Biking a century, or 100 miles, feels pretty darn good. So 120 miles feels that much better. The first triple digit day of my life is rewarded with a dip in the pool and then…
Day 26, June 19th, is an 120 mile from the pastor's house of Benedict to the little city of Newton, Kansas.
Today the racing vibes are in full swing. More Trans Am Racers, who are racing across the U.S., pass by and offer an amateur's view into the competition.
21 MILES into the day: We pass a Norwegian racer in the town of Toronto, a strange name for a place in the middle of the country, and offer him some gummy bears. He gladly accepts.
These racers are self-supported. They must buy their own food, find their own shelter, refill on water, navigate, and stay away from traffic - all at the same time.
There are some racers who we gave some water to, while others accepted snacks. With 4,200 miles of racing, I think an athlete can accept a small gift from a fellow traveler.
What does it mean to 'dead cow'?
Sorry Taylor, it is time to embarrass you. Maybe this will convince you to read the blog.
41 MILES into the day: The term "dead cow" came up when telling this story.
Taylor and I finished omelets and home fries at the diner, Chinese buffet, and bowling alley restaurant. Kansas combines everything into one place.
At the stop sign, she tips over and fell to the ground like a cow tipping over dead in the pasture. Thus, the name dead cow.
Dead cowing, or falling over on your bike, happens to cyclists who use clip in pedals. Specialized shoes have a device to physically attach, or clip in, to the pedal for more efficiency.
Everyone who buys new clip in shoes, like Taylor, is guaranteed to dead cow at least once.
Small Town America
76 MILES into the day: The town of Cassoday is marked on the Adventure Cycling Trans Am maps because there is a turn and gas station before a 40 mile stretch of nothing. Why else is the town important?
Small town America has to lay claim to something, like every member of a team getting an award.
Cassoday has chosen to be Prairie Chicken Capital of the World. This is despite the fact that not one prairie chicken was visible along the main street. Normally, you would not try to take note of the presence of such a fowl. Yet, if this is the capital of the world, I expect to see some chickens.
The Newton Bike Shop
120 MILES into the day: A legendary stop along a stretch of nothingness, the Newton Bike Shop is revered amongst cyclists. The owners keep the shop open 24/7 during the TransAm Race to fix problems no matter what time they pass through.
Leaving Your Mark
Somewhere on these walls is the legendary signature of Mike Hall. The owners are too busy with racers to take a moment to show us. We understand.
The shop has a racer plopped on the couch looking at the monitors displaying real-time locations of all the Trans Am racers. You can follow along at www.transambikerace.com
While this is going on, Taylor and I grab black sharpies and leave our mark.
Kansas is filled with pools
The part about Kansas that everyone leaves out is that every small town has a pool with a giant amusement park water slide and old school diving boards. Flips are allowed.
MILE 120: Taylor and I sprint by the main entrance, who let cyclists in for free, and quickly strip down to our cycling shorts and under shirts. The Omnipod and Dexcom get tugged at by the water quickly washing over my body from a dive.
The excitement of doing over a hundred miles and swimming in a pool make me lose track of where we are in the pool.
I launch my head back to do an underwater flip and surface banged up. Taylor laughs at me hitting my head, deservingly.
Tomorrow you can see a shot of the mark from meeting the bottom of the pool.
Home for the night is the town park where Annalisa and Mark catch up to us. We pitch our tents and head off to sleep.