Once again I'm struck with the different moods of the group, day to day. Tomorrow will mark the half-way point, day-wise, for this Tour. We started this Tour with 22 paying riders and about 10 crew. (Crew ride every-other day). By the end of tomorrow we will have lost 5 paying riders and 3 crew, so the group dynamic will surely be different.
Two riders have left because of injury, one half-tour rider left early for work-related reasons, one rider will leave for personal reasons, and one will leave because she could only get time off work to ride half the tour. Our massage therapist, her husband who crewed, and their 8 y.o. daughter will be leaving tomorrow also, a planned leave-taking. Four weeks is a long time for a family to be on tour. A PAC veteran massage therapist will join us in Amarillo tomorrow to support our aching muscles for the eastern half of the ride.
So, I'm sure all of the above factored in to the out-of-sorts-ness of the day. That Larry was injured yesterday didn't help either. That this was a 156 mile day was certainly a factor. The fact that we were on I-25 for about 25 miles, and then a frontage road that didn't deserve the title of road contributed. The unsavory roads contributed to many of us having tire issues, not something you want to deal with on a 156 mile day. An then there was the wind that swirled from all directions with gusts up to 35 mph along with temps that reached nearly 100 before the front came through that was preceded by a scary, black sky streaked with lightning.
I had a flat again today, the result of one of those tiny wires from truck retreads being sprayed along the road. I found the wire at the first SAG stop on the Interstate, got it out, but the tire went down 3 miles later. It helped that we were off the Interstate by then.
Jonathan, Ellie, Melissa, and I were riding together to the 2nd SAG at mile 55. Ellie wasn't feeling well so SAGGED the rest of the day. The three of us took off together, but I couldn't hang on to them so I was on my own for the next 30 miles of hot, windy road that was steadily ascending through 6,200' elevation. By the time I got to lunch at mile 87 I was breathless. It's no fun to be the last rider riding. All the other back-riders were SAGGING today, and Jonathan was pulling Melissa. I needed more than the 20 minutes it takes to swallow lunch to catch my breath so decided to SAG from lunch to mile 129.
Saw a couple of these signs along the way that were quite curious to me. Any ideas?
Tomorrow is 146 miles to Amarillo. From there to the finish will be nearly the same route I rode three years ago on the Southern Transcon. I'm actually very much looking forward to being "back again."