Whether you call these the dog days of summer, the hot days, awful hot days … or whatever …. A nice cycling trip through the Texas Hill Country makes everything be just alright! You just have to start early and try to escape the main heat.
I am fortunate to have a number of good cycling companions in the area. I had the same good fortune with motorcycling, but there is something about sweating together that creates an extra-special bond. And so it was that John Chalmers and I set out today to do a little sweating together. We cranked at 7:42am and it was already 88 degrees!
John has been showing me some routes that he has learned over the years, even some place that I had not been on even on the BMW R1100RT motorcycle. I’ve now abandoned the 90 horsepower of the Beemer for the pedal power of the Scattante bicycle (on which I now have just over 2200 miles). See the Cycling page for details. Naturally, most of these routes include hills and this one was no exception. Serious hills!
We parked just off of U.S. 281 on FM2147 and proceeded toward Spicewood via Burnet County Rd 404, then on CR408 to cross Texas 71. It’s always dicey trying to cross two lanes each direction of 70 mph+ traffic. But we made it, and then the fun started just a short bit after we passed the entrance to the Spicewood Vineyard.
Have you ever seen a hill with no end? I swear there is one all the way from just after we crossed Texas 71 until, well, a good while later. Most of it is about a 6% grade but a bunch of it is in excess of a 12% grade. Every time it would level out a bit we would come around a curve only to be greeted by yet more climbing. But the view was great, and then is was basically downhill all the way around the Fall Creek Rd loop back out to Texas 71.
The only downside of the route, as with most county roads we ride, is the occasional really rough chip-sealed surface. Some of it will loosen fillings!
The full track is posted on GPSies and you can see not only the route, but the elevations. Just hover your mouse over the elevation profile and you will see the location on the map. The map is generated by an export directly from the SportTracks program into which the Garmin FR-305 data is first imported.
John had said at the outset that he was going to be slow due to his 35 mile ride yesterday but I can tell you that after he grunted up those hills he shall hereafter be known as “Gritty John” for the true grit he exhibited today. You see, he had brought the wrong bike for the hills — one that was not geared low enough.
Overall we had a bit over 1700 feet of climb in 38 miles and my Garmin FR-305 calculated 2000+ calories burned. I’ve been trying to catch up with that all afternoon! It was a great ride with some new country so the sweating was worth it! Some snippets appear on YouTube here: .