Saturday, March 30, 2013
Six riders from San Angelo decided to tackle Allen Lane near Christoval Saturday morning. Allen Lane is one of the three popular roads for those wishing to practice hill climbs.
From left, Christine Jones, Liz Rappe, Wilbur Thomas, Loyd Evans, and Brian Backlund. As one may recall, on the previous weekend, Christine, Loyd, and Brian all placed in their categories at Abilene's Steam N Wheels.
As some of us were training to go to Liberty Hill's Spokes N Spurs next weekend, we felt a practice hill climb ride was in order.
Turning off of Highway 277 onto Allen Lane, the road immediately starts the first incline. Up to the curve in the road, there is a steady climb of 3-4-5%. After the turn, the road goes up again and culminates at a 14% grade.
(Editorial note: It's spring in most of Texas. I like the little wild red bud tree.)
For the next 7 miles, there is a steady series of rollers.
By the Garmin read out, I counted 7 hills that were over 12%. Maybe we should call Allen Lane Seven Sisters (another popular hill climb route is called Seven Sisters).
However, this particular road would have to be called the Clan because besides the 7 steep grades, I counted 16 hills over 5% and a multitude of "blips".
I was caught breaking my "forced" New Year's resolution--no photos from behind the pack. Christine would complain of my photos, but as I have explained numerous times, what choice do I have since I am always bringing up the rear of the group?
At the turn-around point, I was able to take an acceptable photo.
One of the ranchers on Allen Lane is not known for his hospitality, rather his hostility especially toward bikers. He has repeatedly pulled up beside us and let us know that he is not responsible if he hits one of us. The last time we saw him, he was showing us his 45 pistol as he thought one of us was a bear. Really now, a bear with blinking tail lights and yellow reflectors. Strange bears we have in Texas.
It was fun getting to the turn-around point but the hill to get us out of the valley is another one of those 14% grades. Good work out hill.
Going out Allen Lane is one climb after another. Going back, it is mostly downhill. It takes half as long to return as it does to go out. There are still plenty of hills on the way back, so one is assured a good workout coming and going.
After Allen Lane, we travelled to a residential area. At this gateway entrance was a flower bed of the most bluebonnets we saw on the whole ride.
These were wildflowers along side of the road. They are "Texas tough" since it has been a while since they have had rain.
But we could not get enough of the bluebonnets. The weather forecasts hint of rain, so maybe we will be able to see fields of flowers before spring is over.