Tour de Longneques – Sept 11 2010 edition

( stay up to date on the self-inflicted rigors of retirement in the Texas Hill Country by following @donbynum on Twitter – I tweet maybe once or twice a week… no content free tweets, I promise)
Having made the ride from Llano to Castell several times alone, then having talked my best friend Eric Brewster into doing it with me in July, the ride has sorta begun to have a life of its own.  In August we were joined by our high school classmate Gil Jones, Eric’s colleague Tom Collins, Gil’s colleague David Nantz, and my old friend and colleague Doug Miller, bringing the ride to 6 souls, two of which came from a couple hundred miles away.   Then came the September 11th  Tour de Longneques and we had doubled the participation to 12 riders, even though Eric, Tom and Doug had scheduling conflicts which prevented their participation.  It took three pictures to capture the whole group, partly because the numbers are growing and partly because getting cyclists lined up for a photo shoot is sorta like putting socks on an octopus.   The three pictures below include all 12 riders at least once each.
Tour de Longneques riders, Sept 11 2010... Llano Texas

Across the back from the left: Mark Craven, Mike McKenna, Don Bynum, Raphael Paonessa, Dave Rhodes, Steve hurst, Teresa miller, Doug Miller (not the Doug Miller from the August ride!); in the mid-ground in the white shirt on the red catrike, Thad Sitton; in the foreground on the red Catrike with the blue shirt, Bob Thomas

Riders ready to ride the Tour de Longneques 9/11/2010 Llano to Castell

The 11th rider, Ralph Macfarlane on the left in the dayglow yellow and white shirt

Marble Falls CASA 5K 2nd in Age Group (age 66) winner and Tour Rider Gil Jones

Rafael admires the 5K run medal won that morning by the 12 rider, Gil Jones









We started a little after 10:30 on Saturday to allow some tough souls who were running in a 5K in Marble Falls to also come make this ride.  The weather was starting to heat up and “the horses were getting restless”, so we headed out west on Ranch Road 152 to test our mettle against the gently rolling hills and sizzling heat.  I rolled out riding with Mike McKenna, admiring his grit as he was riding an ancient AMF single speed bike which was, his description, apparently made out of steel water pipe, though it had been painted a nice orange color.  We were shortly caught up with by Doug Miller, and then we all caught up to Thad Sitton on his highly modified Catrike Expedition.  Doug, Mike, Mark, Rafael, Dave, Steve and Teresa all passed us while we held back to see how Bob Thomas was gonna hold up and to watch for Gil who was a little late rolling out.  We soon saw Bob coming over the hill behind us.  I told Thad that I would drop back and ride with Bob.  Just as I was about to start falling back, here came Gil riding like a man possessed.  Gil had told us that he had gotten a little carried away at the start of the 5K run earlier that morning but recovered and still had done well.  I thought, “he is gonna pay for cranking so hard so early”.  More on that later.

Bob soon caught up to me and we spent the rest of the ride together.  It was a real pleasure to ride with Bob and more than a little humbling.   About three years ago Bob had been in a very serious motorcycling accident which left him with badly injured right leg and arm and some fairly serious head injuries.  He has been through, I think he told me, 8 surgeries so far  and is not allowed to walk on the right leg without help.  His right wrist and hand are pretty banged-up and the right-hand paddle shifter on his Catrike is a challenge to operate with precision.  Bob has been riding his Catrike, for some time now out at the Austin Veloway and other very flat venues, on rides of up to 10 miles.  Now… with that background Bob was setting out to make an 18.1 mile ride in rolling, but on-average steadily climbing hills in 90+ degree heat with high humidity.  The elevation profile for this ride shows why I initially decided I should stay back and be Bob’s “wingman”.

Cycling Elevation profile Llano Courthouse to the Castell General Store via Texas Ranch Road 152.

Tour de Longneques RR152 elevation profile

However, the experience of riding with a man as gutsy, determined, focused, and devoid of any evidence of self-pity during the whole trip, shifted my reason for staying back with him from being one of concern for Bob, to being one of gratitude for getting to ride with him.  I have met a real man.

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Llano to Castell - Doug Miller leads Mike Mckenna

Doug Miller pulls from the front while Mike McKenna with his single speed museum piece drafts

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Mark Craven 9/11/2010

Mark Craven cruises along in "his zone"

While Bob and I chugged along, the rest of the group sorted themselves out.  Everyone seemed to have a pretty good time and found others matched up pretty well to their abilities.

Gil Jones, having already run a 5K that morning and having cranked himself up pretty hard early in the ride, found himself overheating to the point that he decided, wisely, to let Jennifer pick him up at around the 10 mile point and truck him on over to Castell.
Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Teresa Miller - 9/11/2010

Teresa Miller shows most of the men the way to Castell

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Steve Hurst - 9/11/2010

Steve Hurst ... why does he not appear to be sweating?

