I’d say today was 40% physical and 60% mental.
Sometimes it’s more of a mental game; it’s easy to get inside your own head.
The terrain was what you would consider easy; gentle rolling hills, steadily gaining elevation as we near the Rocky Mountains. We had a crosswind, and occasionally a headwind.
One of my favorite parts of this trip is watching the landscape change. Although it is still pretty flat here, it is starting to get more hilly. So far, it has been a bit more desolate than Kansas.
This morning, we were about 28 miles from the next town. It seemed like we were pedaling forever and not making any headway.
Every town has a grain elevator. You can typically see the grain elevator in the upcoming towns 10 miles before you get there. It feels like you’re never getting any closer.
We finally made it to town and stopped for lunch at a cafe.
The chicken strips weren’t as good as the ones yesterday. 😉😆
We reluctantly pedaled on after lunch. You know that feeling you get before you have to give a speech or presentation? Or that feeling you get when you’re a kid before you have to go get a shot? That’s how it felt to leave the restaurant and keep on going.
It wasn’t that the riding was physically difficult other than the wind being in your face, but it’s just a little intimidating when you know the next town is 30 miles away, and you know the temperatures are going to reach 100 degrees soon.
But, we carried on.
Although it wasn’t as hot as it was in Kansas, it was still pretty toasty. In the 30 mile stretch, we found one shade tree. And a sad shade tree at that. The other trees were in fields behind barbed wire fences.
We hung out under the tree for a bit and then pedaled on. We finally made it to a tiny little town with a tiny little gas station. Thankfully, they had some sandwiches so we could rest and refuel.
As I was finishing up my sandwich, another bike tourist rolled in. “You must be Aspen,” he said in an Australian accent.
Mash and I both said, “Angus!!!”
Dex and Chris had told us about Angus and how he was Australian and how he has been a day behind us the entire trip. It was so cool to finally meet him! He told me that he doesn’t post on social media much, so he gave his parents my blog address (I’ve been writing my blog address in all the biker log books) so they can read it and keep up with his trip in an indirect way (Hi, Angus’ parents)!
Mash and I hung out at the gas station for quite a while and talked to the owner. He told us stories about the TransAm racers coming through and stopping at his tiny little gas station. He wished us good luck and we pedaled on.
The wind was insane. We had a 31 mph crosswind/headwind for 20 miles. Angus said he would have guessed 40, and I bet the wind was definitely gusting at 40 mph at times! At times, my gps said I was going 4 mph…and that was going downhill. It was so windy, I had to lean into the wind with my bike. It’s crazy how the wind catches your panniers- it’s like a sail bike…except the sails don’t help you. Dex told us he actually got knocked off his bike today by the wind!! His tires just came out from under him. 😳
We stopped to take a break and I couldn’t even look at my map- it even blew away and I had to go chase after it 😂.
BUT- after a couple of hours of working super hard to fight the winds, the wind gods decided to reward us for our hard work. The road we were on turned back to the west and we had a tailwind for the rest of the day- and we were losing elevation- AND we had a beautiful sunset! I asked Masherra, “Is this real life?”
It got dark on us, so we made sure our lights were on so we could see and so people could see us. As we were rolling into town, a little friend trotted out from the weeds…
Ok, so maybe this isn’t the actual little friend, but he looked exactly the same.
Masherra and I both said, “OH NO!” The skunk didn’t know which way to go, and before I could blink, the skunk ran towards Masherra.
Mash ran over the skunk before my own two eyes.
Before I could even wonder if it had sprayed or not, I started laughing uncontrollably…so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I sounded like a donkey gasping for air. 😂
Masherra had already hopped off her bike. She was smelling her bike to see if it had sprayed. She sniffed one of her front panniers, and she started coughing and gagging. My uncontrollable donkey laughter continued.
There was nothing else to do but to keep riding to our destination. As we rode, the aroma of skunk spray trailed behind her bike. I decided to ride beside Masherra after the skunk incident. 😂😂😂
We rolled into town, and there were 4 tents set up at the park. One of the guys was already asleep, but guess who else was there?? Dex, Chris, and Angus! We chatted with them about how bad the wind was today, then it was time to retreat back to our tents for the night.
It’s so much fun meeting people and playing leap frog with them and being in the same places each night. At the beginning of our trip, I wasn’t sure we were going to meet anyone. I’m so glad to have these new friendships with people who have the same interests and passions. These guys have been so nice, checking on us after storms, letting sheriffs know to keep an eye out for us, giving us a heads up on places to stay, oh and we found out that it was the Neon Dudes that left us the dollar store bag full of Gatorade and candy!! I seriously feel like we have a little TransAm Fam going on.
Today we hit 90 miles!! That’s a new PR, people!