Hey, Wanna go for a bike ride?
The Real Ale Ride is an annual ride that leaves from the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco, Texas. It extends for loops in various distances ranging from 20 to 60 miles. The cast of characters included yours truly, Superfan Dad, and Non-blob Newb. We signed up for the 60-miler, but things don’t always go as planned.
Sure, I’m up for it.
The 60-mile loop included several pitfalls. The first was the fact that apparently a memo went out indicating that you should only do the 60-miler if you are on Lance Armstrong’s private cycling training team. Don’t try to ride with these people if you are on a new bike that you’re not adept at operating (yours truly), you haven’t ridden in a group since October (Superfan Dad), or you haven’t ridden a bike since you were ten (Non-Blob Newb). If you’re not clipped in to your pedals at stop lights, you don’t belong with this group. If you’re not motoring up hills at 22.6mpg, you don’t belong with this group. If your components weigh more than a hummingbird skeleton, you don’t belong with this group.
How far is sixty miles, anyway?
A plain old sixty-mile ride isn’t really all that big of a deal. Or should I say, a PLANE old sixty-mile ride isn’t that big of a deal. Flat miles are happy miles; smooth and easy, they roll off like wood shavings from a lazily whittled stick in the hands of an ancient front porch sitter. Nothing to it. But these sixty miles seemed to all come in the form of near-vertical inclines rising mercilessly from steamy former river beds on gooey ribbons of melting black top magma. Perhaps the ride was sixty crow-flying miles, but I swear we went at least a century given all the ups and downs. (Honest.)
Besides, what could go wrong?
Aside from the ups and downs adding to our overall distance, there was also a minor problem with the lefts and rights. We somehow missed the turn back toward the brewery (I’m still shocked at the mis-calebration of my inner compass. Missing the way to the beer – a terrifying inaccuracy!) and didn’t realize it, despite being ceaselessly circled by birds of prey as the only living creatures in the natural vicinity, until the Sag Wagon happened upon us and it’s driver, stupefied at our misstep, let us know that we were trying our damnedest to turn this into a hundred mile ride in hundred degree heat.
Wisely kowtowing to his suggestion that do a quick 180 and head for home, we didn’t totally wimp out by jumping in the back of his air-conditioned eurovan and sucking down a Capri Sun on the way back to the brewery. Determined to complete the task at hand, we mustered the magic of Google Maps to find the most direct route from the hottest, steepest, and least well-designated intersection in Texas back to where the beer was cold. So what if a ride-employed medic felt legally obligated to tail us in his supply truck for the last 15 miles? We finished just like everybody else: sunburned, whipped, and proud as hell.
Beers are on me!
Back at the brewery all the pitfalls of the ride itself were instantly forgotten. You could hardly hear your inner skeptic over the wailing zydeco band. And all would-be athletes know the superior anaesthetic powers of a good, cold, heady ale. In all, it was a blast and a must for the ever-growing annual cycle circuit.
See you next year!