Just keep pedaling...

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Kansas
Monday, June 27, 2011

** I will add pictures for today's and yesterday's post tomorrow when I should have a bit more free time than I've had these last few long days **

 Today was one of the few days on this trip that seems to go on forever and ever. I know from the start when I'm going to have those days because my alarm goes off at 4:45 AM. That used to be a time reserved for catching early morning flights... but on this trip it's a regular occurrence and I have no problem falling asleep early enough to get 8 hours of sleep before that time. I've adopted the sleep schedule of a 60 year old and I honestly think it's much nicer than the sleep schedule of a 20 year old (they must've figured something out in those extra 40 years).

We had a hundred miles with opposing winds that are nothing but demoralizing. They were blowing in our face and across our path when we left the hotel in Colorado and they were blowing in our face and across our path when we pulled into the hotel in Kansas. I rode with a group of six for most of the day which was nice because we took turns breaking the wind (pulling) and used a variety of cycling formations including a rotating double pace-line, echelon form, a zig-zag pace-line and the classic pace-line. We even rode for a few miles in the "group draft off of excessively large farm equipment traveling down the road at 20 mph" formation. That may have been my favorite (until we had to drop it because Scott managed to get a flat right as the going was getting easy).

Judy (and her husband Dan who is out riding this leg with us) joined "Team Collins" (Us + British Jon) for today's ride and I'm very grateful they did. They're both strong riders and they may have led to dad's bonk at around 55 miles with the strong pace they put forth in the front, but I was thankful nonetheless to be riding with them in such challenging conditions. Judy was our drill sergeant for the rotating double pace-line calling out rotations every quarter of a mile. After our second support stop she had to stop riding and get back to work doing important ABB things but Dan kept riding with us. I enjoyed riding with him today - he's a really nice guy and a strong consistent rider. He may have had the best attitude out of all of us in this terrible weather (and he was the new guy - although he's ridden across the country before so I have to believe he's seen worse).

I know a lot of you really appreciate how positive I am in my blogs, so I'd like to give you this opportunity to skip this paragraph which will consist of complaints about riding in the wind. Problem number one, it's demoralizing. There is no reward for the extra work it takes to ride into the wind. When you climb a hill you get a good view and sense of accomplishment followed by a fun descent. When you murder yourself pushing through the wind all day, you get to collapse on the bed and wish things went differently. Secondly, when the wind is strong from your left it blows road crap all over you when you ride. That dump truck that normally drops gravel and small rocks all over the road when it hits a bump is now shooting seventy mile per hour clastic sedimentary shrapnel at your face and other exposed skin. Furthermore, the wall of air every semi-truck seems to be pushing in front of it when barreling down the 2-lane road hits you in the face even harder when the wind's in your face. Problem number fifteen is that winds blow the unbearably terrible smell of feedlots into your nostrils as your gasping for fresh air. I'd rather breathe carbon monoxide. If there was a way to transmit smell via the internet you better believe I'd give each and every one of you the chance of a lifetime to smell genuine Kansas feedlot in your face. I couldn't bring myself to have beef at dinner tonight because the feedlot smell was still stuck in my ciliated pseudostratified glandular columnar epithelium. Lastly, it makes your average speeds quite slow which in turn makes you look like a sissy. Post-lastly - for a given distance they cause you to spend more time with a seat between your legs than you otherwise would.

I'm still enjoying this trip and I imagine I'll enjoy each day after this a little bit more by saying to myself "at least today's not as bad as that day we rode to Garden City". Even today was better than seven consecutive hours spent sitting in Historical Perspectives or a trapped in my Dublin cubicle looking for bugs in computer software. I consider myself blessed to be able to do this trip, winds and all.

Distance: 103.23 mi - 1,704.70 total
Time: 07:06:54 - 116:53:33 total
Elevation Gain: 595 ft - 65,088 total
Av. Speed: 14.5 mph - 14.6 overall
Av. HR: 127 bpm - 130 overall
Calories: 5,620 - 115,424 total

Flat Tire Count:
Scott: 5 (pinch flat)
Stephen: 3
Mark: 1
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Jay on

Thats stinks, no way to avoid the wind. When I ride I start and finish at home, and therefore at least when the wind is bad, I get to ride a downwind leg to somewhat make up for it. Enjoy Kansas, lots of nothing there.

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