Last Bike MS training update, April 26: Red Poppy Ride

This past weekend was my last training weekend before the  Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride in north Texas next weekend! The ride goes from Frisco to Fort Worth with an overnight at the Texas Motor Speedway, 105 and 67 miles respectively. This is my 7th year participating in a Bike MS ride, fundraising for the National MS Society in honor of my godmother and other family members that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. If you can, please consider making a donation in support of my participation.

I just finished tallying up my training mileage for this Bike MS. I started training at the beginning of February and so far I’ve ridden 1,183 miles. I think I’m ready for next weekend 🙂 Last Saturday, I rode the 10th annual Red Poppy Ride up in Georgetown. This year I actually saw red poppies! It was a nice but windy ride with a bit of mist almost all day. I rode the longest route, 102 miles. Despite the wind I was able to average 16.6 miles per hour so I was very happy but exhausted. While I was out riding, my husband did the sweetest thing anyone could do for me after a long ride – he went all the way down to south Austin to pick me up my favorite treat – a hand-dipped chocolate covered banana from Bananarchy! It was the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten, covered with graham crackers and toffee…. yum!

And now for my ride recap.

I saw the guy with the yellow recumbent bike again.

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I saw my first red poppies early in the ride.

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Walburg, Texas. An old biergarten.

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A couple of red poppies and cyclists.

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I think these are poppies too, but they were more of a purple color.

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This ride has quite a large contingent of motorcycle escorts. They were very helpful, keeping an eye on things and helping us cross some of the busier intersections. This guy was like my own personal escort for much of the ride checking in on me a number of times.

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Wildflowers and I-35.

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A llama and his pal the donkey were just hanging out watching us go by. Isn’t he the cutest?

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This ride had the bumpiest roads I’ve ridden this year. It was like riding on gravel in some cases.

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Red poppies at the rest stop!

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The rest stop was in Schwertner, Texas – a little town with a big heart apparently.

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It has a big church, of course.

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The little towns we rode through mostly felt like old ghost towns.

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In Granger, I saw an old city hall with a lion statue in front of it.

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Across the street, a matching lion guarded the park.

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It had an old hardware store.

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And of course Granger has a big church!

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Randomly, I saw a large metal rooster in a field. And I mean really large, this photo doesn’t do him justice.

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So many bluebonnets!!

 

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Bluebonnets and yellow flowers.

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A country cemetery.

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Luckily, the ride went in a loop so I was only in the wind for sections. A few times I found some groups to draft off of and it was wonderful. I thought you might enjoy seeing what I looked like after riding 103 miles – check out that hair! I was sporting my new Ireland bike jersey, a birthday gift from Dad and Ellen.

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On Sunday my husband and I rode our bikes to check out the Mueller Farmer’s market for the first time. It was quite nice and we bought lots of great food. It was an 18 mile round trip and I used my commuter bike and panniers to bring home our goodies. I think we’ll do that again.

 

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Bike MS training update, April 19 – 20: A lovely ride to Elgin and back

Only one more training weekend before Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride in north Texas during the first weekend of May! The ride goes from Frisco to Fort Worth with an overnight at the Texas Motor Speedway, 102 and 67 miles respectively. This is my 7th year participating in a Bike MS ride, fundraising for the National MS Society in honor of my godmother and other family members that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. If you can, please consider making a donation in support of my participation.

This past Saturday was forecast to be not windy early in the morning, progressing to a south / east wind. Sure enough, that’s what happened. I planned an 83 mile route that headed east from home and then south pretty quickly, eventually hitting Elgin, Texas and then heading home. It was a good route, with the exception of a few roads with higher traffic than I expected. I ended up averaging 16.5 mph for the ride and enjoyed wildflowers the whole time.

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Bluebonnets under the early sun:

 

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Around mile 20 I went through Manor:

 

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Pink winecups and two cyclists on Old Route 290:

 

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Industry in the middle of nowhere:

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There is a fake ghost town near Manor. One of the signs was about an Easter egg hunt.

