Race Report: Quest Cyclocross Challenge: Sippin Spirits in the Hill Country

October 10/11, 2015

Author: Patrick Smock

As a note prior to this race recap. It has come to the attention of the owners of Dutchman Coffee Roasters that our cycling team captain has appointed himself a new name. He is henceforth known as: Count Smockula, Harbinger of Badassery.  Let the recap resume.

The Rock Lobster rides again!  Those of you that have been reading my posts know that last weekend my bike let me down.  But like any trusty steed, she just needed some TLC.  I've had some NOS 10 speed components lying around that I finally got motivated to install, and after a quick trip to the Peddler Bike Shop, she was outfitted with a new Ultegra 10 speed group and Cane Creek brakeset.  Shifts effortlessly, stops on a dime, ready to race.

The Quest cyclocross challenge was next on my "quest" for cyclocross mediocrity.  This is a new race in the local series and, with relatively short notice, was relocated to the property of the Treaty Oak distillery.  Ive been enjoying their Red Handed Bourbon and Waterloo Gin for some time, but had no idea that they had moved to a new ranch in Dripping Springs; quite literally right around the corner from my sister-in-laws home.  A perfect excuse to make the trip!

Me: Hey honey, wanna take the kids to your sisters house this weekend for a visit?

Wife: Ummm, sure.  Why?

Me:  Well, you see, there's a race right around the corner from her place!

Wife: Whatever. What time do you need to be there?

She's the best!  I don't know about the venue that was abandoned, but major cool points for moving it to the grounds of a distillery.  I mean, lots of booze readily on hand at a hot cyclocross race... whats not to like?  Like last week, there was only a Cat 4/5 race, and it started a little earlier than in previous weeks.  After getting everyone ready and packed in the car, we arrived just in time to check in and pin on.  With no time to warm up, I made a brief lap for course recon and headed to staging.  The event, while well represented, was much smaller than the Six Shooter and I was racing with a field of about 40.  I'm sure this was mostly due to conflicting races in Houston and Ft. Worth on the same weekend. I got a great call-up position in the second row and started off well; successfully negotiating the first set of turns leading into the run-up.  Though this is the "Hill Country" the course was pretty dead-pan flat.  It was also missing a sand pit, but I still wouldn't call it a fast course, per-se.  It was pretty chunky out there, and we had churned up a good number of rocks requiring negotiating.  Additionally, they built in a good number of switchbacks near the spectators that kept us moving slowly through an area of curiously strong stench... I'm still hoping, as odd as it sounds, that it was some sort of raw sewage leak, as opposed to normal byproducts of spirit distilling.  I want to sip my whiskey without ever thinking of that smell again. 

The course took its toll, and a couple of good regular riders were victims of mechanical woes this week.  I, on the other hand, had no bike issues whatsoever and enjoyed my best race of the year, finishing in a respectable 11th place.  Whatever beef I had with the course was quickly erased as I grabbed a Moscow Mule to sip on as I enjoyed the next few races.  The only bummer was limiting my intake so that I could drive the fam home later.   That took more control than any part of the race!  Race or not, I'm sure I'll be back to Treaty Oak Ranch in the future, but Team Dutchman approves of the venue and looks forward to the next visit.  In fact, I'm already researching ideas for a Hill Country beer and spirits bike tour.  Now if I can just figure out how much I can drink and still ride my bike straight... Time for more experimentation!  Cheers!