We worked hard for our miles through strong winds and a massive storm. The day started earlier than usual for us with a 6 am wake up call. Our goal was to leave the hotel by 7 am and ride as many miles towards Dallas as possible so that Friday’s ride would be the least amount of work possible.
The high for the day was 90 degrees with a 30% percent chance of rain. The road we were supposed to take was Highway 67 to Highway 66 with a few county roads in between. We experienced just about every kind of road surface, weather condition and human emotion on the this 12 hour workday. Yes, it’s beginning to feel like work. Sure we listen to music and we laugh and we see some beautiful things along way but we also are pushing ourselves to the limit mentally and physically each time we mount up.
Thursday was especially tough because of the cold front being brought in to Mt Pleasant from Dallas with some very strong winds. We didn’t really feel it the first 35 miles as we cruised through Co. Rd 1100 which turned into dirt roads and gravel roads and sandy roads with tree canopies above and beautiful horses to our right and left. Once we got back on the highway it was nothing but a parallel interstate road to our right as we rode straight into the wind. We learned to never pass up a gas station because you never know how long you will ride without seeing anything ever again.
By the time we finally stopped for lunch at 2 pm in Greenville, TX we had pedaled 65 miles. We all could agree that today had been one of the hardest days since our journey started over a month ago but we had no idea what was waiting for us on the other side of lunch.
The waiter told us a storm was going to hit Dallas at some point and that it was coming our way. We figured we would get a little wet or we could just pull over if it got too bad and wait it out at a gas station. As we rode down Highway 66 the sky was divided above us with nothing but clear blue to the left and darkness to the right. David must have been looking above instead of at the ground in amazement because he hit a massive crack in the road causing a blowout in his front tire. We fixed the tire on the side of the road which had no shoulder and buzzing 70 miles per hour cars. The winds started to pick up speed to the point of a loud whistling sound. We felt one drop of rain and put on whatever second layer of clothing we had handy.
We pushed the bikes across the street to the closest tree that would provide shelter from what we thought would be a little thunder shower. Within seconds the winds were so high and rain was so heavy that I got scared for a split second. Branches flew past us and cars slowly drove by with their hazard lights flashing but nobody stopped for us. I don’t blame them with the way the three of us look in our 2.5 beards.
After about 30 minutes, well it could have been 30 seconds but it felt like a lifetime, the sun started to show again from the west. We knew it would be let up soon and we would be able to hitch a ride or pedal slowly to the next gas station. Once it finally let up enough for us to see in front of us we laughed and gave out a few high fives in excitement to have gone through our first real encounter with the power that is Mother Nature. I’ve always dreamed of being under a highway or in a ditch stranded in a storm and now I can cross that off the bucket list. Imaging being inside your house watching the weather radar grow bigger and greener and then walking outside to sit under a nice tree to soak up the rain and bugs and leaves that get blown your way.
It’s pretty exhilarating to know that we are out there on the road helpless with just each other to rely on and we pulled through it together. This will be one highlight of the trip and we will learn from it for those stormy desert nights. I think this lesson was meant to be learned today because had we not got that flat we would have been able to make it to the gas station that was just 5 minutes up the road. We stopped there to get dry and finish out the 20 miles to Royse City.
So if you have read this entirely way too long post I bet you would agree that we put in a hard days work. I love riding so much that these extremely difficult 88 miles were still so much fun and didn’t feel like work because I love riding and I love the mission behind why we ride. They say if you are passionate about what you do and love your job then it doesn’t feel like work and I couldn’t agree more.
In case you didn’t know I “work” for Street Soccer USA and they shared a video on my timeline during all this madness. It made me sad to not be back in NYC working with the kids and the adult players. It mostly made me feel lucky that I get to use the sport I love to brighten someone’s day. Most of our players live in homeless shelters or in areas with limited resources and access to organized sports and a safe support group, which for most players can become much like a family.
Thanks for tagging me Chandrima because i desperately needed this reminder and I would have probably missed it. I encourage you all to watch the AOL Small Acts of Kindness video. It’s only 2:30 minutes but they do a much better job capturing the message than I just tried to explain, plus this blog is already way too long!
Today we have a quick ride to Dallas to relax with some friends tonight. Tomorrow we get to kick the ball around and share our story with UT at Tyler soccer team before their game on Saturday night at 7pm. I hope to connect with Lionsraw and Play Soccer 2 Give at some point. My aunt Naomi and uncle T just so happened to be driving from Houston to Dallas for the football game on Sunday! David’s good friend is letting us take over his house and car and he even meet us last night and paid for our Denny’s. What a guy! It’s going to be a great weekend!