From Kansas to Kansas
Although the previous shift was my favorite, this is the one that stands out the most.
The weather report was calling for triple digit temperatures, with just as much humidity. It was funny because the weather reports were saying "Do NOT go outside, and especially do NOT do any physical activity." HA! Whatever...
For as much good karma as we got the day previous by relieving Andrew, we zeroed that out by showing up an ungodly 45 minutes late due to getting lost in Kansas roads, even with a car garmin, and multiple edge 705's. Once we finally got on the correct road, Matt was flooring it - going apx. 80mph down these back country roads, running over snakes, and leaving me with a wet chamois!
We finally took over, and took over from about 10:45am-3:45pm (greg and ralph ended up being 45 minutes late as well), which basically meant the hottest part of the day. The temperature reading in our truck was able to confirm what the weather was saying about temperature - although after stepping outside, I didn't need a thermometer to tell me it was atrocious out.
I did a 4 mile pull, and after I got back in the car, I mentioned to Matt that Larry and I should move to 3 mile pulls, 4 miles at absolute max, just due to the heat. Larry agreed, and we did 3 mile pulls for the rest of the the shift. I also wasn't messing around today - I was rockin the desoto arm coolers. Here is the deal with them: once they are wet, and if you go fast enough - they work. But, if you are gonna cruise around with them (not us damnit!), and not sweat - they don't work.
At any rate, Kansas was mostly flat, straight, and if I didn't mention, hotter than hell. Heat Index was 105. Brutal. After every measly 3 mile pull, I easily put down half to an entire water bottle. Over the course of 5 hours - I put down over 2 gallons of water alone (not including other caloric fluids) - and only peed once (NOT on the bike believe it or not!) - but that was in the first hour, so it almost didn't count since that was mostly pre-hydration.
However, it really wasn't that bad - and dare I say - it was kind of nice. This was RAAM - gutting it out and laying it down in some tough ass conditions. This was one of the parts of the race that I was looking for - the world's toughest bike race. BRING IT.
If you have never been to Kansas, then I could sum it up in two pictures: