Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 21 - Alliance, NE to Oshkosh, NE

. Thursday, July 06, 2006

Temperature: 80°F
Conditions: Mostly Sunny
Wind: NNE 24 mph; gusts to 31 mph

Ride Info
Altimeter Trip: 710 ft
Altimeter Odometer: 51,460 ft
Maximum Speed: 47.0 mph
Average Speed: 23.2 mph
Distance Trip: 84.3 miles
Distance Odometer: 1,511.3 miles
Elapsed Time: 3 hr 30 min 05 sec

Today was FUCKIN’ AWESOME! I really needed a day like today. It started off on an interesting note. As I have so poetically described in my previous journal entries how much Nebraska SUCKS, I equally conveyed that message in my letters to Laura. I even went as far as to draw an outline of the state of Nebraska with a big slash through it and the words “NE SUCKS!!!” where the return address would be. Normally, I try and spot the first street side mail box when we leave town to mail the letter. In some small towns, I was not able to spot a mailbox right away. I would keep the letter in my jersey pocket and they would get a little sweaty. That became a little joke between me and Laura. Anyway, the church reverend was up with us in the morning and “saw us off”. I asked him where the nearest mailbox was, and he said, “Oh, I’ll mail it for you.” So I gave him the letter not remembering all of the anti-Nebraska decorations scrawled on the front. Oh well!

Right from the get go, my legs felt fresh and revitalized. It was quite windy today, but that didn’t matter. People were joking that we were heading in the wrong direction as the first section of the ride was heading southwest. Given the strong tailwind and the improved road conditions, everyone’s morale soared. The terrain was getting more and more flat, which made for boring scenery but for higher average speeds.

It was me, Chip, Jim, and the tandem all day long. The five of us rode together quite a bit during our trek across Nebraska. Neil and Fran were a real powerhouse on their tandem and provided a great draft. That was especially true when the five of us formed an echelon to counteract the crosswind when we started heading east again. The wind didn’t seem to slow us down one bit. Everyone had great legs. The towns in Nebraska seem to be spaced every 10 – 15 miles. Given how flat the terrain was, you could see quite a ways in the distance. We were starting to get into farming country as was evidenced by the grain silos in town. The grain silos would be a beacon to ride towards and provided additional motivation.

I’m sure we stopped at one of the towns along the way for a snack, but we didn’t do much stopping. No one wanted to disrupt the good momentum we all had. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t take a single picture today. All the corn, soybean, and hay fields all begin to look the same after a while, so why bother wasting film on them?

We were already to Oshkosh before it was lunch time. We stayed at another church again. Everyone helped unload the truck, and we all set up out stuff. We took our showers and then headed into town for lunch. Not really sure what I did the rest of the afternoon. I’m sure I worked on my daily letter to Laura and might have worked on cleaning/tuning my bike. People would also talk to the other riders as they arrived in camp and share stories of what happened during their ride.

The weather forecast for the next day was sort of ominous and was also going to be the start of several 100+ mile days in a row. I still felt fresh after today’s ride so I was looking forward to kicking some more ass tomorrow.