The Skyline Sham

^The Skyline Sham from James . Strava map here. Part 1 here.

More video from our ride on River Road. This is the first steep climb we did on this ride that hits double digits. The sign at the beginning says 22% which refers to the steepest part. Unfortunately it doesn’t last very long but it’s still nice. After the climb we hit rollers on FM 2673 and then down hill on RM 2722 to Bear Creek which is the second double digit climb.

Part 1 here. Go here for a list of all 5 parts.


River Road

^Slow and Easy from James . Strava map. Part 1 here.

A friend asked me about River Road. This video shows what it’s like  on the road during the winter. It was a warm day in February when we did this ride. As I’ve said before, you really can’t ride it in the summer unless you like traffic.

You can see Part 1 here. It shows the drop in to the part of the road that runs parallel to the river. It’s a very nice road with short shallow rollers. If you do only  River Road to the gas station it’s 30 miles round trip with 1,200 feet of climbing. More or less Tempo Monster territory.  The only real climbing is the drop in portion when you come back.

On this particular ride we did 2 steep climbs and the next 2 videos with show you those. Stay tuned.

Part 1 here. Go there for a list of all 5 parts.

Safety First

^Safety First from James . Strava map.

I was looking through the video of a ride we did on River Road a while back. There is a section of road that drops down to the river and then follows the river for several miles. The drop down is fun but when it reaches the bottom you’re going fairly fast, maybe even 40. The turn is at the bridge and the concrete is  slick. If it’s wet it’s even worse. If you went over the edge it’s enough of a drop to get hurt, maybe even seriously. The bridge has a guard rail but I never noticed where the railing was. I posted the video because I thought it was funny that there is no railing where you need it most. Go figure.

Anyway, River Road is a nice ride. You really can’t do it in the summer due to all the traffic but in winter, on a nice warm day, it’s great. If you just want to do River Road you can start in Gruene, where we did and go up to Satler on FM 2673 which is the 15 mile mark. There is a gas station there where you can rest and regroup and then head back. It’s mostly flat until you’re almost back and hit the drop in… going up. That’s about a 1 mile climb of about 100 ft. Just enough to be fun.

This video is the first of several from this ride. You’ll see River Road in the first two and then the two climbs we did. They’re steep, short and nice. The good thing is that it’s easy to skip them if you’re not in the mood. But when does that ever happen? If you really want to make it fun there are 5 more short double digit hills in the area that only add about 10 miles to the ride. I’ll show you those soon. Stay tuned!

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.

Part 4 here.

Part 5 here.

Blanco Chase

^The Blanco Chase from James . Strava Map.

This is another video of one of the Cyclones north side rides. It was 32 miles with about 938 ft of climbing. Most of the climbing is at the very beginning and at the end. Nothing double digit, just rollers. There are however several double digit “stingers” that can be added with The Three Cats, Silent Horror and the Johnny Loop to name a few. For example if you added all three of those it only adds 13 miles and gets you 1700 ft of climbing. Nice!

Part one, The 14 MPH Ride, is here.

Part two, “On Your Left”,  is here.

This video is of the end of the Fourteen MPH Ride. It’s southbound toward 1604. If you start at the doughnut shop on Wilderness Oaks then you can enjoy 2 very nice segments on your way home. You can do both whether you start at Specht Road or Ammenn Road.  The hills on This Is It are the last climbs you hit and when you do the last one it’s down hill on Final Countdown.

One thing I really like is that Blanco Road has no streets coming from the right on these two sections. It also has a nice shoulder and good visibility. So the next time you’re there, have a go at it. Maybe you’ll get yourself a new PR.

“On Your Left”

^On Your Left from James . Strava map.

I managed to save this from my crashed hard drive. It was a fun ride with the Cyclones. Pat is behind me for this video on a Strava segment called Tempo Time. We’re headed to the rollers on Blanco Road and passing through a group that is being stretched out by their front guys. I have seen these people before on rides but I don’t know their names. Do you?

It’s a fun 32 miler with less than 1000 ft of climbing. You can see more of this ride below.

Part One- The 14 MPH Ride

Part Three- Blanco Chase

One last thing. Sometimes you can use Strava Flybys to find out who you saw out on the road. How cool is that?

Sometimes You’re Just Toast

^Sam Pain from James . Strava map.

Just a short clip from my 56 miler with the Cyclones. The video is at about mile 40 and we’re on the Pain Train Strava segment. I can see why they call it that. I was toast. I just needed to slow down a couple of mph to recover but Sammy was on fire. It looks like he’s on the road back from his injuries. Great to have you back Sammy. (Even though the pace probably caused ME some permanent injuries….)

It’s funny how sometimes just slowing down 2 mph can make such a huge difference in your recovery and at the time, that’s what I needed.

