Yesterday was perhaps as close as I could get to cycling nirvana.
It was one of those days that simply comes together, everything in perfect alignment. I woke up Saturday before sunrise, and was on the road by 7 am. My plan was to commute the 15 miles from my home in far Southwest Austin to downtown, at which point I would connect with a local cycling group on a hosted ACA ride. The commute was uneventful, as it was the same route I take on my weekday rides to my downtown office. It was, however, nice not to feel the stress of a full workday on my mind, so I instead took a more leisurely pace for most of the route. Also, the temperature was a comfortable, albeit chilly 38 degrees when I headed out, but certainly warmer than it had been over the last few weeks at that time of the morning.
The group ride started at 9am, and 20 riders headed west out of Zilker Park. I am not a huge fan of big group rides for a variety of reasons, but I do go out occasionally for the camaraderie and for the exposure to new cycling routes. The entire 20+ mile route was contained in the scenic areas of West Austin. I’ve lived in Austin the majority of my life, but this particular area still inspires me. The short, steep hills, the oak tree-lined vistas, the views of Lake Austin, and the beautiful, older neighborhoods made the ride simply awesome.
After the group ride, Carol met me at the Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail for a quick 10-mile mountain bike ride around Town Lake and downtown Austin. The runners, walkers, and cyclists were thick (the temperature by now in the 60’s), but the sunshine and crowded conditions made it almost a festive atmosphere. About halfway into the ride, we stopped off at a local coffee joint for some very strong iced-coffee (I know this sounds cliche, but I am a sucker for a good, strong cup of coffee) before we headed for the finish line.
The day had it all: a total of 45-miles worth of cycling fitness, a bike commute, a fun group ride with new friends, spectacular views, an appreciation of the nature around my hometown, mountain biking, spending time with my bride, and a really good cup of Joe. What could be better? Well, I did try a Black Marlin Porter from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewery later in the evening. An outstanding 6% abv American Porter with a huge head and a strong coffee flavor.
But I digress.
Proof positive that a boy (and his girl), a bike, and a large iced-coffee can make for a pretty appealing day.
P.S. I’ve had a number of folks ask if I’d be willing to profile interesting rides on this blog, to provide commentary on routes in the area that might be of interest to others. So, keep your eyes peeled for semi-regular updates that I’ll aptly title “Red-Letter Rides”.