Day 27: Turning 26 - Newton to Hutchinson

I'm 26! How do I want to celebrate? Obviously, cycling across America. We take the detour to Hutchinson, eat Thin Mints, and stay in church bike hostel with beds.

The Daily Summary

Day 27, June 20th, is a 34 mile ride from Newton to Hutchinson on my 26th birthday!

There has been some tension in the air that you have not all been told about.

Erik Douds at the age of 26. Photo by Taylor Gorman.

Erik Douds at the age of 26. Photo by Taylor Gorman.

I think birthdays should be celebrated. They’re notable events. A whole new life of possibilities and potential has just been born!
— My grandmother

The Team Conflict

On one side, Taylor wants to push for longer days - roughly 70+ miles. On the other side, Annalisa & I are aiming to do 50 mile days so we can get caught up on our blogs. 

What team are you on?

This is a real struggle that has already torn apart several groups. For instance, the Wounded Warriors Project has members doing close to 80 miles while others do 60 miles. This has split them up already.

Birthday Breakfast

Feeling behind on this blog, I tell the girls that Hutchinson is a cyclist's paradise. The goal is to stay and write for the day. This puts more pressure on Taylor to break off and push forward.

Annalisa & Taylor are the best teammates and make sure we share breakfast together for the day. They then convince me to come along for the day, compromising with a short ride.

Love waking up and starting the day with these two!

Love waking up and starting the day with these two!

Our diet has been heavy on the vege omlettes and hash browns. We debate what "hash browns" means and come up with the following distinction:

Hash Browns: pan fried sliced potatoes usually cooked with onions and green peppers
Home Fries: homemade french fries
bonus diner word - Scrapple: mix of leftover meats pressed into something resembling a sausage paddy

DO NOT MESS THIS UP diners!

Meeting a Tandom Couple

The town of Buhler is has western buildings as the forefront with a backdrop of sky scraper corn storage units. Take a peak:

The town of Buhler, Kansas. Are you a western or farming town?

The town of Buhler, Kansas. Are you a western or farming town?

Judy and Eric are inside the Mustard See coffee shop eating two large wedges of pie. I want that!

They are the tandem couple we have been hearing about on the trail.

Their story is that they began the Trans Am on individual tour bikes, like everyone else. That curiosity we all have about riding a tandem became too much for these two and they made a swap!

Judy and Eric are riding across America on a tandem bicycle

Judy and Eric are riding across America on a tandem bicycle

A tandem bicycle is a singular, stretched bike that can fit two people. The front person steers the bike while the back rider provides additional power.

Tandems are familiar to me because my aunt and uncle sell tandem bicycles and my parents used to ride a tandem bicycle together.

Benefits of riding a tandem bicycle across the TransAm

  • You are never separated from your riding partner
  • Higher average speed with two riders on one bike
  • One person steers while the other navigates
  • It's a tandem - they are sweet

Drawbacks of riding a tandem bicycle across America

  • You cannot stand out of your saddle (balancing issues, I believe)
  • You are never separated from your riding partner (joking)
  • May have to coordinate cadence
  • Tandems are expensive

Judy and Eric have a specialized tandem where both riders can bike out their own pace. To my knowledge, that gear right in front of the rear pedal is what allows Judy and Eric to bike independent of each other.

Does this make me an old man?

Does this make me an old man?

Celebrating with a real bed and Girl Scout cookies

What better birthday present is there than being on an epic adventure? Girl Scout cookies too.

My grandmother said this about turning a new age: "I think birthdays should be celebrated. They're notable events. A whole new life of possibilities and potential has just been born!"

This is a day that you get to make a wish. And we do not do this often enough.

When you feel like every day is living out your dreams, what more do you have to ask for? Nothing, really.

My birthday consists of a home cooked meal, some beer, Girl Scout cookies, a birthday present, and a real bed. 

Cheers to another great year ahead! Oh yeah, I also purchased a new light today.