Haswell, CO to Pueblo, CO
"Just let me close my eyes for five minutes," I plead with Becky as we lay on the sidewalk outside the Boone post office. The gnats and moths buzz overhead around the lamp post which lights the small town street. The scene of us laying on the walkway would seem odd or alarming to any passerby during daytime hours, however at this hour the town is motionless and still. Nothing moves other than the busy insects above. It's 3 am and we've already rode 71 miles since beginning this night ride as the sun set 8 hours earlier. Sleep deprived, we had taken a gamble battling the darkness as opposed to the relentless daytime winds. As long as we can keep awake and aware for the next 19 miles, our gamble will have paid off and the unforgiving plains will be a thing of the past. Pueblo marks the passage into the Rocky Mountains.
Some may say we're crazy or reckless for riding at night. That may be so, but those who judge have never been bullied and pushed around by the hellish winds of Kansas and Eastern Colorado before. The ride began fairly uneventful with the four of us sticking together for safety reasons. Becky and I both have bright red flashing tail lights and front headlamps. Dirty B only has a headlamp while Flats McFarlane has both a front and backlight. So far our gamble is paying off as we make great time with minimal wind hampering our passage. However, as the night progresses a nasty crosswind develops. Dirty and Flats go ahead as Becky and I can't keep their pace. After 45 minutes the winds do lighten again, but we are now on our own having fallen behind the other two.
"Becky move!" I shout at the top of my lungs. The lights and shadows at night play tricks with the eyes. Especially eyes hampered with lack of sleep and hours of stressed night riding. But there is definitely something directly in our path. It's huge. Is it moving? No. Two eyes glimmer in the reflection of our headlamps. The head rises and looks straight at us with a dull lifeless stare. It's an injured deer lying in the road. That's the biggest deer I've ever seen. No wait, it's an elk. One one thousand. Becky shifts six inches to the left. Two one thousand. She clears to the side of the suffering beast by less than a foot. Three one thousand. We're safely 20 feet down the road from the near horrific collision. Becky is now fully in the opposite lane screaming and crying. I try to comfort her while also trying not to imagine what would have happened if...
Average pace: E (error)
Max pace: 25.3 mph
Odometer: 2320 miles