Our adventure went something like this: on Saturday we raced around in (adjacent to?) the expansive Sam Houston National Forest. After spending the remainder of the day relaxing in said forest, we broke camp in the morning and loaded the bikes onto the car to drive to the city of the same namesake to race around another park named after the chap. Somewhere in between A and B, we passed up an opportunity to drive on his highway. After the race on Sunday, we even had supper with a kid named Sam.
With all the homage paid to Sam Houston, you’d think he was kind of a big deal, and considering he was the first AND third president of the Republic of Texas, you’d be correct. In fact, he won the 1836 presidential election for the Republic of Texas in a landslide, taking 79.4% of the vote against another famous Texan: Stephen F. Austin, who took a measly 9.1% of the vote. The vote most likely reflected the work ethic of the two men. While Sam Houston was busy ambushing Señor Santa Anna, mid siesta, en-route to liberating Tejas from Mexican rule to create the greatest (although short-lived) Republics in the history of the world, Hipster Steve A. was most likely riding around the hill-country on his fixed gear.
And in this bit of history I find a tiny snippet of delightful irony in our past weekend of racing. On a weekend where we were racing through and around the namesakes meant to pay homage to the man largely responsible for creating the State of Texas from the Mexican state of Coahuila, it was a lad from Nuevo Leon that snuck off with the victory in both P1/2 races. Both victories were perfectly executed, no doubt from the months spent planning the revenge on Sam Houston. Enrique Aldapa flew under the radar, right up until the point that he decided to blow the radar up and win the race. At Coldspring, it was at the beginning of the 5th and final lap where he bridged up to my breakaway and then promptly dropped me when I failed to accelerate uphill to get on his wheel. The story was the same at the Houston Grand Crit; Aldapa bridged up to, and passed, Veggie during the last lap. In both races, nobody was equipped to hold his wheel when he finally went, because he was smart and rationed his efforts during the rest of the race.
As reluctant as I am to get into a car and drive east from Austin for three and a half hours into the land of Texas historic remembrance, this past weekend made me realize that I really should consider it more often. The reasons are twofold, and strangely have nothing to do with Mr. Houston: 1) the trees around Coldspring are lovely (I highly recommend camping at the Double Lake Recreation Area) and 2) …well, the trees in Coldspring are lovely. Reason two was going to be something along the lines of Houston Grand being a very well-done race, but that isn’t a reason to go back to Houston, except for possibly the once a year that Houston closes down Allen Parkway and lets us play bike-race for an afternoon.