04
Jun
09

Durant, Oklahoma Rally review

THIS is starting to get really fun!

The absence of a local race, and the fact that the Tulsa Tough was going on the same weekend, gave Amy and I some time to actually head North a few miles, up to Durant, Oklahoma, for a small rally that has a beautiful reputation. The “Magnolia Tour” coincides with Durant’s outdoor festival, and we made the 90 minute drive, arriving in an area that is rolling, green, and has few of the usual complaints that go with country cycling, namely, “chip seal”.

Though there were barely 140 participants total, there were a number of really good cyclists with whom I was familiar, including Cindy and Armand Phillippi, and their teammates. My old friend Duane Neu parked right next to us, and we all had a great time catching up before, during, and after the ride.

The event itself went off without a hitch. There was a batch of maybe 40 of us that ended up in a solid paceline for the first 10 miles or so, but after a while, I realized (as I have a lot this season), that there were only a few of us who were actually doing much work. I rolled back and tried to compel some others to take their turns up front, but got little response. That frustrated me. It frustrated me a lot, so I decided to do something about it.

The terrain in Durant is perpetually rolling. There’s no flat stuff at all, just false-flats, steady climbs, and rolling descents. I went to the front and took some strong 2-minute pulls at about 360w, just enough to put the last person in line under stress. Then I’d get to the top, and drift off, to let someone else do some work. The winds were minimal, but they were present, so there was little time to truly recover.

After 20 miles, we were down to 15 or so, and when a good 1-minute hill came up with about 4% incline, I put the hammer down and pulled the string to the point where a lot of riders fell off the pace. That left us with a solid group of 7 or 8, and by mile 30, we were down to 5 or 6. We continued to pull and do some work together, though it was obvious that the other riders were getting fatigued, and by mile 45 or so, we just had four riders at the front.

Looking at the group, and realizing how silly it would be to try and solo in on a course I didn’t know, we worked together to keep the pace high enough that we could continue getting a good workout, but slow enough that no one would get consciously dropped. In the final 400 meters, though, a McKinney Velo rider tried to steal the Finish from me — and I passed him, finishing a good bike length ahead.

Another ‘victory’!

The day wasn’t quite as good for Amy, who suffered from fatigue, stress from our dog situation (she’s been recovering from palette surgery), and just general dismay about work. She finished in a time that she felt was slow, but I encouraged her to look at the bright side; it was sunny, the weather was perfect, the course was smooth as silk for at least 30 miles, and we got out of town for a ride someplace new! That night, we ate at a new restaurant for us, “Bolsa”, in Oak Cliff, with our buddy Todd, and called it a night early.

I really think the mix of rallies and races is leading to some solid fitness and results, and I can’t wait for next week’s rally in Mesquite, so I can see what is possible in a stronger field!

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3 Responses to “Durant, Oklahoma Rally review”


  1. 1 Merlin
    2009/06/09 at 2:51 pm

    This is really funny. You go to a “tour” and get upset when more people want to draft than pull?

    I’m always a little flattered when I end up at the front more often than not. But I’m 61 and if the kids can’t keep up, them drafting me isn’t slowing me down. And occasionally someone says “thanks”.

    Maybe this was like many “tours” in Texas or Oklahoma and there is always a race involved, one way or another.

    Chill man. Pump yourself up for the races, but stop and smell the roses sometime.

    • 2009/06/09 at 7:18 pm

      Um, I’m not upset per se, but it would’ve made the ride just that much better to have a different set of butts pulling through to look at now & then.

      I definitely smelled the roses. I remember the numerous tortoises out on the road (alive – I felt bad for them and wanted to pull over and pick them up and put them on the side, but then I thought, “Which side?”) The course was gorgeous. There were green fields, healthy livestock, some good forested terrain, and the picnic afterwards was pretty nice.

      I also like the fact that the lifeguard let me cool off in the splash pool.


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