Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fort Davis Cyclefest..Scenic Loop

 Fort Davis Mountains
Fort Davis Cyclefest
September 17, 2011

 Early morning line up. Temperature was brisk but not cold.
 However, Christine had on her arm and leg warmers.
 Brian braved the chill.
 And we were off. Just a comment. This write up with pictures may be a little long..BUT, it was after all a 75 mile ride. And it could be argued that this ride is one of the most scenic rides in Texas. We just will not mention it to the rest of the ride organizers in Texas.
 Going to the town of Fort Davis was a mixture of ups and downs..mostly downs as one could register an average of 20 mph without trying.
Being passed by Rick and Velma. Velma would say that she is giving me encouragement, but in my head I heard "slow poke". 
 And off they went.
The first 10 miles in the foothills are deceptive. It looks flat but there is a 1,000 foot increase in elevation. 
 Brian Backlund at the first rest stop. 
 Christine is starting to peel off layers of clothing.
 Rick and Velma purposefully waited for us at the rest stop. Otherwise, I would not have seen them again until the end of the ride.
 From rest stop 1 to rest stop 2, we get into rollers and a little more scenery.

 Rest stop 2. Next rest stop is on top of Bear Mountain..way up yonder.
 So group picture before the long uphill.
 Not sure if Christine is pointing to one of the many thorns along side of the road or just getting feeling back into her hands.
 But later, she pointed to a creature in the road and told me to make sure it got across the road. I wasn't sure that you could lead a tarantula, but lightly stomping on the pavement had him (her?) moving toward me. Uh, can they jump? 
 Then the silly thing turned and started back across the road from which he had come. So I let him be and hoped he made it.
 Which pleased Chrisitine. Plus we were starting into more scenery so just ride along with her.

 All of our photos don't pick up the pink shade of our Texas granite. You will need to use your imagination.

 Stark evidence of the April fires.

 Last shot before we started the climb up Bear Mountain. Bear (Christine calls it Bi--h Mountain), a slow long climb, culminates in a 1 1/2 mile climb that ranges from 6-8% grade. And picture taking was the farthest from my mind during that time.
 Christine noticed my haggard look and asked if I would like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "YES, PLEASE!" 
 Going down Bear Mountain is fun, but the speed and chip seal are not conducive to taking one hand off the handle bar to take pictures. But eventually, the terrain leveled somewhat allowing the moving photographer to "point and shoot".

 Then we started up Fisher Mountain.
 At one point Christine asked me what the grade was..10%. Shouldn't have asked.
 Fisher also wears one down.
 But, the views are pretty if one bothers to look up.
 Brian is on the side of the road encouraging Christine to keep pedaling.
 And she does..
 And makes it. Note the smug smile.
 I put this picture in as it is the only picture showing the drop off from the Fisher Mountain rest stop. The long decline is one of the rewards of climbing up Fisher..I hit 47 mph going down..Christine went faster. I mention the drop and speed as the decline set up a serious

Cognitive Dissonance:
This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.
Just before take off from the rest stop, I grabbed another wonderful frosted cookie to eat on the way down. I had it in my right hand as I mounted my bike and started downhill. I built up speed so fast that I did not have time to start eating the cookie.

Cookie in my right hand and holding onto the handle bar meant that I could use only the left hand brake. All bikers know that you don't brake with the front wheel. That is the fly-over-the handle-bar brake. 
Dissonance increases with:
·      The importance of the subject to us.
·      How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict.
·      Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

Face it, cookies are important to me. But the speed made the going unstable.

I tried feathering the brake but the speed was such that I really didn't slow down.
Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good but do something bad, then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance.

Do I drop the cookie?..Noooo. Do I retain the cookie and face injury or death?..Noooo.

Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two opposing thoughts. To release the tension we can take one of three actions:
·      Change our behavior.
·      Justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition.
·      Justify our behavior by adding new cognitions.

I was at break-neck speed and had to do something.
Dissonance is most powerful when it is about our self-image. Feelings of foolishness, immorality and so on (including internal projections during decision-making) are dissonance in action.
What to do. What to do. I wanted the cookie, but not the possible consequences.

I dropped the cookie.
If an action has been completed and cannot be undone, then the after-the-fact dissonance compels us to change our beliefs.

My after-the-fact dissonance compeled me to believe that it is better lose your cookies that to eat them from a hospital bed.

As a reward, I treated myself to a double scoop ice cream cone that evening--although that was an after thought, not part of my rationale at the time.

Still downhill but not as steep.
When part of the McDonald Observatory comes into view, one knows that the finish line is within 20 miles. The rains never got to our area.
 Besides announcing the entrance to the observatory, riders that have ridden the Fort Davis Cyclefest know that this is the start of another great, long downhill stretch.
 I am not sure of the downhill grade but it consists of hairpin turns and some sections with that little retaining wall the only thing between the rider and a steep drop off the mountain.
Which explains why there are no pictures of the downhill stretch.
 Although this part of the ride is not quite as exciting as the part behind us,
the total downhill is about 10 miles..with the exception of one hill dubbed "The Wall".

More evidence of the fast moving, wind-driven wildfire.
Brian, Christine, Velma, and Rick patiently waiting for me to finish. My rationale for people already being at the finish line when I top the hill is that I am a recreational rider, and just finished recreating for 75 miles.
Prude Ranch, the start and finish point of the ride, is a popular dude ranch with activity year round.
I wonder if I can borrow one of their donkies to carry me up Bear Mountain next year.
Limpia Hotel verandah after showers, steaks..and double scoop ice cream cone.
 Yep, already have reservations for next year.