Route: Houston to Austin
Date: April 21-22
The ride was amazing. We started out at 6:45am from Houston and after 1 large pickle, 5 Powerbars, 7 Water Bottles of Gatorade, a 6 inch turkey sub, and 6 hours of pedaling my bike 99.5 miles, we were at the halfway point in LaGrange, TX. Jordan drove up to LaGrange ahead of our team and was patiently waiting for us to arrive to capture our photo finish. The weather was hot and the sun was relentless. My skin got it's first burn of the Summer and I've got the tan lines of a Fruit Stripe.
Our team had a tent at the fairgrounds where we relaxed with ice cold towels around our heads while eating fajitas, shrimp kabobs, and fettucini alfredo. That night we camped out on the fair grounds and got just enough sleep to forget the monotony of pedaling the bike. At around 11:00pm you could hear a few snores coming from random tents, but by midnight it was a full on choir snoring in rounds. I'm happy to say I was lulled to sleep by the rhythm and at 4:30am it was time to break camp, pack up the tent, and hop back in the saddle for a few more glorious hours in the hill country.
The final day was everything we could have imagined and more. It was hot, hilly, humid, and hard. It felt like my inner skeleton was exposed to direct sunlight and my bones were hardening in the heat as the rest of my body baked to a nice well-done texture. I'm actually happy the heat was so intense because it made me want to be at the finish line at any cost, which ultimately meant... pedal faster. So I did. In fact, my speed through the hills reached over 40 mph on the down hills.
Pulling into Austin that afternoon, the first person I heard was Jordan as her voice carried over the white noise of cheers from the crowd. The feelings of wet noodle legs were eclipsed by her encouraging words as I crossed the finish line, conquering the distance, the hills, the heat, and the little voice in the back of your mind that sometimes questions your strength, your sanity, and your dedication to set a goal and achieve it.
Needless to say, I had a wonderful time on the ride. I plan to do it next year and Jordan is convinced she will join me along the way either as a rider or as support. I'm happy to say my friends and I were safe throughout the journey and we all learned a little bit more about ourselves, and direction we're all heading.