*mile 2,116* Days 22-27: July 21-July 26th: 4 overnight rides: 450 miles: Stockton, Missouri to Garden City, Kansas

26 07 2011

Have some soul caffeine so you don’t fall asleep on your dreams!

These past few days contained hands down the hardest riding of our lives: we began riding at midnight transitioning from the 21st to the 22nd- we rode 104 miles into the 22nd and then 124 miles overnight into the 23rd. We were delirious after the 124 miles; I collapsed in the hotel hallway with wobbly legs- James and I were laughing hysterically but the maids looked terrified. When we went to ride overnight into the 24th, we realized that seven of James’ spokes were broken from the ride; we were forced to hold out on riding in order to track down a mechanic to fix the wheel the following day. We were able to get back on the road at 9pm and put in a wild 128 miler. The unlit, pitch black roads of Kansas were only illuminated by the stars, moon, the headlight on my helmet, and a passing lightening storm. At one point we saw glistening, emerald marbles that seemed to be floating in the air- when I shined light on them, we realized that they were the gazing eyes of cows. The ride was mostly peaceful, but it also had disconcerting junctures- one road turned into sandy gravel that we had to slowly trudge through for 10 miles. We couldn’t see much and we almost fell off our bikes when a dog charged onto the road. With adrenaline rushing through our bloodsteams we rode on, thankfully unchallenged by the dog. 

 We put in 94 miles overnight into today, the 26th. We will conclude our overnight rides after tonight; we will be arriving in Colorado and readjusting to a morning and evening ride schedule due to higher elevation and cooler climate. It is 2:15pm here in Garden City, Kansas, and we wrapped up riding about three hours ago. I am exhausted and in need of getting back to our motel to rest. The past few days of riding contain blurry miles put in while in a meditative, dreamlike state. Going into Kansas we were eager to put in heavier mileage due to the fact that the roads are flat (the miles will be harder to come by in Colorado). The potential for heavy mileage here is completely dictated by the wind- we were mostly hit by annoying south cross winds- not the ideal east wind but also luckily not the nightmarish west wind.

 It has been a rewarding experience to go through a spectrum of physical and mental states all in the matter of hours on these rides. Although the majority of the rides contained positive vibes, negative phases needed to be passed through. Knee aches and butt pain usually happen in the beginning of rides forcing us to repeatedly sit and rise; they eventually subside and go numb before coming back at some later point. Towards the middle of one ride, a burning, acidic, pre-vomit taste lurked at the back of my mouth while the remaining mileage seemed insurmountable. Once the negative phases inevitably passed, there were moments where we felt invincible- especially with the sun rising on desolate, pastoral highways with the miles effortlessly flowing into each other. I woke up last night around eight in a motel room, somewhere in between dreams, unsure of whether or not the sun was rising or setting. Coming back to reality from a lucid dream state mirrors the state of our minds drifting under the stars as we  subconciously spin glinting rims under a crescent moon. I’m somewhere found and lost on a barren Kentucky highway peering through the translucent beam of my headlight, restless in the dark but content that our sunrise is inevitably on the horizon.

Pictures are unable to be loaded at the library here so hopefully our theme song will due for now:


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3 responses

28 07 2011
Renee

Wow guys, this is some story! I’m proud of you for making this dream a reality. Keep truckin’ and enjoy Colorado. The fresh mountain air will revive you!!

29 07 2011
Lindsay Steuber

Joe and James —

Your posts have been GREAT! Super entertaining and I’m really enjoying following your trip on the blog. You definitely have a Steuber donation coming your way… funds are tight in the summer, but you guys are killing it and deserve some cash love for your efforts!

Keep rolling with soul —

I’m glad to hear you are rolling and meeting so many great people — epic journeys always renew your faith in humanity!

love & safe travels –

~Linds

4 08 2011
Dixie Osborn

Ruth Wiltshire at Curtis Cafe in Stafford, Kansas asked me to see if the pictures you took there would be posted on the Internet sometime. She said she enjoyed visiting with you. Dixie Osborn, Director/Librarian, Larabee Memorial Library, Stafford, Kansas

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