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Thursday 16 June 2011

Day 38 - 1/750

Todays mileage: 41
Total mileage: 1,806
End point: Holdrege, NE

For breakfast I ventured past my normal choice of waffles and decided to get involved with the fruit loops. I think using the word 'fruit' to describe the rainbow of cereal loops was pushing the boundaries of advertising honesty and a betreyal of my commitment to eat whole grain. Then again I had a salad for dinner last night so maybe its ok.

Before I could depart I needed to carry out more bike repairs. I had cycled in with a front flat tyre last night for the last couple of miles, proceeding with care, so I changed this. I then noticed some weird blistering on my rear tyre. My immediate thought was that I was going to have to file for divorce from my kevlar tyres, but the issue it turned out was with the inner tube, so I switched that one too and am now down to only one spare. After this I was unable to get my rear wheel on and for 30 mins I struggled and fought. Then I remembered what Trevor had told me about the hub being 5mm wider than my old one. I was able to get the wheel on by pulling the chainstays apart slightly, which on a tough steel frame is no easy task. After this time for a quick banana.

Finally departing I cycled back through Lexington and onto Highway 30 to head west towards Overton. It appeared Government Heineman had with receipt of my email immediately moved it to the top of his inbox, called in his emergency team and launched an aggressive strategy to solve my problems. The shoulder on highway 30 was being entirely relaid with smooth tarmac, no bumps. I went through the construction with relative ease, despite trucks and pilot cars there was room enough for me, and the traffic only ever flowed one direction at a time. I approached Overton which was nice enough with a great looking well maintained golf course on the left as I approached.

I decided at Overton I would take the scenic route and follow the county roads, which marginally cut the corner over continuing on 30 to Elm Creek and then dropping down south. The man at the Korner shop yesterday had told me, 'you know you got head south sometime soon!' I went over I-80 and said goodbye to the Platte River. Some of the paved country roads can be hidden gems of rural america with low traffic flow. I noticed after a little while that in the ditch next to me was another road. This road ran parallel and was abandoned with nature slowly claiming the land back. Flowers and roots were cracking the smooth surface and I was interested to know when the new road was laid and when the old one had departed. My guess would have been 10 to 15 years, but it was just that. I have in the past had thoughts of what the rate of decay of infrastructure would be should the majority of the human race be wiped out. I believe this was started from reading 'Day of the Triffyds' (bad spelling I am sure) and continued with films such as 28 Days Later.

The back roads south to Loomis, whilst beautiful, finally broke me. I have been fight Nebraska, but the wind has destroyed my strength, my knees, my elbows and my conviction. Out of the days I have ridden in Nebraska, 7 in total, only one of the days can I truely say that the wind was with me. If the wind direction was truely random then I should only have a 1/4 chance of the wind blowing against me, this representing the bottom right quadrant of a circle from south to east. And when it blows, it blows.

Mathematically the chance of my exact combination is as follows:
(1/4 ^ 6) * 3/4 = 0.000183
If we take it that my one day with the wind in my favour could have happened on any of the days I have rode:
7 * 0.000183 = 0.13%
Therefore the chance of the wind blowing against me 6 days out of 7 is roughly 1/750.
With this kind of luck I should be playing the Nebrsakan lottery and I have indulged myself in one scratch card with a M&M charachter on the front which I thought Pam would like. No luck at odds of 2/7. I have secretly been addicted to scratchcards ever since Pam's mum handed them out as christmans gifts (only kidding Carol).

So I think we can safely conclude that the wind direction is not random and prevailing winds here are south and south east. According to the forecast a northerly is due tomorrow and tonight and so I have called it an early day with the intention of maxing out tomorrow. That said the weather forecast also said there was a 95% chance of a thunderstorm this morning and I have not seen a cloud in the sky. They seem to be better with wind direction. I now need to go somewhere with wifi to send this out, modify my route.. One thing is for sure, tomorrow I will not be in Nebraska, which reminds me I better go and buy a map of Kansas.


  1. Very cool that you will be in Kansas tomorrow! I hope you get a good night of rest tonight and that the weather begins to behave itself for you. I'm so proud of you, Brian. You are doing it! xxx

  2. Hi Brian,
    Still enjoying following along with your adventure. Love your writing style.
    Kim and I (and our four kids) will be traveling through Kansas next Thursday on our way to Colorado. Because of you we've just made reservations at the "Oregon Trail Wagon Rides" for one night. A bit out of the way but the kids will enjoy it.
    Keep on Truckin'
    Tim Meehan

  3. Is this tim the auctioneer with the big cowboy hat?!?!

    I'm not sure I recommended oregon wagon trail..
    No showers, dodgy wifi, mosquitos.... ha!
    But the steak looked good!!

    But then again I'm sure the emigrants suffered worst!!