The last day in Kansas also saw my first rain since Canada. It was full on torrential rain, thunder and lightning – the works! Normally this much rain and wind would bring on a chill without rain gear. But it was too warm to put on anything over my cycling shorts and base layer T-shirt. So as the rain started, I just carried on cycling, expecting to get a chill despite the heat. But the temperature of the rain was perfect – warm, with just a bit of coolness to take the edge off the hot air, and no chill from the wind. So I carried on cycling through these surreal conditions – simultaneously comfortable and soaking wet!
This took away the humidity that I experienced in Nebraska and Iowa, but the heat is still there, and with clear skies it feels like a furnace at times. The southerly headwind is back, which helps take the edge off the heat, but it’s a headwind, so it does slow me down. But despite all this, progress is good.
After buying a better phone at the end of June, I was able to record the actual distance traveled (detours and all) without the problems with the GPS tracker.
I’d used Strava (the cycling equivalent of Facebook) during my training, and thought it would be interesting to upload at least part of the ride I’d been training for to make comparisons.
Every month, around a quarter of a million Strava users across the world sign up for that month’s “distance challenge” – to record how far they cycle in that month. To ecourage a bit of competition, everyone gets a ranking of how their distance compares with others in the same challenge. During my training I was ranked around 15,000th – but where would I be ranked now that I wasn’t spending 40 hours a week working? I certainly wasn’t expecting to be No 1 – cycling a heavily laden bike on unfamiliar roads would put me at a disadvantage. Early in the month I set myself a target of a top 100 place.
With the flatter roads in central Canada and the American mid west, I was expecting to do better in July than June (2850 km, 1780 miles) . But I was not expecting to go as far as 3600 km (2250 miles), and with 12,500 meters of climbing, it was far from flat! Satisfyingly, this is just further than this year’s Tour de France (3519km). OK, so the Tour riders did this in 21 days to my 31, and they went through the Alps – but I didn’t have any support team, and they didn’t have 30kg of luggage!
Here is the distance I cycled in July on a map (my Strava heat map) :
Or how it would look from space!
My July Distance ranking? 76 out of more than a quarter of a million cyclists across the world. So comfortably in the top 100 🙂