PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 11, Wednesday, September 20
To: Amarillo, Tx; 111 miles

Entered Texas! big tailwind again, shallow grades, stage win #3 (three-way tie)
Riding Time: 5:02:15; Avg Speed: 21.9 mph; Max Speed: 46.1 mph

Today I wanted to ride near the front, without digging too deep. The start was cool, but the sun slowly warmed us to the low 80's. From lunch to the finish a storm cloud from behind looked like it might overtake and soak us. But, we stayed dry and after finishing the weather cleared.

Today's profile was basically flat with one short steep descent and climb into and out of Palo Duro Canyon at the 93-mile mark

 

Amarillo is our only over night stay in Texas.

 

At 7 miles we crossed into Texas and posed for the mandatory state line photo

 

I was among the first to leave the hotel today and Walter quickly joined me. As we stopped to take poses at the state line, others passed us, but once up to speed we were off the front again and joined by Dennis (from Anchorage) and Paul (Wausau, WI).

Walter and I at 28 miles. Its mostly high and flat farm land (elevation about 4000 ft).
Many trains passed us on that railroad in both directions.

 

Again today the building tailwind helped push us along at 27 to 30 mph and we were in danger of getting to lunch too early. Susan was directing operations in the lunch truck today and when she slowed at the 54-mile SAG stop and saw us already there she called-out from a distance that were going too fast; then drove on to the lunch stop. We slowed the pace to about 25 mph for the rest of the way to lunch to give them a little more time to set up.

Lunch at 72 miles. Still in flat farm land.

 

Arriving at the lunch stop, we found a spatula wielding Susan calling us together for a talk. She explained that the crew can't provide good support when the gaps between riders is too large. We said that we didn't want or expect any special considerations due to our fast pace - if lunch wasn't ready when we arrived that's fine. She said she wants to support all riders with food and drinks and emergency aid (if necessary). That is more difficult if riders are spread too far apart.

She concluded by saying that all five of us are now in the "fast rider penalty box". That is Walter, Dennis, Paul, Butch (who was just behind us at lunch) and I must start last tomorrow. It's all in good fun and it might even be more interesting working up though the field chatting to others as we go.

Me on the south-side of Palo Duro Canyon before decending into it. At the bottom of this canyon I hit 46.1 mph.

 

Paul and Butch decided to linger a bit a lunch so it was Dennis, Walter and I pressing on to the finish. As Walter and I stopped to take a series of photos at south and north sides of Palo Duro Canyon, Dennis continued on. For awhile I thought he might stay away and get the solo stage win as neither I (rationing my strength) nor Walter (sore calf muscle) felt like wipping-up the pace to chase him down. But, being the gentleman he is, Dennis soft-pedaled so we could join him in the final miles to the finish. Alas, PAC Tour stages aren't cutthroat competitions.

At our finishing hotel and neighboring restaurant

 

Paul and Eamonn finished just behind us and joined Walter and I at a nearby Burger King for milkshakes. Dennis meanwhile was on a quest for western wear.

Walter with his too big waffle and ice cream desert Eat this steak 72 oz. steak with all the trimmings and its free.
I had dinner tonight with Dan, Simone, John and Walter at the Big Texan Steak Ranch

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