Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mt. Locke Race, Fort Davis

 Mt. Locke Race
McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, Texas
The McDonald Observatory is at an altitude of 6,790 feet but is not normally in the clouds. However, this day was extremely foggy. 
 Our first clue of the fog was the landscape just out of Fort Davis.
 Staging area for the 7.5 mile race. At this altitude, the fog wasn't too bad. However, the racers' destination can be seen only by squinting one's eyes and looking just to the right of the center. The very white domes of the Ottto Struve and Harlan J. Smith telescopes can barely be seen.
 Brian and Rick at the Visitor's Center staging area. Brian and Rick decided to race the 1.5 mile from this location. In the past, they have been in the 7.5 mile pack.
 Fog was getting worse. The courtesy vans taking spectators to the top were not operating this time. So Christine and I decided to walk up the road a short distance and wait for the riders to come by.
 Riders started appearing from the thick mist.  
 It was hard to identify the riders as they were traveling pretty fast and were blurred. I thought I spotted Rick so took a shot right fast.
 Sure enough, it was Rick. I poised for another shot and waited, but I never did identify Brian.
 After the 1.5 mile racers went by, we decided to pack it in and go home. On the way down, we passed some of the 7.5 mile racers. The curve in the road was one of the hairpin turns that I talked about in the previous write-up.
 For the racers, the road goes up and up. On the previous day, this was one of our fun times going down.
SAG car was following the tail end of the group. If you just make it up to the finish line you are a winner and receive a Mt. Locke cap to prove it.
We were not thinking clearly--must have been the fog. As I mentioned, we left as the 1.5 mile riders passed. It was after we got home that it dawned on us we missed one of the great traditions of the race--eat at the local drug store with the riders, listen to their war stories about the tough climb, and have one of the best old-fashioned milk shakes that can be found. Sorry, Brian and Rick. We will listen to your recollections of the 2014 ride after the 2015 race. So it is a date--September 2015.

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