Newton, KS to Nickerson, KS
Total Miles: 3376
Last night I decided to forgo setting up my tent in favor of sleeping on top of a picnic table under the stars. The nice thing about Kansas is I have yet to see a single mosquito since riding across the state line. Before heading to bed I went to the restroom to get some water and happened to meet another cyclist, his name is Gene and he invited me over to his group’s camp to have a beer before bed. They were camped about 100 yards from me on the other side of some trees and I didn’t even see them. Aside from Gene there are 3 other guys in the group. Gene, Terry and Michael, all from California, had started off together in Virginia and kind of picked up Sebastien, the 4th member and native of the UK, along the way. To anyone who says they’re too old or it’s too late to do something crazy like this then I invite you to have a chat with the first 3. All of them are in their late 50’s and are pulling the same kind of miles everyday that I am. After hanging out and chatting for a bit they unanimously decided that I was going to tag along with them the next day. So with the delightful prospect of having company whilst riding the next day I headed back to my camp to sleep.
I woke up this morning at 5:15 as my new friends are the type that like to get as much of their riding done in the cool morning hours as possible. Works for me, gives me motivation to get my ass out of bed at a decent hour 🙂 After we get out of town the guys settle into what must be their normal rhythm. It’s kind of like an indian run, the guy in front leads for about a mile before falling to the rear and the next person in line takes up the reins. I was kind of getting antsy at first, I usually push myself up to about 80% and hold it there until it’s break time, so, to me, it felt like we were moving along at a snails pace. The more time went on, though, the more sense it started to make to me. The further back in the line you are the easier the pedaling is as you’re riding along in the slip stream created by the leading 4 people. By the time it’s your turn to take the front you’re feeling refreshed and ready to face the wind. It’s a nice little system. Seeing as I no longer have my bike computer I couldn’t really judge how far I had gone while in the lead so one of the other guys would ding his bell for me when it was time to switch. I gotta admit it was pretty awesome.
We stopped at about the 20 mile mark in the small town of Buhler for a bathroom break and for me to grab a mountain dew at one of the soda machines. The first thing I noticed when we stopped was the lack of sweat that would normally be drenching my body at this point, even though we were cruising along at a moderate pace I didn’t feel the least bit tired. A guy could get used to this. After everyone took care of their business we set out again, easily falling back into our rhythm. The weather this morning was cool, mostly free of humidity and only the looming prospect of rain to spoil it. We got about 20 more miles before the heaven opened up and dumped a truly colossal amount of rain on us in a scant 15 minute time frame. I was drenched, my shoes were soggy and my sunglasses refused to stay free of fog but let me tell you, it felt fucking great. I don’t know what it is, and I’m sure many people would disagree, but I absolutely love riding through heavy rain like that. It cools you down, washes away all the salty sweat and just feels amazing. After passing through the worst of the storm, the wind died down to nothing and it was smooth sailing to our destination for the day. And we got here at 10:30. 10:30!! I could get used to days like this.
We set ourselves up in the city park complete with filthy bathrooms (seriously, it looked like someone ate bad tacos and aimed poorly while relieving themselves), semi-clean showers and a nice, covered area to set up our camp. Tomorrow begins with a 60 mile stretch of no services but the wind is looking favorable and the weather beautiful. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
-James makes friends in a public bathroom
-Buhler? Buhler? Buhler?
-When you hear the ding, go to the back of the bus
-Rain, rain go away. Just kidding. Don’t
-5 guys turn a park into a refugee camp