Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Van Horn to Fort Davis, TX 90 miles 3/24/10

The first half of the day was a combination of frontage roads and I-10 shoulders.  Those frontage roads were the usual chip seal, so we were thrilled to get on the smooth I-10 shoulders.  We sailed along at 20-22 mph with the slight downhill.  Then the I-10 shoulder turned into chip seal!  Oh, well,  It was fun while it lasted.

After 40 miles we were to get off the I-10 to head toward the Fort Davis mountain area.  Unfortunately, the knee that was giving me problems the past two days had other ideas.  My usual aero bar position was not helping, and it was obvious this was not going to be my day to complete the full 90 mile ride.  When the SAG car came by at mile 28, I flagged her down.  We loaded up my bike on top of the Subaru, and I rode to mile 44 with two others who were sagging.

There was nowhere to stop for food today (Texas is a big _ _ _  state!), so our chef, Linda prepared a luncheon buffet on the side of the road at the 44 mile mark.  There were sandwiches and other delicious varieties, and we ate a welcome lunch.  Our chairs were nearby boulders that also served as places to take a cat nap.

I had already resigned myself to giving up on the day's ride, but by the time we left there were 12 of us in the big van!  Up ahead were strong winds, chip seal roads, and very steep hills (10 % grade on some) for the next 25 miles.

While we waited for everyone to come in for lunch, two self-contained riders came up going the opposite direction.  I really admire these people who can do what we are doing AND carrying everything with them in side panniers, including camping gear and clothes! 

We finally were able to start driving the 45 miles toward Fort Davis.  Most of the photos below are either from our lunch stop or as we were driving.  I was SO glad I did not choose to bike up those hills!  The 2,000 feet elevation over 37 miles of 6 to10% grade hills the chip seal surface, the strong winds, knee would have given out!!

The place we are staying tonight is in a Texas state park.  The rooms are beautiful, full of natural wood, including all the hand made furniture.  I will take some other photos tomorrow.

We had a lovely dinner inside, provided by the restaurant on site.  Our five riders who rode the entire way - Shelley Hatcher, Mary Drennen, Pam Harrison, Alayne Evans, and Mike Sandifur - were applauded for their accomplishment! 

We also celebrated Sue Hersman's birthday with a birthday cake and a song.

Tomorrow is our day off.  I am not going to shuttle the 45 miles to town; I am going to ice my knee and just rest!