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2014 Hillacious Bike Tour

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.


2013 Real Ale Ride and other stuff

Last Saturday (May 18 2013) about 1,500 of my closest friends and no tellin’  who else joined me for The Annual Blanco Festival of Manly Suffering, AKA The Real Ale Ride.  Three of the group I normally ride with were to participate this year.  Doug Miller – age 71, John Chalmers – age 69 and myself also age 69 met up at the Real Ale Brewery as the sun was rising.  A few minutes after we had “commenced to be fixin’ to git ready” to go abuse ourselves in public, Doug introduced one of his neighbors who has been riding with him some (Sally, but I have forgotten her last name).  Doug was gonna ride the 80 mile route, Sally was doing the 30 mile route and John and I were doing the 65 miler. The map below shows all the various routes that were being ridden.

2013 Real Ale Ride - Route Map

2013 Real Ale Ride – Route Map

To clarify how to read the map… we all started in Blanco at the Real Ale brewery, shown in the upper right corner of the map, and rode down the route shown in pink (the 15 mile route) to the point that the 30 mile route, shown in yellow, took off to the south.  At that point the 80, 65, 50 and 30 mile riders took the yellow route southwest towards Kendalia.  At the point that the green route heads south and the yellow route turns back north the 80, 65 and 50 milers continued towards Kendalia on the green route.  At Kendalia the 80 and 65 milers turned west on the 65 mile route, shown in red, while the 50 mile riders went south then looped back to Kendalia and back, eventually, to Blanco.   Upon arriving at Sisterdale, the 80 mile riders headed off further west then north to loop up through Luckenbach, while the 65 milers headed north toward The Horrible Hill, then on north until turning east toward Blanco on FM1888 and then being rejoined by the 80 miler riders.  The 65 mile route involves approximately 4,000 feet of climbing, which is why it merits the Manly Suffering descriptive.  The 80 mile route climbs a little more, with one truly hellish ascent past the bat preserve at the Old No 9 railroad tunnel.  Only Doug was up to that one this year!  Not bad for a 71 year old guy!  The graph below shows the elevation profile for the 65 mile route.

Not only does one climb, over and over, many of those climbs are spretty you betcha steep!

Not only does one climb, over and over, the climbs are pretty you betcha steep!

I realize that for non-cyclists most of this detail is boring, but for cyclists, understanding the route, including its challenges is very important.  So, couch potatoes please bear with us.  Maybe just reading it will raise your heart rate above the level of “the undead” as you slump on the couch watching American Idol in a semi-daze or nodding off as drool runs down your chin as you try to watch Dancing With the Goat Herd, or whatever.  The version of the map below shows elevations at various points along the route as well as locations of various bike wrecks and my two blowouts.  My three chain jambs are not noted, nor is the location at which one cyclist dismounted and waded off into the bar ditch for a “nature break” and found a rattlesnake instead (and got a helicopter ride).


Things seemed better organized than on my two previous years of participation. They got the 80 milers going within a couple of minutes of the scheduled 8am time.  John and I rolled out five minutes later as they released our 65 miler group.  We had agreed that we would each ride our own pace and join up at the various rest stops.  As soon as I got out onto US281 headed south, downhill, towards downtown Blanco, I eased over into the turning lane and kicked my speed up to 25-30 mph so I could get past the other 65 mile riders. On the Catrike I know I am quick downhill and will be slower on the climbs.  I also know that by the time we have ridden 4-5 miles the group will be spread out, reducing the risks of riding shoulder-to-pedal amongst the prostate-crushers (my term for an upright bike) while they weave around shoulder-to-shoulder around me. 

As I neared the turn-off which we would take to get from US281 over to Blanco CR 102 I realized that I had failed to start my timer/calorie counter/heart rate monitor/…  so I did it then, about 1.5 miles and 6 minutes or so into the ride.  As a result the calorie data is off a little as is the average speed.  I have manually corrected the distance and time.

Crossing the Blanco River on Blanc0 CR102 at about 1,305 feet, we began the climb to the southwest to cross at least two ridgelines and get over to Kendalia.  Only 2-3 miles out that segment I came over a small hill and there, about 50 yards ahead… IN THE ROAD…, lay a guy that looked to be about my size.  He was lying in the northbound lane with his head toward the ditch and his feet near the centerline.  A crowd stood around him.  A couple of bikes in a pile in the ditch suggested that two riders had gotten together and this guy had gone down hard.  I could see a ride medical vehicle approaching so I just went on past. 

