Day Twenty-Nine

Breckenridge, TX to Anson, TX

Today was an excellent touring day. I was up late, so I got a late start, but everything went great. I had simple directions for the day: ride west on US 180. This was a wide road all the way. Texans know how to build highways.

I stopped to rest at a roadside picnic area. This is a Texas tradition--I'm sure no other state has as many such picnic areas, and states like Illinois seem to be eliminating them. This particular one was first built in 1934. After a month on the road, I finally took some decent pictures of myself, for anyone who wants to see them.

A little ways down the road, a white pick-up came past me, pulled over on the shoulder and stopped. Sure enough, it was another cyclist, Bobby. He asked a few questions about my trip and told me about some of the rides he's done. He said that for various reasons he hadn't ridden  yet this year and that he could tell he was losing tone and flexibility. I feel the same way when I don't ride. His peak month was July 2000 (" when Lance won the Tour for the second time," he said, as any proud Texan cyclist should). While working 40-hour weeks, he rode an impressive 1,100 miles in one month! Heck, I haven't done much more than that in the past month, and I haven't had to work. In fact, that's about half of what I usually ride in an entire year. Bobby was the first cyclist I had met in a week, and I enjoyed our conversation. However, I had to get rolling and he had to get back to work, so he wished me luck and I went on my way.

It was only a few more miles to Albany, the only town I rode through all day besides my destination for the night. Another county seat, Albany was a nice town with a lot of historic buildings. One of those buildings housed a bookstore. When I saw the word " Texana" in the window, I had to go inside. I only found one book that I really wanted (in other words, wanted enough to carry), but I had a great conversation with the personable clerk.

My relaxed attitude about the day was getting me in trouble--it was already 2 PM and I still had 40 miles to ride to Anson. Since sunset was well after 6 PM, that wasn't necessarily a problem, but I didn't know what the hills and the wind would be like.

Judging by the first seven  miles outside of Albany, it was going to be a long afternoon. There were two long climbs, and I didn't do very well on them. Fortunately, that was the worst of it, and the remaining  30 miles weren't too hard. West Texas is rugged but beautiful country.

When I got to Anson, I explored the town.  Aside from the magnificent courthouse and opera house, Anson didn't have much to offer. There were a lot of empty storefronts. Anson was named for Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. I've only known two other Ansons--one who dated my aunt a long time ago and of course Cap Anson, the baseball player from a century ago.

When I got to my room at the Morning Star Inn, I was going to take a quick shower and go out for dinner at the Sirloin Cafe next door. Before I could do that, I fell asleep, awaking at 10:10 PM. Alas, nothing is open that late in a small town, especially on a weeknight, so I was out of luck for dinner. I had a candy bar and a Coke. On the bright side, at least I know I lost some weight today. I had trouble falling asleep for the first time on my trip  thanks to my four-hour nap.

Totals for the day: 60.02 miles in 5:01:15 for a 12.0 mph average.

Click here to see today's photos.

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