Brutal day today. I got up around 7 and did my best to pack without waking up Osiris. I failed and he got up too. I had a poptarts and a protein drink as I packed then got everything loaded up. I said goodbye to Osiris, he’s headed off route to Hutchinson to see a friend.
The sun was gorgeous leaving town
The weather was cool but predicted to heat up considerably.
I got to start off the day with a southwardly ride, directly into headwinds for about 15 miles. It was a tough way to start the day, but I was fresh and feeling good so it went quickly.
I took a left turn onto a barely used stretch of road and rode in solitude for a while. I saw some oil rigs pumping, it’s interesting that there’s only one or two per field, not the massive fields you see in California.
I kept going and passed a lake that was part of a wildlife refuge. I think it’s the first public outdoor space I’ve seen in Kansas. There wasn’t much to see from the road, if I had time I would have gone and investigated.
I stopped on a short bridge over a pond (it’s normally a creek but the flow has slowed too much). There were bullfrogs sitting in the water still as statues then leaping out to catch bugs. A little while later I saw a family of racoons. I startled them as I rode by and the momma ran into the bushes while the babies hissed at me.
I zigzagged North then South a few time to follow US Bike Route 76 and each southward turn had me fighting the wind. I looked up the definition of Kansas later and it’s named after the Kansas River, which is named after the indians who lived on its banks. The rumor is that their name means ‘people of the south wind’ but that’s not confirmed. It would not be inaccurate though. I got to Nickerson and had a killer burger and probably 2 liters of iced tea. It was really warming up. The restaurant was called flicks, right on the route and I strongly recommend it. I went to a gas station and the clerk told me that hes always wanted to do this ride but he smokes too much. I told him there are smokers that do it, but quiting or cutting back would definitely make it easier. I got back to riding and only had 20 miles to Buhler. Leaving Nickerson I saw whatever these were. Ibex?
In Buhler I went to a cafe that was just about to close but they were nice and made me a sandwich and let me sit inside while they closed up shop. I moved right outside which was warm but at least shaded. As I was getting ready to leave I saw a air conditioned public library that I could have been sitting in instead. I filled my bottles at the library then headed out of Buhler. It was a really nice little town, very bike friendly and cute. I said goodbye to it and it’s water tower.
It was about 4pm, with 80% humidity and 95 degrees. My southern California upbringing didn’t prepare me for this and I went slow. It took me about 2 hours to go fifteen or so miles. I passed a couple of longhorns in a pen. So many animals today. The next 5 to Hesston were faster but still kind of miserable and I basically collapsed through the door of a pizza place. I got a small pepperoni that was not great but I was mostly there for the soda fountain and air conditioning anyways. I felt much better after 45 minutes cooling off and refueling. I had 6 miles of headwinds heading south then 4 miles of sidewinds East. It was gonna be tough. I just settled in for it and kept pedaling. I definitely wasn’t feeling great but kept going. I got a video of the wind: https://youtu.be/ZNikInTrW1c. I felt super happy when I made the left turn out of the headwind. The sun was setting directly behind me, marking the longest day of riding timewise I’ve had by far, about 12 hours of noncontinuous riding. This sign welcomed me to town, it made me legitimately happy
I was pretty sure I was just gonna get a motel but I went by the free public park just to check. It was nice but I didn’t see any other cyclists there (I’d later learn that a dude I’d ride with the next day, Travis was there) and I didn’t see showers so I called a motel and asked for a room. They had one so I grabbed it and headed over. I was absolutely beat at the end of the day, the heat really took it out of me.
I got a shower and some fast food, and look forward to continental breakfast tomorrow. I need some sleep, night!
- Protein shake
- Protein powder
- Cliff bar
- Shot block
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
- Iced tea
- Ice cream sandwich
- Pastrami sandwich
- Cinnamon roll
- KFC sandwich