I'm, like, an athlete dude!

Today it dawned on me how extraordinary my luck has been in one regard. Of 39 days of riding not one has had much rain! There was that one time where it rained as soon as I got into Georgia and it stopped me for about 15 minutes. There were a couple showers also nearing Starkville in Mississippi. And that's about it. Maybe it's no big deal but I have to wonder how many rain days have slowed or stopped other cross-country cyclists. If it was pouring outside I would take the day off. If it started raining while I was already on my way I'd stop at the nearest possible place and either wait it out or call it a day.

And what a great riding day it was today. Not a cloud in the sky, barely any wind (and mostly at my six whenever it did blow) and generally smooth grades. Normally each riding day has me finish at a point both north and west of where I started. Today though was an exception. I rode straight west and finished actually a couple clicks due south on the map. I stopped at a gas station in a town called Washington and the lady behind the counter made a passing comment about how us athletes can ride so far and this and that (I lost track what she was saying, getting stuck on the word athlete). Me an athlete?? Let's get something clear. I'm about the laziest guy on earth. I'm a big follower of no single sport. I even miss half the Superbowls for lack of interest. I got this lady fooled. Not that I corrected her, of course (heheh). Many ordinary people I meet are of the thinking that to do something like this must take some kind of huge training and stamina. The truth is that if an overweight slob like me can do this, honestly, just about anyone can. I may be able to ride a bike from one corner of the states to the next but if I tried to jog half a mile I'd probably have a heart attack and plop dead.

The scenery is slowly changing again. It's beginning to feel very Wyoming-ish with wide open plains, few trees, light traffic and the distances between each city (um, each town) becoming farther apart. It's the classic American west. Like matter at an atomic level, the west is mostly empty space. It feels very underpopulated, remote, even desolate... but it's also the kind of place where if you stop for a break the whole of it makes you feel insignificantly small and induces you with a sense of corresponding awe.

Some stats:

Today's distance: 86.07 miles (not counting about 1.5 miles off the clock to get dinner)
Total riding time: 7:17:09 (not including about an hour cumulative rest breaks)
Average speed: 11.8mph (one 10 mile or so section I was doing 15-20 thanks to a tailwind!)
Max speed: 35.8 (downhills freak me out - they really can get scary)
Total feet gained in elevation: 3,187
Total feet descended: 2,671 (hills were not excessive today. Still, far from a flat ride obviously)
Total calories burned: 5,256 (I hope that's true. Between this and the 17 hours of the day off the bike I probably burned 7,000 calories but likely ate less than 2,000. I BETTER be losing weight!)

Day 40