On my last attempt at the Saddlesore 1000 last December, my hopes were dashed by 45mph headwinds and a vanishing end witness. This time too, Mother Nature was determined to make me earn every mile.
I pulled out of Sour Lake TX at 9am Central time Friday 4/29 bound for Centennial, Colorado, in 24 hours or less. The first half of the ride was pleasant and uneventful, that is if you call sunny and 70 uneventful. I made excellent time.
Not far past Wichita Falls however, I ran into a snag. Traffic began to stack up, then stopped dead.
I saw smoke in the distance and could only assume with the drought conditions we've experienced that the strong westerly wind had blown a wildfire too close to the highway. After a time we began to crawl ahead and then took a detour onto FM1763 through the parched farmland. What a dust bowl! I got a snoot full. This diversion cost me over an hour and I had to fight that fierce crosswind until sundown. The signs went by, Memphis, Amarilo, Dalhart and by the time I reached Raton Pass the temp had dropped to 25 degrees. I had layered on all the winter gear I brought. I must add that the new PIAA HID driving lights are amazing! I could see small animals crossing the highway far in front of me. For the first time I actually felt comfortable maintaining highway speed at night, especially on that stretch of I-25 between Raton and Trinidad. At my next gas stop in Walsenburg I got a shot of the sign - 29 degrees.
I took a long break in Colorado Springs and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. Onward. I'm so close now. I can feel the fatigue. That last hour silly things were going on inside my helmet as I did my best to stay alert. I turned on the GPS to guide me in. Last fuel stop 6:10am Mountain time - 1,010 MILES. NO RECEIPT! The attendant had just arrived to open the store and I walked inside to have a receipt printed. WHEW!
A few minutes later I was enjoying the warm hospitality of my good friend Dom Chang and his family. Alright, I was a basket case and they were there to pick up the pieces.
(photos courtesy of Dom Chang)
After a 4 hour nap Dom led me across town to get a new rear tire mounted on the Bandit.
(photo courtesy of Dom Chang)
Saturday evening I had the pleasure of helping to wrench on the new hack a little. It was an honor to observe the joining of Strom and hack. I even got to serve as monkey on the test ride.