Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 8: a big hill, A REALLY BIG HILL

Start: foot of the Davis Mountains End: 3 miles from Ft. Davis, TX.
Weather: Sunny slight overcast 50-60 degrees

The longest short ride ever ended around 5pm today. Frank climbed through the Davis Mountains up to McDonald Observatory and on towards Ft. Davis. The hill was so long and so steep that even going down the backside was uphill ! In several stretches, first gear was too tall so Frank dismounted the bike and walked it a few times. Once Frank made the observatory around 2:30pm, a Ranger told him the last 8 miles were probably the steepest hills in Texas - Frank didn't argue, he just kept eating his sandwich.

He could not help but remember the note he read on his cycling map the day before which said "mainly for cyclist with several years experience". Not only did Frank agree with the Ranger's assessment, Frank decided he would never ride up that hill again (and He had a couple of words of encouragement for the guy who put the route on the map in the first place). Frank may only have 50 days of cycling experience under his belt - but it is probably several years worth by now.

There actually is an alternate route that avoids this climb by going South from Van Horn, TX to Marfa which takes you around the mountain in not much more distance but Frank isn't taking the easy way out. "that was the hardest thing I have ever ever done" Frank.

He told me it was cold camping out last night and fires are not allowed up on the mountains so he felt a little drained starting the day. But things got pretty exciting about an hour into the ride where he crossed paths with a combined herd of javelina, cattle, and mule deer – the pictures are on their way.

Tonight Frank is at an RV camp. The host gave him the space next to the showers. Go ahead Frank - enjoy a hot shower, today you earned it.

(post by Sean)

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