Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 22, Flat as a fritter

Day 22, Pittsburg, KS – Toronto, KS 103 miles (1708 total)

Time on bike: 8:54:53

Avg: 11.8 mph

Daily Ascent: 3209 ft (31 ft/mile)

Max: 38.5 mph

God Bless Kansas! Pat and I started our day early. On the bikes at 5 am, early. We wanted to make up for our down day yesterday with the bike tune-ups. The beginning of the ride was like none other to date. We headed north and without any effort we were cruising along at 20mph with a brisk wind at our backs. We were sure that we were going to get 120 miles plus today. That excitement was short lived as we turned West and that tail wind became a cross wind which feels almost identical to a headwind. My bike is low to the ground and probably 30% more wind resistant than Pat’s who sits high on his mountain bike. I was easily able to go 2-3 mph faster than him.

Everything I had read about Kansas said that it’s flat and boring. Pat said that he’d rather be climbing hills than face the wind. Me, I’d rather face the wind than the hills, and not because my bike is more efficient. I feel like I go at a steady pace against the wind, even if it’s only 10-11 mph. It’s better than 4mph up hills. Anyway, Kansas is sparsely populated. At least where we are. We cycle through fields of wheat and corn. There are plenty of cows and horses along the route as well. A few trees dot the landscape and there are a few hills, but nothing too tough.

People still seemed shocked when I tell them I’m going to Oregon. Pat and I talk about the freedom that we have to make such a trip. We talk about how nice it is to not be financially weighted down with credit card bills and jobs that won’t enable us to make this trip. I ride ahead of Pat and spend a lot of time biking alone. I still listen to my podcasts, but I also think a lot. I think about friends and wonder how they’re getting along. I think about how different I must be because of my Peace Corps experience, but I don’t know exactly how I’m different. I think about how fortunate and blessed I am to be able to make this journey, both physically and financially. I figure I’ll have spent around $600-$800 on the trip itself, minus the equipment, when it’s all said and done with.

We’re at a camp site for the night. Lake Toronto. I wanted to go swimming but the lake is up 22 ft, so that’s out. I settled for a nice, hot shower. I’m sure to sleep well tonight.

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