Current Ride Status (Pre-Ride Preparations)
Images and comments from the riders will be posted here on a daily basis. We are also
maintaining a mileage log for those of you who would like to meet up with the team and
ride along. This will give you an idea of what to expect as far as pace is concerned.
Ride Status Archive Page 04 (04/11 - 04/13)
Current Ride Status (Pre-Ride Preparations)
Leaving Abilene with an escort from the Taylor Sheriff’s office under clear, cool, and
sunny skies we were without one of our Riders: Rob Zettel. Rob had developed a serious
infection and because of the antibiotics/medication he was taking he was told to not
Ride for the next 7 days. Rob will be missed: he was the guy that always hung in there
no matter what: heat, hills, headwinds, etc. We are hoping to have Rob rejoin the Ride
in Lexington, Ky. Rob’s place was taken for the day by Will Galloway, an American
pilot based in Dallas. Spending hours on the "pavement" one gets the opportunity
to contemplate the affairs of the world and create Ride Observations: Texas is
still BIG, it is day five and we are still in the State! We have two more days of
Riding before we leave Texas! Yep, it is still not flat: today we rode for hours
on rolling hills and one becomes an expert on finding the "smooth" spot on the shoulder.
To quote a famous Army General: "Rest, it is crucial". Again we need to thank Hampton
Inns. Picture 5 riders and two support personnel and one driver: sleeping in the RV.
Think we’d get much rest? As we move further eastward the scrub has become trees,
green leafy trees, a welcome site after looking at so much sand since leaving East
LA. Today, we are Riding for Ken and Jennifer Lewis and they were really looking
out for us! Most of the road surface was smooth, no rain or hail like yesterday,
and for the most part a tailwind! Going over Ranger Hill the going was slow but
on the back side: fast 40 mph! Going back and forth between the Interstate and the
service roads was relatively easy because of the Sheriff escorts all along the
way... if we did not have them it would have been not just ugly but we would have
had to load up into the RV and go 25 miles because of construction. Outside of Ft.
Worth, we were joined by several cyclists for the final leg to the hotel.
Flat Status: Paul 8, Marc 16, Rob 7, Bobby 3, Tom 6 and the RV 1.
Fall Status: Paul 0, Marc 0, Rob 0, Bobby 3, Tom 0.
Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy and Dianne, Ken and Jennifer
are watching over us. We’re glad they’re here, because as time goes on, we’ll
need their support as much as they need our remembrance.
More rider observations: What were we thinking when we either signed up for the
Ride or were planning it? Texas is still not flat. Everything in Texas is BIG
(including the rain drops). The rolling resistance of a Jamis Xenith Team Bike
is virtually zero. The winds (tailwind) make all the difference in a ride. County
to county the road surface changes. Flat Status: Paul 7, Marc 15, Rob 7, Bobby
1, Tom 5 and the RV 1. Fall Status: Paul 0, Marc 0, Rob 0, Bobby 3, Tom 0.
Today, as we rode for Madeline "Amy" Sweeney, we left the Hampton Inn with a
"motorcade" police escort of 4 black and whites, rolled through Midland at a
quick pace and joined I-20 outside of town. Riding on the loop road and the
frontage road, we were continuously honked and waved at. The support is
phenomenal! Obviously, Amy called out the troops. As the day progressed,
the temperature rose and the winds started picking up. We were making great
progress until the wind "gods" noticed our progress and wanted to make sure
that we would suffer just a little today. As we move eastward, the color
of the landscape changes from the brown colors of the previous days to more
green: green grass, green trees, and some foliage. The Southwest is in the
midst of a long drought and the only place it rains is on the Ride. As we
approached Abilene, from the distance we could see one cloud that was producing
some rain. It looked like it was evaporating before it hit the ground. WRONG.
In a span of 3 minutes the temperature fell 18 degrees, the rain came down
intermittently but in huge drops with wind gusts over 30 mph. Going downhill
and peddling we got up to 12 mph and the rain was hitting us so hard and the
drops so BIG that it hurt. Did I mention the pea sized hail? That hurt too.
