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Day 28 – Century!

(104 miles. Just.Like.That.)

The plan was to put in a long day today and make it to the larger town of Pittsburg, just inside Kansas, and then take a rest-day there. Looking at the elevation profile on our map the ride looked like it should be fairly flat – rolling hills for the first half, and then a really flat ride to finish with.

Unfortunately:

  1. Yesterday’s slight tailwind turned into a stronger wind blowing across and into us as we rode west.
  2. The ‘rolling hills’ turned out to be steeper, longer and more frequent than we’d expected/imagined.
  3. The sun turned out to be hot (who knew?). Very hot – apparently this is the hottest folk round here remember it being at this time of year for ages. Seems this is the year for extreme weather over here!

Today definitely confirmed our thoughts that doing a consistent 50-70 miles a day with less rest-days is more enjoyable than putting in longer days (80-100 miles) with more rest-days. Its amazing how the extra 20-30 miles make a huge difference. Our legs were ok – its just the mental exhaustion, the many hours under the sun, and the pain in our butts!

My best friend

A hitch-hiker we met along the way

Every down has an up!

Lunch was a very welcome break at Golden City, at Cooky’s Cafe – famous amongst TransAm’ers for their home-cooked pies. I could honestly eat a slice of their pie every day for the rest of my life!

Make sure you arrive in Golden City at lunch-time

Okay - I'm pretty sure I've now uploaded more photos of food than cycling!

...oh, what the heck! One more can't hurt.

After lunch was the final 33 miles to Pittsburg, crossing from Missouri into Kansas in the process. 33 miles is a sizeable afternoon distance anyway – but this was 33 miles in a dead-straight line – literally no bends. This is what makes it mentally exhausting. In the heat and wind and mind-numbing flatness, you almost feel dizzy and light-headed. This is where you really need to concentrate to make sure you don’t veer off the road or into the middle of it. Each passing truck coming the other way creates a wall of wind that pretty much stops you in your tracks, forcing you to push hard again to regain momentum. I found myself trying lots of things to take my mind off the cycling and my backside which was giving me grief for the first time on the trip. I listened to music, I took stupid photos of parts of my bike. I even read some emails from Neil Sneade that I’d been saving for those rare moments of insomnia…

Arriving in Kansas (state number five) - just about ready to drop!

But sure enough, Pittsburg did materialize eventually and, being creatures of habit, we headed straight for McDonalds where I decided that today all financial and dietary restrictions were on hold and I splashed out. I’m not proud of myself, it wasn’t my finest hour – but it sure tasted good!

Then it was another sticky night’s camping in the city park – lying basically in a puddle of sweat in my tent hoping the mosquitos drown before they can bite me. Ahhh – see, its not all wining and dining!

7 Responses to “Day 28 – Century!”

  1. Tim Clapp says:

    Great blog Graham, I’m enjoying your tales. On my (cycle) commute this morning I wa thinking about your comments a few days ago, preferring a heading to a hill. The physics of it would suggest that you get a constant force against you going up hill (gravity) whereas the heading will give you

  2. Tim Clapp says:

    (no I didn’t mean to hit publish!) … the _headwind_ will give you a force proportional to your net speed versus the wind. So as you say, slowing down will help, particularly as the drag is a square (or maybe cube?) law. However there must be a cross over point where the wind is so strong that you’ll always be better on the hill (for a given gradient and windspeed). So that’s what I think about while cycling!

  3. Alan Hensure says:

    Keep up the good work fella, I’m halfway across Morocco on me pogo stick. Feet are ok but I’m starting to get varicose veins in my lower legs. They look a bit like Matt’s inner thigh.

  4. Michael says:

    Kinda makes all that rain back in Virginia sound not too bad!

  5. Neil Sneade says:

    Glad my emails gave you the mental strength to get through that last 33 miles. Cure for insomnia? All my emails are relevant and interesting!

  6. Jessie says:

    I’M DYING TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THIS HITCHHIKER!!!! I WANT A TORTOISE. Can you bring it back? I promise I’ll call it Graham or G-mobile.

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