Day Two
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Kenedy, TX to Kingsville, TX
105 Miles

Just like last year, getting up and preparing for the second day was very difficult. This year, because we got in more than an hour earlier than last year, we were able to get more sleep. It still was difficult, but once we got on the bike we were fine.

The first 30 miles, from Kenedy to Beeville, is over the same type of terrain as the road from San Marcos to Kenedy: gently rolling hills. The roads are smoother, though, and there's also much less traffic. We did hit a patch of road construction where they were chip sealing the roads, and at some point while we were navigating through the gravel my right shifter stopped working. The result was that the rear derailleur was stuck in a single gear, giving me two gears total: one on the big ring and one on the small. Fortunately, the gear in which I was stuck allowed me to cruise at about 16 MPH on a flat, and shifting down to the little ring gave me a low enough gear that I could climb any hill that I was expecting to encounter.

We were blessed with little to no wind, and we managed to make Beeville before 9:00 am. The old convenience store where we had planned to stop was gone and in the process of being replaced by a modern new facility, so we had to head down the road about a mile to a Circle K store.

The route from Beeville to Sinton is mostly flat on reasonably smooth roads. The wind started to pick up out of the east towards noon, but we were feeling great and made good time to the little town of Odem just after noon. We took a long break at a convenience store there, standing under the awning by the gas pumps in order to stay out of the hot sun. The wind picked up a little more out of the southeast, but it was nothing like last year.

As with last year, I was a little concerned with crossing the Nueces river on I-37. Fortunately there was little traffic, and except for a car stopped on the shoulder just before the bridge, the crossing went without incident. Just after that crossing there is a series of small steep hills on the frontage road. Combined with the wind there, we all struggled a bit and I instinctively tried to shift down so I could pedal a little easier. Much to my surprise, the bike actually shifted! I guess there had been something stuck in the derailleur and it had finally worked itself out. That was a real stroke of good luck, as there was nowhere to find a replacement before the next day, and I was dreading making the final ride in a single gear.

The ride from Four Points to Kingsville went without incident. We stopped briefly at convenience stores in Robstown and Driscoll just because we wanted to conserve energy for the next day's expected headwinds. We still managed to make it to the hotel in Kingsville at 3:15 or so, a full three hours faster than last year's ride. Since we had a truck following us and there wasn't much construction this year, we elected to stay on the highway, saving us the rough surface that we endured last year on the county roads through Robstown and Bishop. Total time for the day was right at 9 hours. We covered 105 miles in 7 hours and 25 minutes of riding, for an average of 14.2 MPH. Debra broke her personal best century record that she set yesterday.

With three extra hours to kill, Debra went for a dip in the hotel pool and the rest of us took a short nap before walking across the highway for dinner. I was more tired than I should have been after the day's ride. I attribute that to not eating enough the night before and failing to apply sunscreen throughout the day. After dinner, we prepared for the next day's ride and checked the weather forecast for the next day. I even managed to plug in the laptop and check my email before crawling into bed before 7:30. Sleep came quickly amid happy thoughts of the forecast 10 MPH winds out of the northeast for the morning. We all got up several times throughout the night, but managed to go back to bed each time to get as much sleep as possible.

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