Saturday, September 19, 2009

Night Rider

This weekend the running group has a big run planned for Sunday at Government Canyon. 2 to 4 hours on the trails. Can't miss that! Brush pick up is also scheduled next week for my neighborhood. I need to trim some trees and lay out the brush by the curb. So when do I schedule my Bike ride? I have to put in some saddle time for the MS ride to river in two weeks.
I decided to start my ride at 5 AM Saturday morning. I have a "flea". A small but very bright red LED lamp I attach to the rear of my jersey. And I use a Petzl lamp on my handle bars as a headlamp. As I am about to leave my driveway my neighbor exits his house, coffee in hand, and tells me to be careful. "got all you need?" he asks. Yes, I reply. The only thing that worries me is drunks that may have been out all night I tell him. "yeah" he says. "they're out there".
I head out Mainland and onto Bandera road. My petzl lamp is bright enough, but does not stay stationary on my handlebars. It moves out of position with the vibration of my front wheel on uneven portions of the road. I continue to adjust it throughout the ride. The street lamps help somewhat with illuminating the road, but there are periods where the lamp comes in handy and helps in avoiding debris on the road. There are a few cars on the road, but mostly I have the road to myself.
As I reach Helotes, Tx at the 7 mile mark, I turn right on Scenic loop road. This road is a quiet two lane road with some homes on large two to maybe 10 acre lots. I pass through the sleepy town of Grey Forest. So small they don't even have a traffic light. Not even a blinking yellow light! But they do have a cop who likes to harass Cyclists into riding single file (Texas law states cyclist may ride two abreast).
Leaving Grey Forest the big climb begins. A three tiered hill about 3/4 of a mile long. Here the homes lay far away from the road. There is no lighting. It is pitched dark. I continue to adjust my petzl headlamp as I climb the hill. Over the top there is a short descend and a quick very short ascend then a one mile downhill. I am careful not to pick up too much speed for fear of something suddenly appearing on the road. A truck approaches towards me with it's bright lights on but quickly dims them. At the 15 mile mark it is almost 6 AM as I turn right onto Boerne stage road. It is still dark on the road and I AM 3 miles from Leon Springs, Tx. where Liza and Joe will be meeting at the Starbucks to run 16 miles on the road. I planned to surprise them.
I make it to Starbucks just as Liza and Joe are ready to start their run. what excitement! I have not seen Joe in months and Liza has just returned from Kenya where she was instructing tour guides on wilderness survival. We shook hands, hugged, and shared great big smiles. Liza shared a few stories too. I bid them farewell and I hung out at the Starbucks a while.
Returning towards home the traffic seemed to increase. I made it to the Leon Creek greenbelt where I road at a leisurely pace among walkers, runners, and other cyclist enjoying the overcast morning. Arriving home after 33 miles at about 7:30 AM, the neighbor was trimming his hedges and getting ready to mow. My wife and I hit some garage sales in the neighborhood. Then we returned home, she left for the gym and grocery store. I had breakfast, then trimmed trees, layed the branches out by the curb, mowed the lawn, showered, and took a well deserved nap.

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