As we head down to Salina, the sky darkens. It is not looking good.
It never really rains; we do experience a smattering of drops while in Salina. Salina is our other “long” rest stop but we decide to head out—it isn’t raining and we want to stay ahead of it if at all possible. At this point, no one feels the need to rest so we press on—to save our time for a later stop. I feel great and am thinking that this is a piece of cake—as I’ve forgotten my misery of the early morning…
All of us are in the groove of riding and riding very well as a group. We are riding two up—side by side and it is like a choreographed dance in traffic. We ease around the other vehicles in the road like waltzing couples—well aware of the music playing and in tempo of each others rhythm.
The synchronicity doesn’t last as fatigue sets in. Sandy is starting to show signs of fatigue and she admits to the fact. We question her mental and physical status—but no, she says she is still able to go on.
It is her turn to lead and she is hesitant—voicing her fatigue and the fact that she dislikes leading in the dark. After some discussion, she takes the lead as long as she is safely riding. If any she indicates any problem, then another rider will take over.
We have a little more than 200 miles to do.
Off we go. We ride down the highway and things appear to be fine—at least until the darkness settles in. At that point, Del pulls around and takes the lead, pushing Sandy into the third position. Not only is he concerned about Sandy leading, he worries about the deer as well.
In the area in which we live--when the sun goes down, the temperature drops significantly. At our stop in Burlington, Sandy mentions that she is starting to feel the cold and I tell her that she needs to put her remaining gear on—including her rain gear. The rain gear will help block the wind. I already had mine on. We gas up, take a bit of time to warm up with coffee and loosen up with humor. It is time to go.
We have 78 miles to Limon. At this point, we are still on Interstate 70 so the ride on the roadway is fairly straightforward. With Del and Karla leading, Sandy in the middle and me riding sweep, we set out. It is after 10:00 pm.
IT IS COLD!!! Brrrrrrr….
Pulling into Limon, Sandy comments—“I can’t imagine how cold I would be if I didn’t put my raingear on”. I nod my head in agreement. We take a longer break as we are all past cold. I’m in the service station and won’t come out….I don’t wanna go on any more!!!
At this point, I ask Del what the temps are. He looks at his thermometer and says “this can’t be right—it is in the 20’s”. Well, I can’t say it felt like 20…I’m just frozen. Both Karla and Del decide to put their rain gear for another insulating layer. We all look like Michelin Men at this point. I have so much gear on my head that Karla questions if my helmet even fits on my head. I laugh because I know I look ridiculous, but I don’t care. I am more interested in staying warm!!
Sixty miles to go. We pull out and about two miles down the road; I wonder why on earth it never occurred to me to put my full faced helmet on. Well, I brought it in the event of rain, not cold. I’m not too bright at this point!
The ride is slow going. We are off the interstate and on Highway 24—a two lane road that cuts through the plains of Colorado. Not only am I worried about the cold, fatigue and especially concerned about Sandy, I worry about deer. I have two words that are quite descriptive of our journey—this sucks!!
The terrain becomes familiar as we get closer to Falcon. We make the last right turn—and then turn into the Safeway Gas station. I pull in front of the pump and shut my motorcycle off. I’m too cold to get off. I deep breath and I climb off, I grin and then we all start whooping and hollering---jumping up and down, giving high fives and hugging each other. Karla’s mother was there to greet us and witness the end of the ride.
Okay, I’m trying to get warm!
It’s over. I look at my odometer and note that I’ve logged about 1,066 miles. The time is a few minutes before midnight. Twenty one hours.
I’m tired is an understatement.
Not only that, I still have a half hour ride to get home.
Again, we fuel up, note the mileage, get Mom B to sign off my paperwork and we all set off together. This time I put my full-faced lid on and know why I didn’t wear it. I’m drafting way too much wind under my chin. Not fun at all.
As we make our way home, I manage to lose my lunchbox. Del sees it and stops to snag it for me. So that’s the third “incident”—Karla loses a winter glove, Sandy runs out of fuel, and I lose my lunchbox.
I get home, pull into the garage and stagger inside. I call Jeanne and tell her we are home. Answer a few e-mails to the MSR board (okay, I’m a geek), then go upstairs. I want to take a bath, but I’m just too tired. Instead, I crank up the electric blanket, strip my gear off, and climb in bed.
That’s the first (and probably last) Saddle Soar 1,000 I’ll be undertaking. Of course, I know better to never say never—and yes, I was up early enough to do the additional 500 miles for the 1,500 in 36 hours ride. Nahhhh, I’ll let it pass.
And yes, I know that the “official” ride is called the Saddle Sore 1,000…but the four of us rose to the challenge and soared above and beyond our limitations and supported each other to achieve our goals. While I’m going to put my distance riding skills away, I know that I’d be proud to ride with any of my four friends.
My thanks to Karla for putting this entire trip together, Del for coming along and watching over us three ladies, and to Sandy—her longest trip before this IB run was only 200 miles and she did it without a windshield!!
Next on deck is…the Mountain Shadow Riders Breast Cancer Awareness Run. We have a great day planned and I’m looking forward to this ride!! Whoooohoooooo!!!
Keep the Shiny Side Up!
~The Rainbow Wahine