Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright

My journey is really flying by at this point. I have tried to keep a semi weekly update of the blog and somehow I have blown through two and a half states and time seems to have cleverly slipped through my fingers. I think I left off in Roswell, New Mexico, so I will attempt to pick up where I left off. I realize I have left off a few cities in New Mexico but to be completely honest we spent a lot of time on the racks due to some scheduling confusion and the relative danger of riding on the interstate which at times were the only option.

With the aliens in our rearview mirror we departed bright an early for the bustling metropolis of Portales. Roswell got one last snag on us as we departed with one member getting a flat only one mile into the trip. We quickly dropped from first paceline to dead last. Undaunted by our new position we hit it hard and ended up making incredible time, no doubt in part to us skipping every other crew stop and averaging above 20MPH through the relatively flat terrain. Pretty soon we had reclaimed our spot at the front of the pack and rolled into our arrival in a brisk 4.5 hours for the 95 mile stretch, a good 15minutes ahead of the next group.

After Portales we made our way to Texas, hence the title of my post. Naturally I was a little bit excited and sang Texas folk songs the whole way to the stateline. Along the way we stopped at Joe's Boot shop in Clovis, New Mexico, to purchase some western wear. I of course bought the biggest most obnoxious belt buckle to distinguish myself from the rest of the group. It was back to the bikes for the last 25 miles into Muleshoe, Texas, where we stayed the night. Muleshoe was an amazing stop and I feel the whole team really came together and grew as a unit.

We left Muleshoe in high spirits for a medium ride to Lubbock. In order to make a tight arrival that sprung up in Lubbock we had to rack the team up to a staging area where we rode in to the State School where we would be staying the night. Pizza for lunch and burgers for dinner was the start of our amazing lodging and dining experiences in Texas and we were even treated to beds for the night.

The next morning was a brutal awakening as we all clung to the last precious moments of sleep in beds before beginning day one of the Texas Triple Crown, named so because it is a three day stretch where we cover just over 305 miles (95, 100, and 110 respectively). Our one reward was the fact that for all but one of those nights we got to stay in lodging with beds. You really enjoy the small things on this trip. The first two days of the Triple Crown went relatively smoothly, some rough headwinds slowed our progress but due to not having much in the way of programming we didnt really have rack points set so everyone could complete the rides. Day three however, was the toughest of them all. 110 miles is more of a mental test than anything else, after about 50miles each individual mile doesnt really tax your body physically but rather as each hour in the saddle wears on, the desire to quit becomes stronger and stronger. A delicious lunch of bratwurst, sour krout, and pasta salad provided by the TCU Pikapps didnt help much over the last 50 miles of our 105 mile day. The food was great but getting moving after such a great meal was hard. At about mile 80 my body was in pretty bad shape but I dug deep and finished out the day... barely. I took several hours to fully recover once the ride was over. That day was hard for me as well because my roomate of 2 years, Stephen Ramey, was getting married that day and I was unable to attend the wedding, held in Greenville, South Carolina, and it was very had for me to sit 2000 miles away and read text updates on the wedding from all my friends who were there. I wouldnt call it homesick but at this point in the trip I was feeling a little down. It was hard to remain down though as our BBQ and pool party in Stephenville was amazing and soon I was feeling better.

The next three days had us riding into Ft. Worth and then Dallas for a much needed day off. It had been 9 days since out last true rest so the 8:30am wakeup on tuesday was well accepted by all. Not to mention having my parents in town was great as well. Its hard to believe that it has been a month and a half since I last saw them. They came by and brought me some much needed items from home and helped me out with a pretty stressful situation getting my bike fixed in Dallas.

Back on the road, the team is now in Terrell, Texas, knocking on the doors of Louisiana. In some ways a new State will be nice, but its strange because after spending 9 days in Nevada, 7 in Arizona, 8 in New Mexico, and 12 in Texas, we will now sprint through the southeast never spending more than 3-4 days in any one state. Texas has certainly been a high point for me, and I would like to believe for the rest of the team as well. The food has been amazing, the people are always friendly, and we have only had to sleep on the floor 4 out of the 12 days we have been here. The Super 8 motel, where I am currently staying, is the third hotel we have had the whole trip and the second we have had in Texas. It will be hard to leave the luxury behind, but I am more than excited to begin riding through a part of the country through which I have driven countless times during my 4 years of college.

Now, Im off to the pool for a little relaxing time before dinner tonight, till next time.


1 comment:

Austin Bob said...

This may be the first time in history that "Super 8" and "luxury" have been used to describe the same lodging! I guess things really do get put in perspective by a ride like this. Keep on keepin' on.