Monday, September 19, 2011

Fort Davis. Downhill Ride.

Fort Davis, Texas
Friday September 16, 2011
From Fort Davis to Balmorhea, Texas is an 1,800 ft. drop in elevation over 37 miles and is a favorite activity before the Saturday 75 mile ride at Fort Davis. So a few of us agreed to meet and ride downhill on Friday also.
But first, when we arrived at Fort Davis, we wanted to see the extent of damage the Fort Davis area suffered during the April wildfires.
It was heartening to see Texas native grass growing robustly around a scorched bush. 
One could see scorched rocks and vegetation where the fast moving fire roared through, but miraculously houses would still be standing. Not all buildings in the effected area made it unscathed, but a surprizing number did.         
Unique wooden gate made it through the fire. Where there is green growth is where the fire had blown through.
Then it was time to ride. Rick and Velma Ogan met us at the Limpia Hotel and had brought their tandem to try the hills. Recently (just before the Bastrop fire), they had tried out the tandem at the Bastrop/Buescher State Park hills and did fine..other than ruining a rim on a pot hole. 
Brian Backlund (way up behind Rick/Velma) was also staying at the Limpia and was to ride downhill with us. Christine and Ismarelda were to SAG for us.
Modernization comes slowly in the mountains.
There are two major reasons riders travel from Fort Davis to Balmorhea..the downhill aspect and the great scenery along the way.

Brian hung back with me to enjoy the scenery. Last I saw of Rick and Velma, they were pedaling together on the downhills. I was conserving my energy, for what I don't know, just conserving.
And rubber-necking all of the roadside scenery.

The wildfire burned all the tall desicated growth. If there were enough rain then grass could grow. 

There was a thunderstorm building just over the hills. As Rick and Velma had ridden from the Prude Ranch and, therefore, had to ride back, they turned around about this time. And unfortunately, the replaced rim had some more work to be done on it which meant that on tomorrow's 75 mile ride, they were going to have to ride their individual bikes.

Brian and I continued to brave the elements as we knew our SAG team was just down the road.
Christine and Ismarelda parked at Wild Rose Pass to pick us up.
And Christine had time to smell some of the wildflowers that sprouted after the fires.

I talked about downhill, downhill. Well, there were a few UPhills also. Brian completes the climb up Wild Rose Pass.
EVENTUALLY, I made it up the hill.
Since we had climbed up Wild Rose, it was only fair to let us ride down to the bottom of the pass. The girls agreed to go down the hill and pick us up down there.
And coasting downhill will provide us with pleasant memories for a long time.


  1. Down hills--my favourite rides!!! YOu got some amazing photos of the things we call "Hoodoos", those eroded, standing rocks. Where we see them in the Rockies, they are grey, not brown like yours. Looks like it was a nice ride with lovely scenery.

  2. Gotta love coasting!
    By the way - did that thunderstorm ever hit your ride?

  3. @Rosemary. The ride is very scenic. Christine wanted to label the ride "The Most Majestic Ride in Texas". This was West Texas majesty, next weekend we hopefully will be riding through East Texas majesty (if they have had rain).

    Christine calls the rock formations hoodoos also. I call them pretty rocks.

  4. @Edie. We were lucky the whole weekend. It rained all round us but never on us. And the temperature was great; cool but not cold (despite the fact that for the first 20 or so miles Christine wore her arm and leg warmers), and the wind was not a factor other than a nice cool breeze.

    Between the above description and the great scenery, it was a totally opposite ride from what you experienced when you last rode in TX.

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