Cycling Mt. Scott and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The "Pain Train" crew @ the top of Mt. Scott

Last month we had our 3rd Annual Think Finance “Pain Train” Cycling Camp.

This year’s camp was dubbed “Pain Train III: Stomach Full of Anger” in honor of Andy Schleck. Instead of our usual camp at Lake Texoma, we headed across the border into Oklahoma and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Medicine Park, OK

We headed up to Medicine Park, OK on Friday afternoon. Medicine Park is situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the 60,000-acre (240 km2) Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Park has a long history as a vintage cobblestone resort town. The town was also just a couple miles from the focus of our trip – the 2.7 mile climb that is Mt. Scott (the biggest climb within a 3 hour drive of DFW).

The riding in the refuge is SPECTACULAR! It was much prettier than I expected and had some nice change in elevation. However, the best part might be the glassy smooth pavement with almost no car traffic – it was fantastic.

Mt. Scott

On Saturday morning we headed out on a 50 mile loop through the refuge before doing a “Gentlemen’s Race” up Mt. Scott. The Mt. Scott climb is about 2.7 miles long at 7.5%. It’s very consistent since there are no switchbacks; instead, the climb literally corkscrews up the mountain.

Everyone put in a great performance considering the considerable wind and the fact that we already had 50 miles of “spirited” riding in our legs. I made it up in 14:27 at an average power of 311 watts (~4.7w/kg).

The Narrows

After  the ride Kevin D. took us on a hike to see some of his favorite climbing routes. If someone dropped you in that location blindfolded, by helicopter, you would have no idea you’re in Oklahoma.

Meers Store and Restaurant

For dinner we headed over to the world-famous Meers Store and Restaurant.  Pulling up to the restaurant is like traveling back in time to when the area was part of the wild frontier and the Wichitas were supposedly rich with gold.  Meers began as a gold mining town which boomed to 500+ people , but now the only residents are the owners of the famous store.

They’re famous for their longhorn burgers (which are huge and very tasty). Everything at Meers is big, including desert – my “bowl” of ice cream was probably half a gallon.

Sunday we got up early for a short loop and one more time up Mt. Scott before heading home. I can’t believe it took me this long to “discover” the Wichitas, I’m already planning my next weekend trip to Medicine Park.

4 responses to “Cycling Mt. Scott and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

  1. Randy Wheelock

    Thanks for this nice site and info. Exactly where do you start and stop on Mt. Scott? Using Google Earth to check elevations and the route, it looks like your bottom start might be at the upper intersection (the “Y”) of the two entry spurs. The finish at the top looks like it would be at the high point just before the round parking area. Wild guesses. Although I grew up in Okla., I’ve never been to Mt Scott. Live in Clear Creek County, CO, where Mt. Evans is. The Evans race starts about 4 blocks from my office. I thought of coming down to visit relatives and ride Mt Scott a few times this spring, and your 14 and change time seems pretty impressive.

  2. Well, I finally made it to Mt. Scott in August, while in Oklahoma for my 45th high school class reunion. Did not work out too well. I intended to ride about 8:00 AM on Aug 27th, but when i got up and stuck my head out of the motel door in Edmond at 6:00 it felt like a blast furnace, so I bagged it. Then a few hours later I felt guilty and headed down the highway towards Lawton. When I arrived it was 104° and climbing. I thought, no big deal, I grew up here. About 1 1/4 miles up I was amazed at the effect of the heat. I was just collapsing from pushing 7.5% grade at a stiff clip. Although my legs and lungs felt fine, I think I was heating up really fast with no breeze and couldn’t cool down. Pulled off for a bit in a little shade, but it’s hard to cool down at 105° in the shade. Did another mile and sheltered again but was out of water, then started up again but bagged it in about a quarter mile. Thought I was going to be a heatstroke statistic. I was in a trance descending and almost passed out at the car. Duh. When I got back to Edmond at 6:00 PM it was still 108°. I heard later that the “Hotter Than Hell” was going on about 80 miles south and measured 126° in the riding air over the pavement. I guess at 6-8 mph you can’t do much evaporative cooling. Can’t believe I was that stupid after growing up in Okieland, but I never tried pushing a bike up a steep grade in those conditions before. I’ve spent plenty of time from 10,000′-14,000′ with no distress this year, but that little bump KICKED MY ASS. 🙂 Randy Wheelock

  3. Do you have a MapMYRide or RidewithGPS link for the map/cue? I’d love to see the elevation curve.

    I’m coming in October, and it looks like your route is almost perfect for where we are staying.

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