Posted by: rustymccain | July 2, 2011

The Great Miscalculation

Oklahoma is not the only place that the wind comes sweeping down the plain! There are a couple of things we are learning on this ride for which it was difficult to plan. One is the cumulative fatigue that comes from riding every day as we have been. For most people who read this, a 58 mile ride on basically flat roads does not seem like a big deal. When you have done the riding we have done for the last 4 weeks, it is put in a little different perspective. Have I mentioned my butt yet? Also, we are both having trouble with our hands going numb. I think part of that has to do with the roads we have been riding for the past week or so. It has gotten particularly tough for the past 300 miles. It seems the road splits due to the freezing and thawing that happens out here. These splits happen about every 10-15 yards. The splits can be anywhere from 1-3 inches deep. That is quite a split when you are on a bicycle. Ray summed it up best the other day when he said that it feels like someone is hitting you in the crotch with a 2X4 every 5 seconds. After 2, 100+ mile rides with that kind of pavement, a 58 mile ride is a bit more complicated.

A Tale of Two Geniuses

Also, we made the Great Miscalculation as we planned this trip. We knew the mountains would be tough. We knew the deserts would be intimidating. We knew it was a long way from the Pacific to the Atlantic. But, w­e planned for the prevailing westerly winds to push us across Colorado and Kansas once we left the Rockies. We thought we were to just sit up as tall as we could and make a sail for the wind to use. We could not have been more wrong. The wind has been in our face or a swirling crosswind for the majority of the time. Today was a perfect example of how that affects you. With a tailwind, we could have finished today’s ride under 3 hours and pretty much considered it a rest day. As it was, we were faced with a headwind most of the day and as a result, ended up with a difficult, almost 5 hour ride.

Kansas as seen from a Bicycle

Also, in Kansas, they have very large trucks. And they carry very large things. I don’t know what they are but most are used for farming. Most of these things are bigger than the actual farms we have in Tennessee. And when they pass you going the other way, it has a bit of an effect. I now know what a surprise the fly inside the car gets when he decides….”hey this is fun, I think I’ll stick my head out the window and see how that goes.” We have both learned that when these huge vehicles come by, we tuck as low as we can and hang on the handlebars for dear life. It also appears that something big must be happening back in Colorado, because all these mammoth trucks seem to be going that way.

Big Thing on a Truck

So, today was a challenge. But it was made a great day by a few realizations:

  1. We are riding our bikes. That is enough to make it a great day.
  2. The clouds hid the sun for most of the morning and the temperatures were pleasant most of the way.
  3. We are running into a lot of people now who are headed the other way. For the next few days, we will be able to have fun with them as we all shout to each other, “You’re halfway there!”
  4. We still are running about the same schedule as Phil, Pete and Dave. They are very tough and consistent in their riding and they have been super nice to us.

We are in Ness City, KS today. We have a 64 miler tomorrow to Larned, then have a tough 116 miler to celebrate the Fourth of July. Besides being a little tired, we are still doing pretty well. I still have the Polka Dot jersey, Ray is in the Green and (for a mere 5-month difference) has a lock on the white jersey. As for the yellow, we are in a virtual tie. We may end up sharing that one. To all my riding buds – I wish you guys were here. You would absolutely love it.


  1. Hey guys, I did a 16 miler today and died ! You two are my heros.

    Wally T

  2. Giant things: windmill blades/propellers? You should see them in Kansas and Oklahoma, an amazing sight.
    Keep up the good work guys. See you in a couple of weeks.

  3. Big thing on a truck: looks like a wind turbine propellor. Probably a wind farm going up out there. Shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 hundred more of those going by you tomorrow.

    Two words: Little Debbie (oatmeal creme pie) ok, I meant 5 words. Treat yourself to a few of those tomorrow and the ride will be much smoother.
    We are following your journey and enjoying the ride. Although I think I am getting a case of “sympathy monkey-butt” from reading this blog everyday…….

  4. Way to go Rusty and Ray. Wow what a trip and great photos!!! Hey this is from an extreme runner dude that spoke at a Striders meeting. He tried everything for cramps and had good luck with Pediasure. Supposedly lots of electrolytes.

  5. May the winds soon change and be more favorable, especially on Independence Day, with that 116-mile ride. Have a great ride.

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