Texas Hill Country 600km

Texas Hill Country 600km

It was doubtful that I was going to do this race after bailing out on Larry Graham as a team rider but I still needed to go to Plano TX for a dealer clinic at Plano Cycling. When visiting with Steve Petty  (Corsa SS rider and Tejas 500 team rider) about coming to town I mention something about the race and that it was at the start of Hell Week and Steve said they were going to be down there and I said hmm, you guys want to crew and he said sure!. Peggy (Strada rider and Tejas 500 team rider)and Steve Petty with Ray Torrey (Aero rider and whom Rich Pinto and I first met at Hotter n’ Hell a few years ago) .

They gave up riding on Saturday’s first day of Hell week to crew for me. I think they were a little nervous about crewing but I kept saying don’t worry it is easy and just relax.

My first timer crew did a stellar job nary a glitch and I almost stayed nice though out the whole race, I would take them on as crew anytime down the road. Also they offered to do a ride report from the crew side, now for my part of the report the race from the rider.

This adventure started out as an early spring dealer visit. First stop was Ride South, (http://www.ridesouth.com/), near Jackson Mississippi. Jim Snider has one of the most beautiful Recumbent, Bicycle and kayak shops I have visited. Arrived there on a Friday afternoon with plans for a morning ride with some of Jim’s faithful local riders. I think we had a showing of almost twenty riders. We did the loop around the lake and then it was to work unloading kayaks and unpacking them for the rest of the day. Sunday I had a three hour workout to do with intervals so local rider Brain Curry suggest we ride together up the Trace, Brain is training for the kilo on the track and thought it would be fun to tag a long with the old guy for a few intervals. The Natchez Trace work outs perfect for intervals, no stop signs.

We knocked out the three and went our separate ways with an afternoon ride schedule out to Yogi Park with Jim and whoever showed up. Ended up for the day with a little over 100 miles on the bike, really good riding around Jim’s shop a must do again trip..

Weather looked ugly as I headed west towards Dallas and forecast sounded like winter was going to strike one more time, just in time for the visit to Plano Cycling, (http://planocycling.com/), with Rick’s crew.  Had a good little clinic with the crew and managed to get in a recovery ride before the rains hit.

I had one more day of endurance miles to do after the rains and cold temps hit so I did something I have not done in a couple of years. I did a trainer workout in the Petty’s garage! There on the trainer I had my first flat in a long time, at least I was not out on the side of the road getting drenched and freezing.

Friday morning we headed for Heletoes TX to check and get inspection done on bikes and pace vehicles. It was cold and damp. Rain most of the way down. Forecast show a good chance of the rains letting up but temps staying down below the fifties and winds light but what wind there would be was pretty much stay as a headwind working against the clockwise course.

We passed inspection not with out a little bit of oh, wonder where that is , and just one phone call to Sara Kay to ask if we had something with us before I tore up the van to find it. This was the first race where I had a first time crew, zero experience and I actually had to know what was going on with having the van ready for pace work. You get kind of spoiled with having crew chief’s like Sara Kay ( 08 Solo RAAM crew chief), Adrienne Ruggeles (07 Two Man RAAM Crew Chief)  and David Bradley (just a dam good crew member to have around even if he is not being the crew chief) hanging around.

The race plan was to get up and over the first few climbs at a good tempo, hopefully I would have a gap on the pack and spread it out a little more before the big climbs. Follow this link and scroll down to the bottom for the profile of the race course, (http://www.raceacrossoregon.com/hillcountry). The race started promptly at 8:00 with Fred Boethling pacing us out to the end of the neutral zone at mile 4.2.  After 2:14 minutes time station number one rolled by 42.6 miles into the 600km race. I manage to have eight minutes on the second place rider David Goggins at this point in the race. My numbers were good and I was not hurting myself to bad. Max. watts was 606 right the neutral zone start with an average of 237 watts. Max. heart rate was 168 with an average of 144,  average speed was 19.4 mph, all well within my endurance range.

