Today the weather became nicer and nicer as the second part of todays ride had many small short steep hills. It was a beautiful day for a ride. Overnight we could hear the rain coming down, but by morning it was overcast but not raining anymore. Today had four different choices: a 200km brevet, an A ride (101 miles), B ride (72 miles) and C ride (48 miles). Once again I decided to try the B ride today. One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like few do exactly one of the choices but typically vary things just a bit as in “we did the A ride but then decided to short-cut back” or “we started the B and then got lost and came back on the C”. It seems like variations are much more common than purely one choice or another. I did hear that the brevet had 12 riders. There were fewer than 300 there to start, perhaps a reflection of the mix-match approach people take on the bike rides.
The first eight miles were along the major route 16. From here we turned off onto smaller roads. The back roads go via a series of “ranches”. Some of them with quite high fences to keep livestock either in or out. There are still a good share of cattle grades along the way as well. It stayed dry in the morning and over time the skies began to clear more. A few short steep hills but also some flatter pieces along the way. At 23 miles turned right onto 763 and headed north to Harper. I think I had been on this road back in 2001 when I cycled across the USA.
Dauna’s store was at mile 35 in Harper. Many cyclists stopped here as this was the one store along the way. The photo below shows one cyclist who had troubles with his pedals. Helpful friends had worked through things by helping to duct tape his shoe to the pedal. This meant he would need to stay on the bike, even through the tough hills ahead.
After a nice lunch at Dauna’s I went north on the scenic but more hill portion of the ride. There were one or two places where the road crossed a small stream. It was recommended to walk across these crossings. At one of them some workmen were busy clearing the channel. Apparently, the stream had been dry yesterday but they had 4 inches of rain locally in spots here and now water flowing. Also, apparently, someone had fallen and broken a hip last year. So I walked carefully.
I walked once or twice after that. However, it was mostly because the grade quickly changed to a sharp upturn. I didn’t see a lot of value to quickly shift into a low gear when I could walk up the hill almost as fast. It was beautiful scenic area with many short little hills and small windy road through them. At 62 miles I came into US 87 and more major road. A brief side road here and then off downhills to Fredericksburg. A fun ride today with more hills than before and steadily improving weather. 72 miles today.