A New Sunday morning route

17 Jun

I have been riding the same route on the Leon Creek Greenbelt for a long time. We will ride in different directions and in different orders to change it up. When you have ridden up and down what feels like a few hundred times it is time to do something else. I didn’t feel like I was making any real progress anymore. Yes I’m getting older and my sprint times are still averaging the same. I needed to progress or at least see some different scenery.
I chose to try something a little different. I have been thinking about a variety of routes. I finally settled on a route that would be reasonably fun and replicate the Tour de Gruene ITT route for training. They have a route that runs down River road then up a bunch of climbs. I found a route that runs up the north end of LCG under Loop 1604 and onto IH 10 west access road. The access road runs in front of the Rim shopping mall and out to Boerne stage rd. This first 10 miles is almost dead flat just 1% to 3% grades and equal down grades. The ride along the access road is delightful and fast. I looked down and saw speeds up to 24 mph (38 kph). Now at this time Boerne stage rd. is under construction and would be too dangerous for bike traffic. With a quick stop at Starbucks for a quick glass of Ice Coffee I was ready to go again. I opted to use Cielo Vista up to Babcock rd. For those who don’t know Cielo Vista this is one of our hardest local climbing roads. It starts out dead flat for maybe 200 yards/meters or so then swings up to 18.5% grade. From then on it stair steps from 3% to 11% grade without a level spot for a long while. Then a quick down grade that I got up to 32 mph (51 kph), this asphalt is a little too rough to go fast when you don’t know the road, and right back to 10% to 12% climbing over the second big hump. When you’re climbing that hard you feel like you’re going to die. When you hit the sections that slack off to just 3% grade it feels flat. I guess this is what they call a false flat. Just before you get to Babcock rd. you descend for a couple of hundred yards to the stop sign. This little drop allows you to recover just enough so you can look like it was no big deal to climb Cielo Vista. As all cyclist know, you must always make it look like the hardest climb was nothing. On Babcock rd. is always a number of riders, it’s a very popular riding road. So as I reached the stop sign two cyclists came by. I did my best to look like coming up Cielo Vista was easy, even though my chest was pounding and my legs ached. I turned southeast and started the first decent. This drops down and gives you an easy run to recover for a moment. Then you turn right on to Kyle Seale Parkway and soon it is right back to 10% climbing. This fist pull is long and hard. You can see way up the road and it looks like it goes on forever. If you push too hard there is a nice place to pull over just before the summit. Then across the top it is lumpy with short declines and sharp little 6% to 8% hills. Then down the long grades to the loop 1604 access road and a quick return to the house.
This ride is just 22 miles and has about 981 ft. of climbing (feels like a lot more). This will mimic the Tour de Gruene ITT course well (18.1 mi & 1063 ft. climbing, max 16.2%). The TdG ITT route is listed on Strava as segment “Pain Cave: Tour de Gruene ITT” so you can look it up if you like. If I can do this on Sunday mornings most weeks until the race I may be strong enough to not be dead last in my age group again.
This is a very good ride for a Sunday morning. I saw almost as many bikes as cars the whole morning. It is very light traffic. For those who don’t live close by there is ample parking at the park-n-ride lot under the bridges of Loop 1604 and IH 10. If you start here you lose my five miles of LCG but gain a couple coming back from Kyle Seale Parkway north on the loop 1604 access rd. so I would think it would be about 18 miles round trip. For my first trip around it was a slow ride, avg 13.9 mph taking just over an hour and a half. I can see where I can do a lot better. If I can catch a few of the lights green (I would never run a red light, yah right) it will help a little. They are very long lights. It would really help if I had a fellow rider along. But the other side of the coin is if I’m training for ITT then I really do need to do it by myself. So the plan is to get out and suffer a little each Sunday morning. It will do the soul good and maybe the waistline some good also. When you see an old guy who is a bit too fat that looks like he is suffering, shout him some encouragement. Who knows It could be me getting ready for my one race a year.

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