Today's Miles = 40.2
Average Speed = 10.8 mph
Maximum Speed = 21.8 mph
Total Miles = 2194.8
The hostel in Scott City was such a nice place to stay that Steve and Linda announced their intentions to stay another day, while naturally the trio of young men decided to go for another 100 mile ride. The morning winds weren't looking too promising, and I did hear the Jacuzzi beckoning my name, but I decided to go ahead and put on some miles for the day.
I was sorely tempted to stay an extra night after my grueling day yesterday, but I just couldn't bring myself to not ride since it would have defeated the entire purpose of the extra distance I had just forced myself to grind out. After getting a late start to the morning I set out for a 50-mile ride to Tribune, with the option of a 100-mile ride to Eads only to be considered if a monster tailwind came to push me along.
Instead of the tailwind I was hoping for I found myself instead starting my day riding into a western headwind that slowly came around to a southern crosswind. As I left Scott City behind me I had the pleasure of watching the lightshow of a thunderstorm to the north that the wind was pushing away. But after about ninety minutes of riding the wind did a slow 180-degree turn and instead of pushing the thunderstorm away from me started to bring it directly towards me. At the time I could see the town of Marienthal about 5 miles ahead and I started pushing harder to try to make it there before the storm. When I had about 2 miles to go the first raindrops started hitting me, and the wind began to blow with an increasing ferocity. As I came within the last mile to ride to town the rain and wind became so strong that the droplets felt like needles on my face and legs, and I was no longer strong enough to keep my bike on the road with the howling crosswind trying to push me to the south. I dismounted and began jogging my bike in the direction of town when a pickup pulled alongside me. Although we could barely speak over the storm, the offer of a ride was clear and I threw my bike in the back of the truck and jumped into the cab.
No sooner was I inside the truck than hail joined the cacophony of thunder, wind, and rain. The noise was too loud for me to even shout over to introduce myself, so I simply watched the storm unfold outside the truck as the driver squinted his way down the road. The hail grew to walnut sized balls of ice that pounded dents into the hood of the truck, and we inched our way down the road to the town of Leoti. After about eight miles the sky suddenly turned to blue and the storm was behind us. A few minutes later we were in Leoti and my bike was back on solid ground. I thanked John, the driver of the truck, and found a burger stand to get a quick meal to warm me up.
As I finished my afternoon ride to Tribune the wind continued to be indecisive, blowing first from one direction and then from the next. The sky had darkened again another storm seemed like a very real possibility. Although my plan had been to camp in Tribune, I wasn't too keen on the idea of my tent trying to stand against that kind of wind and hail. I headed over to the office of the only motel in town and rented myself a room for the night. The motel was also playing host to a construction crew who was resurfacing the highway, and as I pushed my bike into my room a couple of the workers joked that I was next to the noisiest room in the place.
With every restaurant in town closed and the crew starting their party next door I wasn't anticipating a great night. But to my fortune, things began to change. Shortly after I checked in the phone rang and the motel owner asked if I was interested in some barbeque. It turns out that the owner is a bicyclist himself, and after feeding me and letting me ride his incredible mountain bike, he moved me to a room that had a second phone line for my computer. As I was moving my stuff to my new room, a few of the workers next-door invited me to come hang out with them.
So my day ended with me hanging out with a road crew in western Kansas. We played dominoes and talked about where they were all from, but the best part was that they thought that I was the tough guy, with my legs of steel and my talent for drinking my whiskey straight.