Texas Hill Country – Fredericksburg
Day 3/6 of “Biking and Blogging” on the Classic Adventures Texas Hill Country Tour.
Our ride today took us from Comfort to Fredericksburg, the heart of Texas hill country.
We packed up and took our luggage to the van for the last time on the tour, at least until the end of the tour. Our next four nights are in Fredericksburg at the Inn on Barons Creek. No more moving!
It might sound like a small thing, maybe it even is, but when you’re biking from place to place, sometimes (all the time) the last thing you feel like doing is unpacking, only to have to repack the next morning. It doesn’t make sense to actually unpack for just one night, but four nights we could really settle in. Plus, it would save time in the mornings so we could sleep later – eureka!
On a bike tour with decent daily mileage (at least 35-50) most of your time is spent biking – eating – sleeping – repeating. Very little time is spent sightseeing although you see plenty of sights while riding and can stop whenever the mood hits you. Having dinner as a group is a time to explore the town a little, get to know your biking buds and guides and get a sense of the town. Oh, and eat really well.
Starting out from Comfort the conditions were close to perfect – overcast, a comfortable temperature, light traffic and a tailwind – all of which can turn any place into cycling nirvana. It was also a great route, actually all the routes were. Classic Adventures gets an A+ on route selection, choosing off-the-beaten path, yet very rideable, roads. The route sheets/trip notes were also spot on. And, since they equipped the bikes with a computer you always knew exactly where to turn. I can’t imagine doing a bike tour without a bike computer, all instructions are done by mileage so it’s no wonder people get lost without one.
Suffice it to say, the route sheets and trip notes were so detailed and precise that I followed them with no trouble – and as those of you familiar with my ability to get lost understand – that’s no small feat.
Our first stop was at Old Tunnel State Park; to get there though, we had to climb our first significant hill. By now it was raining lightly and the temperature was getting cooler. Old Tunnel, aka Bat Cave, is an old railway tunnel and home to millions of bats. We saw neither, but it would have been cool to see the bats – from a distance.
Dale was waiting for us with the van to refill our bottles and stomachs, both of which are always appreciated. On a bike tour it’s critical to drink and eat throughout the day, food is fuel and you can’t ride without it so you must eat – it’s tough, but I’m always up for the challenge.
Speaking of eating, lunch was in Luckenbach – home to Waylon and Willie and the boys. A small place during the week, but a busy, crowded place on the weekend. The ride there was ideal; serenely beautiful in that bucolic kind of way.
Another day where we saw more horses, cows and sheep than people and cars.
Rolling into Luckenbach for our well-earned picnic lunch put us at the half way point in terms of mileage for the day. It had been an incredibly easy ride to that point; I was beginning to get my “bike touring legs”. Even though we’ve done a lot of training this year, it still takes a few consecutive days of riding to get there – guess it’s sort of like getting sea legs. Anyway, I was feeling strong and the riding seemed effortless. Could have been that tailwind too.
Still, my legs always complain (shut up legs!) getting back on the bike after lunch. Stopping for very long causes everything to kind of stiffen up – and if you’re young and it doesn’t happen to you I don’t want to hear about it.
Every day there were mileage options, with Mark and I usually riding the longer option. The legs could complain if they wanted to, but we just ignored them.
Case in point: After lunch we decided to back-track on Grapetown road about 5 miles because the roads were so darn nice and the scenery so darn bucolic.
This time stopping to smell and shoot the flowers.
The afternoon ride was more of the same – miles of empty roads and easy riding. The kind of day when you could just keep riding.
When we did roll into our home for the next four nights, Inn on Barons Creek, our luggage was in the room (as it was on every other day too) so all we had to do was grab a cold beer and relax outside by the creek.
For the day, we rode 45 miles, averaged 12.0 mph, climbed 2,500 feet and burned 1,700 calories – which I would more than make up for at dinner at the excellent Bejas Grill where I had the best southwestern style meal of my life. We walked back to our room and did something I had been looking forward to since leaving Comfort – unpacked!