Tag Archives: Cherokee Texas

A Goal Checked Off for May and Lesson Confirmed in June

Having started 2013 with the goal of pushing my annual mileage up from 3,600 in 2012 to 4,250 in 2013 I have been off to a bad start.  I need to get in 350 miles/month to hit that goal, but have missed by quite a bit in the first four months.  Finally, in May I logged 357.03 miles!  Garmin thinks I burned about 24,236 calories doing that distance.  May’s good distance aside, I am now about 445 miles behind where I need to be.  Gotta step it up in June.

This morning, to that end, I joined a couple of fellow cycling geezers, John Chalmers and Don Senzig, for a ride from Lake Buchanan over to Cherokee, TX for a burger and some of Miss Sue’s Sweet Tea.  The route we chose is one I have not ridden in 6 or 7 months because it has several cattle guards and to keep from destroying another life-time gauranteed Catrike Frame, I slow to a crawl to cross each cattle guard then have to ride like hell to catch back up with anyone I am riding with.  That is usually exhausting.

We had planned to take the longer route through Llano, but John had been up much of the night dealing with a bout of Mal d’Gizzard and with the day promising to be really hot he did not feel (or look) like he would survuive a 67 mile route.  So we set out to ride the route depicted on the map below.

The 53 mile route from Buchanan to Cherokee and back

The 53 mile route from Buchanan to Cherokee and back

As we rolled out we agreed that I would cruise at my own speed which would put me well ahead of my companions by the time I turned off FM2241 onto CR216 with its cattleguards.  The idea was that my friends would catch up with me on the last 4-5 miles of CR216 since that is where all the teeth rattling obstacles are to be found.   

Knowing the day would be hot I resolved to be very diligent about hydration, electrolyte replacement and energy replacement.  Doing that really paid off.

I have tried numerous electrolyte replacement products over the last 8 years of cycling. Nothing I tried comes even close to Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolyte capsule product in preventing cramps and heat exhaustion in our Texas Summers.  A few minutes prior to rolling out I took two Endurolytes, with water, then a Hammer Perpetuem Solids “thing”.  My son Brad’s wife refers to them as “chalk chews”, but has also found that they work very well at replenishing the stuff our muscles burn to keep us pedaling. 

In the course of the ride and lunch I went through 5 liters of water and/or iced tea, 9 endurolytes and 6 Perpetuems, plus a hamburger.  That kept me going through 53 miles, though the temperature on the return ride was in the upper 90s, and I suspect 8-10 degrees higher down on the road surface where one rides a Catrike. Garmin shows 2,075 feet of total ascent just to “ring the bell” a little louder.  I had no cramping, averaged 13.1 mph for the whole ride and 13.7 for the second half of it, though we were into the wind on the return.  And… I stopped and waited for my riding friends several times because I was just riding strong, … well OK toasty strong, but still strong.  Oh … and the day before I had ridden the 33.3 mile Park Road 4 loop which has plenty of short but nasty climbs. 

There is no way in hell I could have pulled off today’s ride and come in feeling like I might want to ride tomorrow, without good, well balanced electrolyte replacement, hydration and energy supplimentation.  Even WITH those I weighed right at 5 pounds less after the ride than before it.  That loss is mostly water, so I have continued to hydrate this evening to be sure I am good to go on a short ride tomorrow.

I have heard people make statements about getting electrolytes by eating salty food.  That is foolish and not supported by what we know about our bodies.  A good electrolyte suppliment will have some sodium salt, but also salts of phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese as well as some other stuff that helps our bodies assimilate the salts.  Too much sodium chloride actually blocks the other electrolytes from getting through the cell walls.  Don’t bother to comment about how great you do with the salt from a bunch of On-the Border tostadas.  The simple, inarguable truth is that you would do even better with a balanced load of electrolytes.

Final numbers for the ride were: 

53 miles in 4hr 2min 2sec for an average speed of 13.1 mph.  3,347 caloriees, MaxHR 148, AvgHR 116, AvgRPM 80…  at age 69 on a damned tricycle

Get out, get off the couch, turn the TV off, go cycling in the country and see the beauty of nature up close.  Get your heart rate up every day and keep it up for as long as your doctor will tolerate.  My doc STILL just sits slack-jawed when he attempts to explain what he thinks enough exercise is, then asks what I have been doing.  He forgets between annual visits. 

