Today was easily the hotest day of the trip so far, with the temperature around 30 – far too hot for cycling! The terrain changed today, this morning I was definately still in the mountains – and suffered through the climbs to prove it – but by this afternoon the landscape had become more rolling, and less challenging. From what I have seen so far, there is a lot of cockrel breeding in this part of Kentucky – and they start crowing as soon as you go past – this sets of the others further along the road in a chain reaction – several thousand (no joke) cockrels can make a lot of noise.
I knew today’s ride was going to be difficult from the moment I turned on the tv in the motel this morning in time to hear the weatherman say ‘strong winds from the west’. For once the weather guys had it right – I struggled into a strong headwind all day. The wind and the heat made it a really hard day – it certainly felt like the longest!
By the time I stumbled into a diner for lunch at around 15.00, I was overheated, exhausted and thirsty – airconditioning and an ice cold drink have never felt so good! I ended up talking to a couple of guys from the local highschool baseball team, who were getting lunch before setting off for their game. They couldn’t beleive what I was doing, and said they found playing baseball hard in this heat – let alone cycling all day. A bit of appreceiation from those guys meant that the mornings struggle seemed slightly more worthwhile.
By the time I left the diner I felt a lot better for having cooled off and re-hydrated. The temperature had started to drop and there was more cloud cover, so that helped. The baseball team had told me about a place called ‘Big Hill’ just outside my destination for today – ‘Berea’. Big Hill is imaginatively named after the massive hill leading into the mountains from the town – fortunately I was going down the hill: the signs warning of the gradiant look a lot better from that perspective, especially after a long day.
On the dog front I was chased by quite a few today, and managed to outpace most of them. Although I was chased while climbing a mountain this morning (crawling up in my smallest gear) by a large pitbull. I dismounted, kept the bike between me and the dog, and shouted at it until it ran away. This afternoon, more and more of the dogs around seemed to be restrained – which helped – it gets the adrenalin going when a big dog comes tearing after you without much warning!
I hear the tempreature is set to drop a bit tomorrow, so I hope the weathermen are as acurate in predicting the temperature as they were in predicting today’s wind.