Today was a day when you consider quitting cycling forever! I pray to god that I never have to do a ride like today ever again. Today reminded me of the sign outside Army Ranger School, "Not for the weak or fainthearted". We were warned last night of a severe weather change and impending storm that they just named Winter Storm Achilles which will bring much colder and strong headwinds and possible snow in the next couple of days. Mike, the ride leader had mentioned earlier in the week that today is traditionally one of the fastest days. Strong tailwinds, 97 miles and few hills. He said the record is 3 ½ hours. Not today. Headwinds of a steady 30 mph, with gust much higher the entire way. It took me 9 hours 18 minutes at a average 10.4 MPH. There was no rest time, even on the downhill you had to push hard. I spent most of the day with Jim Jenks, we knew it was going to be long and difficult, but the thought of not completing it never crossed our minds. Over ½ of the riders did not complete the ride, some quitting very early on. They were probably the smart ones
|That is the wind blowing my bike away|
Not much in the way of things to report on the route itself today as our heads were mostly down. The Texas panhandle is pretty wide open and desolate. The only action that was going on was lots of large cattle trucks streaming down the highway and the ever present freight trains that pass by every few minutes. We did pass our first feedlot today. The winds today were blowing the full force of the aroma right across the road as we rode by the feedlot on the left. It's so dry out here that the cattle were stirring up so much dust. For those of you who don't know what a feedlot is, it's an area where they bring cattle to fatten before they are processed and there are thousands of them in every lot. It's sort of a sad sight because you know that in about 6 weeks, every one of them will have met their fate.
After a very long and hard day a bunch of us went to a local establishment for a beverage or two. We are anticipating bad weather so we will see what happens tomorrow.
|Winter Storm Achilles|
(Most Photos taken by Mike Munk- Bamacyclist.com)