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East Coast Tour The Turkey Trot "Over the Hill"
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"Over the Hill"  

New Braunfils to Fredericksburg     87 miles ~ Day one
Monday, February 06, 2006

Well, this was originally going to be called the Over the Hill (country) Ride, in honor of the location. For those of you not familiar with Central Texas geography, The Hill Country starts at I-35 and continues West until one is found dead at the top of a bloody hill in the middle of nowhere. To paraphrase my good friend Mr. Hart, when speaking of his performance at a not to be mentioned Senior Olympic ride, "I got my ass handed to me today”. I will be the first to admit to being fat and old and all that other tacky stuff, but this was a rough day!

First, I was wildly optimistic about the mileage I could cover in one day. I have a new to me touring bike (see the site for more on that) and it has performed very well. When I rode from Galveston to Corpus over Thanksgiving 70-75 miles was not a problem. Well it really wasn’t a problem today, it was simply impossible. Remember the old story we tell the kids about how we had to walk to school, ten miles, in the snow, up hill, BOTH WAYS? Today was the living embodiment of that story.

First the good news. It did not snow. It did not rain. I was not chased by a dog nor hit by a car. That’s it.

The day started early as I was at my daughter’s house in New Braunfels. They had left on Sat to go house hunting Dallas. Not only did they leave on Saturday, they left very early on Sat. And set multiple alarms to ensure the early departure. I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ALARMS. First one went off at 4:45 AM. I finally found it and ripped it from the wall. Alarm #2 went off strategically at 5:45. I hope they can get it fixed.

So, up early and fix some stuff on the bike, eat mass quantities of stuff at IHOP and start pedaling. Maybe 9:30? Close to ten? I did not get to Boerne until after six PM. It is only forty miles away. Do the math.

The hills are quite steep if short, but the wind instantly deprives one of the well-earned coast down the other side. I had to peddle DOWN hill all day.

The road was fine, a lot of good shoulder but man I’m whipped. I freely admit to being a slow rider, but this was ridiculous. Stopped about ˝ way for lunch at a C-store. They have those Oscar Meyer hot dogs on a broiler for 59 cents. Loaded up with mustard and "chowed" down. Did I mention that my sunglasses do not have the bifocal part for reading? Anyway you can eat a Jalapeno dog but it takes a stout heart.

So I finally got to Boerne at 5:00 PM. No City Park Camping so off to an RV park. Which of course is three more miles straight up by the Interstate. Which of course no longer takes TENTS!! They offered to let me rent a “KABIN” from them but I pointed out the lunacy of paying them for the privilege of not using my tent, but would still need my stove and sleeping bag, etc. I left. Am now in a not very cheap motel, soaking my aging knees in hot water and trying to figure out if I can make Ramen noodles in the microwave in the office. God I love this stuff.

The Pics aren’t much today. I was just real busy trying to keep the bike going in one direction. More to come.

Happy Monday to all. Philip

Fredericksburg to Brady 71 miles ~ Day two

Tuesday  February 07, 2006

Ok, yesterday I started out with the bad so should I not start with the bad to balance things out? Fine.

The rural roads of the Hill country area do not have shoulders. They don’t really have much traffic but even a hint of some place to go would be nice. Nope. Just a white line and broken glass, provocatively mixed in with animal carcasses and shoes. No, I don’t have any idea whey there are shoes on the roadside out there in the middle of nowhere. I saw everything from house slippers to Nikes. Too weird.

Secondly, just because a place has a name does not mean it is a town with facilities. OF any kind.

Now for the good. Although the hills were still there the wind was not! I got a picture of a Texas flag hanging straight down. Lovely. I am still slow and fat so my plan of attack consisted of start pedaling. Stop. Pant and wheeze. Resume. It takes a while but you will get over the top. Around noon I was just sitting there, on the right side of the road, thinking about it when this old gent stops his pick up in front of me. He slowly got out of the truck, sorta' bent over and slow, and walked back. He said,” You know, you can’t out wait that hill”. Then he smiled and got back in the truck. Smart man. You can in fact NOT out wait a hill but you don’t have to climb it all at once. So in spite of the day I did just that.

