Day 28, Leoti, KS – Boone, CO 174 miles (2064 total)
Time on bike: 10:39:20
Daily Ascent: 2655 ft (15 ft/mi)
Max: 28.5 mph
The day started out like any other day with a few minor exceptions. There were 5 of us in a hotel room rather than 2. Mark and I started biking and we went 22 miles before breakfast. We stopped and got some HUGE cinnamon rolls to go along with our eggs, toast and hashbrowns. While there we met another couple of cyclists, but these weren’t your run of the mill cyclists. Jerry had been a contestant on Biggest Loser. We had heard about him for some time now that he was up ahead of us. He was older than I anticipated, in his 50s I’d say. And his wife, Lynn, was cycling along with him. They were extremely friendly and outgoing, and once I found out they had been in Paraguay in the Peace Corps we had a bunch to talk about. It was good to have them to talk to because when we first walked into that restaurant , even though there were 8 customers having breakfast, it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. No radio, no TV, no nothing. Also, we had crossed into US Mountain Time even though we were still in western Kansas, so we were there at 6:30 though our watches said 7:30.
Mark and I set out again to Sheridan Lake, 30 miles up the road. We arrived at around 10:30, too early for breakfast so we had a quick snack and pushed on ahead. At the time we were cycling with 3 other groups, though at different paces. There was a Belgian couple, a couple who were just out of college and the Biggest Loser couple, all GREAT people that we enjoyed chatting with.
The time seems to fly by when Mark and I cycle together. Mark is such a great story teller and has such a wealth of knowledge about a number of things. He has family out here in Kansas and knows a good deal about farming, so when we go into a restaurant or convenience store I practically have to pull him out the door because he’s talking wheat farming with the locals. It’s really a great education because he knows what he’s talking about and asks great questions, both about farming and just about life in general.
We peddled on to Eads where we stopped for lunch. By that point we had gone around 80 miles before lunch! I knew it was going to be a good day but I had no idea really what we were in store for. Pat was driving Mark’s car and we would meet up with him at every town. After a great lunch of ham, scalloped potatoes, peas, fruit and dessert Mark and I headed west for our final stint together. We rode 20 miles through more wheat fields. The area we cycled was so flat. Mark pointed out that the farmers in this area don’t live on their farms and that’s why you only see farms and don’t see houses, which is true. We stopped at a little town and I got a quick snack of Grandma’s Cookies and a Gatorade and then Pat and I continued on. Pat wanted to get some miles on his bike and Mark wanted to rest his bottom which had become sore after doing 100 miles.
Pat and I entered what seemed to be another climate all together. All of a sudden the crops stopped and we were cycling through what looked like desert. If you’ve never been through Colorado, if the land in the east isn’t irrigated then they can’t grow crops here. It’s just too dry and arid. Pat and I did 30 miles at a blistering 18.5 mph pace due in part to his fresh legs and the wind at our back. We stopped for a snack and then did another 20 miles to Olney Springs. We planned to stop there but cycling was so much fun and so flat and so effortless that we chose to just keep going until dark, so we told Mark where to meet us and we pushed out again, headed for Boone.
Mark arrived ahead of us and had us a camping spot picked out right in front of the volunteer firehouse. He had already met all of the volunteer firemen and was telling us how they must be the nicest volunteer fire fighters he’s ever met in his life. After all that cycling for all of us, needless to say, we were beat. So we put up the tents in the midst of the swarming mosquitoes and crawled inside. As I type this I think those 2 are both out in a very deep slumber.
We encountered several cyclists today. Somewhere around 25 if my count is correct. Two of which were riding recumbent bikes like mine. Three cyclists were riding solo. One pair was a group of girls. One was a father and his 12 year old son. The mother and 10 year old daughter were following in a car. All were friendly and we stopped and spoke with nearly all of them.
We’re close to Pueblo, CO which is the half way point on my trip. I can see the mountains off in the distance. No more flat land. No more 100+ mile days that I can see, but the mountains are beautiful from what I’m told and I’m excited about seeing them for the first time.