Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ride Day 31

Last night at the campground I got a bad night of sleep. The campers next to me were noisy well into the night and kept me awake. I did watch the shooting stars show while I was trying to get back to sleep. Getting the tent with the open top was a good idea.  I rode into Fort Davis and ate a big breakfast then hit the road for Alpine 26 miles away. The ride was an easy ride, downhill and flat for the most part. I arrived in Alpine in just over an hour. I stopped at a grocery store and drank some juices and ate some nuts then hit the road again. It was 31 miles to my next stop called Marathon. I expected to be there quickly because it too was a downhill and flat ride. The wind gods had something to say about my high hopes. Almost as soon as I left Alpine the wind started up right in my face. At first it was a gentle breeze but within a few minutes it was blowing 20-25 mph. My speed slowed down to a crawl. My planned easy day of riding was turning into a seriously hard day of riding. I got very tired. I just have not been getting enough rest I guess. I am not recovering quickly enough after my hard days of pedaling to string them together back to back like I have been doing. I had to stop and rest often. I was riding in very low gears and was only going about 6 mph for most of the day. I even had to pedal to go down the hills! My easy ride turned into a five hour endurance test. Five hours to go only 31 miles of flat and downhill riding! My will and my body were pushed to the limits yet again today. I took a few pics but not many because I was so tired. I ended up at a hostel in Marathon after a great cheese burger and shake lunch at Johny B's Cafe. The hostel seems to be a good spot to stay and it is free. Tomorrow if I can get out of bed I am heading to Sanderson. These areas are seriously desolate. For the last few days I have seen very little traffic and between the "cities" there has been very little sign of humans being around. More later...

Ride Day 30

I was on the road well before it was light out this morning because my plan was to ride 90 miles with over 3000 feet of climbing. The weather was predicted to be hot around 84 or more with relative humidity of under 20%. I ate in my room before I left and loaded myself down with 7 bottles of water. The day started well. I made my first twenty miles in just over an hour and stopped there to eat another breakfast. It was a giant wet breakfast burrito that was perfect for me. When I entered the freeway for the next leg of 20 miles the wind was just starting as a light breeze in my face. The light breeze quickly became a strong gusting problem for me. I lost about 8 to 10 mph on my speed. That made it feel like I was going uphill all morning and was sapping my strength. I figured when I turned off the wind would be easier. I was wrong, the wind changed direction just as I did and continued to slow me down and tire me out. The road was very desolate once I got off the freeway. I saw maybe a dozen vehicles all day until I got to Mcdonald Observatory where the traffic picked up. The ride was my most difficult day to date. The combination of headwinds and thousands of feet of climbing just about killed me. I had to use every motivational trick I know to keep going. The ride topped out at about 6300 feet or so and the high altitude was just making it worse. I had to stop and rest a lot because my heart rate was getting too high and my legs were turning into worthless weak rubbery nothings. I had no power or stamina all afternoon. I should have stopped and camped on the side of the road but I pushed on just very slowly. The scenery was all high arid desert scrub with lots of rocky mountains and outcroppings. There was very little sign of humans other than some cattle ranching. Most of the ranches however, killed off their herds over the last few years because the cattle were starving due to drought. I took a few pics but not many because I was so exhausted all day. I finally arrived at the summit and went to the observatory for a while. It is a good place to visit but I was too tired to appreciate it so I rode down the other side of the mountain to my campground and crashed. About an hour later my neighbor and I started talking and he invited me over for dinner. I had already eaten my food but I quickly said yes to more food. I need all the calories I can pack in. We talked over a casual dinner that hit the spot with some grilled veggies and chicken. I enjoyed the company and the food before I went to bed. About an hour after falling asleep the neighbors on the other side came back to their campsite and made a huge racket. It woke me up and ruined my good night of sleep. I watched the shooting stars from my open tent roof and finally went back to sleep. Tomorrow will be a short day of mostly flat and downhill. I need the rest