Day 36: Las Animas, CO to Pueblo, CO
Total Mileage: 92 miles
They weren’t kidding when they said Eastern Colorado is very similar to Western Kansas, cause the ride felt like we were back in Kansas. Headwinds overall weren’t terrible, but they were still there. No significant climbs today, but we’re gradually gaining elevation. We were always gaining about 100-200 feet of elevation at each city we passed by. We started off at around 3900 feet in Las Animas and ended at around 4700 feet, which means the Rockies are coming.
Today’s team name: Tribe Kiowa hoo-haa-haa with Abigale, Carolyn, Athina, and Hilary. Ali’s theme today was Native American tribes and I just so happened to be with Abigale again. The two pairs that always end up together: Kat/Caiti and Abigale/Me (I swear, it’s not rigged). Even though we had three flats today from Abigale, Coral, and Hilary, we had a great day of riding.
Along our ride, we actually met up with members of another cross-country team riding from Seattle, WA to Washington, D.C. in 71 days. Their ride is called Journey of Hope and is solely comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi where they continue to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities (http://www.pushamerica.org/journeyofhope.aspx). Team Kiowa actually found a group of Journey of Hope cyclists helping out one of our groups with a flat (none of the 4Kers in that group had a spare tube, a frame pump, and tire levers). Earlier during the day, we saw cyclists traveling on the other side of the road every 2 miles or so and figured they were also a group riding across the country, so it was great meeting up with some of their riders.
The last three miles into the YMCA (our host) at Pueblo were brutal. Right before riding those last three, we helped Amy change her flat and decided to super group our way into the host. The entire day, we didn’t have any strong headwinds. For some reason, we experienced the strongest gusts of wind of the trip during those last three miles… and it was all uphill from there. When you combine climbing hills and really strong headwinds, you only travel about 6 mph using a ton of energy for such a short distance. Even with sunglasses, my eyes started to water cause the wind gusts were insane and the muscles in my legs were exhausted. After we crossed the first stoplight, I saw a jeep stop right in front of the lane we were riding in. At first, I was a bit confused cause every time I gained distance, he would move at the same pace as me. Then I knew immediately that he was blocking the wind for our group so we could draft behind his 4Runner. Turns out he was one of the contact people at the YMCA we were staying at cause we saw him at the host when we got there. Clay, thank you so much for hosting us, helping us out those last couple of miles, and allowing us to use the golf course.
A huge thanks to Caroline’s dad for treating the entire team to a Chinese buffet dinner and bringing us champagne for making it halfway through the 4K. Can’t believe we’re more than halfway done already. Stay strong Team San Fran 2013, the mountains are calling and we must go.