May 18th, 2019 / (182km/113mi)
I get up relatively late – the car rental only opens at 8:30am. I pack my stuff as usual, decide to have “breakfast” at Dunkin’ Donuts next door. That one takes forever — people seem to have a hard time to choose which donut to take. Sigh. They all taste the same: too sweet, so just take one. I then drive to the rental car place and return the pickup. Finally, back on the saddle of my bike. Feels good. At least for now.
I quickly leave the urban area of Pueblo and after 19km turn left off US-50 and onto US-96 which will be today’s highway for the next 170km. There’s very little traffic – a car every 5 minutes – and it’s easy to ride with a bike. Especially since this morning I have tailwind.
Shortly after leaving US-50, I pass a little village and see Marcel sitting there in a “city park” having breakfast. I stop and join him, we chat and leave together after a while. As I am faster than he is with Chester, his dog, and everything he needs to drag around, we say “see you later” and I head forward towards Ordway.
I arrive in Ordway around 1pm, and after having gotten something cold to drink in the supermarket there, decide that it’s too early to just stay here and move into the only hotel in town (the “Ordway Hotel”). Eads is another 98km out and if things continue like this morning, I’ll make it there in good shape and not too late. So I continue on US-96. And in the beginning, everything works out fine.
After an hour, the dark clouds that were far away to the north-west all the time, have been coming closer and closer, and as I get over another little hump of the road and follow it’s turn, a sudden wind sets in and it gets stormy from now to then. I continue for a mile, but the wind gets stronger and stronger, and staying on course with the bike and trailer becomes almost impossible. At least if you want to stay safe and not fall off your bike. I see an old shed another kilometer ahead and decide to seek shelter there for the time being.
The storm becomes even stronger and the gusts are massive. A lot of sand and dirt gets blown around, the trees around are shaking, and I am happy I can sit down behind the shed where the wind is not that bad. But I get cold pretty quickly and put more of my bike clothes on to stay somewhat warm. I am wondering whether I should stay here this night if things don’t get better. Luckily, it’s still early enough today to still make it to Eads. It’s another 60km.
For two hours there’s no improvement of the situation. Only then the wind gusts seem to have eased out a bit, so I decide to give it a try again and start cycling towards Eads. It’s against the wind which now blows from North-East and it takes a lot of concentration to keep the bike steady and straight to not end up off the shoulder of the road. I continue like this for an hour and pray that the wind stops. My prayers are heard and over the next hour the wind gets slowly easier and easier until it almost dies. But it’s late in the meantime, so I need to hurry up to make it to Eads with daylight.
At 8:15pm, with a great sunset behind me, I just make it to Eads and my motel. It’s almost dark outside and I’m glad I made it despite the storm.