After about 10 minutes of this we pulled under an overpass and waited it out.
Once on the road the humidity "cranked up" with the temperatures. Ugly!
Once near Abilene, we rode into Dyess Air Force Base, met with the Wing Commander
just inside the gates surrounded by both vintage aircraft and airplanes that are
currently flown out of Dyess (B-1). After having ridden over 180+ yesterday and
154 today we are all pooped. The last several hours were spent on rough pavement
and into strong head winds (again) but thankfully Amy got us here safely just as
Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, Kathy and Dianne had in the days before.
A Kodak moment if there ever was one
Hospitality, Las Cruces style
Las Cruces: 2 Angels and a Cherub
2 Cherubs with Manna from heaven
Sir, I’m telling you. We are NOT escapees from area 51!
Because we cared enough to bring the very best driver.
Life comes at you fast. Happy Birthday, Sheri.
The Roar of the Greasepaint. The smell of the Crowd.
It’s just not quite the same without the batwing doors and hitchin’ rails
Into Arizona. 1 state down, 12 to go.
Well, the natives certainly seem friendly enough.
Today’s Ride observations/conclusions: contrary to popular opinion, Texas is far from flat.
After leaving Van Horn there is a 25 mile climb. The state animal for Texas (from observing "road kill")
is the jackrabbit (passed by over 25 on the shoulder) and it is capable of passing cyclists that are
doing 25 mph. Trying to see where you are going while inadvertently straying on to the rumble strip
is impossible; there is no way for your eyes to remain stationary in thier sockets when it occurs.
The various county sheriffs are so enthusiastic about the ride that they are providing escort throughout
the state in their pickup trucks. Lastly, west Texas is mile upon mile of nothing between towns.
Gets kind of old watching the guy’s wheel in front of you for hours!
Leaving Van Horn, we passed by majestic mesas and small mountains that were so flat that they
looked "table tops". The colors were every shade of the color brown. Beautiful, to say the
least. After the climb it was a gradual downhill for 15 miles then another climb. Just
before joining I-20, we ran into a construction project where the road was closed so we
had to go around the barricades and ride on the newly constructed lanes of I-10. It was
great, we had the road to ourselves, it was quiet and clean. Only problem: it was not
all paved. We had to "portage" between the bridges by riding on sand and gravel. After
15 miles, we were back on I-10 and 5 miles later we joined I-20. A wonderful road with
smooth surfaces. We made great time! Stopping in Toyah, we decided to service the RV
toilet and water tank. Picture the worst and it happened. 'nuff said. North of Pecos
we ran into another construction project and had to take the frontage road, a road that
parallels the interstate but is very rough. The options were get in the RV and drive to
the end of the construction or ride on the frontage road. Guess which option we took?
After Pecos, we entered the oil fields of Texas. As far as the eye can see there is an
oil well with a oil derrick pumping away! Makes one question if there is an oil shortage.
Speaking of shortage......we need help with donations. While the Ride is fully funded by
our sponsors, we are far short of reaching our goal. To date: we’ve ridden a third of the
way and sadly to say have not reached a third of our goal. The help we had earlier with
the tail wind has now become a crosswind with an uphill grade and the going is slow. Just
like the fundraising. The approach into Odessa, with darkness approaching while on I-20, a
couple stopped on the shoulder of the road to cheer us on and take pictures. They took more
as they passed us in their car. And then.....Yep, another construction site but the police
let us go through with an escort, now a tail wind, and we are up to 20 mph! In Odessa, at
the city line with Midland we were greeted by the Midland Police (2 black and whites) and
they took us all the way to the hotel in Midland. One officer said we should have come a
few hours earlier and had Mrs. Laura Bush join us. Ever see her on a bike? Seen her husband
but never her! Once stopped, we "mingled" and thanked Dianne Snyder
for getting us this far: over 1200 miles from LA safely.
Just as Chic, John, Tom, Bobbi, Jeff, Sara, Karen, and Kathy had in the days prior.