Musings of Captain Justice a/k/a Gil Jones

A funny thing happened on the way to …

We were about 40+ miles into the ride, and around 14 miles past the site of the Great Cherokee Burger Raid of Oct 29 when it happened. It was a gorgeous day with not even a whisper of a hint of condensed water vapor in the sky. “Severe clear” is sometimes the term used by the aviation weather folks in casual dialogue with pilots who ask the dumb question.

Lone Grove Community Center

The route from the Bluffton area, over CR216 and on to TX16, is in seriously country, country. The recently refurbished church which now serves as the Lone Grove Community Center is one of the real landmarks on the route.

The four of us (Don having experienced an unrepairable flat) had run a paceline1 going South down TX16 from Cherokee all the way to Llano CR215. We had come out from the West side of Lake Buchanan to TX 16 via CR216 on the outbound leg but had decided to come back on CR215 because 216 is so rough going back Easterly. CR215 would be smoother.


Packsaddle Mtn in the far background

That route across 215 from TX16 to the Llano-Bluffton/Tow road is beautiful, rising well above the surrounding terrain. At the crest you can see Packsaddle Mountain in the distance. Just look at that sky! And it was nice to see some green on the ground, although closely pruned as it was, no doubt snacked on by every 4-legged critter that even thought itself to be a vegetarian.

All four of us had recovered from the Southerly trek against the wind and were enjoying the combination of a cross-wind — anticipating the soon-to-be tailwind — and the downhill run to the Bluffton/Tow road.

I was enjoying some of that downhill. A few gentle curves thrown in was making the run quite enjoyable. I was playing “catch-up” to the rest of the group due to having stopped to snap the Packsaddle photo. Across a rough cattle guard, slowly, then accelerating again I was having fun. Here is a smooth cattle guard and the tires sing zzzzzzttt across the pipes forming the guard. I was wondering why bother since on our outbound leg we had observed a black yearling calf make a flying leap right over a cattle guard!

The incline was back and I was flying. Don could be seen ahead standing beside his truck (remember, he had the flat and had come out to greet us) and had a camera in hand. Great! A photo op! I was staying on the pedals and cranking pretty good toward the remaining cattle guard that lay prostrate between myself and the ace videographer.

Crap! It’s one of the rough ones — on the brakes a bit, can’t get slowed enough. OK, take it on. I’m clipped in on the pedals and suddenly I’m in BMX mode. Now keep in mind, I’ve never ridden a BMX style of bicycle in my life. But I do have about a zillion miles on a Kawasaki KDX-175 enduro machine so jumping that cattle guard was not a totally foreign idea.

I’m down to about 20mph as I reach the cattle guard. Ummmpphh, up with the entire body, pull that front wheel up and at least get the rear wheel light. Hey, it’s working! The front wheel is coming down now, having cleared the entire cattle guard. Eureka!

That’s when the (not)funny thing happened. The rear wheel cleared the leading edge of the sunken damn cattle guard, but … you guessed it … not the trailing edge. The edge that is raised as it faced my soon to be flat rear tire on it’s very expensive wheel.

I have yet to pull the wheel but at a glance it seems ok. That’s for later today. I’m ok and that’s good because there were a lot of ways that could have turned out. Some options did not include me continuing in an upright position. Probably a pinch-flat on the tube. Hopefully both tire and wheel are OK. Lesson learned. One more of those experiences that teaches you things you wish you did not have to learn. At least, maybe Don got a good action-shot.

Nevertheless the day was well-spent with Don Bynum (for a while), John Chalmers, Richard Golladay and Jay McG. The Great Cherokee Burger Raid was successful as we destroyed a bunch of them at Miss Sue’s cafe/store in Cherokee.

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  1.  A line of cyclists, all drafting on the rider ahead

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