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Straight open road and blue sky:

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New road, old road:

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Bright red barn:

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My shadow, cows, and some calves:

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White prickly wildflowers:

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Bluebonnets hiding between the trees:

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Indian paintbrushes and a tree stump:

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The scenery was just so green:

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An old bridge:

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A lonely looking house:

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An old farmhouse, no longer in use except for the barn:

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So many wildflowers!

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A pack of cyclists coming at me:

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Longhorns looking at me:

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Lovely house and wildflowers:

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Elgin town square:

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Train station in the middle of the Elgin square:

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There was a farmer’s market:

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A church in the middle of nowhere, called Lund, Texas

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Riding, riding, riding…

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Bluebonnets and a bike lane on Howard Lane:

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Near Dessau Rd, I went through a neighborhood that had the exact same style houses as our neighborhood. And I saw these bright houses:

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And then I was home. On Sunday, it was windier but not ridiculously so as it was the last few weekends. I rode 35 miles around town.

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Bike MS Training, April 12 – 13: A windy weekend

And the countdown continues, only 2 more training weekends before Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride in north Texas during the first weekend of May! The ride goes from Frisco to Fort Worth with an overnight at the Texas Motor Speedway, 86 and 67 miles respectively. This is my 7th year participating in a Bike MS ride, fundraising for the National MS Society in honor of my godmother and other family members that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. If you can, please consider making a donation in support of my participation.

This weekend the wind was strong both days, blowing out of the south. For my long ride on Saturday, I planned a route that headed east from my house and then south pretty quickly, meandering through the outskirts of Austin down to Buda and then heading straight north. It was a ride full of surprises. Take a look at my photos while I remember the surprises.

The wildflowers were everywhere. Bluebonnets behind the fence, yellow flowers near the road:

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At some point at the beginning of my ride, a large truck drove by with a Rottweiler hanging out the passenger window. Just as it passed me, the dog barked at me. I’m lucky I stayed on my bike. The BP MS 150 from Houston to Austin was this weekend, and I saw this sign in preparation for the riders rolling into Austin on Sunday.

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Bluebonnets and Indian Paint brushes at MLK and 183:

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I passed the Yellow Bike Project headquarters on Webberville:

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A fancy ice cream food truck passed me:

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A guy and his dog skateboarding along 5th street:

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Crossing town lake:

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More wildflowers:

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Pink winecups:

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Farm land:

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The yellow flowers are Engelmann’s Daisies.

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Blue sky, green trees:

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The wind on this stretch of road was coming at my side and I had multiple moments of wondering what would happen when it blew my bike out from under me. The trees provided a bit of a wind break from time to time.

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I crossed I-35 in Buda:

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A place call Cleveland’s! No idea what it is, but it’s on the main drag in Buda.

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My route called for me to ride up South First Street. I thought it had bike lanes, but it didn’t. I made the decision to cut over to South Congress instead. About the time I hit South Congress, I realized my bike wasn’t shifting the front derailler. It took me a bit, but I finally figured out the battery in my electronic shifting system (Shimano Ultegra di2) was dying. Apparently I hadn’t checked it in about two weeks. The good news is that the rear derailler continued to shift for the rest of my ride, which is more important then the front derailler anyhow. I’ve only charged the system twice in the year I owned it, so it’s hard to remember to check it.

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I crossed Lady Bird Lake on the pedestrian bridge only to find a surprise on the other side – a festival had closed down my route so it took me a bit of time to figure out the best way to get around it.

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A new painting on the railroad bridge:

 

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I finally made it home after 73 miles of adventure and headwind.

On Sunday, it was also windy so I headed out for a 30 mile ride around town. I didn’t take any photos because you’ve basically seen the route plenty of times before 🙂

 

 

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Bike MS Training: April 5 – 6: Spokes N Spurs ride

And the countdown continues, only 3 more training weekends before Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride in north Texas during the first weekend of May. The ride goes from Frisco to Fort Worth with an overnight at the Texas Motor Speedway. This is my 7th year participating in a Bike MS ride, fundraising for the National MS Society in honor of my godmother and other family members that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. If you can, please consider making a donation in support of my participation.

