Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pedal Through the Pines

Pedal Through the Pines
Bastrop/Smithville, Texas
March 11, 2017
 Registration time. The weather was iffy as rain was forecast throughout the day. And it was a little chilly.
 Unfortunately for the tour director, a lot of riders failed to show due to the weather forecast. Instead of distance--24, 40, 70 miles--we were lined up by projected speed. So if you were an 18+ mph average rider doing the 24 mile ride, you still lined up in the front. Actually, it worked out quite well.
 It had rained earlier in the morning so if you pulled up close to a rider, you got a "rooster tail" in your face.
 Pictures of hills in the distance never cease to amaze me in appearing to be almost flat in a picture. 
 However, one hill just out of town registered 10% on my Garmin. But I didn't take a picture of the hill as riders began to bunch up going up the hill, and one had to hold the line to avoid calamity.
 There were very few bluebonnets on the ride. But around Llano on the way to Bastrop were plenty of wild flowers. So between now and the next few weeks, bluebonnet seekers will not be disappointed.
 Rest stop 1. Besides being scenic, there was a wide variety of snacks including peanut butter sandwiches. 
 After the rest stop, there were some respectable level areas so for the picture to look flat is OK.
 The stretch of road leading to Serbin, TX was not only filled with rollers, it was into a headwind.
 Rest stop 2 at Serbin. Not pictured is one of the oldest Lutheran churches in Texas. It was just off to the left.
 Not being morbid, I was impressed by the tidiness and "flowered" gravesites.
 Finally as noted by the flag, we had a pretty good tailwind.
 Supposed to be a picture of some pretty yellow flowers. My reaction time is getting slower as a little farther down the road were a herd of longhorn cattle. I deleted the picture of the bar ditch.
 Constant rollers. 
 Pretend you see scattered flowers instead of a grassy roadside.
 I never did see what was attracting the buzzards so much that they wouldn't even move as I passed by.
 Another you had to have been there to appreciate the flowers.
 Nice scenic ride.
 Country church at the Winchester rest stop 3.
As mentioned, Winchester was rest stop 3 for the 40 and 70 mile riders. It was also the turn around point for the 24 milers. And they had good sandwiches...and cheese crackers...and... 
 Sated, we began the last leg of the ride. 
 In real life, this was a great stand of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and Indian blanket.
 Christine heading for the finish line and passing some nice flower beds. I am not sure she ever glanced over to "smell the flowers". Added by request: Yes, I was on my Giant Road E. And it was great. Christine did the 12 out and back (24 miles) and I did the 40. I caught up to her about 6 miles out from the finish and rode on in with her. Even so, I finished (or my bike did) with a 19.2 average. Wow, can the Giant climb hills. On the long tough hill that my Garmin says crests at 10%, I was passing riders--anyone who has ever ridden with me KNOWS it was the bike--so I glanced down and I was going 13 mph. Now that sounds like me on a flat road with my aluminum bike. I am not a Giant salesman, but I am sold on the Giant Road E.  
 You would have had to have been there to appreciate the road side.
 The little guy on the right riding with his dad was finishing the 24 mile route. He is off to a good start.
 Turn off to go under the bridge to the Smithville park.
 Finish line up ahead at the blue flag.
 Happiness is finishing before the rain.  But first was a great barbeque sandwich at the park pavilion.
 Tree carving in the live oak near our parking place. Too bad the tree had to die in order to be decorated.
 The next tree carvings were in the park area. 
 A majestic tree thankfully not yet dead.
 Under the bridge to get to the Smithville park were some mud nests.
Christine had seen the nests as she went under the bridge and insisted on taking pictures before we headed back to the hotel. Not a minute too soon as the skies opened up and the Bastrop area got a great rain. Yes, we were spared all but drizzle and sprinkles during our ride. Luck was with us and it was another memorable Pedal Through the Pines.

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