Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 26: Great Bend to McPherson -- A flat Kansas Stage Race

Just a few pictures today are here.
Miles Today: 64
Total Miles: 1931
Avg Speed: 18
Max Speed: 27
Total Time: 3:36
Flats Today: 0; Total flats:8
Weather: Overcast and cool with highs in low 70's
Body: Felt good, but legs are tight and feeling it after hard ride

Last night after route wrap, we celebrated Bruce's birthday by eating cake his wife had ordered to surprise him. And then we bade Sean the wrench good-bye and sent him off on his great 'round-the-world adventure. He will be sorely missed for his even disposition, his readiness to help in every situation, his cheerful and patient encouragement to all and his expertise in diagnosing and fixing about any problem anyone threw at him. Gerard took him out to the airport well before daylight. We will be getting another wrench, Tom, at the St. Joseph rest day on Monday.

Second successive night of dinner at Montana Mike's. Had salmon that Seattle Bob who's had lots of salmon, generously rated 6 (out of 20 he said). We have two more nights at Montana Mikes. Some are already jumping ship to go to places of their choosing. I'll stick with what's included.

Gray skies, just past thunderstorms and cool temperatures greeted us as we loaded and pumped and prepped to roll out. Chuck and I had talked the night before of a strategy to get us to the next motel first and so we rolled out in the middle of the pack. Bob joined us as well and the three of us alternately pulled a mile each. When we reached Tom and Sean's rear wheels, we loudly yelled "slowing" then "really slowing" as we came upon them. That promoted an exchange of good natured insults.
Tom moved over to let us go by, but we told him we liked the arrangement and were happy to just stay there. So Tom got it rolling and gamely started pulling all of us. Sean's back was acting up so he dropped, but the four of us moved along into a pretty stiff breeze until about a mile from the SAG stop at 26 miles. At that point, Chuck jumped ahead of Tom and then the pace began to pick up. I jumpd ahead of Chuck who stayed put, but Bob did not. A few hundred yards later, Bob jumped out and I could not stay with him as he pulled into the SAG stop first followed by the rest of us. Judy noted that she smelled a whiff of something in the air -- oh yes, it definitely was testosterone she concluded.

After resetting fluid levels and some friendly banter, the four of us -- Tom, Bob, Chuck and I rolled back out having decided we would all work together into the stiffening headwind, exchanging pulls every mile. And that is what we did for quite some time. The pace varied between about 19 and 22 depending on who was leading. About 15-20 miles from the end, we hit a series of grades up -- perhaps 2-3%. Chuck and I began to pick it up at that point. Tom struggles a bit on the inclines and so gaps began to develop. We would wait for Tom to catch up and then moved on.

Finally we encountered a long series of ups, with some pitch to them. I began to crank on these and Chuck sat right on my wheel, incenting me to push all the harder. By the time we reached the top a couple of miles along, my legs were jello. Chuck was a little way back but gaining and Bob and Tom were too far back to see. I slowed slightly and Chuck was right there. We decided we would continue to execute our strategy and just take mile long pulls for the last 15 miles. The wind persisted and we rarely got to 20 mph, but it was enough to widen the gap and get us to McPherson & the Best Western by 10:30, 20 minutes ahead of the others.

When Tom, Bob and Sean rolled in a while later, we all went to Braum's Dairy for chocolate milk and a burger. Nice to have the afternoon available now! Tomorrow is another modest day. We're getting through Kansas.


  1. Yeah, it's hard to brag about the intermediate stage win when I'm 39 and you three are 50+ (in some cases, plus-plus!). Well-written recap, Mr. Zeidner!

  2. I wrote a long and witty comment here----must not have hit the Post button----oh, well---Bob covered it for me:) XOX