Somewhere down the line, I developed a curse. Not unlike something a gypsy would bestow upon some unfortunate vagabond. My curse, however is related to cycling, specifically, any kind of ride or trip that involves camping…
Earlier this week, I planned on doing a little sub 24 hour camp ride out to McKinney Falls State Park, about 15 miles south of Austin. It’s by no means a difficult ride and even loaded down, it only takes about 45 minutes from my front door to the camp site, check-in included.
I called around and no one wanted in on it, except for Tyler Nutter. He’s always game, as long as his work schedule allows for it. The night before we planned on departing, he texts me “hey, it’s supposed to rain, are we still going?”. I replied “yep, you can borrow my rain fly…” – Tyler was planning on sleeping in the hammock.
We rolled out of town and booked it to the park, took a dip in the falls and ripped some trails with our lamps. It was turning out to be an awesome night. Then, the sky became illuminated with streaks of lightening… I motioned to get back to camp, a storm was coming.
The thing is, in Texas, a little storm can quickly turn into a fucking apocalyptic deluge, of Biblical proportions. Then, throw in some tornados and excessive lightening. These storms are actually really amazing to watch from the safety of your home.
From a hammock (Tyler) and a ultralight tent (me) they are terrifying.
To give you an idea… it felt like people were violently shaking my tent, the stakes got pulled out twice and the damn thing almost lifted off the ground, with me in it. Twice.
Finding a nearby chunk of limestone, I hammered the stakes back in, sipped the flask and tried to sleep. It was a long night. Tyler’s laughter could be heard everytime a 50+ mph gust swept through the tent as he held onto the rain fly for dear life.
All night, people were texting me “dude, are you fucking serious?! You’re camping in this? Trees are down all over town. My dog is in the bathroom, cowering”. I took another swig from the flask and tried to get some sleep. Then the tent would shake violently and trees began falling…
It was fucking amazing. At some point, some animal scratched my tent’s rainfly as if saying “hey bro, open up”.
We awoke the next morning to a clear sky and sunlight, made breakfast and headed out, through the trails, exiting the secret “back door” to the park.
The creek had flooded, knee deep and the falls went from being peaceful to turbulent portals of broken trees and debris.
We moved through the creek and headed to the trails. I thought that we’d shred some gnar on the way out, when in reality, all we’d do is sink in the 4″ deep peanut butter – crunchy peanut butter, we picked up rocks in the muddy mess.
So yeah… it took us 45 minutes to ride less than 2 miles…
In the end, we did around 40 miles, slept for about 2 hours and pulled about 100 sticker seeds from our socks, clothes and sneakers. We ended up back in town, got coffee at Brew & Brew, washed the bikes off and made our way into the weekend with a few more stoked points than everyone else we’d encounter.
Sometimes escaping your house, your bed, your couch and the comfort of home, to welcome 18 hours of misery is all you need.
Rubber Side Up.