Being in Austin for the weekend did not mean that my training stopped. Actually, both of us are in training; The Cyclist is gearing up for his next challenge, a 24 hour bike ride. Yes, you read that right. Twenty four hours. In a row. On a bicycle. He's just incredible. I just try to keep him in my, admittedly poor, sight. And even that task is a challenge most of the time. That man can climb hills like a beast!
My sweet friend, Natalie, lives in Boerne, Texas, about an hour outside of Austin. (welp, only an hour if Google maps gives you good directions, ahem, Google) Boerne is in the heart of Hill Country so we jumped at the chance to see her and get in a good training ride too. Now, I am a notorious underpacker. I never want to be That Girl, the one with the ginormous suitcase. Not that anyone has ever accused me of that. But still. I trusted the weather app, which turned out to be as big a mistake as trusting the Google Maps app. On Friday, it called for a low in the mid forties and highs in the mid sixties. So I packed cycling gear accordingly. Welp, I woke up on Saturday to this.
Yup, "feels like" 26. Degrees. Brr.
Not exactly ideal cycling weather, especially for a girl who only brought shorts, no knee warmers or cycling tights. Gah. Rummaging through my bag I found toe covers and full fingered gloves so that made me happy and I didn't hesitate to pull on my Lulu crops I had worn the day before. I had planned on wearing them the rest of the weekend but I certainly didn't plan on freezing my sticks. Go ahead, call me Fred. I looked ridiculous but I was warm. (er)
Our plan was to ride from Boerne to Luckenbach, about 30 miles out, and back. We'd have open highway and hills for days. It might have been cold but boy howdy, it sure was pretty. Let's be clear, I'd move to the Texas Hill Country in a heartbeat. This is God's Country for sure. It takes my breath away every time, and not just because I'm struggling to breathe up those hills. We rode for nearly five hours and I can't tell you how many times I said out loud, "This is just incredible." So beautiful. But you know what? Hills don't photograph well. You can't see the scariness. This was at the top of a particularly long, brutal climb. A lot of work to climb but I sure did enjoy hauling @ss down that hill on the way back!
That's a drop off my friends. A very steep drop off.
This looks waaay flatter than it is. Trust me on this one. NOT flat.
I love the Hill Country and the chance to mix my two favorite things, cycling and The Cyclist - well, talk about a perfect day! We had so much fun. Yes, getting up those hills is work, crazy work, but screaming down them is so worth it! I'm still a little scary after my crash, so I was tapping my brakes much more than usual. The fastest I ever noticed was 35 and I'm a bit disappointed in myself. Yes, that is fast, but the old me wouldn't have minded. The old me would have thrown it in my biggest gear, pedaled my heart out until I was at top speed, then dropped into aero, squeezed that top tube with my knees and screamed with joy. The current, more cautious me, worried about spilling and missed out on some of the fun. But just some of it - 35 isn't exactly slow. Next time. Next time I'll see if I can't top 50. That is happening. Fierce!
Sneaky shot courtesy of The Cyclist. No one is going to miss me in my hi-vis green!
My schedule called for five hours and two and a half hours in, we weren't yet to Luckenbach. Seems the rally map I borrowed was a leeeetle off. We were both okay with turning around so we did just that, stopping in Sisterdale on the way back for cold drinks and snacks. I'm a sucker for cold drinks on the bike!
We found a cute little place to stop and after looking around, grabbed a few cokes and a seat outside in the sun. Too bad this bee showed up and decided to claim my coke for himself! Now, I don't mind sharing. And I quite liked the idea of this bee returning home to his wife (yes, I know they are all boys, hesh) all crazy on sugar and caffeine, but he wasn't content to just drink from the outside. No, he kept crawling inside so I just let him have my coke. Sad pink panda.
Strangely, we didn't see much wildlife. No deer during the day, just a few cows and some goats. Oh, and a plastic donkey. Can you believe that is the only donkey we saw??? On second look, I think I'm actually holding a mule. Whoops.
It was great to see Natalie and Travis and sweet Coon Dog, too. After visiting for a few hours we headed over to Leon Springs for some live music and pizza at Fralo's. The pizza was delicious but the company was better. I miss my sweet friend and it was so good to catch up with her!
LOVE this girl!
I'd file this under one of the best weekends ever, but honestly, they just keep getting better. Happy, happy on my bicycle. Add in some good friends, even better. This weekend was just what I needed. I'm feeling confident in my training and recharged after a few days away. I see another trip to Boerne before race day. Another day, another hundred miles or so.
And another chance to own those downhills!
What is your favorite local "getaway" destination? Where do you go to recharge?