Meeting With Superman in Eureka

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Eureka Town Park

Flag of United States  , Kansas
Friday, July 22, 2011

Today was a brilliant day. We had a hot 32 mile ride from the campsite to Eureka, the first town, but with a tailwind we managed to make good progress. We were excited about this town as it's the first time we’ve joined up with the Trans America Cycle Route and we wondered if this would affect our reception – it CERTAINLY did.

When we stumbled into the local garage and filled up a couple of Thirst busters, the lady behind the counter told us to head down to the town pool and ask for a "very kind lady called Becky". When we arrived we found out that Becky was the life guard and not only has an open house policy for cyclists, but lets them swim for free! This offer was much too tempting especially as we were reliably informed that the next town was 30 miles further in. We decided to give ourselves a break and spent the afternoon alternatively sunbathing, swimming and chatting to the friendly locals.

Eureka is a great little town, tiny, but with everything you could possibly need. Apart from the gorgeous pool, another great find was the local library we happily used the internet and lolled around on their comfy chairs enjoying the air-con. We purchased some more delicious steaks and were deciding whether to head for Becky’s house or the park to camp when Mikey got a puncture.* This made the park the best option and we headed back, passing a hot and bothered looking runner on our way.

We were stuffing our faces with our steaks when a car drove up and two very excited Chinese boys jumped out. It turned out that they were travelling with the runner we’d assumed was a local and he is actually RUNNING FROM NEW YORK TO LA!!!! We couldn’t believe it. Not only is he doing our route in reverse, he’s averaging 35 – 38 miles a day in +++100F a distance which will take him at least 10 hrs. His name is Phil and he’s doing it as a personal challenge as he’s just finished a masters in Business. Over the course of the discussion we found out that Alwin and Laing were recruited through the internet and didn’t know each other or Phil before the trip – they just thought it sounded great. Alwin had just hitch-hiked across the country to New York and was meant to go home to China for a holiday, but thought this sounded more fun.

They were looking for a safe place to camp for the night, and so we assured them they could be our neighbours in the park. We were VERY excited about meeting Phil. They explained that he runs on until he’s had enough and then calls them to pick him up and bring him to their stop for the night. They can then drop him back in the morning. They start at 5.30am and tonight brought him to our site at 8.30pm. We thought he’d be exhausted but he was in amazingly good shape. Very happy to meet us and tell us about what he was up to. He said he was inspired to run by the film Forest Gump! He’s had one day off from running since he began, and that was because Alwin had to go to the hospital! It was clear that he was totally dedicated to completing his challenge despite its incredible difficulties. He plans to finish in September.

We had a great time signing the car and taking loads of photos before we were joined by Becky who’d come back to reopen the pool for us so we could have a late night swim and Phil could have well-earned shower – She really was a star.

Mikey and I were straight in the pool, trying out the diving board we’d been too embarrassed to use during the day with all of the kids watching. It was at this point that we realised that Phil was not the only very brave adventurer amongst our new friends. Alwin and Laing not only braved the spare trunks Becky found (one pair were bright pink), Alwin jumped off the diving board into the deep end without letting anyone know he can’t swim! After lots of choking and Becky doing her life guard thing, he and Laing headed carefully along the edge to the shallower end and had a go on the slide instead, with Becky at the bottom dragging them out. Hilarious.

Meeting these guys gave us such a lot to think about and as well along with Becky’s kindness and the relaxed day by the pool, we’re feeling revived and excited about the trip ahead again. I’ve definitely let the heat get to me over the last week, but if Phil can run for 10 hrs in it, I can definitely cycle. We’ll be tracking their progress on face book – the address is in one of the photos if any of you readers want to check it out. (You should, there’s a funny photo of us in our chairs which Laing thought were hilarious!)

*Don’t panic, this was not due to our lovely new tyres failing, but one of the 5 patches on the inner tubes failing – phew!

Miles Cycled: 34 and then the pool was calling
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triciagick on

You are certainly meeting the most amazing and lovely people xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Elwin on

It is so happy to meet you guys~Be safe and have a nice Be safe and have a nice travel:)

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