View Full Version : Hook em Horns - Inaugural Texas Hill Country Ride for the UT Cycling team

11-15-2005, 03:56 AM
The First Annual Sweatin Burnt Orange Bike Tour - Nov 19th, 2005

I am SO impressed with the UT (University of Texas) cycling club - I just have to brag!

45 days ago they decided to put on a fund raising ride for the club. Yes - that's right - one and a half months. Mind you - none of them have ever done anything like this...ever. They were told by a number of experts and those who might be able to help that it was impossible to plan, lay out, route, enlist enough help, get local officials on board and generate publicity in that amount of time. I am no expert, but even when I heard about the plan I admit I held little hope for a fund generating outcome. They went ahead anyway.

A date was chosen for mid-November, historically cold and bleak in Texas, or at least wet. The weather might be impossible. They did it anyway.

T-shirts were ordered, as it turned out from a non- university approved vendor, with non-university approved logos on the back - orders were canceled and re-routed and changed - it seemed the shirts might be out of reach. They managed to get them anyway. (They get very little support - as is the case with so called recreational clubs - from the University itself)

Locals were not so receptive to the idea of allowing porta-potties and rest stops to be set up on their property - since DOT says that you can't put them on the easment. Guess what? The team got it done anyway!

There were no prizes to raffle, no gatorade, no cookies or bananas to feed riders at rest stops and these guys got it handled and organized and distributed, The Sheriff didn't show up, It drizzled and spit and even rained in San Antonio on Sunday morning where a good number of riders would be coming from. There were about 75 riders pre-registered, 60 of them registering in the last week.

Post cards and posters and flyers had been emailed and hung and taped to bike shop doors all over Texas in a flurry of burnt orange passion by friends and relatives...there were mid-terms to study for and packets to put together and classes to attend and donations to be requested for all manner of things - somehow a keg of great beer even turned up! The team didn't sleep for 3 days! Routes had to be mapped out, safety had to be considered and parking facilities arranged. Yup..that's right..they did it.

I know there was so much more that had to be done...it appeared that they did it all!

The ride started in Blanco, Texas - about 1/2 way between Austin and Fredericksburg, on a cool but humid Sunday morning. I would estimate there were about 100 riders. The start was delayed by 20 minutes to make sure that those who had folllowed the directions to the OLD high school would find their way to the new one. East and then to the south on Old Blanco road we went. As we approached the first hill, the clouds started to burn off. First hill down, small coast and then the barrage of hills began. We came to a rest stop at Crabapple road and turned off for the 25 mile route there (There were 10, 25, and 40 milers, and a 72 miler that took you out and back via Lukenbach). The hills begain to bite into me and I walked up the latter portion of 3 - the last one after putting my shoes in my water bottle cages and climbing in my socks to keep from sliding back down the hill on my cleats! The scenery was just absolutely breathtaking - early on, some low lying fog still settled in the valleys and the hills were visible above it, fading into a soft haze in the distance. Horses grazed on the shade of the trees alongside the road. The last big hill - the "sock" hill - finally came to a rise at the top and after that it was all downhills with slow rolling climbers to break up the routine. We reached the Pedernales river and rode alongside - the water was a turquoise blue/green - just beautiful! And it was now sunny and 80 degrees with just a light breeze. The roads were mostly well worn chip seal, some smooth black top and a stretch of newer rough chip seal. All in all - a nice ride. We blazed back into the start just after noon and headed off to the Blanco County Inn for the team party - the prize raffle included team socks, helmets, a custom burnt orange longhorn themed cruiser, team jerseys and hydration packs.

They were told it was impossible - they did it anyway - and did I mention it was INCREDIBLE?

Watch out - THIS is THE next big epic ride in Texas!!!! Don't miss it next year, it's a great chance to experience the Texas hill country and a wonderful day/weekend trip! And the money goes to support the UT Cycling team - a bunch of upstart college students who didn't know they couldn't do it...The upcoming spring race season? The whole conference better just watch out - these guys don't know they can't take first place either!

The fund raising dinner has now been moved to February 2006 - If you can make it, you can purchase tickets online at www.utcycling.org (A jersey signed by George Hincapie will be auctioned off along with other items and Kevin Livingston will be the keynote speaker), and if you can't make it and would like to make a donation you can do that there too. If you would like to support the team in another way, team jerseys and t-shirts are available. Sport your burnt orange horns with pride! I know I will!

Hook 'em!


11-15-2005, 04:12 AM
Wow! Congratulations! It sounds phenomenal. Thanks for the report! Lise

11-16-2005, 07:17 PM
Sounds like a great ride -- Hillcountry rides are among the best in Texas!

I'm sure that next year's ride will be bigger and better, particularly if the UT team is able to tap into the Texas Exes team (they sport a pretty big one in the MS 150 each year)...or (gasp ;) ) even the riders from Aggieland.


Running Mommy
11-16-2005, 08:00 PM
Hmmm... I just have this funny feeling that a certain mr. armstrong may show up to support these guys/gals as well! I mean UT + cycling ??? Hello! that just oozes Lance!
Sounds like a fun ride. Our friends live out Near Austin, maybe next year we'll road trip out there for it. Please be sure to notify us on the board next year so we can put it on our calendar.
Denise :)