|Newsletter - 2010 Archive|
Bill Olsen looked over the top of his Budweiser tallboy and asked “Are you averse to taking a caffeine pill?” I said “Give me one and I’ll try it.” It had been a tough day of riding, day 3 out of Atwood Kansas with the Olsen brothers Mark and Bill along with Irene Takahashi from Boulder. The four of us had enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at a rancher's café in Bird City; we also stopped later in St. Francis and Idalia. We were stopped in Cope where I was so tired I just had to lie down somewhere. I found a picnic table and within minutes found myself drifting off to sleep. There was no time to sleep, I had to get into the general store with the others and get something to eat. After a couple of hotdogs and a big can of iced tea I got back on my bike and left before the others to soft pedal and give myself a breather as the others caught up. In about 20 minutes Mark, Bill and Irene caught up, as well as Dan Diehn from Wisconsin and Taylor Kruse from Ohio. I found myself well matched with Bill so we rode together while the others rode ahead.
The previous day we had ridden out to Kensington in central Kansas. I had arranged to leave with Bill and Mark at 4:30am. Irene was already waiting; Nathan Dick was ready to go so Irene left with him while I waited for the Olsen brothers. I ate some watermelon, Bill and Mark arrived ready to roll a few minutes later fueled by a meal from the previous night of pizza and beer! The three of us made our way to Oberlin Kansas in the morning darkness. We arrived and stopped at a gas station/café to have our cards signed and get some breakfast. As we sat down among the interested local truckers and ranchers, Bill told them about our cycling adventure, about PBP and randonneuring. People in Kansas were very friendly and took the time to talk to us. At the McDonalds in Norton I struck up a conversation with a lady who also worked for the local newspaper. She got her notebook out and wrote down a few things about our event and had Mark and I pose while she took our picture! After Norton I couldn’t stay with the Olsen brother’s and rode by myself to Phillipsburg where Taylor was just leaving the Subway on his way to the turnaround at Kensington. I followed him a little later, mailed my postcard and took a few pictures in Kensington. I made my way back to Phillipsburg where I caught up with Dan and Taylor. We rode together to Norton picking Nate up along the way and met up with the Olsen’s at the McDonalds. Nate left ahead of us, the five of us rode together to Oberlin where we found Nate stretching and playing with a Chocolate Lab puppy that had bounded out of one of the locals’ pickup truck. We had a delightful chat with some folks who had just finished their workday and had seen the lights of the many randonneurs on Hwy 36. Bill Olsen was in a hurry to get back to Atwood, so he took off by himself with three 24oz cans of Budweiser strapped to his handlebars, can’t have pizza without beer!
In the dark of the early morning Bill and I left with him navigating, I don’t how he manages because he doesn’t use a bike computer. Bill uses only the cue sheet but we managed to make our way by watching the clock and shining my headlamp on the street signs. It started to get very cold and rainy, Mark and Irene caught up with us just before sunrise, we were very cold and wet as we made our way to Keenesburg where we were able to take refuge in a wonderful café that had just opened. After a delicious sit-down breakfast and having procured plastic bags a large one to serve as a jacket for Irene and small ones to cover Mark’s sandaled feet we set off to the penultimate control at Platteville. The last leg was a struggle for me but I made it in with the help of my randonnneuring friends, Mark was waiting to direct me in to the finish at John Lee’s house. As Mark likes to say “We’re here for a good time not a good time.” True randonneuring spirit indeed!
September 20, 2010