My goodness it’s already December and 2015 is about to be put on the shelf. Where has it all gone? Apparently it has gone under my wheels, at least over 4100 miles worth. I am surprised that I have cycled that much this year. Honestly, I had no idea I have pedaled until I looked up the number on Strava. I am pleased with what I have found and after doing some more digging, the past three years has been a steady ramp up on the miles. Hopefully, it will continue to the next year.
Where did I go in that 4100 plus miles? I traveled to San Antonio and did my first full century ride on a tough hilly course (compared to the terrain from here in the Rio Grande Valley) of the Fiesta Wildflower tour. It was a tough ride but I got it done. I spent over a month training and training for that ride and it really paid off. I can now safely claim that I’m a Centurion!
Where’s my Bike!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what happened on the drive back. After cycling one hundred miles, some of my friends drove back to the Valley right then and there. Not me. I wanted to rest up before heading back so a friend of mine and I stayed overnight and planned to drive back the following day. Later that evening I see a post on Facebook that Veronica had their bike stolen at a rest stop on the drive back! OMG! I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought it was a joke but soon realized that it was for real. It was either stolen off the rack, while at a rest stop, or it fell off on the drive home. Either way, she didn’t notice it missing until they got home.
My heart sank reading that post. We were all saddened with the news but my mind went into over gear thinking of what might have happened. We decided that on the drive back, we would keep an eye out on the road for any signs for her bike and maybe we can find some remnants of what’s left. Being a carbon road bike I figured that it would have been in pieces and maybe we can take back a pedal or handlebar, something. Nothing. We didn’t see not one piece of her bike on the drive home. Bummer. Later, someone started a GoFundMe to help Veronica raise funds for a replacement. I did my part and donated some cha ching to get her started.
By Monday afternoon word was that her bike was found! Apparently someone found the bike on the side of the road and picked it up. Heading the same way and remembering seeing a SUV with bikes on it the good Samaritan proceeded to check the local bike shops for the owner. Eventually Bicycle World in McAllen located and contacted Veronica to give her the good news. Even better news was that after carefully inspecting the bike for any damage and or cracks in the frame the bike was in excellent condition. It just needed new bar tape and a tweak here and there. Wow! Mind blowing to think that a carbon bike that falls off the bike rack going 60 plus miles per hour and is still rideable afterwards! Specialize makes some real tough bikes! She still rides the same bike today.
The Good Samaritan poses with Veronica and her lost bike – photo courtesy of Veronica
In Veronica’s own words of the what happened,
Today I am very happy because I found my bike!!! At around 4:00 pm, I got a call from Tracy from the Bicycle World location in Harlingen to tell me that they had found my bike!!! How amazing is that!!!
Nathan Moncivais found my bike on the road coming from San Antonio to visit family in the Valley. He posted it on different bike shops in San Antonio until he thought of posting it to Bicycle World RGV. What an amazing individual! He could have easily sold it but decided to do the right thing. He even fixed the flat and the handle bar, wow! I left it at the shop because they had to replace the handle bar tape and fix the levers to shift gears properly.
This experience has let me know how much people care about me and that there’s a lot of good people out there. I will never forget this experience. Thank you all of my cycling friends for supporting me! I love you guys heart emoticon
Don’t you like happy endings? I know I do and I’m pretty sure that Veronica does too!
I took a mini vacation to Houston to visit a friend of mine and to get a second opinion at MD Anderson. That second opinion was worth the trip in gold as it put my fears of a prostate cancer fears to rest. I do have cancer but it is at such an early stage that it’s barely considered cancerous. The best thing I can do is to continue with my life and actively monitor it. At the right time, years on down the road, I can have the operation to remove my Prostate. With the diagnosis behind me that left me with free time to explore Houston on my bike.
For this trip I took my commuter bike, the Sirrus with me. I wanted a more casual experience and not be all spandexy. A longtime buddy of mine invited me to stay at his home with his family in the Woodland Heights area. This area is such a fabulous neighborhood that it is very easy to get to the bayou trail system. Saturday I went out to explore the Buffalo Bayou trail from one end to another. At one point I inadvertently got off the trail and was heading over to Rice University. I didn’t realize that until I started chatting with someone while waiting for the train to pass an intersection. I figure that would save that for a different day.
The following day I was out exploring the neighborhood when I ran into the West White Oak Bayou trail system and decided to take it to see where it leads me. The day was fantastic with lots of people out doing the same thing. At the end of the trail I snuck in a Burger King lunch to refuel. This trail was a little more secluded than the Buffalo Bayou system but just as good. Each has their own uniqueness to it that makes them interesting and fun to ride on.
