Today's ride was 165 miles from Roswell, NM to Hereford, TX. This first week we've ridden almost 1100 miles. I'm really in uncharted waters, as I've certainly never ridden nearly this far in a week before. Today's route probably wasn't the most scenic on the tour. The beginning, the end and everything in between was field and prairie. I suppose if you're a rancher, it is beautiful. But for me, after the first few miles, it really looked all the same today.
It was another tough day for me, as the winds were out of the east at 10 to 12 mph all day. But fortunately, I hooked up with a group of 8 riders early in the morning and we rode together in a pace line all day. I learned about loyalty today, as you really stick with the guys that are helping you make it through a tough ride. For example, when someone in our group got a flat tire, we all stopped and helped him fix it and then got rolling again. In fact, I got my first flat tire today and I'm sure glad the guys waited for me (!) because there's no way I could have fought that wind riding by myself.
One of the things that is so great about this tour are the other riders. Last night I had dinner with three other guys - Jim Clark, from Crystal Lake, Illinois (my roomate) is just salt of the earth. We have some great talks at the end of the day before turning in for the evening. Another fellow at the dinner table was Ed Pabst, from Terra Haute (sp?), Indiana. This guy is simply an amazing athlete. He's 57 years old, and finishes toward the front of the pack every day. In fact, he may be one of the best climbers here. Finally, there was Brad from Albuquerque, NM. As it turns out, I played Little League football with Brad's brother-in-law, Steve Rounds. Steve went on to become a star quarterback at my high school. Small world!
During the next three days, we're going to ride a lot of miles. Send us some vibes for wind out of the west for a change - I'd really appreciate it!