It was still funny that Terry and I got a house for ourselves for the night. How often does that happen? I slept until 9am and then got ready for the day…which requires a lot more preparation as a touring cyclist, than people might realize. If you want to know how to prepare for a biking adventure – consider my routine: You need to break down and pack the mattress and sleeping bag (and tent if camping), then take a warm shower to gently wake up the leg muscles, make/eat breakfast, review the biking route for the day (making any necessary adjustments), check the bike — especially the tires, write a few emails, make a few phone calls, etc. Before you know it, 2-3 hours have elapsed. It’s amazing how time can fly.
On the road from Leoti to Ness City! This will be an 82-mile ride — along the farm plains, with crops (wheat and corn) just off the road (hwy 96 east). As I was leaving town, I saw the girl I had met last night in Tribune, KS (21 miles before Leoti) so we began biking together. Her name is Heather, a 29-yr old who lives in a small town in Washington, and is—as I mentioned in my last blog—also crossing the country solo. It was nice to have someone with whom to ride, even if just for a day, and we both kept a very similar cadence. The wind was—as always—a head wind, blowing into us at about 20mph, but we still maintained a respectable 12-13mph. We shared stories about places we had seen and people we had met. Heather had a few good ones….especially one about a guy who—instead of carrying panniers (bags) on his bike—carried two plastic kitty litter boxes, where he stored his belongings. From then on, we referred to him as “Kitty Litter”.
We biked about 20 miles and arrived into Scott City (pop. 3,800) where we took a break, stopping at a convenience store and stuffing our faces with more calories. When you’re biking long distance all day, and at a decent pace…your body is constantly starving. It’s impossible to ingest enough calories to get fueled, because the body expends calories faster than it digests them. So you just keep eating enough so that you don’t “bonk” (hit a wall). We were on the road again, heading for Ness City, another 60 miles. Heather and I traded leading, so we both could enjoy drafting each other (which is especially nice when fighting a head wind). We took a couple more breaks along the way, and finally arrived into a town called Dighton, about 32 miles from Ness City. Since Heather had already biked 21 miles before we met up in the morning, she decided to stay in Dighton. So we parted and made plans to meet the following morning in Ness City for breakfast.
It was 7pm when I took off for Ness City, and the wind was not relenting, but since it was 32 miles, I decided to ramp up my efforts. I wanted to arrive before it became too dark outside, and set up camp with Terry. I pumped and pumped my pedals, and in my review mirror on my helmet, I saw the most beautiful red and pink sunset…stretching across the skies. It was incredible. Finally, around 9:30pm, I arrived into town. I slammed a coke and water at a local convenience store, then made camp in the town park, next to a pool. Terry and I went over a few of the videos and then hit the sack.