Texas Trip: Riding Review

I have done several spring break bike trips in the past. Twice with the U of M cycling team to Fayetteville Arkansas in 07 and 08, once to Fredericksburg with my friend Jorgen and my parents in 09 also with that group to Escondido California in 2010. Most of the time I ran once or twice, maybe swam once, and usually rode a little too much and a little too aggressively and had a tweaked knee by the middle of the week. This time I toned the riding down a bit. Not much hammering at all, mostly easy and steady riding except for the last couple days. My miles were nothing remarkable. However, I was able to have one good swim, ran four times, didn’t get hurt or sick, and am back to normal training here at home without undue fatigue.

Saturday: 1213 miles, 18 hours 30 minutes starting at 3:06 AM. Sam unleashed an improbably long series of farts. After the original fart, sequel after sequel burst forth from his innards. The roads were clear and dry through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas but then we had a vicious snowstorm in Oklahoma. Otherwise uneventful.

Sunday: 33.1 miles, 1414 feet of climbing. Felt terrible. Very sluggish and awkward on the bike. Took over ten miles to feel half-way normal. I didn’t have my powertap so the only real info is distance and feet climbing from Strava. The pace on rides was not fast so I didn’t worry much about that.


Future champion. Of something. Amateur athlete, pro level crop duster.

Monday: 68.6 miles, 3836 feet climbing. To the small town of Harper and back. Talked to some other Minnesotans while we stopped for snacks (Twinkies) in Harper. Very nice ride. Felt much more normal on the bike. Short run after.


Tuesday: 32.8 miles, 1015 feet climbing. Short run after with strides. Short swim, main set 3×300 strong pull+paddles. 27th birthday.


Wednesday: 35.9 miles, 1818 feet climbing. Very, very windy. Stopped for lunch. It was delicious – accompanied by two cups of coffee and one beer. Short run after.


Lunch of champions at Hill Top Cafe

Thursday: 110 miles, 6555 feet climbing. Incredible route starting in Bandera, an hour from Fredericksburg. Very slow riding because the roads were a coarse surface and there were tons of small hills and several good climbs. Unbelievably scenic. This ride is worth the whole trip on it’s own. Sam didn’t want to ride more than 80 miles so I had to use all my charisma to convince him to ride this long. The small towns are well placed every 20ish miles and we were very careful to stay on top of our calories. I really did not want Sam bonking and turning into a useless pudding sack late in the ride. We made it through fine. I really enjoyed the climbs and Sam had way too much fun on the descents.


Friday: 43.1 miles, 1799 feet climbing. Another windy day. Our route took us just over 20 miles into the wind. It was exhausting. The way home was smooth sailing. This was the first day I was tired and a little cranky on the bike. The ride ended up taking way longer than planned and Sam and I were both falling apart coming back into town. At the midway point we stopped at a park to see a tunnel where millions of bats live. It was neat. Afterwards had a few snacks and a short run.


My first panorama photo!


Bat Tunnel

Saturday: 1213 miles, 18 hours. 2:32 AM start. First few hours were absolutely terrifying as deer were out and about everywhere. After we got to larger highways it was ok but we were on constant alert through 5 AM or so. All the locals had massive brush guards on their trucks and seeing the deer out made it clear why. From there things went smoothly until we got hit with another snowstorm in our second to last state. This time we passed through the snowstorm coming out of Des Moines. I’m not saying Iowa is lousy good for nothing state because of this incident, it just so happens this incident happened in the lousy good for nothing state of Iowa. No disrespect.

Overall it was a great trip. I’m really happy with how Sam and I managed the difference in our fitness. Obviously as a pro I get to train more. If he had a big ego and tried to ride next to me all the time and keep up on all the climbs he would have blown up pretty fast. Into the wind he just tucked in my draft and saved energy. He paced himself appropriately on all the climbs. He went straight to nap instead of coming out for the runs. Keeping the ego in check got him through all the miles safely with no illness or injury. My parents and their friends also had a great week of riding though they did miss the best parts of the Bandera ride. Fredericksburg is tough to beat for spring training.


Have a great week! Spring is sort of here!

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