TS #2 was 79.4 miles into the race. Covered the 37 miles in 2:12, max watts 515, average watts 230, max heart rate 160, average heart rate 142, average speed of 17.8 and a max speed of 54.9 mph. At this point I had a 14 minute lead of the second place ride who now was John Caton. Caton had worked his way up to second and would remain there for the next three time stations. Race clock was at 12:22 p.m.

Rock Springs, mile 129.7 saw TS #3 roll by 7:47 total time into the race. For the 50.3 miles covered I had a max. watts 457, average watts 200, max HR 151 and average HR of 134. Average speed was 17.6. I now had a 25 minute lead on John Caton running second.

Time Station #4 rolled by with 10 hours into the race, 178.1 miles total and 38.4 miles for this leg. Data was max watts, 457, average watts 164, max HR 140, average HR 120 and 18.7 mph average. You start to notice the longer an ultra racer rides his number keep going down and down but what is good average speed stays close. Once again Catonin second place now at 43 minutes back. Starting to stretch out the lead a little.

Junction to Llano TS#5 the longest leg of the race 76.8 miles, rolled though at 22:05 race time total time on the course 14:05 with 254.9 miles passed by. Total time for this leg was 4:05 with max watts 401, average watts 166, max HR 134 average HR 119 and average speed around 19.5 mph. I’m thinking now we are getting close to smelling the barn, what only 100 plus miles to go! John Caton still chasing back in second place at 1:18 back.

The crew has been doing great, quick learners, making me eat, drinking and also with the cold temps I have been having to stop about every hour for a quick nature break, on my Ergo it shows about two minutes stopped time for nature breaks. I’m getting grumpy about having to stop all the time and trying to back down some of the fluid intake but they keep after me to fuel, drink, eat!

TS #6 gets me to at least a familiar sounding town, Fredericksburg, this is where we are staying for the before and after the race, the Petty’s and Ray rented a nice B&B for the week while they do Hell week, worked out really well, except in my mind it only took 60 minutes by car to go from Fredericksburg to Heletoes. Starting to smell the barn?

Rolled into TS#6 at 1:06 a.m. race time 13:06 hours into the race, 300.1 miles into the race. Rough 45.2 miles took 3:01 to cover them, max watts 328, average watts 153, max HR 124, average HR 110 and average speed in the 15.5 mph range. Getting very tried or it had some steady climbing. I manage to come in 1:27 minutes ahead of Goggins who now was running in second place.

Some where between TS #5 and #6 Caton drops out of the race, did not get a chance to talk to him but heard he was having trouble seeing. I have had that problem in cold air on ul

tra events, my eyesight starts to fog out but I have never gone blind like I have heard of a few others doing that. I wore my TT helmet with just for this reason, my helmet has a wind screen which kind my eye out of the wind and nice and warm, no fogging of the eyes this cold race!

340.8 miles into the race Boerne TS# 7, had the crew did out the Jolt chewing gum, was starting to get a little sleepy. After two or three pieces of Jolt I was back to wide awake, still thinking I smelled the barn. Boerne? Man got to be getting close to the finish.  Covered the 40.7 miles in 2:48, max watts 335, average watts 134, max HR 116, average 105 and average speed of 15.6 mph. Wow, I really getting tired, no HR, no watts and no speed. I manage a 1:24 gap on Goggin and he picks up three minutes on me this leg.

Bouerne to the finish, 357.7 miles done, 20:59 total time! about two hours slower then I had hope to do the race in.  Last leg was 17.42 miles, covered in 1:04 minutes, max watts 335, average watts 141, max HR 115, average HR 105 and average speed was around 16 mph. I was done, cooked and happy to get out of the cold, just as George gave me my metal and took a group picture it started to sprinkle and I thought it is good to be DONE!

Goggins came in second 1:23 back. Mark Metcalfe another Lone Star Randonneur member was 54 minutes off of Goggins. Kent Polk Bacchetta rider came in with a total time of 26:24. Kent’s first ultra race, he learn some things and I’m sure he’ll be contending for the overall next year.



George Thomas always puts on a great race, I whole heartily recommend if you ever have a Chance to do a George and Terry race do it. The awards party afterwards are always fun and you never know what your special prize might be.

Originally posted by John Schlitter on bacchettabikes.com on March 27, 2009.

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