Day 36 – 87 miles to Las Animas, Colorado

Morning!  Erica woke us up at 4 am because she didn’t set her clock back now that we are in Mountain Standard Time.  So we went back to sleep and woke up about an hour later.  Thanks, girl.

Dedication circle this morning was cool – a lot of people had nice dedications.  Today, and everyday, was dedicated to my mother.  As we are halfway, I wanted to reinforce why I am here.  I also dedicated today to my mother’s best friend’s mother, Kitty Angrisani, who passed away earlier this year.  My Aunt Kathy has not only been a great friend to my mother since childhood, but also an important figure in my own life.  She is always interested in my life and whereabouts.  I have great memories of her at family parties and at my house, always making me laugh.  A few days before my mother passed, she helped my dad move me into college at Temple.  Today was for her mother, Kitty.day36dedication

Teams were chosen with a zoo animal game – everyone drew a farm animal, closed their eyes, and could only find their team by making the animal’s noise.  I was a cow, so I moo-ed like crazy.  I quickly found a tall male, which was Elliot, and then Casey and Carissa, and finally Landis, who I’ve yet to ride with!  I couldn’t imagine how funny it would’ve been to watch us making ridiculous noises and blindly trying to find one another.

We left around 7 am with so much excitement – today is the day we leave Kansas and enter Colorado!  About 10 miles into the ride, we saw chalk, “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Orange.”  “Orange who?”  And finally, as we reached the leaving Kansas sign, with the water van in the distance just under the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign, the final chalking, “ORANGE YOU GLAD WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!?”  Yes.  Yes, we were all so happy to be out of Kansas.  After 9 days of heat, some winds (which when they were bad, they were really bad), and never-ending scenery, we couldn’t be more excited to be in Colorado.  Today was a pivotal day – beginning the second half of our trip and entering some really exciting states.  We stopped at the sign, obviously, and took pictures like crazy.  Everyone was climbing all over the sign and hanging from it.  It was pretty cool to be in Colorado.

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Side note: as we were getting ready to leave, a man pulled up in a pick-up and warned us that we were in rattlesnake country.  Great.

We continued on, as Draper kept us on a strict time schedule.  We had an 85 mile day and it was supposed to reach 103 degrees.  The more mileage we covered in the morning, the less we’d have to complete in severe heat and sun.

Our team pretty much coasted all day, making pretty good time.  We averaged about 15 mph, which for such a hot day and moderate winds, was pretty good.day36team

The beginning of Colorado was definitely not what I expected – it was dry, barren, and had a lot of empty fields stretching for miles.  There was not a lot of life besides a couple of (what I believed to be) slaughterhouses with thousands (literally) of cows fenced in.  But it still felt great to be out of Kansas and into Colorado.

At about mile 60, Casey and Landis jumped into the van… Casey broke a spoke and Landis was feeling a bit dehydrated.  So Elliot, Carissa, and I were on our own, which was a lot of fun.  It’s cool to be in small groups, especially when the three of us killed it.  We kept a pretty fast pace and felt really strong, despite the 105 degrees.  Yes, it was 105 degrees.  We got to our last water stop, 14 miles out, where Casey rejoined us (having fixed her spoke herself in the van).  We made it to our host, the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, Colorado by 3 pm.  We grabbed iced coffees, since we did not get any this morning) and went straight to the pool.  We all jumped in right away and embraced the freezing cold water.  Some of us even went down the slide, which was kind of violent, being pretty fast and launching you onto the water right on your back.  But it was a fun time, just hanging out and being with everyone.day36pool1day36pool

Michael
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