This time, Texas Time Trials winner takes no wrong turn

Posted Saturday, Sep. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In the shadow of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant, cyclists displayed the capacity of human will and the body’s assorted muscle groups in the Texas Time Trials on Saturday on a 26-mile looped course.

David Haase, whose wrong turn likely cost him victory in 2009, returned and followed the road to victory, leaving all his individual competitors behind in completing the 500-mile race in 29 hours, 43 minutes and 56 seconds.

Wayne Dunlap and Rob Leathers were second and third, finishing in 32:17.48 and 33:40.36.

Triumph was a form of vindication for Haase, a resident of Fond du Lac, Wis., who rode an extra 50 miles in his previous appearance here after going left instead of right in a fork in the course.

He found himself 25 miles off course, before scrambling to find Nemo, Texas, a dot on the course.

“I got to the bottom and said, ‘this isn’t right,’” said Haase, a 45-year-old and owner of a bike and ski shop back home. “I was leading the race when it happened.”

Haase said fatigue — he took no breaks in his almost 30-hour race this year or 2009 — which is part of the battle in these ultra races, and cement trucks were to blame for his mishap.

He got behind the trucks, which kicked up dust, making it hard to see.

“They’ve got that turn well-lighted now,” Haase said.

The Texas Time Trials is a qualifier for the Race Across America, a 3,000-mile race from California to Maryland starting every June.

Competitors race continuously day and night, regardless of the weather conditions. They take breaks to sleep.

Weather was a factor for the Wisconsinite.

While most of the natives here enjoyed the low-80s temperature on the last day of summer, Haase wasn’t one of them.

Temperatures are all relative, especially for a rider from the cooler climes.

“It’s hot, for us,” said Haase, who added that he’s unable to do much long-distance training because 70-hour work weeks are common. His training regimen is 100-300 miles a week.

“That’s pretty hot. We’ve only had four days over 85 this year. And it all happened in one week.”

Carrying a load

Spectators and volunteers gave the Keith Smith and Co. the biggest ovation after crossing the finish line of the 26.5-mile sprint race.

Smith was the lead on a tandem bike with his daughter Ruth, 8, and was carrying two other daughters, Naomi, 6, and Lydia, 3, on trailers.

The 18-foot “train” amounted to about 450 pounds, he said.

Team Smith finished in 2:13.08.

“I have to work pretty hard,” said Smith, who said the highlight was making a pass on one competitor.

“We smoked him,” Ruth interjected.

End of the road

The dynasty of Fort Worth’s Nathan Scaggs, David Tumlin, Bill Viering and Chris Kellogg went out a winner, claiming the team championship in 26:28.59.

With the victory, the team won its fourth and last Texas Ultra Cup Challenge series championship.

They’ve won every race in the series.

Scaggs and Viering are planning to focus on road racing. Viering and Kellogg are planning to come back and compete as individuals.

“We’ve had a blast at this,” Scaggs said.

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