Flat. Sure was flat. Broken up by areas of relative evenness.
But that's a great arena for your man to start eating the wind and rain. Chewing noodles and miles as he says. The flats are an opportunity to bear down and find continuity.
Look at his face. Look at his joy - he's smiling because he can feel the race sliding into a comfort zone. It could be the calm before the storm, but it could be the race starting to come under his command.
The heat is heartland heat. The desert heat wants to cook your noodle, but prairie heat wants a hug, almost.
And the sky...