This weekend I rode the Spokes N Spurs, a ride benefitting Spirit Reins Ranch. Spirit Reins transforms the lives of children and families impacted by abuse, neglect and other trauma by healing the past, strengthening families and communities, and building hope for the future. While not the first time I did this ride, it was the first time in quite a while. It’s a good ride, well-supported and goes through nice country roads out of Liberty Hill, Texas. Saturday was cool, with a chance of rain. I ended up wearing a jacket and did not regret it.

The ride starts in the dirt driveway of the ranch:

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Two horses were out to send us off:

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Small country road:

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Ranch gate with bluebonnets to the right:

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Bluebonnets amongst the rocks:

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Oh the things you see, fire hydrants lining a driveway:

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There were times it felt like I could see for miles – this was looking out over a small valley:

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Two horses checking me out:

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About halfway through the ride, the skies starting getting very interesting…

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We rode under a couple of railroad tunnels / bridges made out of black railroad wood:

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A bike and bluebonnets:

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We went through the non-existent town of Oatmeal, TX.

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Ominous skies. I did not get rained on, luckily, but the wind really picked up when we were near the dark clouds.

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Bike selfie at a rest stop:

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The skies from the rest stop:

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The Oatmeal Cemetery and some great sky:

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Some fluffy sheep, some shorn sheep:

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I added a few extra miles at the end of the ride to meet my training plan. I ended up riding 67 miles on Saturday.

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Bike MS Training: March 29 – 30th, checking out Salado

One month to go! In just four weeks, at the beginning of May, I’ll be riding the Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round-Up Ride in north Texas. Please consider making a donation in support of my participation! The ride goes from Frisco to Fort Worth with an overnight at the Texas Motor Speedway.

This weekend I decided to try a “new-to-me” charity ride: The Salado Smokin’ Spokes, a ride that benefits the Salado Volunteer Fire Department. I headed up to Salado early on Saturday morning to ride 70 miles. It was clear, but cool, so I had to wear leg and arm warmers ( on top of a warm long sleeve base layer.)

A picture from the starting line:

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There was a guy at the start that was riding a recumbent that had a yellow plastic shield with a cloth yellow covering. It was weird. It reminded me of the banana bike that I sometimes see in Austin.

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The ride started and we crossed I-35 on an “under construction” portion. Somehow I managed to not start my Garmin on time. The course on the other side of the interstate was beautiful.

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This ride was especially interesting in the way that the riders were all grouped for the majority of the ride. In many charity rides, I end up riding along for much of the ride, but I was basically never alone during this ride.

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Bright red barn:

 

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Random hill:

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Can you see the lake in the distance? It’s called Stillhouse Hollow lake.

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A retreat for patriots. Non-patriots need not apply.

 

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Lake close-up:

 

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For awhile we road along the recently repaved frontage road of 190. It wasn’t too bad actually, because there was very little traffic on it.

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Bluebonnets!

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The lake, again. I caught up with the group of cyclists in this photo and basically got a good draft off and on for the rest of the ride.

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Lovely country road. I didn’t get a good picture, but there were tons of bluebonnets in the fields along this road.

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A fence made out of bicycles:

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The view from one of the rest stops – their was a very large special events and conference center spread out along this road. In front of the building in this photo is a stream with a little waterfall.

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Horses:

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We ended up a dirt road for a while towards the very end of the ride:

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Church, waterfall, and picnic tables:

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The view from the park where we started and ended the ride, it looked like special events / wedding venue across the stream:

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I ended Saturday’s ride with a sandwich at a cafe in Salad0 and a chai latte. I think that chai latte was the best I’ve ever had. Of course, biking lots of miles does strange things to my taste buds. I rode 68 miles in all.

 

On Sunday it was very windy again and I headed south from my house for a ride through the neighborhoods.

A modern house that catches the eye on Shoal Creek blvd:

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Love the big agave plants:

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The view across Shoal Creek into some backyards:

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The pedestrian bridge that connects Far West with Shoal Creek:

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I rode 25 miles on Sunday.

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