Big surprise, it rained again last night. And, at about 3:00am, the winds blew hard and gusty. My tent held up well and kept everything dry, but I had to pack up a wet tent in the morning. I was up by 5:00am and off to a local cafe that was supposed to be famous for their breakfast burrito. Good food, good coffee and a visit with a rider who had done some mountain biking in Colorado, and I was off, but this time, not on Highway 24. Today we headed south with a couple of jogs before turning east again on our way to Minneapolis.
A couple of brief periods of light rain were the only weather issues of the day. It warmed up nicely and by mid-morning the sun was out to stay. We did hit a lot of rolling hills, some long and steep. It felt good to try to use my momentum from the downhill to spin the pedals in a high gear as long as I could climbing the next hill. Some were long enough that I had to shift down, stand up, or both. But today was mostly about eating. About 30 miles into the ride was the town of Hunter, where BAK had arranged for lunch for us at their expense. Normally a chicken sandwich doesn't sound that good at 9:30 in the morning, but after a good 30 miles, it was pretty good.
So, by 10:00am I had eaten a breakfast burrito, half banana and a few fig newtons at the SAG stop, and a chicken sandwich, pasta salad, chips and a brownie bar, and a homemade cinnamon roll I bought from some ladies selling them on the street in Hunter. Then, about 15 miles down the road, at the 2nd SAG stop, some local women set up shop at the same corner in the middle of nowhere to sell pie. Everyone knows that pie has magical properties to help with a long day of riding, so I was sold. For $5.00 I got a wonderful piece of pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream, and a Gatorade. Nine miles down the road was the town of Barnard. As I rolled through town a cyclist was coming out of the new 4-H building proclaiming that any BAK rider HAD to stop for some of the best pie ever! What could I do? Every kind of pie you could imagine was available, along with iced tea and cold water, for a freewill donation. Some were raving about the gooseberry, but I went with blueberry. All this, as Jack Bauer might say, "takes place between 6:00am and 12:00am.
The ride into Minneapolis was on back roads with little traffic, past vast wheat fields and old homesteads. These plains truly are beautiful in their own way.
After all the food, I still felt pretty good. My legs were strong, getting used to the rolling hills and hours of pedaling each day. However, after riding in the rain for a couple days, my saddle wasn't a place I wanted to get back to after making it to our destination for the night. Fortunately, the high school in Minneapolis had food vendors outside and in the school cafeteria. They had movies playing in auditorium, if you wanted to get out of the heat for a while, and before our nightly meeting they had belly dancers! The four girls were in various stages of mastering the dances their instructor introduced, but if you're in Minneapolis, KS and there are belly dancers, you've got to go.