Friday, 19 July 2013

What do you get when the temperature is the same as the mileage?

Welcome to small town America ... Kensington's claim to fame made me laugh enough to turn around and take a picture
Our camp in Prairie Dog State Park
After a long and drawn out discussion during pelaton which included democratic votes and debates, we decided to move breakfast back to 6:30 from 7:00. Oh, the little issues that become a big deal when in such close quarters. I have learned over the last few weeks that when we say “breakfast starts at 6:30,” this really means, “breakfast starts at 6:00.” So I set my alarm accordingly. True to form, breakfast was nearly all set out by 6:00 and I was able to get on the road to tackle this 160 km day before the heat and wind picked up by 6:10. Turned out that I was first out of camp and stayed first for most of the ride. I don't care about arriving in camp first, I just love to get in early. Today I made great time considering the heat we dealt with. Over the course of the day the thermometer soared above 100 degrees. The sun scorched it's way down on us. The wind that we had dealt with for the last three days had died off over night and the humidity and heat began to hang on us. 

We were treated to two treat stops today. Prairie View Church had coffee and amazing goodies waiting for us when I arrived just after 8:30. I stocked up on baked goods and fruit and set out on the road soon after just as the next batch of cyclists were arriving. 

Around the 110 kilometer mark a relative of Barb's had treated all of us to a soft serve ice cream cone. Delicious! Particularly since the heat had just begun to really set in. Typically, when we reach the 100 kilometer mark, the end of the ride is in sight. Not so today. At the 100 kilometer mark today I was two-thirds of the way done. I had psyched myself up accordingly but this still did not make the ride easier. 

By this time my already sore butt began to complain in earnest. No position on the saddle was comfortable, so I made do as best I can. The skin on my arms began to burn and my brain began to go on little complaining rampages. The terrain had changed overnight from pancake-flat plains to rolling hills. And they just didn't stop! Once you reached the crest of one hill, the next one was there waiting for me to climb. The scenery consisted of small towns, cattle and wheat. Rolling hill after rolling hill of yellow and green. While it was definitely not as desolate as the desert, there was a certain eerie-ness to the area. Perhaps it was the absence of the ever-present wind. Perhaps it was the sparseness of humanity. I don't know, I just felt very out of place. 

So I climbed hill after hill for 160 kilometers and tried to not let their continuity and predictability get under my skin. After our delicious treat at 110 kilometeres, the ride became a struggle. I am grateful to have learned that most struggled those last 50, because I sure did! The entire morning we rode east- more or less. And then we turned due north. What little wind we had seemed to die and the air just hang around us. I felt like I was peddling through a damp blanket. My company consisted of cows, horses and the ever-present sound of cicadas and grasshoppers. The sun began to dip behind sporadic clouds and the relief from its heat was palpable. Once I turned north I knew, because of the road signs that we had 20 miles to go...those were the 20 longest miles of the day. It was 16 miles to the Kansas/Nebraska border and I have never been so excited to see a vehicle in my life! There, sitting on the border was Tom and Donna ready to help with a photo shoot and wrap my neck in cold cloths. 

I knew it was only 4 miles to camp so I rounded up what energy I had left to limp into camp. It is always a cyclists' hope to ride into camp in style, with some sort of speed, and a smile on our faces. I was chuckling to myself as I rode as thought through a list of words that would befit how I felt I looked: bedraggled ... pitiful ... Well, I did little more than putter into camp, but I made it! I sat down on that picnic table with no desire to get up any time soon. 

Gradually my energy returned and, although tired, I searched out a shower. As more cyclists began to arrive in camp I decided to join some of them in a swim. As we were about to jump into the pool, a thunderstorm suddenly broke with such force that we were stranded where we were. Those under the pavilion were stuck there; those out in the town remained there... Well the rain came own horizontally, tents developed four-inch deep puddles in them- particularly those without rain flys. Even my belongings, which I had stored 7 feet under the cover of a pavilion, were soaked. My books are drenched but, other than that, everything is salvageable. The grounds around this community centre are now covered with various belongings and the nearby laundromat is overloaded, as we are trying to dry sleeping bags, sheets, tents, pillows- the list goes on. 
Our rain storm created such community as we worked together to dry our belongings

Well, the storm had ended and the clean up begins. 

The men working to fix Henny and Harry's trailer
Sadly, this rain storm was not the only adventure of the day. Matt, one of our faithful drivers, is attempting to put a new part into one of our SAG vehicles. Henny and Harry's tent trailer was damaged today when someone backed into it. They are now using a step stool to hop in until they can figure out how to get the lower half of their door open. 

And, most drastically, Malorie and Katie collided, fell and had to take a visit to the hospital. Both are doing fine, but are very sore and will be taking a short break. Word spread quickly. We were all concerned for their safety and shaken up that yet another serious spill has happened.

Albert and Matt collaborating on a repair

Please continue to lift up this tour in prayer! Seriously, we need it! 

Entering Nebraska today!!

Our kitchen truck getting all supplied from Sysco

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Christeena. I loved the pictures. I will keep you guys in prayer. Keep cycling on!