The 2012 Real Ale Ride is now in the history books (recorded with gallons of muscle burning lactic acid!) and as the pain fades it is becoming a legend that my grandchildren will tell their children around the campfire (providing heat from a ball of solar and wind powered magic plasma on the cold, still, nights on the plains).
Five of us from the Hillybikers Cycling Gang out here in Llano and Burnet Counties made the trek down to Blanco this year to join with about 1,400 other nutjobs on the ride starting from the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco. Our gang rode the 65 mile route that a couple of us had ridden before. I rode it last year along with a couple of recumbent riding friends and found them this year in the starting area. They assured me that they were NOT riding the 65 mile route again this year. I think they did the 50 miler. I guess the pain had not faded adequately in their memories to take on the horrible hill (almost 3 miles at an average grade of 6%) found northbound out of Sisterdale about halfway through the ride. That comes after 15 miles or so of up/down with short (less than 1/4 mile) grades above 10% between Kendalia and Sisterdale. In total the ride was a bit under 66 miles with 4,000 feet of climbing (yup, four thousand, and my old legs, heart, lungs and pig-headedness beat the bugger!)
So, clearly having a faulty memory, I moved on up to the large gathering of cyclists preparing to embarque on the 65 mile route. There was a smaller group of fearsome road warriors just ahead of us in the starting area. They were to do the 85 mile route which, in addition to adding 20 miles, replaced the “horrible hill” with one substantially worse, but rewarded folks with a visit to Luckenbach and maybe the chance to be hassled by Kinky Friedman while passing through.
I have uploaded a gallery of photos taken by my wife, Peggy, on the eastbound (FM1888) leg of the ride. Those appear after my boring narrative. I also shot video of the first leg of the ride, from the start at the Real Ale Brewery to the rest stop just before Kendalia. I plan to put all the pictures (good and bad whether on this blog or not) and the videos on DVD and will make them available to riders who come out for the next legendary, in our own minds, and militantly-not-organized ( as opposed to disorganized ) Tour de Longneques ride from Castell to Llano to Castell followed by a curative soak in the rapids on the Llano River at Castell. This all usually involves post-ride consumption of Lone Star Longnecks and brisket. OK back to the Real Ale Ride.
In our group of 5 there is a wide range of cycling ability and mass to be hauled up hills. Our two lightest members were sure to have more fun if they just ripped off at their own manic pace. We all agreed that this was a good plan. The other three of us mostly just rode our own pace and regrouped at each rest stop. At 140 pounds soaking wet, 70 year old Doug Miller lit out and had completed the ride by 1:30pm and was on his fifth beer when the last of us rolled in ( we rolled out at about 8:10, so Doug was hauling!) At about 170 pounds, 68 year old John Chalmers got in about 2:15pm. At about 180 pounds, 75 year old Don Senzig made it by about 2:55pm. Richard Golladay (age 65 and 185 pounds) and I (age 68 a few inches over 6′ and 220 pounds) arrived at 3:05. Hummm? Weight may matter more than age! By the way, none of us are obese. I think I need to see if I can do a starving refugee imitation and still be able to ride at 190 pounds if I want to keep up with Doug and John.
OK, now the pictures! Due to the mysteries of WordPress galleries, several pictures are duplicated… sorry.
I may add some short video clips in the next couple of days, so check back!