Day 21: Marfa, Texas, to Marathon, Texas

If we get 10 more days of riding like this one, this trip is going to be a breeze. We did 55 miles today, and the last 31 felt like it was all downhill, plus we had an enormous tailwind. Tony said he looked down at his GPS a couple times and saw that we were going 29 mph.

Our trip was pretty well saved by a guy named John Elsbury, who decided to open a bike shop in Alpine, Texas, a few years back, and is still the only bike shop between here and El Paso. We were down to three tire patches and no spare tubes until we pulled into his shop, Bikeman, today at 11 a.m. Tony got a couple of stout touring tires, and we stocked up on tubes and patches, so we shouldn’t have an ulcer-inducing block of 150 miles like the stretch from El Paso to Alpine. At one point, all three of us were back in the workshop, cramming a thorn-resistant tube into Tony’s new tire and teaming up trying to get the tire onto the rim. It was a thing of beauty when we finished, and it felt like a barn-raising, or maybe delivering a baby.

Then we stopped at the Verizon store in Alpine so Tony could take care of some business, and Paul, one of the account managers, gave Tony a $5 donation for BCM! First one of the trip.

We ended the day in Marathon, a 500-person town, and it, like Marfa, is not at all like the rural west Texas I imagined — way more art galleries and unique style, and way fewer cowboy hats, pickups and tumbleweeds. I am really being pleasantly surprised by west Texas. Dear West Texas, if you could please keep up this monster tailwind for a few more days, Tony and I would be eternally grateful. Tomorrow, we head to Sanderson, Texas.

We started the day with our usual enormous breakfast at Carmen's Cafe in Marfa. Two eggs, hash browns, toast, short stack of pancakes, breakfast burrito, hash browns, order of French toast, and two cups of coffee. And one donut.

A rare moment where I'm actually riding ahead of Tony. He starts up kind of like an old snowplow -- a little slow at first, and then he starts churning and at some point before the first 15 miles are over, the "daily drop" happens, and he's a mile or two ahead of me for the rest of the day.

The Bikeman! John really is a superhero, to us and probably a few other folks on the Southern Tier route.

Texas bike shop art.

City Boy here is used to "fusion" being used to describe Asian restaurants. Texas fusion is, apparently, the nexus of Mexican food and barbecue. I had the nachos.

Eight miles out of Alpine, we ran into Charles, who was visiting Big Bend National Park from Albuquerque, through a very roundabout route. He was on his way to Big Bend in the next couple of days, after leaving Albuquerque at Thanksgiving.


6 responses to “Day 21: Marfa, Texas, to Marathon, Texas

  1. Stand by for smackdown from biking gods.

  2. Tailwinds! Nothing like tailwinds!! Woot! And a hearty hey-ho to the bike shop owner!!

  3. You always were a sprinter, Brendan! Tony is sort of built like a marathoner…sort of. Good work guys!

  4. I think you two should of done a new photo op for bikeman that sign is off the charts. Actually I’m a little disappointed you did not make that shit happen. It could of been B & T Man on two bikes for America!

    What is the donut count up to?

  5. Unlike Jayson, I know when a question is appropriate and when it is not. Your doughnut count is your business, as are other lifestyle choices like cake vs yeast and classic vs filled.

    Just FYI, my buddy Glenn is still waiting for you guys outside the Silver City Library. It’s snowing.

  6. Pingback: What’s Turning the Spokes on the Net February 26th «

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