There aren’t a lot of evening social rides in my part of town, and I’d been noticing this new one for a while. Today after heading out late in the afternoon of a chilly, windy day, I decided to join the ride. It’s a good thing I did, too, since the few regulars chose to skip it. I arrived right on time at the meeting spot — a parking lot next to a deli near where I used to live, and was greeted by Dave, the organizer. After waiting a bit in case of stragglers, we headed out on a relatively relaxed ride.
Dave’s an affable fellow I met on a the Peddler shop rides I used to do early on Sunday mornings. We had exchanged notes on occasion on Strava, but since I stopped going to morning rides, I’d only bumped into him a while ago once on his commute home. He’s a capable and accomplished bike rider, although he wouldn’t announce it. Both he and his Trek road bike looked like they were more than capable of dishing out some serious pain.
He is certainly younger and fitter than A Dude, and certainly is no fathlete. Even A and B riders benefit from the occasional slower ride that allows for more social time. It’s not strenuous for riders of his level, but still keeps the legs moving. He was going on a ride in the morning which would be faster, hillier and longer. For this outing he didn’t go fast, since it is a way to “draw a line between the work week and the the weekend,” as his description says. He took us on a winding route through familiar neighborhood streets.
The wind and colder temperatures in the 50’s that have occupied Central Texas recently had made him think twice about the ride. He just came from downtown after work into the northern gusts. He seemed glad for my company and might have bailed had I not shown up. I was mostly ok with the cooler weather and mostly prepared for it. It was the first time this year I brought out my jeans, a long-sleeved shirt over my t-shirt, and a semi-wind resistant jacket. I had some lightweight chamois padded lyrca shorts underneath.
As we got going, rolled along, slowing for the occasional stop sign, the sun made it’s last curtain call with a bright orange glow. It soon came out in our rolling conversation that he would be riding the Das Hugel again. Held every November, the ride intentionally includes many of the huge hills in west Austin. This is an unsupported event with 10,000 feet of elevation covering 100 miles (though there’s a less hellish 40-mile option) (Hugel means hill in German.) That’s way above my ability level, pay grade and security clearance, so I don’t even bother. But it’s cool that Dave is, and I told him so.
I didn’t get his whole background bicycling story, but when I asked “What makes you do something crazy like that?” he just replied, “If I have the choice of a flat, boring ride or hills, I do the hills.” I took that to mean he likes the challenge of putting his body through some suffering to achieve a goal. I try not to compare myself to riders at a higher level, and just appreciate and admire their abilities. But I can appreciate having my own goals and challenging myself to meet them. And without even realizing it, kind of on auto-pilot, we arrived at our halfway turnaround point, the Texas state Capitol building.
After a break, we headed north into the winds. They weren’t the worst but not fun, and as we took another route back to the start, we grew tired of them and the cold. We agreed to part ways and each made our ways home. No tickets or crashes (although I came a bit close to touching wheels at a stoplight once and had to come off my pedals) or frostbite, so it was a good night. I appreciate Dave for starting this ride and letting me interview him a bit on the bike. Hopefully the ride will grow and I can join in the future.
I stopped by an Asian grocery store I’ve been meaning to visit, but found their bathroom was being cleaned. I was directed to a bookstore next door, which was half in Japanese and other languages, the other half in English. Both stores were fascinating, so I wandered around a bit too long, but found both stops to be auspicious. Maybe there will be opportunities to attend readings or maybe even do one of my own from my book in progress.
After finally reaching home, I had another 25 miles in the bank for 105 so far this week with the weekend yet to go. I did my walk, then yoga, and a late dinner and this blog. I’ll return to the Capitol for the Texas Book Festival the next two days. Maybe I’ll find an agent, editor and publisher, become rich and famous, and hire a ghost writer for this blog. Assuming that doesn’t happen, I’ll be back on Monday. Til then, read safely, and ride even more safely.
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