Day 1
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Round Rock, TX to Kenedy, TX
135 Miles

We got up at 4:30 this morning and were on the road by 5:30.  The weather forecast was for high temperatures and SSE winds in the afternoon, so we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible.  It was warmer today than it's been for the beginning of either of the other rides.  Here we are at the start.

The ride through Austin is always uneventful, although we had Frank Colunga along this year and we were able to tell him a few stories about past rides.  My friends Jason and Sheila Mittman joined us for a bit when we rode by their house, but once we crossed Town Lake it was just us again.

I made the mistake of taking the guys up the big hill on Robert E. Lee.  Frank will tell you in his writeup that it's a 9% grade for 3/4 mile.  It's more like a 7% grade for a little over 1/4 mile, but in retrospect I can see how I should have taken an alternate route.  It's just that all the alternatives have heavy traffic.  I'd rather put up with a little pain on a traffic-free road.  Next year's route will go around this hill.

I wasn't too good about getting pictures this year.  Here we are at about 9:00 AM, in far south Austin about 30 or 35 miles into the ride.  You can see that Frank has already banged up his left knee a bit.  He was having trouble performing the unnatural act of unclipping his shoes from the pedals.  He got better at it, but not before he bruised up his knee a little more.

We got to San Marcos and turned south towards Seguin at about 10:30 or 11:00.  We stopped at a little store just north of Seguin at about noon, still feeling good. Our on-the-road support crew, Kuni, Michelle, and Rebekah (pictures below), kept us in liquids and food, and provided the very important service of preventing traffic from getting too close.  They also gave us some much-needed encouragement as the day wore on.  Debra caught up with us in the middle of the afternoon and went on ahead to prepare for our arrival in Kenedy.

From there, things started to go wrong.  First, the forecast wind picked up and we were soon bucking a 15 MPH headwind.  Frank's knees started to give him some trouble, and then he began to cramp up due to lack of salt.  We got him to eat some jerkey and drink some Gatorade, and at the next convenience store found him some chicken noodle soup.  Campbell's chicken noodle soup has almost a full gram of sodium in a little can.  Frank downed two cans cold, drank some water, and started feeling better within 20 minutes.

The wind continued to pick up and we struggled to make 10 MPH over the hills.  We finally rolled into Kenedy at about 7:45 after 14 hours total time--11 hours in the saddle.  We covered 135 miles at an average speed of 12.1 MPH.  Not our best, but we never had that kind of wind before, either.

Debra had come by a few hours earlier and had checked us in to the hotel, picked up some supplies from the local supermarket and Wal-Mart, and had everything waiting for us when we got in.  The last two years we had dinner at the restaurant next door.  This year we three riders were too tired to put up with that and settled for tuna sandwiches and potato chips in our rooms.  Shower, get everything ready to go, and set the alarm for 5:00 before crawling into bed.

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