Distance: 64 miles
Weather: high-60s to begin then to the low-80s, rainy to begin with.
Riders departed the hotel under cloudy skies and soon these clouds turned to rain. Not a torrential downpour, but enough rain to make Liz and John say, “This is just like home!” They are from England you know! The riders did not let this get them down and they were all smiles as they left Route 56 and began cycling roads with actual names not numbers.
The big industrial farms they had been riding in gave way to smaller farms, a nature preserve and small towns every ten miles or so. This change was welcome although they will now have to focus more on navigating than they have had to do in the past.
After 24.7 miles, riders came to the official halfway point of this year’s Cross Country Challenge. Even with the rain coming down, most riders stopped to snap a picture or two. Some gave high fives and the self-appointed “Grinders” made it a point to reach the halfway mark together, much as they have ridden till now.
The celebration continued at the sag stop with riders sampling some wonderful homemade treats brought to the group yesterday. The town of Gypsum was very friendly to us. Bill, who has a workshop right next to the gazebo where the sag stop was, even offered to let us use his restrooms! (If you are a cyclist you can appreciate how much this meant to us).
The rain finally let up after the sag and riders were treated to quite a few miles of newly paved road. Some went exploring in the town of Solomon and found a great diner that served enormous pieces of pie and ice cream. Some waited until they arrived in Abilene to sample the cooking at 311, M and R Grill and some other places.
Many of the riders took the opportunity to visit the Eisenhower Library. One of Abilene’s greatest claim to fame is that President Eisenhower once lived here but it is also known for some of its architecture and cattle drives. The hotel staff told we could see a real cattle drive in September but I don’t think we will stick around that long…tomorrow we ride to Topeka!