Missouri is now in my rearview mirror, and Kansas is the place I'll call home for the next six days. So far, Kansas has been much kinder than Missouri ever was. I'm sure when the ride is all said and done, I'll remember Missouri with rose-colored glasses, but because its abuse is so fresh, I'm seeing Missouri in it's true colors: hilly, hot, and even hillier and hotter. I finished yesterday's 74 mile ride completely exhausted after climbing, descending, climbing, descending, repeat for nearly 74 miles. Add to that temps of 100 degrees and you've got a day designed to kick your butt. And kick butt it did. I stretched out under a tree at the final stop, Ash Grove, and snoozed for some time, completely wiped out from the ride.
Today's ride of 68 miles was the perfect recovery ride. The hills became less and less. The straights became long and fast. The wind was at my back. And to top it all off, at the 34 mile mark, at Cooky's Cafe, there was pecan pie. Pie for breakfast definitely helps the recovery happen faster. Of course, to balance the meal properly, I made sure to eat my oatmeal, whole wheat toast, and orange juice.
Now, in Pittsburg, KS, we have been welcomed by many wonderful people. We've been fed, offered comfortable accommodations for the night, and thanked over and over again for what we're doing. I met Robin and her service dog, Tootsie Roll, who hears for Robin as the MS has taken Robin's hearing from her. I even found the courage to talk to a reporter about Mom, her struggles with MS, and her recent passing away. Thankfully my new friends, Brian, Tanya, Liane, and Sherry were at the table, and just knowing they were there to support me helped me answer the reporter's questions without the usual onslaught of tears.