Back to Plano, Day 4
I waited until 9:00 AM or so to get going. It was about -7 C (20 F) at sunrise, so I wanted to wait until the sun had come up and warmed the air a little bit before I got going. I piled on extra layers, more than I'd ever worn on a bike, and set out. The sun was shining, and the headwind wasn't nearly as bad as it had been the day before. And the forecast called for the headwind to die out slowly as the day went on. "This is gonna be a good day!" I exclaimed aloud.
I took a slightly different route in the southeast corner of town to avoid the dog that bit me last time.
By the time I'd gone 10 miles and reached the other side of the Waco area, my toes hurt to the point that I was worried about frostbite and/or the long-term health of my feet. I pulled into an urgent care center, on the off-chance that they had toe warmers in stock that I could buy.
"No, we don't, but there's a Wal-Mart just across the highway."
That was lucky. I was almost out of the Waco area, so the odds of running into a CVS or something were slim. This would probably be my last chance. I headed over and bought a couple sets of toe warmers and promptly put them on. I didn't give a crap that I was walking around a Wal-Mart in cycling tights. I felt better.
The wind was supposed to be weaker by 12:00, and non-existent by mid-afternoon. Every time I checked the weather, both figures kept getting pushed backwards, until eventually calling for full-strength wind until 4:00, at which point it would be merely weaker.
15 mph isn't the strongest headwind, but going into it all day will wear you down. So will bad pavement. My cruising speed was probably just over 10 mph. Pathetic. It never got above freezing all day. Going into the wind only made it feel colder.
About 4:00 PM, the wind mercifully subsided somewhat, just as I made a turn that put the wind at 10 o' clock, rather than straight ahead. My speed picked up dramatically, despite no other change to conditions and 50 tough miles already under my belt. It was already past 4:00 PM and would be dark at about 6:00. 25 miles to go. I was racing daylight.
My toe warmers had stopped working, so despite the lack of time I was working with, I stopped to put on new ones. With the pain I was going through, totally worth it.
About five miles out of Waxahachie, the sun was just touching the horizon, and I pulled over just long enough to put my clip my tail light onto the back of my jacket. The last 20 miles had somehow flown by. I arrived at Dana's just as he happened to be coming downstairs to get something out of his truck, and we went inside together.
Felt so good to get all those clothes off, take a hot shower, and put on a roomy shirt and jeans.
Apparently my short winter tour had inspired Dana and he went to a Pearl Izumi outlet to get a bunch of winter cycling gear, including an awesome jacket that might've made me just a little jealous.
"I like mine too, though," I said, tossing him my Gore shell jacket. Keeps all the wind and rain out, and it's easy to layer underneath.
"Oh, Gore, that's good stuff. Classy. Hoodlums don't wear Gore."
I smiled big. I'm only half-sure I know what he meant, but whether I fully got his meaning or not, it was funny.
We went to a rockin' Mexican joint a little bit across town.
"You know, I don't come here so often, like I should," Dana mused. "Ever since my friends and I started hanging out at that Mexican place on the square, I get all Mexican-ed out, and I never come here, even though I like it."
The place was damn good. The dinner plate was enormous. Somehow, I ate every bit of my food. Dana only managed about half of his.
"I think you wind up getting more fajita meat in the chimichanga than most places give you when you order fajitas," he said, staring at his still-half-full plate. He looked over at my empty plate and stopped.
"I was hungry, I guess," was all I had to say.
After that, we headed over to he and his friends' private bar that we'd visited last time, The Mystic Hut, as they call it. Had a couple beers, finished off the ice cream cake that was still in the freezer, and watched a little bit of the BCS title game. Missed the fourth quarter though. Oh well. Looked like Auburn had it wrapped up.
from Austin New Year