I may well be, someday, bug-splatted by a Kenworth but I sure as heck do not intend to die a slow, degrading, expensive death lying in a pool of my own urine like so many seem determined to do.  Seriously, do you REALLY want to die of old age?  I choose to LIVE old age.

A special note of recognition for daughter-in-law, Jessica, who started riding a Catrike 700 in March and has already lost 12+ pounds and begun to pass her ice hockey playing cyclist husband Brad on downhills!  Way to go Jessica!


Two days and two really fun rides

Wednesday afternoon, with the temperature about 70 degrees F ( I think it may be measured in furlongs in Europe) under clear blue skies, Peggy and I got out and did a 6 mile meander through several nearby neighborhoods. We went slow and enjoyed the sightseeing.  I love riding with Peggy.  It just makes me feel good.

Today (Thursday), I rode the 17-1/2 miles over to Llano to meet a friend I had not seen in 29 years. Mark Belcher and I worked at a small computer start-up back in 1984 and had not had any contact since until recently when I tracked me down via Linked-In on the internet. Mark was in the area for some vacation time with his sister and her family and suggested that we have lunch, so I agreed, picking… wait for it… yes! The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

Mark Belcher and I had some laughs and a great lunch at The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

Mark Belcher and I had some laughs and a great lunch at The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

We spent two hours catching up on 29 years of our two lives and having a couple of serious laughs at the expense of a couple of previous coworkers.

Afterwards I rode back to Lake Buchanan, taking my time to enjoy the flurry of emerging wildflower activity brought on by a recent downpour. 

Tomorrow 3-4 of us cycling geezerfolk will ride over to Llano for lunch at… wait for it… YES!  The Berry Street Bakery! 

It is really nice to be getting out and riding after a very slow month of February.  I guess not that many 69 year guys fret over only riding 150 miles in a month. 

Life is pretty good.

I am beginning to hanker for a Cherokee Burger and some Miss Sue’s Sweet Tea so there is a 67 mile ride in my near future.  That will help!

So what happened to 2012 and how is 2013 going?

After creating posts regularly for two and a half years, I seemed to stall out somehow around mid-year of 2012.  I still cycled, I still sailed and I sure as heck survived so … well it is pretty simple.  I fell into the habit of just posting stuff on Facebook rather than going to the trouble of writing a blog post. 

For a variety of reasons, I made no great new rides in 2012, but I rode my favorite routes around the Llano and Burnet County areas adding in adventures into San Saba, Blanco, Gillespie and Kendall Counties.  All of this took place on familiar routes.   After going to Shreveport for the Holiday in Dixie Regatta in early May, most of my sailing was of the much more important variety.  The high point was when our 6 year old granddaughter asked if she could sail the Minifish solo. 

The wind was light and I was so proud that I could have almost walked on water as Anna untied from the mooring bouy, then climbed on the boat and trimmed the sail just right,  as she got into deeper water she  lowered her daggerboard (without a word from anyone) and sailed all around the cove in front of our house for about an hour.  Peggy was on her Sunfish with Anna’s little sister, Chase, nearby.  I fired up the little Seadoo and followed Anna at a respectful distance, showing my confidence that she was perfectly able to handle the boat after a couple of years of sailing with me, Peggy and her dad, Brad, on the slightly larger Sunfish.

On the cycling front, I achieved my 3,600 mile goal for the year with a bit to spare at 3,644 miles.  Garmin thinks I burned a bit over 237,000 calories in the course of those rides.  In late September my trusty Catrike Road broke.  Though I rode it nowhere that my fellow (mostly) over 65 friends did not go on their up-right prostate crusher bikes, the frame on the Catrike just broke.  In classic great service, Catrike and the dealer I work with, Easy Street Recumbents, worked with me to ease the financial blow of replacing the mortally wounded Catrike Road with a much snazzier Catrike 700.  They did this though the trike was WAY out of warranty.  For that I am very thankful to be dealing with such committed capitalists who did things the way capitalism is supposed to work (and generally does so long as government keeps its corrupting snozz out of the way.) 