About three miles farther out there is a nasty hard right turn that is on a concrete low water crossing which is almost as slippery when covered with dust as when wet.  It was dry, but as I started a short descent towards it I saw several riders accelerating from behind me and was able to signal them that this is a really bad turn and they backed off.  Good move.  As we started into the turn itself we saw several bikes, including a tandem that had gone off the outside of the turn and crashed in a group.  At least one rider was down and the others were pretty bloodied up.  They had plenty of help so I kept going.  Another couple of miles out I crossed the ridgeline and could see down into the Guadalupe River Valley which lies below and to the south of Kendalia.  Not long after that came the first rest stop/aid station on the 80/65/50/30 mile routes.

I stopped at that point to wait for John, who I had not seen since passing him just outside the brewery.  I was a little concerned because, between the rider down in the road and the big crash I had done the chain-suck (twice) and had lost about 15 minutes repairing it and some of the resulting damage to the rear deraileur. 

After a 4-5 minute wait John came rolling in looking a bit tired.  He normally leads me much of the way on our longer rides, so to see him dragging was just not normal.  We stayed at the rest area for another 4-5 minutes to let John cool off and recover a little, then headed on towards Kendalia.  As before I rode at my own pace and quickly left John behind (really unusual.)

At Kendalia we turned west towards Sisterdale and a couple of miles out I came upon Doug with a ride mechanic stopped repairing a blowout on Doug’s rear wheel.  Doug waved and said to keep going, so I did.  That Kendalia to Sisterdale segment goes up and down like a roller coaster at Six Flags.  Relatively steep climbs involving a gain of 150 to 250 feet happen over and over.  And so do descents, but the descents last a few seconds at speeds topping 40mph.  The descents are exciting and the climbs are exhausting.  On one descent I topped 42 mph.  Later, I thought how glad I was that it was not at THAT moment that my rear tire blew off the rim.  

Once in Kendalia I got more water, took some supplements, and got a mechanic to file off a burr that had been put on the cage of the rear deraileur when the front did its great “chain-suck” north of Kendalia.  Shifting had required lots of nursing to avoid lock-ups in the rear (not a happy thing to have happen).  Sometime during all this Doug came through and I missed him.  About 15 mintes after I arrived, John rolled in, looking even more whacked than at Kendalia, so we just took a nice long rest with lots of water and electrolytes.  After John had rested and cooled we rolled out north from Sisterdale, heading for the dreaded Horrible Hill.  I took it easy, keeping John in sight in my mirrors for a couple of miles then slowly pulled away.  At the base of The Horrible Hill I pulled off to wait for him.  He came grinding in shortly, not looking like he was having as much fun as usual.  We took another short break then headed up the hill.  This hill is not the steepest climb made that day, by far.  It is however 3 miles of unrelenting climb during which the road climbs 454 feet, with about half that amount in the last mile.  I was pretty happy to see that I was climbing at 4.5 mph, up from about 4 last year and that I did it with my heart rate staying in the middle 130s as it had at the slower pace a year earlier.  Progress!  About 2/3 of the way up I glanced at a mirror to see where John was and saw him carrying his bike off the road and over toward a shady tree (fortunately that tree did not have a snake hanging out under it.)  I knew he would go over and cool off then resume the climb, so I continued and crested at 1,946ft above sea level.  That was 454 feet above the start of that final climb and nearly 700 feet above the elevation at Sisterdale.  OUCH!

I knew there was a rest area in about 2 miles, so I thought I should get on into it and ask that they radio for somebody out on the course to check on John.  Nice thought.  Just as I started to pick up speed my rear tire blew off the rim and the tube blew with a bang like a 12 gauge shotgun going off.  I was up to about 15 mph and on a gentle descent on a tadpole trike with no rear tire to act as a rudder to keep me straight.  Braking was gonna be a hoot since those are on the two front wheels and could cause a sudden turn and flip me. Working the brakes VERY gently and adjusting them to steer, I managed to get the bugger stopped in about 100 yards.    A few minutes later here came John.  I waved him to go on to the rest stop.

