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Big Bend Community => The Fort Davis Board => Topic started by: ggowins on September 12, 2016, 03:27:12 PM

Title: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 12, 2016, 03:27:12 PM
I'm heading out to Fort Davis on Thursday morning, and will do the Fort Davis Cyclefest bicycle ride on Saturday.  It is a clockwise ride of the scenic loop, starting and stopping at the Prude Ranch.  I've had surgeries on a knee each of the past two Christmases, so this will be a big milestone in my recovery.    Looks like there will be a ton of thunderstorms in the area, hope that won't affect the ride.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Andreas on September 12, 2016, 03:48:47 PM
Since I did the scenic loop by car only, I can only imagine what a huge challenge it is to do it on a bike. I hope both the weather & your knee will cooperate!  :crossedfingers:

Good luck & let us know how it worked out!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Robert on September 12, 2016, 05:37:23 PM
That's great! I wanted to go this year but could not convince anyone to come along. Are you doing the 76 Mile Tour as well as the Hill Climb?

For those who are unfamiliar, there are two events. One is the Tour (not a race) on Saturday, which has 3 distances, 27, 55 and 76 miles. The 76 mile route is the complete scenic loop through the Davis Mountains. The Hill Climb, on Sunday, has two distances. One is 1.5 miles ride from the McDonald Observatory Visitor Center to the top of Mt. Locke and the other starts 7 miles away in the valley floor and goes to the top.  As you reach the top the pitch gets up to 17% which is insane.

Hopefully the weather will hold out for you. Good luck (I do plan on going next year).
Title: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 13, 2016, 01:07:11 PM
Yep, I'm signed up for the 1.5 mile climb on Sunday, and the 76 mile ride on Saturday.  This ride last year was going to be a test of my left knee operation in Dec of 2014, but I had to drop out at the 2nd rest stop.  When I got home, I found out my right knee needed work as well.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Hang10er on September 13, 2016, 03:20:28 PM
The only way I could do it is if my cycle was a Harley....or Honda.....or Yamaha....
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 19, 2016, 04:26:18 PM
Got back from Fort Davis last night.  Weather ended up being perfect.  Only rain we got was overnight from Friday evening to Saturday morning.  It was clear most all day on Saturday for the ride.  I made it 55 of the 75 miles.  I got to the top of the Bear Mountain climb at the 43 mile mark, and my knees told me they had done enough climbing for the day.  My aunt and uncle, plus another uncle were out to watch me do the ride.  I called them on the walkie-talkie, and they came and picked me up.  They drove me to the last rest stop right before the observatory, and I rode the final 12 miles down to Prude Ranch.  There is one last SOB of a climb about a mile before the ranch.  Not a long one, but one that lets you know it is there.    Later that evening the clouds rolled in, so the telescopes couldn't be used for the Star Party.  That makes three consecutive visits for me to not be able to see the stars.

I did the Mt. Locke Hill Climb on Sunday, and it was brutal.  Took me 18 minutes to make it to the top from the visitor's center.  Only took a little over 2 minutes to come back down. :)  To put my time in perspective, the guy that finished with the fastest time on the 7 mile route took 28 minutes to get to the top.  His average speed was higher than my fastest speed on the climb!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Andreas on September 19, 2016, 05:56:09 PM
Congrats on that great achievement, ggowins  :notworthy: !!!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Robert on September 18, 2017, 01:24:25 PM
Now it is my turn to report out on the 2017 version of Cyclefest. Similar to what  ggowins reported in 2016 there were thunderstorms overnight Friday night/Saturday morning but they moved out before the start. Morning temps were in the 50's with overcast skies which later cleared up with afternoon temps in the mid 80's. There was also a good cross wind at times but once we got around to the observatory it had less of an impact. 

From Prude Ranch the route drops down to Ft Davis with the first 10 miles being relatively flat. Then you begin a gentle 700 foot climb up to 5700 feet over another 10+ miles and then down 700 feet in the next 10+ miles. Then the fun time is over and you climb a steep grade up Bear Mountain to over 6000 feet and continue the roller coaster until you get to the observatory when you get a long downhill back to Prude Ranch (except for one small 100 climb near near the finish).   

There was a pretty good sized group of riders from San Antonio so I never lacked for company. Ended up Saturday with 75 miles and 4500 feet of climbing which is the full loop. The route was easy to follow (directions were turn right at every highway intersection) and aid stations were well stocked. Lots of volunteers and SAG vehicles were plentiful for those who needed it.

