Tuesday Nighter (30 miles)
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This 30 mile route probably hosts more cycling miles than any other in the county. During Daylight Saving Time, it hosts a veritable "spring classic" every Tuesday for local cyclists pitted against each other.
Except for the unfortunately positioned Landfill Hill, which thankfully features a mild slope, the first six miles or so offer a liesurely warm up. The real pain begins soon after, on the Climb to Jung Lane. Get dropped here and you may ride the rest of this route alone.
The mid third of the route features mostly flat roads, with a few obstacles to jostle the pack, but little to unsettle it on a normal Tuesday. Those pursuing a more liesurely pace may be interested in a stop to take in Luckenbach, Texas.
The conviviality soon abates as the pack rolls up the Grapetown Rd. Climb, which usually shatters the Tuesday peleton. A short plateau allows for some regrouping if the protaganists don't push things, but then shrapnel flies again on the Col de San Antonio. After which the route falls mostly downhill until a long flat and the intersection with US 290 signal the return to a neutral pace. (You will have to bribe a local to learn the location of the final gentlemen's sprint; we're not telling.)
Start/Finish: Hill Country Bicycle Works
This route begins at the Hill Country Bicycle Works bicycle shop in Fredericksburg at the intersection of Main St. (US HWY 290/HWY 87) and N. Columbus St.
For those riding the Tuesday night ride, which usually leaves around 6 o'clock, best to park on the east side of N. Columbus St.
Two groups usually ride: The so-called A-Group averages over 20 mph and the B-Group averages less than 20 mph. Note that although this is an institutionalized ride, sometimes someone will "call an audible" and change the route, so be prepared to be flexible, or to ride the Route alone.
A change in the route taken by the Tuesday night group occurs very infrequently.
Much like the question of who is buried in Grant's tomb, locals often ask what time the six-o'clock bike ride will depart. For this ride, be there by six and you are sure not to miss the group's departure. Be prapered, however, to wait 15-20 minutes for the group to gel and motivate. One just never knows.
From the bike shop the ride exits town through a neighborhood of small homes, agricultural equipment, and livestock. Ride north on Columbus St. from the shop, turn right on Schubert and left at the stop sign at RR1631. Be careful, you will be launching from a hill and traffic from either direction may be swift.
On RR1631 wise cyclists ride single file because of a fair amount of traffic, which moves swiftly. RR1631 climbs up the majestically named Landfill Hill past a junkyard and then the town dump. (Yes, the scenery improves!) Usually the locals take it easy here in order to warm up. And they do not look kindly upon those that do not respect this otherwise unwritten tradition. The long rise plateaus and then yields to a long steady descent, with great scenery on both sides. After crossing Palo Alto Creek, the road flattens for awhile, passing Knopp School Rd. on the left. Do not turn, go straight. The road winds, flattens out, and soon one sees the first hill of consequence on the horizon. The Climb to Jung Lane encompasses a little over 100 feet of climbing, with a plateau and a second rise before reaching the very top. The Tuesday night group always breaks apart here.
After reaching the top, stay to the right on RR2721 then a quick right on Jung Ln. This road presents a hump or two at first, and then a long downhill into the Pedernales river valley. Cyclists often battle a prevailing headwind here, so riders dropped on the climb frequently work with others to reintegrate with the leaders. Eventually Jung Lane bends to the left, rolls along, bends to the right, goes down, over the Pedernales river, then up, and arrives at US290.
Cross US290 with great caution and turn left. Be sure to use the wide shoulder because motorized traffic moves rapidly here. Turn right on Luckenbach Rd. (Watch for bumps and gravel in this turn!) This road rolls up and down and, especially in the spring and summer, usually leads into the wind. In time it bends to the right with South Grape Creek on the left. The creek will be visible off and on for several miles (even after Luckenbach in parts). This road terminates at RR1376. Tuesday-nighters turn right. (To see Luckenbach go left and then, just before the bridge, take a right.) Head North on RR1376 for a short distance, riding single file because any traffic may be swift. Soon Grapetown Rd. will appear. Go left. This is a nice, winding, road that follows the creek. Enjoy the ride, but don't let your guard down completely because the biggest hill of the ride awaits. A small hill precedes Grapetown Road Climb, just to tease you. The real climb offers a little over 100 ft of climbing and rather steep slopes in parts. At the top it levels off, to some extent, but you continue to climb for a considerable distance all the way to Old San Antonio Rd.
Turn right (north) at Old San Antonio Rd. and continue your slight climb. This rise eventually turns into another hill of consequence, the frequently-heartbreaking Col de San Antonio. It isn't much in its own right, but when trying to keep pace with more accomplished, younger, or lighter riders - and coming on the heels of the Grapetown Road Climb -- it may feel like an himalayan excursion. This is where the wheat leaves the chaff behind on Tuesday nights.
After cresting the final hill enjoy a long plataue and then collect your prize for all of the climbing acheived so far; the long descent down Old San Antonio Road starts gradually but eventually the road bends left and down and reveals a spectacular view, which one enjoys while descending easily.
The final miles back to town feature a mostly flat profile. On Tuesdays look for the mailbox sprint after the second crossing of water. (Okay, so we told you.) This mailbox comes just before the route turns left on US290. Riding back into town on the highway means riding with traffic. Wise and polite cyclists ride single file along this stretch back to the bike shop.