As I was replacing the tire and tube a ride mechanic materialized and helped complete the task.  He suggested inflating to a lower pressure ( the tires are rated to 145psi and I had taken it to 140 that morning).  So we took it to 115, and I thanked him and started off again for the rest stop.  About a mile later “BANG!”  another blow-off on the rear, this time on a steeper descent and at about 20mph.  That got hairy, but years of racing Laser class sailboats and flying airplanes in instrument conditions have wired me to deal with moments of sheer terror very calmly and then wet my pants, if necessary, afterwards.  It took about 200 yards of delicate braking, weight shifting, speaking in tongues and deep breathing to get stopped this time.  I was sitting trying to figure out what the hell to do when the mechanic showed back up.  When the mechanic came into the rest stop and I did not show up within 3-4 minutes John had asked him to go check, knowing that since it was mostly downhill I would normally been flying down the hills fast enough to already be there.

The mechanic checked the rim, remounted the tire, put in a new tube and inflated to 110 this time, but suggested maybe I should be cautious with it.  I rode into the rest stop and soon after I got there John rolled out then 3-4 minutes later I took off after him.  It took me about 4 miles to catch him.  He was beat and asked if I would call Peggy, who we knew was somewhere nearby, to come pick him up.  John headed on while I got Peggy on the phone. She headed west on FM1888 from Blanco to meet us on our way in.  I quickly caught up with John and passed him as I went on to Rest Stop 8.  I knew John was VERY used up because I had caught him so easily both times AND kept my descents below 20mph while doing it.  That was frustrating because the fastest descent of the ride was between those two rest stops.  I know I could have gotten over 50mph had I not been concerned about having ANOTHER Schwalbe Durano tire blow off the rim.  I had resolved to get a different tire of a different brand immediately.   Too many Schwalbe problems have plagued me since upgrading to my current trike with its tiny (16 inch) front wheels and giant skinny 700c rear wheel. 

While I waited for John at Rest Stop 8, Doug rolled in from the 80 mile route.    Doug is consistently the fastest rider in our Hillybikers cycling group and rarely fades, but he was clearly cooked.  I called Peggy again, this time arranging for her to go to the rest stop to pick John up.  He was not wanting to ride further to meet her. 

Doug and I rode on to Rest Stop 9, seeing Peggy on her way out to pick John up, then being passed by them as they drove back into Blanco headed for the brewery and the post-ride goodies covered in our $60 registration fees.  Eventually Doug and I got in and then discovered that they had run completely out of beer and were not bringing more out of the innards to the brewery.  They were out of condiments to go with the BBQ sandwiches we had paid for and closed up the place that was handing out Italian Ices within minutes, though there were still people coming in off the road. 

This was all VERY disappointing.  The ride had been so well organized and supported and then they decided they had dispensed all the beer that they wanted to and closed down.  There was not enough food!   There was a great deal of bitterness expressed as more riders limped in off the road.  It is incomprehensible to me that after we paid a hefty entry fee and were issued tickets for two beers, one sandwich and one Italian ice as our reward for the effort of the ride (and it is really looked forward to), they just stopped serving stuff.  The Brewery MUST have had more beer inside. 

Darn it, the promotional t-shirt even says:


Down The Beers

on the back!

Oh well.  Bicycle Sports Shop is a quality outfit, but they need to offer very public assurances that they have resolved ways to fix this with their partners if they want people paying to do this ride in the future.   Real Ale Brewery wounded some previously loyal customers in the area and it will be costly for them to get them back.  I was disappointed but a bunch of people clearly understood that they had been cheated out of something that they had paid for.  That is NOT good business; it smells more like how government behaves.

Sooooo.  The sad ending to an otherwise well run and really fun (including the manly suffering stuff)  aside, the ritual recitation of numbers from the ride follows:

Distance 65 miles, Average speed 12.0mph (European readers can translate to KG/fortnight if it pleases them).  Maximum Speed 42.1mph.  MaxHeart Rate 163 bpm.  Avg Heart Rate 130.  Average Cadence 77 rpm.  Calories Burned 4363. Water Consumed 7 liters (and I still ended up 6 pounds lighter the next morning as I was a bit dehydrated).  Oh, and the high temperature was around 91 degrees (30 something in Celsius).  Beers available at the end of The Real Ale Ride=0. 


