Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Elevation: 4,862 ft.
Distance: 104.0 mi.
Odometer: 1,987.0 mi.
Had trouble falling asleep last night, and when my alarm went off, it felt like I had just fallen asleep. Scarfed down a few leftover breakfast tacos and loaded up, which was a little difficult since I'd stocked up on groceries to the point that my panniers could barely fit it all. Matt woke up just in time to see me pedal off.
The first 30 miles or so were somewhat difficult, rolling hills with more ups than downs, gradual elevation gain. I mostly was trying to keep my momentum going through the downs and ups, but it only sometimes worked. At about mile 40, tailwind! From there to about mile 75, I was in my big ring most of the time, cruising at about 22-25 mph. The wind wasn't even particularly strong, probably about 15 mph, the same as I've had to fight at least a few times. Wind makes a big difference! It this keeps up, the ride back is going to be a lot easier than the ride out.
Somewhere in that stretch, I ran right through a swarm of bees. Must've made them mad, because they started swarming around me as I was moving down the road at over 20 mph. I was in luck though, because just by coincidence, I'd just seen an episode of MANswers that described what to do if you're attacked by bees. The best thing to do is run as fast as you can, and after about 200 meters the bees no longer consider you a threat (swatting at them just makes them madder, by the way). So I mashed down on the pedals, and sure enough, they were gone ten seconds later. Thanks, MANswers!
Right as I approached the Utah border, I saw two cyclists on the side of the road. I thought maybe they were also touring and getting a picture of the "Welcome to" sign. As I got closer, though, I didn't see any panniers or anything. I stopped to talk to them and learned they were from Logan, where I was headed that day, and they were doing some sort of geocaching project. I asked about places to stay in Logan and they offered their house! Said they'd be wandering a little longer so I could go ahead and let myself in.
The last ten miles into and around Logan were tough, half because the tailwind was gone, and half because I was just running out of gas. From now on, at least three rest stops during a century. Checked out the Utah State campus, which is very much old meets new. They've got a building that's about 120 years old in the heart of campus, surrounded by new, modern buildings. I really liked how open their campus is, especially their quad, which is probably about 20 times the size of the South Mall at UT, and the grass was actually green.
Headed to my host family's house and let myself in. Had a delicious pasta dinner complete with vegetables from their garden and homemade wine. Talked with them for a while and learned that they've been to at least a dozen countries, sometimes for a bike tour and sometimes to help medical programs in the area. Interesting folks. Big thanks to John and Rita Nelson in Logan, UT. You never know when you'll meet great people right on the road.
from Pedal for Potatoes