Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Part 4 Lon's Cross County

Part 4
Getting back on the bike each morning was the toughest part of the day. The aches and pains of just sitting on the saddle was a tender area. I was using an original Kool Gear Saddle and a Brooks Professional Saddle. I had not started using the Brooks B-17 model seats that would save me on many future cross country events. I was still learning what equipment to use on multi day races.

My knees were not used to getting out of bed and turning 175 mm cranks. My legs were stiff for the first 20 miles each morning until I got warmed up. Fortunately after 50 miles I was usually feeling pretty good until sundown. The middle nine hours of each day were my most productive and I tried to knock off 150 miles between late morning and dark.

My father had arranged for police escorts across the major cities. This took a lot of work and coordination to arrange and predict my arrival times. About 30 miles or two hours before we arrived at a city my father would confirm my arrival time with the police. I remember entering Indianapolis, Indiana as six police motorcycles waited for me. They immediately sent two motorcycles to the next traffic light. They stopped the cross traffic as me and my support car and the other four motorcycles maintained a 23 mph pace. Then two of the remaining four motorcycles leapfrogged to the next traffic light and stopped cross traffic again. Two of the original police bikes stayed 50 yards in front of me. The other two police bikes who were left behind us sprinted to the front again at the next light. This leapfrog escort support was repeated for over 50 traffic lights across the city. I had been riding at a comfortable 17 mph before I got to the city. Now I was sprinting through every traffic light to stay with the 23 mph escort. The whole process was quite exciting but very tiring to maintain for ten miles on tired legs. As I reached the far side of Indianapolis I waved goodbye to the police escort. I was relieved to continue at my 17 mph pace again. The mental rush of the escort would stay with me for several hours.

My next escort would be across Springfield, Illinois before crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri. The flat lands were now behind me. The rolling hills of the Ozarks lay ahead. I was really tired and sore. Fortunately I had traveled the first 1,000 miles in a little over four days. Some of my stiffness was going away. I tried not to think about how far I had to go to reach California.



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