Tour dr Gruene, Gruene, TX
November 7, 2014
In my opinion, I think it is one of the best rides in the state. You also get a free ticket to Wurstfest and it is out of this world. It's much larger than the Muenster park. Huge dancehalls, and lots of brats, beer. Hope you list this in your calendar, and try to go if you can. I usually don't wear any cold weather gear on this ride, as it warms pretty quick.
November 8, 2014
This was my first Tour de Gruene I have been doing these type of rides for a few months, so I am relatively new at this, so this review is from that perspective. Some of the experienced riders may have a different one, so obivious this is 1 persons opinion.
I have a relative who rode this in 2013 and when we talked about it, she was a little reluctant to ride 2014, as she did not have the greatest experience then, but compared to this year it was an improvement.
L&L facility is perfect for this type of function. If you have not been there, it is a campsite next to the river and it is large, very spread out. There is plenty of parking space. Whoever was directing traffic did a nice job making sure you parked in a civilized manner. The issue is there is only 1 entrance to the faclity and you have traffic from 2 sides trying to get in there. We got there over 1 hour ahead of time and that was not enought time, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Check in was really smooth, just follow the arrows and it all gets done. Envelope, t-shirt and a bag. Not sure what bag was for, because no freebies from sponsors, but it is a bag
Send off was really neat. The MC was all over the microphone and tried to explain how this was going to happen. Once it was our turn, the gravel road at L&L was slow, but once got on road it was on.
I did the 47 mile and this was perfect for someone who has ridden, but not callenged a lot, because this was challenging. Lots of up and down hills, with some ups that did not seem to stop. To the point, some of the riders were walking, so challening would be a great description. The site said the 55 and 65 had more hills, so I could only imagine.
This was the nicest ride I have done. I live in Texas, but have not spent much time in the hill country, and I am starting to ask myself why I have not. This is a beautiful area of Texas and the route gave you a great perspective.
The site tried to explain the route and said print out maps ect and I can undetand why. The route was not marked very well (remember, I am still fairly new to this). There were a couple of times at intersections, we were stopped asking others the way. There were signs, but it seemed like they were at the intersection rather then leading up to the turn, which may help. Other rides, the MC reminds the riders what to look for, so maybe that would help.
There were officers at some intersections, but can remember one I could not understand why they were there, because they just seemed to stand there while we were standing there as well.
Rest stops were nice and very helpful. They knew the route, so when asked they directed the right way, so not enough signs, but plenty of knowledge. Plenty of snacks, beverages and the makeshift bike stands were helpful. I have been on others, where you have to lay the bike down. Well thought out The end of the ride back at L&L, really resembled a race. MC was all over the microphone (did he ever get off the platform?). He made me feel like it was an accomplishment and plenty of people cheering people on. Great ending to the ride.
After ride was a BBQ lunch and fixings and L&L had a stand selling adult beverages for a decent price. You got to hang out, eat, and prepare to leave. Unless you waited for some time, leaving was as bad as arriving. 1 exit and a long line. It was like going to a large concert, the traffic was that tough.
Overall this was a great time. It felt like an event, which is one of my issues on other rides. Some feel like you pay, get a t-shirt, ride then leave. This feels like an event that makes you want to hang out a little while and plan on coming back. I will be going back.
This was my first time doing this rally. I signed up based on the great reviews without realizing how far it was until fairly close to the event. But I am very glad I made the trip! I've done several other hill country rides this year, but so far, this is my favorite. Parking was an issue as they held the rally at a campgrounds off a two lane road for the first time. I didn't anticipate the parking situation or the size of the rally (several thousand) so my normal departure time was simply not enough. It took me well over an hour to drive under 2 miles to the parking lot. The organizers handled the situation well, however, by delaying the start by 30 minutes. The campgrounds makes for a great starting location, so not sure what they can do about this issue for next year. And the river views more than made up for the long wait. Packet pickup was very organized, plenty of restrooms, and a nice safe start. I rode the 65 mile route, and it was a tough one. Lots and lots of climbing with very few rollers. But that was mixed with some nice fast flats and some crazy fast descents. Rest stops were adequate, though riders did not do a good job of staying out of the road so those not stopping could ride straight through. The views were spectacular, especially the canyon and dam….get off your bike and take some pictures beautiful. Friendly volunteers, good traffic support. The organizers did a good job of watching out for the safety of riders, including by directing everyone to walk across a bridge that was flooded and slimy. Nice meal, beer, and hot showers at the finish made for a great end to a great day. If you do this rally, definitely spend some time in Gruene and check out Wurstfest (you get a free ticket with your rally registration). Both were wonderful and made for a wonderful cycling weekend get-a-way. And if looking for a great pizza joint for a carbo load dinner, Oregano's is awesome! Can't wait to do this one again next year!
Nvember 5, 2011
This is my second year to ride the Tour de Gruene located south of Austin near New Braunfels, TX. This year I rode the 46 mile course. I have to say of the seven events I've ridden in this year this one was the most challenging by far. There appeared to be well over 1,000 riders. The temperature was 39 degrees at the start and once you hit the 14 mile mark (after crossing the canyon along the Guadalupe River) the real tour began…eight miles (each way) of some serious hills around Canyon Lake on this out and back course. The uphill climb to the 46 mile turn around rest stop was a nice touch. Loved the nice climb out of the river canyon at the 42 mile mark as well as the uphill finish. Good roads and support. Great atmosphere. I didn't care much for the late start (by 30 minutes) as everyone got pretty stiff standing there in the cold, but, all in all a fantastic ride. There are also time trial competitions both Saturday and Sunday if racing is your thing. Mark this one on your calendar but bring your climbing legs.
This is my second run at the Tour d'Gruene. It is without a doubt the most scenic ride of the season. The ride starts with the first 11 miles along the River on River Rd (Gristmill river?) down in a canyon. It just doesn't get better than this. I believe we crossed the river 3, or 4 times. There was plenty of support from the local law enforcement, and from the strategically placed rest stops. If you don't want to make any stops, you can load up with all the snacks at the Dance hall after registration. There were a few things that got under my skin about this ride. The start was postponed 30~45 minutes for cold weather. Everyone was ready to go at 7:30 AM, then they decided to postpone the start until 8:00 so it would warm up a little. We heard announcement, after announcement thanking different groups for making the event possible, then they had an event where an older gentleman got on a small bike and did laps. I didn't see much as I didn't have a clear vantage point. Finally, after everyone was yelling "Lets Go!" they went ahead and started the tour. The other problem I had was at the finish line. You will not find ONE single thermos of water or Gatorade ANYWHERE. I'm betting they want you to stop at the rest stop located 6 miles before the finish. Twice I have come through that finish line, and twice, they haven't had any Gatorade or water. They did have free samples of Honey Milk at the finish. All in all, I'll be back next year!