What a picture perfect day in Austin, Texas. Now that the storms moved out, we’ve had two amazing days of sunshine. We went to a co-ed wedding shower last night for my coworker Matt. Being on good behavior, we both sipped a glass of wine knowing that our plan was to get up early today and head to Johnson City for a bike ride and afternoon picnic at Becker Vineyards.
We made it out to Johnson’s Ranch by 9:00am. It’s about an hour drive from my house so we were up and at it pretty early. Most people wonder why you would drive an hour for a bike ride. Well, the picturesque views and the lack of cars trying to run you over are two perfectly acceptable reasons for me. It starts at President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ranch and winds about 40 miles up and down some hills and along some nicely paved country roads. Did I mention there’s very little traffic??? We did this ride 6 months ago and it kicked my ass for a number of reasons. First, we got lost a couple of times and probably ended up riding 6-7 miles longer than we needed to…we had no gatorade or Clif Shots for nutrition…It was much later in the day and the sun was starting to go down…We had eaten very little all day and had both had a glass of wine BEFORE the ride. This made for an awful experience. I was cursing Shawn up and down the last time we were here and swore I would never do it again… HA HA
I was anxious to do really well on this ride today, in part, so that I could get a little retribution from the first experience. Plus, I really needed a confidence builder on the bike. Well, it’s amazing what some calories and preparation will do! (and the right directions). We did fantastic on this course and averaged right at 15mph. There were a ton of long slow climbs and plenty of head wind, which kept the overall average slightly down. I had my trusty tangerine power gels and they worked wonders at 1 hr and 2:15 into the ride. We were well-hydrated and feeling pretty decent. We ended up riding 40.50 miles, which felt good. I definitely had another 16 miles in me to get to the 56 Half-Ironman distance. Now, the thought of following that up with a Half-Marathon was a little daunting, but I know I could do it. All in all, it was a great benchmark of where I’m at on the bike. My goal for the Half-Ironman is to ride in about 3:15 or so. (17-18 mph). It’s a flat course, but usually very windy. We’ll see!
We saw some cattle (who were in the middle of the road and not budging until a truck drove by), a fox, deer, road runner, sheep, longhorn cattle and big dogs that were more scary than any of the other aforementioned animals…We also saw some wine vineyards, cattle ranches and peach orchards. Very beautiful…This is what the Dixie Chicks were talking about in “Wide Open Spaces.”
We followed that up by going to Fredericksburg, picking up turkey sandwiches and salad and heading to Becker Vineyards for an afternoon picnic. Becker is definitely one of my favorite wineries in the Texas Hill country with great selections of wine and plenty of grassy areas to throw down a romantic picnic on a gorgeous day. We sampled a few wines and settled on a couple of glasses of Riesling. I know I wanted something cold and sweet, which is odd because I’m usually a red wine gal. White just sounded more refreshing after the ride. We read the Sunday paper and simply enjoyed the rare moments of peace and quiet.
This is what Sundays were made for.