It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve taken the time to venture this far out into the hill country and cycle around the Utopia, Vanderpool and Leakey area. These are some of the most scenic roads in south central TX but they’re also pretty remote from Austin. It’s at least a 3-4 hour drive out there so you need to be thinking about making a weekend of it and so I did. I drove down to Uvalde on Friday and then did this ride on Saturday. Stayed Sat night again in Uvalde and took the scenic and long way back to Austin on Sunday.
The 52 mile loop route is more of a square as you can see in the route map image. Each of the 4 legs has a distinct character. The first section starting around Garner State Park is ‘lumpy’. Rolling hills. Pretty scenery and views. There’s pretty much nothing else out there until you get to Utopia. Great name for a small town out in the middle of nowhere. There’s not much to Utopia and that 2nd leg of the route is mostly flat. A tail wind at this point had most of us flying thru this section of the ride. Just past Vanderpool you make a left and head west on the most challenging part of the ride. You’re almost immediately greeted by the first of two long (2 miles long each) climbs. Grades are in the 3-4% range so not horrible but you’re huffing and puffing for a good long while. Views and scenery are great and the fast descents down curvy roads on the other side are a blast. The last leg heads south back to Garner State Park. At times you’re along the Rio Frio river. Surprisingly there was actually some water in the river, though not much. The last section is pretty flat though even a little breeze at this point felt like a headwind so I was pleased to see the finish line at Seven Bluffs cabins.
The ride was pretty well organized. Good water/food stops and support. There was plenty of food at the end of the ride too. BBQ with all the sides plus water & beer. I inhaled a plate of food. One beer was plenty.
The picture below was taken by a pro along the side of the road. He sits there all day and takes photos of motorcyclists and bicyclists. You can then find your photo on his website. It was pretty good so I bought it.