I was only off the trike for about two weeks while Catrike built me an almost University of Texas burnt metallic orange Catrike 700 rig, got it to Austin and then Easy Street Recumbents assembled it adding some upgraded components and a few goodies they moved over from the dearly departed Catrike Road.

Earlier in the year my old high school classmate and frequent cycling companion Gil Jones decided that there was wisdom in “The Catrike Way” and bought himself a shiny new Catrike Expedition to replace his 18 month old Scattante road bike.  At the same time his wife Jen decided she needed to get out with us as well and they got her a Catrike Trail.  Catrikes are proliferating in them thar hills… for good reason.  Though it takes more effort to drive them up hills, they give a great workout without the many repetitive motion injury issues of upright bikes with their up-the-chute seating, hunkered over riding position and tingling hands effects.   Added benefit… very few people have ever gone over the handlebars of a catrike, to smear their lipstick all over the chipseal pavement. The few who have done that on a Catrike seem almost as likely to require medical attention as those who did it from a two-wheeled machine, but the attention does not seem as likely to involve a helicopter ride.

In early July, our Son Russell, his wife Lisa and the Granddude (Steven) came for a week.  Lisa borrowed Peggy’s Catrike Trail and we logged about 80 miles in 5 rides.  She is hooked, but Russell is too cheap to let her get her own trike.  Gotta work on that.  

So that brings me to 2013.  Having put over 1,000 miles on the new Catrike in the last 2-1/2 months of 2012, I had quickly become comfortable with it.  The 700 does not corner as well as the road did, but suffers from less drag as speeds go up in a straight line.  My average speeds are now running 2+ mph faster on the 700 than I was able to do on the old Road on the same routes.  It is a little faster up hill and usually a lot quicker on the flats, then a little faster downhill.   In January I got in 322 miles in spite of some weather that was not cycling-friendly unless one enjoys cycling in one’s ski wear.  February was a bust with many distractions and I only got in 143 miles.  This has put me WAY behind my plan of doing 4250 miles this year (averaging 350/month).  It has also contributed to an 8 pound weight gain! 

Ah but it gets better.  In mid February our son Brad, his wife Jessica and the two grandchicks (Anna and Chase) came down and while they were here I took Jessica out for a short Catrike ride, with her on Peggy’s Catrike Trail, in the neighborhood on Saturday then took her for a 6+miler on Sunday morning.  She was hooked.  As her birthday was coming up, Peggy, my mother and I conspired to find a lightly used Catrike 700 as a birthday present, which Peggy and I picked up and delivered last Friday evening.  Today Jessica posted that she and Brad had logged a 12.5 mile initial ride (he rode his prostate crusher).

Maybe I will have the motivation to get back to blogging regularly.  As convenient as a quick post on Facebook is, I hate the overall banality of what I find on Facebook and enjoy reading blog posts, far more than Facebook posts, by friends, because they usually paint a richer, more interesting word picture… often with actual pictures and videos to boot.  I guess I should do unto others as I most enjoy them doing unto me.  So watch for more regular blog posts.   

When someone does something really irritating, don’t just smile to play with their head.  Grin… then they also have to wonder if you are grinning or actually baring your fangs and THAT really plays with their head.


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 and other stuff

Several friends have pointed out that I have let them down by not providing much in the way of entertainment from my blog in the last few months.  It seems that some people get a laugh out of reading about the suffering of others.  If one’s character is known by that of one’s friends, I guess I am in trouble.

The summer was pretty hot this year.  In human terms it was historic, but in the less egocentric geologic terms it was just a modest warm cycle in the climate history of this part of what we currently call North America. Due to the heat, I did not cycle as much as I would have liked. Much of what I did was so early in the morning that memory is sorta foggy about those.  However, by the end of August I had raised my year-to-date mileage to 2,132.7.  Garmin estimates that I burned 119,041 calories… and I STILL weighed 220 pounds +/- a couple of pounds on any given day.  While the rides I had managed were fun, few were on new routes and, therefore, were not worth blogging about.  Likewise, sailing had been pretty sparse since it has been a long trek down to the water all summer.  A long way to drag a beach dolly bearing my royal yacht.

