- Nickerson, KS to Larned, KS
Total Miles: 3438
What a day, what a day. I woke up at 5:00 which, as long as I’m sticking with these guys, will be the new normal. To be honest, I really like it. If I’m by myself and I wake up and still feel tired, which is like every morning, I’ll just shut off my alarm for a bit and catch a bit more sleep. When I’m with the group I kind of have no choice but to haul my lazy ass out of bed and get the show on the road. The only downside to riding with these guys is that it’s affecting my propensity for drinking a mountain dew first thing in the morning. They’re the type that wake up, eat, pack up and go, where as I have usually been grabbing breakfast and of course that sweet, sweet MD at a convenience store every morning. I’m gonna give it a go for a while, it’s certainly cheaper to make my own breakfast rather than buy it pre-made and I really don’t want to be that guy. The one that stops the whole train just so he can get his precious green crack fix. Way to be a team player, James!
We leave camp as soon as the sun starts peaking over the horizon and head out of town on a stretch of road that runs straight as an arrow for 60 mile due west. It’s such a beautiful morning, cool and a bit cloudy with a sideways-not-quite-tail-wind going on. As we’re pedaling along I see what almost look like a rainbow arcing across the sky in front of us. I know what a rainbow looks like, of course, and I only say that it almost looks like a rainbow because of the color. The sunrise through the clouds behind us was a fiery, blood red color and it somehow created this twisted, amalgamation of a normal rainbow and the Eye of fucking Sauron. I’d never seen anything like it and I guess nobody else had either because we all stopped to ooh and ahh and snap pictures. It was a great little treat to start the morning off right.
Then the real miles began. Sooooo much flatness, sooooo much road and soooooo much monotony. Riding in this conga line of awesome that we are doing really helped, it’s almost hypnotic. After every mile the lead person just slides to the side and the rest move up, you’re just kind of focused on person in front of you, matching their pace exactly and maintaining the groove. Every time I was in the rear, though, I would kind of goof off. Try to see how far I could ride with no hands (Surprisingly far. Loaded bikes are fucking stable), try to stand up while riding (practically impossible and pretty dangerous. Do not recommend), just anything really. But it was nice. Every rotation to the front is approximately 5 miles so it goes by quick. By about the 30 mile mark, though, I needed a break. Or, more accurately, a fucking turbo boost! After my turn in the front I told the guys I was gonna do some sprints to get the blood pumping. And I was off!!! I pulled away like a rocket ship and pushed myself at 100% for as far as my legs would go, then throttled back a bit and kept going until I petered out. It was an excellent little “break”. After I was done I pulled over and waited for the rest of the guys. It was exactly the cure I needed for my antsyness and when they caught up I fell right back in line feeling much better.
A little bit after this when it was my turn out front I noticed that Sebastien had switched places with Terry, who is usually next in line for the lead after me and the self proclaimed “slowest guy in the group”. So I’m riding along, a bit faster than I normally would in the line, and when I look back in my rearview mirror I see that Sebastien and I had pulled ahead of the rest of the guys by a good 300 yards. I slow down and pull back next to him to wait for the rest of the guys when he has the bright idea to just go on a duo ride for a while at faster speed. I’m all for it so we tell the guys that we’ll meet them at the next turn in the road about 15 miles away. What followed was a test, not exactly a competition, of speed and endurance between Sebastien and I. We figured out that the cross roads intersecting the one we were riding on were about a mile apart so we switched places being in front at every one. We were booking it. Waaayy faster than we would normally ride solo but neither one of us were willing to slow down and admit defeat. By about the 12th mile we started to slow down, both drenched in sweat, panting like a pair of dogs and mutually agreed that enough was enough. It was awesome! We pedaled the rest of the miles to the agreed meeting point at a more sedate pace, chatting and basking in that high that you can only get after vigorous exercise.
Once the rest of the group caught up we had only another couple of miles to our camp. All this by 11:00. Getting up early rocks. We popped by the local police station to check-in and let them know we were gonna be camping in the park and then hit the grocery store for some supplies. While I was waiting outside for the rest of them to get checked out the store manager walked out and handed me four bags of cherries and told me how much he appreciated all the cyclists stopping by and doing their shopping at his store. SCORE!!! Seriously, can people be any nicer?! The cherries were delicious. Afterwards we all headed to the park, set up camp, showered and now we’re just all hanging out and relaxing. Life is good. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
– James doesn’t get mountain dew. Life actually goes on.
– Demon rainbows can be pretty too
-James turns into a lone rocket ship
-James and Sebastien combine their rocket power and blast off into the horizon
-Police. Groceries. Cherries. Solve for X