Absolutely beautiful ride out of McCook, NE and into Kansas. Cool 70's, overcast dark blue sky. 27.8 miles outside of McCook, we entered Kansas and the landscape immediately changed from greens and browns to hues of yellow, gold, and gray. Noticed that pines, not sure which kind, surrounded most of the farm's homes and out buildings. I am assuming for wind protection. As I was riding, I couldn't stop thinking about the BLT I had last night. It was the best I've ever had -- thick bacon, leaf lettuce, good tomato -- have no idea where it came from --- on fresh sourdough. Taste of Texas BBQ -- if ever in McCook, NE --- don't miss it.
Today's ride became hard because it was so straight --- The Great Plains Highway -- straight with ups and downs. We slowly gained elevation as we traveled West. We stopped at a VFW in Burlington, KS to use their bathrooms. There was a Cobra Helicopter monument outside which of course, drew us in. Passed through a wind turbine corridor and into Colorado. I LOVE Colorado. Great experiences every time I visit, even when something goes wrong.
Colorado Springs welcomed us in true mountain style ---- afternoon hail, thunder and lightening. We were able to get our raingear on in time but Lisa had bruises from where the hail hit her. It was not fun negotiating through rush hour traffic in pouring rain --- just so damn hard to see. We use rain-X and anti-fog stuff ---- still hard to see.
Our hotel is HUGE ---We're in the South wing --- Our bikes are close, but it's a half mile walk to the lobby --- I kid you not.
Yesterday we rode up Pike's Peak. The summit is 14,114 ft. One of Colorado's Fourteeners, it is in the Front Range, along with Mt. Evans, which is 14,265 ft. And Mt. Bierstadt - 14,065. In 2000, Jay, Tommy, and I, along with Troop 735 climbed Mt. Bierstadt. Then we took the Sawtooth, a class 3 scramble - which means that we had to use our hands in places to climb and navigate rocks -- over to Mt. Evans. One of my fondest memories with both of my sons.
Yesterday, I learned there is a difference between hiking up to 14,000 and riding up to that altitude. Even though we stopped at 10,000 for about 15 mins. And then at 12,000 for about an hour - it snowed up top and they closed the road for snow and ice. We were fully hydrated, clear pee - but still felt very lightheaded and a little dizzy at the summit. Admittedly, when we were here in 2000, we did a much better job of acclimating. Camped at The Air Force Academy, then climbed to 13,000 and came right down the day before we went to 14,000.
Anyway, we made it!!! The coolest thing was that The sisters ride creator/organizer was being interviewed/filmed about her thoughts on the ride thus far. The film crew who are really great and work for Indian, asked Lisa if she would sit on a rock with Alissa with the magnificiant view in the background and talk about her experiences as a woman veteran. One of the charities this ride supports is Final Salute, a group that helps support women vets with housing and re-entry.
Lisa spoke beautifully, honestly - she was real --she told stories that she has shared with very few of us, I was in tears --- everyone that was grouped around watching was crying. I was so proud of her.
After we descended, we headed to Pike's Peak Motorsports. Stormy had an app. For an oil change and chain cleaning and adjustment. While we waited, we sat outside and ate lunch. Another rider/staff member joined us. Apparently, we missed the traditional donut at the top of Pike's Peak. Seems they are made from a recipe that only works at 14,000 ft or above. They have been sold on the Mtn. In one form or another for 125 years according to Rocky Mtn. Food report. Luckily, neither one of us likes donuts.