Hello friends and family! We are currently on a long binge of riding right now and have had spotty internet access. Yippee! Since Bartlesville, OK we have traveled to Ponca City, OK (77 miles); Cherokee, OK (83 miles); Coldwater, KS (90 miles); Dodge City, KS (80 miles); Garden City KS (57 miles); Lamar, CO (101 miles); and are here in Rocky Ford, CO (67 miles). We are also riding 80 miles tomorrow to a dude ranch outside of Pueblo, CO and end our nine day stretch of riding in Colorado Springs, CO on a 50+ miles day. Doing some simple math that means we will ride over 650 miles in nine days. Craziness.
The last seven days have been quite interesting! Our Pirate dance was a blast, though we might have been a little irresponsible. Our rides have been either amazing our terrible – completely dependent on the direction of the wind. The view has been spectacle and terrible – depending on the state and industry nearby. And we have had three birthdays! With all this excitement it should be no surprise that I actually fell asleep last night at 8:30 pm. I have not done that since I was five?
Here are some interesting points:
1. Birthdays: They have been a mixed bag, but overall very good for everyone! On my friend Katie’s birthday we had a ridiculous tailwind (which means the wind is on our backs and makes us go real fast) and rode 80 miles at 22 mph. She was super excited because her boyfriend and I “pulled” her the whole way (i.e. blocked the wind so she could maximize her speed) and she was the “winner” that day – i.e. she got there first. We also randomly got to swim at an amazing pool that day, which was amazing since the temperature was 107 degrees.
2. The Gypsum Hills, KS: when we first crossed into Kansas we were transported into what seemed to be an old John Wayne movie where we rode through the gorgeous Gypsum hills. These hills were cut into large plateaus and made of red clay. Simply breathtaking! Too bad we had a really strong headwind (meaning it the slows us down a lot) and had to ride really hard that day.
3. The wind in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado: Overall a head wind is terrible, a cross wind (from the side) is bad but not terrible, and a tail wind is awesome. We experienced all three in the last few states. The best times were riding in 40 mph tailwinds and the worst ones were riding in the same ferocity of wind, except that it was blast us in the face. To put it in perspective, I went as fast as I have ever gone at 48 mph when we had a tailwind but when we had a headwind my average speed was about 13 mph. The good news is that we got both good and bad winds, the bad news is that all of Kansas was up a hill and in a head wind – see below.
4. Reasons I hate Kansas: The crappy semitruck drivers, miles of construction, nasty head winds, the fragrant odor of cow poop, flat flatness forever, and I had to sweep during it. Literally we spent 20 miles of a road one day riding over grated asphalt that felt like a rubble strip. We spent another day fighting 40 mph headwinds for 80 miles only to fight them again the next day for another 57 miles. Finally, when we left the state we were surrounded by feedlots that made 50% of our experience in the state taste like cow feces. Hate you Kansas.
5. Reasons why I love Colorado!
a. It’s not Kansas.
b. We reach the Rockies in two days!
6. The longest day: I swept with Olivier – meaning that we HAD to be the last to people to arrive to ensure everybody made it safe – on the 80 miles day with headwind. It was a blast! We were in the countryside that looked exactly like we were in a wild west movie so we pretended like we were cowboys – lassoed stuff, lounged in the shade, and sat on hay bails. Unfortunately the headwind made the slower people in our group take forever so we did not get in until 8:30 at night (we left at 7:30 AM). What a long – yet great – day.
Okay, that is it for now. It is weird to think that I have biked from the east coast to Colorado but I am excited to climb some mountains soon. Tomorrow we camp in a dude ranch and get to learn all the fun aspects of ranching (I hope!). I hear all went well with Grandpa’s celebration and am sorry I missed the celebrations! I miss you all and love you even more.
Live. Love. Ride.