Now for something completely different. We went to Germanfest in Muenster, TX yesterday. The main draw for me was the bicycle rally. I have been intending to do this ride for several years but for one reason or another have not made it. This year I decided to make to a priority, partly as a way to motivate me to get training & partly because I love cycling & if I get into it early in the year it makes riding in the Texas summer much more tolerable.
They have 3 courses available, 100, 65 & 35Km, I assume they put it in Km because it’s Germanfest & it makes it look more European. Funny thing is, even though I am a euro & fully versed in metric even in England we still measured long distances in miles. So for those of us who speak miles, there were a 63, 40 & 22 mile course available, this will be the last Km reference of the day.
I chose to do the 40 mile route, long enough to make the drive worthwhile but not so long that it would kill me (I hoped). With it being my first organized ride of the year that seemed perfect & it was. The ride was excellent, the course beautiful, its not often that I say that about north Texas, but the rolling hills, green fields, cows, horses & barns made for a spectacular backdrop. A lot of the roads were tree lined & wildflowers were in full bloom on the side of the route.
The downside of rolling hills when you are cycling it that you have to go up & down them. There was one stretch of road, about 8 miles long, that was like a bicycle roller-coaster It seemed like every time you crested a hill you would be heading back down, hoping to build up enough of a head of steam not to have to work too hard on the next hill. The hills were good riding hills, not so steep that you were ruined at the top, but you knew you had been riding when you got up there. Some I crawled up, others I really attacked, remembering how much fun it can be really going for it. It is on the hills when you discover what kind of rider you are, maybe even what kind of man you are. Do you back down from the challenge or do you embrace it full on & go for it. Yesterday, for the most part, I went for it.
I was pretty tired after the ride & still was this morning. No regrets at all though. I love these ride, they are not races, just community events. They are usually hosted by small towns. The people hosting are so helpful & friendly, the rest stops every 10 miles or so are always so welcoming. The cyclists are also a great breed, always looking out for each other, keeping an eye out for vehicles or stopping to make sure someone with a puncture has what they need to get it fixed. They really are great events to take part in, I am looking forward to doing as many as possible this year.
After the ride we went into the Germanfest itself. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, it was fun, but I probably would have been more into it if I had not just ridden 40 miles on a bike. The festival was pretty much your average county fair with a German theme. Lots of places to buy overprices junk, food tents, beer & some bands & on the other side of the road some carnival rides. To be fair the food was pretty good, although we didn’t eat any of the German food, my wife & I shared a gyro which was probably the best I’ve ever eaten, I also had a hotdog from the boy scouts, hey it was for a good cause.. After we ate we watched some traditional German folk dance, wandered around for a while, did some people watching. The crowd was a wonderfully eclectic mix of cyclists, bikers, country folk & visitors from the city. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.