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Well, not the real Bert and Ernie, but I did a 30-mile ride with my cycling buddy, John Rodriguez, who wore a colorful shirt adorned with the lovable "Sesame Street" characters. At each rest stop, our fellow bicyclists said they loved John's jersey.

I, John and several hundred other riders took part in Saturday's annual Missions Tour de Goliad bicycle ride in Goliad. Four routes were offered: 10, 30, 50 and 85 miles. After a safety briefing, national anthem, prayer and music from a brass band, we riders were sent off in intervals from the Goliad Courthouse Square to hit the open road. Goliad law enforcement officers blocked traffic on Hwy. 59 both ways until we all cleared the intersection. As this is the 21st annual ride, I'm sure early morning motorists are used to seeing colorfully-clad visitors pedalling around town this time of year.

My Corpus Christi buddy and I chatting throughout the ride along country roads, making the miles easily disappear behind us. These rides always seems more enjoyable with a ride buddy.

Rest stops were situated every 10 miles or so. Manned by Cub Scouts, 4-H students and their familes, riders were offered water, Gatorade, fruit and cookies. As we approached the rest stop in Weesatche, John recalled enjoying some homemade cookies on an earlier ride here. Also at this stop, Goliad County Sheriff Kirby Brumby stopped by to check on things and see that riders had an enjoyable visit in Goliad.

There were a few points in the ride where I was slowing down and noticed others were doing the same. A few took extra rest breaks ("just catching my breath") along the route. At one such point, I noticed a young boy of maybe 10 or 12, red in the face and struggling on his bike while riding with his family. A short time later, I caught up with the boy's father and expressed my concerns but the dad said, "oh, he'll be fine. He's done rides before."

Later on the ride, John and I met up with a man who seemed to be riding alone. We rode with him and kept him company, then learned that he was riding with his wife, who was a quarter of a mile ahead. We three caught up with her and then warned them of one final hill to pedal over before reaching Goliad and the finish line.

When we reached that hill on Hwy. 183, John began experienced thigh cramps. He dismounted and walked his bike up the hill. I topped the hill and waited for him then pedalled into town. Stopping at the Hwy. 59 traffic light just blocks from the finish line, I briefly chatted with a female rider who was also stopped. She said she was just finishing the 50-mile ride. That shows you what a slowpoke rider I am.

At the finish line, we riders were greeted with cheers, cowbell clanging and perhaps most welcome of all - a cold wet towel offered by volunteers.

John and I finished the 30-mile ride in three-and-a-half hours. We could have done a little better but at least we weren't in last place (like I was in last month's Conquer the Coast ride).

I think that finishes rides in our area for the rest of the year. Does anyone know of any rides coming up in the Crossroads region?

Eric