January 31, 2016 – Sunny, 86 degrees
Miles Today: 88
Miles to Date: 11,170
States to Date: 28
86/88/90: eighty-six degrees for eighty-eight miles on U.S. 90: what a sweet day. The wind was my friend, pushing me east and keeping me cool as I climbed in and out of gorgeous canyons all day.
Texas loves Historical Markers. They line U.S. 90 as often as Border Patrol vehicles. They herald Yankee financiers who built the railroads, bandits who robbed the trains, former Confederates who founded towns turned ghost, and the natural wonders of the Pecos. They’re a physical encyclopedia. I stop at most of them.
I detoured to Langtry to visit the site where Judge Roy Bean was the Law West of the Pecos. The site is run by the Texas Department of Transportation and boasts a snazzy visitor center, though there were only five us this afternoon – one being the jocular employee, another being a neighbor woman from across the road. No matter, they had lots of good stories to tell of murder and escaped convicts holed up in Langtry, from the Judge’s time to the present. Upstanding citizens don’t get much airtime here.
No matter how good you are at something, you can always improve. Today, I reached new plateaus in bike riding. Six months ago my anxiety and balance peaked when coasting downhill at 26 to 28 miles per hour. I would sit up tall to block the wind and ease into the brakes. With todays perfect conditions and so little traffic I could often claim the road, I commanded those speeds in a crouched position and surpassed 30 without hesitation. Top speed: 39 miles per hour descending toward the Pecos River. My fastest cycling ever.
No place for breakfast in Sanderson, no place for dinner in Comstock. I managed to snag a BBQ sandwich and Gatorade in Langtry, but dinner was peanuts and a chocolate bar. I’ve become enchanted with Chocolove bars – dark chocolate with raspberries is my favorite. I recommend them to anyone, but only after you’ve ridden your bike 88 miles. How am I ever going to get back to modest eating when this ends?