Cross-country cycling trips are a test of endurance, mental fortitude, and physical fitness. Our journey along the Southern Tier has been no exception. On Day 14 of our trip, we set out to complete our most challenging ride yet, after taking an unplanned rest day to recover from a sinus infection.
We had planned to stack two rides together to stay on schedule. This meant we had to cover 120 miles in one day, our longest ride of the trip. We knew it would be mentally and physically demanding, but we were determined to push through and get it done.
We set out early, fueled up on a hearty breakfast, and hit the road. The first 20 miles were relatively easy (this seems true for all our rides), but this time we still had a full century ride to go. That thought alone is mentally challenging, so we had to keep pushing ourselves to stay focused and motivated. It was also physically challenging, as we had to endure long hours on our bikes, which takes its toll on your muscles after being in a fixed position for so long.
We stopped in Fort Hancock to (about 44 miles in) to refill our water at a Shell Station because there were no options after that until 84 miles in. There wasn’t much else in this town but a post office and a pretty church with a funny sign.
Despite the challenges, we managed to keep a decent pace, averaging 18 mph. However, this meant we were still on our bikes for 6 hours and 40 minutes! My bike computer says I burned 7,122 calories for that ride, which gives you an idea of just how physically demanding it was.
The ride was not just long, but it was also hilly. We had to climb over 2,260 feet over those 120 miles, and much of that was at the end when our bodies and minds were fully taxed. But we persevered, and finally, after a grueling day, we arrived at our destination–and arrived in the Central Time Zone (our third time zone of the trip).
We had pushed ourselves to our limits, and we had succeeded. This experience has taught us the importance of mental toughness and perseverance. We learned that when things get tough, we can dig deep and push ourselves beyond our limits. We also learned that rest is crucial, and sometimes unplanned rest days are necessary to recover and recharge.
We ended the day with a nice dinner at the Hotel El Capitan in Van Horn, Texas. According A.S. Goyne, Van Horn “is so healthy we had to shoot a man to start a cemetery.” Goynes was shot in front of the hotel and was the first person buried in the local cemetery.