Stars and Spokes
Rest Day 2: Truckin' into Texas!
I thought it might be useful to start this blog off with a stat relating to my ride. Since my last rest day update, I've covered 1,400 KM in 7 days. That's equivalent to the iconic UK cycle challenge of pedalling from Land's End to John O'Groats (LEJOG).
I'm hoping that provides perspective on the scale of this ride, crossing a continent involves big distance!
This equates to 10 hrs on the bike daily, as I aim to cover the 200 KM daily distance. My routine basically sees me cycle, fuel and then sleep in any time remaining after the first two activities are complete. It's an unrelenting schedule, mostly in harsh and remote landscapes.
Since we last spoke, I've finished off Arizona and then headed into the hills of New Mexico. It was in this state that I climbed over the highest point on the ride, called Emory Pass at 8,200 ft. This involved 3 solid days of uphill cycling to get over, quite a challenge! The pass is twice the height of Snowdon in Wales.
From New Mexico, it was then into Texas - which is massive!! Three times the size of the UK in fact. In the section I've ridden through so far, it is extremely remote. The scale of the scenery is mind blowing, as is the distances between any facilities - often 100 KM at a time. In hot temperatures, this presents a real challenge to keeping hydrated enough.
One thing I love about the route is how it takes you to 'real America'. The towns (if you can call them this, collection of buildings is probably more accurate!), are tiny. Populations of less than 1,000 generally. The people are so friendly and willing to help, it restores one's faith in humanity!
The conditions have been unrelenting also. High heat and strong winds are generally the order of the day, they really dry and crack the skin - my lips in particular are very cracked up, making eating and sleeping quite tricky due to the pain.
I've been a little unlucky with headwinds so far, they've slowed my progress considerably in recent days. There's nothing I can do about them, as frustrating as they are. I just have to get my head down and pedal through it, they can extend my days to 12 hours on occasion - that's a long time to be out on a bike for!
Fingers crossed the weather gods will start smiling down on me in the coming days, and turn those winds around!
Overall though, progress has been steady. Hard earned, but steady. I'm exactly where I expected to be at this point. I've covered a little over 2,300 KM so far, with around 2,500 KM now remaining.
Much of the climbing is now behind me, central Texas will be rolling - I'll be through that in the coming days. Reflecting the scale of this state, my next week solid will be in Texas, until I reach the Louisiana state border.
It's then on further into the Deep South, where humidity will hit near 100%. The road quality in that part of the US is also not great. Thereafter it's into the Florida pan handle, for the final few hundred KMs.
Finally, it's been amazing to have so many messages of support come in from those following my journey. Whether that's by email, on this site, or via social media - it's much appreciated and provides a real boost to morale. It's tricky taking on this challenge as a solo rider, it's tough going!
Whilst the ride has been very challenging, it still feels absolutely worth it because of the importance of the cause that I'm raising funds for - military mental health. If you fancy helping me reach my target, please do head to:
Thank you! Now bring on Texas....!