2012 Real Ale Ride

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!)

2012 Real Ale Ride - 65 Mile Route

The 65 Mile Route


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!


9 responses to “2012 Real Ale Ride

  1. Phyllis Terry

    Good write up Don! I could visualize you and the other guys from your descriptions. I will be cycling in Moab, Utah area this summer- have been practicing my ascents.

    • Phyllis,
      What went out was actually far from complete. Check it out again. Videos will come later this week. Moab! Wow! Have fun and send pictures.

  2. William Wicker

    Here’s another data point for your weight/speed curve. 290lbs = flameout at 40 miles. I conquered that hill out of Sisterdale, but it, in turn, conquered me. Very disappointing.

    Still, it was a good ride, and I did get to see most all of the participants, since I think I counted approximately 947 bikers that passed me as I ground my way through the hills to Kendalia.

    Looking forward to the next Longneques! I’m guessing there’s plenty of water in the river this year?

    • William, The Llano is looking good right now. Did you ride the 50 miler this year?

      • William Wicker

        No. I shot for 65 (I saw you leaving the Sisterdale stop), but died after the famous Sisterdale climb and sagged out at the next rest stop.

  3. Pingback: 2012 Real Ale Ride | Don Bynum’s Blog | Pit's Bicycle Blog

  4. Well Don you are short on words this time. I usually have to rest my eyes a few times. You do pick a hard “relaxation” Are there any pictures of you going around that scrueeeeching corner/curve.

  5. Uncle Willie,

    Thanks. There will be a video, in a few days, from the onboard camera. I will add it to the post once I have time to process it and upload it to YouTube. I will let you know when it is up.

  6. Pingback: 2013 Real Ale Ride and other stuff | Don Bynum's Blog

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