I Don’t Do Resolutions, But…

…I did the Resolution Ride again this year. A local bike shop puts on this New Year’s Day ride from its far north store. It’s an out-and-back of either 25 or 50 miles. Pat and I did it last year, and really enjoyed it, so we decided we’d make a return trip again this year.

The forecast was promising. We’ve had great weather since Christmas, and on December 31st, the high reached 77 degrees (25C). But for New Year’s Day, the prognosticators had a cold front moving through shortly after midnight, with 20 mph winds from the north and plummeting temperatures. The first half of the ride heads north. We prepared for the worst.

The dicey forecast didn’t deter the diehard cyclists in town. Ride organizers told us that 300 riders had registered for the ride — and it looked like most everyone showed up, despite the less than ideal conditions. The 50 milers took off first, then those of us in the 25-mile group.

Part of the 300 riders at the start. (Click pix to enlarge.)

The route is along Parmer Lane northwest of Austin. Parmer becomes Ronald Reagan Blvd. once it leaves the suburbs and gets into open rural land. For most of its length, long rolling hills test cyclists. Coupled with the wind in our faces, the ride out was challenging.

The long rolling hills along Ronald Reagan Blvd.

I was astounded at the number of cyclists who showed up underdressed. Several times, we encountered riders with just t-shirts and shorts — and loose, flapping athletic shorts at that. Some of them realized the folly of their ways, and turned around early to head back to the bike shop, but a substantial contingent stuck with it, and soldiered on into the cold wind.

I found myself moving ahead of Pat and having to wait for her from time to time. We were averaging a whopping 8-9 mph against the wind, and Pat was gasping at the summits of the big hills. One rider who joined us for a breather laughed when I told him the turnaround was at the next intersection, which we could see from where we’d stopped.

“I told my wife the turnaround came here, at the top of the hill,” he said. “She’s going to get here and wonder who moved the cheese.”

Pat: "Take off your sunglasses for the picture, Ray."

It turned out that I was wrong, too. I had glanced at a route map before the start, and saw that the turnaround for the 25-milers was at state highway 29. In fact, it was past that point, at a little side road. We made our turnaround at less than 12 miles.

But we didn’t care. As soon as we headed south, the wind became our friend. The sun warmed our fronts, and we sailed down the road, which was more downhill on the way back than on the way out. At one point, I hit 34 mph on a hill — and probably could have gone faster if my bike hadn’t started acting skittish on me, causing me to slow down a bit.

We pulled into the bike shop’s parking lot, and once again felt the cold north wind hit us. But as any good ride should do, breakfast tacos and coffee (and beer) were available at the finish. We sat in the warmth of the sun, shielded from the wind by the building’s wall.

"Mmmmmm...tacos!"

Pat told me this ride was the longest she’d ridden since at least September. “I don’t care if we only did 23 miles,” she said. “In today’s conditions, it feels like 25, and that’s what I’m going to call it.”

Because I throttled back to stay close to Pat for most of the ride, my average speed was only 12.4 mph. But it was a good ride — with no major mechanicals, unlike last year — except for one that Pat discovered as we were putting the bikes on the car rack. More on that in the next post.

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5 thoughts on “I Don’t Do Resolutions, But…

  1. Hey, we were out there too. Did the 25 as well. It was a fun ride coming back. I had a flat though. In fact, my last two times on that route I got a flat, but it was because my tires were not properly inflated. It was a good ride, though.

    • There seemed to be lots of broken glass on the shoulder — more than I’ve noticed in the past. I always bring a floor pump to these rides. Look me up next time, and we’ll get you topped off.

      • We’ve been talking about the glass situation around here as well…seems like kids on vacation, holidays, equals a lot more broken glass in the streets and bike trails.

  2. My loss for having missed you and the ride up Parmer. That is my “home” ride if there is one for me as I just ride onto Parmer from my home 15 minutes away from Parmer rather than lugging the bike in the car to another location. Above all, thanks for the blogs on your site and the commenting folks as well – I got my road bike in mid 2011 and have been riding consistently and much of the motivation comes from the helpful posts I find here.

  3. Glad you had fun. I was “good” up here in middle TN on New Year’s day but only did 10.5 miles. But I got out there! The next two days the temperature dipped into the 30′s.

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