By Kelly Howard, BCO Event Leader
I was talking with some BCO buddies recently and someone asked about Rock Out Weekend— why is it called that? And when did it start? It took me back about 5 years ago when the MS150 ride had sold out very quickly. We had several members who partook in all of our MS150 training rides to gear up for the big day but, as luck would have it, it didn’t work out. They were bummed, so we decided to set up a ride for them to Enchanted Rock, near Fredericksburg, and back.
Enchanted Rock is the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States covering a whopping 640 acres. And that’s just the rock. The Natural State Park is home to wonderful scenery and breathtaking Hill Country views and makes riding a bike real easy on the eyes and hard on the legs! Thus, we dubbed our journey “Rock Out Ride.”
We always stayed at a nice little rustic place, a B&B, a ranch, or a couple of cabins near the Enchanted Rock area. The very first year our B&B was really cute and cheesy. Enveloped in full-blown cowboy and Indian décor, it was a true bunkhouse, complete with wood paneling coverage, in every room. Cutout figures of cowboys and Indians in various poses kept us company. The place was a short distance to our magical destination, or so I thought.
After riding the 10+ hilly miles it took to get there, everyone decided they didn’t want to ride back to the B&B! While trying to rack my brain for a way back with all the bodies and bikes, I stopped and looked at all these laughing and smiling faces. These people were having a great time! None of them wanted an MS150 bike ride with a little bit of fun; they wanted a whole bunch of fun and a little bike ride.
So, the weekend stuck, but the idea of a “big” ride didn’t. Hello, “Rock Out Weekend,” and rock out sans ride — is what we did. The second year, about 20 of us stayed at a lovely ranch. The beautiful countryside hosted a variety of animals, some exotic. Taxidermy hung from the walls as testimony to the presence of hunters. Some riding happened that weekend, but mostly we just hung out, relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company away from all the hustle and bustle in Houston. On the property, the ranch had a stone structure that slightly resembled Stonehenge. In true BCO fashion, someone suggested a “watermelon sacrifice” at the rocks complete with a master of ceremonies. Somehow, someway the sacrifice seemed to please the cosmos, which allowed the fun to continue for years and counting.
For the last couple of years, we have been staying at a 500-acre ranch, the same place that holds the Mellow Johnny Classic International Mountain Bike Race at the end of May every year. We needed a place big enough to let all the weekend warriors run wild and free. This year we are up to about 75 people, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. The mountain biking is over the top spectacular, but as I already know, most people don’t come to ROW to ride, they come for the hiking, the rock climbing, the late-night story telling, the wine tasting, the memories, the moonlight swimming in the waterhole, and the ever-lasting friendships.