Ups and downs, but a good day in Kansas

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at

One of the things that often happens during a marathon is plenty of different ups and downs. Today’s ride was a lot like that. I have been having a harder time getting up early the last few days. My plan for today was to make it to Eureka, Kan., really early after covering about 40 miles. At that time, I would assess whether this was a good afternoon to rest. This would be easier to do if the wind got up again.

I made it to Eureka, stopped at the grocery store, and made a decision to go on. The wind did start to pick up, but nothing like the last few days. The temperature was rising slowly, and by the time that I made it to a little convenience store on the way to Toronto, I desperately needed my ice cream pickup. This time it was a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich. After eating it, the store folks had me sign a cyclists log of all those who stop in for water or refreshments.

Then it was on to Coyville, a very small town about 10 miles from anywhere. People called out to me as I rode by, and I soon realized that nearly everyone in that area would wave when I passed them. Just a few miles past that, I met Will and Graham from Dallas, Texas on the road. We all talked about the things that we had seen over the last few days and good places to eat or stay. We thought that one of the storms in the area might change the headwinds around. Amazingly, that is exactly what happened. A heavy shower made the wind stop blowing, and my time picked up.

Pretty soon, the miles were adding up, and I decided to go on to Chanute, Kan. It is a great jumping-off point for tomorrow, giving me a good shot of reaching the Missouri state line.

Chanute was founded with the consolidation of four neighboring towns. It was named after Octave Chanute, chief engineer for the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad. Chanute is better known for his experiments in aviation. His success with gliders led directly to the flights of the Wright Brothers. Chanute is commonly referred to as the “father of aviation.”

Another interesting encounter today happened about mid-morning. I saw four cyclists dressed rather unusually on the other side of the road, and crossed over to meet them. They gave me some homemade energy bars, and their leader explained that they were a part of a much larger group of religious, nomadic cyclists. They had left West Virginia, and may end up settling in California. They had stopped for a month to paint a house and had just spent a week camping in a nearby park. Obviously they were in no hurry. I did see another part of their group later.

Tomorrow, I hope to venture into Missouri, which will consist of a bigger challenge of a different kind: lots and lots of good-sized hills, part of the Ozarks. Still, I am looking forward to Missouri.

Moderate temperatures helped me have a better day, and the wind shifts came at just the right times. Total mileage for today was 100.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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