Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hey, I am back!

Well it has been a little while since I have posted here in my blog.  I have a lot of catching up to do.
Right now, I am sitting in my pj's at my sister/brother-in-laws, house.  I decided to spend spring break here at Don/Barbara's farm outside of Brenham, Texas.  They finished building their new house out in the country this past year and this is the first chance I have had to visit.  It is beautiful and quite here.  One of the highlights of the day is waiting for the sun to set.  I have seen 3 distinctly different sunsets all equally stunning. They are so stunning because you can see for miles here without interference from buildings. Nothing but horizon.  When we watch the sunset, all the lights in the house are turned off and there are no lights anywhere near the house - no street lights, no headlights from passing cars.  On Sunday we stayed outside long after the sun had set just talking and looking at the stars.  Slowly, the lawn started to brighten as if a car was headed up the long driveway.  However there was no car coming.  The light intensified and yet I still could not determine the source.  I decided Don had a light on the side of the house set on a timer and asked him about it.  He laughed!  I was the moonlight!  Even thought the moon was not full, it was supplying enough light to cause a shadow.  It was amazing!

I have ridden 3 rides so far since I have been here.  Saturday, I rode a 200k in Brookshire, Sunday a 100k in Fulsher, and yesterday (Wednesday) a loop ride out of Chappell Hill.  All three rides were pleasant, each with their own challenges.

Saturdays 200k (135 miles total) - I was riding very well.  The wind was a typical Texas wind, not awful, but stronger than the wind has been in Mississippi.  I had ridden this route in 2006 and remembered most of it.  Kulow road has been paved and the dogs have been fenced.  The temperature increased to the mid 70s and it was a wonderful day.  At the turn around in Fayetteville, there were hundreds of people getting back from an MS150 training ride.  There were about 800 people on the ride - a TRAINING ride!  Our MS150 won't have 300 people on the actual ride and maybe only 40 on any given training ride.  I took two wrong turns on the way back and ended up added 9 bonus miles.  The good thing about it was that I was able to ride the last 40 miles with Ben from Katy TX. He was on a Strata and we had a good time talking on the way back in.  It was nice to have someone else help navigate. 

Sundays 100k - Rando 101 - this was not a very fun ride, but it was miles on a very nicely paved shoulder.  The route itself was very flat with only 773 ft of climbing.  However, the wind was howling!  I started in the dark at 7am.  Daylight Savings started just a few hours earlier so it felt like 6am.  The wind was very calm for the first 15 miles and then started to pick up.  As this was a highway road there was nothing to look at but run down ranch homes, a few cows, horses and goats.  I like goats.  I did get a good tail wind for about 15 miles.  After the turn around, the wind was blowing so hard, I had to don my arm warmers and vest again as the wind made it feel so much cooler.  I was struggling to do 10-12 mph.  I was fortunately able to run into an upright biker and catch his wheel for about 15 miles.  I really enjoyed this part of the ride even though we were slogging into the wind at no more than 13 mph.  He gave me something to concentrate on and helped pass the time better than looking at the boring countryside. 

Wednesdays Chappell Hill Loop - this was a great route.  Potentially one of my favorites.  I drove from D/Bs out to Chappell Hill in the pitch black dark and started in the pitch black dark.  The route had a long 4% grade hill that started at mile 1.9!  Needless to say the whole route was up and down.  I wish I had more energy as this could end up being a very recumbent friendly route.  It followed the Washington County blue bonnet trail, however, the blue bonnets are not blooming en mass yet.  There were a few here and there but just not like the pictures I have seen in the past.  I would consider driving down and doing this route again in a couple weeks just to see the blue bonnets.  Even without the bluebonnets the countryside was beautiful.  Lots of well manicured ranches with interestingly colored cows, goats, and even miniature horses.  Most of this route is minor chip seal although there were piles of gravel on the side of the road every few miles so I would think this route may have fresh chip seal soon.  One mean dog around mile 30 and a pack around mile 60.  After being chased by the pack, I was chased by what looked like a small ram and two more dogs.  The ram/goat could not get through a hole in the fence, but the two dogs could.  The ram/goat looked pretty pissed that he could not continue the chase!

I have more to post, but this is all for now.  Hopefully I will be posting regularly again!  I was going to post pictures, but my new SD card wont fit the card reader.  Ugh!