Easter Hill Country Tour 2013 – Friday

Today is the start of the 40th annual Easter Hill Country Tour. EHCT has rides Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the Easter weekend. There were 3 route choices this Friday. A 25 miler, a 49 miler and an 85 miler.

I opted for the 49 miler (which my Garmin tells me is actually closer to 48 miles.) This is a route I’ve done before. In fact, it’s frequently part of the itinerary of the yearly tour. In both 2008 and in 2011 at least the first leg of this route was also covered.

Click the map at right for all the gory details.

The first leg from Kerrville over to Ingram is perhaps the best part of the ride. At least I think so. Its only downfall is it’s hilly right from the start. But the route is otherwise the most scenic part of the loop ride. Winding, lumpy and rural.

Once you get to Ingram you’re subjected to several miles of Hwy 27 as you head west. This is a heavily traveled road though and while there’s a sizable shoulder, the road and shoulder has been surfaced with a really lowgrade chipseal. It’s essentially sizable gravel topped with asphalt and tar. It’s extremely rough even under the best of conditions and uncomfortable to ride a road bike on that has 23c 100 PSI tires. This part of the route is just to be endured.

Mercifully, the route eventually turns north on Reservation Rd. There’s little to no traffic on this road and the surface improves dramatically compared to hwy 27. In fact, the rest of the ride from this point is pretty nice. This year we sailed down this leg of the route with a stiff S-SE tailwind. When you’re going 20+mph and you feel no wind at all it means the wind behind you is pretty stiff. 😉

Later of course we would need to turn back toward Kerrville and head into the teeth of that wind for the next 20 miles.

The last leg is on Ranch Road 783. Mostly this is a good road for riding. Surface is good and traffic is not bad. It picks up closer in to Kerrville. Along the way back in we were greeted by some friendly folks that figured they owned the road and standing on the horn would simply get us to pull over and let them blow by. (There is rarely a bike tour I do that I don’t encounter at least a few pinheads on the roads. Not much you can do about it. Haters gonna hate.)

Winds were stiff on that last leg of the route. All tolled, a good route and good ride which turned into a really good workout too given the wind and hills. If there was only some way to avoid that section on Hwy 27 I’d sure like this one a lot more.

Tomorrow, we take in Hasenwinkel Rd. Always a great route.

Annual LBJ 100 Bike Ride – 2013 Report

Yesterday it was time once again for what is now the 6th LBJ 100 bike ride. This is my 3rd. Conditions were a lot like last year – except not quite as photogenic. In fact, if you link through to my write up from last year much of those notes hold again for this year. The ride is well planned and I’d say logistics were even better this year. Gone was the crazy late registration tent a half mile from everything else and there was less fiddling around at the beginning of the ride. There were intros, a short talk by Luci and then we were off in waves. At the end of the ride, they also had people driving out to the north instead of through the finish line like last year. Maybe people just did it wrong the last couple years.

The price had gone up to $55 for late registration – a price I still maintain is too high for these kind of events. Skip the shirts and water bottles. Keep everything else. At least they had shirts for late registrants this year though.

Sausage and beer at the end of the ride. Same sausage arrangement as last year. Gone was the potato salad and instead there was mounds of corn plus some cole slaw with cranberries in it. Actually the combo worked pretty well. This year in addition to 3 beers from Pecan Street Brewing there was also Lobo from Pedernales Brewing.

I did the same route as last year too. In both cases I wanted something between the 42 and the 62 miler so I did a little mixing and matching of the routes to come up with my 54 miler alternative. I haven’t had a lot of time in the saddle this year so the 54 miles was plenty. I hit a wave of fatigue around 40 miles into it but it wasn’t too bad. If you click thru that link to the route you’ll see you do a bit of climbing before hitting mile 41 and then it evens out and is mostly even down hill toward the end. There’s also a handy rest stop about 8 miles from the end.

Wild flowers were not as prevalent this year. I didn’t even bother taking pics. Click thru to last year when they were in abundance. The pic below is maybe 10 miles into the ride along North Grape Creek Rd. Here’s the google street view of that spot.