It is always good news when a new organized ride crops up out here in the Texas Hill Country.
The first ever annual Hillacious Bike Tour, seemingly put on and supported by just about every human being in Lampasas County, was held Saturday April 12 and from my perspective it was very successful.
Saturday morning my riding buddy, John Chalmers, stopped by my place and we stuck my Catrike in the bed of his truck beside his new carbon fiber prostate crusher then drove about 40 minutes to the Lampasas Middle School on the South end of town, where the ride was to start. There were several different length routes to choose from. John and I considered the 70 miler but in a moment of uncommon good sense we opted for the “51” miler. That decision made,
we did onsite registration got a route map, got our equipment ready to roll and moved over to the designated starting area.
Somewhere between 150-200 cyclists lined up for the roll-out and at about 8:35, after a brief ceremony we rolled out, starting at about 1,028 feet of elevation.
We rode the VERY Hillacious city streets of the west side of Lampasas working our way north toward the intersection of County Road 2001 and U.S. 183. There was a rest/water station at the intersection, but most of us were getting really warmed up and wanted to keep rolling. There we crossed 183 and rolled out CR 2001 heading northwest and UP ( and down and up and… Well you get the idea!). We had a great tail wind on this leg, letting us cover the miles quickly. I got a nice short video clip showing both how green the hills were and how fast that wind was letting me roll.
About half way to Lometa a rest station provided the chance to get off the trike, stretch, refill my water, take an Endurolyte and Perpetuum then roll out with about 3 minutes off the trike. The station was well staffed and provisioned and had a couple of porta-potties available for those in need. On my way again the great scenery and tail wind made the distance fly past. As I arrived at Lometa I was greeted by maybe a dozen volunteers cheering, ringing cowbells, and waving me into the rest station. An 8-10 year old girl scurried over and supplied me with a bottle of ice cold water from which to refill my large onboard bottle. Her happy outgoing manner reminded me of my grand daughters. One man was standing smiling and offering me a hand to get up off the trike. He said he was supposed to hold my bike while I got some fruit and water, but that the trike seemed to defy that assignment. After a very short break I rolled northeast out of Lometa. A few miles outside of town I ripped across the highest elevation point in the ride, at about 1,540 feet above sea level… Over 500 feet above our starting point. Shortly after the high point, I stopped at another rest stop the resumed, turning south toward Lampasas, into the wind and into tge hilliest part of the ride. The elevation profile below shows how hilly the ride was in its second half!
While the southbound leg of the ride was overall descending, the descents were punctuated by really steep saw-tooth climbs that would have been hard without wind. Into a 15-20mph wind those sawteeth were serious barriers. A rest stop about half way down that leg was staffed by a mix of local folks and University of Texas students who have qualified for the 2015 Texas 4000. Ah youth! They will ride from Austin to Alaska in the summer of 2015.
My Garmin recorded 50.3 miles, in which there was about 2500 feet of climbing. About 25 miles of the 50 was at sufficient grade, and into a fiesty 15-20 mph headwind, to leave a mark on one’s soul. As usual I spent most of the ride managing cadence and heart rate to make 50 miles fun for a 70 year-old kid on a Catrike.
An average cadence of 90 rpm with an average heart rate of 121bpm (and a max HR of only 140bpm) yielded an average speed of 12.7 mph. That speed sucked, but considering the ripping the headwind gave us all, I was satisfied and got in 10-15 minutes ahead of John. Garmin thinks I burned about 3,416 calories. I think it had to be more.
The people of not only the town of Lampasas, but also of the town of Lometa and all over the rest of Lampasas County were out in force cheering us on, supplying water, fruit, port-a-potties, peanut butter sandwiches, pickles,… and lots of smiles… making the whole day a great experience. Nice area, even nicer people.
The turnout was pretty good for a first year event. If they can avoid scheduling the ride to conflict with the MS 150, which had around 15,000 cyclists ( yeah, really, about 15 THOUSAND cyclists) spending the weekend riding from Houston to Austin, they should get at least twice the turnout. I hope they keep putting on this ride.