Day 29: Reunited and It Feels so Good – Hutchinson to Larned

A few hours later, Taylor sends Annalisa and I a text saying we better catch up the next day. Does this mean she is waiting for us? It seems so.

Had to put this first. Don't worry, Taylor is back with our group.

Had to put this first. Don't worry, Taylor is back with our group.

Believe it or not, Annalisa and I leave the church hostel in Hutchinson before the sunrise. The challenge for today is a long stretch through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. On the maps is a warning saying no services – aka no water, no food, no fun.

Pulling a U-Turn at the Arkansas River, with barn swallows eating mosquitos and raising their young, I begin the long stretch through the prairie lands.

The floating orange orb (the sun) has broken the horizon only to be blocked by a flat stretch of clouds preventing the rays from hitting our backs.

Notice that the picture is dark? Thank you cloud gods for providing shade.

Notice that the picture is dark? Thank you cloud gods for providing shade.

Riding on the other side of the road is a cyclist named Jeff who is riding despite having back surgery, or hip surgery, or some sort of surgery.

What is noticeable about his travels, including the large smile, is that his handlebars are looped up. This is opposite of the usual drop bars. The advantage of these upward bars is that it keeps your back angled higher and puts less strain on your body.

So if you experience back pain consider riding with handlebars that loop upwards.

Jeff rides with upward handle bars to prevent back pain. i.e. does not have 'drop bars' that puts you in a racing position

Jeff rides with upward handle bars to prevent back pain. i.e. does not have 'drop bars' that puts you in a racing position

A hose looping out of a backyard offers some relief to thirsty cyclists with a sign for “free water.” We take the opportunity to fill up thanks to the kindness of these trail angles. Every little bit of help makes the journey that much easier.

Lunch: making wraps from left over greek salad

Lunch: making wraps from left over greek salad

Trying to Photograph How I Treat Lows

You are getting a photo of GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) that stays in my handle bar bag. The mixture of carbohydrates from the Cheerios and raisins with the fats of peanuts covers the roughly 60 carbs per hour that I need to maintain while riding.

Preventing lows is one of the best ways to treat them!

Preventing lows is one of the best ways to treat them!

On the other side of the handle bar bag is a plastic bottle of honey. This is used to treat downward trends being displayed on the continuous glucose monitor. Or, if I am too late, to treat low blood sugars.

I tried to capture a shot of pouring honey into my mouth while riding a bike. Let’s say it came out slightly provocative for this PG crowd. Instead, you can laugh at this photo of eating a banana while riding a bike.

Eating while riding is a skill that endurance athletes must develop. Taking a photo while doing it is a skill for bloggers.

Eating while riding is a skill that endurance athletes must develop. Taking a photo while doing it is a skill for bloggers.

Meeting Taylor by the Pool

There she sat underneath the pool pavilion with containers of strawberries and blueberries, complimented with cheeses, pistachios, and more snacks.

Are you trying to win back our love? Because you have it.

Meeting Mike and Sue

Taylor told us how last night she went knocking from church to church trying to find a place to stay. Time after time, the congregations refused her with their various excuses. Religious institutions have no obligation to accept travelers, yet there are a few versus spoken frequently that reference helping out the weary.

A couple from one of the congregations, the final door Taylor knocked at, welcomed her into their home. Mike and Sue are grandparents that exude their newly wed aura. They got hitched only a few months ago and roll to the pool pavilion on their motorcycle.

Mike and Sue, newly weds, riding in on their motorcycle

Mike and Sue, newly weds, riding in on their motorcycle

All of a sudden, a hiker with a salt encrusted shirt that outlines his pecks, folds in his stomach, and every other feature that must leak out sweat. Jonathan left from Delaware and is roaming from place to place all on foot. He is showing Annalisa, Taylor, and Elijah (an east bound Trans Amer) a photo of a cloud wall.

How to survive a tornado...

A cloud wall? Apparently this is what the sky forms before a tornado is about to rip into town. Jonathan stood in an open valley with his backpack and nothing else. What do you do when hell is about to break open from the skies?

Jump into a truck. I could not catch if this car was abandoned or someone picked him up, but thankfully he found something. The video of the storm passing showed rain pounding against the windows and rattling the vehicle.

After a gourmet dinner of penne pasta with sautéed eggplant, tomatoes, capers, olives, and shredded parmesan, the sky began darkening and our eyes glued to the storm tracking on the Weather Channel app (it’s pretty decent.)

Are you going to pitch your tent? What about sleeping under the pavilion?

The winds picked up and we scooped up our tents and bolted for a hut structure about 40 yards away. This building had walls about 4 feet high, an open gap, and a roof. Jonathan’s photos may have put us in a panic.

Hold down the fort. Prepare for the storm…

The Blood Sugar

Annalisa’s delicious greek salad kept the blood sugar stable overnight.

Greek salad kept the blood sugar stable overnight. At 1 PM you can see the giant spike after stepping off the bike.

Greek salad kept the blood sugar stable overnight. At 1 PM you can see the giant spike after stepping off the bike.

Low-carb meals would be a possible option to reduce the amount of blood sugar spikes that happen. I am thinking of pursuing this but have some concerns:

  • Can you be vegetarian and follow a low carb diet?
  • How could you get 4,000 calories following a low carb diet?
  • Are low carb foods available at the gas stations and Dollar Generals that tend to be where we resupply food?
  • Does heat destroy low carb foods (cheese, lettuce, greens, etc.)

The calorie intake and low carb is my biggest concern.

A possible strategy:

While riding a bike, eat carbohydrates since your muscles absorb glucose and keep blood sugar stable.

At night, aim to have a low carb dinner.

Once again, you can find the giant peak that aligns with stepping off the bicycle. A cyclist is hungry when getting off the bike and your muscles are no longer absorbing that glucose in your blood stream.