Day 23 Mother Nature


Rule 1: Mother Nature always wins


Today we all know it will be a difficult day. 90 miles, some climbing, and 25-40 mph headwinds.

5 of us meet to talk about a pace line to get through the day. Here cooperation is essential. As we start the winds are whipping the flags in Sanderson and it is just barely light.

For two miles the pace line holds in tact but then the front two decide “ everyone for themselves”…confused the Gazelle follows leaving two of us behind.

These rides are populated with Prima Donnas so I am not surprised but immediately have my doubts about success today on such a long ride.

Two of us pair off in 2 mile stretches to cut the wind and make the 20 mile mark in 2:15”… not too bad, By now it is 10 AM and the winds are up to 28 mph.

For the next 18 miles we pair off every mile but it takes us 3 hours to finish this gap. In addition the sun is at a UV index of 10 as it has been for the last 3 weeks.

Tired but still willing to go on we rest a bit.

The winds worsen and it takes me another hour to go 5 miles… by now the wind is so strong pace lines don’t work. The hills get steeper and downhill requires pedaling to go 7 mph. At 48 miles I begin to really tire and at 50 after 7 hours of this I call it quits… It is now after 2:30 pm and the intensity of the winds will peak between 3 and 5pm but last like this for the next 3 days.

I come upon another rider, a route leader, stopped trying to decide what to do. I tell him that I’ve had it and need to stop.

He is close to stopping too… we check… neither of us have cell service to call for help. We are very isolated in this spot.



I flag down a pickup truck and for the first time in my riding career hitch hike to the next rest stop. On the way there the Rest Stop Van speeds past in the opposite direction going to pick up two who were just ahead of me.

At the fourth rest stop , near the Pecos River


there are 4 of 7 riders left. They have never ridden cross country before and “ want to make it all the way”… they admit it is crazy to try but then anyone who does these rides is a little touched.

My thoughts… “ I am beyond that stage, been there, done that”.

The 4 do complete the ride… I congratulate them but wonder at the safety… two arrived after dark.

There is after all 1700 miles to go.

As I sit in camp that night I get very homesick for my family and very soon to be born granddaughter… so much that I wonder about postponing the rest of the ride.

I ponder whether or not Mother Nature is telling me to go home…

I look deep into my soul and decide yes that is the lesson for today… “ Today, now, you need to be home not here in West Texas.”

I have always trusted my instincts and gotten through tough times … so as in the past I listen to that part deep inside me and decide to take that path.

I have a flight from Del Rio to my son’s house tomorrow morning.

So ends this year’s ride just near the midway mark.

Mother Nature either won out or coaxed me to go home…whichever I feel good about my decision.

One route leader asked me if it didn’t hurt my pride to ride in a truck, not to finish the day, and then to decide to go home.

I answered quite truthfully “ At some point in your life Pride becomes meaninglessness”.

Maybe that’s another lesson Mother Nature taught me today…not a bad lesson to learn.


7 thoughts on “Day 23 Mother Nature

  1. Family is far more important than what Mother Nature through sat you. All things considered, good decision! All the best to your family!


  2. wow!! good for you!

    On Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 7:32 PM Time Travelling with a Guardian Angel wrote:

    > Nick Patrone posted: “9/30/19 Rule 1: Mother Nature always wins Today we > all know it will be a difficult day. 90 miles, some climbing, and 25-40 mph > headwinds. 5 of us meet to talk about a pace line to get through the day. > Here cooperation is essential. As we start the ” >


  3. I Love the “At some point in your life pride becomes meaningless”.
    It appears you may just truly be a wise rabbit! We all missed you too much anyway. Fly on home leave the crumbling road, hot zephyrs, bad routes to those that have not arrived. 🙂


  4. Nick,
    Congratulations on the cumulative body of work that you have done for this organization and the MS community over the past five years. It has been amazing to be a recipient of your journal/blog during this time. You brought us into this world of yours while we sat at our desks and laptops. Thank you. Everyone does something like this ride for a different reason and although yours involved some blood, sweat and tears, pride(whatever that is) was clearly never your motivation. Enjoy you family. We appreciate your sacrifices.
    Duncan Fagundus


  5. I am so sad not to be able to read any more of your wonderful blogs in days to come …It has been truly one of the highlights of my days…Best wishes for you and your family…especially for the new grandchild! God Bless Everyone!


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