When a Double Metric Feels Like a Triple
Mileage: 120 miles
Total Climb: 1,100 feet
Weather: Comfortable early on, crushing headwind as the day moved on.
Coming back fresh off a rest day, we were looking at decent weather with a few clouds, but overall pretty sunny. The ride out of Pueblo was fairly quick, one high point being a Grateful Dead fan’s cannabis farm (no pun intended) complete with brightly painted garage, which also served as a good indicator of what was being grown there. As our cyclists made their way further down Highway 50, they slowly made their way back into more agricultural areas. There was a lot of green and houses were much farther apart once again, with the Arkansas River once again running along the opposite side of the highway.
After the first SAG stop, which was across from a church on a side road that doubled as a gas station driveway, we went past our first feed lot of the trip. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of getting close to a feed lot, they’re one of those things thats pretty difficult to describe in a few different ways. One could easily smell it before they see it, and once they see it, they’ll never forget it. We then passed the town of Swink, which one of our riders, Ira, joked should have been called ‘Stink’. After the feed lot, this name would be fairly apt.
We had a second SAG stop at the site of a shut down rest stop, where the bugs seemed to have all camped out waiting for us. While one of riders, Bob, took a breather, a motorist drove up to him and asked “What are ya sellin’?” to which he replied “Well, what do you want?” One of our riders also had a bizarre flat where their valve pulled completely out of their tube with nobody anywhere near the bicycle. It was quickly fixed, however, and she stayed on the road.
Shortly after the second SAG, the headwinds started. At first, there wasn’t much wind, and it was generally manageable, but around mile ninety, the gusts of wind got up to 25-30 miles per hour, which effectively turned this slightly downhill day into something like a long climb. By the third SAG, even the bugs didn’t want to stick around, and we started to hear about tornado warnings in a county south of where we were riding. Most of our riders didn’t want to get off the bike, however, so we continued to give them support and keep watch over them to make sure that if conditions got too harsh we could make sure nothing too bad happened to them. Fortunately, everyone who decided to ride on made it in. We were forced because of the headwinds to eat dinner in shifts, but thankfully the Hickory House stayed open to take care of our group. Its starting to seem like for every day we have that goes normal, in terms of weather at least, there is another that is just completely out of left field. We had made it another day, and the unpredictable weather continues.