For reference the ride reports on my two previous rides of this event can be seen at: 


now for “the other stuff”.

The 2013 Real Ale Ride brough my year to date riding to 1,221.8 miles which has burned approximately 76,765 calories.  I have so far not hit my monthly goal of 350 miles “very often” hence I am NOT at the 1,750 miles shat I should be at by the end of May.  Gotta get pedaling more often.

Get off your backside and do something vigorous!   You owe your kids and grandkids the effort. 

I am 69 years old, did this ride and absolutely approve this message.

Cycling – Tour de Longneques 28 July 2012

On the morning of July 28, 2012 sixteen seriously deranged folks mounted-up and headed off into the Texas summer to make the 36 mile ride from the “so weird it makes Austin look normal” community of Castell eastwards on FM152 to the Llano Courthouse Square and back.  As is the custom, many partook of a curative soak in the Llano afterwards as well as pouring carbs in the form of Lone Star Longnecks down their parched gullets, chowing down on some of Victor’s outstanding brisket, and then resting and watching the show that Castell usually provides on a hot Saturday afternoon (and it did not disappoint!).

 Following below is a gallery of pictures, or maybe a slide show (WordPress is sometimes mysterious), taken before, during and after the ride.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  One of the first-time participants has already posted his impressions and a few pictures on his blog.  Be sure to visit Bikenoob’s blog for a well written recount of a day on the famous Tour de Longneques!

I am sure there will be another TdL in the next 3 months. You might not want to miss it.

Sailing – 2012 Shreveport YC Sunfish Regatta

Shreveport Yacht Club – 2012 Holiday in Dixie Sunfish Photos

Cycling – 61 miles of Wildflowers on March 24, 2012

On Saturday 24 March, Don Senzig and I made a pilgrimage to enjoy the great wildflower show on some favorite back-country roads out west of Lake Buchanan in northeastern Llano County.  Don did it on his road bike and I rode my Catrike Road.  My Garmin Heart Rate Monitor/GPS thinks I burned just under 4,000 calories.  For folks not in as good a shape as the two of us (average age about 72!) you can drive this route in your car.  If you do choose to drive, for Pete’s sake roll down all the windows and enjoy the smells of spring as well as the sights.  Our route is shown on the map below.  Then there will just be lots of pictures and very few words after that.

2012 Wildflowers in Llano County west of lake buchanan seen on cycling ride

The route started and ended to the lower right end of the route. Went to CR216 then north and west to TX16. Then north to CR226 then north and east to the end of the paved road (San Saba County doesn't pave many roads). Then back down to TX 16 and north to Cherokee for a burger at the Cherokee Store. Then south on TX16 to Llano CR215 then east to FM2241 and back to the start. 61 miles of cycling heaven!

 While there are some pretty flowers on TX261 and FM2241 before you get to CR216, we knew the best was NOT on those roads.


Llano CR216

After CR216 we went north on TX16 to CR226.  In the shot below we are about to turn off TX16 onto CR226.

Wildflowers in llano County 2012

Texas wildflowers in 2012

Llano CR226 was Very nice

Bluebonnets and Sables on Llano CR226

Don thinks these are Sables. I wonder if they like the taste of bluebonnets or maybe know how great they look lounging amongst them. CR226

No unicorns on CR226, but it looked sorta like there might be.

Llano CR226 wildflowers about and the low water crossings are running

One of many cooling splashes through crossings of tributaries of the Little Llano River - CR226

I promise that was NOT a Unicorn!  Late breaking news!  Don Senzig has advised me that the horned critters are scimitar oryx, not sable antelope.

After returning to TX16 and riding about 6 miles north (mostly uphill) to Cherokee we enjoyed a burger and some of Miss Sue’s (the proprietress) sweet tea, then headed back south.  After going through Baby Head Pass the flowers started getting really thick again.

Bluebonnets in Llano County - March of 2012

TX16 Southbound. I am sorry about the hairy leg that keeps showing up, but riding the Catrike and shooting with the on-board camera makes it tough to avoid a little manly leg showing up from time to time.

I also show a few seconds of video as we cruised down TX16 (lots of welcome downhills).  Click here to view it.

TX16 Southbound.

 Eventually we reached the turnoff to Llano CR215, which climbs over two ridges then descends to intersect FM2241.

