Thursday, 18 July 2013

Windy. Oh, and more wind. The wind continues.

Today was one of our shorter rides of the week (take the word “short” with a pound of salt- 109 km is still no picnic!). Again, I left as early as I possibly could. I find that it is so nice when I can get out early. This way I beat the heat as well as the intensity of some of the sun. I even can beat some of the wind. But I've been learning that these mid-west winds don't die over night and gradually increase over the course of the day- they start out early and don't die ALL day!

I was flying along. Having skipped the first two SAG Stops, I was making fantastic time. When I reached SAG #3 with Julie and Julia and their famous watermelon, I stopped. Turns out that 2 miles past SAG #3 Phil had found construction. The workers had asked that we only come through in groups of 10 so I had to wait around at SAG #3 for 9 other cyclists to come along. This took about 40 minutes ... I ate my lunch, laid down for a bit, stretched, talked, sang some songs ... We finally got on the road. I guess that's what I get for leaving early and skipping SAGs!

Once through the mile-long construction zone with our little peloton of 10 people, we again spread out according to our various speeds. I have to admit that the road wasn't very nice through the construction zone, but we managed. They had just laid down the new asphalt and it sort of stuck to our tires, gathering up all other manner of road debris. I worked hard to keep the bits of asphalt off my tires by rubbing my gloved hands along both tires while riding. It takes some flexibility, but once you get the hang of it, it can prevent any number of flats. We still got into camp early that afternoon and I spent some time being orientated to helping out Al and Phil with managing weekend scheduling and receipts. 

Harry and Henny Drost from New Bruinswick want to start a "choir." They asked me to help out. I don't know what I'm helping out with but I made an announcement at peloton for those who are interested. We led in some singing before our peloton last night. It is always an interesting adventure singing outside...

Last night I slept out back of the washroom building in Fike Park in Colby, Kansas. I just rolled out my mat and sleeping bag on the sidewalk, covered myself up, put on my blindfold, put in my earplugs and what a beautiful night's sleep! 

Welcome to the prairies! Suddenly, the world looks flat again!
This morning I rolled out of camp at 7:03- we switched time zones again so it felt more like 6:03. Since we were heading more northeasterly on our route today, the really really strong southwest wind turned out to be a fantastic tailwind for most of our trek... until the last mile. I rode our 117 kilometres in about three and a half hours and found our last mile the hardest of the day. We are staying at Prairie Dog State Park and the mile it took us to get into the actual park was directly into the wind. What a difference! We all arrived in camp praising God that only the last mile of the entire ride was into that headwind! This wind is quite something and we are all questioning whether this is a normal occurrence. It's the kind of wind that tears things out of your hands and makes it difficult to do anything outside. 

Hopefully the wind dies a little tomorrow because we leave on another near-century day into Red Cloud Nebraska. The wind looks like it will be a bit of a challenge for our ride. With the major climbs out of the way for the time being, wind and distance have become the main challenges for our cyclists. Butts are developing sores from sitting on the saddle for so long, tan lines are becoming very distinct and bodies are slowly (or quickly) tiring. We are all definitely ready for our day off in Fairbury, Nebraska. 

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