The Austin, Texas Cogal; December 4, 2011

The Austin, Texas Cogal; December 4, 2011

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Stop the presses, North American Cogal #2 is off and running.  @Jeff in PetroMetro is organizing a ride deep in the heart-o-Texas on December 4, 2011 for the rider who wants a taste of drought, dust storm, truck nuts and fun. Lest we forget what a Cogal is, “… A meeting of like-minded misfits brought together by the promise of beer, preceded by a bike ride.” Commemorative V-Pints can be fabricated for such a thirst inducing event, please send orders through Velominati central ordering department.  They may even be ready in time to wash that Texas dust down the neck hole.

Keep the rubber side down, Gianni

Dang!  We’re havin’ a Cogal in Austin!  How ’bout that?

I guess I’ve been a Velominatus for a little over a year now.  In that time, I’ve gotten to know many fellow Velominati online.  And I feel like I know y’all.  But I’ve never had the opportunity to meet any of you in person.  And for that matter, I don’t know most of y’all by your given names.

But some of that is about to change.  On the weekend of December 4th, in Austin, I get to meet, live and in Technicolor, Buck Rogers, Itburns, Bongo, and, rumor has it, Souleur.  Buck’s coming up from San Antonio with Mrs. Buck and the Buckettes.  Itburns is driving in from Houston (Yewstun), same as me and my relations.  Bongo’s on his way from Waco (Way-Coe).  And Souleur’s coming from I don’t know where.  But I know it’s a long drive.

Why Austin?  ‘Cause it’s not Houston.

Austin’s pretty.  Austin’s cool.  Austin’s where I lived as a student, a bike racer, and as a young college graduate with a good state gubment job.  Austin’s got rolling hills, good barbeque, and cold beer.  And, in case I forgot to mention it, Austin’s not Houston.

So, here’s the plan, set in sand in a windstorm:  I’m driving up Friday night, December 2nd, and spending the weekend.  I’m staying in a hotel near the Arboretum which is in northwest Austin.  That’s near the north end of Highway 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) almost where it meets Highway 183.  360 is a great jumping off point for a rolling, hilly ride west of Austin.  We’ll start in the parking lot of the Arboretum.  I’ll let y’all know exactly where late next week.

We’ll head southwest and make a counter-clockwise loop.  As we come back east, approaching Austin from the south, I’d like to go through Buda (Bew-duh).  As we come up through Austin we’ll make our way up to 35thStreet, then west over Mt. Bonnell and back toward 360 for a ride north to our starting point.

Mind you, all of this is subject to change after next Tuesday, when I’m riding reconnaissance in Austin.

I’d like for all of us to get together on Saturday evening at the Shady Grove restaurant on Barton Springs Road.  We’ll get some good food, some good beer and/or margaritas, and put some faces with some names.  Time to be determined, but I’m guessing around 6pm so we can eat, drink, visit, and still get some decent sleep.

Sunday morning, we’ll get a big stack of gingerbread pancakes at Kerbey Lane Café.  Then at either V before 10, or V after 10, we’ll head off into the wild blue yonder.

My intention is to keep the ride between 130km and 160km.  There will be quite a bit of rolling hills and not much flat.  This will be a Casually Deliberate ride.  No one gets dropped by much or for too long, and there will be plenty of places to stop and load up on food and drinks.

I’ll post more details after my visit to Austin on Tuesday.  Stay tuned.

If anyone else can join us in Austin, please do.  I’m looking forward to seeing y’all.

// Cogals // Guest Article

  1. @Buck Rogers
    Funny. I thought about wearing my worn out straw cowboy hat ’cause it’s easy to spot. But then I’d also have on my kinda tight Velominati t-shirt, jeans, and boots. I’d have looked like a member of the Village People. I decided against the hat.

  2. I’ll be the “Illegal Alien” with the V Tee shirt on….

  3. Since Buck didn’t claim it, I’ll be wearing the first (and probably only) organized ride T-shirt in my possession that has a cool design – the one from Tour de Gruene. Probably a Castelli cycling cap too, just as a transgression icebreaker and to keep with the Seattle Radicals.

