Captain Justice, AKA Gil Jones, has already… very well… laid down the background for this post regarding a ride, Saturday morning, 14 August, from the Llano Courthouse to Castell, TX by 6 intrepid ( and some of us decrepid as well ) natural or naturalized Texans. (This ride has been renamed… Tour de Longneques… by Eric and Gil. The next TdL will be on Sept 11… Join us!)
I am going to try to add some seasoning, mostly with pictures, to the mental feast Gil’s post provides for those who know any of the 6, or care to understand what agonies and ecstasies await any who might contemplate riding in our path.
The length of this ride is not a big deal. It is only 18.1 miles. It has no big hills to climb. It always has very light traffic. It is pleasantly, but not (except during wildflower season) stunningly, scenic. Having done it many times, I think of it as a 1,200-1,500 calorie way to get to a destination that has lots of attractive aspects, the most attractive of which is the Llano River and its cooling, clear, waters flowing through pink granite boulders, rocks, and sand. Backing up the attraction of the Llano River at Castell is the quirky culture surrounding The Castell General Store and the food and refreshments which are a part of that culture. As we were riding on a Saturday, the Castell General Store would have BBQ… beef brisket, pork loin, and ribs. Were we going on Thursday or Friday, the fare would be Texas sized hamburgers. On Sunday’s it would be steak. And there is always beer (Lone Start Longnecks for Texan purists, though they have other choices for eastern efites and the like, for a couple of bucks a bottle.
With six of us riding, and a wide range of conditioning and levels of readiness of bikes and trikes amongst us, the ride had some aspects that one misses on solitary rides.
We got pretty spread out about 1/3 of the way to Castell as David experienced broken pedal straps making hill climbing difficult and Eric discovered about 2/3 of the way across that his front brake was dragging badly, causing him to suffer more than he would have otherwise. Gil, laid back with David until it became apparent that the loss of toe straps was just giving David too many problems to overcome with the repetitive short, but fairly steep climbs and descents. Jennifer (Gil’s wife) had been following along, getting some excellent pictures (see Gil’s post, linked in the first paragraph of this post) and David finally surrendered and put his bike on the rack on the truck and rode in air-conditioned comfort to Castell. I had lingered ahead of Eric at a slow pace, just keeping my heart rate above 100, for some time and he still had not caught up, so I turned back and went to find him. I just did not want to explain to Irene (his mother) and Cheri(his wife) that I rode off and left him to die on the road and provide a great buzzard banquet. A mile or more back I found him sitting looking at his front wheel. He had figured out that he was not gonna make it with a dragging brake and was trying to diagnose the problem. We quickly identified two problems which had most likely resulted from him having the bike serviced the preceding week at a shop that was, obviously, not equipped with work stands for servicing recumbent machines. Just as we were about to finish repairs, Gil rode by with Jennifer and David following in the truck.
Eric and I got going again with Gil about 300 yards ahead of us. We set out to catch up, but Eric quickly faded, having used up too much energy riding with the dragging brake. He suggested that I go on and catch up. As we were only about 4 miles from Castell and I knew Eric would make it, eventually. I went ahead, and quickly caught up to Gil and we just headed on into Castell. Meanwhile Doug and Tom had forged ahead and cruised along at a brisk clip, enjoying getting to know each other. They arrived about 10 minutes ahead of Gil and me
A few minutes later Eric came slogging in, moaning and whining like a little girl, and we all headed down to the Llano River to cheer him up. The temperature had risen from around 80 when we were leaving the Llano Courthouse to the middle 90s and we had all sweated gallons. Peggy and Jennifer followed along, giggling and laughing the whole time as they watched their geezers ( and friends ) frolic in the rapids of the crystal clear, cooling, Llano River.
This was good stuff! Very good stuff.
Then we went back up to the Castell General Store and enjoyed BBQ, beer and B.S..
Y’all just really do need to come join us on these rides.
We are not out to set records for speed or endurance.
The next Tour de Longneques will be Saturday, September 11.
Please come ride with us. It is always fun and will be MUCH cooler by then.
We are out to set records for fun!