Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm BAACCCKKK! (March 30: Day 27--Camp Wood, TX)

Hello dear Followers....I am baaacckkk!  We have been in the land of no internet....heaven forbid!  Just smoke signals and wildlife.....  And there was a day (all right, two) that I chose to 'socialize' rather than blog...that is, interface with real humans instead of virtual ones....not that I don't love you all....  But today I got in early and there is nothing to do in this little town of Campwood...everything is closed on Tuesday, or closes at 2:00pm.  My clothes have been washed and are out drying, so I have time to catch up on blogging.

Now, let's see....where did the story leave off.....Hmmmm.....  I had actually written a blog about group dynamics, but decided it was a bit too technical and dry to post.  I was exploring the stages a group goes through, from first meeting to departure.  It is interesting, so at some point I may 'liven' it up and post it.

We had our longest mileage day a few days (3-28) ago--110 miles.  For many, it was the first time they had ridden a century (100 miles); everyone finished--even our oldest member, who is 75.  For me, it was a personal best timewise, pacing at 17.5 mph--six hours and sixteen minutes in the saddle.  The top four riders all finished within a minute of each other regarding saddle time-- 6:15, 6:16, 6:17 etc....the arrival times at the actual finish differed according to when we departed from the sag and lunch stops, but actual riding time was remarkably close.(That is why in rated marathons and triathlons, the athletes are required to wear electronic timing chips--it shows the true racing time not just who crosses the line first)  Some say we had a tailwind--I never felt it, nor did I see the grass blowing to indicate it was there; perhaps it started blowing after I came in. (**this was confirmed later by undergroundweather.com)  I did experience some extremely strong crosswinds that caused my bike to move significantly on more than one occasion.  I started with a group of other riders in the morning, but as I got into my zone, I ended up riding alone most of the day, as did many other people.  I truly enjoyed cranking my tunes, singing out loud, mooing at the cows, and spinning, spinning, spinning by myself--it was very liberating  It was a great ride and I was very pleased with my performance.  I still had 'juice' in my legs and could have gone longer, but my rear end.... a different story....

We are riding a good portion of our route next to the US-Mexican line; the Border Patrol is everywhere.  I think the government must have some definite hiring requirements for these officers--specifically, young and cute.  (Did I mention that there were signs posted warning of cougar sightings )  On both sides of the highway, US 90, twin dirt roads run parallel to the highway.  A single Border Patrol officer slowly cruises these roads in a pickup truck, hanging out the window, looking at the sandy-soft road surface...just like tracking wildlife.  (I thought they were looking for foot prints, but was later told they are looking for tire imprints crossing perpendicular to the road--where the tracks went cross-country over the range, crossed over the road and entered the highway.)  After examining the road, they pull huge tires behind the truck on the dirt to smooth it out and make it fresh for more tracking that night. 

I tried to take a picture with  the BP guard that busted me behind a bush, but he said no pictures could  be taken of him in uniform because it puts him at risk.  I thought they were tracking illegal immigrants, but in actuality, they are trying to control the drug trafficking.  By posting a picture of him in uniform, he could become a target for the drug cartel.  Scary, huh?  Seeing this up close, not as an intangible news story or cop show, show really hit home.
"The triple threat of drug smuggling, illegal aliens, violent gangs, and the concomitant rise in violence is no more evident than in the state of Texas.

A friend that hunts in this part of Texas said that all his buddies carry pistols in addition to their hunting rifles. (The rifles are always 'broken' in the safe mode as they walk, so without the pistols they would essentially be unarmed.) Apparently the illegals cross the border then hide in the deer blinds as night fades into daylight.  The hunters have opened the door of the blinds and find themselves confronted entirely filled with the aliens....some were armed.

Scary stuff~~this border issue is so much more than Mexicans trying to find a better life--I just never realized the scope and severity of the issues.  The news plays it down, but when I'm here, talking to those that are protecting the border, the reality of it really smacked me in the face. I now understand why George built the fence!

Want a job as a Border Patrol officer--here are the requirements, (besides being young and handsome).

Those already doing the job, 'thank you'/

49 miles

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