Day 30 (78 miles)

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

once again, we struck the jackpot in regards to food. the pastor and his family greeted us in the morning with a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, juice, and all the trimmings. his kids were slightly delirious due to the early morning rising, so it was pretty fun to watch them run around and interact with the team.

and off we went for another long day of riding... by this point, getting up in the morning, packing up, and jumping on the bike is becoming quite routine. it still seems crazy to think that we've gotten ourselves all the way to minnesota, so we choose not to and just pedal, pedal, pedal instead. one thing that was special today is that we got to do a little dance 25 miles in because we crossed the 2,000 mile boundary. we also celebrated by taking pictures of a bunch of cows trying to keep cool in a little mini-lake. they were so cute...and stinky!

the halfway point found us in milaca doing some emergency maintenance on brad's bike. somehow, he lost most of the cable tension in his rear derailleur and was limited to only 2 gears, (it's scary how quickly i'm learning about bikes) and i was sitting in the parking lot of a gas station trying to fix it, tugging at cables and messing around with other adjusters. brad and julie were amused because they have been biking for years and me for months, but i've already surpassed their knowledge of maintenance by reading a couple of chapters from a book that they themselves had purchased. it's also nice of brad to put so much faith in me! i was able to get his bike mostly in working order, and then we set off again.

while we were stopped, michele and stephanie (the mother and daughter duo) passed by. we caught up to them in a couple of miles, but while they're usually content to proceed at a leisurely pace, michele has a fiercely competitive streak and started trying to race us. it was a pretty annoying on one hand because it prohibited us from engaging in proscribed behavior (read: pace lining) and because it's hard to have a relaxing ride when someone's riding your tail. in the end, though, it's a pretty unfair advantage to be a twenty something male when racing against a forty something female, and brad and i pulled far, far away leaving poor julie to fend off michele. when julie caught up with us later, she admonished us to never ditch her with michele again. apparently, michele was riding her tail the whole time catching her draft while saying, "i'm not trying to race you julie." fun fun...

with 20 miles to go, we stopped in the town of dalbo to figure out the rest of our route. it's a pretty small and quiet place, and there wasn't even a gas station to ask direction. luckily, brad has an amazing lack of inhibition with asking people for information. he approached a young boy (about 9-10 years old) who was out riding his bike and playing with his dog and asked him about the roads we were thinking about taking. surprisingly, the kid was really knowledgeable and warned us to stay away from one of the proposed routes because it would take us along one of the most dangerous highways in minnesota. his dog was great...he was a one year old black lab mix named timber who was super friendly and full of energy. he was jumping all over us, and julie and i had tons of fun playing with him and playing fetch with his favorite toy--a little tire.

once followed the kid's route and arrived in cambridge, brad and i went straight to the bike shop. he needed to get a real tech to fix up his bike (which in the end got some new cables and some other hardware) and my bike was still acting a little funny. on the road today, it had started making new noises that i couldn't diagnose. it turned out that one of the spacers in my rear cassette had broken off and disappeared, so the whole assembly was loose. hopefully that's the last issue to shake out from the disaster two days ago... the bike tech was really nice and let me work with him in his shop and kindly answered all my questions and even showed me a new trick or two.

when i got back to the church, there was a lasagna dinner waiting for us. we've really been lucking out this stretch with people providing us with meals. after dinner, one of our hosts offered to give me a ride to his house to take a shower. while i had been at the bike shop, the rest of the team had gotten the choice of going to one house and going swimming or going to this guy's house and taking a shower. i'm constantly amazed at how kind the people we've been meeting are. they don't know us, but because we're riding for a cause, they're willing to cook us dinner, drive us to their houses for showers, host us, etc etc. it's really amazing...
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