    Will have some Rule #9 recuperative measures for the next day ala Raymond Le Bert. A little flask with magical powers. Unfortunately, those powers still don’t extend to being a Giant of the Road unless your last name is Bobet.

  4. So, are there any lurkers out there who are waiting until the last possible second to decide if they’re coming? Come on. You know you want to ride with us. In the cold. And the rain. Maybe with a slight hangover. It’s Casually Deliberate. No one gets dropped. Besides, if you get too cold and too wet, you can climb into the SAG wagon. But don’t. Because you’ll be remembered forever on the interwebs as the guy who climbed into the SAG wagon. So keep riding. We won’t leave you on the side of the road.

    We meet Saturday night at 6pm at Shady Grove. We meet again at 7am on Sunday morning at Kerbey Lane (on Kerbey Lane). The ride leaves from the parking lot of the Embassy Suites–Arboretum at V before 10. When we’re done, we’ll play it by ear where we’re gonna eat before we all climb back in our cars and go back to our pathetic everyday lives (relative to the glorious, Merckxian lives we lead when riding with fellow Velominati).

  5. I knew I would not be able to make the overnight trip and was planning to drive down on Sunday. Unfortunately that will not be possible. Family obligations preclude my participation. I really hope there will be another Texas Cogal that I can attend. I will have to be satisfied with a shorter local ride on Sunday, but I’m sure my thoughts will be directed 100 miles to the South.

  6. 1) Good luck and good riding to all participants. Expect to read reports from all participants.
    2) Majorly impressed with the V-pints. They may be the determining factor in my particpation in the Wisconsin Cogal

  7. I won’t be there at Shady Grove unfortunately now, but definitely there for breakfast on Sunday morning :)

  8. The forecast has changed…

    Hi: 54


    80% Chance of rain now.

  9. @El Diablo
    yeah buddy! enjoy.

  10. @El Diablo

    The forecast has changed…
    Hi: 54
    80% Chance of rain now.

    YES!!! Getting better by the minute! Preparing to HTFU and have a Cogal to remember!

  11. Have a great time out there today everyone. Weather looks splendid.

  12. Good luck and we’ll be thinking of you. Cheers! Keep us updated, guys!

  13. Hope all went well, can’t wait for the ride report!

  14. Yeah, how was it y’all?

  15. I got a voice mail from Buck Rogers saying it was fucking freezing and a massive headwind! I’ll be calling him back for a better report momentarily…but it sounds like these guys laid down some serious V!

  16. Rain, cold, inhaled road debris. It was stellar.

    Details to come.

  17. Plenty of ” \/ ” was laid down on the streets in the Austin area.

  18. It was sprinkling a bit, and it was a bit brisk to be sure, but it was a good time. Actually, freezing is only just shy of accurate, and it was raining sideways for a fair portion of the ride, but again, it was a great time. So much so that even the frozen mini-pools I was wearing in place of bike shoes weren’t enough to dampen my spirits.

    I regret that I had to bail out early for work. Since everyone that came out lives relatively close we’ll have to do this again sometime. Soon even. Next time maybe with less Rule #9 and more Rule #4, for me anyway.

    Oh, and I know the support crew was taking pictures, I’d love to get copies of those somehow. Jeff and Buck, lemme know what I’ve got to do to get those from you.

  19. @MrLowell
    It was a good time!! Rain, wind, one or two flats. Not too bad. The only respite was the tailwind home on 360.

  20. I’m amazed that it rains in Texas. Let alone that it gets cold. Sounds spectacular. Full report coming soon, hopefully.

  21. @Tbone Llamma

    @MrLowellIt was a good time!! Rain, wind, one or two flats. Not too bad. The only respite was the tailwind home on 360.

    One or two flats??? Hell JiPM and I accounted for two flats and that was not even half the total number of flats! :)

    Standing around completely soaked in that cold wind while the flats were being changed (or changing them yourself if you were “lucky” enough to have one) was one of the biggest Rule V asks of the day!

    F’king fun ride with plenty of Rule #9, some Rule V and tons of bullshitting good times. Just a blast. Would not change a thing (well, except all the flats!!!).

