Monday, August 5, 2013

Cycling in the Aughts: Fredericksburg Weekend

  • In 1979, my wife and I took what was to be the last bicycling vacation for 29 years.
  • In 1981, the first of our two sons was born.
  • In 2007, the second of our two sons graduated high school and moved away to college.
  • In 2008, my wife and I took a long delayed, second bicycling vacation together.

Do I see a pattern?

Zombie's wife, 1979, Brandon, VT
Zombie Cyclist, 1979, Dorset, VT

A lot happened during the 29 years between bicycling vacations, most of it truly wonderful, but none of it relevant to this blog. One thing happened which, although inevitable, was nonetheless un-wonderful; we got old. Thankfully, neither of us is too old to ride a bicycle. Another thing that is definitely relevant to this blog is my wife's determination to ride with me. The bicycle ride I took on August 1, 2008 represented a clear watershed, the first day in many years I rode my Bianchi Specialissima and the day I restarted cycling on regular basis. My second ride was on August 5, and already my wife was riding along side me. Our second bicycling vacation, taken a mere three months after our cycling restart, was modest compared to the one 29 years earlier, constituting only two days of riding over a long weekend, but my wife's enthusiasm can be seen in that she chose this vacation as her present for a very special birthday. Both the similarities and differences between these two vacations are striking, and at the expense of repeating some pictures from my last post, I have tried to highlight this.

Zombie's wife, 2008, Luchenbach, TX
Zombie Cyclist, 2008, Fredericksburg, TX

In Vermont, in 1979, we stayed in inns. In Texas, in 2008, we stayed at a bed and breakfast, a very similar kind of accommodation. Although The Town Creek Bed and Breakfast (where we stayed, highly recommended) did not supply dinner like the inns in Vermont, it was within easy walking distance of the excellent restaurants of Fredericksburg, so the overall experience had the same luxurious feel as Vermont.

The Garden Cottage at Town Creek Bed and Breakfast, where we stayed.

Whereas the route we followed in Vermont was provided by the Churchill Inn who organized the trip, in Fredericksburg, it was provided by Cycle Texas, a consortium of local cyclists led by the local bike shop. In short, the Vermont vacation was more Prix Fixe, the Fredericksburg vacation more A La Carte, but the overall effect was quite similar.

Working barn in the countryside around Fredericksburg, Texas

Both vacations provided rides over quiet roads through authentically rural scenery. Vermont is a little greener and more New England, Texas is more rugged and Old West, but both were variations on the same theme. Both involved a lot of climbing, and the maximum elevation achieved was the same for both trips, just over 2,000 feet. I was unable to reconstruct if the amount of climbing was similar because I was unable to determine the lowest elevation we reached in Vermont; Fredericksburg is at just under 1,700 feet, but rides from there go down to about 1,500 feet increasing the climbing a bit.

Rolling hills near Fredericksburg.

The cycling routes provided by Cycle Texas are superb, both for the rides themselves as well as the information provided on Cycle Texas's website. These rides vary between 19 and 88 miles in length. For this trip, my wife and I completed a 30 and a 23 mile ride together, and I rode an additional 20 mile ride one afternoon while my wife caught up on her reading. Although the vagaries of life prevented us from returning to Fredericksburg as quickly as we hoped, we continue to hope that, with more miles in our legs, we can go back and try some of the longer routes Fredericksburg has to offer.

Livestock on the road (contained by cattleguards) is evidence of the very low traffic.

I cannot say enough about the opportunities presented to cyclists by Fredericksburg, Texas. I have revisited the roads of my California childhood, and found them delightful but much busier then when I last rode them 40 years ago. By contrast, the roads around Fredericksburg remind me of the roads of my childhood, not the roads of today. I have previously mentioned Cycle Texas, but here again is a link to their website:

The town of Fredericksburg is filled with some of the finest accommodations and restaurants in the world. The only place we have stayed is Town Creek Bed and Breakfast, so we cannot talk from personal experience about any of the others in Fredericksburg, but we can say Town and Creek is one of the loveliest experiences we have had anywhere. By the end of the visit, we considered the owners as personal friends. If you are traveling to Fredericksburg, you should definitely give them serious consideration. However, as best I can tell, the do not have a website, you have to telephone them:

304 N Edison St
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

For those new to this blog, each week I am posting an update of my training results; see my previous posts for explanations of my aerobic training programMAF tests, and this graph.

My MAF test results seem to have plateaued. I will be interested to see what they do when I move from base training to build training and start doing longer and longer weekly rides.

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