CR215 - Indian Paintbrushes coming up among the Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets - Texas Hill Country 2012

I feel sorry for people who cannot ride a bike (or Catrike) far enough to enjoy a ride like this.  I feel even sorrier for people too lazy to even get out in their car, roll down the windows and drive this route.  It is truly spectacular this year.  The Bluebonnets, Paint Brushes, Phlox, Wine Cups, and 6 or 7 varieties of yellow flowers are really making a show in 2012.

There are several other places to see the wildflowers online,

A cycling blog post with pictures on most of the route shown above , but two weeks earlier can be seen (click here) , or…

Pictures from a couple of weeks back on TX29 between Burnet and the Inks Lake Bridge  are also online (yup… click)

Really great wildflowers and floodwaters pictures taken on March 19 by Jim Baines.


Cycling – Ride to Walden Planation for Lunch

On October 26th, John Chalmers and I decided to ride from Lake Buchanan over to Walden Plantation, a really nice Bed & Breakfast that also has a grill and does gourmet burgers at lunch.  It is a good thing that it is a 55 mile round trip.  The 4,500 calories that Garmin thinks I burned on this ride might, maybe, offset the calories supplied by the burger, fries, sweet tea and Pecan Pie Muffins (oh!  those were good!) that Angie Walden was dishin’ out that day. 

We approached our destination from the south on Llano County Road 102 and the view, even with the river down a bunch, was impressive, long before the aromas coming from the Cabana/Grill were detectable.

Cycling across Llano County to Walden Plantation

The Walden Plantation facility ( red roof) across the river

Crossing the river, just below the Walden property, we saw that there is still a nice, if below normal flow on the Llano River.

Crossing the Llano River on CR 102

My wife and mother met us at Walden and were already well into their glass of wine when we arrived. 

From Right: Ann Bynum, John Chalmers, Achmed The Dead Terrorist???

 A quick review of the menu led to two of us ordering a burger (lean beef, all the normal veggies plus sliced avocados, mushrooms and jalapeno) while the other two ordered a Bruscetta Chicken Sandwich.  I will personally attest to the gourmet status of the hamburger.  Well, OK, it was a Texas Gourmet Hamburger since it was both really good AND way bigger than the cookie-sized finger food, claiming to be a hamburger, one might be served in Newport Beach. 

Angie asks John if Achmed is really dead.

The best I could tell, the cow that supplied the lean beef had never even seen any tofu, much less been served any.   Nor was there any hint of a tofu sin being committed while preparing a hamburger.  Nope, this was the real deal and it was really good. 

For those bewildered by the Achmed reference please see: 

Try not to hurt yourself laughing. 

Anyway, we had a great lunch.  I can recommend a ride out to Walden Plantation for lunch.  Call ahead to be sure that they do not have an event scheduled; the grill may not be open to the public on those occasions.  See the route map below.

Lake Buchanan is on the right and Walden Plantation on the left.

 Stop by the Lake Buchanan Chamber of Commerce or the Llano Chamber of Commerce for a free Llano County map.  The Staff in either place can show you where you are heading.   The Buchanan Chamber is located on the north side of TX29 just up the hill to the west of the Inks Lake Bridge.  The Llano Chamber is located in the city of Llano on the east side of TX16, just north of the Llano River Bridge and about 3 blocks south of TX29.  You can reach Walden Plantation by phone at: 325-247-2046.

Happy pedalling and Bon Appetit, y’all!

Sailing – 2011 Lake Buchanan Sunfish Regatta

On September 10th and 11th, 2011,  the first ever and hopefully annual Lake Buchanan Sunfish Regatta was held.  We sailed off the beach at The Edgewater Resort and had tons of volunteer support from both the Lake Buchanan – Inks Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corps.  Due to the heat of this summer depressing people into giving up on sailing this year, the high price of gasoline, and a scheduling conflict with the Fort Worth Boat Club’s Old Man of the Sea junior regatta.  Still we had six boats and from all comments, they would like to come back next year and drag along fellow, less fortunate, ‘fish sailors who missed this one.

To those who were able to come to this regatta, our heartfelt thanks for the competition you brought and for the very positive impression you left on the people who came out to help put on the event.  To those who were unable to attend, maybe you can make it next year, you were missed and you missed sailing on a truly unique inland lake… fix that oversight next year, please.

