After spending the Easter weekend at home (and enjoying two delightful dinners with Martha and Alan, one at their place and one at mine) it's travel time again. This is the first of three Texas-based race weekends for me: a high school mountain bike race in Waco tomorrow, a duathlon in San Angelo next Sunday, and the always-challenging Hammerfest road bike stage race in Ft. Davis to close things down one week later.
I left Lubbock yesterday afternoon, having decided that breaking up the long drive to Waco by staying overnight in Abilene was the smart thing to do for a man who has no obligations at home. After spending a restful night in the Hilton Garden Inn I drove the remaining 190 miles in gailing head-winds to Waco this morning. The wildflowers are still out, with big fields of bluebonnets making me smile time and again. I set the Miata's cruise control at 60 mph, as there was no particular hurry to get to Waco where my only obligation was to walk the 4-mile course. When the wind blows as hard as it did today, there's not much sense burning extra fuel trying to go faster than that.
Driving through the Texas countryside is not boring, if you keep your eyes open. There was "Deep Shit Ranch," which sported a nice wrought-iron gate. Or the escaped nanny goat that was on the wrong side of the fence, almost on the road, with a possible penchant to commit suicide. "No Money Left" was the name of another ranch, and then it was time to watch out for weirdos when I entered the land of Branch Davidians (remember David Koresh?) and one notable George W. Bush, whose ranch is just outside of Waco, in Crawford.
Talking about the shrub: My old friend Larry L., former owner of Bicycles Outback in Waco, has ridden his mountain bike on numerous occasions with Dubya, and Larry says that he's a damn nice guy. I'm sure of that as it is highly doubtful that anybody on his ranch has ever been waterboarded. Bicycles Outback now is owned by another longtime buddy, Ian M., and it turns out that one of his two daughters is going to interview the ex-Pres for a school project. Small world, isn't it? Just in case you wonder, a few years back, Larry gave me a picture of him and the pres, just to needle me a little. I told Larry that being a nice guy and riding a mountain bike are great attributes but not the exclusive ticket to being a good Commander in Chief. Ah, politics....
I inspected the course, had a thorough pow-wow with race director Vance, and then went to Ian's shop to say howdy. Catherine, his racer wife (who was formerly known as "Xena the Warrior Queen"), was on the way back from a crit in Dallas, together with Bicycle Outback's women's team. Once they made it back to town, we all had dinner together at Ninfa's, a Mexican food place close to Baylor.
|Old friends: Catherine, Kathleen, Matt, moi, Ian, Claire, Kim, Sheri, and bad-kid Sophie|
(pic courtesy of Michelle M.)
And thus it goes when you're trippin' in Texas....
A quick PS: The race came off with about half a hitch this morning. During the second lap of the boys' race the expected storms moved in, dropping the temp by 15 degrees and deluging us for about 45 minutes, hard. Then things became calm and just a bit sprinkly. The high schoolers (mind you, some of these kids are on 35-pound Huffys!) didn't quit, though, and toughed it out—not one DNF! Props to all the parents, coaches, and other volunteers who helped out and made this a successful event. This is a race series that is bound to succeed, if for nothing else than the team spirit displayed by racers and supporters alike. I am very much reminded of collegiate racing, which in my book is the purest form of the sport. Man, am I lucky to be affiliated with people like this!If you know a high school kid who might be interested, let me know.