A couple weeks ago I started to tell you about my little road trip across Texas. Then the holidays happend and I sort of forgot to write part 2. My liver has finally regenerated from the trip and I found some time to sit still long enough and get the words out. Life sure is fun isn’t it? So here it goes, better late than never.
I was trying to leave this cool little town of Terlingua, TX and make my way to Austin. But everybody kept telling me that I couldn’t leave until I went to la Kiva for a drink. Enough people told me this over the course of 3 days that I would have been a fool not to check it out. I have this theory that any bar you have to walk down stairs to get to, will always be good and this place was no exeception. (The theory came about while drinking late into the night and breaking my toe in Telluride about 8 years ago. But that’s a story for another day.) This place was pretty awesome. Dollar beers, chill locals, and a Penisaurus. Add it to your list of places to tie one on. It’s drunkcyclist approved.
It was a shame I had to stare at the windshield for the next 8 hours or else I would have stayed there a lot longer. Instead, I drove east through the night across the I-10, Austin bound. I ran the gauntlet of deer, wind, and sleepy truckers only to throw in the towel and bivy in a Walmart parking lot about 75 miles short of my goal. I got to Kerry Coldhand’s house around 7am the next morning. She was to be my tour guide for the next few days and she instantly pointed me to the fridge in the garage:
I met Kerry C. at Single Speed Worlds in Ireland while she was taking her shirt off and I have since partied with her in Arizona and in Vermont. Now I was on her home turf and I had my work cut out for me.
When I think of the term “Green Belt” I picture soccer moms on roller blades, hippies playing disc gold, and tons of ducks shitting everywhere. The Barton Creek green belt in Austin shattered any preconceived notions I may have had. Sure, it has its typical city park users. But what it also has is an impressive spider web of trails zig zagging through the heart of town. The trails we hit were surprisingly technical and a pretty good introduction to what the area had to offer. I followed the lead of my hosts, completely turned around and never knowing where I was. But I always know where the beer stop is
After our ride, I had a night on the town to myself and I set out to see what Austin had to offer. I sent a text to my old friend KV to see if she wanted to grab a beer or 6. She simply replied “I just got off work and we are drinking in the parking lot, come on by the shop“. There are few things I enjoy more than bullshitting about bikes and open containers. The scene was incredibly welcoming, with riders of all type hanging out and enjoying a Friday night. I tagged along with some of the shop guys to a local Brewery. Things start to get a little fuzzy right about the time I met up with fellow drunkcyclist JimmyC. It took me a few hours to make the seemingly short 10 mile ride back to Kerry’s, but yelling at xmas decorations and peeing on front lawns takes a while.
Vermont Ryan finally made it to town and we hit the trails. Guided by our lovely hosts, we made our way out to City Park. It is a shared use area with motorcycles filled with punchy little climbs that always seemed to be interrupted by 2 foot high limestone ledges. Really great fun on a single speed.
Ride, whiskey, cheeseburger, beer, repeat. And so went this road trip. We woke up the third day to a light rain and an early start time. Normally I would have just gone back to bed, but the chance to ride some questionably legal trails with a local group ride was just too tempting. We met up on a neighborhood side street and the group was about 10 strong and buzzing with excitement. This was gonna be fun. Especially when you have to access the trail like this:
We rode for a few hours under overcast skies, along grassy ridges, and through the creepy hill country forest. The trails were the most challenging of the trip and the vibe of the group was really positive. It was a very pleasant ass kicking and a great morning on the bike.
This whole road trip was basically me getting schooled by locals on their home trails, and it was awesome. The experience of people showing you their secret stash of singletrack is second to none. You just check your ego at the trailhead and realize that they are probably going to ride this stuff a whole lot better than you are. It is incredibly freeing.
By the numbers this trip was pretty Texas sized:
2,382 miles driven
143 miles of new(to me) singletrack
1 speeding ticket
1 broken frame
Countless Lone Star’s emptied
and a new found respect for Texas mountain biking
keep it dirty…by