As I was stopped at the border taking a photo a woman I’d met at the church the night before stopped in front of me and said hello. She told me to come by her thrift store in Tribune. We said goodbye and she drove off. Entering Kansas the road surfaced immediately changed to a fantastically flat and wide shouldered road.
Also, a substantial tailwind picked up and pushed me along. It was basically perfect riding and I was in my biggest gear for quite a few miles, something that hasn’t happened yet except on descents. I was seriously flying and thought ‘if this keeps up I can do some serious miles today’. Little did I know.
I passed some interesting scenery as I rode, a multicolored field and a crushed silo
The tailwind kept up and I was having so much fun just riding. It took minimal effort to maintain an absurd speed. The sky was beautiful and traffic still light.
I passed my first US Bike Route 76 sign, which I’ll be on throughout Kansas.
I entered Tribune and asked the clerk for some fried chicken advertised out front. She looked very confused and said it was only 10. I picked out a cliff bar instead. I soon left Tribune, not wanting to waste the tailwind. I wished that I’d stopped at the woman’s thrift store.
I kept going and the tailwind continued, propelling me along. I was headed east and the tailwind was shifting to be from the South West. This made it a sidewind and tailwind. This was fine, but it did mean I needed to be careful not to get blown into the traffic lane. By the end of the day my right arm hurt from constantly steering into the wind.
I arrived in Leoti after about 20 quick miles and went to a nice park and had some early lunch. It was mostly just mangoes and cliff bars but I felt better afterwards. I also had a protein shake from the church the night before. I refilled bottles and got back on the tailwind express.
As I was leaving town I saw two tourists in a parking lot preparing to set off. They were Brian and a younger man who’s name I can’t remember. They said they’d been riding in the headwind and we’re sick of it. I apologized but didn’t feel that bad, I was enjoying the heck out of it! Bryan said he hosts wamdahowers in Charlottesville and I should stop by! They were only going to Pueblo so they’ll be finished soon. We chatted about a few more things then parted ways.
More straight flat riding ensued. There were some risks to using the tailwind. For one, dust storms over empty fields could pick up and blast your eyes ears and mouth with dust
I just stopped when they occurred. The pictured storm was probably the strongest of the day, the winds must have been 30 mph.
Progress was again quick from Leoti to Scott City. As I approached the city I saw another tourist riding into the wind. He seemed absolutely fed up with it. He told me that there was a brother sister pair and a mother daughter pair ahead of me Eastbound. Yay!
I rolled in to Scott City and grabbed some cold drinks then quickly got back rolling towards Dighton. It was about 1:30 as I left.
20 miles later I rolled into Dighton and looked at the map. It was 3 and the town of Ness City was still 30 miles away. I’d already done 100 miles, but was feeling great so decided to press on. I had a snack and refilled bottles then set off. I suspected that the brother sister pair were nearby so was motivated to try and catch them. My first Eastbounders in many miles!
I passed many massive ‘feed yards’ full of cows along this stretch. The smell was overpowering.
I saw in the distance two riders and hurried to catch them. I had just made a turn that eliminated my tailwind and turned it into a sidewind so it was slow going. Eventually I did and got to meet them. Their names are Sue and Glen and they are indeed brother and sister. They’re from Southern California too! They were so cool and we rode the 20 miles into Ness City together. It was Sue’s first century (100 mile+ ride) and we all felt amazing after the day we’d had. We called ahead to a bike hostel up the road but they were shut down due to deaths in the family. We decided to just camp in the park in Ness City. We headed out to grab some dinner. Along the way we saw some guys grilling in front of a community center. They gave us a bit of burger and pointed us to a burger shack down the road. We went there, to Louies, and had giant burgers and copious amounts of lemonade. It was a great time.
We went back to the park and set up tents and got ready for bed. Unfortunately there are no showers or nice bathrooms, but oh well. As I’m writing this it’s 9 and the fireflies just came out. It really is beautiful.
Today was my longest day, at 130 miles. The tailwind and cool weather made all the difference. Let’s hope it continues! Night!
- 2x jimmy dean
- Orange juice
- Cliff bars
- Honey stinger power bars
- Protein shake
- Odwalla juice
- Ice cream cookie
- Onion rings