Ft. Davis Rally review

Wow, man, I am feelin’ pretty good about my riding right now. Sure, it helps when some people don’t show up, but you know, you compete against those who make the trip, and there’s plenty of competition to go around.

Amy and I traveled all the way out to Ft. Davis in September, her first trip out there in 3 years. We stayed at the Harvard Hotel, and made a good weekend out of it. Friday we spent fixing up our bikes, traveling to Marfa and then Alpine, walking around some shops and art galleries (not many, even there the economy seems to have sort of dried up), and then rode our bikes about 40 miles up the Big Loop. That night, we attended a stargazing show at the McDonald Observatory, something that was truly spectacular. We saw the International Space Station, an undocked supply module, and some of the most vivid stellar objects we’ve ever seen. The evening was perfect- no moon for the longest time, crystal clear skies, and a milky way that was just gorgeous.

Saturday we got up early, enjoyed a small breakfast in the car, and then I rolled out with a group of maybe 30. We held steady until maybe mile 35, when several riders started attacking on the rolling hills of the back side of the course. One rider took off for what we call a “Snot Pull”, where you jump ahead, blow schnoz, and then roll back. I went with him. After about 30 seconds, we looked back, and BOOM, the gruppetto was about a minute behind us. I said, “Let’s go”, and together we pulled all the way to the base of the first major climb, Bear Mountain. There, I pulled ahead a little early, and started my pacing for the 5 minutes or so that were necessary to get up the hill. First to the top, I never saw anyone again.

For the next 36+ miles, I soloed off the front, and finished in 3:30, about 10+ minutes ahead of everyone else. I was elated. I had timed my energy consumption and expenditure perfectly, and I think my pedal stroke and positioning were aggressive enough to help me pull this off. The rest of the afternoon and evening were perfect. Amy came in around 6:15, and I drove up the course to find her and cheer her on. She had a blast.

That night, we went to the pasta dinner at the Prude Ranch, and ended up having supper with a great couple from Austin. They were fun, the kids were nice, and when the raffle was held, everyone went away with something, including the little girl, who got cash for $100!!! Whoa! Amy won a Topeak Panoram Cycle Computer, and I took home a great water bottle with a gel holder inside it. We slept like rocks that night, happy and sore and exhausted.

Sunday we did the Hill Climb. Due to a lingering injury, Amy elected to not do it, but I was going to try for the Polka Dot Jersey. I led over the first hill, and was feeling pretty strong, when a cyclist from Juarez rolled by me on the descent toward the second, longer hill, and just basically took 80m on me. After that, I was never able to close the gap on him. We seesawed closer and further apart, but in the end, he took me by about 35 seconds at the top. The one awesome story from the Hillclimb is that at the bottom of Hill 2, I had a guy hanging on to my wheel, and I just pedaled steady at about 290w, and just kept the guy in front of me in site. Suddenly, about 3/4 of the way up, I heard this large gasp, and then, nothing. Just my own breathing. I’d done it. I had cracked the guy. He finished almost a minute behind me. It felt awesome.

Second place to a Cat 1 is fine and it’s something I think I can be proud of. That and the prize money was also pretty cool, though I forget just how much.

The trip back was also cool – we listened to “The Adventures of the Thunderbolt Kid”, by Bill Bryson, and laughed so hard I almost drove off the road at one point. Given the crap that has occurred this past summer, this was one fitting bookend to it, and we were set to end it on a pretty high note.

I’ll post about Glen Rose at another time. Thanks for reading.


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