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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reporting on: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Riding Route: Tucumcari, NM to Dalhart, TX via Route 54
Temp: 50's to 70's - Winds: 10-30 mph
Elevation Climb: 3300 feet
Miles Ridden Today: another century! - Second one in a row!

In life's experiences, some days are great, others are okay and some are just bad! I began my day by breaking off a valve stem in my tire - and Jim (a retired Chem prof) announcing that we were to have strong winds from the northeast ALL day! If you look at the map you'll see that we were riding NE ALL day! Yep! Jim was right! The winds hit us dead-on in the face every mile we rode today.

We made it to the first SAG stop at mile 29. The ride had been hard, but bearable! When we left the SAG stop winds were a minimum of 30 mph. It was the hardest headwind most of us had ever experienced. To put it in perspective: on a normal riding day I will average 17 mph - not killing myself. Today I averaged 10.5 mph overall for the day. I hit 7-8 mph going uphill - pedaling as hard as I could...and I had to pedal just as hard going downhill...and maybe hit 14 mph! I was in the "fast" group riding today. I'm glad I was, because the slower group hit LOTS of rain - and we had none! If you believe in a "wind God" - then say a prayer for us tonight that the winds let up! All in all the scenery was boring today! No ranches, people, gas stations, stores. Nothing! I have to tell you I'm tired of the high desert and scrub brush - and think even the cows are bored with the area! (At mile 54 we crossed from NM into Texas - our third state line crossing. Yes, we sprinkled our Manhattan Beach sand at the sign post - but I'm not sure the omen for a great ride in Texas was with us)!

Only a few more comments on the ride today. We experienced lots of traffic, but it was the wind in my ears that drove me nuts! The trucks coming from the opposite direction created 5 X the noise and draft. It must have been the angle of the wind! And, I have to admit I had my first flat tire today... at mile 85. I had one tube with me and it exploded because it got "pinched" in the tire! Needless to say I spent the last 15 miles in the van. I had mixed emotions - because I wanted to finish the ride. But on the other hand - I felt a bit of relief at the break.

As we headed in to Dalhart (population about 7,000) we passed HUGE feeding lot areas owned by the XIT ranch. It's a shipping point for agriculture and cattle and has the world's largest amateur rodeo in late summer. Up to 400,000 cattle are in the feed lots here. Can you imagine the smell? The XIT Ranch was more than 3 million acres at one point. Things are big in Texas! It's also in the center of the "Dust Bowl", an area that was (and still is) adversely affected by long periods of draught and dust storms during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

We passed into another time zone today: Central Standard Time. At 6:30 this evening we were having dinner - and George, a physician from Springfield, MO arrived in his biking cloths. He had finally finished the ride for the day! We saluted him and voted him hero of the week! Go George!


  1. Keep up your Energy Hank!! Love Pete and Ellen

  2. Greetings from the Pacific NW Hank. Thank you for the lesson on the continental divide from the boys. We are reading your progress at night and enjoy following along your incredible journey. You are an adventuous man who does not waste one minute of the precious time GOD has given us on this earth. You inspired us to go on a bike ride this past weekend and I got to walk with Ryan for 2 miles with his flat tire. All I could think about is how you could go so far with no flats and we did not make it 5 miles when we hit ours. Keep up the great performance. Peter & Family

  3. Thanks for your comments my dear friends!

  4. To Hank,
    I want to thank you for your tribute to my brother Charlie. This trip meant a lot to him. This was a dream of Charlie's. We hope that you and your riders successfully finish this huge challenge with him in your hearts.

    Tom Semprebon and Family

  5. Hi Hank,

    This is Charlie's nephew. You don't know how your comments about my "Uncle Chuck" moved me to tears. Charlie was such an inspiration to us all and i'm glad your group got to enjoy his company as well. I will enjoy reading the rest of your trip and I look forward someday to completing Charlie's ride across the country with the CrossRoads group.

    Shane Semprebon