Sunday, February 28, 2010
(Spring) Breaking Away
Breaking Away is a coming-of-age movie about cycling. It includes a very young Dennis Quaid as part of an Indiana cycling team, the Cutters. It's shown every year at the LaGrange overnight stop on the MS150, but most riders (including me) are too tired to stay up and watch. It's a nice intro into this post about the Sun and Ski Sports Spring Breakaway ride, which was run this morning.
Nearly perfect weather (just a bit chilly) when I found Paddy at the start. We were pretty soon joined by Kenny, Jason, Mike, Dave and Gregor. It was quickly noted that Mike and Jason had shaved their legs, pro-style, so of course this was a golden opportunity for a bit of banter and a direct comparison of their shaving prowess.
On to the start and we run into Doug and Richard from work. The main group of Mules gets going but I'm stopped by a marshal and watch them disappear down the road. It's probably just as well, since I'm out of shape and still not 100% healthy. I eventually get going and ride with Richard and Doug for a while. The pace gets a bit hot for me though, so I don't try too hard to keep up on a corner and they quickly drop me.
These are very familiar roads all the way to Fulshear, from all the Bike Barn runs. The route to Simonton isn't quite so familiar but I've definitely been down here before. Pretty flat terrain and a modest tail wind make for comfortable riding. Once in Simonton the routes separate, 55 miles to the left, 37 to the right. I planned to ride the 37 but missed the turn. I quickly realized my mistake and for once had the sense to turn around and get back on my route. Not very long ago I would have just stuck with the 55 and probably hurt myself in the process.
Rolling north now with much less bike traffic. I spot a hawk on top of a telegraph pole and decide it was probably a bald eagle - if so, the first I've seen. Very impressive bird with a distinctive white head. We pass the Brookwood community, cross over I-10 and turn right for the run back along US90. I've been down here before, too - a boring, straight road with a fairly rough surface and nothing to block the wind. First, though, time for a rest stop.
I park my bike, fill up my water bottle and look for fruit - sadly only cookies were to be had. Back at the bike I decide to strip down a bit, so off comes the Mules cap and the jacket (called an anorak by my so-called friends at the start). I do my good deed for the day by showing another rider how to park your bike on a curb using the pedal. Back on the road for the slog down 90. The wind picks up and it's a bit of a grind. I'm actually feeling pretty good and keep my pace up well.
Into Katy and then it's a quick run back to the start. A lady wearing a Google shirt passes me without calling out, a flagrant breach of rider etiquette. I want to tell her to Google "manners while cycling" but chicken out. I get to the car, to find that the Mules are still on the course (they did the 55 miles), so I load up and head home. It's now a beautiful morning and I sit back and relax in the garden with the Times. Life is good.