Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Frosty Pre-Solstice Kersey Kick!

On the Saturday before Winter Solstice, I joined John Klever, Leslie Sutton, and Tammie Nakamura for a scenic but frosty Kersey Kick 200k.

This ride was particularly festive because it capped John Klever's second R-12 award - congratulations John!

It's all smiles as we head east, facing the sun.

There hasn't been much of a thaw in the weather, so what Plains snows we've had haven't melted off, making for a blanket of white.

Temps bottom out at around 14ºF around Firestone.  This may be a personal best icicle count while riding!

On a mesa above the chilly valley air, Leslie stops for a sandwich.

And everyone relaxes around the Kersey store's randonneurs' dining table.

One thing you can count on, as Tammie points out: 14 miles uphill into the wind from Kersey to Hudson.

It's been chilly, topping out in the 40's, but lots of scenic views, too.

And now it's a race with the setting sun on to the finish of another bracing ride.

Thanks to John, Leslie, and Tammie for some great, upbeat company!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Rio Vista Rumble 200k - LSR Fun Galore!

Visiting my family last week, I had a chance to do my first Lone Star Randonneurs ride.  RBA and bon vivant Dan Driscoll chose the Rio Vista Rumble 200k Permanent, a lightly rolling course that made it easier for folks to stay together.  One good thing about visiting is that the LSRs ride most every weekend.

Here's a very approximate idea of the route:

Ten riders start off at dawn from Joe Pool Lake near Arlington.  A chilly start made chillier by a brisk breeze blowing off the lake.

Pleasant morning but staying chilly, as Gary Gottlieb and Dana Pacino, Pam Wright, and John Hogue near Rio Vista.

What's this?  Riders spy someone at the top of a rise waving us down, a sign revealing the reason: 

LSR - and Last Chance veteran - Vickie Tyer (center, between Pam and Dan) has graciously come out to provide a bit of sociability (and snacks).  Vickie would be riding, but is recovering from a wrist fracture from a skating mishap.

Dan gives some exhortation, while Sharon Stevens (also a Last Chance veteran) focuses on nutrition.

Kaylene, Dave Campbell (up from Austin), Pam Wright, and DD take a break at the "apogee" of the ride in Blum.

Though there is the occasional live oak grove, much of the route is expansive and wide-open, like our Plains Permanents. 

Fortunately, Gary knew that this bridge replacement was far enough along for us to cross it, but not before hoisting bikes over barbed wire, and crawling through barricade fencing.

Despite occasional mild patches, it never actually gets balmy.  (The high temps, breaking 50º, were about the same as on the Front Range.)

Seems like all the hills on this course have rider-provided monikers.  Here's the namesake for Orphan Hill, a country orphanage now a Texas Historical Site.

A chance to pose at a county line (thanks, Dan).  Like Dan with his Texas Stampede jersey, I'm wearing my 1200k event's jersey (and vest!).

We illuminate taillights for safety on the final stretch.

And everyone pulls in pretty much together for another fine day on the bike.

Thanks, Dan, and all the LSRs for a fun, friendly ride!