Overall the Houston getaway was a fun trip. Both bayou trails trips added up to about 45 miles of dedicated hike and bike trails. If you are ever in Houston with your bikes I suggest to try these trails.
Another trip I took was over to Corpus Christi for the Conquer the Coast metric century tour. I’ve done this ride once before and I wanted to do beat my previous time. The route does have two bay bridges to cross and several smaller ones but that is not the challenge of this ride. The wind is what makes it challenging. Being along the coast, there is constant wind and many days it’s gusting. This year it was different, rain was thrown into the mix. It had rained the night before and on the early part of the ride it was also raining lightly. This made it a surprisingly fast and dirty ride at the beginning.
My other ride was not out of the Valley but at the East end of the Valley in Brownsville, Texas. Brownsville is an up and coming cycling destination. A recent article has been written about that city that does an excellent job detailing their cycling history. Written by April Corbin, PeopleforBikes equity writer, Invisible no more: Brownsville’s neglected biking culture goes public is a fascinating read. Brownsville has really come a long way in a short amount of time and it’s time for other Valley cities to take note. Anyways, earlier this year I went over to hit up the Gladys Porter Zoo then bike on over to the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic park using one of many dedicated trails. The trail actually connects the two area attractions together using a rails-to-trails conversion.
I got the zoo early one Saturday morning with my Sirrus on the bike rack. With my bike locked up I went to the zoo to check out the critters living there. I hadn’t been to this zoo in decades and I was curious how it was holding up. Wow, the Gladys Porter Zoo is still rock’s with a variety of plant and animal life. This zoo seems to be well attended with families and school outings which is great to see. The place is also a lot bigger than I thought and I didn’t get to see all of what it has to offer because it was nearing lunch time and I wanted to hit the road to the battlefield before it gets too hot. Another trip out here with friends would be fun.
At the parking lot I gear up for my ride to the other attraction, the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic park. The battlefield is the site of a skirmish between the U.S. and Mexico that leads to the U.S. Mexican war. Pretty significant I would say and worth the trip to see for yourself. The trail head is a mishmash at the beginning where you can take the sidewalk or the streets for about half a block to where the real trail starts. The actual trail used to be an abandoned railway that has since been converted to a hike and bike trail. It’s pretty nice to slice through the city and neighborhoods from a different angle. The route is eight miles from the zoo to the park that passes through old warehouses, between neighborhoods and some of the many resacas that Brownsville has. Quite scenic and peaceful. There are places to exit or enter the trails at the intersections.
You eventually get out of the city and hit the countryside and the beauty it provides. You do have to take an overpass to get to the park but it is well-marked. The park itself is marked with a big cannon at the hike and bike entrance. Yes, there is a separate entrance for those the walk, run or bike to the park! They do have a bike rack to park and lock up your wheels. There is a long and winding paved trail that you can follow that meanders through the prairie and an HQ for all the historical artifacts that have been discovered in the area as well as the history of what happened. It’s a very nice place to go look at what life was like back then. One thing that stood out was the heavy wool that was used for the uniforms in this Texas heat!
My other ride of any significance was a metric century on my Sirrus, my commuter bike. It wasn’t a planned ride more of a last-minute while I’m out there let’s go for it type of ride. It was a saturday morning and I was out on a social Ciclistas Urbanos (CU) ride to a local coffee shop a few towns over (Pharr). On the ride back to the starting point I was mentally adding up the miles so far and what I can expect riding back home and realized that I was only 10-15 miles short of a metric century! Why not go for it? I just needed to peddle around Edinburg for a few miles then head on home, so That’s what I did. I stopped for lunch with a friend of mine and then continued the ride. On the way home I did get a flat but was lucky enough to be close to my brothers home. His home was close enough for me to walk over there and fixed the flat under the shade of a tree. Finally made it home right at 63 miles! My ankles were a little sore but that’s about it. Wahoo! That was the furthest I’ve ridden on that bike and I’m happy with the results.
Let’s recap, a full century ride in San Antonio, good news in Houston, a hard-fought metric century ride in Corpus Christi, a fun scenic ride in Brownsville, a metric century ride on my Sirrus, and cracked 4100 miles for the year. Did I leave out anything? Shoot, I forgot to mention a new bike as well! Oh well, I’ll provide a link to a past article later on. Let’s not forget about the many rides with my friends out looking for those food trucks in McAllen! These are some of my favorite memories this year. I’m sure next year will be just good or better. I’m looking forward to doing more traveling within the Valley and beyond.
Share some of your best cycling moments, I’d like to hear from others
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The lineup for the start of the Wildflower ride.
You can read further on the events from my past postings listed here:
Palo Alto Battlefield Trail
Fiesta Wildflower Tour