1400 Miles Day 2 & 3
If you've never spent any time in the area that I like to call the "plains of west texas" then you haven't lived. Really though, you've no doubt lived even if you haven't been there but this time of year as the heat radiates off the road like a stove on high it's a place that'll make you rethink a lot about yourself. Self reflection that makes you wonder why the hell you chose to expose yourself to this kind of pain and heat. And then you're reminded, it's the windmills...
Really though, Day 2 and 3 of the 1400 Miles trip are not my favorite days. I've learned over my 30-odd years of life that my body doesn't perform at it's peak when the weather crests 100 degrees and the humidity sucks the last bit of optimism from your mind. I prefer dry, high mountain desert climates. I'll take altitude over humidity any day of the week and riding a bicycle from Brownwood to Sweetwater and then Sweetwater to Lubbock involves none of the altitude but all of the humidity.
Our Day 2 started just like the other, a quick breakfast and then rolling out. The problem with Day 2 and 3 is that your hind quarters are beginning to get a bit upset by all the sitting on the tiny saddle and the first hour of each day is generally spent trying to find that "sweet" spot where it's not excruciating to sit down. You eventually find it and then hold on for dear life as any bump in the road that sets your butt in the wrong place could come with quite a bit of pain. But, eventually it goes away and you set yourself into a groove. Unfortunately in many places in the "plains of west texas" the roadways aren't the smoothest. For instance, the last 40 miles into Sweetwater was pretty much all chip seal. You know, the nasty stuff that even makes your handles rattle driving a car, much less a bicycle. There is a nice bit of smooth pavement and downhill as you enter the bustling metropolis of Sweetwater but it seems by that point that all of your good mood has been sacrificed to the road and all you can think about is what it's going to feel like to get off the bike.
We made it to Sweetwater in one piece and even had a nice visit by my dad and a couple of his good friends. They rode the last 35 miles with us and it was a much needed boost, change of pace and conversation. One of my favorite things about bicycles is the connection that you make with those that you ride with. There's a shared sense of accomplishment and a shared sense of suffering when you get to share some really hot, humid miles together on bicycles. It's also why I like beer so much, because of it's conversational nature. While it's absolutely possible to sit next to some one on a bicycle or at a bar and not talk, the natural human inclination is to chat, converse, get to know one another better.
The latter half of day 2 was somewhat of a blur for me, suffering through the pain and hoping that a cloud might sneak under the sun for a touch of relief. But, we made it safely and I slept like a baby. And it was nice.
Day 3 was a bit easier for all of us. Not only did we get a nice tail wind pretty much all the way to Lubbock but we also had very little in the way of climbing. Flat, fast and not at all scenic. Well, unless you like cotton fields, and in that case it was gorgeous. 112-ish miles was the total for the day and we all arrived in much better spirits that Monday. I'm not going to say it was an easy day but I will say that it was much easier to keep in good spirits, especially knowing that we were just one day away from leaving Texas and moving onward to more accommodating climates.
Today we roll to the Land of Enchantment by way of Clovis. Today is always a nice day because it's the shortest that we've had so far at just over 100 miles. I'm entertained each year during this ride how we start to discuss distances as if they are "nothing" when it's "only" 100 miles. Life is indeed relative and once you've logged 3 days of 120+ miles it's amazing what you can convince yourself of.
Once in New Mexico we'll continue forward with our eyes on the prize of Denver and one hell of a party we plan to throw. Get all the details here and keep following along on the journey. Also, if you haven't check out the 1400 Miles tracker it's a pretty cool tool where you can follow each along the route. http://1400miles.com/track-the-riders/