Guide BR-004

The (Dis)Enchanted Rock Permanent

Austin, Texas to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Night Zero – Day One

This is Hahn Rossman, bringing a completely unbuilt, untested bike to an unknown bike shop seven hours before a pretty big Bike Party. Don't be a Hahn Rossman.
Hahn Rossman is still at the bike shop. No one else is, though.
It's 9:45 PM. It's 86°F. It's 91% humidity. It's the night before the coldest, wettest, stupidest bike ride ever.
John Watson's house. Preparing for the bike thing.
Giddyup!!!
Melchior The Penitent: Frankincense.
Caspar The Wrathful: Myrrh.
Balthazar The Stoic: Gold.
Quiet Time—"Oh, Hahn. When did you get back from the bike shop?"
It's the next morning! Wakey, wakey hands off your snakey.
Mile: 0, 7:00 AM, 36 degrees fahrenheit, light rain, variable (interactive) headwinds.
Enchanted Bridge, Mile 3.
Outskirts of Austin, Mile 10.
Near Jonestown, Mile 37.
Wisdom, Various Mileages.
This is a dead cat at Mile 41.
Mile 53.
Mile 54.
Mile 55.
Enchanted Bike!, Mile 63.
"These are the times that try men's souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."—Thomas Paine
Enchanted Culvert, Mile 67.
Enchanted Culvert, Mile 67.
Mile 68.
Dude, it's Private Property. Not Privates Property.
Close to the Sundown Inn after sundown, Mile 78.
Champion Car Wash, Mile 82.

Day Two

Leaving Burnet, Mile 86.
Mile 95.
Mile 100.
Llano, Off-Course around Mile 110.
Mile 123.
Mile 123.
Mile 123.
Mile 127.
Mile 129.
Mile 132.
Road Riding, Mile 135.
Road Bikes.
Mile 136.
Prepare to be disenchanted!
Broveteers posing for a commemorative photograph for posterity in front of Texas' #1 natural wonder, a rock. I mean an enchanted rock. Yup, this is it. This puppy is "the" absolute focus of Brovet #5. This is why we do this. This is why we're out here. It's for moments like this, when you reach your goals. Enchanted Rock, check.
Edging.
D'Artagnan had a career in espionage for Cardinal Mazarin, in the years after the first Fronde. Due to d'Artagnan's faithful service during this period, Louis XIV entrusted him with many secret and delicate situations that required complete discretion. He followed Mazarin during his exile in 1651 in the face of the hostility of the aristocracy. In 1652 d'Artagnan was promoted to lieutenant in the Gardes Françaises, then to captain in 1655. In 1658, he became a second lieutenant in the newly reformed Musketeers. This was a promotion, as the Musketeers were far more prestigious than the Gardes-Françaises. In 2013, he rode to a rock.
Rescue, Mile 140.
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Please Read Before Opening

When Yonder commissioned John Watson to prepare a Brovet Permanent we said John, Brovets are more than a stunning and artful assemblage of world class rural roads and breathtaking scenery, they’re about the historical context; in particular they’re about the how-why-where-and-way people have been navigating throughout a specific region. Like, transportation and stuff. John nodded thoughtfully, or so I thought because there was silence on the other end of the line and I could sorta sense that he was just taking it all and giving the idea it’s due consideration but like I said I couldn’t actually see him, and anyway I think it was a bad connection. Eventually he said, yeah, I can do this, in fact I would love to do this. It doesn’t really matter that when I said transportation he misunderstood me and thought what I’d said was transformation because whatever, it’s all kind of the same thing and he put this ride together in like 14 minutes, #savedourbacon #longstory.

Based on his erroneous-but-close-enough notes, John organized a 300-mile long loop through Texas Hill Country the focal point of which was Enchanted Rock, a granite dome in southwestern Llano County about twenty miles north of Fredericksburg.

Side Note: John Watson is a seriously gracious host and a glorious guide. John, if you’re reading this—We seriously love you and appreciate you, #fistbump. Also, John’s partner, Lauren, who’s birthday it was that Sunday, was beyond gracious and positively lovely to be around.


Cursed

Apollo, Apollo!
God of all ways, but only Death’s to me,
Once and again, O thou, Destroyer named,
Thou hast destroyed me, thou, my love of old!

