Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fort Davis Cyclefest

 Fort Davis Cyclefest
Fort Davis, Texas
September 21, 2013
 It rained again this year but was only cloudy on Saturday. However, I didn't want to go to the staging area at the Prude Ranch and park and walk around in the mud. So Christine and I started from the Limpia Hotel where we were staying. Not too far out of town the scenery begins. Ergo, the 75 mile Fort Davis Scenic Loop.
 Not quite at the foothills yet but the beginning of rolling hills "threats".
 But first, a long stretch of highway. This stretch of road is about 10 miles and is another example of a "false flat." The 10 miles consists of 1 to 2% grade and 1,000 feet of elevation.
 Rollers begin after the 10 miles, and the scenery continues.
 Even several years after the wildfires, the evidence is apparent.  
 In the distance one can watch Saw Tooth mountain get closer and closer.
 Right around the corner is a picnic area that serves as an unofficial rest stop. The picnic area is about 45 miles into the ride and Bear Mountain becomes seriously steep right at the stop.
 Fast forward to the top of Bear Mountain--Brian and Rick were awaiting my arrival. (See the previous post for the videos of going up Bear Mountain. Needless to say I was pulling on the handlebars too much to take still pictures on the way up.)

A side note: As I was going up the hill, a rider pulled up beside me and said, "Do you know what the snail riding on the turtle said?...Whee!!" Then he said, "I feel like the snail." Maybe he did, but he was passing me!
 Christine relaxing at Rest Stop 3. Yes, her smile tells off on her "I have a secret," but I will wait until she edits this to see if she reveals her secret or not. (Editor's note: I'm not ashamed to admit that I "sagged" up. My knees aren't as they used to be and it takes too long to walk up so many inclines.)
 After the punishing climb, Mother Nature soothes some of the pain by a show of beauty.

 Rick and Brian after the good Bear Mountain downhill.

 In between Bear Mountain and Fisher "Hill" there is a long stretch of mesa-like terrain.
 Yep, I have another non-secret: I sagged up two more really difficult climbs.
 Just before Fisher Hill, Christine spotted a tarantula on the road. She stopped and encouraged him to get off the road or be squashed. Christine took the picture as I well remember as a kid being told that tarantulas could jump six feet and attack you. Probably to keep us kids from playing with worked then and still does now.
 Going up Fisher Hill. As explained in the previous post, this was the only flat spot in the climb so I stopped and took a video as well as some still shots. I picked the flat spot as I well remember my first year on this ride. As I slowed to 4 mph or less, I would stop and rest. Well, trying to get started again on an uphill with weak legs is quite interesting and scary. Later, I wrote a Beginner's Page about how to go up a hill without rolling backwards.
 The Fisher Hill climb started way back down yonder. And this was just the start of the climb.
 After every climb, there is a downhill (most times). This is the bottom of Fisher Hill while I was going slowly enough to chance a photo. Hopefully next year I will be able to video the downhill. It was also on Fisher Hill several years ago that I had to choose between death and my chocolate chip cookie. 
 Christine just enjoying the scenery.
 Rest Stop 5 is the last one before Prude Ranch and the end of the ride. The Boy Scouts manned every one of the rest stops for the ride. Thank you, Ft. Davis BSA troop.
 The entrance to the McDonald Observatory not only signals that one is getting close to the end, it marks the beginning of a very "interesting" downhill ride.
 The McDonald Observatory boasts the highest point of Texas highways at 6,791 feet. We are looking at it at about 5,280 feet elevation. 
 Just past McDonald Observatory are some serious steep S curves.
 Centrifugal force can play into the turns unless one is careful. Didn't bother me as I was braking down the hill. As such, Christine, Rick, and Brian are way, way ahead of me. 
 Eventually one gets to the bottom and the ride becomes normal. 
 There is a pretty good stretch of level road before the next evil malady.
 Just as one thinks that the ride is all but finished, up pops "Heartbreak Hill", or "The Wall." From a distance (and camera angle), the wall always looks like a small roller. No sweat. But that darn hill is deceiving. Before you crest the hill, your Garmin is displaying 11%. Hence, Heartbreak Hill. After all the 70 miles of ups and downs, one has to endure another tough one.
 Prude Ranch. Finish line. For most may remember my mentioning that Christine and I started from out hotel in town. Another 10 miles to go. Christine was telling me to go on into town, get the car, and come back after her. I told her that the rest of the ride was going to be easy as it was downhill all the way to town. She argued that there were some uphills in between but continued to ride with me anyway. 
 Turns out Christine was correct. There were 5 hills that registered 5% or more (yes, she counted them and had me tell her the grade just to prove me wrong).
So, I took pictures only of the downhills. 

 I don't know. I just liked the tree.
 And the road continued to be downhill all the way back into town.
 Fort Davis is just at the edge of town so we were home free.
Back at the Limpia Hotel and the rocking chairs on the porch. Christine was enjoying the relaxation so much that I had to take a picture. However, she resisted due to "helmet hair". I took her picture anyway and the above is our compromise. Crop out the hair and leave in the rocking chair.

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