10/4/17 – Fort Hancock to Van Horn

We shaved 6 miles off our route, today, by riding on I-10 for 12 miles.  Lovely, eh?  Five miles into the day, we had the choice of riding on the freeway or a winding, zig zagging country road, and all of us opted for the freeway.  After 18 miles of that, we were ready for the frontage road, where there was barely any traffic in either direction. 

Once again, the wind was relentless.  Ken and I were moving along at 5 – 6 mph on a 68 mile route, and I was wondering how we would make it the whole way without burning out.  That’s when Ken told me, “You got this.”  Hey, isn’t that a line out of a movie?  Or was it one of the lines one of my drill sergeants used on us back in basic training?  Regardless, I didn’t know whether to laugh or punch him in the chops.  

Our last view of the mountains across the Mexico border before our route veered away from the Rio Grande
Our entire day was spent either on I-10 or the frontage roads, when they existed.  The wind never let up all day long, but we got help in that we met up with Eric and Ed at the Subway sandwich shop in Sierra Blanca, a little town with mostly closed and vacant buildings and businesses, that happened to be the midpoint of our ride.

One of the many abandoned buildings in Sierra Blanca

Sierra Blanca is almost a ghost town with only a handful of open businesses

After lunch, the 4 of us took turns at the front of a paceline–something Eric and I have zero experience with. Killing myself for 1 of every 4 miles gave me 3 miles of easier peddling as I drafted off the other 3 guys.  Time and miles seemed to slip by more quickly, suddenly. But then Eric fessed up that he really wasn’t getting any benefit following Ken, because Ken’s Bob trailer kept him from getting a draft off of Ken, and the next thing I knew, the paceline dream was over.  

One of the many recently wet desert washes we crossed today

A roadside break

The day had 2 highlights.  The first was crossing over into the Central time zone and resetting all our electronic devices.  I mean, come on.  This is progress, right?  The second was an almost 8 mile descent into Van Horn.  The headwind took a little bite out of it, but it was still downhill, and my legs were pretty much wasted, by then, so it felt like a gift.

We wondered what took a bike out of the left side of the sign

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