Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spokes N Spurs

Spokes N Spurs
Liberty Hill, Texas
Saturday, April 6, 2013
It was a cold, dark, stormy night--no, it was a cold, cloudy day as Brian, Christine, and I prepared for the Spirit Reins Ranch ride called Spokes N Spurs.
We spotted Tony and Robbie Wilson from San Angelo and quickly took their picture as I was afraid we would not meet up again as we were riding different routes. Although in a jacket, Tony was not cold. He works in Alaska above the Arctic Circle. He said the temperature where he works was showing -22 degrees F. that morning. Liberty Hill was not quite that cold but chilly for warm weather riders.
Close to starting time, we began to line up. The announcer stated that over 900 riders had registered and they expected the final count to be a record 1,000 riders.
This was just a small portion of the 62 milers.
We were lined up with the 44 milers.
Close by was the gentleman with his dog all dressed up in her kit of jersey and spandex shorts. I say "her" as the platform on the bike tube has the words "4 Roo". And Roo has a pretty pink scarf on to keep her neck warm.
Off to a good start. The first few miles are a piece of cake as we were headed to a valley where the South San Gabriel River is located.
Soon we turned off onto a one lane road. Lots of "live oaks" were dead. A live oak virus is spreading slowly across Texas. We first noticed it a few years ago as we were riding in South Texas. Liberty Hill is almost central Texas.
Rest Stop 2 was a great stop: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pickles, energy bars, home made cookies, etc.

But, they made you work for it. To get to the rest stop, one must climb a long steep hill that my Garmin said was 11%, but it is notorious for understating a grade upon download. Regardless, it was a toughie and one did not feel guilty pigging out.
And guess whom I caught with their hands in the cookie plates? Wilbur, also from San Angelo, Brian, and Christine.
Why is it so hard to catch the slim ones with a cookie? As I spotted Robbie she was just finishing an orange. Tony was "supervising" the courtesy bike repairman as Robbie was having chain problems.
 Full stomachs, Brian and Christine press on. Wilbur and I lagged back a bit.
Not everything was uphill. This was a good long downhill where Christine hit over 36 mph before she had to brake to negotiate a turn.
Next rest stop, Christine demonstrated that she too could eat healthful food (they were out of cookies).
One of the many, many "bumps" along the way just to keep the heart rate up.
Despite this region's receiving more rain than we have, the blue bonnets and wild flowers were rather sparse this year.
We passed by Oatmeal, Texas. Once a thriving community, it is now relegated to having a population once a year when the Oatmeal Festival is held on Labor Day.
If one squints the eyes, in the center is a small patch of blue bonnets. One does not have to squint to spot the dead live oaks.
Spokes N Spurs is best know for its rollers. Most are long climbs that may reach 5% but after repeated long climbs, the cookie calories are burned up (I keep telling myself).
This patch of blue bonnets was along a nice long steep climb. Christine and Brian were waiting for me at the top. As I rolled up, Christine asked if I got a picture of the blue bonnets. I admitted that I was going slowly enough that I could turn the camera on, point, shoot, and not roll past the small patch.
This is about as close to the Longhorn as I could get before he would tell me I was invading his space.
This Longhorn was not sure about his visitor. But I could not pass up the opportunity to capture him by the old disc machine designed to be pulled by mule, horse, or such.    
One more hill? No, make that a series of hills. This one is just the first of a series. My Garmin downloaded 13% grades in this series.
Just as you topped one hill, the next shortly begins.
And one climbs and climbs again. Yes, that is Christine leading me up the hill.
And then back to the rollers.
Yes, the second person up there is Christine leading me up the hill.
 As I finally closed the gap (or did she wait for me?), it was latch on (16 mph wind in our faces) and I will lead you to
the food tent at the finish. One had the choice of beef, chicken, or veggie taco with all the fixings and two Alamo Pale Ale beers if one so elected. Tea was available for the University of Texas tea sippers (of whom I am
 But allow me let you in on a little secret: the cantaloupe Italian Ice topped off the meal almost as well as chocolate would.
So look for the 2014 promo. The weather will be nice, no wind, the route redrawn so it will be all downhill, and the friendly rest stop ladies stay up all Friday night cooking those delicious cookies.

1 comment:

  1. The last ride hubby and I did (2 years ago) our small dog rode in a carrier behind my husband. It wasn't a long ride, about 2.5 hours, a fund raiser for the cancer centre where our friend had recently died. Nelson was a real hit and many people took his photo. Glad to see your hip has healed so well that you are riding again. Good for you!

    Steadfast made it home with a temporary patch on the hull. She is now in the capable hands of the repair and storage people. We expect to hear this week what the cost of repairs will be. Our insurance deductible is $8500!!!!!!! which is bad enough. Groan.