Today was hot. I guess it's preparing me for the heat and humidity that will be a regular occurrence on my trip from now on. It never ceases to amaze me the diversity of my environment from one day to the next. I left Canon City and said goodbye to the mountains and welcomed the flat that is eastern Colordao. Well, unsure if I'm excited for flat cycling or not. I mean, as long as there isn't Intense headwinds and crazy heat (ha! Had both today), you can pound out the miles. But the scenery (to me) is nowhere near as beautiful as the west. But, I hear from cyclists I've met that there is a beauty to Kansas.
I stopped and had a great breakfast burrito at The Pour House in Florence CO. I met a woman who biked the Southern Tier (ACA route) in the spring and had an amazing time. I think it was with Adventure Cycling Association because it was a supported ride. I should have chatted with her more (and taken a photo), but I knew I had a long day and ate my burrito fairly quickly and was out of there! I need to remember to slow down sometimes. I didn't even get her name. And those are the experiences I love the most... the people I meet. About a mile out of town I pledged to not rush out, especially with people who seem genuinely intriguing to me.
The heat today meant a few things... I noticed my appetite isn't as strong, so I need to force myself to stop and get calories in (I never thought I'd say that!) in the heat. I figured I drank over a gallon of water today and probably dumped about 30 ounces of water on my head to keep from getting overheated. Since I'm in a remote area, I need to look ahead on the ACA map to make sure I have water access. if there's a long time (usually over 30 miles), I need to carry extra water. With my two water bottles, two bladders and my Teavana thermos, I can carry about 90 ounces with me. If I know I have further to go, I'll buy water and carry extra. Which is fine, but creates a heavier load of course. I also need to reapply sunblock over and over. Seriously I'm so gross by the end of the day...
The terrain is really ugly here. It's dry (too dry actually and has resulted in fires as many of you know) and there's a ton of litter along the side of the road between Pueblo and Boone/Fowler. There was hardly any traffic for the last 25 miles of my ride, so I listened to music, which helped pass the time in the land of ugly. My rear view mirror reflected dark skies gaining momentum on me. Lightening flashed like a strobe. I kept pedaling and beat the storm, although the motel owner said, "We'll be lucky if we get precipitation, although there is a severe thunderstorm and hail warning right now." Glad I felt the need after 84 miles to stay inside... Air conditioning was calling my name.
I was thinking today that I haven't heard one cat-call, one whistle. No sexual harassment experiences. Just amazing. I honestly expected more of that and I'm incredibly relieved that it hasn't happened. I've had comments about my quads and calves... but all innocent! In fact, most men I meet are humbled by my adventure. Let's hope the respect continues! I continue to feel incredibly fortunate to be alone and feel safe cycling across the country. I'm careful and I know anything could happen at anytime... But overall, I feel very safe. We live in an amazing country.