so that Kevin and I will have quiet roads for our ride. After last Saturday's ride we agreed to ride again the day after Christmas, Boxing Day to us Brits, back to work day here though. Susan wants to petition the White House to make Boxing Day a holiday but she needs 20,000 signatures to even get it considered.
With the view that a change is as good as a rest, I mapped out a ride in the Katy/Fulshear area that is actually a combination of two separate routes I've used before. It's 44 miles all the way round and probably has an elevation change of less than 50 feet (hey, we're on the prairie, what did you expect?), but also has two sections where there is a reasonable expectation of seeing some birds.
The first and last thirds of this ride are essentially the same as the very first team training ride I did, back in 2002. I was on a hybrid bike wearing flat shoes and baggy track suit bottoms and boy was I a newbie. In those days the ride passed two sets of traffic lights and there was very little traffic. How times have changed - I'm now a full-on blingster and there are housing developments practically everywhere and more traffic lights than you could shake a stick at. I'd suspected that there would be some traffic but had hoped that it would be light on Boxing Day - boy was I wrong, we were surrounded by cars and trucks all the way round. Fortunately we had a wide shoulder too.
About two miles west of Fulshear we turned onto a country road and had a few miles of peace. I was hoping for some bird sightings but was disappointed, except for the now obligatory caracara - once rare, now hardly worth a second look.
Back on to busy roads and a downwind run into Fulshear where we took a pit stop. Then a short run along a busy road before turning onto quiet country roads again. There are a couple of 90 degree bends on this section and we were running with the wind, so we approached one of them pretty fast and I wondered how Kevin would take it. In the end he got round OK with some minor midcourse corrections and a cuss-word or two.
A long run due south on a smooth road in pleasant surroundings with no traffic to speak off - this is the life! Sadly it came to an end with a turn east, but that took us to the next bird-friendly section, through open fields where I've seen geese and cranes in the past. Not today, it was barren except for a few killdeer and cardinals.
That took us back onto busy roads and the long slog into the wind and home. Kevin pulled almost all the way but I took a couple of short turns just to keep my man-card current. Plenty of traffic in both directions but we were safe enough on the shoulder.
Back at the car, we had gone 44.4 miles with a rolling average above 16mph - pretty good under the circumstances. We're getting there.