Then came September and the Austin Yacht Club Regatta and our Lake Buchanan Sunfish Regatta, both of which I did posts regarding.

Once through those two regattas, I skipped the other September regattas due to other commitments, but did start getting in a few more rides.  By the end of September I had added 235.76 miles to the year’s total.  One of those rides was a really nice new route added to our inventory of rides worth repeating, while the rest were repeats of previously blogged routes and offered only faster times as being worthy of note.  The one new route was Buchanan to Cherokee, with a great burger and some Miss Sue’s Sweet Tea at the Cherokee store.  The burgers there are made on a freshly baked bun that makes an amazing difference in the experience.  It is worth the trip and, as you will note as this post continues, we have repeated it a couple more times.  But… back to the the inaugural Cherokee Burger Raid Ride…

Five of the notorious Hillybikers Cycling and Geritol Swigging Gang set out from the Bynum Estate and Boat Graveyard on the west shore of Lake Buchanan, on the morning of September 17th, bent on a visit to the Cherokee store for a burger and Tea ( Peggy and I had scouted it earlier in the week )

Cycling, Catrike, Llano County Texas, Cherokee Texas

From Left: Doug Miller, Gil Jones, Richard Golladay, Don Senzig, and Don Bynum prepare to leave on the 53 mile Cherokee Burger Raid of September 17, 2011

Our route took us west on FM261 then on  west on FM2241 to CR216, where we turned north by the Lone Grove Community Center.  We rode the bumps and many cattle guards of CR216 north and west to TX16, where we turned north to climb over the pass at Babyhead and onwards to Cherokee.

As we climbed toward Cherokee on TX16, after crossing the pass at Babyhead, an EMS unit came up behind us.  We were wondering if they had ESP or something or had just heard that a bunch of old guys had escaped a local nursing home and had been seen grinding north on presumably stolen bikes and trikes!

Way back in the distance the lights of an overtaking EMS unit are visible.

The fun was only beginning!  We did make it to Cherokee without being arrested or anything and had a great break with burgers and tea.  I think Gil could not resist gobbling down some Blue Bell ice cream for dessert.  We then headed back south on TX16 retracing our outbound route.  We took a short break at the roadside park just south of Babyhead then on, via CR216, to the east and south.  A few miles into CR216 we encountered some horses that seem to be regular escapees (I have seen them out on the road several times).  They were unsure about the bikes and VERY unsure about the trike.

Don Senzig is pretty nervous about dogs, but horses did not bother him as much as he bothered them.

The horses nervously let the guys on 2 wheels pass them.

Doug Miller (right) and Gil Jones (barely distinguishable from the rear end of the horse on the left ;0) passed through the group.

Shortly thereafter the horses saw the trike coming and all moved off into a gate area and studied the strange looking threat for a while before bolting, repassing all the cyclists and eventually galloping madly through the entrance to their own pasture.

The trike scared the hell out of the horses!

We rolled on east and eventually south on CR216 climbing the hills and roaring, all grinning like jackasses eating cactus, on the descents that followed each climb.  At about 41 miles into the ride Peggy caught the picture below.  The best I can figure it the average age of this group is about 69.  Surely there must be something in us that makes us have these moments, not unlike when Lt Dan, in the movie Forest Gump lashed himself to the mast and rode out a hurricane on Gump’s boat while shouting challenges at the gods.

"Where's the next hill we get to climb?"

The ride was 53 miles and it was a ton of fun.  The scenery was darn nice for a place in the grip of a bad drought and my companions made it all the better.

A couple of weeks later, our Son Brad and his family came down for the weekend and we had a great time.  Elder granddaughter, Anna, and I got out for a short ride on our trikes, somberly observed by younger granddaughter, Chase, who is no doubt wondering when she will be big enough to join us on our cycling outings.

But those events took place in October, so they will just have to await the next post…  still… just to tease a little…

Anna and I enjoy the moment

When will I be big enough?

… oh, and in the course of the 235.76 miles ridden in September, I burned 16,208 calories!  Don