a mere 10 mph in our face. Piece of cake.
Soon we started our climbs.
 But with pretty scenery, it took some of the edge off the hills.
Close up view of the Indian Blanket wildflowers.

We skipped rest stop #1, so this is #2. It had all one needed. A first aid tent, a refreshment tent, and a refreshment hut.
I mentioned that Christine took the 46 mile route. It went counter-clockwise to us, so we met each other coming and going.
I told Brian that I bet the pictures of the hills would look wimpy.
I was right. They may look wimpy, but I think Hamilton and the Department of Transportation had an agreement that they would change the color of the road at each point a cycler should change gears. They were right, and it worked out well.
Another wimpy 8% climb.
"You still there?" Brian checked on me as he had been pulling me most of the ride. Of course, my excuse is that I drop back in order to take a photo of something. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Around Hamilton is good cattle country. This herd was showing its contempt of the riders. (I will let you study the picture to understand why I said that).
This photo is not added to show a hill. The shrubbery on the left gives one an idea of the crosswind we were in.
And the flowers, while pretty, demonstrated the wind. It had picked up to its predicted 20 mph from the N, S, E, and a good cross wind from the West.
 Mexican Hat wildflowers.
Fairy Dusters, I think.
Fields of Indian Blanket.

 Just had to show you that in this part of Texas the drought may have broken. The stock tanks are full; the grass is green. However, there is a wildfire in our Davis Mountains again. 

Yellow cone flowers, typical of prairie vegetation.

If anyone knows what the lavender flowers are I'd be grateful if you'd inform me.
I've no idea what these delicate things are.
 Christine spotted a turtle in the middle of the road. She took it to the stock tank toward which it was probably heading and wished it good luck.
Some time back I had mentioned that this was good cattle country. Try to
imagine no fences, and this would give you a good idea of what Charles Goodnight would have seen as he rounded up longhorns in 1866 to drive to Colorado.
This was the final stretch before arriving back at the airport. An appropriate gentle slope to slow down the roller coaster before it stops.
We finished and could still smile. Thanks, Brian, for pulling me, coaching, and encouraging me. Wrapped sausage awaited us at the registration tent.
Last but not least. We met up with Cowboy (Mark Robinson) after the ride. It was good seeing him again and hope to run across him at more of the rides around Texas.


  1. Every time I read a ride report, I always feel like I need to go work more on hill climbing.
    It looks like the local cattle have an bit of an attitude problem. Could it be all the talk of steak??
    Taking a look at hangar #1 is all one needs to understand why cycling became so popular in the region.

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    him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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