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Day 25: Chip seal & Headwind

Del Rio, TX to Camp Wood, TX
Date: 01/26/2013
Distance traveled: 81.44 miles (1507.78 miles total)
GPS tracks: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/266480083

“The rough surface causes noticeable increases in vibration and rolling resistance for bicyclists, and increased tire wear in all types of tires.”Chip seal, Wikipedia


Not a pretty day.

I have found some sort of fun on the bike every day of this trip. This trip in the entirety has been fun. Sometimes there’s one awesome downhill that makes it worthwhile, or the challenge of the hills ahead, the joy of cruising down wide open highway, acquiring what Andy calls ‘smug points’ of accomplishing something really challenging, and certainly the people I’ve met along the way. There is generally something that makes me glad I got on the bike. Yesterday that something was really, really hard to find.

The wind has whipped up out here on the open Texas road and the clouds have moved in. I’m riding on rough chip seal highway that just vibrates the living crap out of me and my trusty stead. The noise of the wind and the ratta-tat-tat rattling of the bike beneath me was just grating on my last nerve. The 10-20 mph headwind that I was against for the first 30 miles of the ride just sucked my energy and my soul. I was riding through a moist cloud for a good part of the morning which made everything damp. And I think my body is just tired and wore out from some consecutive hard days of riding.

Music normally helps, so I pulled out the speaker around mile 25. And it did help. So I jammed along, moving 5-8 miles an hour where I would normally be going 12-15. Lots of frequent stopping. Lots of cussing at the wind. Out loud. With vigor.


Texas Ranch Road 334 – empty back country rolling hills.

After Brackettville the clouds broke through and my direction of travel changed so that I was now dealing with a crosswind and only an occasional headwind. This is where I got onto Texas Ranch Road 334. I stopped for lunch and my mood started to improve. But I wasn’t quite ready to enjoy the ride just yet.


334

I finally gave in to the fact that today was just going to be a slog somewhere around mile 40… somehow giving up made the day go better at that point. It’s slow. It’s hard. So what? You’ll get there eventually. And eventually I did. I entertained myself by stopping to take pictures of ranch gates. I kinda find them interesting how each ranch has their own brand and logo. I wish I would have taken pictures of more as I crossed Arizona and New Mexico to compare. I started to notice the foliage change – all of a sudden there were more trees and green things that weren’t cactuses. And it’s not because I’m at higher elevation, it’s because this is just more fertile land with more water available.


More rolling hills ahead!

So I pushed on, riding only two hours in the dark. The moonrise was absolutely beautiful. The road was pretty empty still so I felt safe. When I got to Camp Wood, I went to the 3 Sister’s RV camp site, chatted with Nancy (caretaker) and had a beer. I set up my tent in their pavilion and did my best to ignore the gusting wind. I didn’t sleep great, but it was sleep. And now I’m onto another day like the last… here’s to keeping it positive. J

 

Below are some random ranch gate pictures…

 

 

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