Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7 (Day 127) - More distance west, cracked tooth, reflecting on some of my strategy

Today was just how I want these West Texas rides to be: relatively uneventful. A 4:45am wake-up ensured that I was on the road at 5:15 this morning. I had to contend with not only heat but also wind that increased as the day progressed. My early start helped me avoid the worst of it as it shifted from 12 MPH from the south (crosswind) to 20 MPH from the west (headwind). There was one incredibly windy, 3-mile stretch in the first half of the ride that really had me doubting my ability to reach my Fort Stockton destination. Huge wind gusts appeared all of a sudden and made it near impossible to keep the bike on the road. I pushed through, and after about 20 minutes the gusts stopped nearly as suddenly as they had started. The rest of the ride was smooth sailing and very pleasant. I made it into town before noon and the predictable midday outbreak of intense heat. Somehow, I also managed to gain 700 feet of elevation, but I really didn't feel it in my legs at all. 

64 miles due west

My morning view

More roadside scenery

The famous Fort Stockton Roadrunner

Attack of the giant roadrunner

There was one thing that happened today could prove to be a royal headache. As I was eating ice cream to celebrate my arrival, one of my teeth cracked and a big chunk of it fell out of my mouth. I had a root canal and major reconstruction on this tooth several months ago, but I have not had any major problems with it since then. I had always wondered how the reconstructed tooth had stayed together given the extent of the decay prior to its reconstruction. I am not sure what is going to happen at this stage. Since I had a root canal on this tooth, there was zero pain involved when it cracked. It does not hurt at all now, so I should be able to live with it for the moment. I have been in contact with my dentist back in Boston, and we are working out some form of damage control strategy. Ideally, I would just live with it of the rest of the year.  The problem with getting it fixed is that I figure it will take several visits to the same dentist to correct this situation. I simply cannot stay in one place for 2 weeks for 4 separate appointments spaced over that time. Right now I would just assume have what's left of the tooth yanked out and cycle onward if only just a bit lighter than I am now. We'll see what he recommends.

As most of you know,  I am currently relying on this town-to-town strategy to get across West Texas. Right now this strategy is working very well. The great distances between towns actually force me off the road when I reach my destination. For example, the next town beyond Fort Stockton is Balmorhea, 52 miles down the road. My legs might have made it 25 or 30 miles into the vicious headwind that developed during the morning, but I can say without doubt that they would not have had the juice to make it 52. As there is nothing in between Fort Stockton and Balmorhea, there is no point in my proceeding further unless I am 100% certain I can make the whole distance. Since I am never certain, it means I stop after a reasonable distance each day. It's a long year, and I think that not killing myself now will pay dividends later. 

I also realized that the roadrunner attack selfie is very reminiscent of several other photos I have taken over the years. I might have to start an official collection of these ridiculous "attack-type" photos!

Attack of the giant Southern Cassowary
Cains, Australia, 2010

Attack of the mixed nuts (I am allergic to nuts)
Costco, Los Angeles, 2009

Attack of the trout/salmon 
LL Bean, Freeport, Maine 2011


  1. See, nothing good ever comes of your addiction to ice cream

  2. I hope you have some time to bird around the Davis Mts. Montezuma Quail and Common Black Hawk are good targets. Nice birding in the state park and around town. Often some rare hummers in the area too. Good luck.

  3. Yeah maybe this is a sign to lay off the ice cream! When my wife fell on her face and cracked her tooth on her 21st birthday, we took that as a sign to lay off the booze! At least now your teeth match your beard in looking completely homeless...

  4. A cracked tooth is a horrid thing to go with an ice cream meal. Maybe all that dental work simply unraveled. That just emphasizes your need for a much more expert dental treatment, wherein it is never too late to get one.

    Jason Dew @ Metro Dental Associates