At about 1:30 p.m. today, I turned from Barton Springs Road onto Congress Avenue in Austin, got a face full of tall buildings and was riding in 6 lanes of traffic. I felt like I was home in Denver again, complete with some fashionable dude on a fixie riding towards me.
I felt like a sailor pulling into port, after 14 straight days of riding, and looking forward to a rest day in Austin tomorrow (except, of course, I have to find someone to look at, and possibly replace my bottom bracket since it’s making noise).
We stopped at Mellow Johnny’s, Lance Armstrong’s bike shop, so I could pick up a new cassette, chain, an extra tire and some new brake pads, and Chad was welcoming enough to give me the “super touring discount” and let me reassemble my bike in the outdoor seating area of the coffee shop there.
My host while I’m in Austin is my pal Russell Williams, student, pedicab driver, and owner of a dog named Sue, who is a boy. (Here’s Sue’s Facebook page.) Russell has had a couple interesting jobs in his life, one of which was delivering fuel to fishing villages in western Alaska. We met on the old Salvagetti Breakfast Ride, and Russell still has his old-school 1234 Speer Boulevard Salvagetti jersey, which he wore today.
Within a few minutes of riding around Austin with Russell (and without my BOB Trailer), I had met Carlos Urreta, who also biked across America last year, and just happened to bike past us in downtown Austin. And I met Chris, who works for a fruit company in Austin but pedicabs with Russell on the weekends for fun and profit. Our waiter this evening seemed to actually be impressed with the Team USA, but I can’t be sure since we had already tipped him by the time he saw the bike. And man, is it good to see so many people on bikes again.
This guy is taking it easy tomorrow by not biking 50+ miles with a big trailer behind him, but biking around Austin and eating good food until he is seriously uncomfortable.
In other news, we have now raised $12,447 for Big City Mountaineers, just over twice our original goal for this ride — thanks to Barbara Bain, Brian Heying, Ian Haldimann, Paul Andrews, Elliot Scott, and an anonymous donor. Thanks to all of our donors, BCM will be able to provide weeklong wilderness trips for six groups of five teens each in summer 2010!