Former Crockett Resident wins Women’s 40+ Category

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 CROCKETT – The Davy Crockett Classic cycling event returned to Crockett/Houston County this past weekend and for the first time, a former resident of the oldest county in Texas took home top honors in a category.

Elizabeth Durrett

If being able to wear the coonskin cap atop the podium wasn’t enough, Elizabeth Durrett (formerly McLendon) revealed this was her first time to compete at an event like this.

“This was my very first experience with a road racing event. I had never done one in my life. Lance (Slack) sort of twisted my arm and convinced me to sign up for it. My husband did also. We’re both from Crockett and he said I should sign up and go do this in your home town. It’s close to Lufkin where we live so I bit the bullet and waited until two days before registration closed to sign up. I was so scared of it,” she laughed.

Durrett said when Saturday morning rolled around, she was out there shivering in the cold waiting to start the time trials.

After overcoming her nerves, Durrett said she was rolling along in her first ever event when a mishap occurred.

“I came in second place, but I was well-set for first. But then, I had a flat tire! When I turned around to come back to Crockett, my back tire blew out. I got second in that event and then lined up for the crit (criterium) at about noon. I had n

The peloton heads down FM 227 before turning left on FM 2022 to travel back to Crockett.

ever done that before and I was able to get first place in my division in that one,” she said.

The next day was a road race of 46 miles consisting of a ride from Crockett to Percilla and then down to the Liberty Hill cut-off. From there, the riders head back through Augusta and then turn left on FM 2022 and travel back to the start/finish line in front of Tyer Real Estate. The more experienced riders make two or three laps – depending on their classification – between the Percilla, Liberty Hill and Augusta areas.

She won the road race in her category and given her two wins, coupled with a second place finish, Durrett won the omnium for the best cyclist in her category.

In the understatement of the week, Durrett said Saturday “… was a little bit chilly! When I came in from the time trials, I had ice on my thighs. It was cold, sleeting and misting rain. BY noon it had warmed up to almost 37 degrees.”

Concerning the criterium race, Durrett said she was a little nervous because she was sure what to do on the course.

Cyclists head down the home stretch of the criterium portion of the 3rd Annual Davy Crockett Classic.

“My friend Lance – who talked me into doing all this – gave me a few pointers. I also work with a coach who also gave me some pointers and told me to try and hang with the group and not get dropped, which means getting left way behind. The first lap, I didn’t know how fast they would take off. They took off superfast and dropped me immediately. I had to work and work for two laps before I was able to catch back up to them,” Durrett explained.

Being from Crockett, Durrett said she was aware of the Percilla area and the hills the cyclists have to conquer.

“I knew that I needed to pace myself or I would (her energy level) crash. One of the things I’ve learned because I’m so new to this road racing is you don’t want to get left behind. On the first hill, I was able to stay with the pack. On the second hill I was able to stay with the pack but on the third hill, that was when the lead group – the faster riders – took off and left me and about six others behind,” she said.

Asked if she planned to do more of these type of cycling competitions, Durrett said she was.

After at least 46 miles, it was that close at the finish!

“There’s one coming up in Austin in a couple of weeks and I might do that. I need to get some more training under my belt and find some more people I can practice with,” she said.

As to what attracted her to cycling, Durrett explained she liked the way it made her feel.

“It’s enjoyable to me. It can be hard and challenging at times, but you get to see a lot of neat places when you’re cycling. You get to ride and enjoy the outdoors. I just love it. I can’t say there is just one thing that makes me love it, but I’m addicted to it!” she said.

In regard to the venue, Durrett said she was very impressed with everything.

“Everyone who has raced in the Davy Crockett Classic said they love it. They said it’s beautiful and the community is wonderful in coming together to pull it off. I didn’t see any rude people screaming and hollering from their cars. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. I was very impressed with my hometown and the surrounding communities. Everyone was so supportive. It was an awesome experience!” Durrett exclaimed.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.