Sunday morning was the Hill Climb. I did the 6 mile climb up to McDonald Observatory. The pitch gets extreme on the last mile from the visitor center to the top and most people questioned their sanity for signing up to do something so strenuous. But once you stop and recover there is a nice screaming descent to get back to the starting point. The total elevation on that climb was almost 1500 feet.

If  you ever want to do some challenging climbs with beautify scenery, this is the place to do it. Now I just need to take my bike out to Big Bend and tackle the climb into the Basin.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Jalco on September 18, 2017, 03:05:12 PM
Good job, Robert.  Congrats!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: VivaTerlingua on September 18, 2017, 03:59:56 PM
Now I just need to take my bike out to Big Bend and tackle the climb into the Basin.

There are some guys that live in Terlingua that once or twice a year ride up to the Basin from the Starlight parking lot, then hike to the top of Emory Peak and back down, then ride back to the Starlight.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: GaryF on September 19, 2017, 06:26:47 AM
Good job Robert! One of these years I will make it down for this event.

One of the nice things I remember about this area was the low traffic levels. Miles of quiet and scenic roads.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on August 12, 2018, 06:45:33 PM
I missed last year's ride, but enjoyed Robert's recap.  I'm signed up for this year's ride, and am really looking forward to it.  I plan to get to Davis Mountains State Park on Wednesday to do a little bit of acclimating before the ride on Saturday.  Are there any Benders planning to be out there Sept. 14-16th?
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: Robert on August 13, 2018, 12:05:33 PM
Yes! Going out there again this year with the same group that went last year. Looking forward to it!  I don't think you'll have any issues acclimating to Ft. Davis.

This week we are planning to head up to Breckenridge and catch the last day of the Colorado Challenge in Vail on Friday while vacationing in the mountains. Taking the road bikes so hope to get in some riding while we are there.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on August 13, 2018, 03:17:29 PM
Nice!  I'm hoping my knees hold out.  They gave me a bit of trouble on a ride a couple of weeks ago, but I've been more aggressive with my icing regimen and that has helped.   At the very least I'll have 4-5 days out in one of my favorite places to be!   Enjoy the trip to Colorado.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: GaryF on August 13, 2018, 07:38:16 PM
We just spent a week in Frisco Colorado, mostly riding the recpath paved trails and general sightseeing. Its pretty nice out there this time of year.

Id love to do the Ft Davis rides one year, but limited vacation will keep it from happening this year.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 05, 2018, 09:58:18 AM
Looks like the weather is going to be interesting for the ride.  I should know better than to look at long term forecasts, might as well flip a coin and say heads is sunny, tails is stormy.  :icon_biggrin: But now the forecast is for thunderstorms all through next weekend.  Will make for cooler temps for the bicycle ride, but not be much help for the star party.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 12, 2018, 10:32:07 AM
Getting ready to hit the road to Davis Mountains State Park.  The forecast has gotten better as we've gotten closer.  If you happen to see a black Jeep Grand Cherokee with custom plates, that'll be me!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 16, 2018, 07:28:37 PM
Got back from Fort Davis earlier this afternoon.  The weather (until this morning) was perfect all week.  I posted in the other thread about our adventure on Chispa Road.  We finally got to use the telescopes at the Star Party.  We'd been 0 for 3 on previous trips.  The weather for the start of the bicycle ride on Saturday morning was perfect.  In the 60s and calm winds.   I was feeling great, and made the first rest stop without any issues.  Same thing on the second rest stop.  But around the 35 mile mark, my right knee started acting up.  It got continually worse and worse, and I had to bail at the 42 mile mark, just short of the Bear Mountain climb.  This is the same place I had to call it quits last time I rode.   Gonna get an appointment with the knee doc this week and see if there is anything I can do about it. 
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 20, 2018, 10:28:31 AM
Guess I might have to change my screenname to badknees2 :D  Found out that I've regrown numerous bone spurs in both knees, and that is what is causing my issues.  Especially on uphill sections, since the knee compresses more when pedaling.  Got a cortisone shot in each knee to help for now, and will regroup to see what my options going forward are going to be.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: mule ears on September 20, 2018, 11:03:40 AM
Guess I might have to change my screenname to badknees2 :D  Found out that I've regrown numerous bone spurs in both knees, and that is what is causing my issues.  Especially on uphill sections, since the knee compresses more when pedaling.  Got a cortisone shot in each knee to help for now, and will regroup to see what my options going forward are going to be.