Race 1 was sailed in light, but fairly steady wind (an advantage of being on a HUGE lake with no large hills near the shore).

Race 2-6 were sailed in 5-8mph winds with periodic shifts of 10 to 15 degrees.

Races 7-11 were sailed in light wind, 4-8, with occasional gusts around 10 and winds that slowly rotated from west-southwesterly to west-northwesterly.

Some pictures are shown below the body of this post.  Others can be found on the Lake Buchanan – Inks Lake Chamber of Commerce Blog, some others on the chamber’s web site and some other good ones can be seen at:

We had a small turnout, but really good racing.  Being such a  large lake, winds here tend to behave more like would be seen on a large bay.    As expected, Paul Foerster cleaned our clocks, but with the grace of a true champion.  It was an honor to be pounded by Paul!

The ladies, in addition to being half the fleet, did very well.  Annie Lancaster took second place and Carrie Foerster won a tie breaker with Pat Manning to end up 3rd.  The tie breaker was settled at the third place level of the process, showing how tight the competition really was (after Paul).  Neither had any first places; Carrie and Pat had the same number of second places but Carrie had more third places, which broke the tie.

Our ladies are warriors, taking positions 2-4!

Vic Manning went the wrong direction slightly less often than I did and ended up 5th. Five of the six competitors were from outside Llano and Burnet Counties, but next year we will have some Sunfish sailors here to stir things up a little.

One Fish owner was on one of the powerboats and got all excited and took my fish out after we were done Sunday.  She then came in and confessed to having a 1972 vintage Sunfish (those were the really great Sunfish… stiff hulls!)  in her garage (it was her dad’s boat) unsailed for many years.  Jay McGranahan is now going to clean it up and come do some sailing with us!

I will leave it for the participants to share their impressions of Lake Buchanan as a sailing venue, through comments posted on my blog and/or on the Chamber blog.


Sunfish racing on Lake Buchanan

First race Saturday in 3-5mph, but steady, wind the fleet goes upwind. From left are Vic Manning (80119), Paul Foerster ( 8 ), Don Bynum (79138), Carrie Foerster (79551), Patricia Manning (80120), and Annie Lancaster (80640)

Even in the light air, the first boat easily finished inside the 30 minute time limit.  We were in VERY light air, but it was steady and there was virtually no powerboat traffic making us bob around.  The powerboats that were out were either part of the regatta support team or knew what was going on and stayed well away or at “no-wake” speeds.

The winds were better on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

2011 Lake Buchanan Sunfish Regatta, Texas Sunfish Racing Circuit.

The Fleet approaches the windward mark with Paul in the lead and me, and this was rare, in hot pursuit!

There are so many great shots to show…

Paul Foerster, Lake Buchanan Sunfish Regatta, 2011

Olympic Sailing Champion Paul Foerster leads the fleet downwind on Lake Buchanan

Even old men get lucky sometimes!

Paul Foerster, Sunfish, Lake Buchanan

Race 5: Paul Foerster and Don Bynum start at the windward end of the line while others go for the leeward end.

Later in the race Don and Pat Manning, seeing favorable wind developing on the left side of the leg, went left while everyone else followed Paul to the right.

The wind really was where Don and Pat saw it (Don has a history of imagining wind off across the lake)  and they ended up with a large lead over the rest of the fleet.

Don Bynum, Lake Buchanan local sailor, tacks to cross the finish line in first place with Pat Manning about 30 seconds behind. This was the only race that Paul Foerster lost all weekend. It was also the first time EVER that Bynum has beaten Paul to the finish line in many years of racing.

More pictures will be posted here and on other sites in the next week.  I will update this site with links to other sites as they come online with their pictures…

This coming weekend (September 24-25) is the Arlington Yacht Club’s annual Oktoberfish regatta.  Both Sunfish and Lasers will be sailing so there will be more single-handed boats out to draw the attention of sailors tired of expensive larger boat operation and crew scrounging, as well to provide good spectating for those who have not yet fulfilled their longing to have our sort of fun on the water.  I hope everyone who can possibly make Oktoberfish does so, as turnout at regattas has been weak this year and we need to all get our “sailin’ grin” back working.

If you are going, please drop Steve Blake ( ) a  note to help them gage how many boats they might have.  If you are not goin’… fix that, it sounds like a personal problem to me.