We aren't in Colorado anymore, are we, Toto? Oh yes, I am surprised to say that we are! You wouldn't guess it by the scenary or the smells - flat lands, no mountains to be seen in the distance, cows and more cows, horses, livestock everywhere, livestock auction houses, fields of corn and soy, lots of roadkill, and extremely hot! This ride really took my breath away - not the scenary but the cow crap smell! OH GOSH!
Today was quite the eventful day. We were setting off on our longest day of the whole ride - 121 miles. I started out with a hearty breatfast which didn't settle well with my still fragile stomach. For the first 20-30 miles, I felt weak and a little underwell... but as the day went on and my breakfast settled, I started to feel better. I decided to stick with plain foods for the next few days until my stomach is doing well and I can vary my diet more. After about 40-50 miles, I felt strong as ever and back to my old riding self! There was some excitement in the air - partially because we were all so happy to be back on our bikes after a rest day and partially because there was probably some nerves due to the long mileage. We had many flats by the first sag stop (none were mine) since the shoulder on the road today wasn't too great. We even had two tires blow while the bikes were leaned against the fence at the first sag stop (see the video of Rick being told he has a flat that happened while he was in the store... funny...).
Onto more eventful things... first of all, whenever I see a police car with sirens or an ambulance, I always pray that it isn't one of our riders down in front of me or behind me. Today, the road was quiet at 8am on a Sunday and I saw an ambulance come flying by me - I thought "uh-oh" and unfortunately one of our riders, Bob, was in the ambulance heading to the hospital. No one is quite sure what happened... he was riding along with a riding buddy and he fell over on his bike and wasn't conscience. According to the doctors, he can't continue on the ride for now and I hope that everything is okay and that he'll be on the mend before he knows it. We should have more news about him as the day progresses.
Speaking of men down, we have lost many riders so far - some planned, some unplanned. We had our 7 riders leave in Pueblo who were doing the journey from Salt Lake City to Pueblo and they will all be missed! The father and son team, John and David, left the day before Pueblo and we didn't have a chance to say goodbye - they were suppose to leave in Pueblo but David came down with the same sickness that has gone around and so they left a day earlier. Gary, who lives in the Bay Area, decided to go home in Pueblo, instead of finish the ride - he was just done riding - I don't quite get it since I am having a fabulous time but I guess each person has a different reason for being here and is on a different journey. And now Bob is gone. We have added ONE new rider, Greg, who will stay with us until Indiana. I haven't really met him yet but will maybe get to know him tonight. The absence of many riders was noticed today on the road.
We arrived in Lamar, Colorado - home of the Santa Fe Trail, after 7 hours of riding time. We had some sidewinds and headwinds, which were actually great since it was so dang hot! Our hotel tonight could be described as a warehouse converted into a hotel jungle. Actually, it is an old cow auction place... interesting... I hear interesting hotels are expected throughout Kansas... and onto Kansas we go tomorrow - we got a nice introduction today (I think maybe they should change the border between Colorado and Kansas and make this part of Colorado into Kansas... it definitely fit the Kansas sterotype of scenary!) By the way, there are even Kansas postcards in this town!