Date: March 20th 2017

From/To: Iowa Park, TX/Quanah, TX

Daily Mileage: 65 miles

Total Mileage: 1230 miles

Conditions: Sunshine, strong headwinds up to 25 mph

I hate to bring in an engineering concept, but today all I could think about was power. Power equals work times time. In essence it’s the effort you put into something and how long you can sustain that effort. It causes something motionless to move. Today was my most difficult day on the road so far. I felt challenged right out of the gate. The culprit, the wind.

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Todays trek, from Iowa Park, TX to Quanah, TX

I was up at 7AM for breakfast with Gary and Gay. They made me eggs and sausage, with toast (cant leave out the carbs!). I then made my way out to the garage because Gary wanted to show me some of his projects he was working on before I left. He was a trike mechanic working on some of his recumbent fixer uppers. He showed me some of these projects and actually let me try out on of his recumbent bikes! I almost asked him for a trade. I magine biking in a lawn chair instead of a hard leather saddle seat. Yeah.
Gary was a wise man, I really enjoyed talking with him and getting to know him and Gay. One piece of advice I took away from him was about perspective. He told me that everything is really how you look at it. You’ll always find imperfections in the places you go if that’s what you’re looking for. He told me to always seek out the positives in any situation. He said that’s a point of view he’s learned throughout his life and it was important to pass that message along to me. I left from the garage around 8:30 heading for a rest stop Gary had recommended I stay at for the night.

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Gary, Gay and I just before I left.

Once I got out of Iowa Park there wasn’t much of anything aside from agriculture. I passed by fields of massive wind turbines, and i realized if it was a good place for wind turbines to spin, it probably wasn’t a great place to coast on my bike. I was right unfortunately.

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The sun coming up through the cloudy skies behind me. It was a beautiful scene, and very calm before the winds picked up around 10:00 (exactly what Gary said would happen).
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A massive army of wind turbines! These went on as far as the eye could see, I can’t imagine how much power they generate all together. An average wind turbine can produce about 6 million kilowatt-hours per year. Just trust me when I say that’s a big number. It’s enough power to supply almost 332 households with power for a year. This may be subject to change so don’t quote me on that. Source.
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The Red River, a scenic view crossing over it part way through my trek.

I’m glad I started the day off early. I had a chance to cover about 20 miles of my 65 miles total before the wind really kicked in. Not to mention the scorching heat drove the temperature up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It was not an easy day. I was trucking along at under 10 mph for most of the ride. The wind was so resistant that I still had the sensation of climbing a hill even when riding down a slope. It’s demoralizing to battle the wind, you can’t tell when it’ll pick up or ease off, there’s no end in sight, no finish line like the peak of a mountain. Just resistance, with every pedal stroke there’s a need for excessive effort. It was certainly a physical challenge, but the mental part was the true test. I had little sense of progress, but I had to keep telling myself over and over to keep moving, keep going. “Stopping leads to no progress, and that’s simply not going to help,” I’d tell myself. Even in the past I’ve had back-up options to rely on, or a gas station nearby I could rest at. Out here, it was hot, windy, and everything else seemed to be working against me as well. What was I supposed to do if I couldn’t continue on? There was no other option. As odd as it sounds, this is something I’ve been seeking, not to be in the presence of this situation necessarily but nonetheless to experience it. To be in a truly uncomfortable situation that makes you realize your full potential when put under pressure. I got through it and now it’s a memory I can reflect on when I need a sense of willpower. If I can get through this, it proves a lot about other challenges that may confront me down the road. I rode along Highway 287 for the entire 65 miles. I eventually came to a bend in the road about five miles from my rest stop, overlooking two small mountains, known collectively as the Medicine Mound.

 

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It was 10 miles out of my way, but if I were to bike out there, I would come across a sign that reads: “Medicine Mound: Population Zero.” It was once home to a thriving community of over 500 people, and 22 businesses. In the 1930s a wildfire wiped out the town and caused people to flee to a new area. Prior to that, the area was inhabited by the Comanche and Kiowa Native American tribes, who used the land to grow and gather herbs for natural healing remedies and medicines. The dolomite hills where then on known as the Medicine Mound. So there’s todays history lesson, to learn more check out this link.

It’s often said in Texas “If you find Medicine Mound – it’s because you’d been looking for it.” People say that because there isn’t much tourist travel along Highway 287, it’s mostly locals and the occasional (out of his mind) tour biker. After taking in the view, I finished off the 0.2 of today’s marathon. It felt so good to be done. I was struggling from the halfway point all the way to the finish. I had stopped at a Walmart about 30 miles back (of course there’s on of those out here) and stocked up on food supplies for the next two days, knowing that food options would be limited out here. I arrived at the rest stop where I would be staying for the night around 3:30PM. There wasn’t much there, but apparently the rattlesnakes had a strong presence.

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My next two stops.
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Salt on my helmet strap from todays sweaty ride. If only the rest stop had a shower.
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I took a 3 hour nap on this bench with a towel as my pillow.

I thought I’d be sleeping on that bench until the custodian opened up one of the offices for me to sleep in. It wasn’t much of an upgrade but it was a private room, so that made me feel better. I was out cold by 11:00PM, ready for tomorrows battle across more of northern Texas and the wild winds of the Great Plains.

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Despite its appearance, I slept like a rock.
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The end of a well fought day.

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt