When the people at RAAM HQ interviewed Tony about his race experiences one of the things he talked about was how we all thought that crossing Kansas is the hardest part of the race because it is so long and flat and the scenery doesn’t change much. But Kansas can also be a lot of fun in the right conditions, which was the situation on Tuesday morning. For a few hours after dawn, the temps were cool but comfortable and we had alight but almost direct tail wind. For long sections we were able to maintain an average speed of 25+ mph, and in some stretches were holdings 30mph. Some of the finest riding we’ve every had.
The other face of Kansas appeared mid-morning when it got a lot warmer and our lovely tail wind shifted to a direct crosswind coming from the South. As the day went on, the crosswind got stronger and stronger, making it a constant struggle to keep the bike steady and upright. Wind speeds must’ve been a constant 30-40 mph. We made our pulls shorter and shorter until by the end of the day we were only riding 4-5 miles at a time. At first it was a little interesting to see the amber waves of grain in the wheat fields, but after a while the howling wind sounded like a giant threshing machine seperating the wheat from the chaff. Eventually the wind began kicking up clouds of dust and grit blasted our arms and legs. There is a layer of fine dust on every inch of our bikes.
Lee nominated Kansas’ ‘Dust in the Wind’ as our theme song today.
Once the crosswind kicked in, holding our bikes steady took all our concentration, but before that we were able to enjoy the scenery a little. Yes, western Kansas looks a little bleak, but the long desolate vistas have a beauty of their own. One of the great treats of this whole RAAM adventure is seeing so much of our big beautiful country of ours. Each day the sun rises to a completely different terrain, topography and vegetation.
Well, that’s not completely true. Tony, Lisa, Jerome and Dave will ride for the next 12 hours and when we arrive to relieve them at 5am we will STILL BE IN KANSAS.
All the riders are so very grateful for our fantastic crew – keeping us fed, safe and transported to wherever we need to be next, especially after a day like this. Thanks to Lynn, Neil, Steve, Celeste, Bruce, Amy, Brigette, Charlie and Chad.
We must end with a reminder of why we are doing this. Yes, it will be nice to have the bragging rights, but much more importantly we are racing to fund those seeking cures to the deadly blood cancers we have all lost friends and family to. Please help out – visit our donation page and MAKE A DONATION NOW!