As planned I was up early this morning. I woke up at 05.00 central time (04.00 mountain time) and was on the road for 06.00, beating the sunrise. I knew I had a lot of miles to cover today, but it was still a bit daunting to see a sign proclaiming ‘Pueblo: 111’ after nearly an hours cycling.
It was good to get the miles in early – I could tell that today was going to be hot as soon as I stepped out the door this morning. I zipped through this morning, maintaining an average speed of just over 20mph for the first couple of hours. I reached ‘La Junta’, just over half way through today’s stage, for 10.00 and decided to press on as I was feeling good and was still flying. Each town I went through had elevation listed on it’s ‘welcome to’ sign – it was a boost to see that I was climbing, proof that the anticipated mountains were getting closer. When I set of this morning I started keeping a look out for the mountains – 70 miles or so through today’s stage they finally appeared. At first I thought I was seeing just another cloud on the horizon, but as I got closer I realized that the cloud was in fact the snowy cap of a distant mountian. Throughout the day they became clearer, and more defined – this was a real boost, as they were the first obstruction of the skyline since Missouri.
Making an early start proved to be a good decision: when I was about 25 miles away from Pueblo the wind kicked in with no warning. One minute I was cruising at 18mph and the next I had been stopped in my tracks. Much as it did two days ago, the wind made the last strech an absolute nightmare. At this point I had already cycled over 100 miles and it ground my progress to a halt, leaving me to dig deep, and just keep pedaling. It was so loud that I could barely hear the traffic roaring past 4ft away from me! It was with great releif that I finally entered Pueblo, parched, exhausted, but glad to half reached the halfway point of my American odyssey.
It feels awesome to have reached the official halfway marker – I can’t believe that I have travelled 2000+ miles under my own steam. It seems like a lifetime ago that I left Yorktown, and although there have been some tough moments it’s all been worth it – looking at the map and seeing where I’ve come from is just unbelievable. I’m really looking forward to the Rocky Mountains, and some varied terrain after the great plains – but not before a well earned rest day. Over the last 6 days I’ve covered just under 600 miles, and have put in 5 consecutive century rides – now that’s progress.
It seems I couldn’t have timed it better, as I write this the wind is howling outside, and it looks like there’s going to be a storm over night – I’m just glad I’m tucked up in the warm.