Tandems in Texas: Southwest Tandem Rally 2016

We live over 900 miles from Georgetown, Texas. As we drive towards home on Interstate 20, I have plenty of time to go through my pictures and put together a blog. Roger just mentioned that when we were working we only drove within a 500-mile radius of home for a tandem weekend. It’s nice to make use of our more “flexible scheduling” (with thanks to Larry Linzer for the fantastic phrase) and expand our territory!
As I look through the photos I see lots of people having fun, and that’s why we like tandeming and rallies so much.

Big smiles all around
Big smiles all around

What I don’t see in the pictures is a threat of dangerous weather on Thursday night going into Friday morning. The SWTR folks are concerned that storms could roll in as the day progresses on Friday and they use their emergency texting system (we are SO stealing that for GTR!) to inform us that the 52-mile route is closed, and that all routes will close at 11am. We don’t see any storms until much later in the day on Friday, but better safe than sorry.

The Friday ride is a remote start from The Vineyard at Florence, about 30 minutes away from our host hotel.

The Vineyard building is magnificent
The Vineyard building is magnificent

We miss the mass start when Roger steps in soft ground that is some sort of mud/slurry/cement and it fills in his clete. Marcia Becker comes to the rescue and takes Roger’s shoe to clean it out. When everyone takes off to start the ride Roger is standing with one shoe off, and one shoe on and we get on the road after everyone else. It’s a fun morning of chase and catch up for us.

We catch up with the Kevin and Linda
We find Kevin and Linda Vinson
an impressive entrance to one of the ranches on our out & back route
The impressive entrance to one of the ranches on our out & back route
At the farthest part of our ride
At the farthest part of our ride – no blue skies here

Wine tastings take place after the riding is done. The fact that we all have to finish riding by 11am makes for a crowd in the dining room and in the tasting area. After we socialize and taste some wine, we head over to a German biergarten in Walburg.
DSCN3116

at the biergarten, go big - or go home!
When at the biergarten, go big – or go home!

Georgetown has a lovely historic town square with many nice restaurant options for all of us on Thursday and Friday nights.
DSCN3119
We enjoy pizza and beer at the 600 Degrees Pizza and Drafthouse, and genuine Tex-Mex at Dos Salsas.

my combo at Dos Salsas, pleasing to the eye and palate
Friday night dinner at Dos Salsas, pleasing to the eye and palate

Saturday morning we ride from the Community Center in the San Gabriel Park. Later, we will have our lunch here after the ride, as well as our social hour and Saturday night banquet, and barn dancing!

inside the community center
Inside the community center on Saturday night
Saturday morning ride start
Saturday morning ride start
Leaving San Gabriel Park
Leaving San Gabriel Park
you can see me taking the picture in the shadow
you can see me taking the picture in the shadow
corn and blue skies
corn and blue skies
 we had home baked poppyseed, banana bread... ate it too fast to photograph it!
We had home baked poppyseed, banana bread… ate it too fast to photograph it!

I will point out that I saw just as many huge smiles while we were learning to square dance as I did while out on the road! Sorry, I was too busy smiling and dancing to take any photos!

taking in the sights and enjoying friends on the ride
taking in the sights and enjoying friends on the ride

A few thoughts on the Texas experience. The pre-tour in hill country was in fact quite hilly. I expected hills, but I was a little surprised by the wind. I am just not used to the wind as my constant companion. Some of the riding was made much more difficult by the brutal head winds. The official rally routes over the weekend were not as hilly as the pre-tour.  When there was climbing it was usually short bursts of climbing, but not really anything long and drawn out.  We didn’t get many coasting opportunities, which translated to lots of pedaling (and lots of steps on my fitbit)! And one more thing, the road surface is very rough and in many places it’s broken up. They don’t pay state income taxes in Texas and there is not a lot of money for rural road improvement.   It made me really appreciate the roads in my home state of Georgia.

Although we went into this week thinking it would be our one and only appearance at a SWTR we had TOO MUCH FUN! We shall return.

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2 thoughts on “Tandems in Texas: Southwest Tandem Rally 2016

  1. I loved the close-up photo of the two Münchnerbier “steine.” I spent two months in München in 87 and learned that Bier is considered a breakfast drink as well as a lunch drink and dinner drink and nightcap. Dreimal hoch!

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