It made sense to start from Zube, rather than go to Sealy, as I was a lone wolf. There are always plenty of riders in the Hockley/Hempstead area, so in the unlikely event of a mechanical I couldn't fix, I could probably get help. I treated myself to a lie-in and showed up at Zube at around 8.00, much later than usual. There was a big youth soccer tournament in progress so of course I couldn't park anywhere near the Pavilion.
Off I went on a grey, windy morning (the wind was out of the east, a very unusual direction for this part of the world). The lack of sunlight made it easy to read my Garmin so of course I fell into the trap of looking at it to check speed and location (as if I could get lost on this route!) every ten seconds or so.
The wind made the run out very comfortable, and it wasn't too bad when I turned south for the Exxon. I made the usual stop and was pleased to see that I was keeping hydrated (I'm sure you can guess how I worked that out). I was wearing my Livestrong bib shorts and my Sierra Nevada Torpedo jersey - no need for uniform when you're riding by yourself. The bib shorts are very comfortable but you have to take off your jersey to answer a call of nature - unless your jersey has a full-length zip, in which case only one arm needs to come out. I was delighted by this discovery - may not sound like much to you but trust me it will change my cycling life.
|Pileated woodpecker (thanks Wikipedia)|
Back out by the bike and a local pulled up in a pick-up. He nodded hi then looked at the sky and asked if it was going to rain. I told him if it did he could please come and pick me up!
Off again, this time directly into the wind, which was getting stronger. I was glad to make the first turn south, not least because two of these dudes flew in front of me and landed on a telegraph pole. They won't find much to eat there. I wonder if
they were a mating pair, perhaps on a date?
The next few miles have some climbs, but not into the wind and I did ok. I got to Prairie View A&M and then turned east once more and settled into a good, low position for the upwind pull. There's a barbecue place called Brubaker's right by the school entrance and they were smoking up a storm, as always - wonderful smell of wood smoke. One of these days I'll stop for a bite.
I made the turn south into Waller feeling pretty good. Once through Waller I turned off Business 290 and onto a smaller road that runs parallel but across the railroad. We don't normally ride this section because there are stops signs and dogs, but as a lone wolf it made sense to be out of the traffic. This took me all the way back to Hockley and the last mile or so. I was glad to turn north but was surprised to find I was actually feeling pretty strong, even managing a sprint down the home stretch. Looks like I'm finally getting into shape.