How hard is it for wind gusts to talk to each other? It is a breeze. Well that is how the old joke goes but it was NO breeze for us today. The wind was a constant 25-35 and gusting to 45. The wind was coming directly from the south. For the first 15 miles after we left Abilene we headed directly south into the wind. The best I could do was 11 mph. I thought I would never get to the turn. As we came to the turn you could watch the riders grinding to the turn and seem to shoot forward as they made the turn. The next leg of the ride was a straight shot due East for 60 miles. When you were headed East you could make up to 16 mph, but a lot of the time I spent grinding away at 8 mph. I think that on the the first two legs I averaged 14.2 mph. When a gust would hit you it would carry you half way across the road. My safety flag was bent over at a 90 degree angle to the bike. It was really weird riding along leaned over at a 45 degree angle. It was really hard on your arms and shoulders as you had to constantly wrestle with the handle bars to keep the bike going in a straight line. At one point the gusts were so strong I thought the bike was going to lift off so I got of and walked for about 100 yards to this point where there was some shelter from a tree. The last 35 miles into Topeka were NE so we got some relieve. In fact a one point I crested this one hill and with the wind directly on my back I hit 44.7 mph in less than 0.5 miles. While this may not have been my toughest century it did take me 7hr 25 minutes to ride the 107.3 miles.
The safety flag which every one has attached to the bike was jerking the bike around so badly that I bent it over and put it under my handle bars. Then finally at one of the SAG stops I took it right off. This was one day where being a big heavy guy on a heavy duty bike had an advantage. The little light people on light bikes were whipped around even worse.
However it wasn't all really grim. The highlight of the day was this little coffee shop in a town called Dover. A place right out of the early 50's. A bunch of local retires drinking coffee and exchanging tractor stories. Tom E and I were together and went in to have pie. It was absolutely fabulously. I had a piece of homemade banana cream pie that to die for. Curt I. they had homemade cherry that Tom had and raved about. Tom bought - Thanks Tom.
One of today's picture is of me after the ride. As you can see I was totally caked in salt. I think that I drank 10 bottles of water and 3 bottles of Gatorade to day. My skin felt like I had rolled in sand there was so much salt on me. The second is of a sign for the town of Alma. Jim says they make good cheese there.
Thanks for reading my blog, and of course thanks for the comments. Stay tuned for tomorrows blog when we ride in to St Joesph MO. The forecast is for 25-35 mph SW winds and we are headed NE.
See you down the road.