I learned a lot today.
Very early, about 5 in the morning, I learned that the “Cobbler Ladies” can bring out the worst in cyclist, and the importance of their cobbler – sold at the first SAG stop out of Sterling – is not something to be taken lightly. I was told that I did not want to dally in the morning; I needed to be ready to hit the road by 6 a.m. 6:30 at the latest, because last year they ran out of cobbler and it is a sad day if you arrive 5 minutes after all the cobbler is gone.
This cobbler can’t be overstated. It was a day changer! And throughout the day the prevailing question among cyclists on BAK has been “did you get some cobbler.”
Part of the reason this changed my day was because my day started off a little rough. I felt winded today, and my backside is sore after several days of heavy riding. And just a few miles out of town, the valve stem on my inner tube began leaking, which forced me to pull over and change the tube.
That’s when I learned to go slow with a CO2 canister to inflate a tube. I got everything set in place, let out a small blast of air. When it looked like everything was going fine, I let it rip – and blew a nice big hole in my tube. So I started again, put in my second spare tube – and by this time Kimberly Hawks had pulled over a SAG van, and we refilled it the old school way – with a pump. Everything worked well the rest of the day.
Another lesson I learned is to wear the same length cycling shorts all day. Here’s why.
See those legs. They are tan in one area, a little less tan in another area, and white as snow in another area. People have been teasing me about it all day, which has made for some good laughs. I’m not the only one who has made this mistake, though. Another rider and I compared odd tan lines at one of our stops. It’s long shorts tomorrow for sure.
I also learned that if you feel the urge to stop somewhere, stop. Shortly after the cobbler ladies, a couple of kids had set up a water and lemonade stand. No one was stopping, though, because it was so soon after the cobbler. But I decided to stop, and I ran into Jacob Doerksen, and Inman High student I’ve worked with for The News’ student news during the past two years. It was really good to see him, even for a bit. Oh, and the donations they were gathering will head to a school in Guatemala, where Jacob’s sister, Beth, worked on a mission trip recently.
I also learned how little I pay attention to my back yard when I’m in a car. I’ve passed through Inman probably 1,000 times. I know there’s a museum there, but I’ve never been to it. Nor did I know how extensive it is. There’s a ton of interesting stuff in there, and basically a whole little town attached to it. Seriously, go there some time. And while you’re at it, hit the museums in Moundridge and Goessel, too.
I also learned that this is what people do when they’ve been riding in the sun all day, and need to chill out for a while.
I learned that when you see the devil driving by, and you ask him to come take a photo with you, he will. And when you ride up beside him and ask him how his ride is, he’ll say “Great”, only it’s long and drawn out, with a touch of super cool. If you say “hi”, he’ll answer with a raspy “Yeaaahh.”
I learned that Bill Collins will stop to help anyone who needs help, and he likely has whatever tool he needs to fix whatever is wrong.
I learned that Rita and Kim can be prim and proper, and, well, not so much.
And I knew this, but maybe I forgot, that the wheat this time of year really does dance, and it does wave like an ocean.
And I learned that even a small town like Goessel, about 500 people, can pull together everything it has to welcome nearly 900 cyclists to town and give them everything they need and more. We have tons of food, fun, and hospitality here. And tonight, two bands will play for us.
I told someone today that I will have a week’s worth of things to write once this if over. If I had the time, I could write five posts a day, but there’s too much to do and see.
Here’s some pictures.