Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Real Hills in Austin, Huh?

Hangman Valley Fog

BS. Come to Spokane and realize "small" hills. These are hills. And if you want mountains, you can just go a few miles east for the Rockies or a few miles West for the Cascades. There were all kinds of hills: gradual but long, steep but short, steep and long...all degrees of painful. The good part was that I had most of them at the beginning. The bad part was that I had most of them at the beginning. I charted my course on Harra's Runomatic. Here, you will see what I'm talking about. All was actually going good despite the nasty weather. It was about 36 degrees and misting constantly. I was drenched by the first couple of miles. But I still felt good after the hills, after mile 6. I was a little scared at first because all the roads in Hangman Valley barely had shoulders. It didn't improve much once I got to the South Hill, and it actually got worse for a second once I got to Palouse Highway and Regal--the shoulder just disappeared! But thankfully people were generally courteous in their cars.

I stopped at the Mikey D's at that corner for a bathroom break and continued on into civilization where there were sidewalks, but now the intersections would be a bit more dangerous with the increase in traffic. There was a good downhill section here, going by my old high school, Ferris, down to 29th (Lincoln Heights). So many crazy memories went through my mind as I ran through these neighborhoods. Down 29th I went, dodging traffic as the daylight that was peeking through the ever present clouds started to wane. This is where I got worried--I didn't think that the days would be this short, but I am a bit higher in latitude than Houston. 10plus miles and I stopped at the Super 1 to refill on hydration. An old man in line asked me if I was a skateboarder. I snickered and told him I was running. The checker asked me if it was raining still, possibly referring to my drenched clothes. It had actually stopped, but it was now getting colder. I changed my cap and then headed back out.

The problem with stopping is that you get cold. I started to shiver as I started off again. Bad news...wasting energy. I finally warmed up again and was feeling fine. There was still ice and snow in spots along 29th, passing Manito Blvd. and Comstock Park, but I made it to High Drive, the final stretch until the big downhill. That's where my legs started to give in. This section was still rolling, so I don't think my legs liked that at all. And this was at the edge of civilization, so lighting was bad and I was starting to fear for my life as the sidewalks disappeared too. I weaved back and forth on High Dr., picking the safest line, but I finally gave in. I saw the Rocket Market at the corner of High Dr. and Hatch Rd. (about mile 14.25) and decided to call it. I was cold, wet, and on the verge of meeting head on with an SUV, so I slipped into the bakery/market/coffee shop/gas station for refuge. I broke out the emergency phone and called Danny to be extracted. While I waited, I chatted with Zack behind the counter and a couple of guys enjoying a microbrew as a break on their bike ride...I told them that I wished I was on my bike, which was the truth. On a bike, I would make it back somehow, but on foot I am no good.

That's when I asked about bike shops around town and they told me about the one, Wheel Sport, that was just down the road, but burned down and reopened down on 29th and Regal. When Nick told me he wanted a pint glass from a bike store, I figured this would be a great one to get it from. I went there today, but they only had one or two that survived the fire and those are gone. I asked the owner when it happened and then another guy quickly chimed in, "November 7th." Apparently, that was his birthday and remembered it vividly since he came back from his party to see the place burn down. Now that's a birthday candle! So I then called around to all the bikestores I knew about, but no dice. So Nick will have to settle for a mug that I retrieved from a place with an interesting story of its own. Sorry, Nick.

And that was it. I sipped coffee as I waited (thank God I did decide to bring some emergency money on my run) for my ride to show up with my special request of Jack in the Box. So I didn't finish the 20miler, but I figure with so many hills, it should be equivalent. Now its time to taper. Thank you, taper gods.
Brown Derby, Fergusons, and Milk Bottle
This morning I was quite energized despite my sore hammies. Taking a rest day today, but have a running date with Chadwick, Jeeves. Probably 3-6 miles along the centennial trail. Gonna be colder and possibly some snow, but at least it will be a shorter run. To celebrate the yesterday's run, I went to the historic Garland district and had breakfast at Ferguson's, which is next to the Milk Bottle (Bennie and Joon, anyone?) I won't tell you what I had, but it certainly was filling.

So when people want to talk to me about the "real hills" of Austin, come home with me sometime.


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