Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bombs Away!

Day 39 - July 12, 8:26pm
75 miles. Alma, NE to McCook, NE

Nothing like waking up and finding out your on Sweep! I've found that its really hit or miss depending on mileage, terrain, partners, weather, etc. When I heard I was really hoping for a great experience to make up for last time. Boy did it deliver.

Unfortunately my original partner was feeling a bit under the weather so people got to volunteer at breakfast to ride with yours truly. I personally would've preferred more of a Bachelor or Dating Game style of selection procedure, but for the sake of time, hand raising seemed to work just fine.

Colin King(Hilary) raised his hand immediately and just beat out Doug. Boy does it feel good to be fought over. Or maybe they just wanted to take their time leaving? Anyway, I was super pumped to have Hilary riding with me. He's honestly one of my favorite people on the trip by far and definitely just about the coolest. I say all this despite the fact that he has recently shaved his super intense lumberjack beard which was magnificent. His sense of humor is excellent and really jives with mine. He's kinda hilarious actually but he also just exudes a great mix of being both intelligent and very down to earth. Just one of those people who you know you are guaranteed to have a great time with in any situation. I love the feeling of great connection that I've been able to share with several people on this trip and how it just flows so naturally. He and others on this trip also have great laughs which i find awesome. Its hard to describe a good laugh but laughing is one of my favorite things in life and i guess thats why they're such a factor in me liking others.

It was probably only a few miles out when the day hit its high note. Jenny approached in the van and i knew it was my time for retribution. I channeled my water balloon zen and pushed off with my left hand the shot that would be heard around the world, or at least our trip. Never in my wildest dreams did I even contemplate what kind of watery massacre I would unleash when the balloon entered straight into the open passenger window of the moving van. To put it in perspective imagine a disgustingly large US bunkerbuster bomb setting off an implosion in the mountains of Afghanistan. Thats what basically happened inside of the van while the two people were in it. The glorious rejoicing was temporarily subdued by my feeling like an asshole for actually legit splattering both of them head on with a water balloon while they weren't even riding. But then I remembered that I had done it barely looking with one hand through the open window of a moving van while riding a bike uphill. Even Jenny had a hard time being totally mad at me since her complaints were basically compliments as well.

Colin and I rode at a solid pace and had some great flowing conversation and laughter. Riding really chill like that, stopping where you want, and enjoying some great one on one time is what makes sweep totally awesome sometimes.
We also took the opportunity to appreciate some of Nebraska's more "varied vegetation" by adorning, or stuffing, every orifice of ourselves and our bikes with it. Lets just say that rolling into our lunch joint like that definitely brought out a good number of laughs.

At lunch we found that Sonya and Libby had begun fomenting the seeds of unrest towards our waterballoon hegemony. Some mysterious maneuvering was definitely observed. How convenient that a few miles later, everyone in their 5 person group but Sonya and Libby had stopped supposedly "checking their tires." How odd that they got nervous when we didn't want to ride with them. What was obviously happening was a classic textbook "ploy and destroy" maneuver. Alpha team had set up the decoy meant to trick us into riding slow with them, while the Bravo Strike Force consisting of Sonya and Libby would stake out in some bushes and then pursue and ravage from behind. I only knew this because Im actually sick enough to have previously considered this all myself.

Well what happened was that Sonya and Libby got tired of hiding in a bush for 45 minutes and rode up on us and released their silly string in a hit and run. The getaway was not their strength though as a quick sprint brought me into striking distance. Two consecutive direct hits on Sonya was enough to send the enemy into full retreat. If only the taste of victory could be quenching...

Finished off the day pretty well though by 2pm the sun was not playing around anymore. By the time we rolled into town at 4:30 it was 100+ degrees. We could only contemplate what the Nevada desert has in store for us. The heat is why I've really been making an effort to get in early these days and its really paid off as i found out today. I've touched on this before, but its crazy how each part of the country has such different and unique challenges for riding that aren't really present in the others.

Entering Colorado tomorrow which is nuts, we're officially moving way past the half way point and are actually already west. Guess i'll start getting all mushy soon about how the trip is slowly ending but not really, there's a ton more riding to do and i love that. Only two days until our build day which should help us stay motivated. We'll especially need it tomorrow since its our fist Century, aka 100 mile day! It's not really that big of a deal since we've done 90+ several times but it'll still be cool since round,even numbers are kind of inherently more desirable for some reason.