Marty and I Pre-Ride - Looking Fresh
Johnny O invited me out to do the Johnson City loop and I rolled up to his house about 7:40 AM (late). Marty rolled up in short order and we rolled out to try the counter-clockwise loop. Now I’ve been to Johnson City a couple of times, but never on the loop. Always out Fitzhugh and back, so this was my 1st time venturing onto Hamilton Pool Rd. for this loop. I had experiences on Hamilton Pool Rd. before. Once solo from 71 to Crumley Ranch Rd. That was terrifying and I will never do that again. A second time was on a THSJ ride with quite a pack, coming the other direction, so not so scary.
The definition of the shoulder on Hamilton Pool Road is “Slim and None”. What shoulder there is is chip-seal covered with gravel. So going out I stayed planted on the white line. Traffic wasn’t super busy, but it was there and moving fast and mostly redneck. Marty had warned me about a section leading down to the river that had been graded but not yet overpaved. He was right, it was almost like cobbles, with handlebars bouncing around like crazy, I took this downhill much slower than I normally would have. Past that we ventured onto what I think was the best section of the ride, a left turn onto a small lazy farm road with the requisite cattle guards evenly spaced. This was a blast, and we were able to hammer it here, trading pulls.
Osgerby's New Garmin 7,000,000 ($2,500). This thing does everything but pedal.
This section ended with a left onto 281 (?). Again gravelly mini-shoulder and 70 mph autos. Not my “thing”. Marty told be it was about 9 minutes to Johnson City here, I set off to make it 6. I got in the drops and hammered as fast as I could go into a pretty steady headwind, to get this thing over with. Call me a city boy, I like the HUGE shoulders that 2244 and 620 afford. Wound up at a convenience store in Johnson City, where we all refueled (Coke – for immediate consumption – Gatorade – 1st water bottle – Agua – 2nd water bottle), chewed on a cliff bar and home we went. Riding home was much more enjoyable, still chip-seal and still no shoulder, but moderate traffic and continuous rolling hills. Once at the Pedernales Park entrance I felt back on familiar ground.
The climb out from the river was the only obstacle in the way, it was nasty as usual, made more so by the heat (by now well over 100 degrees), but up it we went and I just kinda flowed, (in that marathon mile haze) over the ensuing hills. Reaching the butter black top was heaven as wheel speed increased and effort to reach that speed eased. Left on RR 12 and right back on Hamilton Pool for about 3 miles to Johnny’s sundivision, which threw out one last cruel winding climb, and we were home. Exhausted. Something like 54 (?) pretty hard miles. We pushed it pretty well too, led out by Marty hammering the 1st third, my pulls on the 2nd third and Johnny “40 Miler” bringing us home.