No Country for Old Men

Day 2 Recap

The first night was a huge success with a few rest breaks and morale was great. We took a long rest break before heading into the Fort Davis mountains and let the sun come up and warm everything (and everyone). Andy had a lot of tough climbs in the mountains and it took quite a toll on him mentally to not see anyone for miles and miles and miles (and miles and miles). But, he ate really well and took very few breaks off the bike and finally reached the end of the 90 mile time station.

After that we were able to hit several more time stations in quick fashion and Andy's morale just kept getting better and better. We saw so much wildlife today: elk, deer, a HUGE tarantula, wild boars, snakes, and horses. The most entertaining encounter was the face-off of Andy with a loose cow. They had a nice staring competition for a minute or so. 

When the night crew took over Andy was moving strong and had a very upbeat mood. He is excited and really motivated to reach the halfway point tonight. 

TS 4 to TS 5: Marfa to Ft. Davis

Time Station Miles: 21.2; Accumulated Miles 306.3

From Marfa, Andy headed north on Highway 17 to Fort Davis. The weather in this area of Texas is unlike most of the other places Andy will ride because the elevation in the Davis Mountains makes its much cooler. The town itself is known for being stereotypical old West Texas: windmills, old fence posts, cattle, and horses.

After going thru the Fort Davis TS we have stopped at the next picnic pullout to sleep. We will sleep for a couple of hours till the sun comes up and the relief crew arrives. It has gotten VERY windy and the outside temp is 40. We feel rest would be better now instead on using energy to keep warm and fighting crosswinds. He has a very steep 90 mile climb around Fort Davis which will be easier on him with some rest and sun, with warmer temps. We are hoping all goes well and he can finish this section before it gets real hot. Andy is tired and slept well during that time.  He is about a 3 of 10. His stomach is doing alot better and he has been eating and drinking well.

TS 3 to TS 4: Alpine to Marfa

Time Station Miles: 26.5 miles; Accumulated Miles: 285.1 miles

From Alpine Andy headed to Marfa which is home to one bank, one pizza shop, one coffee shop, one laundry mat, one bookshop, and NO traffic lights. The town is most known for the "Marfa Lights." The course took us right by the Marfa Lights viewing station, which is where many people say they have seen unexplained strange lights dance on the horizon southeast of town, an area that is nearly uninhabited and extremely difficult to traverse. The mysterious lights are sometimes red or blue or white and appear at random times at night and during all seasons and weather.
Andy is still pedaling along, the temperature is dropping and the cold is becoming a factor. He has stopped for one 1/2 hour nap and a couple 15 minute power naps. We are keeping him warm with winter clothes and hot drinks and food. He is currently about a 5 out of 10.

TS 1 to TS 2: Study Butte to Marathon

Time Station Miles: 149.3 miles; Accumulated Miles: 228.6 miles

This section of the course included 100 miles inside Big Bend and then 40 miles north to Marathon. First, Andy went on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The scenic drive lays on the western side of the Chisos Mountains. It climbed up to the Sotol Vista and then twisted down to the Castolon Historic area, which is known for its landscape. Millions of years of volcanic activity has left the area with towers of volcanic tuffs (ash deposits), lava flows, layers of gravel and clay, and dark basaltic boulders.  

At mile 94.5 accumulated miles (about mile 12 of the TS miles) Andy had his first shoe change , but was feeling pretty good. At mile 120 of his accumulated miles (about mile 40 of the TS miles) the crew reported the had done some tough big climbs to the first turn around point but he was still in a good mood (0-1 on the Charlie Brown scale). He knows the next section will be much harder though, it was the climb he was mentally preparing for before the race even started -- Out and back on the Chisos Basis Road (miles 65 - 78 of the TS miles).

The Chisos Basin Road is a 6-mile stretch in the arid desert and the cooler mountain. The road was winding and rose over 2,000 feet above the desert. The difficult climb up included sharp turns and steep grades (at points as much as 15%). 

We then left Big Bend and headed to Marathon. We had our first crew exchange outside the park and our first stop at an internal border patrol checkpoint.

Andy's first day on the bike went well, it was definitely a hard day dealing with the heat of the desert and the steep, long climbs but Andy was such a trooper and pushed through it all to come through TS#2, mile 228, at 9:36 PM (CST). Andy was extremely happy to see the sun go down behind the mountains and the cooler temperatures come in. He has been fighting some stomach issues for the last few hours which we think is in large part due to the extreme heat and we are hoping with the cooler temperatures tonight he will start to feel better soon. Until next time, sleep well :)