Today’s beat the heat strategy was to get up at 4:00AM and get on the road before the sun was up. It was awesome. I highly recommend getting up at 4:00 some weekend and going for a hike before the sun comes up. No, really. The world looks different at that hour, and you’re much more likely to see wildlife, and the first morning light can’t be beat.
I first went to the local quickie mart for coffee and snacks to fuel my morning. I was suprised how many folks were up at 4:30. Every guy there walked into the shop with a 44 oz or more insulated mug to fill up with ice and soda. I was the only one drinking coffee.
This was an especially good day to be out early because my route went through the Quivira wildlife preserve. As the sun was coming up I saw 3 whites-tailed deer, heron, and some kind of darting bug-catching bird (I would say swallow but no forked tail?), not to mention a shooting star right over the road. The deer were curious and I didn’t notice them until they bolted upright and ran along side the road for awhile, and then darted right out into the road in front of me. Not exactly stealthy. And again I’m curious about the while tail – just like on the cottontails it hardly seems adaptive but it must be somehow.
The preserve meant that I had about a 60 mile stretch with no services so I was stocked up with extra water and bars. I’ve always been a fan of the Clif bars but on this trip the Kind bars are going down good. I’m suprised to find them in all the quickie mart chains and they feel like the right combo of protein and calories with low sugar. All I know is that when I eat them on rides, I don’t regret it.
I couldn’t stop taking pictures during the sunrise hour today. I stopped and recorded bullfrogs in the pond, and watched the birds as I rode.
Once I passed the boundaries of the preserve, the scenery turned similar to yesterday so I got lost in my thoughts, and just pedaled for awhile. It was cool, clear and not much breeze so my cadence kicked up to meet the beat of today’s earworm – Foggy Notion by the Velvet Underground. It’s a great cadence for making time.
There were lots of times today when I’d look up and think – how the hell did I get here? One step at a time, I’ve made a bunch of small steps that have landed me in the middle of Kansas and how the hell am I going to get home? When you see this vast expanse, it’s intimidating that way. But then you put that aside, look around, observe, let your mind go and before you know it, you’re somewhere else. The pace of cycling is funny that way – sometimes it seems slow but you chip away at it. In fact I finished another ACA map today. That means I’ve travelled over 330 miles since Girard KS. My next map ends in Pueblo CO, a mere 289 miles from here. Then I turn off the main TransAm trail to cross Colorado. I’ve been looking forward to Colorado ever since I started planning this trip.
Mariah smiled on me again today and after Larned I had about the fastest 20 mile segment I’ve ridden. With the breeze at my back I flew, though the heat was climbing near 100 by the end of it.
The late morning and afternoon were all about heat management. I took it easy, dunked my head in a tap every 10 miles or so and found my way to Bazine.
My host in Bazine is David – a unique guy who has 11 adopted kids and lives in the town’s old high school. It’s kind of a cool setup – they have a gym, a big kitchen, and tons of room. He’s remodeling and hopes to make it a B & B someday. And I thought my little remodel project was daunting – try a high school. It’s good to see him with his kids – it takes a unique person to spend so much time giving to others.