On Tuesday day night, I took the rental bike out with the local bunch here in the Texas hill country. Being a town of 10,000 I expected a casual relaxed ride – it was for the first 5 kms. After that, it was an average of 35kmh over rolling hills and along country lanes. Deer on the side of the road slowed us down at times. They don’t seem any smarter than kangaroos and there are a lot of them. Hit one of them at speed and it is, "Oh dear".
We got back after an hour and a half ride. It has since been explained to me that the guy on the right front with the serious legs is a national level 50yr plus mtb rider. The guy on the left is same age but national level cycle cross. That explains what they strung me out even though I largely wheelsucked since I had no idea where I was going. Well that was my excuse.
Texas bbq and pecan pie. Eaten only a short ride from Mellow Johnny’s store in Austin, Texas. Beef brisket served with plastic knife and fork – how will a plastic knife cut that I ask? Simple bbq it for 12 hours beforehand. It falls apart. Fat and flavour to make you to take up Texas citizenship on the spot
In a moment of weakness, Tanya talked me into going in the ACT time trial championships on the weekend. She said it be good preparation for the Tour of Bright which I, also in a moment of weakness, have agreed to enter. As you would expect for someone who had no idea, no preparation and no warm up I was miles off the pace which included Michael Carr. Reasoning that I was going to come last anyway I went to the pub the night before and that probably didn’t help either. Then of course there was no time trail trail bike, no aero bars and most significantly of all, no pointy helmet with dimples that create wind-cheating go-fast vortices.
I also didn’t have a skin suit but I am not too sure about that. Tanya wore her $20 skinsuit and had to suck in her stomach for the 30 minutes of her time trial.
Regardless I did get a good photo, it was a beautiful day, and a nice deaf man held my bike for me at the start of the ride. I think he was deaf because when I thanked him for holding my bike he didn’t say anything.
Best of all, I had a nice doze in my car before the start courtesy of a friendly man who gave me the wrong start time and told me to go and have a sleep in my car (hence no warm up). The sun was out, the sky was blue and there were birds chirruping away. There were some Defence Cycling Club guys prattling away nearby and they were annoying until I pretended they too were birds and they melted away into the background.
I’m looking forward to next year.
Last weekend Tanya and I decided (well I decided) we would ride from Tom Groggin to Dead Horse Gap in the Snowies. It’s a Hors Category climb of 1050m from the Victorian border up to the Main Range at an average gradient of 6% but the average is deceptive. Well it deceived me. It includes 3.4km at 12% and a 1.4km, 213 metre climb at gradient of 16% – Geeesus.
We had almost made the whole climb when at the appropriately named Siberia two kilometres from the top it started raining. This was cute as the road started steaming (despite our best efforts, the pace we were doing would not alone cause the tarmac to start steaming). Then it started hailing which was not so cute. Pea-sized hail managed to find the holes in my helmet, yes I know how much hair I have, and left red marks on our arms and legs for the rest of the day. At this point, when I kept saying, it was ‘just half a Stromlo to the top’ Tanya decided enough was enough and we were going back. I invoked rule no.5 by raising my outstretched hand and saying the words, ‘Rule number 5’. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work either. Turns out Tanya’s call was pretty good. An hour and a half later when we drove through Dead Horse Gap going home, big mounds of hail were still lying around. While we were pelted at Siberia, it must have really come down at Dead Horse Gap.
Here is Tanya sitting bedside the road where she decided she would get hit by less hail than riding her bike – don’t ask me how that works.
Yesterday we left early to visit My Son temple 40km away. It was nice cycling through the relatively quiet streets. We passed a butcher on a bicycle.
In the countryside we rode through fog. After some time Ash finally managed to drop this guy on his road bike who was hanging onto Ash’s wheel.
We found proof that cycling is a green(s) transport option.
We had coffee and roast pork rolls with a bunch of farmers at 8am who were stridently discussing the weight and price of chickens. It was some discussion with the guys using the Vietnamese version of the f word and even the f your mother phrase. One farmer invited us over to his place to drink rice wine but 8am was a bit early for us.
We left the farmers and got to My Son temple before it was swamped by tourists. The ruins who built centuries ago by the Cham people who must have thought they were the ants pants until the neighbours invaded.
The site was bombed by the Americans during the war. We even saw genuine American bomb craters. Now the site is World Heritage protected. We were reassured that the Vietnamese take the protection of the site very seriously. Here is one of the vigilant guards keeping his eye on things.