    We’ll have to all throw a few paragraphs together on our personal insights and post them.

  22. Ride was a blast.

    Less flats would have been nice, but while waiting on the side of the road while flats were fixed was just a bunch of Rule #9 puddling up under us. :)

    For me it a bunch of mind games with my soaking gloves, soaking shoes and coldness to be dealt with….eventually reaching the point of just ignoring it.

    Funny part is on the “climbing” portion of the ride it didn’t even feel like climbing, cause the suffering for me wasn’t that, it was the rain and cold. It’s almost like I didn’t even feel touched by the climbing we did.

    Buck and I left some wheel slippage and hurt on a certain 25%+ grade hill we toyed with and descended back down.

    I had plenty of fun and can’t wait till the next even.

    Thanks Jeff and Buck for organizing the event and a big thanks to Andrea for last minute support on the Cogal..

    It was great to have made some new friends.

  23. @all
    Wow! That was cold. And wet. BUT.TOTALLY.WORTH.IT. Thanks to all who attended.

    Sorry for the delayed start yesterday morning. Turns out our driver/wrench came down with the same thing that five other people from our store called in sick with over the weekend. Andrea–you are the Supreme Angel of Mercy and the most awesome-est VMH ever. Thank you for dropping in at the last possible moment and driving for us.

    I’ll have a report pulled together in the next day or two. I’ve also got a few pics taken by my daughter. Buck–I know Dash got some good pics. Patrick–I got your pics this morning. AWESOME and THANK YOU.

    @local Austin participants–Thank you for leading the way once we had to change the route. @El Diablo–I’m not sure where you and Buck went, but the fact that Buck had to dismount and un-seize his back brake caliper says something about how steep it was.

    @itburns–Now we have to ride together. In Houston and in the surrounding counties. Often. You don’t have to stalk strangers wearing Yellow Princesses anymore. And I agree–change back to Continentals.

    Thanks again to all who attended!

  24. itburns does Austin – the experiences of the Mad Flatter

    “We shall flat on the beaches, we shall flat on the landing grounds, we shall flat in the fields and in the streets, we shall flat in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Cogal or a large part of it were stranded and starving, then our Velominati beyond the city, armed and guarded by the Lezyne Pump, would carry on the struggle, until, in Merckx’s good time, the new tire, with all its power and might, spins forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old”.

    Rolled into Austin and joined up with Buck, Ms Buck, the Buckettes, JiPM, JiPM’s daughter, Patrick, and Patrick’s wife at Shady Grove. Who is Patrick, you ask? I believe he stumbled upon the Rules three days prior to the Cogal and jumped in with both Guns. Nice!

    I enjoyed a good meal and two Live Oak Seasonal beers in the new Cogal pint but had to slap down the waiter a few times to keep him from taking possession of the sacred vessel.

    Next morning dawned cold and rainy. Great breakfast as usual at Kerbey Lane, then back to the hotel to suit up. Eight participants for the ride, but there was a problem – the planned SAG driver fell ill the night before. I figured we would just ride without one. I am so glad we didn’t. To the rescue with no notice comes the Velominata Andrea. Huge thanks!

    We waited to start the ride in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel where Jeff and I stayed the night before. Excellent “sport fan” juxtaposition – 8 cycling fans kitted up and looking out at the dumping rain while across the room were American Football fans in shorts bellying up to the bar for their afternoon of fun.

    Andrea arrives and the group moves out. Cold and rainy, but I warmed up quickly once we were moving. Everything was normal until the first long gradual climb on 360. About halfway along was the first indication that the legs were choosing a bad day to have a power outage. Oh well, find a rhythm, get on with the job, and resign yourself to a long day.

    We turn on to 2244 and soon after the tire fun starts. Buck flats. He gets things sorted, we mount up, and 30 meters down the road I flat my front tire. I get my shit sorted and off we go again. We pull in to a gas station for a SAG refueling. As we are mounting up again, someone notices that I have another flat on the front wheel. This time when going over the tire, I find a huge piece of glass. I was pissed off and embarrassed that I didn’t notice the glass while fixing the first flat, but I also see another cut in the tire, so there is a slight chance that I picked it up between the first flat and the station. Oh well. JiPM grabs the extra front wheel from the SAG, a quick “pro” wheel change and we are off.