—Cassandra, Agamemnon

October Brovets have always been subject to a severe dose of malevolent tampering. Each attempt to venture on some well-intentioned bicycle bound quest has faced unforeseen climatic events, unprecedented storms, Acts of God. Seaboard destroying hurricanes and record-breaking winds have previously confounded and plagued our attempts at satisfactory ride completion. Still we refuse to believe that October is off limits, that the entire month could have a hex on it, one that would forbid the planning of our aptly named friendship adventure. October, the month of scales and scorpions, known as the Yellow Month to our Slavic brothers and sisters, is on the schedule for a reason. Heavy shit goes down during this month, the world turns their fields and reaps the last of their bounty, rejoicing in their fertile harvest. This month is a time for celebration, a time to enjoy the fruits of our summer labor before easing into the cold of winter. This holds true for the men and woman of Brovet. We find ourselves liberated from the quixotic jamboree of a cyclist’s summer and plan annually to find adventure in the cool autumnal winds and auburn dappled country so common to the month of October. Here we can parley the ebbing but adequate fitness of our long summer trials into a jocular communal effort. Try as we might, we have yet to find this Frostian promise land of crisp windless mornings and blue bird days. Each year, despite our best efforts, we descend upon some pre-chosen destination planned according to the advice of some hayseed with an almanac, during a time that by all accounts should be one of temperance. Days later we leave reeling from whatever climatic surprise nature has dolled out. Is this coincidence, a series of unrelated missteps? Coincidence only goes so far and it is hard not to believe that something else is at play here, something insidious.

How much can one person know another? We may spend days, months, and years discovering each others secrets, learning tells, observing habits, building the advanced algorithms that we call intuition only to be constantly reminded that not only does the other person continue to surprise us with unexpected vagaries and variety of action, but that we ourselves are anything but steadfast. Societal pressures, aided in large part by shame, keep us consistent, we expect and are in turn expected to tow the line. These pressures are not always enough, and like a mighty volcano when they need to be released the results can be disastrous. Despite this potential for destruction, we depend on this perceived consistency to get through our lives. This is how driving, walking, grocery stores, sporting events, family gatherings, dates, etc all work. In a sense you already know everyone and at the same time you absolutely don’t know anyone. This, like everything else, is just as confusing today as it was when conscious awareness first tore the wrapping paper off the existential birthday gift that none of us ever had on our wish list.

What I am saying is that I don’t believe any of my fellow riders did anything to draw the ire of god, fate, or dark matter, but there is no way of denying that a maleficent force has been at play in trying to stop us from reaching our destination. Did one of our fateful adventurers stab a Cyclops in the eye? Was our rendezvous point built on an ancient native burial ground? Did we insult a Roma who cast the evil eye on our operation? All of these things and more are possible but my intuition tells me that it in no way was our cursed fate brought on by any intentional action.

Isn’t that just the way of curses though? Some malignant evil is slighted in the most innocuous way, say when in a moment of absent mindedness, our hero mistakenly forgets to hold the door open for some nefarious old warlock or he/she just so happens to cross the path of some occult leaders prized black cat. Though the cause of our misfortune may never be uncovered, the recognition that our October expeditions are cursed is with out a doubt. You see things just don’t go to plan and like the tale of brave Ulysses we would strive valiantly against man and nature to reach our final destination while being rebuked by misfortune at every turn.

Prior to our arrival in Austin, John had sent out a foreboding series of texts and emails, each more dire in their weather predictions than the lasts. After each message I would pack another layer of riding gear into my duffle bag. What had begun as a small bag packed with one pair of bibs, one jersey, one base layer, a bottle of sunscreen and some lightweight socks grew into an overstuffed duffle bag filled with garments made of smart wools, schoeller paneled jackets, and knock off polerfleece. Everything waterproof, supposedly warm, and functional went into the bag. It was undeniably October.


A Chronological Typology of Overhead Protection/Ride Avoidance Pit Stops

 

Three Lists To Help Explain This Brovet

 

13 Legendary Reasons Enchanted Rock is known in the Transformation/Mythic/Woo-woo Communities

  1. Named “Spirit Song Rock” for native legends
  2. Revered by native tribes as a holy portal to other worlds
  3. Anyone spending the night on the rock becomes invisible
  4. Spanish priest fled to the rock pursued by native tribes, disappeared, and returned to tell a mystic tale of falling into a cavern and being swallowed by the rock, encountering many spirits in the tunnels, eventually to be spit out two days later
  5. Haunted by spirits of warriors of a now-extinct native American tribe who were slaughtered at Enchanted Rock by a rival tribe
  6. Haunted by a native American princess who threw herself off the rock after witnessing the slaughter of her people
  7. Alleged sacrifices at the rock by both Comanche and Tonkawa tribes
  8. Believed to be a lost silver mine, or the lost El Dorado gold
  9. Bad fortune and death will befall anyone who climbs the rock with bad intent
  10. Footprint indentations on the rock of native American chief who sacrificed his daughter, condemned to walk Enchanted Rock forever
  11. Woman’s screams at night are of a white woman who took refuge on Enchanted Rock after escaping a kidnapping by native Americans
  12. Spanish soldier Don Jesús Navarro’s Enchanted Rock rescue of native maiden Rosa, daughter of Chief Tehuan, after her kidnap by Comanches intent on sacrificing her on the rock
  13. After a scenic hike atop Enchanted Rock, we will sit as a group, set intentions, do some powerful group healing and clearing, and then have individual sessions with both Linda and Judith to more specifically address each of your personal issues.  During this time, you will have some alone time to hike and journal as Judith and I work individually with each of you.  We will then reconvene for more group healing and final reflection and sharing.  It will be a day of flow, ease, beauty and powerful shift.  Afterwards, we will share a blissful evening full of laughter and joy having dinner in the quaint town of Fredericksburg.

