Today's ride of 180 miles went from Hereford, TX to Sayre, OK. The morning began just like the previous day - riding across the open prairie. But as we entered into Oklahoma, it was much greener, with rolling hills and actual trees(!). For anyone who sent vibes for better wind conditions than we'd had in the previous days, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! The wind wasn't right at our backs, but it was out of the southwest - which helped a great deal. In fact, I rode the first 100 miles in just under five hours - something I've never done before.
I rode with seven other guys almost the whole day. We were just rolling along, having a good time, getting to know each other. The wind did shift around to the SE in the afternoon, but we still managed to complete the ride in just under ten hours. Last night, as I was talking to Rachel and we were writing the blog, I was as physically tired as I've ever been in my whole life. It was a result of battling head winds for two straight days. I didn't mention it yesterday because I was afraid it might tarnish my "manly-man" image. The thought of getting on the bike this morning seemed impossibly difficult - but the body is an amazing thing. After a huge dinner and a good night's sleep, I actually felt good and ready to go this morning. This type of an event is a brand new experience for me. I now feel foolish for having said before that perhaps there were only a handfull of truly elite riders here. The truth is that every muscle in my body is sore, I have little pains that never materialized during training, and a saddle sore that is too gruesome to describe. I know all the other guys are dealing with the same sorts of things. It seems to me that riding these distances every day, with no days off, feeling exhausted at the end of each day, and having the courage to swing one's leg over the bike and start riding the next morning, makes everyone here an elite rider. Sure, there are some exeptional athletes here, but we are all dealing with the same issues no matter how fast or slow we ride.
Tomorrow's ride is our longest in terms of mileage, but waiting for me in Ada, Oklahoma will be Eric and Cathy Barr, Charles' parents. They are driving all the way up from Dallas to have dinner with me. I'm really looking forward to it.