Update on Alex Halliday, William Duffy and James Howard who are currently Cycling Across America!
Since the last blog we have moved through Kansas and into Colorado, making our way into the Rockies and preparing ourselves for 50 mile climbs taking us to heights of 14,000ft at some points. Although this sounds quite a battle, we have been assured by cyclists going the other way that it isn't as bad as it looks...let's hope they speak the truth as it sounds pretty unpleasant to us!
Kansas, true to form was extremely flat and when the wind blows you know about it. Fighting headwinds became exhausting and tedious, knowing you could go 5mph faster with much less energy expended. On only two occasions through Kansas did we have a tailwind. On one of the days we managed 133 miles and on the other 115; clawing back the miles we lost waiting out storms!
Although the Romans never made it to America it was as if they had built the roads going through Kansas: straight as an arrow. One day we didn't make a turn for 78 miles. As mentioned previously we were cycling at night, avoiding the winds and the heat of the day. Although this made life much more comfortable, we were flirting with death every night as lorries burned down these narrow roads with barely any consideration for us hugging the sides. Saying this during the hours of 2am-5am we barely saw any cars. To give you an idea of how straight these roads were, sometimes we would see headlights coming towards us, yet it would be a good 5 minutes till the car actually reached us. The same can be said for seeing towns in the distance. They seem so close at night, illuminating the sky ahead of us, however resentfully we quickly learnt that we could still have another 10 miles till we reached our destination. So close yet so far could accurately describe it!
In previous blogs we have complained about the heat we have experienced, however the last week has made us miss it. The weather has been awful; rain, wind and storms! Cycling through a storm at 6am in the morning after 90 odd miles strikes a bit of fear in your heart as you are in open land on a metal bike!! We did strike a bit of luck the other day, about to set off when some cyclists arrived saying a massive storm was heading our way. Rumours of half inch hail stones led to us taking refuge in a motel. Not only did this stop us cycling into miserable weather but these cyclists sold us some tyres and inner tubes which we were seriously in need of. It has also got rather cold at night, on one occasion this led to us having to wear bin bags under our gear as well as stuffing ourselves full of kitchen towel; Will saw this in a film and believe me it is a working alternative if you have no other option! Now we are in the Rockies we have all invested in some colder weather gear.
The Rockies, although back into long mountain climbs, are without doubt the most beautiful part of the trip so far. Everywhere you look these enormous mountains are staring you in the face, a breath of fresh air after the flats of Kansas. The towns are much more prepared for tourists with many more motels and B&Bs; this not only means a comfy bed at night but more importantly the luxury of a warm shower. It is also exciting to be in more populated places again after spending the last week staying in towns which were struggling to attract more than 50 residents! In fact the pendulum seems to have swung the other way... and perhaps too far! Our stop was a town called Solida (in the Rockies) and as we arrived we saw many a motel and B&B. However, 32 phone calls later we discovered every motel, hotel, inn; every source of accommodation was fully booked. We are not exaggerating when we say we called every place to stay in the yellow pages. Fortunately some nice man came to our rescue and put us up...the kindness we have experienced ceases to amaze us.
Cycling for the amount of time which we are, some of you may wonder how we spend 9-10 hours on the bike every day without getting bored...the honest answer is we do get bored at times, wishing the miles would go quicker. The roads are often busy meaning it's hard to talk to each other and there is only a certain number of times you can listen to the same playlist without considering lobbing your iPod off the highest peak. Of course we are enjoying ourselves massively every day; it is human nature to get a little bored after such a period of time doing the same thing continuously.
So far it has been an incredible journey and we are gaining an experience of a life time, but it is also important to remember the reason we are here. So if you haven't done already, www.bmycharity.com/transamericacycle is the website you want to be visiting!!
Thank you all for your support so far, it helps massively during the bleak times.