I had another day of sweep today. Armed with extra snacks, med kit, tubes, sweep necklace and wand, Alex and I set off for McCook, Nebraska. The day started off misty and temperate. We had some good bonding time, talking about our families, college, and traveling to far off destinations. With the sweep spirits amongst us, we even found a serendipitous sweep cat. Alex was forced to carry the cat for this photo op, as I am allergic to felines. Along the way, we played some rounds of pictionary, as well as some other chalk games.
After lunch, we set off the finish the last 35 miles of our ride. That’s when the clouds disappeared, leaving us to face a blistering blue sky. There was a wisp of a breeze, but the air was mostly just hot and dry. In an effort to conserve the limited amount of water on my back, I took modest sips every so often. Even so, I ran out of water about 20 miles from our destination. Alex and I bumped into Sascha, Kaitlin, Sarah, and Emily, as Emily got her FIRST EVER FLAT TIRE.* This was a moment of sadness and celebration. All of us were running low on water, so as Emily changed her tube, Kaitlin, Sarah, and I set off to find some. This mission proved to be harder than we thought. The Nebraskan countryside was scarce in gas stations, homes, and McDonald’s, and the roads were threateningly shimmering in the heat haze. We rode into the driveway of a small white house by the road and desperately knocked on the door at least 5 times until a woman named Shelby opened the door. Shelby kindly offered us a pitcher of water from her refrigerator, and gave us good news–McCook sits in a valley. 15 miles later, we cruised into town on a comfortable downhill. About a mile from our host, we found several teammates outside a gas station, enjoying the shade and ice cream cones. Even though we were about 5 minutes from our destination, Alex and I put some more water in our camelbaks, which had again been emptied by our fierce thirst. It was a relief to arrive at McCook Evangelical Free Church.
*Just for LOLZ, my flat count is now sitting pretty at 23.