An update to my previous post, specifically my remark that a guy without a seatpost or saddle passed me on Neel's Gap. I inquired further and was advised that he had left his equipment at home, had traveled a long way, and decided to do the whole 105 miles without them. I tried an internet search and didn't find any mention (other than mine). More power to him.
An update on my TT training. I rode yesterday, and after a couple of 5k warm-ups, went for the whole 17 miles, using my 3 mile out-and-back circuit at Old Settlers Park. This has two uphills and one downhill on the outbound (this day, with the wind), and two downhills and one uphill on the return, against the wind. Five and a half laps netted 16.8 miles in 47 minutes and change. Confidence level now at a 10. Thursday Barry and I will drive down to Gruene and preview the course. The profile is generally UP, two steep climbs, but it is a question of how gradual the rest of the course is. I'm thinking my estimated 50 minutes might be spot on.