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Old 04-02-22, 03:04 PM
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March was a mixed bag -- banner month for total miles, a few personal records, and yet, I felt 'off' on lots of my rides. Therefore, I wanted to get a good start in April. With clear skies and mild winds -- and a Saturday to myself -- I set out shortly after sunrise with a loose outline of a Century route. In the back of my mind, I was reserving the option to bail out to a shortcut if need be.

With uncertainty, and hours to go, I started off by plodding along at a leisurely pace. First, I ventured through the city -- College towns are refreshingly quiet on early weekend mornings. I left town north, towards Austin; part of me wanted to angle back towards the Veloway, but then I resolved to get as far from traffic as possible. I crossed under I-35, bearing east out into the prairies. Less than a mile from the interstate and I was surrounded by fields: Mustang Ridge. Other cyclists, most likely from Austin, frequented the area; I waved to those oncoming, and spoke -- briefly -- with the lone cyclist who caught and passed me. I would be alone, save for a few farm trucks, all the way to Lockhart, around mile 50.

I stopped at McDonalds. It sounds odd to call it a treat, but my more local McD's have shuttered their lobbies, so being able to sit and enjoy some French fries and a fountain soda was really something kind of special for lunch. I didn't sit too long, of course -- it was back out to the bike and the road. I had a choice here: just 20 miles home, or take the long way and round up to a century. I turned the long way, and decided to commit.

Around an hour after pushing on -- I was feeling pretty good -- I reached one of my favorite places to sit and contemplate. I watched the water pass under the bridge while chewing on a few gummy snacks, and reminded myself to grab a picture!

From the river, the road climbs (of course) to one of the highest ridges in the area, around Kingsbury (still in the plains, and not quite the Hill Country). Aside from the rolling hills, the area is popular for Wildflower viewing. Texas' wildflowers only bloom for a short couple weeks in the spring, and so must be appreciated on their schedule. This week, the Blue Bells have just started to open up, both along the roadside and out in the pastures. Knowing where to look now, you can bet I'll be making a few more loops that away to watch as more fields come into bloom.

I upped the pace just a bit on my last 15 miles. The day's leisurely pace had left a lot of energy in reserve, and left me optimistic about my riding for the rest of this month!
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