Larned ro Dighton 96miles
After a night in which I didnt sleep great, a 5am alarm wasnt the ideal start to the day! But I dragged myself out of bed and was on the road, lights flashing, by 6am.
The reason for my very early start was that I hoping to complete a long day in the saddle, and with the heat in the afternoons at the moment I wanted to be finished as early as I could.
Initially the riding was good. There was quite a bit of cloud cover and the wind wasnt really blowing. And I was able to keep to a fantastic pace. By 8am I had arrived in the small town of Rush Center – covering 32miles in just under 2 hours! In the distance, towards the NE, I had seen the odd lightening strike but it was obviously a long way away as I couldnt hear the thunder. And the clouds above me were not in anyway like threatening storm clouds, so I wasnt too worried.
Nothing in Rush Center was open, but I met another cyclist. He was from Utah and was biking from there to the east. We had a bit of a chat, and then I headed onwards. My next target was to get to Ness City – around 40miles away.
However, today the wind was most definitely against me. As the strength got up, it became much more difficult to keep up my previous pace. I dont know if it was the effect of the wind, but the uphill slope of the road also seemed more pronounced today. The road I was now on is route 96. And I now stay on this same road all the way to Pueblo (and even a little bit beyond it). So shouldnt have too many problems with making a wrong turn!
As I slowly got closer to Ness City the sun was coming out from behind the morning cloud, and by the time I got back on my bike after a brief stop it was quickly heating up the plains of Kansas! I had hoped to do the remaining 32miles to Dighton in around 2hrs, but the three pronged attack of heat, hills and headwinds meant my progress was slow indeed. One of the biggest problems I find with the heat is that my water bottles heat up so quickly that the water in them soon doesnt refresh me in anyway. I think I'll start putting them in my panniers to get them directly out the sun, and just have one on my bike frame at a time.
As I was struggling up one hill, I saw a shimmering shape in the heat haze ahead of me. I thought it could be a biker, but wasnt sure. It was like something out of Lawrence of Arabia, and slowly the shape did indeed start to actually look like a heavily loaded cyclist! Bert was from the Netherlands and doing the TransAm west to east. Today I was jealous of his riding conditions – downhill and with the wind. He should be able to get some big miles in today if he wants to.
As I got to within about 4miles of Dighton I just had to get some fresh water. Stopped at a house and a very nice elderly couple let me in and gave me some lovely ice cold water, and a couple of cookies. Whilst talking I think I emptied my water bottle twice, and each time they happily refilled it for me!
Eventually made it to Dighton around 2pm. By how the temperature was over 100f.
It felt good to put a large ride on the board, but if Im honest I think I much prefer doing 60-70mile days and having a few less days off. My next 4 days, taking me to Pueblo, are all of that kind of length so hopefully wont feel quite to tired in the evenings! Although I did treat myself to an ice-cream as a reward today.