Apr 18

Hill country

by in Austin

Typically riding on 360 LoopToday we got off the flats. We rode down the 360 to Bee Cave and looped by Mansfield Dam which creates Lake Travis. None of this means anything to our friends outside of Texas so I’ll give you a clue. It was hilly. Not quite Chilly Hilly hill because the grades were longer and there were great sections of flat. But we climbed as much in 48 miles today as we did yesterday in 80. We interspersed screaming downs with long dragging ups.

There were more interesting sights. We came over one hilltop and saw a huge honest-to-god lighthouse on a nearby hill. Could it have been something for Lake Travis navigation? We saw a billboard advertising a crisis line for depression caused by oil spills. We saw HUGE churches everywhere. I mean gigantic. Some were the fancy-schmancy “We’ve got money” types, but there were giant warehouses that were renamed the Redeemer Church of Life or some such. I knew this was the Bible belt, but this put a whole new perspective on it. And then there was this giant Margarita! Just right for you Jimmie!

giant margaritaWeirdest coincidence of the day happened when we pulled into a Walgreen’s parking lot. I saw an “o” on the back of a car and yelled to the guy leaning on it, “Are you a Duck?” I missed his response but Sheila went back to engage him when I stopped. Turns out the car was borrowed from a friend. The O was for Oakley Sunglasses. But the driver WAS a Duck who was born in Seattle. Small world.

Today was the second day we wore our new Keen cycling sandals without socks. They are wonderfully comfortable in the heat. Just crunch up your toes and you get a refreshing breeze along your underfoot. Thanks to Barbara and Randall Angell for turning us on to them. Now we just have to get a bit better at applying the sunscreen. Tender skin down there under the shoe line!

Colorado River at Mansfield DamWhen we were pretty much done with our planned loop, we realized it was far too short, so we tacked on additional miles to get us to 48 miles. Came to realize that most of the miles today came in the form of 5 lane highways with lots of traffic. That may be a  preview of what a lot of our trek across the country could look like.

Reflecting on our Cycle America adventure, we take it as a good sign that 4 days of regular cycling haven’t resulted in lots of soreness or complaints. We realize that 1) the distances haven’t all been as long as they will be on the trip and 2) it is only 4 days, not 54 days. But we’re encouraged that our bodies are handling it well so far.

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