Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Touring Series: Time Trialing On Touring Bikes

A Guitar Ted Productions series
 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 

The "Race Against Death Tour" moves out from South Sioux City, Nebraska into the countryside....

As we pulled out of the town with our food supplies reinstated, we were at a loss as to how to find the two lane blacktop that was on my maps. We finally gave up and started down a four lane interstate feeder on Troy's suggestion. It was a bit hairy, but fortunately it didn't last all that long, as we were able to get off on a two lane highway that led away westwards. It was, in fact, Highway 20, but it was a much quieter, gentler Highway 20 than we were used to.

Troy was on point, as usual. Since we had fouled up our exit from the grips of Iowa, Troy felt it necessary to have us drop the hammer and go. Fortunately we all were feeling much the same as he, so off we went at about a 20mph clip on these fully loaded machines. Troy was happy to see us both holding his wheel, and we sped across the river plain until the road started going up and to the right around a bend. We dropped a bit of speed, but Troy turned and with some stern words of encouragement, willed us to hold pace. Fortunately our turn off caused a moment of uncertainty which allowed me to catch my breath.

Our route followed HWYs 20 & 12 near the Missouri River
The afternoon had grown hot and sunny now. We were headed up into rolling hills, but we also had a favorable tail wind, so things were easier than they might have been otherwise been. We finally reached a town named Ponca, and more importantly, a convenience store, and rest!

We hit the convenience store mostly for fluids. We did our usual sit down in front of the front door, and kicked back with our purchases much to the amazement of the locals, by the looks on their faces. I remember Troy grinding his empty Gatorade bottle on the concrete driveway until he about had a hole worn through it. Odd, but it was a habit he continued to display throughout the rest of the trip.

Before we left, we started thinking about the end of the day, but spurred on by our massive effort coming into Ponca, Troy wasn't about to let us rest just yet. We stopped in Newcastle to consult the maps. It was getting on into the late afternoon, but we all thought we could at least make it through Maskell and to Obert. Once we got that far, we would stop to reassess the situation.

The effort was not much less, and the energy reserves were being depleted. I was about set to fall off my bike at Obert, but Troy saw that we had a bit more time, and he challenged us to reach further. Up the road was the goal, and its name was Wynot, Nebraska.

We were working pretty dang hard, holding above a 15mph ride average. We had made 93 miles that day, but the heat and the lack of much stopping was taking it's toll. I was a bit disappointed to find that Wynot was a bit off the road we were on. I wanted to just roll in a ditch and go to sleep right there!

What is absolutely lost in this account is that I had just about killed myself, suffered heat exhaustion the day before, yet I was able to recover to the extent that I could ride as hard as I did, and Ryan and Troy could ride as hard as they did with my extra weight on their bikes. A pannier each, if you recall.  I think back on it now and just shake my head in amazement.

The turn off onto State Highway 12 led us up into some pretty country, as I recall. Ponca was a welcomed respite. We sat there quite a while, as I recall. Troy's habit of grinding the cap off a quart bottle of empty Gatorade was something he'd started doing the year before on our tour. I always thought that was an odd habit........

Troy had a way of enticing you to push yourself harder than you thought possible. He also could get really annoyed at a perceived "lack of effort" as well. If you responded to his goading with what he could see was max effort, he would be pleased and things would go smoothly. Fortunately Ryan and I were willing pupils to his program of suffering. The year before was tense because Steve was diametrically opposed to such pursuits of pain. So, we had a more mild mannered Troy this time than we had the year before.

Next Week: Fried food, VIP's, and a moment of silence for Jerry.


youcancallmeAl said...

Troy sounds like someone worth avoiding

Guitar Ted said...

@youcancallmeAl- Well, I found him to be a wonderful, motivational travel companion at that time in my life. I learned a lot from him. Of course, everyone has their faults and foibles........