Saturday, August 2, 2008
Given the limited length of my rides of late, today's pre-S24O reconnaissance activity might be considered (in my mind) an epic excursion. Even so, it was only 3.5 hours from start to finish. For those not familiar with the term "S24O", it is an abbreviation for "sub-24-hour-overnight"...which is also an abbreviation for "a bicycle overnight camping trip that takes less than 24 hours".
The idea being that we don't always have lots of time to go camping, but we can squeeze in a very nice little get-a-way that doesn't require a huge investment in time...or lugging huge amounts of gear. One can depart after work on Friday, ride to a suitable camping spot, set-up a minimalist camp, relax for the evening by cooking, hiking, reading, etc. The morning provides an opportunity for lounging for awhile and a leisurely camp break-down for the return back home.
I am lucky, because I have a suitable camping spot within an easy 2 hours (even with camping gear) of my house. Although I was hopeful, I didn't fully realize this good fortune until today. Today was the day of the S24O Reconn.
Because of the excessive heat lately, it required an early start. It was very pleasant initially, but when the sun climbed over the horizon, it was as if someone flipped the heat switch to the "on" position.
It wasn't really too bad out there. It wasn't until the very end, after the temperature had reached about 98 degrees, that I really noticed discomfort. Riding southwest into the wind, I thought, "This must be what it is like to ride into a giant hairdryer."
Most importantly, the reconn trip was a success. There is a Texas State Park on Lake Ray Roberts that has several suitable campsites on a peninsula that protrudes southward into the lake. That allows for the predominant summer breeze to blow lake-cooled air right into the tent. During late fall or winter, there are options for forested areas to break-up the north wind or open places to take full advantage of the sunshine. This nice little spot was a great place to cool off before returning home today.
I've been trying to get my buddy, cyclist, and Sulphur Springs, TX resident, Keith to join me on an S24O near my house. Hey, Keith, when the days get cooler, I know just the spot.