I stopped for lunch about noon and fixed some noodles and tuna. So nice to have my stove back working. I find the hills are not much worse than on the other touring bike. I am still slow.

Not much else for today. The highlights were of the” you had to be there type. Stopping for a moment and hearing nothing. Nothing at all. Wait. Five minutes to get used to the stillness and then the birds start. A fine serenade for lunch.

I did get passed by a bunch of folks on motorcycles today. They came roaring down the hills blasting their Harley howls like motorized banshees. What did they see? Just a blur, some green. Some Brown. Heard nothing. Their loss.

Am at Lady Bird Johnson municipal park about three miles south of Fredericksburg. Nice enough place and only nine bucks. Had my shower and my dinner and now to read for a bit and then sleep. We shall see what tomorrow brings. PG

Forgot the stats for yesterday and today. I will get them on the web site. Basically about 45 miles each day, took all day to do it too. PG

Brady to Llano  75 miles ~ Day three

Wednesday    February 8, 2006

Well, what a day this was! Or perhaps I should what a night. I rolled into Fredericksburg about five in the afternoon ready to commit hari kair to make my self feel better. The ride from Boerne to Fredericksburg was just up and down, hour after hour, way too many “rollers” which is a nice way to refer to the most hated type of hills. You spend thirty minutes pedaling and panting to straggle to the top of a hill and then thirty seconds screaming down the other side only to repeat the process on and on. There were no stops for beverage or food anywhere during the whole ride so I just keep on banging out the miles. And that created today’s problem.

When I woke up this morning at about 0300, about to freeze to death, I realized two significant things: 1. This is not a cold weather tent, 2. I am way too old for this shit. I got up and put on everything I had with me, crawled back into the sleeping bag and fell sound asleep. Of course when I did get up-after the sun came out-I was too stiff to stand up. But that was not the main problem. The main problem was the knees. Two days of pushing as hard as I could seems to have exacerbated an existing condition. I am in agony! The left knee is a tad swollen and feels like someone is poking hot needles through it. So, what to do??

Well first I dealt with the serious issue; breakfast. Denny’s was a three mile ride from the park and it took nearly thirty minutes. This does not bode well. After a filling if bland meal I headed out for Johnson City. No, this is not the way you go to Brady, which is the next stop on the map. This is the way you go if you are trying to find some flat road. I really did try but it just ain’t gonna happen today. I had to stay in my lowest gear to keep the pedals spinning fast and easy so as to minimize the pain. I gave in and called daughter number two who had the keys to my truck and said, “How would you like to eat lunch in Johnson City? She being a wonderful girl agreed to come and get me. The funny part was as I was riding along between Stonewall and Johnson City I say this heard of buffaloes. I know this sounds like the start of one of my stories but it isn’t. Some one is raising them out there. So I am sitting there and the refrain from an old song is playing in my head” It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me”. And it was! Laura was already there. We had the bike loaded up and were down the road before you could say four piece Steak Finger Basket Meal. So, much as I hate to stop short I did get to ride for three days, which is cool. I will go spend some at the bike shop and talk about some options for perhaps a new crank or rear cogs (things that matter only to bike riders) more like what I had on the TREK. The there thing will be to go see an Orthopod and find out about any possible PT (exercises) I could be doing to help the knees out.

So thanks for riding with me. I will holler at you soon as I can get back on the road. Philip

New Braunfils to Fredericksburg 87 miles ~ Day one
Fredericksburg to Brady 71 miles ~ Day two
Brady to Llano  75 miles ~ Day three
Llano to Blanco      79 miles ~ Day four
Blanco to New Braunfils  47 miles ~ Day five

Map of the Ride       See the Trip Route and Time line for "Over the Hill"

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There's Always Another Hill

East Coast Tour The Turkey Trot "Over the Hill"