Hudson, KS to Newton, KS
4:45am. Music starts. 4:46am. Lights on. 4:47am. Everyone up. That is how the day started. High temperatures were forecast. At 5:45am, we pedaled out of Hudson into the morning darkness, stopping only to drop off the community center key in Mrs. Bowers mailbox. By the time the sun had cleared the morning low clouds at 7:30a, we had already covered nearly 20 miles.
As we progressed through the Quivira National Refuge cars were largely absent. So we assumed what David M. calls "The Power Formation"--riding two abreast with one sweeper. The nice thing about this configuration is that you can carry on conversations with the crew member next to you. Despite the headwinds and persistent crosswinds, we travelled in the power formation at 15 to 18mph.
Our route took us through Nickerson, where a State Trooper helped the Crew find Brian's iPhone in the tall grass on the side of the road, through Buhler where David M. feasted on Scoobies, and through Hesston where the local bank thermometer read 107 degrees (yes, 107). To beat the heat wave hitting Kansas we have adopted a 50-10 schedule--ride for 50 min and rest for 10 min. Repeat. And keep repeating until we arrive at our objective. We travelled 86 miles and reached our destination of Newton at 2:30pm, finding respite and accommodation at the Newton Bicycle Shop, having a great pizza lunch, and an awful Chinese buffet.
The Newton Bicycle Shop is amazing. Imagine a retail and bike repair shop with a workshop, bikes stacked to the ceiling, and various accessories in retail cases. Add to this a bunk room for the boys, kitchen, bathroom, a laundry room, cokes and snacks for sale, and unlimited Netflix, and you have our accommodations for two nights. It doesn't take much imagination to see why the boys considered taking a "zero week" instead of a "zero day."
And now to our next crew profile....
ALEX. When I think of a textbook cycling form, I think of Alex. When riding, his legs move at a constant cadence, like a metronome, while his upper body is perfectly still. Alex is currently leader of the week, a position that fits his personality well. He plans three steps ahead and makes the trains (and the Crew) run on time. He is also extraordinarily courteous, at every stop asking the weakest rider (me) how long of a break I need. His playlist, which blares through his bicycle speaker, consists of 1970s and 1980s music, making me feel like I am back in high school (emotionally, certainly not physically). Alex's only quirk: he is carrying across the country a stuffed green "rocket turtle."
A final note about Alex. We constantly remember Alex's mother, Beth Carlton, who had been diagnosed with glioblastoma--a form of brain cancer--and is currently undergoing treatment. The crew is wearing stickers in her honor as a reminder.
In two days; David M.