Tuesday, December 9, 2014
30ish Magnolia Bike Ride Uphill into the Wind
I talked to my coworker about routes outside of the city to hit for cycling. I knew of a few, but I didn't know all of them. I wanted longer bike rides, too. He sent me a list of places to go with maps included. The Giant and I decided (something about how we were eating too much and not exercising enough nonsense) to go for a long bike ride on Saturday. We picked the route from Washington on the Brazos to Chappell Hill. I have wanted to do this ride with the Giant when I first heard about it, because of the scenery and hills. Also, I figured this would remind him of England in some way.
So, we set off late on a Saturday morning and then saw the signs...290 closed at Mueschke, which meant our option of getting there quickly was out. We were forced to take 249, but it would add much more time to the already long drive. We went from 1.5 hours to now almost 2 hours. Since we were passing Magnolia and I did have a bike route for this area, we decided to just stop there and bike.
I learned my lesson about wind and finding out the wind from the previous bike ride along the seawall. I made sure to look at the winds and it was going to be 11 mph, partly cloudy, and high 60s. When we got there, the wind picked up to 15 mph, absolutely no sun, and the temperature dropped to high 50s. We were just wearing t-shirt and shorts. So, we popped into the dollar store and bought us some long sleeves. I swear it saved our life.
Now onto the bike ride. The wind was painful and at first, it was all crosswind. At 5 miles, we turned into the wind with lots of uphills and inclines...into the wind...INTO.THE.WIND.PEOPLE. The shoulders on the road went from bike friendly and large to smaller to basically nothing. Most of the cars moved over, but with the wind and the wind coming off of the dump trucks passing us by at high speeds, I never felt comfortable and stable. I had to stop a lot during that 15 miles to the next town. At one point, I had to get off the bike and walk the rest of the way up the hill, because I couldn't handle it anymore. My legs were screaming. A few cars, including a dump truck laid on its horn really loudly scaring the crap out of me.
Eventually, we made it to Montgomery to stop for beer and some food. I needed a break. But getting back on the bike after some burgers and beer was quite painful. Thankfully, we were back to crosswind and the wind had died some. But the roads were all under construction making the shoulders and roads uneven and rocky. Some parts were so smooth and other parts made my body hurt.
The final leg appeared and I couldn't have been happier. The Giant said over and over that what goes up, must come down. But I know Texas and that's not necessarily true. Yes, overall we were going down, but we had lots of inclines. I was hoping for a tailwind, which we had, but it was not as strong since the wind died a bit. I was not a happy camper. When we got to about seven miles left of the trip, I started to have a meltdown. I think I said repeatedly, "Oh, ANOTHER HILL? Can't I just get a break?" There was more cursing and maybe some crying. The Giant was trying to console me and then I got a flat. We had three miles left. The choice was to stay and patch it up taking more time we didn't have or he would just bike back and get the car to pick me up. What do you think we chose? Yes, I sat down deflated (like my tire) and waited for him to get me.
It was a total of 33 miles for the Giant and 30 miles for me, which is the longest for either of us in terms of cycling. It definitely burned a great deal of calories (~1700 for me and ~2200 for him). We definitely needed that for the Santa Pub Crawl later that evening. I would love to do this again, but maybe not that first leg. The cars made me really uncomfortable and scared. It seemed like a major route between the two towns, both busy busy busy. I also want to incorporate more hills into my cycling, because I know that will get me faster. I felt and looked like a turtle trying to bike.