Day 7 commentary from Yates Centre to Weaubleau, MO, 145 miles and 6,800ft of climbing
Modified lyrics from Rush’s song – “Tom Sawyer”
Peter Oyler a modern day warrior
Mean, mean ride
Today’s Peter Oyler
Mean, mean pride
Though his bike is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
He reserves the quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events
This crew shift started with us greeting Peter at 3:30am as he was coming into Yates after a tough night. He was holding up, but just barely, as his years and years of cycling were keeping him upright and on the right side of the road. As he turned into the motel parking lot, he was definitely at the end of his rope and lurched into my arms. We rolled him to the vans, helped him get into the room and the teams were in action. CA and Diego were focused on his body and easing all that was aching and paining. Dave and QB were focused on the details that needed attention in the Follow van by the incoming crew while Greg and Janet debriefed the issues from the last shift. The new crew would have 3 hours to get everything ready, get some breakfast and prep all of the electronics to be ready for Peter’s 7am wake up call.
As mentioned earlier, crew gets whatever is available and in Yates that was very little for breakfast. Going back a couple of days, Mr. O and I had a fantastic gas station thin crust pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and bacon while we waited out the storm. Unfortunately we shared some of that with Dave, KMan and Janet. This time the ‘fresh’ breakfast sandwich at the Yates gas station got shared with the trash bin.
Getting Peter on the road was a little tough this morning. As we mentioned earlier, there are ideally two rest types, sleep, which is 3 hours in order to get 2 REM episodes, or a nap, which is 15 minutes, Peter was not at all pleased with us that 180 minutes had come and gone. The team jumped into action with the help of BT and Mr. O. Diego started the quick massage process always using sunscreen as the “massage oil” killing two birds with one stone. BT and Mr.O prepping his kit, ensuring the tracker gets transferred to his rear pocket, making sure he has the right socks (yes that appears to matter when you have busted your hump for 1,719 miles) and QB was prepping his bike, it was going to be the TT ride for the majority if not all of today’s ride with the crew. Peter gets on his bike and immediately tells me his Garmin isn’t working, (sidebar: I had just charged it and knew it was working) ok Pete left me sub on the other one, I muddle around for a minute and put the same Garmin back on his bike, “you are good to go Pete” ; “thanks QB” and off he goes.
He got going but for the first 25-30 miles it was ugly. The road surfaces were terrible and he was feeling all of this coming through the vibration of the carbon wheels, into the carbon frame of the Scott TT bike and then into his contact points, the seat and his butt. The TT bars would shake his arms, shoulders and neck. Just think about your experiences when you have a bad back, stiff neck or any other ailment and that little pea under your mattress just keeps irritating the hell out of you right on that spot, so much so that you make the call to CA or Diego for an emergency adjustment the very next day. Of course, they fit you in to their schedule but they only have fifteen minutes for a quick adjustment and that gives you a bit of relief but no sooner are you in the car but hit a Toronto pothole and it jams you again. The neck is throbbing almost immediately, and so it goes with Peter, day in and day out, the roads slap him around and he slaps back. We put yellow foam over his seats and handlebars and he stuffs tube after tube of DZnuts down his shorts; willing the extraordinary amount of chafing to go away, the kind of chafing that you wouldn’t wish on your enemies.
The fog was clearing for us and Peter and you could start to see some rhythm in his pedal stroke. By 4.5 hours we pulled over to a gas station to give Pete a bathroom break. Again, your ability to keep bowel movements reasonably regular is critical to his success. He had been regular, which meant one challenge had not struck yet (knock on wood) GI concerns were being held at bay. Diego slathered in some sun screen and massaged his neck and legs. Greg was elevating his arms to rub sun screen in and hopefully move fluids that had been collecting in his hands. We had gone real easy on hydration to see if we could help the body process his intake. At this point Peter was ready to go, leaving with this exchange:
Peter: “you know what guys”
Us: “What Pete”
Peter: “you know when you got me up this morning”
Us: “yes Pete”
Peter: “I was ready to Fu_ _ _ _ _ kill you all!
Us: “wow, that is a little harsh Pete”
Peter: “but I know you had to get me up, so I appreciate that”
Us: “Great Pete, anything else”
Us: “ok, then stop wasting time and get your bloody butt out there and ride!!”
So this is the way it was, in large part, for the remainder of the ride. We would pull over and hand him food and drink every 30 minutes or so, give him a “let’s go Oyler” series of cheers and then drive on. The second team came to take over around 4;15 and now we were off to our next paradise by the dashboard light stop!! Jefferson City was our destination, a budding metropolis relative to everything else we had seen. Thank goodness as during the day, we had one of those fire drill exercises (Dave knows what those are all about). I was typing away on my MacBook when all of sudden Peter had stopped for some reason, I close the MacBook, jump out with Diego and we solve whatever problem it was. Get back into the car, after about 20mins, open my computer and…..nothing, nada, dead. Try to fire up the charger, and nothing. So after a dinner at Perkins, with Mr . O, BT, DW, GG and DR, I hightailed it over to Best Buy to see if they could figure out what went wrong but to no avail. So, with so many blogs to write, a new iPad was purchased so that I could get to the tasks that are still at hand. We then tucked in for 4 hours and dreamed of the next stage!