Saturday, March 1, 2008

Made It To Bar-H-Bash

Before leaving Houston on Thursday, I dropped by the annual rodeo kick-off bar-b-que. Everyone says I don't have any pictures of myself on the blog...luckily, I'm borrowing these wimmins to pretty up my picture! These are some former co-workers and friend! Look at all those beers they drank!

This pretty much summarizes the drive out to Saint Jo, TX. It's pretty country up here. Funny to see dead grass. Where I'm from the field grass stays green the whole year!

Bar-H is a working cattle ranch. It is a crappy venue... literally!

That ain't mud! They park you in the middle of a working pasture. I looked for a cow pattie-free spot, but there was none around. Oh well...

When I stepped out of my truck I heard a dog barking. Not just any dog barking but the distinctive barking of a Boston Terrier who was pizzled off. How did I know it was a Boston? I used to have one. They bark this certain way when having anxiety that's immediately recognizable. It is just short of a screaming child. He was already getting hoarse. Sure enough, I found him across the pasture, dilligently gaurding his territory as if he was 150-lbs. Nervous Boston's have no fear!

After unsuccessfully trying to pet the Boston, and signing in, I pre-rode the course. It's kind of like a recce lap during a rally! I should probably call it a pre-walk, because I did a LOT of walking. Partially to save the legs, partially because I set out without water, and hungry. But mostly because the course is difficult for a flat-lander like me.

Here is a descriptive picture...

Steep, gravely, slippery. I'm not used to hills. I'm not used to gravel. Roots and sand, I'm OK with! Man, rocks are slippery and I don't have a great method of keeping my wits on them.

There are some nice overlooks. Bar-H is on the bluff to the Red River valley. The change in topography from one side of the ranch to the other is really spectacular. The grassy picture (4 pics up) is about half-a-mile from the ranch. It's rolling grassland. This is the other side of the ranch...

No time to look at this stuff tomorrow, so pics from today...

More hills and gravel...can you find Waldo in this picture?

A fast, sharp switchback...

This course is an eye-opener. The climbs aren't super steep, or long. But the downhills are short, too. There's no place to "recover" on the course. Pace will be important. You are constantly on a descent that lasts 10 seconds or a climb that lasts 30 seconds. The place requires a lot of burst power and focus on gravely-traction. I'm probably going to wish my shoes were more comfortable to run in!