Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I had a dream...

Last night I dreamed of the hill outside of Smithville.

Most people have a different name for this hill, but most everyone who’s ever ridden an MS150 knows what hill it is.

St. Joseph’s Hill (I think there’s a St. Joseph’s church nearby).

St. John’s Hill (ditto).

The Oh Shit Hill.

The Amen Hill.

The 40mph hill (it’s not unusual or unlikely to hit 40 mph going down the hill on your bike.  It’s scary as hell, hence the name “Oh Shit Hill”, and a relief when you survive it, hence the name “Amen Hill”, but it’s fun as all get out).

Old 40 (see above).

Or simply, Smithville Hill.


It’s a long, slow, steady climb on highway 153 right before Bastrop State Park—which is also chock full of hills—and when you get to the top there’s a left turn and then it’s almost like falling off a cliff.  You just put your head down, crank the gears a couple of times, and then let it roll!  You always keep your hands on the brakes just in case the guy in front of you doesn’t have the nerve to keep rolling, but you never EVER slam on those brakes lest you go flipping and sliding for a mile or so.

It eventually flattens out after what seems like forever (though never long enough) and you take the right turn into the park, or go straight and bypass the tough stuff.  The wind gushing past your face as you’re flying down the hill and the sheer terror mixed with exhilaration is intoxicating and, quite honestly, I have yet to find a similar feeling in any other sport with the exception of certain situations in baseball (2 outs, bottom of the last inning, winning run in scoring position…  here’s the pitch.  Yes, it’s happened.  Yes, it’s about as terrifying and exhilarating as flying down a hill at 40mph with nothing between you and the pavement except 3 square inches of rubber and a miniscule layer of Lycra).

Word is a kid took a tumble on Smithville Hill last year and split his helmet clean in 2.  Yea, terrifying is a good word for it.

So, I dreamed about flying down that hill last night.  I didn’t participate in day 2 of last year’s MS150, and day 2 is where Smithville Hill resides.  I miss that.  I miss that a lot.

If you check out googlemaps and find Bastrop State Park, go to the easternmost part of the park where CR1 connects to 153.  The junction is just north of Highway 71.

Follow 153 all the way back to where it turns toward the south from the east.  That loooooong stretch is the downhill side of the Smithville Hill. 

There be where glory lay.  There be where men stand up and boys lay down.

But to be completely honest, the real proving ground lies past that right turn on CR1 through the park. 

There be where mere mortals lay broken and the immortal rise supreme!


God I can’t wait to get back out there.



Blogger TX Runner Girl said...

You post makes me even more afraid to do the MS150. Not that I'm close to doing it...I still need to buy a bike. :-)

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Iain said...

I like the Big Hill, but I'm just as fond of the long, curving downhills coming out of the park. A narrow road, lined with trees, into a racing tuck and moving at an effortless 35 mph, knowing that the toughest part of the ride is behind you; you gotta feel that something like this was the inspiration for the speeder bike scene in "Return of the Jedi."

9:12 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

How could I forget "the Big Hill" or even "That Big Damn Hill".
And also quite true that it is a bittersweet relief at the end of the park to know the toughest part of the ride is behind you.

10:31 PM  

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