Salisbury Beach

Salisbury Beach
Thank You Katie, Mary, Caitlin and Brian

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fast America Day 14

Dodge City, KS to Great Bend, KS

Mileage:                     87.53 miles
Riding Time:              6:08     Riding Speed 14.3 mph
Total Time:                 7:45
Climbing:                    556 ft.
Flats:                           0

(BTW, “Great Bend” refers to the Arkansas river, which abruptly turns from NE to SE at (you guessed it) Great Bend, KS).

For those of you who don’t appreciate the effects of wind, look at my distance and time for yesterday and today. It was a headwind all day, although it started out at only 7-10 mph, it finished at about 15 mph. I’m beginning to appreciate the sailing skills of the people who operated the prairie schooners. The wind sure negated the fact that today was virtually all down hill.

The Good: I think that this was my strongest day since the first day. I blew the start; one has to queue up to load one’s stuff in the trailer and sign in; then you can start. Today, for the first time, 7 or 8 people took off as a group before I could load my stuff. I understand that they formed an efficient, fast, and painful paceline the whole way (they were just leaving the first SAG stop when I arrived). So I rode into the headwind mostly by myself (I was not a parasite today, and Tom must have been lonely), dangling between the “faster” and “slower” riders. But I pushed it, and was able to get my heart rate up higher than it has been in a week.

The Bad: My left heel hurt like hell the last 15 miles. It was hot – I think that my shoe puts pressure on my left heel due to my odd foot shape, which caused the bruise before the ride (which has cleared up  but threatens to recur). I will try moleskin again on my heel tomorrow.

The Challenge: tomorrow is 129 miles, 50% longer than today, and into the same head/crosswind. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.

On the way today, I took a short detour to Pawnee Rock, the highest point for miles around, and the half way point on the Chisolm/Santa Fe trails from Missouri to Neew Mexico. Unbelievable view (but I wish I could see Buffalo herds). Legend has it that Kit Carson killed his mule in the middle of the night while sleeping there, thinking that his mule was a Pawnee Indian.

I also declined a longer side trip to Ft. Larner. Our first SAG stop was at the exact midpoint between San Francisco and New York. There is a little museum, which includes the bicycle that a youg man rode here(don’t remember the date) to reunite with his family that had emigrated from NY when he was 10. It is a fixie (fixed gear, no brakes) and the rear tire still has his tape on it to hold it together.

Speaking of holding things together: “Ohio Bob” (to differentiate him from “U.K. Bob”) is riding his 25 year old Cannondale (for nostalgic reasons). Yesterday, the stem cracked and almost failed but he had the presence of mind to find a farmhouse and ask if they knew of a welder. The welder had to stay overtime and charged $1.00 a minute for his 25 minutes (a bargain, by any scale) and got him back on his way. Bob will try to replace it when we reach Springfield, IL.

And finally: I have had dinner in three, not very upscale, Kansas restaurants. But the steak at each was A+.


  1. Great going Chris, just got caught up on your adventures again. Glad to hear you got worked through the low energy days there. I see you are still working on perfecting your flat tire changing skills...the motel room episode was pretty humorous!
    130mi. tomorrow, that will be like a grand tour stage. Speaking of which, the Giro started today, HTC took the TTT.

  2. Chris, I'm following your reports daily. You're sounding great.

    Tell us more about the other riders, please.


  3. Those steaks are making me hungry.

    Are they better than California's steak?

    Keep up the good ride, Chris.