The drive leads through Midland, then west on I-20 to Pecos (known for its super sweet cantaloupe), and from there across a desolate plain before one enters the Davis Mountains. In this plain is located the tiny hamlet of Saragosa, which was wiped out by a tornado something like 15 or 20 years ago. I still remember driving through this town of maybe 100 souls, marveling at the snapped-off trees and electricity poles. So, seeing uncounted dust devils in this region on the drive yesterday brought back certain memories as this odd phenomenon is somewhat related to the tornado. Dust devils are small whirlwinds that pick up dust and rocks and vegetation and dance along the plains for a few minutes before they collapse. Get caught in one of those in a roadster and you'll taste dirt for days.
|Dust devil near Saragosa, TX|
I made it down to the ranch, which is the headquarters for this weekend's three-stage road race, just a few minutes after registration had opened at 4 p.m. No problem. I spent the afternoon helping out as I am not the chief down here. Still it seemed to me that my experience and expertise were appreciated. As is always the case when I go to a race in Texas there are lots of people I know, and it is nice to catch up with old buddies with whom I used to race. Quite frankly, I do miss the camaraderie of racing, but my officiating life now is so much more fulfilling and, honestly, so much more fun.
This morning I was in charge of the first group to go off on the hill climb up to Mt. Locke, a 16-mile slog with grades of around 20% in the final two miles. I was the accompanying referee for the Professionals and Category 1 and 2 racers.
|The P / 1 / 2s struggling up Mt. Locke|
|Scoring at the top of the hill climb|
I had a few minutes here at Prude Ranch and really wanted to get this update going before heading to the Limpia Hotel for lunch and then the start of the TT.