2011 Mellow Johnny’s Classic
The Mellow Johnny’s Classic was one of my favorite cycling events that I attended last year and I was sure to mark it on my calendar back in January so that I could make the race again. This year I was really excited because on Saturday, I would have the chance to spectate while the UCI national pro racers battled it out. Emily, Devon, and myself ventured towards Austin on Friday and arrived later that night.
We woke up Saturday and met up with Chuck and his crew for a tasty birthday breakfast at Magnolia Cafe. Most of us had the T. Rex omelet and I have to say that it was one of the best omelets that I have ever tasted. It had cilantro, pico de gallo, roasted turkey, multiple kinds of cheeses, and avocado. It was great!
After breakfast, we made our way to the location of the race, just outside of Dripping Springs. Since we had three to a car, we got in free and found a parking spot and prepared for some spectating. Devon and I had borrowed a mullet wig and an Afro wig from Billy Chedsey in hopes that it would help encourage the racers just a little bit more.
The pro race was great, the top guys were unbelievable, they made our local pros look like they were cat 2 racers. Todd Wells was leading at the half way point and looked as if he would run away with the win. However, in the closing laps Max Plaxton bridged the gap and ended up winning by a sizable margin with Sam Schultz finishing in third.
That night, we made our way to an fantastic Italian restaurant named Mandola’s. I had a pasta dish with pesto, chicken and some other ingredients and it was really tasty. Emily and Devon both had thin crust pizza’s.
After dinner we met up with the Thunderbird Energetica tribe, Taylor and Katie to have a chat session in their tee-pee. Their horses were beautiful, one a trek, and the other a thin Scott time trial bike. We talked energetica and it was great to finally meet Taylor. These guys and gals make the best bars on the planet. I can’t say it enough, check them out! Texas made energy that tastes better than anything you’ve ever had.
Breakfast Sunday was the usual pre race meal. Honey oatmeal with a small serving of Fage yogurt with a large helping of honey on top. My legs felt pretty good and I was looking forward to seeing how the new Santa Cruz Tallboy would work in the rocky conditions of the Juan Pelota Ranch. I was on the second row of the TMBRA Pro/open class and knew that I would have to work my way through some traffic. The race started and I had a poor jump and found myself towards the back of the pack. Luckily, fellow Denton resident Lucas Brusseau was just in front of me and I tried to stick to his rear wheel as we made our way through the opening miles of the first lap.
We were just inside of the top ten and I could feel myself losing the grip on Lucas’s wheel. He was riding really strong and he was soon out of sight and I found myself riding alone. I made it through the second lap of three (each one nearly nine miles long) and found my back to be really bothering me. This was the first race in a while and my back wasn’t used to the stress that I was putting on it. I pulled off the course after pedaling through the feed zone and told Emily that I was done, that my back was killing me.
She responded with, “Get back on your bike, Thunderbirds don’t quit! I’ll fix your back later!” So, with this encouragement, I felt a boost of energy and had my best lap of the race. I finished in 8th place, just three seconds behind the 7th place rider.
I was really happy with my race and despite nearly quitting, I had a good day on the bike. I’m thankful that Emily made me finish because I would have hated myself on the way home for quitting. The Tallboy worked great and I am really looking forward to the fall season of collegiate mountain biking and mountain bike nationals that will take place in October.
We then made our way to the Salt Lick in Dripping Springs to eat massive amounts of BBQ, I ordered a quarter pound of just about everything and left a very satisfied customer. The rest of the day consisted of a few beers at Wahoo’s in Austin and then a few more at Dirty Bill’s. I didn’t get to have a birthday drink the day before so we had ourselves a good time Sunday night with Craig and Billy Chedsey, their girlfriends Jackie and Angel, and fellow UNT cyclists Rhiannon Smith and Jonathan Triantafyllou. Rhiannon won the cat 3 womens class and Jonathon was leading the Cat 2 race before breaking a chain.
The weekend was a huge success and I want to thank the Chedsey’s for giving us a place to sleep and park the van, Emily and Craig for the great race support, and everyone that went out Sunday after the race and made my birthday so special. Also, Santa Cruz bikes for the super fast Tallboy, Thunderbird Energetica for the supply of energy and style throughout the race and Maxxis for the killer IKON tires.
Thanks for reading!