We’d already planned a Spring Break trip to Texas. Turns out to be a great opportunity to train for our big tour and test out all our equipment. We arrived in Austin Saturday the 14th after 11 hours of traveling, including 3 hours at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The first thing we saw upon arriving in Austin were these oversized guitars featuring Willie Nelson, Lance Armstrong, etc. By the time we got to our hotel, it was after 7 PM. We walked to the Whole Foods 2 blocks away and bought dinner, then shopped for staples. The plan was to get up Sunday, build the bike, then take a shakedown cruise.
The bike went together pretty easily. It just takes a chunk of time. While I was building it a big storm blew in dumping buckets of rain. It was also very windy. Some parts of the state are under a tornado watch. As a matter of fact the watches and warnings go all the way up to Chicago. It’s the first time we have had to delay a ride for ….. tornadoes.
It stopped raining so we decided to ride to downtown to see Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop (Lance Armstrong’s place) and maybe the arts festival there. We mapped out a route on Google maps for bikes and it was surprisingly easy to follow. The ride was all through urban neighborhoods which bordered a part-time creek. Fairly lush for Texas, I suppose, and very pretty. Met one fellow on a single at a stop light and he confirmed we were headed the right direction.
When we got downtown, all was a mess of construction and we had to detour several times off our route. Ended up riding the sidewalk the last 3 blocks to the shop. I was looking at the approaching shop sign, feeling proud for getting us there, when suddenly I realized the only curb in town without a curb cut was on the same block as the bike store. I stopped just before we smashed full-tilt into it. Now why would they do that? And why hasn’t Lance gone out with a sledgehammer and made a curb cut? Ya gotta wonder.
The shop was nice, but not much different than any other bike shop, if you ignore the 7 yellow jerseys on the wall from all 7 of his Tour de France wins. There was also a cool mural (see picture) illustrating all his stage wins. The workers were very helpful. One even went across the street to another store to get us an Austin Bike Map because they were out. He gave us a more interesting route home, too.
On the way home we ran into the same single we’d seen on the way into town! We stopped at a “scenic viewpoint” and had another couple snap a shot of us. Austin is somewhere there in the background. The wildflowers in the median strip were more impressive, but we hear its better in the hinterlands. We’ll get there later. Today we settled for 30.7 miles, all after 2 PM.