Sorry to hear this, when the body parts start to rebel it is hard to get a handle on it!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 17, 2019, 04:06:01 PM
It is time once again to head out to Fort Davis for the Cyclefest.  I leave in the morning, and will be out there until Sunday afternoon.  My knees have been doing really well (knock on wood) in my last couple of months of training, but we'll see how they do with the climbing.  I'm staying at the State Park.  If anyone else is out there, and sees a black Jeep Grand Cherokee with custom plates, that'll be me.  We are also going to try and tackle the length of Chispa Road again, this time with tools and implements of destruction in case there are any washouts like last year.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: mule ears on September 17, 2019, 07:43:25 PM
Best of luck, may the knees holdup!
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: ggowins on September 23, 2019, 02:13:36 PM
Was worried about the weather.  On Friday the forecast was not looking good at all, with continuous thunderstorms forecast starting at 4am.  I told my aunt and uncles that if it was pouring rain in the morning, not to bother with following me on the ride.

I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to cloudy skies, and no rain.  It was a bit on the cool side.   Made it to Prude Ranch a little after 7am, and the ride started at 8am.  Right as we started it began to drizzle.  Nothing too bad, but the combo of rain plus wind from the downhill ride into Fort Davis made things a little chilly.  I met my aunt and uncles in Fort Davis, and they went in to have breakfast at the Drug Store (under new ownership, no more turkey sausage, back to the real deal!) and made plans to meet me after the first rest stop.   I continued down and made the left turn onto 166.    This part of the route looks flat, but it is an optical illusion.  It is a continuous 1-2% uphill climb for about 15 miles.  A few miles in it started raining harder, and was getting colder.  My leg muscles weren't loosening up at all, and riding was a chore.  But I powered through to the first rest stop.  I took a bit of a break, then continued on.

Soon, the rain stopped, and things started to warm up a bit, and my legs finally started to feel ok.  I met my personal support crew at the Point of Rocks, and they went ahead to wait for me at the second rest stop, with is just up the hill from the turn-off to Valentine.  I still had a bit more to climb to get to the downhill sections, and slowly but surely I made it.  The downhill section is a long and fun one, and I was feeling great by the second rest stop.  I took a break here and chowed down on bananas and cookies to refuel.   The last couple of years the section after the turn-off to Valentine did me in.  There are lots of ups and downs.  The overall elevation gain is comparable to the section from Fort Davis to Bloys Camp, but you climb a lot more due to the rolling terrain. 

I started down the road, and the first couple of climbs weren't too bad.  But I was going slower and slower.  My relatives were waiting at the top of each big climb.   On the next hill after San Antonio Pass, I called for a break, and they drove me to the top of the Bear Mountain climb, where there is another rest stop.  I rested a bit, and let my legs recover.  I hopped back on, and told them to meet me at the 118 turnoff, about 8 miles down the road.  This was a nice easy ride, through a very picturesque valley.  I always like seeing the Rockpile.  When I got to the intersection, I had them give me a ride to the top of that climb.  I rode a for a few miles, and they were waiting for me at the bottom of the next big climb.  When I got there, as I was putting my bike in the truck. another rider said that a sag wagon a little ways back was having car trouble.  So we turned around to go see if there was anything we could do to help.

We get there, and the truck had a smoking front driver's side tire.  We let it it cool down, and get the tire off.  Turns out that the front caliper has seized.  We banged on the caliper a couple of times, and it released, but any application of the brakes caused it to seize again.  The truck was a diesel, so he decided that he would drive it slowly back to Prude Ranch, using the engine as the brake.  We followed him for a bit, and a few miles down the road he gave us the all clear to go on ahead.   We had spent about an hour helping out, so I asked to be dropped off a few miles ahead at the observatory.   I thanked my aunt and uncles for helping me out, and told them I was good from here and I'd see them back at the state park.

As I started the downhill section, the guy with the truck came by.   I picked up a LOT of speed on the downhill section, and I ended up passing him.  But he caught back up on one of the inclines toward the bottom.  I made it slowly up Heartbreak Hill outside of Limpia Crossing, and once I crested that, it was all downhill for the last couple of miles to Prude Ranch.  So I did make it all the way around, with some much appreciated help.  I ended up riding 60.5 of the 72 miles, and even with the help still climbed just over 3,800 vertical feet.  My knees felt fine the next day, and while they are a little more sore today, that is probably because of all the sitting on the drive home yesterday.   

The bad weather that was forecast finally came in Saturday evening.  Totally blew any chance of having the Star Party.  There was thunder and lightning and heavy rain starting about 9am until the next morning.   The rain stopped just after sunrise, and made packing up not much fun.  But it still was a great time to spend out in one of the best places in Texas.
Title: Re: Fort Davis Cyclefest
Post by: mule ears on September 23, 2019, 04:42:48 PM
Great report with the usual West Texas drama, glad you made it around.

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