Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the cairo-preston loop

i don't know what happened to Dan M. and brandon this morning. there weren't any lights on at either of their houses. i hope "evil bird" didn't get them. that would be terrible.

since i knew they'd want me to ride even if they'd met their demise, i went out for a ride alone. my plan was to ride to cairo (pronounced kay-row in these parts) and back - a nice 20-miler. i rode east on highway 54's wide shoulder, enjoying the turbulence as 18-wheelers passed by at 70mph. what a beautiful way to start a morning!

when i got to the sign to cairo and preston, i turned north. my plan was to ride up into cairo, take one of the streets east and then take the road on the other side of town back south to the highway. the only problem with my plan was that it was based on ignorance. there are no paved streets in cairo. not one! i had nothing but sand if i wanted to go east and i don't do sand on my road bike. that's almost scarier to think about than dodging evil bird.

when i discovered the lack of asphalt in cairo, i thought, "i'll just ride to the next road and turn around." you can start laughing now if you know the area. there are not many cross roads north of cairo. by the time i hit one, i'd changed my plans entirely and had it in mind to ride to preston and take highway 61 south and west back to pratt.

one thing must be said of the road north out of cairo. it is uphill! for more than two miles i climbed what some would call a gentle slope. it just kept going up. my average when i passed through cairo was 18.9mph. when i reached preston, it had dropped to 17.5mph. i hate hills...unless they go down!

riding on highway 61, i had the northeast wind at my back so i was able to pick up some momentum again. i rode on the three-foot shoulder with cars and trucks whizzing by just a few feet from me. their speeds were probably normal highway speeds, but they seemed a bit insane from my vantage point.

by the time i got back to town, i'd grabbed back some of my lost average. i was up to 18.6mph when i made the curve to head west on highway 54 again. i cranked it up down the hill and climbed as fast as i could back up to my turn. i rode up howard and turned on random, then edgeford. i didn't lose any speed. take that hill! (31.16 miles @ 18.6mph)

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