As the group cruised over the rolling hills Peggy caught a few pictures for the blog and for the historical records of the Tour de Longneques.   We had riders from Lake Buchanan, Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls, Spicewood, Lago Vista, and Austin.  Most had never been out Ranch Road 152 to Castell.  Most had never seen the beautiful, crystal clear Llano river out in this area.  A couple had never been to Llano.  Most have since contacted me and indicated that they want to come out and ride the backroads of Llano County as soon as schedules can be arranged to try some new routes, or even just to do the Tour de Longneques again. 
Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Rafael Paonessa - 9/11/2010

Rafael blows by on his Vision Recumbent

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Dave Rhodes - 9/11/2010

Dave Rhodes makes his pass

Of the 12 riders only four had time to stay for a soak in the river.  Some of the others are already lamenting that omission and will be back, with or without their bikes or trikes to enjoy the river.

Once we had all arrived Peggy and I awarded our three remaining Tour de Longneques shirts to Doug Miller ( first man to finish), Teresa Miller (first woman to finish) and Bob Thomas (The TOUGH GUY AWARD). 
Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Ralph Macfarlane and Thad Sitton - 9/11/2010

Ralph and Thad have a visit while cruisin'

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Thad Sitton and Gil Jones - 9/11/2010

Thad and Gil get some visiting done before Gil realizes he is hot

Cycling - Tour de Longneques - Bob Thomas - 9/11/2010

Bob Thomas, one tough guy!

25 responses to “Tour de Longneques – Sept 11 2010 edition

  1. thanks don for riding with me, i had tons of fun

  2. So, when is the next one?

    • The date of the next, sorta-monthly and ever more famous Tour de Longneques is still to be determined, but most likely around mid-October. Got a preference?

      • I can probably bring the little squirt down the weekend of 10/15, but don’t let that be your hard date. If such a ride cannot be organized for that date, you and I can always do our own thing. I’ll even see that I remember to bring my bike this time!

  3. can’t wait

  4. Great write-up, Don, as always. The amazing thing about that day for me is that I realized I was out of carbs and let the brain overrule the testosterone.
    Enjoyed riding with some new folks. Hope they all found it to be fun.
    I’m going to edit my post to link to you.

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  6. Sorry to have missed it. I hope you all will do this ride again perhaps mid October when I return from Kona and Ironman (no, not participating, just volunteering and visiting my sister). I would love to actually ride this infamous ride once I’m home.

  7. By the way I’m voting for a ride on the 23rd since I won’t be back til Oct. 20th.

  8. Don,
    Just found your blog last weekend. I am in a cyclist in the San Antonio area but my husband and I have a lake house in Kingsland. Hope to join one of your rides one day soon. I sure enjoyed your blog on the Park Road ride. You are one brave soul! I have seen that road and it looks challenging-loved your video! I am in a bicycle club in San Antonio and we venture to the hill country often to ride, around Fredericksburg or Kerrville, and in April the entire club descends to the hill country for a ride in the Lake Buchanan area. You should join us. Our club is hosting a ride in Fredericksburg on October 30, The Fredericksburg Fall Frolic Frolic. Look it up on our website and see if it interests you. Our website address is

    Phyllis Terry

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  10. Nice report, Don! I don’t know about “blowing by”, but I almost blew a nerve or something. 🙂 Everything’s back to normal, though. I have to say I was very impressed by Mike’s performance on that orange galvanized pipe bike! I can’t imagine how fast he would have been on a lightweight racer!

  11. I like the elevation profile. We just learned how to do that in my geology class.

  12. anytime in october

    • Bob,

      Looking like 23rd. The folks who are up to a round trip will start from Castell at 9am and others will start from Llano at 9:30 or so and just do a one way ride to Castell. By starting at 9:30 the one way riders wioll get caught up by the round-trippers about half way to Castell. I am gonna do the round trip from Castell.


  13. William Wicker

    I found your ride listed on My wife rides a Greenspeed, and I’m on an Actionbent Tidal Wave. We’d love to join in on the 23rd. It sounds like it would be a great warmup for the Fredericksburg ride the next week!

    • William,

      Excellent. What we are doing this time is two routes. One, a 36 mile round trip from Castell to Llano and Back, starting out at 9am. The other is an 18 mile one-way from Llano to Castell starting from the Llano Courthouse (Northwest corner) at 9:30. This way riders can choose how much they want to ride and everyone will end up back at Castell for ritual soaking in the Llano River, dampening of innards with Lone Star Longnecks (they are usually $2.00 at the Castell General Store), and proper nourishment for a reesident of our fine state, smoked briscuit.

      For people who only make the ride from Llano, we will work out getting someone to shuttle them back to Llano to retrieve their cars so they can come back to Castell to load their bikes/trikes/quads, unicycles or whatever they ride over on. There are generally several wives/husbands/whatevers who make the drive rather than ride, so cars are available. If we have huge turnout, it will just take a couple of tripsa to get everyone squared away.

      I am having some more of the Tour de Longneques shirts like I gave to the gang on the August ride printed up and will sell them for $12/ea (covers my cost, just about) since I have had a bunch to the people who say they are coming and have seen the original shirts say they want one. There will be a few 2XLs, more XLs, Some Ls and a few Ms and I will take reservations for shirts via email (, subject Tour de Longneques T-Shirts) as long as they last. Let me emphasize that I am not doing the shirts as a capitalist enterprise, though I admire capitalism greatly. Just been a bunch of people saying they will come if I can get them a shirt.


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