Happy Hour Bike Ride

Today was a day that I spent inside my hotel room pouring over job descriptions and trying to learn all I could about wells. I had little incentive to leave because the mechanics had my car for repairs and there were plenty of phone calls that I could make from the room. I would go bonkers without my laptop and a bike to get me away from it for a while.

I have not had a smoothie since I have arrived in Texas. I have a blender but the last time that I was in the super market I forgot to get any juice. There is a gas station quick mart next to the hotel so since I had not eaten anything all day except grapes I decided to see if they had any apple juice.

As I left my room I looked out from the second story walkway at the partly cloudy sky and let the humid central Texas air take hold of me as I walked to the store. For just an instant I thought about going on a bike ride, and then I thought not today. It was around five o’clock as I crossed the large parking lot towards the store. Even though the Exxon gas station is just like any other gas station the surrounding pine trees and fluffy white clouds made the disgusting smell of oil and spilled Gator Aide melt away.

While I was scanning the horizon I noticed a guy standing by a white Ford utility truck with his bike. He had his bike shorts and jersey on and looked like he was getting ready for a ride. I had ridden up the adjoining highway on Sunday and knew that it was not the best ride that I have been on, but I soon found myself walking toward the man. As I got closer I noticed that he was smoking. My first instinct was to dismiss anybody that smokes and rides a bike as a person that only rides because their driving license is revoked. I caught myself starting to get a snooty attitude and then I just walked through it just like I was walking though the humid late afternoon air. Who cares if he smokes it would be nice to go on a bike ride with someone that you have never met. As I got close enough to talk it was then that I realized that he was smoking a jay. I found out later during the ride that this guy was about my age. I am finding that Texas is quite liberal about sex, drugs, and alcohol. The idea that I had about Texas being a conservative Bible belt state is starting to fade away.

So I approached him and asked if he was going on a ride. He said that he was and he usually rides down the highway a few days a week when it is daylight savings time. I asked if I could ride with him and that it would only take a few minutes for me to get ready. He said sure, so off I went to get my bike. We rode down Highway 71 to the Colorado Park underpass which is the next exit passed Smithville. The total round trip ride was 21 miles and it was really nice to see the sun set while riding.

While we rode we talked about a lot of stuff but the most interesting fact is that Lance Armstrong is going to be in a ride that he sponsors here in Austin. Central Texas has several major road rides that go from Austin to Houston and from Austin to San Antonia then to Houston. If you do not know who Lance Armstrong is, well he has one more Tour de France races than anyone. He is a prostrate cancer survivor and is in all the US Post Office and Subaru ads on TV. I really like him and I never expected that I would get a chance to meet him let alone ride a bike on a festival ride with him. The ride is on October 26 and is called the Ride for the Roses so I will see if I can do it.

When we got back to the gas station I gave him my card and we will hook up for some more rides this weekend. I walked to my room took a shower and then headed back to the store to get some apple juice. I made a big smoothie with some canned pears, yogurt, brand, two bananas, and the apple juice. What a way to end the day.