Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pedal Through the Pines

Pedal thru the Pines
Bastrop (& Smithville), Texas
March 10, 2018 had rain forecast from 11 p.m. Friday night to about 11 a.m. Saturday. Thankfully, all we had was an overcast sky.
 Mill time at the staging area.
 Slowly the riders lined up.
 Some were in no hurry.
 There was to be a staggered start with the self-proclaimed "fast" riders up front. This location is about mid-way.
 Good roads leading out.
 This guy passed me going about 23 mph. 
 I was impressed.
 Rocky Hill Ranch. Rocky Hill is the biggest challenge of the course.
 Start of the hill. 
 The climb is a long one and my Garmin indicated it peaked at 9%.
 After Rocky Hill, we had a series of rollers that didn't get over 6%.
 Church located on the grounds of Rest Stop 1.
 There was a pack of us going downhill at break neck speed when I saw a person wave at someone off to the side. It was a rest stop, so I broke from the pack, turned around, and visited with the volunteers. Part of my "never pass up a rest stop on a tour" philosophy. I didn't need anything as the stop was only about 8 miles out from the start but I enjoyed the hospitality of the volunteers. Thanks, all.
 There were enough flats to avoid climb fatigue that allowed one just to enjoy the ride and scenery.

 Unfortunately, the "oak blight"  has reached Bastrop and the surrounding area. We noticed it some years back while riding at Gonzalez and have watched it move steadily up Texas.

 As we turned toward Serbin, the road is an incline about the whole distance. 
 Rest Stop 2 at Serbin, Texas. Serbin was established by Wendish immigrants to Texas in the mid-1850's.  
 Good place for down time. Serbin is about mid-way and there was no hurry to end the ride.  
St. Paul Lutheran Church, built in 1871 is typical of Wendish architecture and is still in full use at present.  
 Log cabin home of John Killian, the first Pastor in 1854.
 Slight incline continues after Serbin. 
 Ride Marshalls were spaced throughout the route. They insure safety and provide rider assistance. 
 Heading toward Winchester, Texas.
 Winchester United Methodist Church by Zilss Memorial Hall (Rest Stop 3). 
 Rest Stop 3, the last one on the 40 mile route. Good selection of goodies but getting too close to finishing to eat too much. 
 Mr. Zilss was a successful merchant in the early Winchester days. The hall may be rented and also serves as the location of the rest stop.
 Note the change in the sky and weather. Getting clear and warm.  
 I liked the contrast in trees. 
 Nice stretch without rollers.
 The patch didn't last long.  
 Routes were well marked by arrows.

 Resumption of rollers can be seen in the distance. 
 Coming up on the turn left to complete the 40 miles or turn right to go the 70 miles.
 The nice lady encouraged me to turn right but I politely declined.
 After Winchester, we started back tracking the outgoing route. This is the beginning of the Rocky Hill decline. 
 I stopped to take the decline shots as it is not only steep but long, and the obtained speed is not conducive to letting go with one hand to take a photo.  
 Another stop at the base of Rocky Hill. A small herd of iconic Texas Longhorns were close to the fence tempting me to memorialize them.
 The exit of Buescher State Park where we used to come out of the parks in the old days before the big forest fires. Neither park has fully recovered from the fires. 
 Mystery photo. Can you identify?
 Getting close to the intersection with Highway 71 and the finish. 
 Right at the intersection there is a big patch of bluebonnets. It is still early spring. We should have a very good display of wild flowers in a few weeks.
 These were the only bluebonnets that I saw on the ride.
 I had accidently taken this shot, and it clarified what I saw in a previous picture.
 The frontage road of Hwy 71 is nice and smooth.   
Turn off to the Vernon L. Richards Riverbend Park just outside of Smithville.
 Finish line just ahead. 

 Recall at Rest Stop 3 I didn't want to over-eat? I knew there was great BBQ at the finish line.
 Christine who is still impaired with a broken shoulder (from a bicycle fall, of course) can at least enjoy the amenities of the various tours. She will have a shoulder replacement in May.

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