Friday, August 5, 2011

Rowlett Creek

The day before yesterday we discovered that school starts on the 11th. All summer, we'd been planning to go to Texas to visit my folks "sometime this August" but with this, that and the other going on, it was never really a good time to go. Our hand was fully forced though. We had to leave immediately or bail on the trip until Christmas. There was no other option. I had some fairly significant plans for the weekend, including an important work party up at Bull Mountain and some Fool's Gold-related activities, but we hadn't been over to visit in years, and I've only been able to see my Dad randomly for a day or two at a time since. It took all day and several phone calls and emails to decide, but in the end, we headed west.

As luck would have it, Dallas is experiencing near-record temperatures right now. According to the local paper, the only city in the world reporting higher temps is Baghdad.


It said 112 a few seconds earlier.

I'm sure I'd get tired of it if I lived here, like how snow gets old after a couple of days. The novelty hadn't worn off yet though, and yeah, it's hot, but it's really dry and it's not so hot that it feels like you can't stay out in it.

I was really looking forward to getting some miles in with my dad and the heat just made it that much more interesting.

I met him at the shop around 5 and we went for a ride at Rowlett Creek, which is hands-down his favorite trail in the world.

 Le Pere

It was definitely hot. All exposed soil exhibited massive shrinkage.


I thought it was the cold that caused shrinkage.


I'll be here all week.

Rowlett is great. It's relatively flat, very twisty and punctuated with short, steep, technical drops and climbs. You can really fly though, especially if you know the trail like my dad does.

We'd twist around in the woods for a while...

 Rowlett Woods

...then pop out into a field...

 Rowlett Fields

...then dive back into the woods. There's a section where you dive back and forth across a drainage ditch, another where you climb up and down onto an old rail bed, and another that appears to be composed entirely of waste concrete. Lots of variety.

I made a big mistake though. I'd filled my bottles at the house, then driven around with them in the bottle holders, on my bike, on my roof, in 112 degree heat, for several hours before we rode. It was like drinking soup. I actually worried that it would actually make me hotter, but it turned out OK. The irony is that my dad mentioned having done the same thing on the way over but it just didn't register in my mind.

The padre is generally fit enough that it's fun to ride with him, but over the past few months, he's lost like 20 pounds and he's really fast now, especially on his backyard trail. Stay fit everyone and you too can rip singletrack with your kid(s) for hours, in 112 degree heat and barely get tired, well into your 50's.

Oh! Also... I was telling my dad... I'm sure he doesn't notice because he rides there all the time, but the scenery was amazing. It's so different than anything in Georgia or North Carolina. There are these huge fields. The dirt is all grey and cracked from the heat and dryness. The squirrels are red. The trees are all scraggly and alien. There's grass growing on every inch of ground that isn't trail, even in the woods. There are acres of woods with some kind of grass that's tall and brown with wheat-like seed pods on it. In one section, we came around a corner and as far as you could see the ground was covered in crumpled up yellow-brown leaves, like it was fall already. Amazing!

There was actually one tree that I recognized - the Bois D'Arc. It grows these weird fruits that are the size of a grapefruit, green and as hard as a softball. We had to dodge a couple of them on the trail. I didn't recognize the fruit or the tree though until I got a good look at one in the parking lot. Literally, every other tree, no idea.

We saw one snake too. Again, no idea. Damn my ignorance! Before I ride again, I'm going to have to google-up "flora and fauna of Texas" or something.

On the way out, I gave myself a brain freeze on some Gatorade and then we met my brother Daniel and his girlfriend Jesiree for dinner at B.J.'s. Great ride, good food, great company. I hope we get to do it again a few times this trip.

1 comment:

  1. Crap that's hot. And I thought it was bad here in NC. I did a solo 40 miler last week. It was 103 when I started, and I think it peaked at 106.