Yesterday’s 100 miles and fighting the wind really took a toll on me. Today’s ride was originally going to be a 113 mile marathon to Maize, just outside of Wichita. I came to my senses a couple of weeks ago and broke that ride over 2 days. Today took me from Greensburg to Kingman. Yesterday, the wind was bad the last 20 miles or so. Today it was bad for all but the last 6 of the 66 mile ride.
I had already sent my long fingered gloves, booties, and leg warmers back with Mike because I didn’t think I would have any more need for them. Even with a later than usual start, it was overcast, 41F, with winds out of the north-east at 15 mph. I was riding east. The wind was not my friend. I started with just a jacket and my bike jersey as my top layers, But 10 miles down the road I made an impromptu bio break behind an empty barn near the railroad tracks and added a long sleeve wicking shirt for another layer of warmth. It was a long painful 30 miles to the first town.
I had developed a saddle sore on the port side of my bottom. With the pain and the wind, I averaged between 10 to 12 miles per hour, which is very slow for such flat terrain.
I find wind to be worse than mountains. In the mountains, I had always had multiple downhills to go with any climbing. With the wind, either you or the wind must change directions to get relief. Neither of us did for about 60 miles. It was not a full headwind, but it was close enough. After my lunch stop in Pratt, I was halfway there. I made another stop in Cunningham to get coffee and cake. I wasn’t that hungry, but I just needed to be out of the wind to get warm and sit comfortably on something besides a bike saddle. I expected to get wind in Kansas, but I thought it would be at my back more than it has been. I also wasn’t expecting it to be this cold in mid May. I felt cold mostly on my toes and fingertips. I missed the booties and full fingered gloves for the first half of the ride.
My spirits are always lifted when I get to within a few miles of my final town. The wind had died down and I got above 20 mph for a few seconds going down a hill. It only took me 60 miles to get to that point.
I had 2 choices for a hotel. I, of course took the least expensive. I got a few pleasant surprises. I checked in with a clerk that looked to be in his 20s, tall, and appeared to have a heritage in the Indian subcontinent. When I told him about my ride and the mentoring promotion, he cut 10% off the rate. Then he asked me if I’d like some of the chicken he was making. He was having a friend over and it would be ready in 20 to 30 minutes. He warned me that it was “spicy”. To those that know me, that’s just a reason to have a beer. I accepted his offer. After entering my room, I stripped Hidalgo of the panniers and water bottles. I got the lock, cable, and string bag for a trip to a nearby grocery. Even though Matil had offered the chicken, I was hoping to find a single can of beer and breakfast supplies for tomorrow. Unfortunately, it was a six pack or nothing, so I went without the beer. While phoning home with Becky, I got a knock on the door. The clerk, Matil, had the chicken in a styrofoam take out container with a plastic fork and spoon.
Inside was a thigh and drumstick in a sauce that seemed mild at first, but had a definite after burn. It was fantastic! It made a somewhat miserable ride turn into an unexpectedly good evening. The room had new carpeting and bed and was one of the nicest I have stayed in. As I was flipping channels on the TV, the movie Hidalgo appeared. Other than the missing beer, it was a perfect evening.
It’s all part of the adventure.
The Lone Rider