Our Sunday morning club ride promised to be routine. The A’s were going some distance southeast of Austin, while Maggie and I decided to do a B ride to the south. The forecast was promising: in the 60s (18C), partly sunny, and zero chance of rain.
My glasses were covered in mist as I pedaled over to the ride start, and it was chilly enough that I wondered if I had underdressed. After faffing around and finally starting three minutes behind schedule, we made a long line along the road as we struck out from our Starbucks.
But at our first left turn, we left one behind. Jerry had taken off his windbreaker and stuffed it in his pocket, and lagged behind us at the start. We all made the left turn before the green arrow turned red — all except Jerry. “Hey, slow up!” shouted one of the A riders. “Jerry got stuck at the light!”
In true club fashion, we continued on without missing a pedal stroke. A little over two miles later, I looked back over my shoulder, and could see Jerry gaining on the group. Once he caught up, the A’s took off, and Maggie and I eased off on our speed.
The mist was coming and going, and wasn’t much of a bother, but the sky was so overcast, I wondered if I shouldn’t take off my sunglasses — they were making things darker. No big deal, though, and we cruised through Buda and out to Cole Springs Road.
It’s Maggie’s favorite road, because it’s rural and tree lined. It’s not my favorite, because it’s quite rough. But it’s an enjoyable ride. As we rounded a bend, I saw a hound dog catch sight of us, and decide we would be fun to ride with. He was on a lawn that was elevated about four feet above our road, and kept stable by a stone retaining wall. The dog ran parallel to us, then loped along on top of the wall. I wondered what he would do when he got to the end of the property. He jumped down off the wall onto the road, and came toward us.
When he was even with me, I held up my hand and shouted, “Stay!” He pulled up immediately, and sat down in the middle of the road. A well-trained dog. We should always be so lucky in our dog encounters.
At the turnaround in Kyle, we caught up with three of the club riders, who had decided not to take the longer route the main club ride was on. But after chatting a few minutes, they set off on the return trip. We had some housekeeping to take care of, so we stuck around for a few more minutes.
Heading back north, we were into the wind. Not a strong wind, but enough to keep our speeds down. It was easy to fall into a medium-intensity pedaling rhythm, and even though we weren’t going to set any speed records, we had a nice, steady ride home.
Once we got to Slaughter Lane, we had to make our usual decision. Do we take the lane on a fast, four-lane divided suburban arterial, or do we ride the sidewalk? We opted for the sidewalk. Traffic was heavier than we’d seen on recent Sunday mornings, and the prospect of dodging impatient motorists didn’t appeal to us.
But about a mile up the road, a problem appeared. “Mud!” I yelled to Maggie. The previous day’s rains had washed mud across the sidewalk. My front wheel hit it, and almost stopped dead. I powered through, and hoped Maggie would make it. She did, just barely. We hit another patch of mud a little farther up, and our tires threw chunks of the moist earth on our legs, torsos and faces for the rest of the ride.
Sitting around an outdoor table at Starbucks, we waved off mosquitoes. With our recent rains, they’re out in force. “You know, when I was growing up in Pennsylvania, we had mosquitoes, but they only came out at night,” observed Judy. Texas mosquitoes are diurnal as well as nocturnal.
“Say, Joe, there’s a cool car,” I said, as I pointed at a sleek black Porsche coming through the lot. Joe is a fan of fast cars, and we watched the coupe as it passed by the exit from the drive thru, and parked along the curb. The driver got out and walked into the Starbucks.
“That’s not a parking spot,” said Laura. “He’s going to block other cars.”
He did. Cars had trouble turning from the drive thru exit past his car into the lot.
“What an entitled, arrogant, SOB,” said Maggie. “There’s a parking spot right over there. I should go into the store and ask him if I can move his car to it.”
A routine, fun, ride. I did 42 miles at a 15 mph average — good for me. Maybe next week, the forecast will be right, and we can be accurately prepared for what we run into.