In spite of weather forecasts that the Tour would be ridden in mid 40′s temperatures with a 20 mph crosswind gusting to over 30mph, it just was not like that. When we rolled out from Castell it was sunny and just over 50 degrees. By the time we had ridden a mile I had unzipped both of my winter long-sleeve cycling jerseys and was cooling off with the Tour de Longneques T-shirt layer being all that was between my torso and the dreaded arctic death conditions. Lots of people did not ride who had planned to, because they had seen, read, and/or heard all the forecasts and reports. As it was 9 intrepid souls left from Castell at 10am sharp and another 6 rolled out from Llano a bit later, for a total of 15 riders. Not bad considering the anticipated conditions.
Ready to Roll out from Castell for the 36 mile round trip to Llano - 9 of the 15 total riders. The other 6 left from Llano to Castell on the 18 mile ride.
We rolled out and Peggy jumped in her car, drove ahead and caught pictures about 3 miles east of Castell.
Doug Miller, having just turned 70 set the pace and few of the rest of us could keep up!
Mike Clark, seen in hot pursuit of Doug.
Following Mike was Andrew Gray, with Mike Thayer not far behind.
John Chalmers in his "if they run over me it was because they were trying to" shirt.
Joe Iley, of Austin, was close behind John on the Castell to Llano leg.
Nick Stoffel's grin shows that the weather conditions were better than any of us expected.
Bob Thomas of Lago Vista made the 18 miles in over an hour less time than on his first Tour ride back in September.
On the way we met folks who had departed from Llano for the 18 mile one-way ride to Castell. William Wicker and his niece, Brittany Taylor, both of Blanco were the first we met about mid-way. Brittany was so far ahead that we missed getting her picture but… if you find The March 9th Llano News there is a picture of both William and Brittany, preparing to depart Llano, on Page 3.
William Wicker, riding the Llano to Castell route, chases his niece Brittany (no picture)
Another Llano to Castell rider, Cary Kelly cruises on his TerraTrike.
Still heading for Llano, Nick Stoffel has caught up with Andrew Gray and they visit as they ride.
Bob Thomas and I roll along at over 15mph as I draft him. Catrikes are hard for a prostate crusher bike to draft, but it is easy to draft another Catrike.
Mike Clark sneeks a draft off Doug Miller as they start up one of the many rolling hills on the way to Llano.
John Chalmers was still grinning 5 days later. This was a really nice ride.
Mike Thayer was another "chronic grinner", obviously enjoying the ride.
Meeting us as she rode the Llano to Castell route Carlene Worthington and her tail-gunner Zero greeted all us East-Bound and Down riders.
In Llano, we all went over to Fuel and found the live music, led by local string maestro John Caballero (also organizer of an upcoming Fiddle Festival - April 1-3 in Llano). See: http://www.llanofiddlecontest.com/
- The local Chamber of Commerce ladies were also enjoying the show.
After coffee, munchies and smoothies, we started our way back to Castell, joined by two more riders, Mark Guiler and Virginia (VA) Miller. VA and Mark had come out from Austin with Andrew Gray but did not want to try the 36 mile round trip just yet.
Mark Guiler warms up his legs on the way out of Llano heading for the longnecks and brisket in Castell.
John Chalmers comes out of the saddle to crest a hill as he passes the Llano golf course.
VA and Andrew cruise along, sharing the moment, on the way to Castell.
Back in Castell, Kim and Doris marvel that a guy my age could ride so far and still stand tall! I didn't let on that my collar was hooked on a nail on the post and that I could not fall down.
Mark and VA plot revenge on Andrew for talking them into this ride!
The post-ride tall tale telling session gets started!
Special thanks to Doris Messner, Llano Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, for organizing the music, goodies, and other doings in Llano for the ride and to Pam Thomas, Molly Chalmers, and Peggy Bynum for driving Sag Wagons to rescue those of us who needed it and to shout encouragement at those who just looked like we neded help. Also, to Peggy for the photography.
No date has yet been discussed for the next Tour de Longneques, but it will most likely be late June or early July before the central Texas cycling scene settles down enough to have another “just for fun ride.” Stay tuned.
An upcoming event of great merit and likely fun will be the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center Pedal Power Wild Flower ride on April 2nd. Hopefully many of you will join us on that worthy ride. It goes through some amazing country.