Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 17 (Wed, 6 Mar)

I rode from Midland, TX to Big Lake, TX today.  This turned out to be the ride that, to date, most tested my willpower to finish this cross-country trip.  It was quite challenging and I have a new respect for cyclists in this part of the country.  The big challenge was the wind – it blew strongly at 20-25 mph out of the South, steady all day long with no trees or really anything else (other than me perhaps) to slow it down – flat, open landscape.  Today was my day to head south so it was in my face all day long and I paid the price.  82 miles overall and it ended up being the longest ride in terms of time, with the highest calorie burn, avg heart rate and number of pedal strokes (by far) of any of the rides to date.  Even more than the mountain stages I did over the past few weeks.  Impressive challenge.  I’m sure every rider who has cycled cross-country on their bike has had times where they questioned their own sanity.  Today was that day for me…

The ride was on State highways 158 and 137 for the entire ride, after exiting Midland.

Well I made it and just barely before sundown.  Good way to get my legs going again after a 4-day vacation (I guess!).

To be honest, I didn’t have time at any point today to really enjoy the ride – I did however find a few places to take pictures – on to them!:

Sunrise at my hotel in Midland this morning.

Key part of my breakfast - Texas (you need to rotate the picture - sorry) waffle with chocolate chips.

Downtown Midland - the couple of taller building in the far distance.  The economy is booming here from the oil/gas industry.  Companies are advertising open positions almost as much as they are advertising their product/service.  Unique part of the country for sure!

If you're a cyclist, and probably a motorist, in this part of the country you have to scowl at this sign - every highway in this part of the state is rough - nothing is smooth.  All of the highways are gravel/oil here and extremely rough which makes the ride a lot harder and basically your bike and body are constantly vibrating for the entire ride.

It's kind of cool how much attention horses and cattle pay to cyclists as you go buy them - almost without exception they'll watch you the entire time as you ride past them.  2 white horses in this case.

Wide open landscape.

Actually quite a bit of farmland in this part of Texas - nothing growing in most of the fields yet but most of them looked prepped for the season.

Local history - i.e. stuff used to be located here but is no longer...

In addition to the information on the sign, the angle that it is at seemed 100% appropriate today.  It is set in concrete and still tipped at about a 20 degree angle - PROBABLY just a coincidence, but the wind was headed in exactly the correct direction to have tipped this sign...  Insane!

 I believe this is a well being drilled.  Someday if I have time I'd like to stop by and see if I can ask these guys a few questions about how they do this - pretty cool.  Today was the first day I saw new wells being drilled.

West Texas cactus.

I was enormously happy to see this sign tonight and proud of sticking with the ride to get to it!  The primary reason this town is here is for the local oil/gas industry - workers from all of the main companies everywhere (and 1 cyclist) around here.  More info here:,_Texas 

Updated map!

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