Heading North?

Today we rode north into a headwind…

If we had been heading east the day would have been one of the easier ones but alas we’re going to Dordt College and that means we’re riding north for a couple days.

I got all the photos online from the past week (week 5 album link) so check them out. I probably won’t bother integrating them with the blog so you’ll have to mix and match with which stories go with which photo.

This past weekend we were staying in the town of Fremont Neb. There is no CRC church there and for sunday service we had the option to be bussed out to either Lincoln or Omaha for a seatosea celebration service. Upon our arrival to camp some of the riders who had opted to stay in Fremont had attended the Lutheran Church across the street from the hockey arena we were camping out front of. Within a couple hours of their church service finishing and learning that there were 150 people camping out in the 105oF heat their church had been turned into a hosting center for us. There were brownies being baked, endless watermelon and cool drinks. There was wireless internet available and they even let some of us sleep in their facility overnight to escape the heat and humidity for even a few more hours. What a fantastic example of partnership within the greater church, we all felt so blessed to become the first priority of some members of that church on a day they expected to be hosting no-one!

Last night I slept in the arena because it was downright cold and more like sleeping at home in Edmonton when it’s 30 below with the window open a crack… it was great. I decided to make the most of it and slept right until 7:15 giving myself 15 minutes to pack up, grab a lunch and put breakfast on my plate. I scraped by just in time as breakfast was promptly removed from the table at 7:30 because the very first people had already eaten 2 hours earlier. I made a mental note not to take any cottage cheese when eating breakfast so late, it’s something that is rather disgusting when warm. Anyhow, after getting sunscreened up and putting in my contacts and sitting around talking with Steph for a bit (she didn’t ride today so was also not rushing out of camp) I hit the road at quarter past 8 am… right at the tail end of the group.

The route this morning was spectacular and much enjoyed, I felt a wee bit like I was riding in the hills north-west of Edmonton just where the Alaska Highway starts. There were patches of trees here and there, the fields chock full of crops and there were loads and loads of birds flying around. That stretch of road lasted for the first 50 kms or so and then I dropped out of the hills into the Missouri River Valley, the rest of the day was spent on pancake flat land.

Rolling into one of the towns around the 85 km mark I heard some bad news. Eritia had T-boned a car about 20 minutes prior. I have probably ridden more kms with her than any other person on this tour so far, I’m comfortable enough with her riding to draft within 4 inches or so of her and the same the other way around. Josh has even commented that he was kinda surprised at our efficiency zipping down the road. I was not very pleased by the news having lost Tyler to a broken shoulder, one of the others I’d ridden loads and loads with, only a bit more than a week ago. While the story got straightened out it began to sound more and more like people were trying to get her bike fixed. That was good news, she intended to ride the rest of the day. I poked my head in the back of the gear van and said hi. With a smile on she was bragging about how she completely destroyed the driver side mirror. Later on at camp she seemed to be doing OK and has gone to sleep with Barb Mellema (Cyclist from the area) in a real bed tonight. No doubt though she’s going to be stiff tomorrow and likely have a couple bruises. Keep her in your prayers please.

From then on the story of the day was headwind headwind headwind. The final stretch of 20 kms Lawrence and myself switched off pulls and made really good progress into town… 45 kph effort for a 30 kph reward.

Thanks for all of the offers for help regarding the dérailleur hanger. I do have one in shipment that should be meeting me tomorrow at Dordt. I picked up a new chain at the bike shop today (almost 6000 kms on my last one) as well as a couple new tyres, some new handlebar tape and a sweet new jersey that was half off. It’s now my favorite and will make an appearance in some photo at some point this coming week. Stay tuned.

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