Castell in October — a bicycle odyssey for BBQ and beer

My good friend Don Bynum continues to organize bicycle rides that are hard to pass up.  One might think that if you had a 12 day layoff from workouts, you might, or might not, be up for a 36 miles ride … over hills.  Or, on the other hand, you might glibly minimize the situation then facing your 66 year old body.  Taking the latter approach, and with excitement as Ralph and Sherry picked me up early on Saturday morning (10/23) there was nothing that could hold me back.

About a dozen of us gathered at the Castell General Store and were greeted by the bard thereof, the famous (in his own mind) Randy Leifeste.  Check Don’s ride report for a starting group picture.  Don also has some sobering thoughts and suggestions at the end of his report about the exercise and health issues facing all of us.  My own starting photo was thus:

In front of the Castell General Store

Note the proper equipment is in place, I’m nattily attired, and obviously ready to go.  I’m on the trusty Peugeot Triathon bike, Osprey Raptor-14 hydration pack on my back with my Garmin Forerunner 305 sportwatch, and the Garmin Oregon GPS on the handlebars.  The Oregon is easier for getting a quick peek at the trip data or map.  Both the Forerunner and Oregon read my heart rate from the HR strap around my chest.  All of that results in a potpourri of statistics to later be recorded and analyzed in the SportTracks program.

The group was immediately strung out and I’m always impressed with this bunch of riders in the way they ride single-file. I see so many groups with riders two and three-abreast which is rude and dangerous. The round-trip route ending up back in Castell was chosen for very clever and quite obvious reasons:  that’s where the BBQ and beer would be at the end of the ride!  After all, this IS the Tour de Longneques — October edition.  Don’s wife Peggy was there driving SAG as usual along with his wonderful mother Ann.  I think Mrs. Bynum comes along simply to marvel at her plausibly foolish son and his classmate since not only is she Don’s mother, but was an English teacher when we were in high school and although (unfortunately) I did not have her as a teacher, I suspect I was a known quantity to her from “back then.”  The route lays mainly East-West (a fact which will later come to be important):

Bike route in Yellow, old kayak route in Blue

The temperature was about 74 degrees, a bit of cloud cover, a very light breeze, and just overall great conditions.  We did encounter a bit more traffic than usual — it’s almost deer season and those camps and deer blinds are being spruced up for the impending season.  It’s a good road, 152, with a decent surface although the rock-seal is sometimes rough. The ride to Llano was uneventful for me. In fact, it seemed easy. Overall it is downhill but only by about 250 feet total change in elevation.  The rhythm of the pedals going round and round was punctuated by the nylon shorts I had on top of my natty bicycling shorts.  Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh, over and over again.  The cadence was steady and strong.  My Osprey pack with three liters of water gave me a steady and safe swallow of water and contained the goodies I would enjoy at the rest stop in Llano.

Photo by Peggy Bynum catches me and Sherry Macfarlane just a few miles outside of Castell

Peggy Bynum did her usual “race ahead to a photo opportunity” routine to catch good photos of the riders. She manages to get some of everyone and is always there in case someone crashes:  either their bike or their body. Don’s ride report has a lot of good photos posted within it.

I made a mental note (one of a series) to get Mike McKenna (of MikesBikes) to do that conversion to put my shifters up on the handlebars. Every time I reached down to shift I would wobble a bit and each reach carries the possibility of getting my fingers into the spokes of the front wheel. Gotta get that done.

In front of Llano courthouse

I wound up in Llano in pretty good time (1:19:03) and not too beat — notwithstanding the helmet-hair (non-hair?) shown in this self-portrait (sure wish the DROID X had a front-facing camera — the only thing of which I’m jealous of the iPhone).  After a banana, some nuts, a few good swigs of water and brief enjoying of the band that was playing some nice country in the gazebo on the courthouse lawn, I was ready to go.  Sherry made fun of my pack with all of the stuff I was pulling from it.  A few riders had already taken off, and others were just arriving as I slipped my feet into the pedal baskets.  Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh as the nylon shorts again counted out the cadence.  I rotated the crank pretty briskly all the way to the city park/fair grounds thinking I would overtake one of the clusters of riders, but they were nowhere in sight.

At about 5 miles out, after several short but steep climbs I was getting some leg fatigue and stopped for a couple of minutes but was able to strike out again at a decent clip. Another 3 miles and I needed a rest and then another 2 miles after that I was beginning to get cramps in the left leg. Over the next 4 miles my average speed was steadily dropping as I just did not have full power with the left leg.  At about 32 miles Peggy was sitting at a turnout and I seized the opportunity to get a ride the rest of the way.  I felt like I could struggle through it but decided that brains needed to trump testosterone!

The wind was predicted to be out of the SSE. Turns out that on the way back toward Castell — a predominantly East-to-West route — it was more like out of the SSW which put it  more into our faces. Everyone struggled with the wind which was both strong and gusty. One gust almost put me into the weeds off the edge of the road.  Added to the hills as shown in the elevation profile from the Garmin Oregon GPS device, the wind just added too much for me.

The group still let me have a beer and the always delicious BBQ!  That came after the ribbing and the pointer that I should have had Peggy drop me just outside of town, around the bend out of sight and then ride in  🙂

A fun day and thanks again to Don for trying to kill me!  And as always, the vital stats:

Total distance:  31.1 miles in 2:28 (time moving), total 2:48.
Moving average speed just under 13mph.
Heart rate avg/max:  130/160

I think that maximum heart rate is probably my target max for training purposes. For running, it’s 200. Interesting (at least to me).

The SportTracks program shows total 3:08 moving, but that includes the Llano stop which was recorded as a lap.  Here is the documentation output from SportTracks, which gives a huge amount of analytical power to what the Garmin Forerunner gathers:

SportTracks (via an optional plug-in) produces a really detailed summary plus details of the entire workout. On the left you see the overall summary plus the splits, and on the right you see the heart rate plotted with speed.  The last page, below right, has the elevation. Those three charts can be used to show what runs up the heart rate, how you are doing on climbs, and along with the split times and data, can tell you even more than I know how to interpret.

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About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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4 Responses to Castell in October — a bicycle odyssey for BBQ and beer

  1. Pingback: What do ya want me to do? Die of old age? | Musings of Captain Justice

  2. Pingback: Cycling – Tour de Longneques – October Edition Report | Don Bynum's Blog

  3. martinsj2 says:

    Great post. If you have some money to blow, consider buying brifters. Brakes and shifters in one place is pretty nice. I got my first set about a month ago and love them.

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