Today it is just Bill, Steve, and I. We are not sure that this is the group ride, but I ask to do it as it is always one of my favorites, at least the first part of the ride. If I remember correctly, this was the first Texas ride I ever did, and I remember the feel of the sun on my shoulders and the comradeship. It was the first Texas century I completed on my fixed gear, and occasionally as I climb hills today I will wonder at our audacity and success in doing so. Oh, the things I let these boys talk me into doing.
Suddenly Bill, Steve, and I are the subjects of a photo shoot. The car photographs us, drives ahead, stops and photographs us again and again. At one point, it really begins to be a bit annoying and I am glad when they stop. Evidently the photographs are for a German cycling magazine. I wish I had a copy of a couple of the shots as I am not a good photographer and I am not capable of taking photos while riding anyway.
The roads on this ride wind over cattle guards and down little used roads. The live oaks again amaze me with the beauty in their tortured forms. The pace is nice and relaxed: we have no place to go. I begin to grow melancholy about the end of this adventure.
At the first store stop, we run into the Gregs, Joe, Jeff, and Lynn. Greg and Joe have told me that tonight there will be a Big Dog gathering at the brewery. I don't believe I have ever been there. I know I will not gather the courage to go and that I have a million excuses to serve me. Part of me wants to go, but part of me knows that it would be like torture. When I see the photos of all the people I don't know, I am glad that I don't go and don't have to worry about how I stammered and babbled like an idiot girl.
Later in the ride Steve comes upon a cow, quite large and quite black, that is not at all sure that it wants to share the road. It glares, but gives in moving enough for him to pass and the rest of us to follow. We decide to cut the Lukenbach loop off of the ride as we have all been there. It is scenic and I have some fond memories of the place, particularly during one brevet when it was cold and rainy and the pot belly stove was pouring out heat and the guitars were pouring out love songs, but I have no strong desire to return right now.
After the ride we head to the Enchanted Inn for one last Mexican meal. We talk about tomorrow and decide that rather than the group rides, we are going to ride to Blanco for a cheeseburger. (Yes, it's all about the food;-) This is Mike's last night with us. Tomorrow he is flying home, but he tells us he is already planning on returning next year. The rest of us all know we will return next year, God and pocket books willing.