TransAm Days 40, 41, 42 and 43 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of June

Tom writes:

Larned to Ness City: 105 kms

Ness

Ness City to Leoti: 130 kms

Leoti

Leoti to Eads: 128 kms

eads

Eads to Ordway: 100 kms

ordway

ordwaybig

Total number of punctures so far: 6 (Ami 4 Tom 2)

Total distance so far: 3542 kms

 

Kansas (and a reasonable portion of Colorado it must be said) from a Trans Am perspective can be defined by a straight, windy and boring stretch of tarmac, namely our “friend” State Road 96.

We reached this shrine at a place that had absolutely nothing to recommend it called Rush Center and are still stuck on it now as I write this in Ordway, a few miles outside of Pueblo.

All in all we will be in its grip for a grand total of 533 kms, not being unfaithful and leaving it to dally with other lanes or streets a single little time.

The first day was uneventful as we trundled merrily along to a backdrop of farm land and the sound of large lorries rumbling past us from both directions. The wind was strong and from the side which was not optimal but better than it could have been.

We are seeing the racers coming through now. Doing this thing van supported I have the utmost respect for the guys we see from time to time who are crossing the country fully loaded. We will often fly by them due to our amazing physique (in our dreams) and lighter steeds and watch in awe at them struggling up the climbs.

But these people are more often than not taking longer to get across than we are. The racers are something else.

The Trans Am Bike Race is a self supported dash across the country. The record is something like seventeen days which is madness and makes our goal of 83 seem like the walk in the park that it most definitely isn’t. As most of the competitors are going east to west we see a steady stream of them pumping through, barely acknowledging us, not because they are wankers but because they are either using every sinew of energy they have to move forward or, more likely, that they are barely awake.

We have just learned that it has already been won this year by a woman, Lael Wilcox, which is an unbelievable achievement. More details here.

The 130 km ride from Ness City (where I looked in vain for a monster) to Leoti was the worst so far of the trip.

To start with it was bloody long. It was also bloody hot, blowing a gale mainly from the side but also from head on and to top it all I got another puncture. (Which sat so tight it took three people about an hour to change).

Add to this the growing number of lorries on this stretch, carrying in some cases loads that literally covered two thirds of the width of the road and you can get some idea as to why a few of our throng were contemplating giving up for the day. Ami was cycling in tears at one point.

We would like to thank Cody, a kid we met at our final resting point in Scott City, who seeing our plight and expressing a desire to bike the country one day with his dad, gave us each an energy bar to get us through the final 40 kilometers of the day.

Thanks mate.

040

As many of you have probably deduced already, we crossed the border to Colorado and don’t worry, as soon as I get slightly better internet I will upload the Kansas song that we recorded. You will just have to settle for a picture of us at the time zone shift for now.

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And as for this, Kansas, somehow we doubt it.

046

The landscape changed from farmland to some form of scrubby desert which led to fewer big trucks and with that nicer roads. We all feared for the next couple of days of riding but they were both comparatively good with more sympathetic winds.

In Eads we reached the mid point of the route and posed dutifully beside the plaque that informed us of this fact.

051

Only 3400 kms left now. 🙂

And in Ordway we celebrated the 71st birthday of the groups calming influence, Jack, who will be presented presently. Ami found a small bottle of Swedish Absolut Vodka to help him on his way.

We even managed to get it on the road before he arrived which was mainly Dave’s idea and a lovely touch.

053

Onward and westward

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