Two grand

The Sunday morning club ride was another hills excursion. Geez, these guys like to ride hills. I took one look at the proposed route, and figured it was not for me. However, to get out to their hills, they would take a route I’ve done before — so I told the ride leader I would ride part way with them, but then break off on my own.

Once we got started, a familiar rider pulled up next to me — my friend David. He had gotten a late start, and was about a block from our Starbucks starting point when he saw us pull out. He pushed hard to catch up.

But he didn’t have it today. After about five miles, we hit some moderate hills — a precursor of things to come — and he dropped off the back. I thought he would be able to catch up, but we didn’t see him again, even after waiting awhile in a church parking lot at the top of a killer hill (I walked my bike up that one!). By the way, church parking lots probably are not the best places to regroup on Sunday mornings, especially between services!

Then we headed out to Loop 360, the best-known biking road in Austin. Long uphills, followed by long downhills. Six mph going up, 38 going down. Fun. The group turned into a ritzy golf course neighborhood to head for their hill route. I kept going north on 360.

Pennybacker Bridge.  Image from
Pennybacker Bridge. Image from

I hadn’t been this far north on 360 before. You get to cross an Austin landmark, the Pennybacker bridge, over Lake Austin (which is really the Colorado River). The bridge surface is roughed-up concrete, so if it ices up in cold weather, car tires will still get a grip. So crossing the bridge is not smooth going. No problem, though, and I soon found myself at my predesignated turnaround spot, the Arboretum. It’s not a park with flowers, but an upscale shopping center. With shade! I took a break, ate a Lara Bar, drank some Heed, shook out my foot, and turned around to head back.

The trip home was uneventful. My average speed was slower than I’d like — 14.4 mph — but no big deal. A more telling stat is my new total mileage for the year: 2,031. I crossed the two-thousand mile mark for the year on this ride. Never in my wildest imagination last January did I think I would put in so many miles. It took me five-and-a-half months to get my first 1,000 miles in this year, but only three months and eight days to get in the second thousand. Summer will do that for you — more riding time, longer mileage per ride, and a big increase in monthly mileage. I’ve also noticed the length of my average ride is increasing. Rarely am I satisfied to go just 14 miles anymore. Eighteen is closer to the norm.

I still am not shooting for a mileage goal for the year. The miles will come, and I’m more focused on the century ride coming up next month (I’m concerned that my long rides aren’t getting long enough, fast enough). For now, as David Bernstein of the Fredcast says, I’m going to “Enjoy the ride.”