They had a great breakfast at the Miles Court in Holly, Colorado. The hotel had turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Mike and I were going to part ways when we left the hotel.
For some reason, the mental jukebox had started playing “The First Cut Is The Deepest”. It turned out to be an omen of things to come.
It was less than 6 miles down the road where I left Colorado and entered Kansas.
Another 6 miles down the road, after passing through Coolidge and one of the biggest grain elevators I’d ever seen, I understood what the mental jukebox had meant.
Mike had just passed me in his car and I heard “pss pss pss.” .. coming from the rear tire. I braked to a stop and called Mike to turn around. Although I had changed the rear all by myself back in Arizona, I was going to get help if I could get it. Besides his physical assistance, Mike had a floor pump which would make reinflating the tires go faster. Plus, his pump had a pressure gage so we could do it properly. I had the panniers, water bottles and seat bag off by the time Mike got there. MIke held the bike while I worked the wheel free. As I stated in an earlier post, the rack that holds the panniers makes it a real challenge and pain to fix a flat on the rear. I freed the tube from the wheel and replaced it with a new one that Mike had brought, so I wouldn’t deplete my own supply. Together, we got me back on the road in about 30 minutes. It was still cool and I had a tailwind. Mike waved again as he drove on ahead of me on his way home. It was only 2 miles when I once again heard the rear wheel heckling me “pss pss pss ….” I called Mike once again and he came back a second time. I had been careful to wipe the inside of the tire to make sure there were no foreign objects left to cause another flat. Mike suggested rotating the tires by putting the more worn rear tire on the front and vice versa. He worked on the front and I did the rear. Mike told me to check the tire a second time. Sure enough, the now thinner rear tire had several tiny cuts and some of the road debris was still in them. I used a small swiss army knife from my seat bag to surgically remove the stones, tiny metal shards, glass and other material from the tire. In about 40 minutes we had completed our little tire rotation job. We said goodbye again and I took advantage of the favorable weather conditions.
The ride to Syracuse went quickly. I made great time while I was on the bike, but I had been off the bike more than on. I noticed that the towns no longer put their elevation on the sign that bordered the city limits. Since climbing Yarnell Hill (which I still think is a mountain) in Arizona, I had been almost a mile above sea level at least once a day. Since leaving La Junta and now the rest of Colorado, I was down to less than 3000 feet elevation. Instead of bragging about their elevation, now the towns boasted of the HS sports championships or that they were the home to a member of the KC Chiefs Hall of Fame. These towns were secure in their stature and didn’t need to point out how tall they were.
I only had 24 miles from Lakin to Garden City, where I planned to spend the night. While getting my ice cream fix in Lakin, I checked the availability for my hotel. Things looked good there. Then I googled for bike shops in Garden City. “The Bike Rack” had good reviews, so I called them asking if they had Kevlar based tires in stock for a 700×25 wheel. Jeremy said he wasn’t sure if the “Armadillos” he had were Kevlar, but he had good experience with them and they were tough.
I didn’t want to chance another day, even with the tire rotation Mike had done, so I asked them to hold their last set for me. The tail wind had stayed with me and it was a pretty quick ride to their shop near downtown Garden City. Randy, the shop owner installed them on Hidalgo. We traded some biking stories and I hope to be good for at least another thousand miles.
After checking into the hotel, I went down the street to a Thai restaurant Randy had recommended. The food was good, but I could have used a beer to go with it. I hadn’t yet changed out of my bike clothes and made my wife line call to Becky while I ate. I had lost a lot of time to flats, purchasing new tires, and getting my ice cream fix in Lakin at the Flashback Diner listening to 50s music. Although I rode fast, I also lost an hour to my second time zone change somewhere after Syracuse. I have now finished the nightly routine of cleaning me, my clothes, and Hidalgo also needed a lot of work. It’s going to be a 97 mile ride to Greensburg tomorrow. I’m going to need some rest …. and some tailwind.
The Lone Rider