Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Welcome to Kansas Day 23

Another day, another 100 plus miles. Pictured is a typical scene we saw today. As we continued on the "High Plains", we left Colorado and entered our fifth state, Kansas. The landscape remained relatively flat, and you could usually see for many miles in all directions. There were scattered farm buildings, occasional threshers which were cutting golden cereal grasses, and, as one rider said, "a whole lotta nuthin".

All the riders ares tired this evening. We rode over 225 miles in the past two days, and the wind today was a real challenge. It came from the southeast, and was either in our face or blowing hard from our right. Apparently "Kansas" comes from a native American word meaning "land of the south wind". Many of the trees lean to the north. I took several photos this AM, but, as we were facing the rising sun, they don't look so good on the computer. So I offer this mundane view to give a sense of what we saw all day.

The temperature again rose over 100 degrees, and with the strong winds, we all spent many long hours on the bike. With towns still very far apart, keeping hydrated was also a challenge. Sometimes the distance between towns (and even gas stations) was 30 or more miles. And with the heat, our water warmed up quickly. We really appreciated the hard work of the AbB staff, who kept the vans moving, delivering cool water. Some riders felt that today was one of the hardest we've had yet. The wind doesn't bother me as much as some, so I felt fairly strong, but was still happy to reach the hotel. I sympathize with those who suffered in the heavy winds today, just as they have sympathy when we heavier riders work extra hard to climb the high mountains!
I'd like to say a special "Thanks" to Howie today. He had a sore ankle from a swimming pool slip (honestly, the risks the cyclists take!), and rode with me all day. After 50 miles with a larger group (including my usual cohorts of "Team Stops Alot for Photos"), Howie and I rode ahead the last 54 miles, taking turns "into the wind" (and he waited for me a few times when the road went uphill). It was a pleasure chatting and sweating with you, Howie.
My congratulations to all the cyclists today! Tomorrow we have a "short day"--only 51 miles--into Dodge City. There we'll check out Boot Hill, and catch a "Wild West" show. It should be fun.

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