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Another Broken Spoke on Century Day

Today was a rough day. At 98 miles, it was our first century for those of us who have difficulty sticking precisely to the route the entire day (which is to say: most of us). Unfortunately, we discovered *another* broken spoke in my rear wheel mid ride today. That’s after fixing 3 broken spokes yesterday–no fun. I rode on my wobbly wheel with Brian K for a few dozen miles. Eventually the van came to help, but they didn’t have a cassette tool. I would have kept riding it, but we discovered that my cassette was dangerously loose, so I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of breaking more expensive components. We loaded Jamie into the trailer and headed to camp.

Our campsite tonight has been agreed to be the most shoddy setup yet. We’re on a lake, but the entire ‘campground’ (which is actually the lawns of the local resident’s trailers) smells horribly of cow and pig manure. Consensus holds that it’s probably runoff from the local factory farms (I visited a pig and dairy cow factory farm today) whose manure runoff collected in the lake. The water here is full of sulfur; showers are available, but I was strongly urged to skip the shower by my fellow cyclists who suffered through it before I arrived to camp (I’m well versed in the horror of the rotten egg smell of sulfur from living in Florida; I have no desire to bathe in such stench). Tonight will be the second night of the trip where I’ll opt for shower by baby wipe.

Liz D was bit by a dog today. Don took her to the hospital. When I got to camp I saw her hobbling on a well-wrapped calf. Extending beyond the gauze, her leg was stained with iodine, and there was blood leaking through the gauze in at least 1 location. She described the wound as a collection of many small but deep punctures.

Today was actually the first day I had to disarm my pepper spray and point it at a dog’s nuzzle as it was chasing me down the road. Fortunately I was able to accelerate & outrun it as it approached my ankles. Liz carries pepper spray herself, but claimed it was a small dog who looked harmless before “in an instant” digging its cute, innocent teeth deep into her flesh. (this is why I don’t hesitate to draw pepper spray on dogs of any size.)

We also picked up 2 tag-along cyclists today. One was a friend of the Carbondale crew named Collin riding a fixed gear Bianci. He lived 15 miles off route from Monroeville, IN (the town we stayed in last night), and he’ll be joining us for a few days. Another rotten incident today: Geordie (driving the van + trailer) accidentally ran over Collin’s bike–which was leaning up against the trailer. Fortunately his saddle was destroyed and his rear wheel _slightly_ untrue, but the rest of his bike (most importantly, his frame) was still fully intact. Geordie gave him his spare saddle, and Collin rode until just ~5 miles before the campsite–where he got a flat, discovered his spare tube’s valve was unsatisfactory, and hitchhiked the rest of the way to camp.

Matt, the other tag-along, is an (ex) self supported cyclist on his way to Fargo. He started his tour today before running into our group also headed (in part) to Fargo. His original intention was to book hotel rooms for the extent of his tour, but after meeting us he decided to donate his would-be hotel funds to our MS fund, throw his gear into the trailer for $1 per mile, and camp out with us ’till Fargo.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I still have to take a ‘shower’ before retiring for the night. Tomorrow we have an easy(er) 75 mile ride. My fingers are crossed that my spokes will remain intact!

1 comment to Another Broken Spoke on Century Day

  • Steve Miller

    Hey Michael, I just found your card in my wallet, although we also published it on our blog (grampies on the go). We met in Minnesota on July 4, when you worked on fixing your shifter.

    Anyway, belated congrats on reaching the Pacific! We are still on the road, although we are hanging out in Montreal until Wednesday. Then we will cycle south back into the US and take a train west from Schenectady. By mid September we too will be back home, on Vancouver Island.

    All the best

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