Seven Things You Gotta Know About This (Dis)Enchanted Ride and This Project!

  1. We rode in the rain all day.
  2. We gave up and stayed in a hotel where we slept and showered for approximately seven hours.
  3. We rode in the rain, we crossed a river, we went to a rock.
  4. I dont know why but for some reason we just barely made it to the halfway point, Enchanted Rock, before sunset on the second day. Which is why and where and when we gave up for good.
  5. Because John is a wizard at the internet he has people everywhere, even in Fredericksburg, Texas which is how we got out of the rock and into a bar where the majority of us waited for the bail-out van to get us.
  6. We made it 160 out of 300 miles.
  7. At this point we are three for four, the only Brovet we’ve successfully completed is the Mythical Sate of Jefferson Permanent.

20 Reasons to not do this (Dis)Enchanted Ride!

  1. First of all, the best-most obvious reason to not do this ride is because this ride takes place in the state of Texas. I mean, it’s just that simple. Yes the ride starts and (theoretically) finishes in Austin, Texas which is the very best Texas has to offer in terms of towns/cities/places to live. And yes, the ride does loop and swoop through legendary Texas Hill Country which is home to some of the most varied and stunning topographical relief Texas has to offer. And yes, the ride does climax (theoretically) mid-way through at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. But who cares #becauseTexas.
  2. The night before your ride it will be hot, humid, sweltering and sweaty. The morning of your ride it will be 36 degrees and raining.
  3. Texas (all of it, the whole state) is simultaneously flat and uphill (both ways).
  4. Texas is boring and depressing to look at/experience. Close your eyes and picture yourself in Glen Burnie, Maryland, now imagine cows, fences and dead snakes in every direction as far as the eye can see. Yup, that’s Texas.
  5. It will rain on you for 48 hours. It will rain every second of every minute of every hour for two whole-entire days. And not just rain-rain, we’re talking about a bona fide deluge, the stuff Fundamentalist Baptists get excited about, that’s right, it will get Biblical on you. You will have your own category-sized Tempest chaperoning you around Texas. All day and all night. On the upside, they’re just like Vampires, you have to invite them inside otherwise they have to wait outside.
  6. Speaking of Fundamentalist Baptists, Fundamentalist Baptists.
  7. Also, the temperatures will hover juuuuuuaaaast above freezing, the whole time. Not sure if you know this or not but raining and 33-36 degrees is the most unbearable temperature-condition known to man. It’s like being on the ocean floor and in deep space at the same time. It’s basically like slow-motion death.
  8. When the town of Oatmeal is a high point, you’re probs in the midst of a substantial low point.
  9. What if you could combine the feeling of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with the vibe of an M.C. Escher illustration and the smell of a barbecue joint. Oh wait you can! It’s Texas. It’s Texas!!! It’s like riding a bike in Texas!!!!!!!!
  10. You will become Raynauded.
  11. You will experience ceaseless, malevolent, real-time interactive headwinds.
  12. A Polar Vortex will come inside you and impregnate you with dead baby called hopelessness.
  13. You will be forced to fjord a knee-deep river of mud and silt and God’s nearly frozen tears. One of your party will be forced to put a foot down. This low point, counterintuitive though it is, will be a high point. Because at least it’s something.
  14. You will ride in a paceline at night on the side of heavily trafficked highway in Texas. It will be raining (#duh) and seriously fucking dark and dangerous. You will average 19 mph for forty-five minutes even though your bike weighs 57 pounds and you’re wearing a cape. You will throw up mouthful of recently eaten and partially digested Mexican pork, only to re-eat it.
  15. You will sleep naked on a bed in the Sundown Inn in Burnet, Texas.
  16. You will get engaged in a Honky Tonk called Hondo’s On Main formerly called Oma Koock’s.
  17. You will trespass in Texas, #dontmesswithtexas.
  18. You will unsuccessfully make advances toward a girl in rubber pants and a violently white C.C. DeVille wig.
  19. You will make it to your destination, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, and it it will be mind-blowingly, unfathomably whatevs. It will remind you a lot of like, rocks.
  20. Lastly, the best-most obvious reason not to do this ride is because this ride takes place in the state of Texas. I mean, it’s just that simple. Yes the ride starts and (theoretically) finishes in Austin, Texas which is the very best Texas has to offer in terms of towns/cities/places to live. And yes, the ride does loop and swoop through legendary Texas Hill Country which is home to some of the most varied and stunning topographical relief Texas has to offer. And yes, the ride does climax (theoretically) mid-way through at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. But who cares #becauseTexas.

The (Dis)Enchanted Rock Permanent was made possible by:

Raleigh Bicycles

With additional thanks to: Giro, Brooks, StanleyCLIF and Stumptown.