Thursday, July 15, 2010

we're on a road to nowhere...

Century training is heating up - literally and figuratively. According to the weatherman's Twitterfeed, East Texas is heading straight into a heat advisory for the rest of this week - a heat index of 105 - 110! I'm glad we don't have a long ride planned for this weekend (we're going to an awesome baby shower and camping instead - more on that later!)
But enough about next week. We're here to talk about last week - Sunday, to be exact, and our 53 mile ride to the town of Sacul, Texas. From Wikipedia:
The Texas and New Orleans Railroad, which provided passenger services and freight hauling between Dallas and Beaumont, constructed a rail stop a few miles from Tolivar shortly after 1900. It was at that location that a town site was laid out on land owned by the Lucas family and W.T. Williamson. The founders originally wanted to call the new community Lucas after one of the area's principal land owners, but postal officials denied the application because there was already another town in the state with that name – Lucas in Collin County. The application was resubmitted with the name Sacul, a backwards spelling of Lucas, and was approved. Similarly, the nearby town of Reklaw was also named with a spelling reversal.
You have to love a town who spells it's name backwards! While Sacul was once a bustling town of 400, it's population has since dwindled to just over 100. Sacul is known best for a monthly bluegrass festival at the Sacul Opry, which I've never attended but have heard is quite good.
We started our adventure at 7:30 AM, in a vain attempt to beat the heat. The first 25 miles were pretty uneventful - everyone was in church so the roads were quite, and we powered our way up a number of challenging hills. When we got to Sacul, we took a fifteen minute break for photos and lunch. Even though we did not see one person in Sacul, and even though the highlight was the mini-watertower we picnicked under, having a destination and reaching it was really exciting. It's the little things, y'all. 

Picnic in Sacul, which is also a challenge in the Summer Games - check that one off the list! 

 I wish I could say the second half of our ride was equally idyllic, but the sad truth is otherwise. We returned to Nacogdoches on Highway 204, which has a speed limit of 70, no shoulder, and is full of huge trucks whose drivers have apparently never seen a bicycle in their lives. Not at all pleasant. Add to that complete lack of shade and the sun beating down on us from above, and I was ready to be back in Nacogdoches.
All in all, the ride took us four and a half hours, which included 30 minutes of resting time. I felt pretty good until the last five miles, and then I was just ready to be done. And oh, the recovery! Four hours in the Texas sun will totally zap your energy and leave you unable to do anything but drink beer and watch your friends play kickball. Worth it, but still. Still.
Next on the schedule: mountain biking this weekend in Tyler State Park, and then a trip to New York the following weekend. After that, it's back to the grind with 60, 70, and 80 mile rides. I'm going to enjoy this short break while I can!