Day 34 – Houston to Ellington

Fri 9th July 2010

To avoid losing the extra miles we covered yesterday we cycled past our original destination of Eminence to Ellington 27 miles further on.

After a long day yesterday we were late going to sleep so the alarm was set to 6:00am. It meant a late start but we knew we had a short day. Over breakfast Pam, a Transam cyclist, introduced herself to us and was keen to talk about our adventure. Pam completed the ride in 2007 and showed us a photo of her at the end of the ride. That’s a picture we’re looking forward to taking of ourselves!

Pam, cyclist

With 2007 Transam cyclist, Pam

We are still in the Ozarks and having looked at the profile of today’s ride we knew it was going to be tough and it was. It was hilly throughout the day but there were some sections where the hills were so steep that it was only just possible to cycle them. Today I used my lowest gear for the first time on the ride and I could have done with a couple more. The steep climbs together with the humidity made it the most difficult riding so far but it was also good to conquer them and was almost enjoyable in a masochistic way.

Come on in, the water's lovely

We rode one particular section today where dogs ran out to chase us. Well, they chased me because I was leading and they left Chris alone. I’m not sure if they would have attacked given the chance but I was ready with the pepper spray just in case. We expect lots more dogs over the next two weeks when we travel through Kentucky.

We also met Idan and Amanda who were cycling to Astoria. Amanda is from the US but Idan is from Ireland has and has been cycling all over the world during the last couple of years.

Transam cyclists

Idan & Amanda going West

In Eminence we stopped for a coffee at a local cafe and were informed that it was free. We also filled our water bottles before heading off again. We’re drinking a lot of fluid now just to stay hydrated but I’m sure we should be drinking even more.

Coffee break

Free coffee at our 40 mile stop

Ozark scenery

This view was spectacular

We had hoped to break the 3,000 mile barrier today but we only managed 2,995 miles. But we have been cycling for 34 days and have 17 left to do. That means that we’ve completed two thirds of the ride and are definitely on the home straight now. The rest of the ride will be tough however as the elevation profile is not a pretty picture if your in our position. Tomorrow we have more of the same but not quite so many steep inclines as today.

Ozark hills

There's plenty more where this came from

We were asked how we organise our day so I’ll try to briefly spell out what we do:-

We try to get up early and be on the road by 6:30am. This is mainly to get a few miles in when it’s cool but it also gives us the whole day to cycle if we need it.

We carry maps of the route but I have each days riding programmed into a Garmin Dakota 20 GPS. This little device has been simply fantastic especially during the very bad weather when getting the maps out would have been impossible. It not only tells me where to go but how far to services and our destination. It’s been very useful too for finding shops in the big cities.

Because I have the GPS I tend to lead just about all of the time and now that Chris has twigged that the dogs attack the lead rider I suspect that will continue.

We are careful to make sure we always have enough food and drink with us at all times. Every 20 miles (or 2 hrs of riding) we stop for a 10 minute break to have something to eat and give us a break from the bikes. We do this until the end of the day. We won’t normally stop in between these breaks unless one of us needs to for whatever reason. In the breaks we’ll eat a banana and a cereal bar and other snacks that contain carbohydrates. We never stop for a lunch break as we find this destroys the rhythm of the day.

We don’t always cycle together as often we will cycle at a slightly different pace depending on how we are feeling. We are never more that a mile apart though and I would always stop at a junction and / or check regularly that Chris is still there. We always get back together at our stops. If I stop Chris will usually wait for me to set off again.

At the end of each day we wash our cycling gear (shorts at least) and often have them hanging off the bike the next day to dry. Drying our clothes has been a particular problem on this ride due to the weather so often we’ve had to use to use our shorts for more than one day. That’s okay but it increases the risk of saddle sores.

Does that help?

Chris takes a drink

It's hard to drink enough water here

Daily Mileage -69.6 miles

Time in Saddle – 6 hrs 17 mins

Total Climbing – 4,880 ft


  1. Your doing fantastic, and nice to know you have been received so well and treated with respect, don,t know if you,d get free coffee over here though. Take care xxxx

  2. You are both doing so well, especially with the weather and terrain being so inhospitable at times – good job the natives are hospitable, it counters it a bit i should think?
    Its wonderful to read the blog – like an insight into another world, before i plod off to my office job each day! Keep it up, and lots more pictures please – all stunning so far, was that a banana on the menu today? ;)

  3. Interesting to know you find lunch breaks destroy the rhythm of the day.I can understand this.I felt a lot slower after stopping for lunch when I did the end to end with Bob!That was back in 1994(I think)Seems like yeasterday!

  4. Great pictures!
    The beard is ever growing!!
    Am i going to recognise you at arrivals on 4th Aug???
    love you