Day 37 – 40: Texas Keeps on Rolling By

Don’t hate me!  I know I’m super behind on the blogs, but I am determined to catch you up on my journey.

Day 37: Just another day in Texas

Heading out with my team for the day!

The thing about Texas after making it past Austin, is that everything is the same.  From the horses, goats, and cattle to the unchanged scenery of rolling hills of barren land with rows upon rows of enormous windmills spreading out among it.  Today felt pretty dull as it was once again a pretty tame day for our 74 mile ride to Brownwood, TX.  That morning we picked teams based on our favorite breakfast item and of course I had to choose eggs with Taylor, Tyler, and Matt (Although if coffee was a choice, I would have definitely chosen that one).  It was a pretty easy ride that day with not much happening on the road for our team.  I wish I could say the same for the other teams, but we did have to wait 1 ½ hours at the second water stop for one of the teams because they broke two spokes and the water van had to go back for them to help with repairs.

Dan and Matt couldn’t stay awake long enough for the picture

After that little ordeal, we were able to get back on the road and make our trek onward to our next host.  The rest of the day went smoothly, and we arrived at our host with plenty of time to spare.  Since we had so much free time, and there was a shower at the host (something that has turned into a perk with this trip) I was able to go out for a quick run.  I’ve learned by going out for little runs after cycling has helped with my recovery and my muscles are less sore in the morning.  After my short run, dinner was ready and it was time to eat, blog, and get ready for the next day.

Day 38: Middle of Nowhere, TX (Actually it was Winters, TX but it was essentially the same thing)

Not kidding you on this one.  We were literally in the middle of nowhere (well sort of), but the host were absolutely amazing so it made up for it.  Anyways, we woke up at the usually time of 4:30 am to start our ride as soon as possible because it was a short day of 65 miles to Winters, TX and we wanted to avoid the heat as much as possible.  Heather, Danny, Kirk and I took off for the day, but there wasn’t too much excitement on the road as it was just rolling hills and the usual scenery that we were getting used too.

Team in front of the famous Rock Hotel!

By the time we were 10 miles out from Winters, we hit flat grounds once again with nothing around us for miles on end.  It was a short day though, so we finally reached Winters around 1 pm and arrived at our “host”.  I put that in quotation marks because I honestly can’t pinpoint a person, or group that had us because it seemed like the whole town was our host! Our central location for meet up was a diner/movie rental/liquor store where we were able to meet up for lunch and to regroup.  After everything was said and done (including a quick nap) they pointed us to the community pool where we go swimming for the afternoon!  Before the swim though, I had to go on a run with Matt and Max for 30 minutes, because my legs were itching for a little more.  After the quick run, we all jumped in the pool to cool after a long day of hard work.  Afterwards, we went back to the diner/movie rental/liquor store for a lovely dinner and to catch up on the day’s events.  From there, we all separated to different people’s houses for the night where we could all relax until the next morning.  Brad, Dan, Matt, and I went to a lovely family’s home who owned two businesses in the town.  We chatted with them for awhile and were able to take some nice showers and even get some laundry down before we turned in for the night.  I think I was the most comfortable I have ever been on this trip at this house, because I was sleeping on a leather couch that just sucked me right in.  Even the population of the town was less than 2,000 people, we all felt welcomed and overwhelmed by the generosity that these people had for us.

Day 39: Nothing like a good night’s sleep

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Our view for miles on end

Wow I think I had the best night’s sleep.  Sleeping on that couch with an actual pillow and blanket was absolutely amazing and I felt so well rested when I woke up.  After struggling to get up from the best sleep ever, we headed over to the historical inn which served as a museum of the town. They had some really interesting photos different years dating back around 100 years and it was really interesting to see how the community changed over time.  After the quick tour of the place, the rest of the team arrived and we sat down to have a delicious breakfast of eggs with biscuits and gravy with some of the locals.  We then headed over to the diner to pick up our bikes and prepared ourselves for another fun adventure of 86 miles to Synder, TX.  Today I rode with Lauren, Taylor, and Danny and we were able to cruise for awhile because the roads were so flat and nice.  I don’t think I have mentioned about the massive amounts of wind turbines that are in Texas.  It was especially prominent during this ride today as some fields were just rows upon rows of these turbines as far as the eye can see.  It was really cool to see these massive giants of power be moved by the wind and interesting to see how they were arranged on the land.  The only problem is that the turbines are the only scenery around for miles and it kind of gets boring seeing at all the time.  Anyways the ride was awesome because the roads were super smooth and flat after the second water stop and were able to cruise around 20 mph for the majority of the day and were able to get to the host pretty quickly.  After arriving at the host, we were able to take showers, have dinner, and call it an early night as we were all pretty tired.

Day 40: The Land of the Red Raiders

Bonus points if you find me in this photo of the team

Some days I feel like we are just taking a tour of colleges, and today especially felt like one of those days.  We were heading 87 miles to Lubbock, TX which was home to Texas Tech and the Red Raiders.  I was riding with Danny, Michelle, and Kenny this day and the roads were not kind to us as they had been.  The shoulder was nearly impossible to ride on because it was so bumpy and we paid the price with Kenny and Michelle getting flats.  By the time we made it to the second water stop, we decided to ride on the road because of how much smoother it was and we were able to cruise on it until we reached the next town along our route called Post.  I specifically remember this town, not because of its name, but because of the MASSIVE hill that was situated right after it.  It was a 2 mile climb with a at least 6% grade, but the best part was that in the middle of the hill was a house that had a dog that tried to chase us when we were already tired.  The secret to keeping the dogs at bay is yelling at them in a really deep voice, which I have gotten really good at since we encountered these loose dogs several times a day.  After the climb, the ride became really flat and the roads became really smooth like the previous day and we were able to cruise once again.

Enjoying the Texas Tech locker room

The last water stop we had before we hit Lubbock was the Miller beer company’s distribution factory and we were able to get some really cool pictures in front of the sign.  Also some of the employees came out to see what we were doing and decided to donate several cases of water to us! It was pretty cool seeing how we can affect so many people around us, just by cycling.  We were able to get back on the road after a small photo shoot and able to make it to the host in good time.  The host was a church right across from the Texas Tech campus, so we were right in the middle of the college town.  After a quick nap, we drove over to take our showers at the one and only Texas Tech football stadium!  It was awesome because we were allowed to go into the locker room, head out to the field, and have a fabulous dinner in the private trophy room all provided for by our wonderful host.  It was a great time because at dinner we were able to talk to cancer survivors and doctors all interested in our cause.  It was a great day, but exhausting as well as we soon turned in for the night.   Here are some more pictures from the day, and don’t worry I WILL catch everyone up!

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