Day 29 – 70 miles to Salina, Kansas

Good morning!

Team San Francisco go to sleep in again! 5:45 am wake-up call with breakfast at 7 am with Bike and Build! (I’m actually serious in my excitement over a 5:45 wake-up).  We enjoyed coffee, pancakes, breakfast casserole, and scrambled eggs.  However, I was exhausted, practically falling asleep (even after 3 cups of coffee)…

Today is dedicated to Gerri and Ralph Riley, neighbors and family friends who both fought cancer.  Before my trip, I was saddened to hear that Gerri had passed away.  The craziest thing, was that we passed through Fort Riley and Riley County today…

day29riley

My team today was Rachel Eddy, Lauren, Carissa, and Shannon.

day29teamday29team1As we waited for the van to chalk ahead, we watched them come back down the street, this time the other way, signaling to turn left out of the church and not right.day29wrongturns

About two miles into our ride, Rachel broke a spoke (a common occurance on our team. We were told our bike wheels were not great…).  Also, for the record, Kansas is not as flat as one might think.  Both yesterday and this morning were pretty hilly.  And it sucks when you’re not mentally prepared for them.  So note to next year’s team… be prepared for some hills in Kansas.

There was also a forecast for a huge thunderstorm today.  It was a little scary to be riding straight into a storm, especially in the middle of nowhere on bikes.  Every place we stopped at, including gas stations, and the entry checkpoint of the US Army’s Fort Riley, we asked locals about possible tornados and what to do.  They all had a similar response, “Pedal faster.”

After the first 20 miles or so, everything began to look the same.  The roads flattened, the corn fields started, and things became a little boring.  So naturally, we became delirious..  You see, when you ride a bicycle for 12hours a day, day after day after day, it’s not uncommon to go crazy.  We  pretended that Kansas was home to all sorts of worldwide monuments and sites.  So when we passed a small cliff, we traveled through the Grand Canyon!  And when we cross over a river, it was obviously the Nile.  And how could I forget, in just a few weeks, we would be visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, Utah.  Yes, I have gone crazy.

By lunch, I was absolutely drained.  I was hungry, dehydrated, and drained.  I scarfed down hummus and a Subway sandwich and took a 30 minute nap in the van.  Before this trip, I was unable to fall asleep anywhere but my bed.  Now, I can sleep anywhere… in vans, on grass, on hard gym floors.  I’ve even used a bicycle wheel as a pillow.

sleepingbike

After lunch, we rode 27 more miles on flat, never-ending, straight roads.  And to make it worse, we had terrible headwinds (winds that travel west to east, therefore directly against us).  I guess we’re finally in Kansas, because this is what we were warned about, and it sucks.  I was already physically and mentally done, so this just made everything worse.  Thankfully, Lauren and Carissa were there to distract me and motivate me.  It’s in these incredibly challenging moments that I remind myself why I’m here… today, for my neighbors Gerry and Ralph Riley, and for my mom.

We finally got to the First Baptist Church of Salina, Kansas.  We showered, settled in, and then headed over to the Tammy Walker Cancer Center for dinner.  We entered to applause and about 150 people.  Everyone there was a cancer fighter, most of them survivors, and their families.  This dinner was like no other, with cancer fighters all around us.  We met a bunch of them and got to know them.  They also had a guy playing guitar and singing songs – we obviously joined in, singing and dancing.  Liliya and Jeff even hopped on the piano and played a bit.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, including the local guests.

day29cancercenterday29cancercenterjeffliliyaday29cancercenter2

I’ve been catching up on blogs all night, since a good wifi connection is hard to come by!  Stay tuned for more Kansas updates!

Michael

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