I like this route. I don’t know why. It’s flat, really, with just some shallow rollers. But sometimes I just need the tempo work. It’s not my preferred riding style. I would much rather chug along at 5 mph up a hill than to put myself through tempo torture. But a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. So I did it. Now, if we could just slow down about 2 mph……


The Nauseator

^The Nauseator from James . See Strava map here.

You know those people. You love to ride with them. They have been at many of your most memorable rides and yet, when you drive into the parking lot where the ride starts, and you see them there,  you get that queasy feeling because you just know, “This is going to hurt.”

Still, you can’t wipe that smile off your face. You know it’s going to hurt but it’s also going to be a blast. This was one of those rides. I knew the area so I knew what would happen when we hit this road. It’s mostly flat with shallow rollers so the Tempo Monsters love it. There was a group on the road that had left before us and we caught and passed some of them. Some would jump on our wheel and go for a ride and some continued on their own workout. Or maybe they were saving it for another segment?

And speaking of segments, I set a PR on this. There were some nice pulls from the group and I felt great during mine but it’s not the same as when you do it solo or pull the whole thing. But it’s going to be a long time before I do that speed on my own so training with these animals can only help. If they don’t kill me first…..




Coffee Run

^Coffee Run from James . Strava map here.

There was no warm up. Twenty to twenty-five right from the start. Why? They wanted coffee. Must have coffee.

This is a ride that George and Ela use for training. I joined them for the company since I like that area. It was a great workout. I drafted for most of the ride since I’m not much of a Tempo Monster, but then, that’s exactly why I needed this. Thanks to George for pulling us the whole time. It was probably the only way he could get a workout!

Starbucks was the half way point and if we wanted, we could have some coffee or something good to munch on. The ride was about 35 miles of tempo intervals with some nice rolling climbs for good measure. It’s a great area and has some nice “stingers” that can be added when needed. I’ve got more video of the area so stay tuned and George, you’re in the next one. Anyway,  I posted this video to show that going down hill can be fun too. It’s not going up, but it ain’t bad.

The Beast

^The Beast Part I from James . See Strava map here.

This video is of a century ride we did a while back. Luis, a friend of mine, was doing his first 100 miler. Now in my opinion, a century in the middle of summer, with 100 degree temperatures is not the way to go. However, if you add 4,000 feet of climbing, well, then it’s ok. So off we went.

Not everyone was doing the century, but for those of us that were, there was plenty of company at the start. The problem with that is that those doing the shorter route started playing from mile one. And of course, I got drawn into it. I had fun, played on most of the route and finished 97 miles feeling great. The last three however, were grueling. It’s funny how everything turned against me at the end. The heat, the pace, the hills and of course, the distance. Those last 3 miles lasted forever. I don’t know how Luis felt or what he thought of his first century or how the others felt but I was wasted which made everyone else look fresh.

I think everyone enjoyed the ride. Everyone was probably tired, except Joe, who may not have even warmed up and went on to do more, but that’s another story. The challenge was fun and at the end we all felt we had accomplished something. Like they say, you discover something about yourself when you face your demons, when you push to your limits.   I can honestly say, that what I discovered was that riding for 97 miles can be a blast, but riding 100, well, that can be a beast.

Hot Rod Syndrome

^Hot Rod Syndrome from James . Part one here.

Do you have trouble riding at a steady tempo? I do. Maybe I suffer from HRS.  I think I got it from the motorcycles I’ve had. What is it? It’s the inability to resist the temptation to speed up every time you see that perfect section of road.

See Strava map here. See related video The Pain Train.

Maybe that’s why people like segments on Strava. They all seem to be the perfect time to “open it up”. And they just can’t resist! You know you should pace yourself,  but how can you not “enjoy” the little segment in front of you?  How can you not want to play? Of course, your tempo suffers as a result. It goes up and down and keeps taking you close to the edge and that, of course, is not the way to complete a long ride. Maybe that’s why I don’t like long rides.

That’s why  I like to get up front and work. If done right, you set an even steady tempo. It’s not about how fast you go, it’s about being steady and keeping everyone together. What could possibly be better to treat HRS than a solid, steady tempo? I just can’t seem to do it very well. Every curve in the road looks like the perfect place to “ramp it up”. So does every straight and every down hill. And let’s not talk about the climbs. They’re all perfect.

I’m working on it and getting better. I know that being the camera guy doesn’t help. It keeps me going forward and backward to get everyone in the video and then I move on to the next group.That takes my tempo all over the place. Maybe I should see it,  not as a syndrome, but as a quality. Something needed by the camera guy in order to get everyone in the video. I don’t know whether it’s good or bad to have this syndrome but I do know this: everywhere I look,  I see a great segment and I think, “Maybe we should speed it up just a little bit, so we can enjoy it a little more”. I may have to go slow for the rest of the ride in order to pay for it, but what the hell, it’s worth it.