Destination: McDonald Observatory
Mount Locke Race
Sunday September 16, 2012
Rick Ogan was up early to prepare for the 7 mile race. Note the difference in the sky from yesterday.
The 7 milers gather at the "solar panels" on highway 118.
Bill Yohman was readying his bike while Debbie Yohman, Joy Smith, and Rick Ogan looked on.
The race takes them to the top of the mountain in the center of the picture.
The road winds up and up.
The hair pin turns are fun going down. Up is another story.
View from the top.
If one enlarges the picture, the long winding road can be seen.
The 7 mile racers start at an elevation of 5,280 feet (1 mile). This point (near the finish line) is 6,791 feet, a 1,511 feet climb in 7 miles!! That ascent is what we do during a 30 mile ride.
The 1.5 mile racers start down at the McDonald Observatory Visitor Center. Before one says "a mere 1.5 miles," know that the road immediately starts going up and doesn't stop until the finish line.
Not all experience the pressure of the race. Debbie, Joy, and Christine seem to have no worries.
Both races started at 9 a.m. and soon the first of the 1.5 milers start arriving.
Later, the 7 milers begin to appear. Marlon Miller still has enough in him to stand and pedal.
I tried to get him to look up and smile. That wasn't his first priority at that time. However, I looked back as he was about to get to the finish line--he SPRINTED across the line. Later he mentioned that he shouldn't have sprinted, just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Rick Ogan nears the finish line.
From my point of view, they all make it look easy. They assure me it is not. I have neglected to mention that the last leg is a 17% climb.
Brian Backlund finishes and seems to have brought the sun shine with him. He too made it look easy.
Celebration time. Rick, Bill, Marlon, and Brian. Cyclists, and now you, dear readers, will recognize the "king of the mountains" hats.
Race over, it is time for an outstanding hamburger and a unbeatable chocolate milk shake. Hey, it takes a lot out of one to watch those racers pedal up that tough mountain.
Then begins the return back to the flatlands of San Angelo .
Some of the scenery on the way out of the mountains toward Balmorhea.
Maybe next year the weather will cooperate and we will do the scenic loop again. Until then, we have some good memories of this year despite the Saturday rain-out.