Day 54, to Enders Reservoir: The potentially scary effects of heat and wind - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 15, 2022

Day 54, to Enders Reservoir: The potentially scary effects of heat and wind

Here is tonight's campsite at Ender Reservoir. In a stand of trees on a sandy beach, my hammock hangs to the left, and Blue leans against a picnic table. In the background, through the trees, is the reservoir, bright blue as it reflects the waning light from the sky.
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Wednesday stats

New time zone reached! Now in the Mountain time zone. You can even see the landscape starting to change:

Along the side of U.S. 6, a patchy, scraggly stretch of earth is mostly green but also brown in spots and dotted with plants that remind me of Arizona. If only I could remember their name ...
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Dani MooreThose look like yuccas to me, but if I were there I would use Seek to find out!
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1 month ago
Chris GeorgeYes! Yucca is the word I was struggling to remember. They were too far away for Seek. Thank you!
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1 month ago

Also, yesterday I reached 2,000 miles!

Today's Start: Economy Inn, McCook, Neb.

End: Hannibal's Hollow Campground, Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area, Neb.

The Daily Progress: 55.17 miles

The Ascension: 1,339 feet

Ice cream flavors: N/A. I seriously wonder if I would've felt better if I'd gotten myself some mid-afternoon ice cream.

Food expenses: $34

Lodging expenses: $16

Wednesday takeaways

Yesterday I was so proud of myself for zooming through 78 miles as if it were no big deal. Today I decided I must have had a tailwind yesterday. That is the only explanation. Tailwinds are sneaky like that. You don't really notice them unless they're very strong. The wind wasn't especially strong yesterday or today, but shift the direction from at my back to in my face, and suddenly I am noticing.

So I can chalk that up as another example of the "don't get cocky" lesson that I seem to learn on a weekly basis. 

I stopped in the tiny town of Palisade for lunch at the Sodtown Sundries grocery store, which had a Krispy Krunchy Chicken in the back. The two women running the store seemed genuinely excited to ask me about my trip and expressed surprise that I would be coming through little Palisade, Nebraska. I'm glad I did. I wish I had photographed more of it. I saw one sign expressing the sentiment that the town was built on the past but had to grow with the future. It felt like a hopeful message in the midst of a downtown that still had a little life in it but had clearly seen more active days.

I still haven't figured out how to make images that would really capture a town, but in any case, here is a view of downtown Palisade from the table and chair where I ate my lunch in front of the Sodtown Sundries. Across the street stand some old storefronts with no signs of business or life. Everyone I noticed except for one person was coming to the Sodtown Sundries.
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Okay, let's get to the scary part. After a good long lunch break, I set out again for the last 24 miles to tonight's campground. As I mentioned, a little headwind slowed me down, but I was making steady progress, just with a bit more effort. I stopped again in Wauneta to buy some groceries. I went into the grocery store and started browsing for dinner ideas, and I realized that I felt more tired than usual and maybe even a little weak. I thought about how much I'd eaten and drunk in the past couple of hours and decided that some sugar would probably help in the immediate term. I wrapped up the shopping, grabbed a Gatorade and went outside and chugged most of it. Yep, that sure pepped me back up. (How is Gatorade so magical?)

But I thought back about how I'd gotten to that point. It was warm but breezy, so it didn't feel especially hot. And the breeze and heat probably made my sweat evaporate pretty quickly, so I just didn't notice what was probably happening: I was probably getting a little dehydrated, and I was probably working a lot harder than I realized at the time. Good to be recognizing this now, before the next round of extreme heat arrives on Friday!

I'll definitely have to tamp down my excitement about getting to Denver and try to be patient. And try to get myself started earlier in the morning to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.

Today's ride: 55 miles (89 km)
Total: 2,106 miles (3,389 km)

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Keith AdamsI wonder whether dehydration sneaks up on you more easily as the humidity level gets lower? You're entering a region that has notably lower humidity levels in general than where you (and I) live, so it's good to be extra vigilant against getting parched.
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1 month ago
Chris GeorgeTo Keith AdamsExcellent point. That must be a factor here. I'll be hydrating (and taking in salt and electrolytes) more aggressively from here on. ("That's right, water, you'd better watch out!")
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1 month ago
Keith AdamsI've added Salt stick electrolyte capsules to my handlebar bag goodies. Used them on an overnight trip last week. Not enough data to say for certain but early indication is they helped.
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1 month ago
George HallThe heat is definitely the most formidable challenge you will face from now to the end - and it will get worse in the high plains. The heat is capable of doing some serious damage to you. I get up at 4:00, sometimes even 3:30, when touring out west in the heat. It's great to reach your destination by noon and not have to endure the crazy afternoon heat. Try it once and you'll be a believer.
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1 month ago
Chris GeorgeTo George HallOh, I believe it. Did something similar when backpacking across the Grand Canyon. I'll be keeping this idea in mind when the need arises.
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1 month ago