Day Twenty-Six

Granbury, TX to Mineral Wells, TX

The south winds were once again predicted to be strong, 20-30 mph. I didn't want to fight them again, so I planned to go north instead, to Weatherford. And if I felt good, I could go on to Mineral Wells. I always thought that would be a cool way to tour--to choose a destination based on the wind, going wherever the wind blows. Besides, I was really enjoying Texas, so why cut a straight path across it as quickly as possible?

The road to Weatherford was really hilly, but with a tailwind it wasn't so bad. I got to Weatherford fast enough that I felt guilty checking into a motel so early. When I reached the imposing courthouse, I circled the roundabout and headed west to Mineral Wells. US 180 was a wide road with lots of hills. I managed to do okay despite the wind, but mostly because I knew I only had to endure it for 18 miles. Although it was only 3:00 when I reached Mineral Wells, I had no desire to press on to the next town.

The Mineral Wells High School sign puzzled me. It said, " Home of the Rams and Lady Rams." Lady rams?!? My dictionary says a ram is a male sheep. So are they talking about transgender sheep or something? Sheesh, schools these days...

The motel clerk asked me if there was a bike race going on. Whenever someone asks me about a race, I want to laugh because I am so far out of that league. However, this time I knew what he was talking about. The Dallas-Fort Worth randonneuring group was in Mineral Wells on Saturday for 200K & 300K brevets. What is a brevet? Here is a definition from Randonneurs USA (RUSA):

brevet      (bruh vay) - Literally, the word means " certificate" , " patent" , or " diploma" in French. In " randonneuring" , it means two things: certification of having successfully done a randonné, --indicated by a small numbered sticker placed on a completed brevet card --, as well as, by extension the long-distance event itself (at least 200 kilometers in length). Completing a successful brevet means one's ride has been certified and registered in France, and the rider's name is added to the roll of honor, going all the way back to 1921. These challenging rides can also entitle the rider to enter longer events such as Paris-Brest-Paris or Boston-Montréal-Boston. As used in the " randonneuring" world, the terms brevet and randonnée are often interchangeable, but in common cycling usage, a randonnée might be considered to be less structured or formal than a brevet.

I said that I would have liked to hook up with them, but it was pretty hard to time my arrival while traveling cross-country. I had been entertaining the idea of riding the  200K brevet in the middle of my trip, but two things made up my mind against it. First, a week ahead of the ride I determined that schedule-wise, the best I could do was to ride some long days to get there Friday night for the Saturday morning start, so I wouldn't be fresh for the ride. Second, I had a hard time justifying a 200K ride that didn't do anything to get me further down the road! As it turned out, Saturday's winds would have been devastating, especially combined with  the hills. I'm glad I missed it.

I went to Dairy Queen for a late lunch. They had free refills on Coke, which saved me some money. I think I had four cups while I read more of Kinky Friedman's Guide to Texas Etiquette.

Totals for the day: 43.8 miles in 3:27:23 for an average of 12.7 mph.

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