It was too hot to be outside at all, let alone pedaling a bike up hills and over little backroads that meandered past dairies and other aromatic sites. But that’s exactly what our son Greg and I were doing a few Saturdays ago. Brent had taken us down to Cleburne, Texas for the annual “Tour de Goatneck” rally. Hundreds and hundreds of other cyclists had come to tackle the 69-, 41-, 27- or 10-mile route.
Brent took off with the 69-milers, many of them racers, and headed for the Paluxy River Valley at a rapid clip. Greg and I, in training for the half-century “Hotter’n Hell” at Wichita Falls, had registered for the 41-mile route. We would start out together, but knowing that college-age guys are made of rubber and stainless steel cable, I figured he would outride me. So I had told him not to worry about keeping me company but to go at his own pace. We agreed to catch up with each other at the second rest stop.
Then as we rolled toward the staging area I stopped right in front of him and made him fall off his bike. He graciously forgave me for this “Mom FAIL.”
Once underway, the actual ride went better. We stayed together through thick and thin, and stinky dairy cows, until the second rest stop. As we were ready to start out again, Greg found his back wheel rubbing one of the brake pads. Apparently the wheel was out of true. Unable to adjust anything to make it better, we just released the brake so he could keep rolling.
I settled into a sustainably easy pace after our stop, while Greg got a second wind, so he got away from me. No matter. I was having fun despite the hot day. Some clouds even blew past overhead, giving a little welcome shade.
As I approached the last rest stop, where we would turn away from the wind, I spotted Greg waiting at the edge of the road. He had beat me there by seven or eight minutes, time enough to eat a PB&J and get acquainted with a guy riding a fixie, more power to him. He was ready to go, so we pressed on. With the tailwind, I kept up with him more easily, and we finished just about twenty yards apart: tired, stiff and very red in the face. (Oh, wait, that was just me. Being made of rubber and stainless steel cable, Greg seemed as fresh as ever.)
It wasn’t until after showering and changing that I unrolled my ride T-shirt to have a look at it. The front has a small logo with the date. The back shows the front half of a muscular, snarling goat in a sleeveless jersey, his hands (hands??) on the brake-lever hoods, which appear to loom aggressively toward you. Above the picture is the legend, “You Can’t Tame the Goat!”
That set me to thinking… this was one challenging ride, and I thought Greg did a great job. I finished stronger than I expected to, as well. We didn’t exactly tame that goat, but we had a great time butting heads with him. Greg and I encouraged and looked out for each other. And all three of us had some good stories to tell over lunch. All in all we enjoyed a very satisfying day.
So, until next year, Mr. Goat….
Thanks for reading!
PS: Next, a three-part series called “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”