Due to my starting a new job this week and my wife finishing hers, my kids were staying with my in-laws. Vic drove up from south Texas on Friday, we spent the night with cousins, then drove out on Saturday to both pick up the kids and spend the weekend with the in laws and extended family. Since I hadn't cycled all week, I made sure Vic was okay with me cycling on Sunday, and took the bike.
On Saturday afternoon, my father-in-law and I scouted the area for a good route. I had some ideas, but wanted to drive some of the potential routes to verify surface and safety. The routes were in rural east Texas, where I grew up, and even while riding in the truck with the windows up I swore I heard the faint notes of "Dueling Banjos". My father-in-law mentioned several times that some of these folks back in the woods might not look to kindly on a lycra-clad fancy lad riding through their area. Undeterred, I picked a route that combined some larger roads with a VERY backwoods segment that followed some winding, narrow country roads.
I woke up Sunday at 6:00a, and was on the road by 6:20a. I thought the banjo-pickers wouldn't be up that early. It was humid and warm, typical east Texas weather, and with virtually zero wind. A few miles from the start I ran into a little fog. Fog makes cycling dangerous, but it was beautiful. Thunderstorms were in the area, highlighted by the rising sun, and I stopped to snap a photo.
2 miles later, I connected with Highway 105, and had a nice wide shoulder. I paced up to about 20 mph, enjoying the smooth pavement and lack of traffic. It couldn't last, and eventually I found an area that had been drenched by the thunderstorms, and the roads were still wet enough that me and the bike got filthy. Even with the grit, I felt great. It's always nice to get back on the bike after a week of only being able to find time to jog.
On the way back, I stopped to take a photo of the Trinity River crossing. Trinity...I started modifying the religious concept to match my addiction to cycling. The first thing that entered my mind was an idea from my buddy Speedo. He says that cycling jerseys should be a combination of red, white, and black to symbolize the trinity of blood, bone, and bruises. Don't know if I agree with that, because I really like other colors. What about other cycling trinities? Gears, wheels, and a frame. The Tour, Giro, and Vuelta. Calves, quads, and glutes. Regardless of the trio, they symbolize the religious fervor that most of us cyclists put on the activity.
I didn't stay in my trinity-inspired reverie for long. I focused on completing the route and not falling on the slick road. I finished 37 miles in 1'57", with a moving average of 19 mph. I was pretty happy with that, considering it was my first time on the route, streets were slick, and I hadn't ridden in a week. If you want more ride data, including a map that you can use to find the Trinity, you can find it here.
P.S. Ultimately I didn't ride on the more rural, isolated roads due to some nasty chip-seal. I didn't realize how bad it was when driving on it, but once on the bike it was bad enough that I changed the route.