    Next to flat was JiPM. A quick change with the extra back wheel in the SAG and we are off again. Finally start to get a ride rhythm going and then – WTF!!!!!! – I have a flat back wheel. I fix this one and tell myself that if I flat again I will just throw my bike in the back of the truck. Everyone had waited enough on me. Fortunately, all flat juju was finished for the day.

    We alter the route because of the late start and flat delays, finish with no more ride drama, and bring an end to a very enjoyable experience in spite of my flat tires and flat legs.

    Coincidences of note:

    1) Flats of visitors to Austin – 5, flats to locals of Austin – 0. I think they were dropping invisible tacks.

    2) Turns out JiPM’s daughter is a best friend of the daughter of my business partner of 10 years. Small world.

    For the record:

    The tires I had were Spesh Armadillos. Somehow I ended up leaving the LBS with these instead of my usual Continentals when I bought new tires about 3 months ago. I have always used Continentals before with no issue and you are correct in assuming that new Contis are already on the bike. I also ordered the new small sized Lezyne Pressure Carbon Drive (170mm/72g/120psi) and plan on riding with it and two tubes going forward just as insurance.


  25. There are in our existence spots of time,
    That with distinct pre-eminence retain
    A renovating virtue, whence-depressed
    By false opinion and contentious thought,
    Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
    In trivial occupations, and the round
    Of ordinary intercourse-our minds
    Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
    A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
    That penetrates, enables us to mount,
    When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

    William Wordsworth, 1805

    The rain. JiPM fretting and crazy and feeling soooo guilty about the SAG wagoneers calling in sick. The cold. Seeing all these really fit looking dudes sitting around the hotel lobby in full kit waiting to ride and wondering if I can hang with them, even if it is a casually deliberate ride. The wind. An angel sweeping into the lobby and volunteering, on literally a moment’s notice, to drive a truck all day with two young kids in it for a bunch of guys who are mostly complete strangers to her (delivery truck of good Karma headed her way soon). The cold rain. El Diablo standing at a gas station waiting for yet another flat to be fixed and after standing there for about 10 minutes, he has a big puddle under each of his shoes from the run-off of his guns and shoes. The windy cold. Changing my front flat with wooden fingers that I knew were mine b/c I could see them, but I could not feel them. Slicing one finger open and having the blood run down my hand and onto the tube while changing the tire and not feeling a thing. The windy, cold rain. Seeing JiPM uncontrollably shivering from the wet cold while yet another flat is changed. T-Bone (Tony) easily riding along looking like a pro with the evident V steaming out of his guns along the route. The rainy wind. The tire-spray hitting me in the face and tasting the grit and gravel in my mouth and on my teeth. The excited and eager faces of Sarah (JiPM’s daughter) and Dash (my son) as I float back to get a clif bar through the window. Itburns (aka it-flats aka the Madflatter) changing yet another flat and getting back on the bike again, dripping with mental V. The stiffness of the guns after restarting from a flat fix and then the smoothness of the stroke as the self-generated heat begins to flow. The down pouring sideways rain. Patrick in white, riding along in a low profile position, pushing the pace up the long climb. The rain finally stopping near the end of the day, the light fading, and chasing after El Diablo up a monster of a climb, back tire slipping on the 25% grade and the slick roads and never quite catching him. The coming darkness and cold wet wind. The hotel lobby (sanctuary) once again. Ice through my feet and fingers as they start to come to life. Peeling off completely saturated layers to get to my core, which is frozen and as cold as a cadaver. JiPM’s blue toe. Dry clothes, P.F Chang’s, the drive home, the second dinner with a glass of bourbon. Feeling the warmth finally start to re-infuse itself into my body. Standing in the hot shower with the super hot water beating on my vertebral arteries and finally feeling warm and loving the memory of the ride. According to Wordsworth, life is nothing but spots of time. What a beautiful collection of spots I’ve collected this day.

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