Finally, Day 1 of our Spring North Cycling Tour! It all started well enough. We enjoyed a bountiful B&B worthy breakfast prepared by Phillis and Bill, easily loaded up our bikes, and headed on our way with a royal send off. The weather was cloudy and mid-60s, which was actually quite good biking weather. We couldn't help but be in good spirits. There's nothing like beginning a trip.
The first snafu came just 9.5 miles into the ride when my front tire went totally flat. The culprit turned out to be a decent sized shard of glass. Although inconvenient, it was better to know we'd found the cause, and it wasn't an equipment malfunction. And I felt very fortunate to have my own personal mechanic on the trip with me.
Shortly afterwards we reached Granbury and turned to the southwest which was our main direction for the day. By that time the wind had come up and was now gusting fiercely, right in our faces. It was a battle just to make headway, and to add to the difficulty, the terrain rolled continually. Up and down we went, pedaling just as hard on the downhills as we did going up. The miles crawled by, but as a compensating factor the clouds cleared providing us with a nice sunny afternoon. That would have been lovely, had the temperature not risen into the 80s. For two Minnesotans who had not seen much over 50 yet this spring, it felt mighty hot out there.
Now despite these challenges, I'm happy to report that my limited cycling and abundant running stood me in good stead and I felt up to the task. Rich, on the other hand, was struggling. The ski season, which is his passion, just didn't pan out this year and his training suffered. Today he was paying the price. We spent a lot of time sitting under shade trees, or lying in the grass so he could recover. I can't say I minded that too much – the sensation was quite pleasant. What was worse was continually losing him in my rear view mirror.
We both set our sights on reaching Stephenville, and very nearly stopped there for the day. In hindsight we really should have. Pressing on to Dublin wasn't the wisest choice, but neither of us is very good at giving in. And so Rich soldiered on. Slowly completing the 55 miles for the day. It turned out to be our longest day in the saddle for any trip yet.
With strong headwinds predicted to continue for the rest of the week, we have decided to exercise the flexibility clause in our plans. The goal to reach the Hill Country by Thursday is absolutely arbitrary. So we've already revised that to Friday and altered our mileages to help ease Rich into this a little more slowly. And as a concession to the wind. After this intro, we knew this chapter needed a bit of a rewrite.