Biking 65 miles in 100 degree heat feels like double that
Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
The forecasts for this area don’t look like they will change while I am in this part of Kansas — windy and around 100 degrees each day. Nothing to do but just push on through and get on to another area.
My plan for this morning was to have the bike packed, in bed early, and then out the door really early. Just as I was going to bed last night, I noticed that the front tire had gone flat. I took my last new tube out, and changed the tube, and pumped it up. The tires need to be about 90 pounds of pressure, and I can’t get that much with my little mini-pump. I went out looking for an air station at a convenience store. Neither of those in walking distance had air, but a shop right across the road had some late activity going on. I walked over and asked for air, and they jumped all over it. Seems the family was getting their boat ready to go to the lake. Once the tire had plenty of air pressure, I took it back to the motel and put it on. After getting cleaned up, I asked for a 4:15 a.m. wakeup call. After sleeping like a rock, I woke up and realized that the wake up call hadn’t come. It was 4:19, so I only lost 4 minutes.
On the road at 5 a.m., and it was still dark. There is a bright little flashing light on the back of the bike. It was beautiful watching the sun come up ahead of me. The wind was blowing, but gently at this time. Once again, the first 20 miles went well. Then the wind realized that I needed a challenge, and it gave me one. For 20 miles, I faced a gale. The wind was howling in my ears, and pushing me back. My tongue was hanging out when I finally got to turn left for a trip to Larned, Kan. The wind took a new tactic, trying to push me sideways into traffic. It was great to be in Larned, where I found a fantastic discount for cyclists at the Townsman Motel. By that time the temperature was over 100 and I was cooked again.
Same plan for tomorrow, out really early, and beat as much of the heat and wind as I can. Total mileage today was 65, and it felt like double that.
I am not far from Dodge City, but I won’t get there this time. I will travel on parts of the Santa Fe Trail, a trade route from Mexico north. In 1843, the estimated value of goods traveling over the trail was $450,000.
There are very few trees here, except in town. The land is still mostly flat, but is becoming more rolling. Tomorrow, I hope to end up in Hutchinson, Kan., and pick up some more tubes. Bike shops are few out here, and there are long distances between service areas. I need those tubes, just in case something happens.
There was little scenery today, partly because I had to keep my head down against the wind.
Happy birthday to my youngest daughter Amber today!
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