Saturday, August 2, 2008

S24O Reconn

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.


  1. This looks great. I am all over this!!! It does need to cool down a bit but this fall...I can feel the peace and tranquility easing over me already.


  2. Hi

    I read about S24O a few weeks ago and had my first one Friday night here in England.
    30km to a site on the edge of the Industrial area. I went on my Bacchetta Giro 20 because when I got it 5 weeks ago I couldn't get over a couple of hills on this route. This time I conquered them carrying 20 kg.
    Love the dogs and the scripture quotes. Psalm 8 is my favourite psalm.
    Best wishes

  3. Keith, since we had talked about doing this one day, I figured this would go over well. Even so, a little hot weather anticipation is a good thing.

    Billy, thanks for the encouragement and for taking the time to comment. Congratulations on overcoming the hills! I totally understand that kind of accomplishment. Since you are now a S24O veteran, maybe you could offer a few tips for me and Keith.

  4. My first and bestest tip: pack the day before you intend to leave. It makes leaving stress free and you leave the wife in a happy mood :0)

    I have done a lot of camping and a fair bit of cycle camping and I am building up to a big tour because I retired a couple of weeks ago. Which leads to my second tip: buy the best kit you can afford. Cheap stuff will always let you down.

    Last tip: travel light but don't compromise on comfort.
    I use a JacksRBetter quilt with an Exped downmat. The downmat is heavier than a Thermarest but so much more warmer and comfortable that it is worth the weight penalty.
    HTH :0)