2000 PAC Tour Central Transcontinental
Day 12, September 21
by Ken Bartholic, Cheryl McMurray, and Chuck Bramwell

Daily Map
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Lon's Description: The rest of Kansas is not flat. The hills and trees become more frequent. Rivers and valleys are common east of Winfield. This is the rural heart of America. Motorist wave with one thumb lifted lazily from the steering wheel. Everyone one wears baseball caps from their favorite seed corn supplier. People live in the same town where they were born. Corn on the cob is eaten everyday in season. High school sports are the favorite teams to watch.

This day was a major challenge for all of us. The winds we had on Day 11 were stronger, and we had 45 degree crosswinds/headwinds (typically 15 mph, but gusting to 30 mph) from either the left or right side, depending on whether we were going east or north.

We continued our trek across Kansas, which I have decided must be an Indian word that means "Big Wind". We rode from Ulysses to Pratt, Kansas, and even though the course was 10 miles shorter than the prior day, it was a more difficult ride because of the severe winds.

At one point on one of the country roads, I actually stopped and put a foot down because I thought I might be blown over. The elevation gain on this day was negligible, but the winds made any speed over 15 mph a challenge. The terrain was featureless and flat.

Cheryl was sick with a head cold and decided a day off would be the best choice, considering the severe winds. This also provided an opportunity to experience the support side of the PAC Tour operation.

After doing the lunch preparation, we headed off in the van, made a brief stop to get some cold medication, then to the lunch stop. There were bike racks and benches to set up in addition to grill and food preparation.

After watching this operation for a day, I concluded that the staff works extremely hard and even working and riding every other day they work a lot harder than we do. Besides serving lunch and food at the other rest stops, the staff keeps track of where all the riders are, make sure they get in on time (or sagged forward if necessary to avoid riding after dark), and do all the clean up and help the riders service their bikes after the ride.

I had previously thought that working a ride and having the opportunity to ride every other day would be an easy way to do this tour, but I know that's not true.


Estimated Distance: 147 Miles
Actual Distance: 149.0 Miles
Cumulative Actual Distance: 1,517 Miles

This includes the following off course added miles:
San Diego - 2.0 Miles when Chuck and Bob Harting missed a turn

Winslow - 4.7 Miles when Chuck, Ken, and Les Drake went to the mural painting after the ride

Pagosa Springs - 3.1 Miles when Chuck missed Lunch

Alamosa - 11.2 Miles when Chuck missed the turn for Lunch

Estimated Feet of Climbing: 500 Feet
Actual Feet of Climbing: 810 Feet
Cumulative Feet of Climbing: 45,900 Feet
Elevation of Destination: 2,370 Feet
Average Speed on the Bike: 15.3 MPH
Maximum Speed on the Bike: 28.0 MPH
Chuck's Heart Rate Data:
Max Heart Rate was 196 BPM a few weeks ago before PAC Tour
Time above 150: 0:00
Time between 130-150: 4:38
Time below 130: 6:18
Dairy Queen Count: 1 Blythe, CA

2 Twister's Ice Cream in Williams, AZ

3 Dairy Queen in Cortez, Colorado was phenomenal

4 Dairy Queen in Monte Vista, Colorado
(PAC Tour Hot Fudge Banana Split:
Bananas, 3 Scoops Ice Cream, Hot Fudge on Side: Awesome!!)

5 Dairy Queen in Pratt, Kansas

Sante Fe Trail Ken and Chuck pulled off the wind swept road to admire the scenery (ya, right) (as if there was any scenery to admire!!) and voila, we happened upon this marker for the Sante Fe Trail!! This was a interesting surprise for both of us: we had no idea that we were following the Sante Fe Trail today.

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Sunflowers At the first Rest Stop here, we were surprised to see a field of sunflowers. It was cold and very windy here. Chuck lifted his bike up off the bike rack and the wind blew the rack and the other bikes over and down to the ground. Unfortunately, this broke the mirror on Jeff's bike so we did our best to repair the damage.

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Windmill collection As we came into town, there was a fun collection here: a collection of art that blew around in the wind.

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Ken and Chuck agree that today was one of the Top 10 hardest days they've ever had on a bike ... and we've had a bunch.

We rode hard, weren't able to draft because of the winds being from the wrong direction, and are now very tired so we're going to bed.

The howling wind was blowing so hard that we had to stop to drink from the water bottles because we had to keep both hands on the handlebar drops at all times.

The howling wind was blowing so hard that Chuck stopped once to have a GU and a gust of wind blew the empty GU wrapper out of his hand and straight across a two lane highway, over 30 yards away!!

We are seeing what "Howling Winds" are all about here in Kansas.

The morning started with The Weather Channel on TV, as usual. Ken and I were glued to The Weather Channel every night and every morning. The Weather Channel announcers become our friends ... or, as in the case of this morning, they become our enemies. Temperature at start: 47 degrees but 34 degrees with the Wind Chill Factor ... just about like yesterday.

Break out all of our clothes. For me that means: Undershirt, Jersey, Vest, Arm Warmers, and Windbreaker.

You know you're in possible trouble on PAC Tour when you roll into lunch and Lon is checking his watch then giving you estimates of how long you have at Lunch before you better be on the bike in order to attempt to make it to the finish before he has to SAG you in due to darkness. This was the case today. It was a wake up call for me and I hit the hammer after Lunch. The winds were brutal and omnipresent. Very gusty ... making it difficult to work together so it was each person alone against the wind.

Lon reported that Wolf Creek Pass was hit with a snow storm last night ... so we just made it over that area in the nick of time!!

It was so windy today that I couldn't hear what I said into my digital recorder ... all I could hear was wind.
Memorable Scenery: At mile 115, a Union Pacific train passed me and the engineer blew his whistle
This reminded me of my Grandpa who worked on Union Pacific trains
This occurred in the middle of nowhere ... there was only the train and myself
Mechanical Problems: None to report
Biomechanical (Engine)
None to report
What Worked: Lots and lots of clothes at start

Carnac shoes with their wide toe box were voted the most comfortable shoes on PAC Tour
      Unfortunately, Team BMB doesn't have any of these
What Didn't Work: Brutally cold headwinds that howled at us
Quote of the Day:

"All we are is dust in the wind"
See below

Chuck's Song of the Day:

"I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment's gone
All my dreams, pass before my eyes a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Dust in wind
Everything is dust in the wind"

Kansas, 1977
"Dust In The Wind" on "Point of Know Return"

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