Saturday, July 5, 2008
Day 29 (Happy 4th of July!) & Day 30 (Rest Day)
We reached Pueblo, Colorado yesterday just in time to celebrate the 4th of July! We rode 107 miles in 6 hours and 47 minutes. The day's ride had us following Route 96 for another 107 miles...I think we've been on 96 for over 400 miles (since the mid-way point in Kansas). It was also our 6th straight day of riding over 100 miles. If you added up all the miles we've ridden since leaving Pittsburg, Kansas last Sunday, it totals well over 600 miles. We've been told by several people that Kansas is a difficult state to ride, especially going east to west, but it didn't seem to slow us down any. To me, it felt like we were a new group of riders - we were riding with a higher purpose. Despite some aching knees and other physical ailments, physically and mentally we all reached a higher level on the bike. 9 hours of sitting on the saddle was no longer a big deal for any of us. With great company, music, scenery, we pushed our bodies for a week straight. After falling behind a day in Pittsburg because of the bad weather, we all wanted to get back on schedule as soon as possible. We all looked at the maps and we reworked the route a few times. We chipped away at those lost 89 miles from the rain storm last Saturday and today's rest day definitely feels like a well earned break.
We averaged 15.7 mph on the day's ride, which is a great pace considering if was our 6th 100 mile day. There are three reasons I think helped move us along a such a good pace yesterday. The first is that with each day, we are all becoming stronger riders (as I mentioned above). The second reason is that we all knew we had a day off the following day and we wanted to finish the ride as quickly as possible (also Sam was really excited to see the fireworks). Lastly, I think the main reason we picked up our pace yesterday can be contributed to the fact that 3 miles west of our stopping point for lunch, Ordway, we could see the Rockie Mountains looming in the distance. The Rockies are stunning! I've never been to the Rockies and I can't think of a better way to see them than inching my way closer that beautiful range on my bike. It makes the experience that much more rewarding. I've been thinking about the Rockies since I dipped my back tire into the Atlantic Ocean back in Yorktown, Virginia and I can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment after yesterday's ride.
Our bike ride has brought the Mangum family into a small reunion of sorts. We are staying with Sam's Uncle Jack and Aunt Adelina in Pueblo. Sam has not seen her uncle since a family reunion when she was a small child about 20 years ago. She actually told me a story of her Uncle Jack last week on one our rides through Kansas. He promised her a penny for each Pecan she picked up in the backyard and Sam, being who she is, picked hundreds of them! Her story ended when Uncle Jack left the reunion and Sam was left unpaid for her hard work. Last night, without a word from Sam and as we enjoyed a great dinner on the patio overlooking the Rockies, Uncle Jack handed her $5 for her efforts some 2o years ago. It was priceless! Sam thought her uncle lived in Denver and it wasn't until yesterday that Mr. Mangum hooked up with his brother to make arrangements for us to stay at their house for the next two nights.
To top off a great reunion, a great dinner, and an overall perfect day, we spent the evening sitting on the back patio watching the neighborhood being lit up by fireworks for two straight hours. I have never seen a sight like this in my life. There were fireworks exploding in every single direction I looked. Uncle Jack's neighbors must have stockpiled fireworks for the past year! There was a constant popping and an explosion of colors. It was the best, and most random, fireworks display I have ever seen. Some of Uncle Jack's more adventurous neighbors were lighting them in the street and throwing them with their hands at the last minute. I didn't hear any ambulance sirens, so I'm guessing they are all okay.
Today we dropped our bikes off at a local bike shop in Pueblo. We need them fine tuned before we start our ascent into the mountains tomorrow. I must have jinxed my bike from my earlier postings, but since my tune-up in Pittsburg, my bike has not been shifting as smoothly. Unlike on the Blueridge Parkway in Virginia, the Rockies will be a series on long slow climbs. Hopefully it will be less stress on my knees than the Blueridge with its short, steep ascents. After the bike shop, we headed to Kinko's where I am now updating this blog. The rest of the day will find me eating a lot of food (apparently we are having Mexican for lunch) and resting my body! I cannot post pictures until I log on with Sam's laptop, but I will try to update my pictures as soon as possible so you can see how much fun we are having. Check out Sam's blog later today for updated photo's from the 4th of July celebration.
I hope all is well with everyone and thanks for your support!
Posted by Setch at 1:44 PM