At 6:00 a.m. my day started with the drive to New Braunfels. As our caravan rolled down I-35, the mist that was clearing looked like smoke and I wondered if there was a fire or something that could ruin the air quality and thwart my Wurst Ride completion dreams. But as the sun rose, the mist burned off and the sun rose on the field where we parked (if there's anything more Texan than parking in a field at a county fairground, you tell me).
There were rows and rows of cars, most of which had more than one bike - hundreds of bike dorks, all here to bike-dork together.
I picked up my packet, pinned on my number, and cruised around taking pictures, meeting people - politicking, one could say. They lined up the ride to the tune of "Call Me Maybe," "Gangnam Style," and countless warnings to be careful crossing train tracks lest we kill ourselves and die. And they're off!
Given I wasn't on a skinny-tire bike, I chose to roll out with the slower speeds and take the time to smell the roses. It was an absolutely gorgeous day - sunny, passing through some of the most iconic places in Texas - Gruene not least among them.
|This here is central Texas in a nutshell|
|It may not be mountains or oceans, but it's home.|
As I warmed up, I felt a sensation I hadn't felt in a long time - the "thrum thrum" of my legs carrying me down the road, my bike floating effortlessly cruising. It didn't hurt we had one hell of a tailwind and the first half of the ride was largely downhill. I rode almost the entire ride with the same group of folks - I had a bit of pride that my bike was easily twice as heavy, but I had no trouble keeping up.
We fairly soared through the first 12 miles and pulled up to the rest stop for pickle juice, cookies, peanut butter-jelly sandwiches, and fresh water. A dear buddy of mine, Al, is one of the coordinators for Bicycle Sport Shop and always found haunting around the rest stops at their sponsored rides.
I tend to be pretty quick with my stops - in and out, eat my snacks and no letting my legs cool off. The rest stop also represented the halfway point and turnaround for the 24 mile ride (the 45 mile version continued on to the next rest stop, then turned around). I drank my pickle juice, ate my PBJ, and hit the road.
The second half of the ride was not nearly the cupcake that the first half had been. Two facts caught up with us - the first half had been all downhill with tailwind. Ergo, the second half was all uphill with headwind. We battled, and I mentally made new lyrics for the Song that Never Ends from Lamb Chops Play-Along. Here they are:
This is the hill that never ends.
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started climbing it not knowing what it was.
And they'll continue singing it forever just because.
This is the hill that never ends.
Finally, after sitting and spinning, gearing down and gearing up, standing and cranking it out, we made it! Back to where we started, to congratulations from the guy with the microphone and the cheers of the literally tens of people there to see us in. Victory was mine!
|This is what victory tastes like.|
I ate my sausages, drank my beers, and enjoyed the bluegrass until Emily and Justin made it back (they did the 45 mile version of the ride). We rested up, and made our way to Wurstfest (tack 2 miles there and 2 miles back to our daily totals).
So, the Wurst Ride. Did I learn anything? Nah. But I went for a really, really nice bike ride.