Slack cycles solo, but not alone
Many may know him as an officer of the court, serving in the Cherokee County courthouse, but what may be lesser known about Deputy Lance Slack is his active participation in cycling events.
Like most, he rode a bicycle as a child, although a serious interest in cycling didn’t truly begin for him until after he and another man began a bike patrol in Lubbock, a police department from which he retired as captain. Through his police biking, he entered his first police games in 1996. He has since competed in Texas Police Games, International Police Games and World Police Games.
Besides the police games, Slack also participates in USA Cycling sanctioned events, some non-sanctioned races, tours which are mostly charity events and criteriums.
The cycling events in which he involves himself take him all over the United States. Besides biking in locations across Texas, he has traveled to Florida, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
He has also tag-teamed with other police cyclists, mostly out of San Antonio, on a tour of every city in Texas which has lost a peace officer. The tour would take place annually around the time of the police memorial in May and would end in Austin, taking up to two weeks to compete.
In 2001, Slack was inducted into the Texas Police Athletic Federation Hall of Fame.
His most recent police games competition took place during June in Abilene, where he represented Cherokee County.
The games include a 10-mile time trial, 20-mile road race, mountain bike and a duathlon. The duathlon consisted of a two-mile run, 10 miles on the bike and then another two-mile run. He earned a total of three gold and one silver medal in those races. Golds were won in the time trial (29.40), road race (53.36) and duathlon. His second place was in the mountain bike (59.53).
To remain in shape, Slack often rides during his lunch break. In addition, he occasionally commutes home from work on a bike. He utilizes a variety of routes which may take him anywhere from 18 to 35 miles.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t say that all this [cycling] was possible because of the support of my wife,” Slack stated, mentioning she works at the courthouse as well, allowing her to give him a lift to work.
His wife, Becky Slack, has raced as well. The pair of cyclists even took an anniversary trip once on a tandem bicycle from their home in Lubbock to Dallas.
He admits that his drive has at times wavered, but he has recently become motivated again.
“Angelina Bicycle Club has helped motivate me recently,” he said. “Several of their members will go on group rides and they’ll push me. We’ll push each other, motivate each other to do better and we’ll sometimes go to events together.”
Slack added that he hasn’t missed a day on the bike this year, logging over 7,000 miles and over 260,000 feet of elevation gain.
“I’m kind of overtraining just to do personal goals,” he confessed. “It’s not necessarily smart to do that kind of mileage or to ride every single day because you need recovery, so I try to adjust my efforts which is hard to do here because of the hills.”
At the age of 58, Slack claims it is one of his goals to compete, particularly against those younger than himself, as a personal challenge, a way to “fight mother nature.”
One upcoming event for Slack is Hotter’N Hell, one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the nation. Over 10,000 cyclists gather in Wichita Falls for four days of challenges. It is set to take place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 22-25.
“I said I would never race Hotter’N Hell again because there are so many crashes, but they’ve got an event there that I’m signed up for,” Slack explained. “At 7 a.m. you line up and you do the 100K, which is a 62-mile road ride, but then at 7 p.m. you line up on your gravel bike on dirt roads and you do another 100K race, 62-mile race.”
Another event he plans to participate in is the El Camino 105, a gravel ride that leaves out of Palestine. The route has about 4,600 feet of climbing, according to the website camino205.com.
The El Camino is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28.
Despite the injuries he has endured while pursuing the sport, Slack claims he will continue cycling for the foreseeable future. One may wonder how the 58-year old is able to persist.
“A lot of my motivation comes from friends that I’ve lost,” he remarked.
He then recalled a time in 2004 when he broke a pedal off his bicycle and a friend lent Slack his bicycle and his shoes, as the shoes are made to lock into the pedals. That friend was killed by a hit and run driver in 2005.
“Even when I’m on a solo ride,” Slack declared, “I’m not riding by myself.”
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